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Abilify Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Abilify (Aripiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic medication that is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and in some cases is used as an “add on” treatment in severe depression. If you are on Abilify and are switching to another medication and/or planning on withdrawing from it, you should always work with a psychiatrist. Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic that works as a partial dopamine agonist.

If you take this medication for an extensive period of time, it can have a significant influence on the way your brain works. When coming off of Abilify and other antipsychotics, it is always recommended to gradually “taper.” By gradually tapering off of a medication, it reduces the possibility that you will endure major withdrawal symptoms.

If you immediately stop taking your medication “cold turkey,” your brain may not know how to react – especially if you had been taking it for an extended period of time. Withdrawal from an antipsychotic medication is a difficult undertaking for many people. For this reason, it is important to stay in contact with your psychiatrist and/or another medical professional.

Factors that influence Abilify withdrawal

As with any drug withdrawal, there are going to be factors that play a role in determining the difficulty of withdrawal. The amount of time that you took the drug, the dosage you were at, your physiology (and nervous system), plus whether you decided to “taper” or go off “cold turkey.”

1. Time Span

How long did you take Abilify? Was it for a short period of time like a few months? Or have you been on it for years? Individuals that have been on this medication for years are going to have a much more difficult time going through the withdrawal process because their body and brain have become reliant upon the drug for everyday functioning.

2. Dosage (2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg)

What dosage were you at? Was it the lowest possible dose? Or were you taking a pretty high dose? If you were taking a higher dose, it is likely going to take you longer to adjust to life without the medication. The process of “weaning” off of Abilify will take longer if you were at the daily maximum dose of 30 mg.  Obviously the higher the dose you were on, the more difficulty you will likely have with withdrawal.  The standard daily dose is 10 mg or 15 mg for most people.

3. Personal Physiology

Everyone has a different nervous system and physiological response to medications. Some people experience significantly less withdrawal symptoms, while for others the withdrawal process can feel overwhelming. No two people are going to have the same responses coming off of Abilify – one person may have a significantly more difficult time coping with the process.

4. Cold turkey vs. tapering

It is highly recommended that you use a gradual taper when coming off of Abilify. This is a powerful antipsychotic medication and certainly not something to quit “cold turkey.” Most psychiatrists will have you gradually lower the dosage until you are at the lowest possible dose, and then you will finally quit once and for all. If you do quit “cold turkey” the symptoms may be significantly more severe than if you conducted a gradual taper.

Abilify Withdrawal Symptoms: Comprehensive List

Below are some withdrawal symptoms that people have reported when coming off of Abilify. Since this is a relatively newer antipsychotic, the discontinuation symptoms are not very well documented for this specific drug. Most resources simply piggy-back off of withdrawal symptoms associated with other antipsychotics and apply them to Abilify. It should be noted that withdrawal from this medication is pretty well tolerated.

  • Anxiety: This is one of the more common symptoms people experience during withdrawal from Abilify. You may experience significant anxiety in social situations and/or general anxiety. It may become so severe that it becomes difficult to concentrate or fall asleep. The intensity should gradually subside.
  • Appetite changes: Some people report that they have less of an appetite when coming off of the medication. This may be related to your mood – especially if you sense that you are becoming increasingly depressed while coming off of Abilify.
  • Concentration problems: Some people have problems with concentration and focus when going through withdrawal. This has to do with the fact that your brain is trying to readjust itself. Since it is no longer receiving the medication, it is thrown out of balance. This may lead to foggy thinking and temporarily worsening of cognition.
  • Confusion: Experiencing general confusion and memory problems is common. These should eventually go away as your brain attempts to reset itself.
  • Depression: If you were taking Abilify to help treat depression, your depression may rear its ugly head again during withdrawal. Only this time, the depression that you experience may be even worse than before you got on the drug.
  • Diarrhea: If you experienced constipation while on Abilify, you may experience temporary diarrhea while coming off of this medication. The best way to deal with this is to get some Imodium (available over the counter).
  • Dizziness: With any antipsychotic drug withdrawal, Abilify can cause you to feel dizzy. If you are coming off of the drug too fast, dizziness is especially common. The more gradually you taper, the less likely you are to experience extreme dizziness.
  • Excessive crying: It is very common to experience excessive crying when coming off of this medication – especially if it was used to treat your depression. You may experience a profound emotional response that triggers crying spells. Just recognize that this is part of the withdrawal.
  • Hallucinations: There is the possibility that you could actually hallucinate while coming off of Abilify. Research has shown that some individuals develop psychotic symptoms while coming off of antipsychotics – even if they have no prior history of schizophrenia.
  • Headache: This is another very common symptom of Abilify withdrawal. Your brain is no longer receiving the drug that it has been supplied with – this leads to headaches. The headaches may be minor or extreme.
  • Insomnia: This is among the most common symptoms to experience when withdrawing from Abilify. You may be unable to fall asleep at night and feel restless. This may persist for a few weeks as your sleep cycle attempts to reset itself.
  • Irritability: If you used this medication to help with your depression and irritability, coming off of it may result in temporarily increased irritability. Most medications that help curb irritability result in the opposite effect when a person comes off of them.
  • Joint pain: Some people have reported muscle tension, stiffness, and joint pain when coming off of the drug. Ironically many people report changes in joint and muscle tension when going on the medication, so it would make sense that withdrawal could have a similar effect.
  • Lightheadedness: People have reported feelings of lightheadedness throughout the day. This may cause people to feel dizzy. If you feel lightheaded, keep in mind that it is your brain chemistry attempting to readjust.
  • Mood swings: Some people report experiencing changes in mood. One minute they may be angry, the next minute extremely depressed. If you have no prior history of mood swings, this is likely due to the withdrawal.
  • Nausea: You may feel nauseated throughout the day – especially during the first week of withdrawal. This nausea may be overwhelming in some scenarios to the point that you feel as though you are going to puke. Try to deal with it the best you can and realize that it will eventually improve.
  • Panic attacks: This goes hand-in-hand with anxiety upon withdrawal. It is common to feel a sense of panic throughout your day when withdrawing from Abilify. The difficult aspect of dealing with this is you don’t know what will trigger a panic attack.
  • Psychosis: There is research suggesting that withdrawal from antipsychotics can cause psychosis. This can occur even if you have no prior history of psychotic episodes and/or schizophrenia. It is because when you come off of Abilify, your dopamine receptors are trying to reset their original functioning.
  • Sleepiness: When withdrawing, you may experience excessive sleepiness and/or fatigue throughout the day. Some people have reported sleeping for extensive periods throughout the day. After a week or two this tiredness tends to subside and gradually improve.
  • Suicidal thoughts: With any antipsychotic medication, withdrawal can lead to suicidal thoughts. This is because coming off of the drug can actually make depression significantly worse and you may experience other forms of emotional upheavals.
  • Sweating: It is common to experience sweating throughout the day or “night sweats” while you sleep. This is your body’s way of readjusting to life without the drug and detoxifying itself.
  • Vomiting: This goes hand-in-hand with the nausea that you experience. If you experience an extreme amount of nausea, it may provoke vomiting and/or other flu-like symptoms. This is a pretty rare withdrawal symptom, but has been reported.
  • Weight loss: It is well known that Abilify causes people to gain a significant amount of weight. It does this by slowing the metabolism as well as decreasing overall motivation to exercise. When coming off of this medication, you may experience pretty significant, steady weight loss if you packed on weight while taking this drug.

How long do Abilify withdrawal symptoms last?

It totally depends on the person. No two people are going to have the same length of withdrawal. Unfortunately many psychiatrists assume that there is not going to be any major withdrawal symptoms. It is pretty foolish to think that there will be no withdrawal effects from a medication that has such a profound effect on the brain. In general, I would suggest that withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.

It is highly unlikely that you will experience major symptoms for longer than 90 days after you stopped taking the medication. If you quit “cold turkey” you may experience more symptoms than if you gradually tapered before your last dose. Either way, your brain will eventually return to its default state of functioning pre-drug as long as you give it enough time to recover.

During your withdrawal from Abilify, make sure that you continue to work with your psychiatrist and/or other medical professional. Push yourself to hang out with friends, get outside for natural sunlight, engage in healthy activities, and eat good foods. The Abilify stays in your system for up to 34 days after your last dose, but the actual time it takes your brain and body to return to normative functioning may be a much longer time period.  If you have withdrawn from Abilify, please share your experience and let others know that they are not alone in their experience.

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{ 235 comments… add one }
  • Michelle May 10, 2014, 10:53 am

    I stopped taking Abilify 5mg daily “cold turkey” about 6 months ago, I had been taking it for around the last 4 years. I was taking it with Wellbutrin SR 300mg daily, still taking Wellbutrin (has helped me cut down on smoking significantly). I am still experiencing 12 of the withdrawal symptoms. My anxiety has spiked significantly (worse than ever before taking Abilify) and hasn’t ceased, I worry about everything and I mean every little thing to the point sometimes that I’m afraid to leave my home. To the point where I get so sick to my stomach with stress that I can’t eat. Depression, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts are becoming more difficult to deal with. My psych doctor refuses to understand my still lingering side effects of withdrawal from Abilify. If anyone else has had a similar experience with withdrawal from Abilify please share! I feel that I am one of few or any that’s still experiencing withdrawal symptoms 6 months after stopping Abilify.

    • GLOOM May 10, 2014, 5:40 pm

      Hey Michelle, many doctors really trivialize the withdrawal from these drugs. Abilify is a serious medication to withdraw from and even “take” in the first place. Doctors will refuse to believe that it is still “withdrawal.” However, I can tell you from experience with these drugs that you are in fact experiencing a “post-acute” withdrawal… which could last for many more months. Especially since you quit “cold turkey” – which is a very poor decision by your doctor. Although you are probably thinking that these symptoms are going to be permanent, I can assure you that they will eventually subside. Keep doing as much as you possibly can to fight through them. I wish you nothing but the best.

    • Michael June 25, 2014, 5:42 pm

      Hey Michelle,

      I just want you to know you’re not alone. I have stopped taking abilify cold turkey three times, each time it ended with psychosis. I know now that every single one of those episodes was caused by extreme fear on my part.
      I’m trying a fourth time, I’m not giving up! Having done it 3 times prior I have plenty of experience with myself!
      So here is some advice to get through it.
      Think of it as a challenge to overcome.

      Don’t worry, you will get through it! As Dan Reynolds (from Imagine Dragons) says in On Top of The World
      “I’ve had the highest mountains, I’ve seen the lowest rivers, you can have it all but life keeps moving.”
      :)

      Churchill said
      “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”

      You can do this Michelle
      :)

    • Lynn June 28, 2014, 8:24 pm

      Hi Michelle,

      Hang in there. Your mind is stronger than you think. I quick Lexapro and Abilify both in the same year. Lexapro first, then Abilify. I gradually decreased my dose until I couldn’t cut them anymore. Took the same amount for two weeks and decrease. My withdrawal symptoms for Abilify was a lot worse than Lexapro. I got brain zaps, crying spells, headaches, and so many more. It was a mental and physical struggle for me because these meds I felt like I didn’t truly need. They made me so sleepy during the day and I gained weight. I have stopped taking them for almost 3 years. I am so proud of myself.

      Please don’t lose hope. You can do this! It took me about 4 months for the symptoms to go away fully.

    • April Ozuna October 5, 2014, 7:56 pm

      I stopped taking Abilify after losing my job and health insurance. I could not afford to continue to take the drug because it was well over $700 a month. I became so incredibly ill and so violently depressed that I was bedridden for at least seven months. My hygiene went to hell in hand-basket and I could hardly make a fist because I felt so weak. There are literally no words to describe how severe my depression was.

      Finally, after unending, prolonged suffering my friend gave me a bottle that she received for free. I was a new person in less than two days. I do not have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. I had just been slightly depressed a few years before and my doctor recommended Abilify. The drug is marketed such that it helps people whose antidepressants aren’t working well. I was never told, nor did I have any idea that this drug is an antipsychotic primarily used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

      This drug has essentially ruined my life, impacting my kids and everyone else that I know. Is dangerous and should be avoided at all cost. I ran out of my medicine a few days ago and I currently feel so bad that I am literally frightened beyond measure. I think that we all need to be very proactive about informing our doctors and everyone else about the dangers of this medication. I pray that you are doing better. By all means, you are not alone.

      • D Pye June 7, 2015, 12:28 pm

        I could not afford Abilify, but for years the drug company that make it sent it to me for free. Then you could break off slowly. Also the generic is much cheaper. Several weeks ago I ran out. I took 10 mgs for years. I do not feel I need it anymore. I got very ill so after 2 weeks I picked up my Aripiprazole (generic) and started taking 5 mgs. I am OK now. I’m going to taper it now over however long it may take. The phone number to apply for assistance from the manufacturer is 800-736-0003.

      • Shawna June 1, 2016, 6:08 am

        Your situation is unfortunate, but your ending comments make me very angry. Prior to Abilify, I have never been as happy or gone so long without a depressive episode. It was a miracle for me, and I finally feel “good.” Should doctors educate you about what you’re taking? Absolutely, and mine did.

        Do NOT tell others to “avoid it at all costs.” It could be the drug for them that actually makes a difference, as it did for me after MANY other meds were unsuccessful. As a side note, with expensive medications you can apply through the manufacturer for free/reduced price medication.

        • Carol August 23, 2016, 10:21 pm

          I have been on various doses of Abilify for more than 20 years. For the last few, only 5mg. My psychiatrist told me to just stop taking it about a week and 1/2 ago and gradually start taking the lowest dose of Seroquel. I never thought about withdrawal symptoms with this medication. Well, I am having just about all the above symptoms.

          I sleep for 12 + hours, am so keyed up I could scream. Depression, panic attacks and nausea. The worst part is the psychological symptoms. Confusion, dizziness, shakes. No one told me about this. I am hoping all this will subside soon! I am notifying my doctor, although I doubt she can do anything for me. I’m just toughing it out for now.

    • Vera October 30, 2014, 4:27 pm

      Dear Michelle, I hear what you are saying. I have bipolar disorder and am on 5 psy meds. I have been on abilify for 4 or 5 years. I was on 15 mg & lord willing in 2 weeks I will finally be done with the withdraw. It was a very expensive & wonderful medication to get me off a psy ward & back in the community. But the withdraw & side effects are intense & many. I worked for 25 years as a VA nurse. I have watched withdrawal from many meds. It is like trying to get off methadone. The withdrawal from it is real. I believe you.

      I have worked with my psy dr. For about 1 year to wean off of it. Slowly weaning due to crying, irritability, gloom, & feelings of fear & doom to name a few. I am doing better over all with my disorder. But during this final weaning it has been hard. But I am stubborn & bullheaded finally with dr. Help & slow tapering able to make transition. Remember: That which does not kill us only makes us stronger!! Weaning should be gradual & with plenty of love & support. Hang in there! Vera

    • Rob September 10, 2015, 4:14 pm

      I’ve been off ability for almost two weeks now. All I do is sleep. The depression is worse than ever. The suicidal thoughts got so bad I attempted it. Fortunately I was found before it was too late. Still waiting for things to get better. Have no hope. I had to quit cold turkey because I can’t afford the medication.

      • Beth September 28, 2015, 2:06 am

        Rob, I quit abilify last week only 2.5 mgs but have been taking it for about 8 years. I feel really down and sleep in all my spare time. I avoid people at work. I don’t comb my hair and don’t care about my appearance. I know I’ve been through worse. I just have to wait.

      • Deborah March 5, 2016, 7:09 am

        Rob, you can go to the drug company’s website and fill out a form there for assistance and you can get your medicine for free from them. There is no need for you to go without your medication. I hope you will try this. I’ve done this before and it was so helpful.

        • Janet Whitten March 30, 2016, 4:17 am

          Ha! That is not true! I am dying from abilify withdrawal and the pharmaceutical company that makes abilify will not give it for free to patients on Medicare!! Period! Yes it is true I have called them over and over and they say the same thing every time! They will often try to appease me by saying we can send you a discount card. This card will also not work for patients on Medicare! Even though the drug has gone generic the company maintains rights to it for a full year and us who have taken it and are left stranded on it and can no longer afford to pay for it have to detox with unimaginable side effects.

          • Jen May 16, 2016, 5:07 pm

            Janet – Unfortunately, what has happened is not that Abilify will not allow patient assistance for the drug to people on Medicare (I am on Medicare, and have received Abilify at no cost to me, through their patient assistance program – with my primary care physician’s help-for two years). What happened is, (and this is true with all patient assistance programs), that once a medication goes “generic”, it is no longer available through the “name brand” manufacture’s program.

            This happened on April 28, 2015 when the FDA granted several other drug companies the right to manufacture aripiprazole (the generic version of Abilify). As Bristol-Meyer Squibb is no longer the “sole” manufacturer of it’s brand name “Abilify”, they no longer offer patient assistance programs. I experienced this as well, and because I can not afford the “generic” (just because it went “generic” does NOT mean that the cost went “down”).

            I, too, have been forced to go off of the medication. Although I was on the lowest dose possible (2.5 mg) and quit “cold turkey” (there was nothing to “taper”) for management of my BiPolar I disorder, I too am experiencing withdrawal symptoms that were never discussed with me. It wasn’t until I “Googled” to see if withdrawing from a “low dose” of Abilify could cause insomnia, and (especially horrible for me) the cramping and restless leg syndrome that keeps me from sleeping.

            It was also the ONLY medication that I could tolerate to keep my “mania” at bay, so I have to be VERY aware (and have a trusted friend and therapist who also monitor for manic symptoms). How it EVER became used as a “booster” for SSRIs in the management of depression, I will never know. In the treatment of (I can ONLY speak for myself) my BiPolar I Depression, it was found that SSRIs “pushed” me into a “manic” state, and Abilify… while also going off SSRIs… is what balanced me out (along with other medications).

            Personally, I wish that my PDoc had gone over (or known more about) the withdrawal issues surrounding this drug. It may be because I was on the lowest possible dose, but reading about the length of time it takes to “suffer” through “withdrawal”, I am caught between being “angry” that the drug that managed my mania has been “taken away” due to affordability, and being “angry” that it appears to also be so “dangerous”. (As an “end note”, I also have concomitant psychiatric disorders, so the medications that I am able to take are limited).

      • Laurie July 26, 2016, 12:19 am

        I had only been on abilify for 2 or 3 months. Now i have to quit cold turkey cuz I ran out and my insurance wont pay for it. The dr. prescribed me clonazepam and upped my prozac, so hopefully it wont be so bad. I had only been taking it since May and was only 2mgs a day, so I’m hoping for the best. $700.00 per month for a medication is utterly ridiculous!!!

