When diagnosed with a mental health condition, many patients are offered antidepressants and therapy. They have varying levels of success for different individuals, but the BBC has recently questioned how bad the withdrawals are when a patient feels ready to stop taking them. On Victoria Derbyshire, mental health charity Mind discussed the issues millions of patients face when it comes to withdrawing from their prescribed antidepressants.
Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms
Antidepressants are systemic, which means that the chemicals they contain spread throughout the entire body. For this reason, it’s impossible to eliminate any risk of withdrawal symptoms when it’s time to stop taking them. Interestingly, the symptoms of withdrawing can mimic the original condition you were diagnosed with. These potentially familiar withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Low mood/hopelessness
- Sleep issues
- Spells of crying
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Suicidal thoughts
Additionally, new symptoms may be experienced, including:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sensory disturbance
- Strange dreams
- Ringing in the ears
How to Avoid Antidepressant Withdrawal
Ultimately, if you’ve been taking antidepressants for some time and you decide to stop taking them, you’re at risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Although it wouldn’t be possible to eliminate this risk entirely, there are things you can do to reduce the severity of the symptoms. For example, your GP can help you to wean off of your medication slowly.
If your concerns about withdrawal symptoms are stopping you from asking for help, there are alternatives to antidepressants available. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is non-systemic and only focuses on the small area of the brain known to cause your mental health condition. The side effects of treatment are very few. With a 1 in 50,000 possibility of seizure, a mild headache and tiredness being the main side effects to be aware of.
Importantly, there are no known withdrawal symptoms from TMS, making it an effective option for the patients who are concerned about the withdrawal effects of antidepressants. With remission rates for Smart TMS sitting at around 60% (higher than that of antidepressants!), TMS provides a viable alternative to traditional medication.
Find Out More About TMS
If you’re concerned about the withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants, or would like to learn more about TMS, our team of patient advisors are on hand to take your call: 03452225678. Alternatively, you can contact the team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.