This article about new concerns about long term use of antidepressants got me so excited!
I was going to go talk to my psychiatrist and lobby to get off my antidepressants since I’ve been doing so well, functional and all. But then I read the following paragraph…
“The big danger of going off antidepressants is the risk of relapse. People who have had one episode of depression have a 50% chance of having a second. Those who have had two episodes have an 80% chance of having another. Staying on antidepressant medication can cut the risk of relapse in half, according to a review of 15 clinical trials published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.”
So chance of relapse for me is not worth Dr. taking me off medicine. So for me it’s not likely to happen. But for those that statistics stand on your side, see these guidelines, also in the article:
Managing Long-Term SSRI Use
Beth Salcedo, a psychiatrist and the president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, has these tips for patients:
*Check in with your doctor regularly—at least twice a year—to assess whether the drug is still needed or working, or if the dose needs adjusting.
*If you decide to stop the medication, do it under a doctor’s guidance and taper it very slowly—over a few months or longer—to minimize withdrawal symptoms and make it easier to reverse course if anxiety or depression surges.
*Do a course of cognitive behavioral therapy before or while going off medication. This can give you skills to manage anxiety and depression and can help prevent a relapse.
*Identify early warning signs that a relapse may be on the horizon, like difficulty sleeping or avoiding social engagements, so you can quickly adjust or restart treatment.