    • Julie Hanson September 25, 2015, 9:11 am

      I was on Abilify daily, 5 mg, along with my 40 mg. of Prozac daily. I gained 50 pounds; so after researching Abilify’s side effects, I decided to stop taking it cold turkey. Thinking back on that time, I don’t really remember any bad side effects. However, now, after having been off of it for 2 months, I am having really strange symptoms. Insomnia is the worst.

      Also, it feels like I always have to keep moving my legs at night when I’m trying to go to sleep. I’m always a little nauseaus now; whereas before I wasn’t. My anxiety is much worse than it used to be a month ago. Also, sometimes my lips get numb (sounds weird, I know). I’m constantly worrying now, and am ALWAYS on edge – I can’t stand it. I didn’t think these reactions could have been from stopping Ability, since I stopped it a while ago.

      But after reading some of these posts, I’m realizing that, yes, it could be side effects from stopping Abilify. I was on it for over 5 years. The only other symptom is sometimes slurred speech. For instance, yesterday I wanted to say “Barack Obama’s daughters look so cute” to someone, but instead it came out “Barama’s daughers.” I don’t drink or do any other drugs except my Prozac and 5 mg. a day of Valium for anxiety.

      I feel like I’m losing my mind, feel like I’m all alone (which I am actually), except for my wonderful 12-year old son. Since I got into a car accident at the end of April, I’ve yet to buy another car. I don’t have much money for one, but am hoping to save enough by the Spring. Well, lately it seems that not having a car is like the end of my world. I was adjusting pretty well until about a week ago, when all these symptoms started.

      So, yes, I absolutely understand what you’re saying about your symptoms and I can definitely sympathize. Have you told your psychiatrist about the symptoms? I haven’t — I see mine every two months. Also, my counselor left the place she was at, and I haven’t had counseling in about 5 months now. Good luck and best wishes!

      • Bobby December 22, 2015, 12:46 am

        I tried quitting Abilify cold turkey and had a horrible time of it. What you expressed about not being able to sleep because of restless legs was precisely what I went through for two weeks. I went back to my doctor and was told to resume taking Abilify and then slowly begin to ween myself off it. If I was aware of how powerful an effect this drug would have on my brain I would have never taken it. I will begin a very slow withdrawal at the end of January when I will have come back from vacation. Right now I feel like a junkie who has to take his fix daily or go nuts.

    • Laira January 12, 2016, 6:06 pm

      You are NOT alone! I feel horrible! I’m ‘dying’ and there are no answers and no one believes me. I have all of the side effects and I cannot lose weight either. It has been 6 months since the last injection. My worst problem is that I never should have been on this garbage in the first place!

    • MR April 5, 2016, 9:04 pm

      My 14 year old was taking abilify with citalopram. Due to weight gain and normal puberty issues he wanted to come off of at lease one med. Took him off Abilify. It has been about four weeks now. Pure hell honestly. Saying and doing things totally out of character.

      Insomnia, most worrisome, acting more like a five year old than 14. Wanting to run away, talk of worthlessness. And of course bizarre behavior at school now has him on the radar of administrators. In my city there are almost no psychiatrist that take his insurance. Have only had his MD to work with.

      From the looks of things here, it seems I am in for a long period of these withdrawal symptoms. I do not even sleep at night until I know he is asleep. Feel like I must keep an eye on him at all times. :(

      • Susie May 17, 2016, 3:36 am

        M R, sorry to hear your son was put on Abilify at age 14. My son (age 21) was first on it 2 years ago, quit cold turkey in January and agreed to start taking 5 mg again in March. They added Wellbutrin to the mix. Abilify never worked that great to begin with and caused LOTS of health issues. He did react very positively to the Wellbutrin but I feel the Abilify is making him wacky.

        Calling his doctor to get him eased off of it before his body gets more intoxicated. All doctors should have to provide a sample first. And don’t always take the first full dose/cut it in half unless Dr says it’s the minimum dose. If so, skip every other day for the first week. READ about all drugs before picking up the RX. I’ve wasted so much money throwing away bad drugs. Keep the faith.

    • Lisa August 4, 2016, 10:10 am

      Anxiety raises its ugly head in us when we allow all the biochemistry to hang out in our systems. The article recommends pushing yourself to hangout with people and to participate in healthy practices. Good food, sleep, exercise and stress management are tools we all need in life. I find when my heart feels like pressure on my chest, that if I get a good bout of exercise, push, it goes away. Then I get a good nights sleep as well. Try it, exercise is the best Rx out there 🙏🏻

    • Suzanne Lafreniere October 20, 2016, 2:32 pm

      Thank you for sharing. My last pill was on Aug 30th. I had tapered off for 5 weeks before that. So it’s been 7 weeks since I’ve been off. The withdrawals are kicking my butt! What gets me through is believing that it’s only temporary. Good luck and hang tough.

    • Shelley October 31, 2016, 4:10 pm

      You are not alone. I was only taking the Abilify for 8-10 weeks and I was told to taper off for a week… (big No no) and then start my new med. About two weeks after my last dose I was in the hospital – went 5 days without sleep before I could get help. I spent 7days in the hospital. Now it’s 5 months later and I have to take a small amount of Buspar every 3 hours or the intense anxiety starts up and makes participating in every day activities impossible.

      I shake and cry, my hands and feet start to tingle – it’s a complete nightmare and I’m afraid it will never stop. It helps to go to a support group 1-2 times a week, I see a counselor and I see a psychiatrist. Please give me hope that this will eventually end.

    • JC November 9, 2016, 1:44 pm

      My son is having these symptoms. No appetite, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, swelling of the feet. Doctors don’t care. They’re all about the money.

    • Laura November 30, 2016, 12:50 am

      I quit taking Abilify completely in April and I am still having issues with it. I am having problems with anger and anxiety. I should have never been on this medication. I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and actually I have ADHD. This was harder to get off than the seroquel and lamictal. I am only taking Vyvanse now. I have reduced it from 60 to 30 MG hope that helps me. That is all I take now.

  • Nanna June 4, 2014, 10:30 am

    I am shocked to hear that the highest dose of Abilify recommended here is 15 mg, since I was put on 30 mg by my psychiatrist. I was on Abilify for about year and a half, after switching from Seroquel due to weight gain. Little did I know that Abilify also leads to weight gain.

    During the last six months I have gradually reduced my intake by 5 mg until recently when I stopped completely. I’m experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but on a smaller scale. I have fought a battle to get out of this medication, and though I’m anxious, sweaty etc.

    I feel better than I have for years. I was very pleased to read that the withdrawal symptoms will eventually stop.

    • GLOOM June 6, 2014, 2:07 pm

      There was an error on the post that I corrected… It should have said 30 mg is the daily maximum. 15 mg is the standard dose for most people. And just an FYI, all antipsychotics lead to weight gain… some just happen to lead to more weight gain than others. Glad you are fighting the withdrawal and doing alright. If you don’t mind me asking, what are you on Abilify for?

  • Michael June 25, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Hey, I started taking abilify around 4th grade after being diagnosed bipolar around age 10. I was diagnosed ADHD around the standard age of 7 and settled on focalin xr, I took those two meds throughout middle school until around 9th grade where my good friend suggested I stop. He made it sound easy but being a freshmen in high school I didn’t know myself well enough yet :p
    So I stopped and had a rollercoster ride filled with hormones mania and depression, ended up in the hospital. I spent two weeks in a recovery center here in Georgia called Ridgeview.
    In what I was later told in the car ride home was a psychotic break.
    During my stay at Ridgeview I met people with many different conditions. I am grateful to have had the honor of meeting them. It was a humbling experience. Near the end of my stay, my dad suggested I go to military school. I acquiesced, having gone through a lot, and having put my poor father through do much. I didn’t have much choice, looking back I am grateful my dad sent me to CMA ( Camden military academy) for my next two years of high school.
    My experience at Cma had its ups and downs. I was bullied by somone I know fully forgive. I was part of an undefeated junior varsity team. (I think we lost our last game, it just do happens I wasn’t there tho!) :p
    During my 1st year I asked for permission from my dad to wean myself of of focalin and abilify. Everything went well for a couple of weeks until, during a stressful evening as sergeant of the guard, I experienced a ton of anxiety and had moments where I’m pretty sure my being (astral body, soul or what have you) left my body due to the extreme amount of stress I was experiencing unnecessarily. So Command Sergeant Major wilder, basically our retired army chaperon, put me back on the meds. I didn’t try to get off of abilify and focalin my junior year. I asked dad to go back to the school in my hometown so I could experience my senior year with the friends I have known for do long. He agreed.

    On January 28th I discontinued my meds (cold turkey). I remember experiencing most of the symptoms listed on this site. I had a great senior year at Grady high school though!

    I remember my manic episodes. I don’t recall the depressing times so much tho. One thing I recognize in myself throughout the events of my senior year and moreover the summer that followed was the extreme pride I felt. I was so arrogant! I believed I was archangel Michael and later Jesus Christ. What I realize now is that Jesus would be much more, so much more humble!

    I was restrained with handcuffs after going on a nonviolent rampage (yes there is such a thing I did it :p)
    A recurring counterintuitive thing that I have noticed is that when restrained I felt free. I have read the accounts of others saying similar things (namely one called AmIBipolororWakingUp). It was as if I felt secure and alright. Looking back, I think the sense of liberation came from a part of me knowing I couldn’t make a fool out of myself anymore :p
    So I was taken to a medical center for the 2nd time of my life. (Amc) where I continued to think the sky was falling and I was going to heaven. Damn you revelations! Why are you so confusing!?
    I was moved from there to another place, with much worse food. I was put on olanzapine and some other drug that goes with it. I was finally able to leave. They were finally sure I wasn’t harming anyone or myself with my crazy theories and fear of the devil. Returning home I went back on a much lower dose of abilify.
    But you know what? I learned SO much about myself. I met so many people with so many conditions, some worse of than others, many worse off than myself. Something more is that I got through it, just like the other two.

    Off of meds I know exactly who I can be. I can be anything, I can be anyone I choose to be. I experience music in a way I never experience on medication. I can perform a hundred fold better doing parkour. I am myself off of atypical psychotics and methamphetamines. I wouldn’t change a thing about my past history. I have learned too much from it. I know how to get through it now. Instead of being afraid and anxious of what might happen. I’m looking towards the future with a bright smile and positive attitude.

    I’m still alive, and I have learned SO MUCH about myself in the three times I have broke from reality. And I love myself all the better for doing so. This 4th time I know I have nothing to fear from stopping Abilify. I know that I will get through it.

    Some advice for anyone else withdrawing from these meds:
    View this as a challenge to overcome. Have fun with it, it works wonders when you view problems as games. I hope I’ve helped anyone reading this with whatever they may be struggling with. And I hope they have a great day.
    :)

    • Dom June 11, 2015, 2:54 am

      Inspiring.

      • Bonnie November 1, 2015, 6:09 pm

        Michael: Your message here should be in a pamphlet and passed to anyone who asks for it and mandatory reading for inpatients. Your insight and encouragement can and will save lives. I have been a Psychiatric RN for 35 years and have known sparkling, innovative, fiercesome, brilliant, hateful, depressed, truly remarkable patients who were inspirational to others, but never met one with your compassion and drive to not only improve yourself and your life but those of others too. I salute you and thank you…

    • Vickie February 19, 2016, 8:02 pm

      Michael, thank you for sharing your story. You are a good person with a kind heart. I wish I had been open to listening, but I was scared.

    • Chris March 20, 2016, 9:10 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. I also went through the Jesus Christ stage. Being locked up in a psych ward for 3 months was the scariest time of my life. I learned a lot about the importance of taking good care of your brain. A lot of stress can cause these episodes. I believe it can be prevented with the right therapy and positive environments.

      I’ve been on drugs for 6 years (medication) I quit abilify and lamotragine almost a month ago. I feel better about myself overall. I still have a few more months to get used to being off my meds. But I’m glad I did it. I write in a journal daily, lift weights, run, and see a therapist weekly, just to make sure he can catch something I wouldn’t be able to notice myself.

    • Alexia Hamilton March 26, 2016, 8:57 am

      Many thanks Michael and everyone else for your advice on coming off Ablify. I took myself off Abilify when I realized it is so bad for diabetics. Also whilst on the drug I could not get an interest in anything. It was awful, hours and hours of boredom just waiting for the time I could go to sleep for the night. Once the drug was cleared from my system, it was great, I was once again really into charity work and watching movies, even TV!

      A few weeks after I began having the same symptoms as if I had been back on Abilify. And sure enough yes, the pharmacy had been putting it in my docket box and I had been accidentally taking it for a month. So today I am coming off it again cold turkey. I hate the way it makes me feel like a “living death”. I am bi-polar and I was on 20mg per day. Hope all of you are doing well, it’s nice to be part of such a friendly helpful forum.

      • Mark November 4, 2016, 10:55 pm

        Alexia, My wife has similar symptoms to yours and just stopped taking Abilify a few days ago. How long did it take for you to regain your interests after stopping? She is so worried that she is “stuck” this way.

    • May September 15, 2016, 2:05 pm

      I too had a similar experience. Except I had severe PTSD, high functioning autism, panic disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety, anorexia and ADHD. A little known fact, is that a person’s neurology is actually NOT static. We are miseducated to think that our behaviors and predispositions are fixed or predetermined… It is absolutely possible to change almost anything about yourself with the right conditions.

      Michael’s approach of looking at it as a journey and a challenge to enjoy was also one I can deeply relate to. I held onto that outlook with both hands, I clung to it, as well as the fact that I knew in my heart that with a systematic approach, I could gradually rehabilitate my mind from the trauma it had endured. I used YouTube self hypnosis videos and a lot of reading material as well as journaling frequently, as I could not afford a therapist or cognitive behavioral therapy.

      I took this suffering as an opportunity to explore my humanity and my sense of self. Four and a half years ago, my central nervous system had started shutting down due to the PTSD and major depressive disorder. I was hospitalized for two months because my organs were shutting down. It took me five years, but I am thriving and nearly medication free. After much work, I withdrew from amitriptyline, Xanax, and zyprexa over the course of 45 days.

      I had weaned off of these drugs for a year prior. Whatever you choose, make it your religion, be consistent, and think of self insight, positive reframing, and cognitive behavioral therapy as physiotherapy rehabilitation for your brain. You can’t just snap out of it, it takes work patience, and most of all, gratefulness that you are alive. Find that gratitude and cling to it, fight for it. This journey took me 6 years.

    • JC November 9, 2016, 3:43 pm

      God bless you! Thank you for sharing.

  • Tia July 8, 2014, 3:59 pm

    I’m a 15 year old girl, I got prescribed Abilify for Anxiety and unspecified hallucinations. I didn’t need the medication, because I’m not psychotic, manic or depressed. After I started taking 5mg of Abilify Daily, my Anxiety has only gotten worse, I’ve gained weight and I can’t sleep. I’m going to taper off of it soon, no matter what the psychologists say. I’m constantly crying because I can’t stand how my body looks, and I’m so Anxious I can barely leave home. If I have to, I will go cold turkey but I hope not. Abilify is obviously not for me.

    • Seattle September 12, 2015, 8:34 pm

      Good idea to see a shrink…they are the experts (?) in med management, so are often aware of contraindications, new meds, kinds of meds, etc. Remember that YOU are the best barometer for what is working!

      • Kelley March 16, 2016, 2:14 am

        Referring to a psychologist or psychiatrist as shrinks is not helpful to anyone. It just adds more stigma to the diagnosis.

    • Susie May 17, 2016, 3:46 am

      Tia, how are you doing now? Did you taper off of Abilify? My son is about to get off of it. Tried it twice, it makes him crazy anxious and eat too much. His body is extremely tense. Hope you were able to find a better route. :)

  • Rubican July 13, 2014, 8:23 pm

    I’ve been withdrawing from Abilify for a couple of years now. For the past year I’ve only been taking 1mg a day. Seems like coming off that tiny dosage would be a cinch, right? Wrong! I’ve been alternating days on and days off and I’m getting increasingly depressed, crying a lot, losing interest in things, kind of hopeless. I’m on a ton of supplements and 7 different other meds. Really want to get off the Abilify but dont know if I can do it if this is going to last months. It has only been 7 days of slowly withdrawing and I’m feeling so crappy–muscle and joint aches, anxiety, acute depression, headaches, insomnia.

  • Kay July 15, 2014, 7:49 pm

    After taking abilify since it’s release in 2007 I stopped taking it about three weeks ago. I must say it was not a pleasant experience. I was fine for the first week and then the withdrawal symptoms set in. First, came a nagging headache, then sweats and chills, lethargy, nausea, loss of appetite and allover weakness. This lasted for 10 day until I finally made the connection and visited my doctor. After 3 days back on abilify all the symptoms have gone away. I would not recommend anyone stopping abilify cold turkey. It is not something I ever plan to do again.

    • GLOOM July 15, 2014, 8:24 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience Kay. Cold turkey can be extremely rough especially if you were on it since 2007… ouch. Definitely make sure that you taper very slowly if you plan on quitting. Glad to hear that the symptoms have gone away now that you are back on it. Best of luck!

    • Lisa August 4, 2016, 10:13 am

      Taper off this stuff!

  • concerned parent July 18, 2014, 1:49 pm

    My son was on it for four months to help stabilize moods. He has a diagnosis of ADHD only at this time. We weaned him off it carefully over the summer and for 5 weeks now he’s had horrible mood swings, depression, lack of interest in things he usually likes, lack of appetite, irritability, angry outbursts, violence and more. These are things that were never there before or definitely not this bad before he ever took abilify. I don’t know how long the withdrawal would have lasted because he went back on it yesterday so that it’s in his system before school starts.

    • GLOOM July 18, 2014, 3:44 pm

      I feel very bad for your son. Unless he has an additional diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, there is no way he should ever have been prescribed Abilify. This is not for your typical “mood swings” as a result of ADHD. Not sure if he was seeing a psychiatrist or general practitioner, but a psychiatrist should know better.

      This case almost borders on medical negligence… there is no evidence of Abilify being effective for ADHD. If all I had was ADHD, I would never consider taking an antipsychotic. Unfortunately most people don’t know better so they follow instructions given to them by their doctor… When they try to withdraw from the medication, an array of seemingly more severe psychiatric problems are temporarily created via the withdrawals.

