Antidepressants Trigger A Wide Range of Withdrawal Symptoms
While millions of people have benefited from modern antidepressants, there is a growing number of studies documenting severe withdrawals symptoms – especially for longtime users.
As reported by the New York Times, many, perhaps most, people stop the medications without significant trouble. But the rise in longtime use is also the result of an unanticipated and growing problem: Many who try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms they were never warned about.
Some scientists long ago anticipated that a few patients might experience withdrawal symptoms if they tried to stop — they called it “discontinuation syndrome.” Yet withdrawal has never been a focus of drug makers or government regulators, who felt antidepressants could not be addictive and did far more good than harm.
The drugs initially were approved for short-term use, following studies typically lasting about two months. Even today, there is little data about their effects on people taking them for years, although there are now millions of such users.
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“Some people are essentially being parked on these drugs for convenience’s sake because it’s difficult to tackle the issue of taking them off,” said Dr. Anthony Kendrick, a professor of primary care at the University of Southampton in Britain.
With government funding, he is developing online and telephone support to help practitioners and patients. “Should we really be putting so many people on antidepressants long-term when we don’t know if it’s good for them, or whether they’ll be able to come off?” he said.
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To learn more about how stopping antidepressants can be more difficult than anticipated, please visit the New York Times.