      The withdrawal period can take an extended period of time based on his current dosing and time he has been on it. I would recommend taking a low dose, and gradually tapering off of the drug. Additionally I would likely see a new doctor, sounds as though the one you are seeing is using an antipsychotic drug for off-label purposes when there are much better, safer options. Wish you nothing but the best of luck with your son.

  • Heather Smith July 24, 2014, 3:10 am

    I think I’m losing my mind. F*ck you ability. Evil. I can’t stop screaming crying and lashing out. It’s pretty sad when your whole family already thinks ur cuckoo so you try and fix it..so you get put on . Then after gaining 70lbs I decided enough was enough. Haven’t had abilify in month still feel like I’m dying inside and nobody understands.

    • Seattle September 12, 2015, 8:29 pm

      We ALL understand! I was on 1mg for three days, 2mg for three – and I was already having heat rushes, disorientation, ravenous appetite, etc.! Doctor said to stop (no tapering) and I have felt like a junkie for the last week – headaches, night sweats, rashes, puffy face, hyperactivity! I was taking as an adjunct to Celexa…BAD IDEA!

    • Benji February 6, 2016, 10:22 am

      Heather – You are not alone. It does seem like nobody cares and nobody understands–that’s part of the withdrawal symptoms. Sorry about those – they will go away I hear – and sounds like we’re in the same boat! I wish you a recovery that takes everything into account.

    • Beatriz Zijlstra February 25, 2016, 11:26 pm

      I took Abilify for a year and gained 50 lbs, it happened gradually so I didn’t notice! I stopped cold turkey 2 weeks ago I couldn’t take it anymore. I took it to help with my depression and now it’s back in full force. I will NEVER go back to it but this withdrawal is madness. Thanks for sharing, your story really helped me.

  • casandra July 25, 2014, 12:53 pm

    hi my name is casandra
    I’ve been abruptly off my abilify for 4 days now and I’m experiencing major withdrawal and my Dr. Told me that abilify stays in your system for a few days so withdraws shouldn’t be happening this soon. Is that true our not?

    • GLOOM July 25, 2014, 2:27 pm

      Hi Casandra, quitting abruptly can cause significant withdrawal symptoms… Your doctor is correct about the drug staying in your system for a few days as the half-life is extremely long (75 hours), meaning it can take up to a full week (7 days) for the drug to clear your system.

      That being said, you can still experience withdrawal symptoms. Chances are you took this drug daily and now that you have stopped, the potency of it is slowly being reduced, thus you experience some of these symptoms. Always trust your own experience, rather than have someone tell you what you should be feeling or experiencing. Best of luck.

  • Jesse July 27, 2014, 7:47 pm

    About three months ago, I started taking the lowest dose (2mg) of Abilify as a supplement to my Bupropion (SR, 150mg twice daily.) After an uneventful month of taking the medication, with no major side effects but also no noticeable benefits, my doctor said he didn’t usually hear about getting results at such a low dose, so this was not unexpected. So we decided to increase to 5mg. About two months ago I started taking that.

    It was practically (If not) a disaster. At the higher dose the medication had a sedative effect that made me tired early in the day and made it very difficult to concentrate on certain tasks without feeling sleepy. Again I noticed no benefits. After a month of taking it I met with my doctor again and we agreed that it should be discontinued. I asked about tapering it off but he said at such a low dose that I didn’t need to bother, so I stopped taking it cold turkey the next day, a little over a month ago.

    The sleepiness eventually started to abate after I stopped taking it, and I thought all was well again at first. After having been off it for a little over a week I think I started to notice something was off, but it was fairy mild at first. Around the three week mark was when the real problems started.

    I suddenly had a harder time eating food (Especially my first meal, inexplicably later meals are not as difficult.) I’d noticed before that I hadn’t been eating as much food but I’d chalked it up to the summer heat coupled with a malfunctioning air conditioner.

    In addition, whereas I used to only experience depression when triggered by some understandable cause, now I’m depressed pretty much every day. Almost as soon as I wake up I feel very anxious, like I am having a minor panic attack (I was already on Alprazolam for that, so once I get up and take that it helps, but they’d been so infrequent that I’d been considering getting off of that medication for a while now.) And some days I even start crying; this has gotten more frequent as of late.

    It’s been a little over 5 weeks since I’ve stopped talking Abilify. I don’t feel like doing much of anything like this and had planned to just ride this out, but now I’m wondering just how long this is going to last. Another couple of weeks? A month? Two? Six? Years? Forever?

    • GLOOM July 30, 2014, 8:15 pm

      It’s pretty unfortunate that your doctor made you titrate upwards after you were getting benefit from the 2 mg dose… If it ain’t broken why fix it? Most doctors act as drones for pharma companies, going by the dosages that are recommended based on research.

      One thing I’ve learned is that you should always start low and work your way up, especially if you are med-sensitive and/or are taking other drugs. Unfortunately most doctors (and even most psychiatrists) don’t know that some people respond very well to low doses.

      Sounds like you’re having a rough time coping with the withdrawals. I can assure you that things will eventually recover and you will get better. It’s going to take some time and your brain will need to readjust, but you’ll eventually experience relief from your symptoms.

      Keep hangin in there, you’ll get better. Best wishes.

  • Laura July 30, 2014, 7:57 am

    I am a 47 yo woman. Bipolar II started after my hysterectomy in 2007. I was suicidally depressed for a couple of years with maybe 3 or 4 short hypomanic episodes. I went on Abilify in 2009 after trying many other meds with no good results. Abilify helped a lot, though I did gain 30lbs and my cholesterol and blood sugar have been creeping up.

    This year I started a new job and with it, a new health plan. The new health insurance company would not cover Abilfy because it’s too expensive. They simply cut me off. How can they be allowed to do that? My new psychiatrist started me on Lamictal in addition to the Zoloft I was already on.

    She gave me free samples of Abilify to help wean off. I went from 5mg to 2.5mg on June 24. Then stopped completely on July 26. Evening of July 28, I started crying. July 29, more crying, depression, and feeling physically off (don’t know how else to describe it). My first thought was that the Lamictal is not working.

    Now that I’m doing some online research, I see that I’m experiencing Abilify withdrawals. I sure hope it doesn’t get worse or last too long. I don’t want to become suicidal again. This sucks!

    • GLOOM July 30, 2014, 8:20 pm

      Sounds like you were rapidly taken off of this drug. Withdrawal needs to be conducted gradually to prevent severe symptoms. This is a very unfortunate situation. Transitioning to a different may medication may help ease some of these discontinuation effects, but this doesn’t always occur.

      It will likely take some time before you experience relief from the effects of withdrawal. Since everyone recovers at a different rate, there’s no telling when you will start to feel better. With enough time, you will rebound from the way you’re feeling.

      Good luck.

      • Laura August 7, 2014, 11:36 pm

        Update: Because of last week’s mood swings and side effects of Zoloft and Lamictal, my employer has put me on administrative leave until my psychiatrist assures them that am not crazy and should be allowed to go back to work. I am really pissed about this. I’m an excellent employee, I like my job, and I want to work, but they won’t let me. I met with my psychiatrist today. She admitted that she took me off Abilify too fast. So now I have to go back on Abilify until we get my other meds straightened out. Very mad right now!!!

      • Laira January 12, 2016, 6:24 pm

        Hi, thanks for your answers of encouragement. When can I expect to feel better? I was forced to be on ability against my will. That’s ‘Abilify’ as you know… I was on a very high dose for 3 years and tapered off but not before being put on other similar drugs. My side effects are overwhelming. No one understands me and it’s very frightening. The county did this to me, they took my children away, too. It doesn’t feel like I will ever be ‘normal’ again.

    • misty August 30, 2014, 7:48 pm

      laura,
      i am going through the exact same thing, for the same insurance reason. i have been off it for a little over a week now. I feel so off. did it get better for you?

    • Annie May 21, 2016, 12:35 am

      I’ve been reading these sites for ‘weaning off of psych meds for the last 2 months and your post has been the most compelling to me. I’m 56 and have been on a battery of meds throughout most of my adult life for Bipolar II disorder. I seem to have been the psychiatric experiment for many a psychiatrist so feel like I’ve been on every antidepressant and moods stabilizer ever made.

      To try and keep this brief, I began weaning off of Klonopin without too much difficulty about two years ago and have now been trying to cut down more. I had been on two SNRIs and weaned off of the last dose two months ago. I’m still on Lamictal, Abilify and Nuvigil. Prior to that my psychiatrist recommended that I take a genetic test that was supposed to define what meds might not be beneficial to me.

      The results, as she defined, revealed that I should be fine with just a mood stabilizer. Also, within my bipolar ‘career’, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a subsequent hysterectomy, and continued to suffer more afterward. At one point my hormone specialist had me on five estrogen patches including the five meds that I was on.

      I have a lot more that I could share but seeing that this post was done in 2014, I’ll wait to see if you’re still using the site. I hope to have a response.

  • trish collins August 1, 2014, 2:18 am

    My son at age 8 was started on abilify to help wean off of resperidal. Within months he was on 30 mg a day. 2 years ago and a change in drs, we weaned him from 30 mg to 10 mg. The mood swings were horrific. At that time I wasn’t aware of the physical symptoms of the withdraw and I guess he didn’t communicate it. He is now 12. The doc wants him totally off Abilify 10 mg and wants this done in 2 weeks. We also recently decreased his resperidal dose from .5 mg daily to .25 mg daily which is a very small dose. I am a wreck reading all the posts about the effects of weaning too quickly. 2 years ago it took me months to get him from 30 mg to 10 mg. My son has high functioning autism Adhd and bipolar mood disorder. He also takes Clonidine Kapvay Focalin XR and Lexapro. Any comments about the 2 week taper from 10 mg to being off totally? Thanks

    • GLOOM August 1, 2014, 6:38 pm

      Wow sounds like your son’s brain is going through a game of drug roulette. It may be a good idea to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the cocktail that he’s on as well as WHY he is on certain drugs. Although I am not a psychiatrist, this situation sounds like being overmedicated… with many drugs having opposite effects of others. The withdrawal may not be as extreme with the other meds he’s on… However, to be on the completely safe side, cutting dose by 10% each month is a decent rule of thumb. Best of luck and hope withdrawal is not to rough for him.

  • trish collins August 2, 2014, 3:46 am

    Thanks for your response. I did speak with his doctor this evening and he is allowing a longer time to wean the last 5 mg of abilify. Whew. I know this will be rough and I am so hoping he will be okay off the Abilify. Yes, I believe he has been over medicated. At age 18 months, he was put on Resperidal due to aggression and autism. He was not diagnosed with bipolar until a few years ago. So at age 7 he was on 3 mg of Resperidal a day. Today he is on .25 mg per day and now down to 5 mg of Abilify. So we shall hope and pray the aggression and rages do not become unmanageable. He has tried to take anticonvulsants in the past with no luck so wish us luck.

  • mary August 5, 2014, 7:11 pm

    30mg for three years. One, has stopped me getting pregnant. Two, impossible to stop hallucinating. I tried 10 different ones before it. Now worked. Sadly I’m better, but cant have a baby. I just stopped it, have before 4 months. Was fine until the panic attacked started. This is sad.

  • buffy August 15, 2014, 9:11 pm

    I have been on ability for 4 years. 15mg….I recently “tapered” off my medication. I have experienced severe joint pain and muscle stiffness. My withdrawals are severe. My hands and shoulders drawl up in cramps and my legs hurt to the bone. I have been off ability for 2 weeks now and everyday my body is feeling better.

    • BENJAMMIN September 12, 2015, 2:29 am

      Ditto on the 15 mg story. I’m experiencing withdrawal symptoms again as I write this. I’ve had it with Abilify after taking it for about five years. It is like a cloud is gradually closing in, clouding the mind. Minor hallucinations so far. Anxiety is paramount. Thank you for this site of support. I had to resort to Social Media a few days ago to get some moral support in this process. I’m doing this on my own with some support from my doctor.

  • Cassie August 24, 2014, 2:09 pm

    *NB: I am not a doctor. I am a patient on abilify who is repeating the instructions given me by my doctor regarding how to quit taking the medication.*

    Sorry in advance if this has already been said, though it probably bears repeating. Please don’t quit taking abilify “cold turkey.” Your side effects will be much less severe if you taper off the medication instead. All you have to do is go to a pharmacy and buy a pill cutter. Cut your pills into fourths, then into eights, even into sixteenths if you can manage it. Taper down your dose from your current strength to the next highest dose prescribed by your doctor, the next highest, until you’re down to 2.5mg or even 1mg.

    We all know abilify costs about a kidney per bottle, so if you’re quitting the meds without tapering off because you can’t afford to buy it anymore, please try to anticipate whether or not you’ll be quitting the medication wile you’ve still got your current prescription. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or someone at the abilify assist program customer service line to discuss your concern about possible severe withdrawal if you’re unable to obtain the medication for at least the time period required to taper off and quit taking it.

    Thanks, and good luck!

    • Patricia September 30, 2014, 8:38 pm

      My son was put on Abilify 10 mg and Ciprolex 10 mg after a first episode psychosis. He has been on these drugs for 2 years and he now wants to go off Abilify. His psychiatrist does not agree to this and will not give a prescription for lower doses to taper off. I am very tempted to try tapering off ourselves by using Kerrie’s suggestion of buying a pill cutter and cutting the pill into fractions. Hope it works at the same time anxious about the withdrawal effects. Will let keep posted on his progress.

  • Stacey August 26, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Abilify seemed to be a miracle drug combined with my Celexa until I started gaining the weight. I hit over 50 pounds in 10 months and finally had enough. I was more depressed looking in the mirror and not wanting to work out to lose it. The psychiatric distress from the weight gain was more emotionally damaging than what I had ever felt. The cravings were ridiculous no matter how much I tried NOT to eat, it didn’t matter. The pounds just packed on. Try something else people!

    • Stacey August 26, 2014, 4:17 pm

      I’ve quit Abilify cold turkey 2 weeks ago after gaining 50 lbs in 10 months. I’ve had enough. Even though the drug worked for my depression, combined with my Celexa , the depression that then took over after I had to look at myself in the mirror every day, was too much for me to handle. Not being able to fit into ANYTHING & having to buy all new clothes was ridiculous.

      My boyfriend wants me to go outdoors looking like this???? You’ve got to be kidding me. He didn’t understand. Nobody did. The psychological damage that this weight gain is causing me is devastating & I’m not one to be hung up on myself like this, but I’ve gone from size a 8 to a size 16 in less than a year & it’s absolutely embarrassing, as I used to be a size 3 before all of these drugs that I am on now.

      Trazadone, Zanax (for 14 years now & has never made me gain weight), Topamax… The dizzy spells & the headaches can stop any time they want to because of this drug & going cold turkey. I have an appt. with my Primary in a week who prescribed me the Abilify but discontinued it after she told me to see a shrink. We’ll see how I feel then. Try something different guys.

  • Jool August 28, 2014, 10:49 pm

    I’ve been on Abilify for about 3 years. I am on the lightest dose, 2.5. My psych doc has tried 3 times to get me off of the Abilify, but at about day 10 after stopping the medication, I get the worst anxiety I have ever felt. In addition to the anxiety, I am dizzy to the point of not wanting to stand up for fear of passing out. The headache, nausea, you name it, I have it. It seems to me that my psych doesn’t believe that taking such a small dose would have that much effect on me getting off the drug.

    This last time, about 3 weeks ago, she prescribed Lexapro and told me to quit the Abilify after a week on the Lexapro. I decided to taper off the Abilify, and took it every-other day for a week. It is now day 7 and those symptoms are creeping back in. The anxiety, dizziness and headache are all there. Problem is, I want to get off the Abilify, but I’m thinking not right now.

    You see, I was just diagnosed with a spine tumor, and I am having major surgery to remove it on September 18. I am anxious enough over this surgery, I don’t think I can handle the extra burden of going off the Abilify. I’m going to put myself back on it, I meet with Psych next Tuesday and will fill her in as well. I’ll stop the Lexapro, slowly…. What an evil drug that Abilify is!!!

    • Juli December 22, 2014, 7:10 pm

      Update on my Abilify horror show. I finally got off the devils drug about 3 months ago. I tapered and tapered until I was down to a quarter of a .5 pill every other day. It went pretty well, finally. However, in the last month, I have developed Tardive Dyskinesia. I can’t stop moving my tongue, my jaw is so sore from moving it side to side and my bite in my mouth is now all out of whack from grinding my teeth side to side. I cannot stop! I can stop it for a few minutes if I really think hard about it. The minute my mind is on something else, it starts again. I’m finding it hard to speak now, and I’m wondering if I’ll loose my ability to talk!? From the research I’ve done, this can be a permanent situation. I’m angry and scared. What can I do now?

      • David September 23, 2015, 12:29 am

        It’s been several months since your post Juli, but I’m so sorry. I’m a psychiatric survivor myself and tapered off about 4 mg over about 4 months about 3 months ago. I still have Akathisia I think based on my own research, but the shrinks in my local are all med oriented, and are fraudulent witch doctors in my informed estimation. I was on this drug for about 10 years, and prior to that Zyprexa for about 10 and Novane for about 5, Haldol for less than a year.

        I’m in my mid-fifties, so since making the unfortunate decision to sign into the local hell hole nut house, my future remains questionable. Although Gloom states that the side effects eventually go away, I’m afraid I may have developed Tardive Akathisia, which includes mental restlessness (mania?), and insomnia. What do you say Gloom? Any more informed advice to share?

        • Cathie September 29, 2015, 1:22 pm

          Hi David, I don’t think I have advice but want to let you know I’m on the same road. I have been on Abilify for 8 years. 5 years ago my Psychiatrist said to stop taking it, I was delighted! , because of the side effects I was having. Four days after stopping, I developed Tadive Dyskinesia big time. I could not control the movements of my mouth, the exaggerated constant sucking and pursing of my lips was actually painful!

          The doctor told me I had two choices. I could wait it out in that case the symptoms would probably be gone in two weeks, or it could become permanent in which case I had the choice of going back on it. I went back on it and almost all of it went away. That should have been a sign that the Abilify was only masking it. This summer I had two brain surgeries, unrelated to Abilify. I have had difficulty getting over them.

          The Surgeon is really surprised because at this point all his patients in the past have been fully recovered. I was sleeping almost all day. I would get up for 1/2 an hour and need to go back to sleep. So my Psychiatrist reviewed my meds. She reduced the Abilify. I have intense muscle weakness and sweating, which she has reassured me will go away. The Tardive Dyskenesia has returned but not nearly as severe as before and if it doesn’t get any worse I can live with it. Toe wiggling, and very mild sucking.

          I am scheduled to go off the rest of Abilify next Tuesday. I will let you know how it goes. I have also done a lot of stints in the psych ward over the last 14 years I think 7. No fun. But I have discovered a new tool! MEDITATION. It really needs to be taught to you by a professional. My Psychiatrist taught me self hypnosis and also gave me a body scan (another very affirming deep relaxation, confidence building exercises) these have greatly reduced my anxiety! I know it sounds wacky but it another tool besides medication to help you stay positive and calm. I wish you the very best. There is always hope.

      • Deena October 25, 2015, 8:39 pm

        Have any of your symptoms resolved? I’m in the same hell as you…

  • Jamie Richards August 29, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Hello everyone. First off, this site has been a wonderful find for me. It’s so encouraging just to read that other people are experiencing similar problems with Abilify. I too am addicted to Abilify. I’m on 10 MG. But I’ve slowly weened myself down to 5 MG. I’m experiencing a lot of the withdrawal symptoms: irritable, anxiety (especially at work), headaches, muscle aching and sweats.

    I also gained almost 30 lbs in 2 years. I just started excercising again, very excited about that. I’m also considering going to this naturalist approach to bipolar treatment. The doctor is Mary Ann Block. It’s all about nutrition, and giving your body what it needs. I’m really excited about it. If anybody reads this and has heard of her, please reply to this and let me know your results and your journey. Again, I’m so thankful for a community like this. Very grateful.

    • Karrie September 17, 2014, 12:09 pm

      For Jamie Richards, I have been off Abilify and Zoloft for 2 weeks now and am taking a natural approach to be off them and am taking 5 HTP with greater success than I thought. I haven’t had too much withdraw, some night sweats and headache at first but that has subsided, and a multivitamin and B complex. Worth some research for you if you want to change from Abilify to natural meds

      • D. September 26, 2014, 1:25 pm

        Hello Karrie,

        Would love to hear how you are doing now. My son has been off abilify for 3 weeks now. He is also taking 5-htp, as well as folic acid with b-12, GABA and fish oil. He is sleeping a great deal, but in good moods when awake.

        • michelle March 26, 2015, 9:14 pm

          I just recently stopped taking abilify cold turkey. I have gained about 40 lbs. I now feel like I am dying a slow death. I am not depressed or anything but I am so sick to my stomach. I can’t eat anything but saltine crackers.

  • Fiddle O'Roof August 30, 2014, 12:50 am

    Just the facts of my 3.4 year use of Abilify: I had a history of mood disorder (intermediate) and alcohol/chem dependency (periodic). Until early middle age I had only a few attempts at meds. Brief with no registered results. I had a couple horrible runs abusing amphetamine by 2006, each a year’s length separately. Next, upon a renewed attempt to remain abstinent I was suggested Abilify- for bipolar treatment. That worked we’ll for calming/stabilizing mood. Left me “flat” with almost no humor, never felt much depression if any.

    Seemed quite nice. Afforded me a chance to see my former self in contrast to my brand-new self. (That was priceless.) But there was concurrent costs. I slept a lot. Most nights 10 hours. Weekend nights 12-13 hours. I was easily able to fall asleep. So reading meant sleeping after just a page or two. No reading books. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings I’d fall asleep. Movies – fall asleep. TV shows couldn’t be finished – most times asleep. Sexual drive basically zero. But I was serene – 99.99% peaceful. Next, two years and five months later my county mental health center supplied Abilify was abruptly stopped.

    The county was broke. I chose not to pay $550 a month to sustain the 12.5mg daily dose myself. I finished my supply in nine days. That was July 8 – 2008. Then, first week in September (about 7 or eight weeks out) I went to hell. Massive anxiety attacks! Massive racing thoughts!! Almost to the extent that I considered leaving work daily for first couple months. I couldn’t believe others weren’t noticing. Yet day in and day out I walked through this absolute hell. Mornings were fine. By noon I was escalating sharply. By 2pm peaking. Lessening, yet still bad, in the evening.

    At night, when alone the anxiety/racing was all gone. I fell asleep fine. Probably since exhausted mostly. And the funny thing is that this daily cycling had correlation to the daily hours specified above, and to my being engaged with other people. For instance, when I left work I’d calm precipitously, until I was later at an engagement like my 8pm AA meetings. Then I’d race up again, dramatically! Back down after the meeting was over and I was alone. All in all, this is now been a five year period where I’ve gotten a little better without medicine.

    First two years I couldn’t tell, I only hoped. Third year there was about a 20% reduction in the daily-anxiety-freak-outs. Fourth year was down to about 60% from where it started. But now, year five’s over. I still race up (almost always when engaged among people) and basically always, when alone fine. I have never been depressed since Abilify. My story since Abilify is all up, anxious, manic. Never prior to Abilify was I like this. For more than forty years my struggles were house cat sized.

    Since the end of my 2.4 years of Abilify my struggles have variously been LION sized. I’m convinced my chemistry was “broken” by Abilify. I now doubt that I may ever return to pre-Abilfy health level. That’s my sense of it all. And I have now, certainly, no interest in ever using Abilify again. My functionality is just okay. My friends all wonder what happened. I’m on disability fearing maybe having to once again engage with gainful employment = people. I blame my loss of employability to Abilify regardless of any preexistent organic problem I may once have had. I’m now wishing I could have those former problems back, at least.

  • wanda August 30, 2014, 6:25 pm

    hello.

    I was on Abilify and Effexor for about 5 or more years. I felt much better on them at first but had extreme akathisia for the first few months to a year after I began taking these meds. I didn’t mind the akathisia too much though because I felt better. I did however begin using alcohol around the same time I started this med combo, and ended up becoming an alcoholic.

    About 2 years ago my insurance switched me from real Effexor to the generic brand. At that point i started having Effexor withdrawals sometimes even during the days I was taking the med consistently.

    I have been trying to quit the drinking here and there pretty much ever since I started the drinking. I have suspected that the med combo Abilify and Effexor was the main cause for my drinking long ago.

    So about 3-4 months ago, i decided it was time to get off of these drugs and see if I could finally quit drinking. I thought maybe the meds were hyping me up too much. I didn’t have a pdoc at the time because I was drinking too much every day to be able to get up early enough in the morning to sign up with a new mental health facility. So i tried to gradually taper off the meds myself. But I don’t think I did it right because I basically just started taking the meds less often, giving more and more days in between taking the meds each time.

    For the first couple of weeks after being completely off of each med, I felt pretty much ok. I even started drinking less often. But somewhere between then and now I started getting really bad symptoms. I began going through boughs of major depression with suicide ideation, and some of the scariest delusions I have ever had every couple of days or so.

    I am still going through this and the symptoms haven’t subsided at all. It has been more then 2 months since my last time taking either med.

    So on Tues. the 2nd, I am gong to make myself wake up early enough to sign up for my nearest mental health facility.. I don’t know what they are going to suggest that I do, but I do NOT want to go back on either med because I have still been managing to drink a lot less frequently ever since I quit them.

    Wish me a LOT of luck with this because I know I will NEED it!

    Thank you for reading! <3

  • Sabrina September 4, 2014, 9:01 pm

    Has anyone stopped taking Abilify 5mg daily after like three or four months? I’m thinking of stopping “cold turkey” and just wanna know what I’m in for. If its gonna be bad or not.

    • T September 6, 2014, 12:16 pm

      I was on 5 mg for 4 weeks then up to 20 for almost 2. I started tapering for 4 days and then quit. My withdrawal has been horrible. I have lethargy, restless legs, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and jittery mostly in mt hands and legs. My doctor is out of town so I have been at it alone and wondering if I start back at the tapering. Has anyone else had this from such short amount of time?

      • Jim G October 25, 2015, 3:14 am

        I cold turkeyed 5 mg but took it longer than you. Took me two tries, the 2nd was easy but now I am in the sleepy phase – it will pass.

    • tina September 10, 2014, 12:48 pm

      I do NOT recommend going off cold turkey! 6 days ago i stopped taking Abilify after taking a high dose for a long period of time. I feel worse today than yesterday…it doesn’t feel like its going away. Please taper yourself off!

    • Leah July 28, 2015, 5:30 pm

      Hi, Michelle. I am having an experience similar to yours. Wanting to go off of Abilify, my Dr. suggested I cut my 10 mg tablets in half and take for three days, then stop. What a train wreck that has been! I was OK for 3 days, then began experiencing the worst nausea of my life. After 3 weeks of living on crackers and Sprite (mostly in bed), I finally added back 2.5 mg. That’s been about three weeks and I am finally feeling better. My plan is to stay on 2.5 for another month, then go to 2 mg for a month, then 1.5 mg for a month, and so on until I am completely off of it. This is truly an evil drug!

  • Kristen Mcgill September 6, 2014, 10:30 pm

    I have been on 15-30 mg of abilify since it came out in 2007. My psychiatrist took me straight off it because I started in the last 2 months developing facial ticks very badly. He put me straight on Latdua (which I am not too sure about). He asked I go straight to the highest dose which I choose to not do. I want off all meds I have been on for the past 10 years.

    I have gained over the course of 10 years, 90 lbs and developed diabetes from these meds. I am pretty sure I am not bipolar either. I was 22 when I was diagnosed and I think that my brain was still developing and they were bipolar happy dr’s. But back to the withdrawal of Abilify. I have the shakes very badly in the last week. I have been off Abilify for 3-4 weeks now and my hands are shaking badly and I am so moody. I snap at everyone right now.

    I am extra sensitive. I am live in Texas and it is hot but I feel like I am in an inferno inside my body. I can’t stop sweating. I have a loss of appetite but still gaining tons of weight. I take trazodone to sleep at night and melatonin and I’m going to bed 3 hours later than usual and not sleeping well. I hate abilify.

    Thanks for Listening

  • April September 10, 2014, 3:08 pm

    I’ve been taking Abilify for over a year now, 2.5mg along with 50mg of pristiq. For whatever reasons my mental health provider has not refilled my medication so I’ve been off the abilify for 4 days now. Since I’ve started feeling a little off, been sweaty, diarrhea and easy to cry I did some reasearch. I am horrified to find out a lot of the problems I’ve been having the last several months are likely due to the medication! 50 pound weight gain, high cholesterol and now high A1C! I will not be going back on this medication and am really hoping the side effects don’t get too much worse. Thank you for this site, I will never again go on a new medication without doing my own research first!!

  • Jessica September 12, 2014, 5:24 pm

    I am a 21 year old girl suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, and supposedly borderline personality disorder. I started taking abilify after getting out of the hospital for suicidal tendencies in December of 2013. I have been on it since.

    Abilify made me feel like I had no personality. I completely lost myself, and my interest in anything. I had been telling my doctor this for quite sometime, eventually he knocked me down to 5mg from 15mg which was an unnecessary dose in the first place seeing that the 5mg worked just fine.

    The fact that I had no personality, couldn’t hold conversation, was interested in nothing, and was just bored to death with my emotions seemed like it wasn’t worth it to be on abilify. However, my doctor still wouldn’t change my meds.

    About a week ago I ran out of my script, and couldn’t get a hold of my doctor so I decided to take it as a sign. I stopped taking abilify cold turkey. I was fine for about a week, but for the past few days the only thing I can do is cry. I can’t control the crying or the horrible feeling on the inside. I had my first suicidal thought since being out of the hospital, and self harmed for the first time in about a year.

    F*ck this medication, it does more bad than good if you ever plan on not taking it. As for me, I am going to make it through this withdrawal period, but this is WAY worse than the withdrawal I went through stopping klonopin cold turkey after taking 2mg everyday for 3 years. Fucking ridiculous.

  • Cindy September 13, 2014, 4:56 pm

    I stopped taking 5 mg and went down to 2.5 mg for 2 days on abilify before my Dr decided to pull me In to the psych ward for 3 days and take me off cold turkey. I was only on abilify for about 3 weeks. It’s been 7 days I have been off it does anyone know if only being on abilify for this short period will be easier and faster to manage symptoms from experience? My Dr told me there would be no withdrawal from it and well he was wrong. I have had what I would call a tension headache on and off … I did have upset tummy a day or 2 but I’m back to being hungry and eating and sleeping well though my anxiety is there it’s manageable without my Xanax unlike the first few days. Just a general yucky feeling I would call it… I wish he had never put me on this drug in the first place.

  • confindential September 15, 2014, 10:08 pm

    I have been tapering from 15 mg and am going much slower than I did in the beginning. People on here need to realize that 2.5mg is not the lowest dose. To taper correctly you have to get it in liquid form and taper to 0.1mg

    I went from 15mg to 7.5mg to 5mg to 2.5mg to 2.0mg to 1.66mg. And I noticed the difference even from 2.5mg to 2.0mg and I stayed at each one for 4 weeks!
    Your psychiatrist can write a prescription to get the pill from a compounding pharmacy to do the correct dosages most compounding pharmacies accept insurance too.

    My taper schedule is every 4 weeks of 2.5mg then, 2.0mg, then 1.66mg then 1.33mg, then 1.0mg, then 0.66mg then 0.4mg then 0.25mg and finally 0.1mg. But this may need to be adjusted depending on how I feel. My goal is to be off in 6 months if I feel it works.

    Will Hall’s harm reduction guide is a good source of information for tapering off.

    • Jen May 16, 2016, 5:40 pm

      Although this was posted a long time ago, thank you for this information. I was told that 2.5 mg was the “smallest dose” and that I could “quit cold turkey”. I can’t afford it now that I am no longer on Bristol-Meyer Squibb’s patient assistance program (as it is now generic), and the “generic” price is “Sky High”, to those of us with no prescription coverage.

      I am in MAJOR withdrawal mode right now…and did NOT think it was possible “at the lowest possible dose”. I am going to see if my PDoc can prescribe just a “few” tablets, so that I can break them up smaller and smaller, simply to ease the withdrawal. I still don’t know if even a few tablets will be affordable, but am willing to try ANYTHING to stop this madness!

  • Philippa September 21, 2014, 8:52 pm

    Hi I’m recently coming off arpipazole my dose is 30mg daily I suffer from several mental health problems this past week has been hell with the withdrawal I see about 2 hours off the day rest off the time I’m sleeping or being sick I go from on extreme to another with the sweats. I’ve lost all interest in food in anything there’s no concreation I was advised to go cold turkey by the consultant as I’m changing to halapodol I’ve been like this for 3 weeks now I first started arpipazole in 2009. Any help that anyone can recommend would be wonderful. I want to be doing the same things as other 24 year olds not hide and be scared shake sweat being sick and so on.

  • timothy October 17, 2014, 3:04 am

    Hi, I just wanted everyone to understand that Abilify is Not a drug to be taken lightly! It is a partial dopamine agonist, unlike most other antidepressants that mainly target serotonin and can actually lower dopamine production. This is why Abilify is used as an add on drug to SSRI antidepressants. I have been diagnosed as bipolar and ADHD, which is strongly believed to be caused by an imbalance of the dopamine system.

    My doctor suggested I take Abilify as a mood stabilizer instead of lithium. The problem was, he also had me on 80 mg a day of Adderall for ADHD which drastically increases dopamine production. The adderall seemed to help EVERYTHING! energy, chronic back pain, social anxiety, concentration, focus etc. After I began taking 10 mg of Abilify I started to feel very “off” sweaty, dizzy, numb, constant toe tapping and anxiety beyond words! Long story short..after only 2 weeks, I was found delirious in the back of a van in a warehouse parking lot in 100 degree sun, shaking in the fetal position and rambling on about wanting to die.

    I have a dream like memory of how I got there, but can’t put it all together. I was rushed to the e.r. and treated for extreme dehydration and exhaustion. Then put on suicide watch in the psych ward for 2 weeks after I had the panic attack of the century! I was taken off of everything and slowly started back on my ADHD meds. Plus lithium as a mood stabilizer. Withdrawal was horrible but NOTHING compared to what Abilify did to my brain! I am now completely stable and feel fine. And the ONLY change made was to stop Abilify.

    PLEASE do your research before considering this med! And don’t mix amphetamines with any med that works on dopamine as well! My doctor literally put me into a dopamine induced psychosis! Has anyone else on ADHD meds ever experienced a blackout like the one I went through? I can’t find anyone who can help me understand what may have happened?? Thanks for reading ;-)

    • Janet Whitten February 20, 2015, 11:52 pm

      Hello, I have ADHD and Bipolar and have been taking Adderall 60 mgs. and abilify 7 mgs. for many years now along wit celexa 40mgs, topamax 200mgs. You did jog my memory however with your story. One day I was driving and everything started going upside down in front of me and I couldn’t tell where I was. I quickly pulled over. It took a few minutes to pull myself back to reality. I was dehydrated. Bingo! These kinds of meds have to have lots of water to function properly in our bodies.

      I hadn’t had but 1 cup of coffee all day and it was late evening. My doctor figured it out. Hope this gives you some food for thought. And I am now going cold turkey off my abilify not because I want to but on 2 Fridays ago my pschiatrists nurse said no more samples. And I cannot afford 4 hundred dollars a month for my prescription. I am having anxiety and nausea like crazy. Wish me luck. God bless!

  • Tania October 18, 2014, 3:29 am

    I’m on day 4 of no Abilify. I was taking 5mg a day for bipolar disorder (as a mood stabilizer) but I don’t feel there have been any significant benefits from taking it. My psych suggested I come off it as I’ve also gained A LOT of weight (I’m not a small person to begin with) which does not help as I have chronic back pain as well. I am feeling fine right now except for getting headaches at around 1pm every day since I stopped taking Abilify. They are nothing major so I am not concerned at this point.

    Some of the comments here have me worried that this is the calm before the storm though. I will report back in a few days with any changes in the way I feel. Fingers crossed I’m lucky enough to get off this drug without too many problems though. I’ve had Efexor withdrawals before and that was so bad I wanted to kill myself, so I don’t want to go through that again. Wondering if there is a support group on Facebook or something. Having someone to hold my hand might be a good thing if this does get worse.

  • Sue October 20, 2014, 10:28 pm

    I hope someone can offer some advise. Over the last 4 months my son’s psych has been tapering him off abilify from 20 mg to 2 to 0. He’s bipolar, age 33. About 2 weeks ago (about 3 weeks after he ended abilify) he started experiencing many of the symptoms on your list – crying, anxiety, poor appetite, sweating, mood swings, irritability, confusion. He spoke to the psychiatrist who said having these symptoms 3 weeks later doesn’t make sense.

    His therapist said he should go to the psych ER, but my son is afraid that when the Dr. sees his twitching and shaking he’ll force my son to be admitted to the psych unit. It may appear to be a psych problem but I don’t think that’s what it is. Her nurse friend of mine thinks it may be a side effect from either Lipitor or Lamictal. He’s going to the dr tomorrow. Hopefully he can get to the bottom of this. Does anyone have any other advice. Please?

    • vince December 8, 2014, 5:36 pm

      What they don’t tell you is that once you get on the drugs, you can’t get off and it will probably kill you. The people who get other people on these drugs are criminals, plain and simple.

  • Kristine November 1, 2014, 2:57 am

    My doctor took me off Abilify after only a couple of months. It was a small dose, but still, it was cold turkey. I actually felt fine for a week; then three weeks ago, it kicked in full force. I don’t think I’ve gone five minutes without crying since, I’m so depressed, I feel like it’s the end of the world, I’m scared to leave my apartment and I keep struggling with suicidal thoughts. The only occasional relief is reading or TV, or praying, but nothing seems to help for very long. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy! If my mother wasn’t here for me, I don’t know what I would do. I see my doctor on Mon. I hope he can figure out something.

  • Brandi November 7, 2014, 2:45 am

    Hi – I was put on lexapro 2 1/2 years ago for anxiety and have never been the same. After a horrible reaction and 2 psychiatric hospital stays I was diagnosed with atypical bipolar (atypical is for when they have no idea what is wrong with you) and put on lamictal and abilify. I have always hated abilify, but it did help my excessive crying. I am going to be cut off of my insurance soon and will have to stop the abilify. Is there ANYONE out there that has gotten off of abilify without horrific side effects? Will it be any easier since I am on a low dose? I am extremely medication sensitive and I am pretty worried. I just want to know if there is one good story out there?

    • Tina August 28, 2016, 3:48 am

      I’m sensitive also and am living in hell right now. I highly recommend what I keep hearing about… Wean at 10% a month at a time… Best wishes!

  • MN November 10, 2014, 11:58 pm

    I’m 52 and have been severely depressed the last few years. I’ve been on aripiprazole for approximately 18 months, with dosages as high as 10 mg/day but have been tapering off for a couple of months, down to 2.5 mg/day. I wanted to quit because I didn’t seem to get much relief from depression from it, and it seemed to seriously affect my libido, interfering with my relationship with my wife.

    I took my last 2.5 mg on Oct 20. I had no problems for about 10 days, but then was slammed with intense anxiety. I’ve never experienced any anxiety like that before. Couldn’t concentrate, afraid to go outside, worthless at work, sleepless nights, constantly in the grip of horrifying dread. It was especially bad in the mornings. After about a week of this, with no subsiding of the anxiety at all, and starting to drink nightly to combat the anxiety, I caved and started back in again with 2.5 mg daily doses.

    I didn’t feel any different, maybe even worse, for two days, but today, the third day since starting up again, I feel fine. Finally! I feel like a weakling for giving in, but was so pathetic, cowering in fear all the time, that I had to do something. I still want to get off the drugs, but will try a real gradual multi-step tapering next time. Whew, what a nasty ride.

  • Tania November 27, 2014, 2:56 am

    So it’s some time later and I’m experiencing extreme depression, lethargy, and a number of other symptoms that may or may not be related to Abilify. Both my gp and psych are away and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be admitted but I need help.

    • Cathy December 1, 2014, 4:31 am

      Can you go to a walk in clinic? Sounds like you may need some help? Going to the ER may be the best idea, especially if you are extremely depressed.

  • Cathy December 1, 2014, 4:30 am

    I have been off Abilify for about one week. I am still experiencing anxiety, concentration problems, fidgeting and some insomnia. It is better than it was when I was still on the drug, but having been off of it for one week now I was hoping the withdrawl/side effects would have completely subsided by now. I am hoping these “side effects” or “withdrawl symptoms” will disappear completely given a few more days. I’ve had to take time off work, with no pay, because I cannot concentrate at all at work. And my last shift I left with a panic attack. It’s helpful to read other peoples experience with this medication but also sad to know so many people are experiencing these horrible effects.

  • Mary December 7, 2014, 3:33 pm

    Was on Abilify for 4 months (20mg then 10mg), and before that Procyclidine which I had strong sfx from after a depressive psychotic episode. Sfx of weight gain, issues with TOTM and generally not feeling I needed to be on the medication anymore meant I tapered off by myself. I did 4 weeks at 5 mg and felt no changes, then did 2 weeks at 2.5 mg then a week at every second day of 2.5 mg and I’ve been off the med completely for 8 days! So far I’ve had very few sfx. I get what I describe as brain shivers if I move too quickly, or move my eyes too. I’ve had these symptoms going off ADs before so I know they’ll pass. My sleep is up and down but that may have nothing to do with this med. I’ll update more in a few weeks.

  • vince December 8, 2014, 5:33 pm

    I been on abilify for one year after an asshole in my family sent me in the psychiatric ER. There they forced me to take abilify so I could get out. After reading about the atrocious secondary effects and feeling dumbed down, sleepy all the time, I decided to stop. I tapered from 5 to 2 to 1 then to nothing, and approximately after 1 week and an half, once all the chemicals were out of my system, I simply had all the secondary effects listed above and by everyone in this thread. Scared I got back on 2 mg a day.

    I still plan to stop later, but I want to say one thing; everyone who gets you, or force you to get on this crap, is a criminal. Psychiatrists, psychologists, anyone. They are toying with you. I am even more disgusted by PARENTS who put their poor kids on this crap. How dare you do that to the not completely developed brain of your child. Most of the time parents are the only responsible for their kids problems, and to shut them up chemically lobotomize them with the help of authentically crazy shrinks.

    No wonder people are depressed in this day and age, just look at what people are capable of to make money or force their kids to shut up and don’t talk about the bad physical and /or psychological treatments they get from their so called “caregivers”. Fact is humans are animals who prey on each others. These drugs get you addicted so you keep paying to feel alive. It replaces the normal functioning of your brain, what an atrocious torture. And psychiatrists get paid to promote these powerful and destructive drugs.

    Once you’re hooked, you can’t stop, and you re going to have nasty side effects if you take them, or if you stop them. I sincerely hope I wont off myself and will be able to completely stop that nasty invention of man I’ve been forcibly administered. These drugs, are the proof man is a monster.

  • Hopeful722 January 1, 2015, 9:13 pm

    I am commenting on behalf of what I’m seeing from my Fiance and his use of Abilify. He started taking it 2 mos ago. Started at 5 mg and then when up to 10mg two weeks later. He went back down to 5mg after about 3 weeks because he was noticing he didn’t have his libido. It was totally gone. Not only that but the feeling wasn’t really there either.

    So he quit cold turkey 8 days ago. Since he’s stopped taking it, his libido has not came back, but only gotten worse. He’s very confused and shaky a lot. He cannot stay still. His jaw is moving a lot and has to be constantly shaking his leg or something. He was VERY tired on the medication and also gained 30 lbs in 2 mos. (Abilify wasn’t ‘supposed’ to cause weight gain).

    Since getting off the meds he can tell a decrease in appetite, compared to how hungry he was on the meds. He is still tired but now more bored and lethargic. Hoping things get better for him…but from what we’ve read, looks like starting day 10, things are going to get worse. He was taking it for borderline personality disorder. This medicine has only made things worse. Wish he never started taking it.

    • Joe January 6, 2015, 7:13 am

      Take heart Abilify/ Aripiprazole is long acting it will take up to 2 months to be out of his system its very early days. But I would get his physical symptoms checked by a doctor. It may be that the doctor wants him back on 5mg to reduce the shock to his system that the cold turkey has produced if this is the case please consider it carefully before you dismiss the idea. I hope that your boyfriend recovers soon. I too am withdrawing which is why I’m on this site but I’m tapering 5mg every 2 months it will take a while but will be worth it.

  • Joe January 6, 2015, 7:03 am

    I am currently withdrawing from Aripiprazole and would like to say that this drug is not out of your system in a few days. The half life of Aripiprazole can be up to 1 week therefore it can still be active for up to 1 week it is definitely not out of your system in a few days. Anyone tapering like I am should be aware of this and also be aware that going “cold turkey” from this drug can be dangerous. If you are tapering due to the long half life the normal tapering rules of reducing the dose every month do not apply. My advice would be tapper every 2 months rather than every month. This is the tapering advice I have had from my doctor. These are heavy drugs and Aripiprazole is long acting please tapper off safely.

  • Jo January 7, 2015, 9:23 am

    Hi. I’m trying to get off abilify. At my highest dose I was on 40mg a day. By the time I had been on it for 2 years each time my doc tried to reduce me lower than 25mg I had psychotic symptoms emerge. My current doctor increased my lamotrigine and then started slashing my abilify dose. In the space of 3 months I went from 40mg to 10mg and then on December 10 he took away the last 10mg, telling me that I no longer need it and I’ll be fine.

    I lasted 9 days before the anxiety and relentless pacing emerged. I had to keep moving my body or the sensation of things crawling under my skin got too intense. I couldn’t eat or sleep. After 13 days had most of the problems listed. To solve it my doc has put me back on 10mg abilify and handed me a script for lorazepam. I don’t know what to do now. The symptoms have mostly stopped and there is no way I want them back, but after reading these posts I’m scared to stay on it either. I feel trapped.

    • Joe January 7, 2015, 9:53 pm

      Jo see if your doctor will give you 5mg tablets and see if you can wean yourself off the Abilify I would suggest having the dose stable for 2 months then reducing it. This is what I have been told to do by my doctor I was on 30mg now on 25mg I take a 5mg reduction every 2 months. The symptoms you are describing after coming off it completely in December sound like they could be withdrawal or rebound/sensitivity psychosis they will pass but take the reductions slowly. It is a long acting drug it takes a while to get out of your system and for your body and brain to stabilize. Be gentle with yourself and good luck.

  • D.Ross January 19, 2015, 12:31 am

    I have been weaning off Abilify. So far so good other than these headaches and little mood swings here and there. I have went form 10mg to 2mg and eventually I will be off. I have been on this medication for a few years… 6 yrs. I have gained a lot of weight and my life when I started was in a bad place. Now I am in a better, stable place in my life, I’ve decided to come off my medications. I am doing one at a time and Abilify has been the first.

    Since I made this decision, I have been nervous of a relapse. I was diagnosed with bipolar. Anyway long story short, I want to get off to lose weight and try to maintain positive mind health. I don’t know I can try… if I feel that I am on the brink of any episodes I will get right back on. I guess that’s why I haven’t completely gone off. I’ve been on 3 months at a time with each dosage change. So Like I said other than these god awful headaches, I’ve been doing okay.

  • Mary (again) January 25, 2015, 4:12 pm

    To update from last post in December, I’ve had no side effects from abilify withdrawal. TOTM is back to normal as well. Very pleased to be off the med and also very pleased to have had no side effects.

  • Staci February 4, 2015, 8:46 pm

    I have been on Abilify 5 mg for approximately 2 years now. I have tried unsuccessfully to stop taking it three times now. The first time was cold turkey, HUGE mistake. The second and third I was being weaned. I’ve had to go back on it every time. I have meltdowns! I’m not able to work or anything. I want off this medication so bad but am scared to death to stop taking it again. =(

    • Danny June 13, 2015, 8:11 pm

      Staci, Have you been successful with coming off this medication. I am in the same boat trying for the first time. I was on 5 mg for 2 years also. I have weaned off for 3 weeks and then stopped it for 3 weeks now. I feel worthless, depressed, and most of all I can’t think on something then speak it. It’s like my sense of any communication is gone. I don’t want to go back on this medication. How long between times you tried to stop was it, weeks, months, days?

  • vince February 16, 2015, 12:15 am

    So I finally was able to get off abilify for good… and two weeks later I developed priapism at night and my tongue started moving uncontrollably. I need to see an urologist for the priapism , as I have painful uncontrolled erections as soon as I fall asleep, which awake me and completely destroy my sleep and day life as a result. This sh*t is an absolute nightmare. Just when I thought I would go through it without damages… Seriously, it has ruined my life and there’s nothing I can do to go back in time.

  • Kathryn March 1, 2015, 8:28 pm

    I am so relieved to see my doctor was wrong about withdrawal from 5 mg. of Abilify. He said I shouldnt/wouldn’t have any side effects stopping such a low dose. After a week of feeling fine I started have low grade nausea and headaches. Now I have anxiety and irratibility. I have been on it for about four years when it was added to an SSRI for severe depression.

    My husband is a physician and knows this is a “dirty drug” that changes your body chemistry but was at the end of his rope to find something to help short of Electric Shock Therapy. I gained close to thirty pounds and had a flat affect. Depression was better but the price and side effects on the drug has made me decide to withdraw from it. I was seriously worried I had something really bad when the symptoms started.

    I am worried more than usual and have had three important people in my life die recently, one my mother. Maybe a bad time to quit a depression med but I’m determined to not go back to it. I hope these symptoms go away soon. I’m sick of feeling bad and will not take it again knowing what I know about this drug now! It helped me get through some serious times but I must stick it out to get past the withdrawal issues.

  • Teneille March 7, 2015, 9:15 pm

    Hi Everyone, I’ve battled major depression for a long time and have other diagnosis as well. I just got taken off of Abilify, and it seems as if everything makes me cry. Abilify was affecting my weight as I had gained 50 lbs being on it. My appetite is not as large as it was being on the medicine. I have better mental clarity as I requested that my doctor take me off Abilify because it was affecting my thinking and concentration. Please don’t come off this medicine alone. Get some help and be encouraged. I cry every single day, but I know that I’m going to be okay.

  • Tim March 25, 2015, 11:41 pm

    I’ve recently gone off Abilify. I took it for help with major depression and I think misdiagnosed bipolar II. I had tried stopping abilify once before, going off 5mg cold turkey and experienced a number of symptoms, primarily difficulty concentrating and significant anxiety. The anxiety in particular caused me to go back on at 5mg. About 6 months ago I reduced my dosage to 2.5mg and everything seemed to be fine. I finally decided to try going off again and stopping the medication about 2 weeks ago without tapering further.

    So far the withdrawal has been tolerable with the exception of joint stiffness and pain (elbows and knees), difficulty sleeping and a general restlessness. Because of these symptoms, getting to sleep and staying asleep has been pretty challenging. Thankfully the anxiety as reported by many has been minimal…though i do worry that some side effects appear to kick in weeks after stopping the medication (according to various posters here) and last for weeks to months.

    I am dismayed that my doctor did not indicate anything about potential withdrawal symptoms and/or the need to taper off slowly. This has been the case with this doc and others I’ve seen when it came to various medications I’ve tried (SSRIs, adjunct/atypical antidepressants, mood stabilizers, etc.) Seems to be a real lack of awareness of withdrawal problems with these powerful, mind altering drugs and also a willingness to prescribe them quickly without full consideration of the impact.

  • Aja April 2, 2015, 2:02 am

    I took abilify after being med free for 7 years. Stress was up for me with being a stay at home mom and my husband was working a whole bunch. I decided to give meds a try again just to help me out on my day to day. Honestly I wasn’t too bad just an anxiety attack here and there before I decided on taking the meds. I remember from years ago that I had taken abilify but apparently I didn’t remember the side effects because I couldn’t even make it 3 days! I was prescribed 5mg, but only made it through two days and then I decided you try 2.5mg for the last.

    I decided to trust my gut and get off the meds. Since getting off the meds I’ve been experiencing bouts of anxiety, unusual sleep and tmj issues. It’s been 7 days since I stopped taking abilify. With it being in my system for such a short time, how long can the withdrawal be? I honestly feel like I took ten steps back in my mental health since reintroducing mood stabilizers to my regimen. It’s affecting my ability as a mom and wife.

  • Jen April 2, 2015, 2:58 pm

    I took Abilify from August to November in 2014 as an addition to my Brintellix. I was not in my smart mind when I discontinued the Abilify on my own because I felt it wasn’t helping. Cold turkey. I have never done that before. Because I was fine for about two weeks after stopping I didn’t find any correlation between Abilify and the PURE HELL that started. I stopped functioning, stopped all personal cares, stopped working, stopped interacting with my family only to sit on the couch curled in a ball crying and rocking.

    I wanted to die. I was admitted into the psych ward and stayed there for two weeks. They started me on Paxil. Wham, all my symptoms started to disappear. HAHAHA! Little did I know then that they exchanged one evil for another. I find myself getting ready to start withdrawal from Paxil, which is listed as the hardest SSRI to come off of as far as withdrawal. I will be taking a 10% reduction every 4 weeks to start with.

    That puts me at 180 months to taper safely off Paxil. Yes, folks. That’s a hell of a long time. And there is still a huge chance of withdrawal symptoms. But, I can’t start the Paxil taper until I fully finish experiencing my current withdrawal from Klonopin, of course. I HATE THESE MEDS. I want my life back. I have small children. I am nearly losing my husband. It has to be worth it in the end.

  • Tim April 21, 2015, 9:40 pm

    Follow up to my post back on 3/25/15: I’ve been off Abilify for about a month and a half now and I’m doing OK. The discomfort in my joints (knees especially) and general restless when trying to sleep has been very slowly dissipating. I did follow up with my doc and she confirmed the challenges with withdrawal not just with Abilify but the other med, Lamictal, that I am considering discontinuing. I don’t feel she clearly communicated that earlier, before discontinuing. So, like I’ve learned in the past with other meds, we have to take responsibility for educating ourselves about the meds, side effects, withdrawal, risks, etc. because docs often don’t do that unless asked…which is a bit puzzling.

  • Analuz April 23, 2015, 7:13 pm

    Dear all, I am 36 years old girl. I had a schizophrenia-related psychotic event when I was 25. It was mainly the burst of untreated paranoia that I developed in my second and third year at uni. I have been taking Abilify for many years. I recently had a therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, that has helped me a lot to cool down my paranoia triggers. I have been feeling really well and healthy, so I decided to come out of Abilify very slowly as my doctor recommended, plus having therapy support.

    I have been without Abilify for 2 months now and I am really grateful to myself and support to have achieved this so far. However, this last week or two, I have been feeling the following: Intense dryness in my mouth, Lacking of vitality / vital energy, Deep sadness, Crying a lot, Very very tired, Pains in muscle and joints. I do know that Abilify makes you numb to feelings, and it is true that I didn’t use to cry so much before whilst taking it. So perhaps my body is just adjusting to feelings, and perhaps is good to cry.

    I am confused about my current state of depression, since I have not experienced this before. I only have had problems with paranoia and two weeks of hearing voices in 2005. So I really hope it is just a withdrawal symptom. I am in touch with my therapist and doctor just in case, and they are aware of the situation. I was worried that the voices will suddenly pop up from one moment to the other, however my doctor explicitly said that this cannot happen from one moment to the other when you are feeling OK. There is a pattern, and for me personally is paranoia, followed by being alone a lot in my room, then illness.

    So, I really recommend to recognize what triggers your paranoia, in this case, because this is the root of the problem. If you control those triggers, there will be no illness. It doesn’t matter what happened to you in the past, experiences can not be changed, old beliefs can’t be changed. However, from today onwards you have the power to change your present and future, by building new beliefs that are kind, loving and compassionate towards you. Make those new beliefs bigger than the old ones, you can do it. Even though I am worried of getting ill again, the reality is that right now I am healthy. Despite having taking Abilify for so many years. Best wishes to all.

  • vickie April 24, 2015, 4:11 pm

    Have been tapering off Abilify 5mg. for about one month. The withdrawal symptoms haven’t been bad so far. I found it didn’t really help, but you’re to trust your doctor, right? I’m taking my time tapering. Right now I’m sleepy, sweaty, and have muscle and joint pain. The sweats I attribute to menopause. The muscle and joint pain to my fibro. So, that means so far, so good. I realize it may takes months for your brain to readjust, but I have a great network of family and friends who support me. To all out there, take your time! There are drugs not meant to go off cold turkey and Abilify is one of those. I wish you luck and good health!

    • Lynnie April 27, 2015, 11:16 pm

      Thank you, Vickie, for sharing how you have been taking your time coming off Abilify. I recently posted about how I got off it very slowly. I hope people will take what we have said very seriously. Abilify is like a prison, you want to get out quick, but patience & strategy are the keys. Good luck & good health to you as well!

  • Lynnie April 26, 2015, 1:49 am

    Thanks to all of you who have shared your Abilify withdrawal stories. I’ve been off Abilify completely for 3 months exactly today. I am so thankful! I took Abilify 30 mgs. from 2010 to 2012, at which time I decided to trust my gut & begin to taper off, as I was no longer severely depressed & knew Abilify was not good long term due to the disgusting side effects. First of all, I tapered off very, very slowly. Altogether, in a period of 2 1/2 years.

    From 30 mgs. to 15, to 7.5, to 3 mgs., to 2 & then 1 mg. I stayed months at each level of mg. use. I am thankful I chose this very slow process. For, I have not have severe withdrawal symptoms at all! I just kept feeling better & better at each lower mg. level. I had experienced some anxiety & trouble sleeping while tapering, but, wonderfully, have discovered herbal supplementation for help with that.

    I am so much better since I’ve been off Abilify. I am much happier & am back to being me! So, it has been well worth the long time I took to taper off. Before I got off it, I had developed severe acid reflux disease (GERD), which I now believe was related to Abilify. I no longer suffer from GERD at all. And, I had gained 40 lbs., due to Abilify, which is finally coming off. I am a new person. So, take your time withdrawing from this medication, it is a much easier experience than if you rush it.

    • MJW August 7, 2015, 3:57 pm

      What herbal supplements have you used to help with Abilify tapering?

  • Marie McKinley April 29, 2015, 6:58 am

    My Son has been on Abilify since August 2008 for Major Depressive Disorder. I think he started out at 10 mg, but ended up taking 20mg for most part. He stopped cold turkey mid January 2015. Its been really hard and he is going through hell. This last weekend he was suicidal took a bunch of over the counter sleep aid tablets. Spent the day in ER. He has ruminating thoughts and can’t shut it off. Smoking has doubled to 2 packs a day. How much longer will this last? I’m thinking he should get back on it and then get off gradually.

  • Jac April 29, 2015, 2:59 pm

    Whoops so my first post was too long so here I go again! I have ADHD and GAD. I just finished my fifth and final year of university, which was a huge struggle all five years. Sometimes it got better, but for the most part it was hard and I did poorly. So I started seeing an “out there” ADHD psychiatrist June 2013 and he put me on so many meds at really high doses. He keeps adding more and making the doses higher because nothing works. He currently has me on 5 meds (Vyvnase, Wellbutrin XL, Inutniv, Trintellix (Brintellix in the U.S.) and Abilify)

    Because I’ve finished school and am off for the next 4 months I decided it would be a good time to go off 3 of the meds. I started with Abilify just because I ran out of it and haven’t taken it for 5-6 days now. I ran out of Abilify starting on Friday (April 24th). I called in my pills but I haven’t picked them up yet. So I’ve gone almost 6 days without it (I take it at night time). I don’t think I feel side effects yet. Well besides being emotional. I’ve weaned off Cymbalta before and know how horrible the experience is and am not looking forward to it for these meds.

    I’m not sure if I should go back to my dose or because I’m already 6 days without that I should keep going? Or I was thinking of taking 2mg instead. I feel like I’m on so many meds I don’t really feel the side effects and I won’t know which med is causing it. This is going to be one hell of a journey. And I’m only on my first med right now! If anyone wants to chat and support each other through this journey feel free to email me. (jaclyn.atkins@icloud.com).

  • Vickie May 4, 2015, 5:00 am

    I was put on Effexor for depression. Not the sadness type, but to help me cope with fibro. Then was put on Abilify for continuous sadness? I told her my low mood was because of my fibro pain, so I thought, what the heck, it can’t hurt. Wow, she was wrong. I became not interested in many things, didn’t want to leave the house, partly because of the weight gain!!

    I decided to wean myself off both. I’m on the last stages with my Abilify, but have a way to go with the Effexor. So far, so good, thank goodness. I am doing it gradually. If it takes a year, so be it! I want to get my mojo back again. I do feel somewhat better, but I know I have a long way to go. I guess what I’m trying to say, hang in there!! Life will look so much brighter!!!

  • Daniel May 4, 2015, 8:36 pm

    I have been weaning off Abilify for several months after being on it for almost four years. This is my 14th and final drug that I am tapering over the course of my lifetime. The other drugs were a walk in the park compared to Abilify. I am down to 2.5mg from my usual dose of 15mg and I feel irritability, anger, depression, mental fog / confusion, difficulty concentrating, a tinge of anxiety and lack of motivation to leave the house. I went down from 15mg to 7.5mg, then to 5mg, then to 3.75mg, then to my current dose of 2.5mg.

    I bought liquid Abilify to help me with the final stage of my taper, to go more slowly, but unfortunately that liquid form is being discontinued in 10 days and will no longer be available for purchase. If you want to come off Abilify you will have to do it with the tablets. Fortunately they can be cut into eighths, from my experience. You need to be slow and deliberate about it, but I have taken my 5mg prescription, and cut into 2.5mg, 1.25mg, and 0.625mg tablets, each strength lasting for about two weeks.

    So you can make a 5mg prescription go fairly far. I paid $962 out of pocket for that “medicine” so I was determined to make it stretch. Withdrawal sucks and I am sure it will get worse but unless I am clearly dying I don’t see the need to reinstate. Withdrawal symptoms do subside eventually, even if it takes months or even a few years. I believe in the adaptability and strength of the human body and I believe even the damage caused by psychiatric drugs can be healed eventually. That being said, the slow taper method is definitely the safest and only way to go.

  • Debbie May 19, 2015, 2:28 am

    I took 2 mg. for the last 5 years and helped a lot, however, the weight gain was too much. I decided to wean off last fall. I cut 1/4 of the pill off every 3 months or so til I was down to 1/4 or .50 of a pill. It’s been a week and I have withdrawal every day…a horrible hot feeling in my head, shaking, nausea, depressed. I wake up with these symptoms every day, but they subside later in the day.

    Somebody tell me that it will get better. I hate the doctor that put me on this in conjunction with the 50 mg of Zoloft I was on, but at the time, I was having a nervous breakdown and he thought the Abilify would help. Well, it definitely did, but today I feel I have no reason to be on it. What a horrible drug to get off of.

    • David May 28, 2015, 5:12 pm

      I am in much the same situation as yours. I took 2 mg per day for five years and have been titrating off the drug now for over three months. I’m currently taking a quarter of a 2 mg pill skipping three days in between doses.

      The withdrawal symptoms have not improved vastly at all. I’m experiencing anxiety, depression and I wake up racing and often feeling under rested. I am unable to focus and concentrate and find myself just wanting to lay down once I’ve completed the bare minimum and errands and tasks.

      My psychiatrist thinks there is no such thing as withdrawal effects from Abilify but my pharmacist assures me that with the slow taper things will get better over time. I hope she’s right!

    • Susan September 16, 2016, 1:55 pm

      Dear Debbi, I am also taking Abilify for a booster on 120mgs Cymbalta. It is almost 4 months. I was wondering if your depression came back? I have been told it does and can been even worse!!! I cannot stand the weight gain. I live alone on a fixed income, so I just can’t keep buying new clothes all the time. I am TERRIFIED of the depression returning. Also Abilify is working well for me.

  • Nicole May 21, 2015, 5:15 am

    I have only been on Abilify for about three months … and on a very low dosage; I started at 2 mg. and moved up to 5 mg. My psychiatrist prescribed Abilify as an add-on to my Effexor for depression. After three months, I decided I did not want this medication anymore. A.) I can’t afford it any longer: My insurance co-pay was more than $200; B.) I did not notice any beneficial effects; C.) I have been prescribed a vast number of “brain” drugs in my life and at this point I decided that I want anything extraneous out of my system… out of my poor brain.

    My doctor did not advise me on any withdrawal symptoms from Abilify; I completely stopped the medication a week ago and don’t even know if I’m actually typing this… the withdrawal effects on the brain are that bad. It’s like I’m floating around, occasionally touching down into reality… and then back up. They withdrawal symptoms began to get really bad three days after I stopped taking Abilify. Brain “fog” here is an understatement; I cannot focus/concentrate on anything; I find myself driving (which I now think I shouldn’t do at all, until this goes away), completely zoning out – I’m awake, but then I seem to forget where I am or what I’m doing.

    If I should turn or go straight or stop. Even if I get up slowly from a sitting position, I “blackout” for a moment. I’m so dizzy I’m sure I’m going to faint and feel paralyzed for a time. Before I quit Abilify, I was easily walking/jogging six miles a day. I can now barely take my dog around the block, I’m so fatigued. Not to mention, I’m sweating like a pregnant pig 24 hours a day and am so short of breath and exhausted from walking, I just collapse afterward a few steps.

    Yesterday, my hands were shaking so violently, I couldn’t even type or hold a pen; and I’ve had atrocious migraines the past five days… to the point, I have to lie down in the dark; can’t even open my eyes. From everything I’ve now read about this drug, I am so thankful I’m on my way to getting off of it; but it almost makes me think that Abilify’s pharmaceutical company, perhaps intends for consumers to not be able to get off this drug. It’s been eight days for me and I have been very tempted to call in the refill on my prescription.

    Not that it’s addictive by any means, but I am feeling so ungodly terrible, I just want something to make the pain and other withdrawal symptoms go away. It further makes me very skeptical that my very small dose of Ability for such a short amount of time is ripping me apart.

  • Tracey May 21, 2015, 9:09 am

    I ran out of abilify 8 days ago. I had been part of the assistance program because I couldn’t afford the drug. I’m on medicare for disability due to my bi-polar disorder and “comorbid” conditions. It’s a miracle they finally took me. Then, they dropped me without warning. My co-pay for Abilify is approximately $250. My co-pay for Aripiprizole is approximately $250. It’s crimiminal.

    Since last Tuesday I have suffered severe headaches, nausea, acid stomach with constant belching, sweats, shakiness, confusion, inability to concentrate, a worsening of my agoraphobia, extreme sleepiness to the point where I fall asleep at the breakfast table while drinking my coffee, difficulty staying asleep, the stares, difficulty getting up and moving, feelings of increasing sadness and helplessness/hopelessness, loss of motivation(“I feel too sick, I just can’t do that right now”) and a feeling of general illness.

    I’m terrified that this is how I’m going to feel all the time while off of Abilify. I don’t think I can stand it. I was working on a book before I ran out of Abilify. Now I just look at my computer and tell myself I’m going to do that “today,” but I never do.

    I work as a freelance writer to pay for groceries because over a third of my social security goes to medical expenses. Then I have bills like everyone else. I can’t work like this. It was hard enough pretending to be “normal” before. At least then, my writing was very good, so no one complained if it took me a little longer than other people. I don’t even have the ability to search for work right now.

    I was on Abilify for 3 years this last time, only being off it a few months before that, then many years before that. I can’t think to count right now. If this goes on for 90 days – I just don’t think I can take it. I was a person. Messy, but a real person who cooked, took care of the budget and the bills, occasionally went to social functions and wrote. If anybody I know saw me now, they’d know there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t take that.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to prattle. It’s 4 AM and I can’t sleep.

  • KL May 28, 2015, 5:12 pm

    This is a devil drug. I was prescribed 400 mg. once a month (Abilify consta) for 7 months – WAY too much for my delicate system, and am going off cold turkey. The psychiatrist refused to significantly lower the dose. The side effects were so many and so severe that it made absolutely no sense to remain on it. Abilify was literally killing me. There were absolutely no benefits to it at all.

    Just horrific and I do mean horrific and constant side effects. I am now in about week 7 of being off of it. I made the choice on my own – the psychiatrist refused to listen to me in regard to the severe side effects, denying that the problems were being caused by the KNOWN SIDE EFFECTS of the Abilify! I am now experiencing extreme (and I do mean extreme) agoraphobia – it’s all I can do to leave the house – extreme dizziness, insomnia, anxiety and severe depression.

    I don’t feel like I can get anything done. It’s all I can do just to get dressed! This is not me. The entire psych field is quackery as far as I am concerned, and these drugs amount to nothing but sheer torture of the worst kind. I didn’t have any problems at all before I started taking this stuff compared to now. What I wouldn’t do just to be able to turn the clock back and never get on the stuff. From what I understand, permanent brain damage isn’t uncommon.

    It is beyond criminal, but who is ever held accountable for the ensuing damage? It’s all about money! I am going to ride this out the best that I can. I am against going back and asking for more so that I can taper because I never want a molecule of Abilify ever entering my body again. Enough is enough. God is my healer. I just pray that this doesn’t last. As far as I’m concerned, the manufacturers and distributors (including the doctors) who prescribe this stuff should be prosecuted. That’s how strongly I feel about it. -KL

    • RQ June 2, 2015, 4:33 pm

      I read somewhere that tapering off at 10% per month is the best way to go. I’m on a super low dose and had the same experience as you when I quit cold turkey. I want to get off this drug so bad. I’m going to try the 10% per month. They also recommend taking a month in between reductions to adjust, so depending on how much you are taking it may even take a couple years to completely wean off without serious side-effects.

  • RQ June 1, 2015, 7:07 pm

    I have been on a low dose of Abilify for about two years in conjunction with Prozac in order to treat depression. I started with half a 2mg tablet, and eventually reduced to half of that and I have to admit, that it did pull me out of the deep depression I was in. However, even at this low dose, my sugars and cholesterol levels both rose and I gained about 30 pounds. I did have some withdrawal symptoms when reducing the dose from 1/2, but nothing like when I stopped cold turkey at my doctor’s recommendation.

    I experienced excessive sweating, panic and anxiety attacks, nausea, and lack of appetite. The doctor said I needed to be back on it. I did that and it took over a week to get back to semi-normal and about a month before all the symptoms left. I plan to try tapering off even more and slowly wean myself off since my doctor is not understanding that the symptoms I had were from withdrawal and not from my anxiety and depression disorders.

    Unfortunately, I have to wait until I have enough vacation and sick time built up so I can take a month off and work through the withdrawals. I recommend that if you’ve been prescribed this medication for depression that you don’t take too large a dose if possible and get off it as soon as you can.

  • samantha June 2, 2015, 3:09 pm

    I was on 1 mg of abilify for 5 years. I tapered off 90 days ago and I still have withdrawal symptoms: Anxiety, confusion, memory loss, dizzy, insomnia, joint pain, lightheaded and fatigue. Still on 2 1/2 mg of Lexapro for anxiety. I feel frustrated and stuck. like no one understands. I have tried supplements, they just make everything worse. Is there anything that can make these symptoms end faster? I have a methylation issue that adds to the problem.

  • D Pye June 7, 2015, 1:08 pm

    I was on 10 mg for 4 years for severe depression. I have resolved many issues that were causing me to be depressed. So I feel it is time to get off this drug. I am also on 40 mg of Celexa. Several weeks ago I quit cold turkey. At two weeks off I realized I was nauseated, exhausted, was sweating profusely. I did not get depressed. I started making extra mistakes at work.

    I then found this site and read the horror stories about withdrawal symptom possibilities and got scared. So I went back on 5 mg twenty days ago. My cognitive performance is still below normal, but I feel well. I have more energy. I was not aware that the Abilify caused low motivation to move! I am very motivated to wean off of this drug.

    • Dom June 10, 2015, 10:25 pm

      Stay positive!!

  • Scared June 10, 2015, 9:26 am

    I used to be in the military until they diagnosed me with Schizophrenia. I spent half a year in the hospital then was medically discharged and sent me home. It became clear they wouldn’t pay for my medication and just recently I ran out of my last pill and had to stop cold turkey. It’s been hell so far; muscle cramps, excessive crying, severe depression among other things but I can’t pay. I haven’t really accepted the diagnosis, but the medication helped me a lot. It feels like they don’t care what happens. It does feel good to know people understand.

    • Dom June 10, 2015, 10:23 pm

      Definitely! Keep striving and don’t ever give up! There may not be a reason for everything but just stay positive! It is comforting! I agree I am happy I found this thread!

  • Dom June 10, 2015, 10:21 pm

    Hi, My name is Dominique. I am 24 years old. I have been on abilify for about 3 years now. I started at 20/35 MG I don’t remember and now I am down to 2.5. My diagnosis is broad and does not make sense to me. I know I can find happiness and I don’t think it is going to come in a little blue pill shape form. I’m just curious how others feel about taking this drug. Recently my head has been feeling really heavy even though I have been on this dose for a while now.

    I’m not sure what changed but I would not recommend coming off cold turkey. Definitely stay in close contact with your psychiatrist and with therapist appointments as often as possible. Don’t give up there is always hope. Stay strong and active! An idle mind is a persons worst enemy. Lots of music!!! Helps me a lot! Keeps my positivity going and I feel at ease! Just know you are not alone and to keep going!

  • Manuel June 19, 2015, 3:46 am

    Hey everyone, I just wanted to say that finding this thread was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to me today. So much clarity in regards to my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors these past few months. Well, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Depression and mild anxiety issues over a year ago by my university psych and therapist. Before this, I had been undiagnosed suffering from what I assume are hypomanic episodes since I was 14.

    So, the prospect of starting meds to help me cope with increasing panic attacks and depressive episodes sounded amazing because at 23 I wasn’t looking forward to life anymore. After 4 months on Lamictal and feeling like I had unknowingly signed up for a chemical lobotomy, I stopped it cold turkey and after a month started taking Abilify. I titrated from 2mg up to 15mg. I was on 15mg for about 5-6 months in combo with Inderall for my anxiety. I was performing well in school again, and everything was going great.

    In January 2015, I couldn’t afford to pay for the meds anymore and ended up quitting cold turkey again. I had no idea the past five months of hell could have been due to withdrawal symptoms. I’ve been having horrible issues sleeping; I’m scared of doing simple things like getting up and showering; I’m scared of responding to friends and family; I was bedridden for migraines and nausea. I thought I was going crazy. I haven’t had suicidal thoughts since my early adolescence, and I’ve been suddenly sucked of all desire to live.

    I feel horrible for the relationships I’ve ruined during this and I just want to feel like myself again. I’m so happy knowing that it’s not just me and it’s the fucked up chemistry in my brain trying to balance itself out. If anyone has issues with Abilify, please do not lose hope. The symptoms have gotten much better the longer I’ve been off them. And please do not go cold turkey. That was probably the catalyst for a lot of the darkness I’ve been in the past few months.

  • Kris June 24, 2015, 1:16 am

    Finding this website is a blessing. I am currently on Abilify 30 mg and have been for 4 months for schizophrenia. I just want to feel like myself again. With abilify it always feels as if there is a veil over everything and it is hard to identify what is really going on around me. First I was on risperdal, then changed to geodon, then changed to abilify. I quit risperdal for a week and had mild withdrawal symptoms, horrible headaches.

    I ended up getting back on it because I couldn’t stand the mental pain I was going through. I never tried to quit geodon, but now with the abilify I am at a point where I want to see how my brain is functioning underneath the medication. I plan on going down 10% each week using a scale to weigh out the dosages. I also plan on talking to my psychiatrist about this. I don’t know if I will have support of my parents if I choose to do this so I am keeping it to myself.

    I am scared of withdrawal symptoms but I am willing to go through it if I can feel my natural mind again. I have social struggles on a daily basis and never did before I started taking medication. I also have memory issues and concentration troubles since I started taking medication. If worse comes to worst I hope I can just function on a lower dosage of abilifiy. I feel I am over medicated. Dealing with a mental illness is a challenge.

    I don’t think most people who don’t suffer from it really understand the pressure we have on ourselves to make ourselves look good and act like nothing is going on underneath us. Good luck to everyone trying to come off of this drug.

  • NaNa June 26, 2015, 4:18 pm

    The one thing I was not told was that coming off of Abilify could induce psychosis and extreme anger-even many months after quitting completely. I have become a mean spirited, foul-mouthed, ANGRY, individual. I have 2 speeds. Angry & angrier. All I do is yell. Or cry. Even at my 8 yr old grandson and my 3 year old autistic granddaughter that I have custody of. I quit taking Abilify 8 months ago. I had the headaches, terrible night sweats, night terrors, muscle cramps, insomnia, irritability, etc.

    Except my irritability has turned into extreme anger, explosive episodes, I’m unreasonable, mean, and I hate life right now. NOTHING makes me happy. I’m not depressed per se, but also cannot seem to quit yelling at everyone. Little things that should not bother me (at least prior to taking Abilify they didn’t) now make me see red. Last night I threw 3 of my adult daughters friends out of my house because of my perceived idea of being disrespected. What they did was disrespectful, but my reaction was WAY OVERBOARD.

    I’ve alienated my adult daughter, my 8 year old grandson begs me to stop being mad at him & I feel like I’m doing irreparable damage to the 3 year old granddaughter I’m supposed to love & care for. I hate that Abilify has changed my chemical makeup to the point that I no longer feel like a human being. I’m going on month 9 of being off of Abilify, but the anger just doesn’t subside. I still have night sweats & muscle cramps too, although not as bad as in the beginning. I feel like I should go back on it, but my weight gain was ridiculous. I went from a size 8 to a size 24 (that’s 175 lbs in 5 years). I hate my body, but I hate myself even more.

  • D. July 3, 2015, 10:42 pm

    I’ve been on 10 mg for about 4 years. I cut my dose in half and about two weeks into it, I got ill. I was sweating, nauseated, tired, I had insomnia, but I had felt okay mentally. But then I started feeling irritable and anxious so I gave up trying to get off of it. I’ve been back on 10 mg. for less than 2 weeks. I was okay physically within a few days, but the mental stuff started to get worse even after going back up.

    I am impressed by the people on this site that are enduring hell to get off this drug. I have read all of the comments. I wanted to know what I could be in for. As soon as there was a hint of mental issues I gave up trying. I was very depressed when I went on this medication. So if I get depressed going down on it or off of it, how do I know it is withdrawals? Maybe it is the same depression I was in originally.

    I do not have the will to suffer, by going off of this drug. Had I of been told at the beginning that it was a life time decision to go on Abilify, I may of chosen differently. I believe doctors should tell the truth about the drugs they are prescribing.

  • Lola July 9, 2015, 3:37 am

    I just found out tonight that my husband stopped taking his Abilify cold turkey about a week ago. He cut back from 30mg a day to 15mg late last year/early this year with his dr’s approval and I can’t say that I noticed any withdrawal symptoms. He says he feels so much better and can think clearly since coming off of it a week ago, but it sounds like the worst is yet to come. After reading through all these posts, I want to encourage him to gradually wean himself off, but I don’t know if he should go back on at 15 mg or if he should start at a lower dose.

    This is all very scary to me, as all his issue is ever referred to is that he got “sick” and has had some “setbacks.” We have been married 2.5 years and I fully support him coming off if that’s what he wants to do. I know based on what people have said about him when he was younger that he is just a shell of the man he used to be. Any advice is appreciated and prayers are coveted.

  • rebecca July 11, 2015, 5:26 pm

    I just stumbled on this website and I can not begin to tell you how happy I am that I found it. I had been on abilify for about 8 years I withdrew from family and friends and was never the same person as I was before taking abilify. Around March of 2015 I stopped taking abilify due to excessive weight gain. I was fine for about 2 weeks and felt great my family was so happy to have me back. After 2 weeks I began to itch uncontrollably over my entire body.

    I then began feeling sick to my stomach everyday and so tired I really thought something was wrong my neck hurt to turn it and my head felt like it was to heavy for my shoulders. I began going to the Dr frequently and after lots of blood work Wich all came back normal he began sending me to specialist to rule things out. I have even been hospitalized for sever dehydration. They have been unable to find a cause and are sending g me to a rheumatologist in august. It is now July and the symptoms have not gotten any better. Some days I can handle them but most days you will find me in bed sick to my stomach.

    Thursday was my last day at work until I could find out why I have been so sick. It’s been 5 months since I have been off abilify and all the Dr I have seen know I went off this drug cold turkey and not one of them has contributed this to any of my symptoms. I will not give in and go back to abilify but I truly hope that the symptoms ease up soon. I really feel this should be a lawsuit as none of this was explained to me when I was first started on this death drug.

  • Marion July 25, 2015, 9:10 am

    Had to come off abilify 2.5mg because my bladder was totally giving way and the medication prescribed to counteract that was causing severe breathing problems. Have been off the medication for 8 weeks now and the severe joint pain, for which I had to take codeine has now eased off. I am still suffering from sweats night and day, worse than with the menopause and copable with,waves of mild depression, which admittedly could be reactional due to present circumstances. I am simply being good to myself just now and taking a little time out.

  • Victoria S. September 2, 2015, 3:05 pm

    Hello! I’m a 20 year old woman. For years I’ve been on Abilify 30mg or 20mg, along with Pristiq 50mg. Weaning off the Pristiq was no big deal for me. They don’t recommend you split the Pristiq pill but it really helped with reducing withdrawal symptoms. You gotta do what you gotta do. Now I’m off both. I’ve been off the Pristiq for about a month or so. I’ve only been off Abilify for about a week.

    Since I’ve been in the hospital for two weeks (for HUS, I’m getting discharged tomorrow!) it’s really hard to tell if my nausea, fatigue, and other physical problems are from the Abilify withdrawal or from the other medications they’re giving me. It could be a mixture of both. I was on 20mg, and started refusing the Abilify when my nurses were handing it to me during my stay. (It pleases me how easily you can consent to or refuse certain treatment in medical hospitals.)

    I’m kind of nervous to go home. I’m not sure when the emotions will start to overwhelm me. I’ve tried weaning off my Abilify so many times in the past, it has sometimes made me suicidal. But the butt-face psychiatrist I had said I could absolutely not go off of Abilify. I had to be on it or something similar to it. I hated that doctor. Luckily I don’t experience weight gain on this medication like a lot of people.

    Last year, my boyfriend at the time was trying to help me wean off the Abilify 30mg, I split it in half and had so much uncontrollable rage for a week which ultimately led to our break-up. He was never on meds like this, and I’ve been on mental medication since 1st grade. So he didn’t understand. My psychiatrist put me on 20mg and that’s what I was on up until about a week ago.

    I’m just hoping I’ll never have to take it again and I can be free of any kind of long-term drugs for the rest of my life. They cause more problems than they fix. I don’t know why so many people, especially children, are getting diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar, etc. when children obviously aren’t adults and need to be TAUGHT how to behave, not be given a drug to calm them down. :( Anyways, I will most likely leave an update in a few months if anyone is interested.

    • Victoria S. March 19, 2016, 3:56 am

      UPDATE: I was off the Abilify for about 3 months (it felt like an eternity). After that I was feeling way too suicidal/unsafe to stay off it any longer. Right away I noticed my body ached a lot more back on medication. That, and sex isn’t nearly as pleasing on a mental/emotional level. I can orgasm but it isn’t the same as when I was off meds.

      I’m hoping that my new psychiatrist will help me wean off the meds I’m on. My 2nd appointment is in a week. Abilify is really bad for your body, and I’ve been on it for over 3 years.

  • carol robinson September 11, 2015, 1:13 am

    I couldn’t go off abilify. I tried because I thought it made me too tense and impatient; it impelled me forward at a faster pace than I felt comfortable with. I’m still not used to it. The first side effect that I noticed when I started this drug was a clamping of my jaw. Other side effects worried me. When I tried to go off, I was only taking 5mg down from 10.

    I fell into heavy grief sobbing that wouldn’t stop and a deep depression came over me. After less than a week of this, I went back on abilify at 2mg. I still suffer from grief sobbing as I have all my life as a bipolar, but the episodes after quitting were especially excruciating. So I did not succeed in quitting.

  • Jonathan September 12, 2015, 12:57 am

    My son just recently stopped taking Abilify. He was tapered off by his doctor. Also, his Zoloft was increased from 100 to 150mg (which was his original dose). I’ve noticed some behavior and physical changes in him. He’s complained twice over the past two weeks of having a racing heart – which was once confirmed by the school nurse. He’s also complained about constant twitching in his big toe. Emotionally he’s been happy, yet somewhat over talkative in the afternoon. At night he becomes very irritable. Is all of this due to Abilify withdrawal?

  • Amanda marshall September 18, 2015, 5:14 am

    I took abilify 5mg for 2 months. Quit cold turkey two days ago psych doc changed my meds. I’m pretty sure I’m having withdrawals. I’ve got a really aggravating headache, and feel very nauseous. And just feel bad in general. But they replaced the med with lamictal. Which seems to be working. I hope these withdrawals don’t last long. :(

  • Charlie September 30, 2015, 5:28 am

    Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. They’ve been helping me realize I’m not alone. I took 2 mg of Abilify for about 4-5 years as an adjunct to my 10 mg of Lexapro. I’m on the meds for OCD and depression. Recently, my life had improved and I had made some breakthroughs in talk therapy, so I decided to go off my meds. I figured I’d start with the Abilify because I was sick of the fatigue and weight gain. 2 mg seemed like such a small amount, I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to quit cold turkey.

    Yikes. For the past 5 weeks since I quit, I’ve been having mood swings–I’m often either deeply depressed or downright euphoric. When I’m depressive, I find myself having suicidal ideation like I’ve never had before…I seriously want to just cut my wrists with a butcher knife and bleed out on the kitchen floor. And then there are the crying spells where I’m just wracked with sobs and can’t stop clinging to my partner. When I’m depressed, nothing has value to me. I wonder what the point of anything is and feel like life is a complete waste of time.

    To make matters even worse, all of this has reopened old OCD wounds. I’m constantly second-guessing myself, thinking of myself as unloved/unlovable, thinking that I’ll never get any further in life, etc. In short, hell. I’m going to try to muscle through a bit longer. If I can’t do it though, I’m going to have to go back on the damn Abilify and try tapering.

  • BRENDA GRANNEN October 11, 2015, 10:12 am

    It is going on my fourth week after tapering off my 10mg dose Abilify (10 years on) to 7.5mg. I have days that are wrought with anxiety, nausea and headaches then days that are great. I do not understand the waxing and waning of these symptoms. I am going to taper off 2.5mg more and stay at the 5mg dose then switch to a cheaper alternative. How can anyone afford this drug? I have coverage through insurance but that is not always going to be the case. Any comments would greatly be appreciated.

  • jasmine setchell October 18, 2015, 3:32 am

    I have been on abilify injections for 4 moths for delusional psychosis. On the med I experience symptoms similar to those of withdrawal, including muscle aches and pains, apathetic mood, suicidal thoughts, crying, tremor, visual disturbances etc. I am a voluntary patient and hoping to be put on tablet form next week. Have been told by the nurse case manager not to even discuss weaning to a lower dose than 30 mg. Which I find frustrating.

    I no longer want to be on this medication and now further understand how long the weaning process can take. My partner is worried about a relapse of which there has been one 6 moths after ceasing olazapine. Feel like I’m in a dilemma don’t want to put my family 13 year old and husband through another episode but this medication is killing my spirit slowly.

  • Brian November 3, 2015, 3:49 pm

    I’d been on Abilify for only two months or so, when it became obvious that it was making my anxiety worse. Under a doctor’s direction, I’ve been weaning off the drug for nearly two weeks, with my last dosage tomorrow. I’ve been agitated, tired, sleepy and more depressed than I’ve ever been. I’m wondering how long until I feel normal. I took Abilify in low doses, and I now resent ever having been prescribed such a wicked drug never worked for me. This withdrawal is awful.

  • Peter November 9, 2015, 7:28 pm

    I was on Abilify for 13 years on a 30 mg dose (up to 45 mg during a psychotic episode). I went ‘cold turkey’ on my Doctor’s advice and switched to Solian. My main withdrawal symptoms are sleepiness, itchiness and grinding teeth. I had a gambling addiction which ceased immediately on stopping the Abilify. I suffer from chronic schizophrenia, anxiety and depression.

    The combination of Solian, Valium and Zoloft is effectively treating my symptoms. It took a few years of Psychiatric counselling for me to be able to call them ‘symptoms’ as opposed to the real thing. I am losing weight rapidly and will soon be back to a more normal level. Two months into my withdrawal I’m still having these symptoms, however, they are slowly subsiding. Reading the other comments, it sounds like I have been really fortunate.

  • Donna Pilkington November 11, 2015, 3:38 pm

    Thank goodness I found this web page. My husband was feeling absolutely hopeless. He was prescribed Abilify in August, 2015 with hopes of enhancement of the antidepressant he was presently on for major depression. At that time he was functional. Within 2 weeks, he was a different person; full of energy, awake 36 hrs at a time, major purchases, etc. I thought it might be mania but didn’t want to “burst his balloons” so waited to see if it evened out. It did and he felt depressed again so the dosage was increased.

    After a couple of weeks he had no improvement and experienced intolerable restlessness and joint pain in his legs so he decreased his dosage gradually. He was only on 5mg to start with. He took 2.5 mg daily until his next appt. with his psychiatrist and then it was discontinued. The side effects went away. Within a week it was as though he was on one of those,”drop rides” at an amusement park. He dropped so fast and so far.

    Symptoms: full blown panic attacks, loss of appetite (lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks), shaking upon awakening, clammy, dreadfully fearful thoughts, and eventually he became too weak to function. We went to 2 different ERs and all they did was routine labs(which were within normal limits). Received a bag of normal saline IV at the first visit per my request and nothing at the second. It was suggested he be voluntarily hospitalized which he agreed to after the second visit.

    He was in a mood disorder unit. His psychiatrist at home had put him back on his previous meds that we knew were well tolerated in hopes that they would kick in and at least return him to his prior level before this all started. The psychiatrist at the unit actually suggested going back on Abilfy along with another med to counter act the side effects. We chose no med changes at this time. He came home 3 days later with no change in his symptoms. With the suggestion of his WONDERFUL counselor, I began researching.

    Called the FDA and the drug company and 2 other sources. Filed a safety report with Abilify’s drug company. One lady I talked to suggested reading on line and that is how I ended here. It is absolutely horrible that the psychiatrists, physicians, and other hospital staff had NO CLUE that this could have anything to do with withdrawal from the Abilify. They also should have ruled out any other physical causes. They didn’t even notice all the symptoms that I did. He was just labeled, “severe depression with panic disorder”.

    We are doing everything we can to nurse him back to health. It’s been about 4 weeks and he is just now showing signs of improvement. Little improvement, but improvement nonetheless. I’m so thankful to hear that he can make a full recovery. Knowing now the duration of time that this might involve helps us to understand that small improvements are progress. Find a good counselor that will work with the family to provide tools and advice to utilize during the recovery. Family needs to understand the severity of this.

    The brain has been dramatically compromised and love, patience, and sound medical care are a necessity. We need to report our experiences to psychiatrists, physicians, counselors, the FDA, drug companies, web pages, etc. This medication may have its benefits for a select few but we must all be aware of dangerous withdrawal symptoms. I will comment at a later date as we continue this journey of recovery.

    I thank you all for posting your experiences and encouragement. I thank Mental Health Daily for this valuable information. We would be totally hopeless if we had not found you. If anyone needs more details regarding our experience, please post and I will respond as soon as possible.

  • Elektra November 11, 2015, 5:38 pm

    I am in the process of getting off five psychiatric drugs, partly so that I can get pregnant, and partly because I feel that these drugs were not helping me, and in fact were making my life much worse. I have already successfully quit Adderall (1/15) and Seroquel (8/15). I am currently on 10mg of Abilify, down from 20mg. Around the time I went from 20mg to 15mg, I started hearing music where there was none, and I developed mild tinnitus.

    I have not noticed any changes coming down to 10mg, but it has only been a week and Abilify is a very long lived drug, so I am not out of the woods yet. I will come back and leave updates as I progress. I also want to encourage everyone that it IS possible to get off these drugs, it just takes a lot of time and determination. Also finding something else, like meditation, to help you during the transition is important.

    Finally, if you haven’t read it already check out Will Hall’s Harm Reduction Guide to getting of psychiatric drugs. For a more detailed and technical approach to coming off psychiatric drugs, you can also read the book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal by Peter Breggin.

    • Elektra May 17, 2016, 10:15 pm

      Hi, Just wanted to update to say that in the months since I’ve written the last post I’ve gone from 10mg to 5mg, 5mg to 4mg, and 4mg to 2mg. For some reason the last step was harder than the other steps, with somewhat more agitation, anxiety, and depression, but I’m managing.

      In two weeks I am scheduled to try going off. If it turns out to be too big of a step I’ll go back on at 1mg, give it a month and then try again. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about finally getting off this drug.

  • Tiffany November 19, 2015, 3:18 am

    I’ve been reluctant to tell my story, but decided to since I’m finally out of the woods with my withdrawal. I know when I was going through withdrawals, I needed all the comments and insight I could find to help. I was on 5 mg of Abilify for 11 months when I started to notice swelling in my ankles, and of course over the 11 months I had gained 20 pounds. Before the Abilify, I weighed 145 and 5’10” so, healthy.

    The swelling, after Dr finding..was caused from poor circulation, from the Abilify. Plus, my sex drive was not the same since drug either. So, I made the decision to take myself off the drug, and did not tell my dr because he had advised me previously not too. The first week I took 2.5 mg, and the second week, I took half of the 2.5 mg. After the second week I stopped. Diarrhea began, and just a total lack of life and energy.

    I mean TOTAL lack of energy. I could lay in bed all day and watch TV. Not like me at all. This lasted a week, and I thought by this time, this should all be over. The next week was when the crazy shit (excuse the lang) started happening. Severe depression, my mind was racing, I didn’t know if I was coming or going mentally, totally paranoid about going to the dr, thought I would get put away (crazy)…just crazy crazy.

    I dealt with that demon on my own for about 3 weeks. I went thru an anguishing, hellish 6 weeks with the withdrawal of Abilify…it was horrible. Not being a drug user, I am unfamiliar with withdrawal, but this was evil. When something trains your brain over time to think a certain way, and you have to try and change it back it is a nightmare. For anyone go through this withdrawal, chin up!!! I made it through, and if I can you can too ?

  • ArizonaGuy November 21, 2015, 3:23 am

    My spouse has been on Abilify for > 4 years. His dose is 5mg/day. But when he tried to go Cold Turkey he almost drifted into a suicidal depression. It was so bad I was begging him to go back on it, get stable, and then start decreasing gradually as is advised. Does anyone have any idea of how gradual and should it be dropped to 2mg first every day, and then every other day or can he do 5mg and go to every other day dosing? Thanks.

  • Corin November 21, 2015, 4:49 am

    Hello! So happy to see so many people are in the same boat as me. I have been taking Abilify for about a year now, and due to a lack of emotions and excessive rage and irritability, my doctor recommended that I stop Abilify altogether. I was taking 5mgs a day along with 200mgs of Lamictal. So far, it has been 8 days and I feel relatively okay. Still no emotions and I’m pretty sure I dissociated for the first time in a long time yesterday at work.

    It was 8:12 am, and then suddenly I blinked and it was almost 10 and I didn’t know what was going on or what I was doing and I couldn’t talk to customers because I was so confused. I was thinking that since it’s been over a week, I wouldn’t be going through withdrawal. However, after reading every single comment, I am worried that things are only going to go downhill from here. I will say that I stopped taking about 50mgs of Paxil cold turkey last summer. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS.

    The withdrawal was so terrible, I thought I was dying. I was having complete mental breakdowns, I couldn’t eat, I was nauseous and anxious, I literally smelled bad like onions and I couldn’t sleep. I don’t even know how I got through work. It was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. That being said, I am scared for what is to come. I hope I can get off of this drug relatively easy. I just want to feel emotions again. I will update with progress in maybe 2 weeks or so.

    • M January 1, 2016, 10:38 pm

      My therapist found this site. It is such a relief to know that other people have experienced the same thing I have. Like others, my doctor insisted there are no withdrawal effects from Abilify. I took it for 4 years at only 2 mg/day as an adjunct for depression. Tapered off to 1/2 mg before stopping altogether. The first week was okay. Then I totally tanked. Severe depression and anxiety, agoraphobia, insomnia, etc.

      Basically all the symptoms listed with the exception of psychosis and hallucinations. My doctor prescribed lamictal as a replacement. Hasn’t helped at all, despite spending a week in the hospital, where I was put on Xanax. Am now home, but still horribly depressed and anxious. It’s been 6 weeks and now doctor has decided that lamictal isn’t helping. Scared I’m going to end up back in hospital. At least I know I’m not alone, but this is hellish.

  • Mollie November 25, 2015, 6:56 am

    Has anyone gone off abilify cold turkey and experienced terrible ‘restless leg syndrome’? Yikes… Not good.

  • Pudding November 29, 2015, 3:43 am

    I was started on 10mg for bipolar depression at age 22, after a couple weeks moved it up to 15mg and noticed nausea and moved it down to 10 then 5 then 0 mg. 5 days later off the stuff I’m still throwing up and nauseous all the time. I’m taking ginger and anti-nausea meds that aren’t helping. Definitely not worth trying.

  • Todd B December 1, 2015, 9:01 pm

    I’m on day 9 of going “cold turkey” from 10mg of abilify. So far so good. I had been taking the abilify for 11 months for BP 2. Honestly I don’t feel like myself on it and my wife has noticed I am not the “family man” I was before. I forgot to take the abilify 4 nights in a row and that’s what kind of kick-started me to wanting to get off of it.

    Well that and the 35 pounds I gained over the last year. I was a big guy to start with, 35 extra pounds is enough to make me worry about my heart and other issues. I’m hoping I can slide by without some of these symptoms hitting as hard as some people have had it. I’ll check back in and update you on how it goes.

  • Fatalenvizion December 8, 2015, 11:03 pm

    I just cut down my Abilify from 20 to 5 mg and I have never sweat so much in my life. It’s like I wake up in an ocean and constantly need to change my bedsheets and clothes. At first my sleep cycle way crazy I stayed awake for 2 days… maybe from taking the high dose of Abilify for 3 years then tapering down from 20 to 5 so quickly. I slept ALL the time! My heartbeat feels odd but I think that will eventually fix itself as well. On the upside my weight has gone down I feel less stiff and my sleep cycle is finally regulating itself.

  • Justin December 10, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Hi, I’m 23 years old I was on Abilify 15 mg since i was 20. It was all fine and great until I gained around 50-60lbs in those 3 years. I started seeing a new Dr. in august and she said that it didn’t make sense that I was on Abilify. Since then I’ve tapered off per her instructions, I started tapering off by taking 3 quarters of a 15mg tab. Then a month later down to a half, a month after that it went to just a quarter tab, then a 2mg tab, then 1 mg.

    I saw her last Thursday and she told me I could stop the 1mg and be done with it. Through the whole time I was tapering off I felt no side effects what so ever, until now. Sunday I started to feel incredibly nauseous and actually vomited 4x between Sunday and Monday. Other than the extreme nausea I feel like I don’t know if I’m coming or going, also I seem to be in a fog.

    I haven’t had a decent night sleep in about a month I’m only averaging 5-5 1/2 hours of sleep a night (I usually get 8-10 hours). I don’t want to go back on the medication at all, but the withdrawal is horrible. I picked up something for the nausea but it doesn’t seem to be working. I know everyone is different but how long should I expect these symptoms to last?

  • Kirin December 13, 2015, 10:46 pm

    After reading almost all of the previous posts I’ve become pretty afraid of this medication. I have only been on Abilify for a few months. I immediately started to gain weight. Lately I’ve noticed I’m sleeping a lot more and still don’t feel rested. I feel blase about a lot of things I used to be good about keeping up on. I do feel somewhat better as far as depression goes but at this point the weight gain is counteracting that.

    I have talked to my doctor briefly about stopping this medication since I don’t want to be on psych meds anyway. He is against me stopping but wants me to come in and talk again this week. My significant other is also in favor of me stopping so he plans to go with me to the appointment. I plan to start tapering tonight. Luckily I’m only on 5mg. Wish me luck. I’ll post again in a few weeks to report if I experience any side effects or if the tapering goes well.

  • Marie December 14, 2015, 9:50 pm

    I’ve been on abilify for 6 years and in the past couple months have been desperate to come off of it because it started causing severe depression after the birth of my son. Tried quitting cold-turkey a couple times but it was a complete nightmare. Tried tapering off 2.5 mg at a time every 2 weeks but even that was too sudden and nearly killed me.

    Honestly I am sick of these medicines, completely done with them and I think anyone whose had a similar experience should give up on them too. I’ve been through 10 medications in the past 10 years (I’m 20 and have been medicated since I was 10) and every single one of them has negatively impacted me in some way, 3 of them nearly costing me my life. There has got to be a better way to treat depression and anxiety!

    I’ve just started neurofeedback and it seems to be helping. I will do everything else in my power to kick this depression before I go back to meds. The thing that kills me the most is the confusion and guesswork: Is it this med that’s causing this negative side-effect? Or is it this one? Do I need to lower this medicine? Or raise it? Should I quit this med or is that a bad idea?

    WHY THE HELL AM I STILL SUICIDAL EVEN WITH 3 MEDS IN MY SYSTEM?! Is it the meds making me suicidal or is it just me?! Thankfully I have successfully taken myself off every other med and I am left with just abilify to come off of. Still face a lot of anxiety, depression, and confusion that comes with it. But on the road to getting better, I feel.

  • RQ December 17, 2015, 5:19 pm

    Follow up to my June 1 post. I finally tapered down to .6mg and then stopped completely just before Thanksgiving. Even with that, I experienced heightened anxiety, joint pain, and dizziness. Just this week, I fell into a funk (depression) and couldn’t understand what was wrong with me, then I read above how symptoms may last as long as 90 days. I think because I was on it so long I am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but nothing that I can’t handle. I still go to work, and function normal, but not without some difficulty.

    I expect this will last for a while, and luckily I’m off for two weeks at Christmas, so I at least don’t have to worry about stress from work. My point is, even if you are on a low dose, you may experience withdrawal symptoms for a while if you had been taking it a long time like me. Just be patient, it gets better over time. If it gets too bad, I take a very low dose of Xanax and that helps, but of course Xanax has its own issues with addiction and withdrawal, so I do that VERY sparingly.

    If you need to continue functioning while weaning off Abilify, I highly recommend having an anti-anxiety med handy for those times that it gets really bad, and it will get really bad at times. Just be sure to take the anti-anxiety very sparingly like I did so you don’t end up addicted to something else.

    • sanjay January 6, 2016, 1:54 pm

      RQ, Thanks for your post, it’s really informative. I was on zoloft 50 mg for 3 years and was doing quite well no issues.I taking it for depression and may be mild OCD. But I don`t why my psych recommended me to go on abilify 2.5 mg 5 months back. Anyway I started 5 months back taking 2.5 mg at night.

      First few weeks I heard buzzing sound in my ears. About a month ago I noticed I am having too many mood swings and I didn’t use to have any mood swings. I was always kind of stable and in a good mood type person. So I decided to quit abilify 1 month back, cold turkey. For 1 week I was ok, but now after that, I am having worse time of my life. My mind is full of negative and depressive thoughts.

      I think I am having too many withdrawal symptoms. Mornings are worse. I am having cold sweats on my forehead, stiffness in my body, no hunger. Always in fear and panic. Did anyone had similar symptoms and how long will they last? Really need some advice and help.

  • AG January 6, 2016, 10:05 am

    I’ve been taking Abilify prescribed in hospital and was there for 3 months, for what was diagnosed as psychosis. I was put on it slowly from 5, 10 and now 15mg daily. I’m planning to taper off slowly and reading this it sounds pretty scary. Hoping that symptoms won’t be as bad, if I go off it slow. While increasing the dose at hospital I had experienced restless legs, worst at night when going to sleep, anxiety, general restlessness, crying moods, high agitation. I am very scared of tardive dyskinesia after withdrawal of the drug, that I read about. I now wish I was never put on it.

  • Kyle January 9, 2016, 4:21 pm

    I was diagnosed with schizophrenia a couple years ago. My psychiatrist had me prescribed to 40mg of abilify daily. Exceeding the maximum by 10mg. I ended up moving to a new state, no longer did I have medicated as a result. I had to quit abilify and effexor (300mg) cold turkey. It’s been 2-3 months now and I’m still in a terrible state. My symptoms are all severe.

    Anxiety, dysphoria, cognition severely altered(decreased), panic attacks, lost of interest in all hobbies, inability to plan, and more. I’ve become dependent on Tylenol pm for sedation. I don’t work, literally unable to watch tv, can’t comprehend music or tv they have no effect such as a form of stimuli. The only thing I have is hope that my chemistry will eventually be restored. Otherwise I’m just lost, an empty, emotionless, thoughtless body.

  • Jonna January 10, 2016, 5:25 am

    I am currently withdrawing from 10 mg of Abilify, I am down to 8.5mg a day. I am withdrawing 0.5 mg at 3 month intervals which is very slow, I am still having withdrawal symptoms i.e. depression, excessive crying and suicidal thoughts (which I won’t be acting on), days where I need to sleep for 14+ hours and mood swings, this is on a bad day, other days I will be perfectly fine.

    My psychiatrist says that 5 mg is as low as I should go, so once I get to 5mg I am going to sit on that dose for 1 – 2 years see how I function and then look at the final reduction of 5 mg all going well. My psychiatrist also says it is highly unlikely this is going to be successful. But I am pig-headed and hate this medication with a passion. I have been on it for 10 years now. This drug is powerful! Do not start taking it!

    If you are forced to take it try to get the lowest dose possible. This drug is the work of pure evil, I know this as I have been subjected to its affects. Psychiatrists pockets are filled with money from these drugs and their disabling effects… it is in their best interest that you take these drugs and dumb down/mask the real issues at hand.

  • Sam January 16, 2016, 1:30 am

    I want to describe my horrific experience withdrawing from Abilify. I took 5mg for a little over a year for mixed state bipolar disorder. For a long time I thought this was a wonder drug, the only medication that ever truly worked (and I have taken around 30 different medications since the age of 15). I noticed that I was losing huge chunks of my memory, and I was unable to function as well cognitively, so I decided to stop the drug.

    My job/life is in academia, so brain functioning is crucial to my existence. The other side effects I noticed while on the drug were: akinesia (feeling like I couldn’t stop moving, like I was crawling out of my skin–I was prescribed Valium for this side effect, which worked, and for insomnia), hand tremors, lip smacking, and I gained 5 lbs. I honestly believe that Abilify was designed to make it nearly impossible to stop taking.

    Withdrawal:
    Stage 1: Extreme Sleepiness (one week)
    Medical Coping: taking Adderall to get out of bed

    I tapered for a couple of weeks, then I stopped taking the drug altogether. The first wave I experienced was extreme fatigue, which lasted for a week. I slept and stayed in bed whenever I could for about a week. Then, I felt better for a couple of days.

    Stage 2: Pain and Depression (one week)
    Medical Coping: taking Adderall to get out of bed/ Valium to stop anxiety

    I started to feel emotional/physical pain (as if every cell in my body were crying/aching), an inability to get out of bed, an inability to socialize. This lasted for about a week.

    Stage 3: Horror/Agony (4 weeks, daily)
    Medical Coping: taking A LOT of Valium for panic attacks, supplements (SAM-E, 5-HTP, multivitamins, Ginkgo Biloba, vegetarian omega-3)

    Every day I was struck with the scariest, chemical-feeling panic attacks. I would sob uncontrollably for hours; I had manic anxiety, worrying infinitely about everything to the point of delusion; endless terror; hyperventilating; shaking; suicidal ideation; hopelessness; dysphoric mania; physical pain; inability to leave the bed or socialize; fears that I could not endure the agony any longer; fears that my brain was forever damaged; repetitive panic attacks about specific stressors (my friends noticed that the topics of these panic attacks would arise in cycles); fears that nothing would ever get better; unimaginable terror and horror without an object of the terror; depersonalization; disassociation; feeling utterly alone and no one was able to “reach” me; the worst feeling of my life (worse than any suicidal depression or anxiety attack I have ever had in my life, and I had attempted suicide twice prior to Abilify…this was worse).

    The withdrawal I experienced from Abilify was like nothing I had ever experienced before in my life. As I stated above, I believe this drug was designed to make it nearly impossible to get off of it without committing suicide. I was surrounded 24/7 by friends for 6 weeks (I still am), I was on suicide watch several times. I felt like I was being “possessed,” that my personality/self was being kidnapped.

    There are literally no words to describe the terror and agony I endured on a daily basis at the hands of this withdrawal. It has been 6 weeks since I stopped taking Abilify, and things are getting better. I haven’t had a panic attack in 3 days, I have been able to get out of bed and be mildly productive during these last few days (luckily, I am a professor, so I had the entire winter break to recover from this drug).

    I lost all the Abilify weight I gained. While I do not yet feel good, I feel OK. I think things will continue to improve the longer I am off this dangerous drug. Things to consider: Abilify is the highest selling drug in America (for a reason: it is almost impossible to stop taking), and secondly, it is under review by the FDA to become the first “smart drug,” where they place a nanochip in the pill to allow your psychiatrist to monitor exactly when you take the drug. Creepy.

    If I believed in evil, I would say that Abilify is evil. It should be illegal. There should be a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of this drug. For anyone out there who is trying to get off Abilify, it will be the scariest/worst experience of your life, but it DOES get better. It took 6 weeks for me to begin to stop having the delusional terrors and panic attacks, but I feel better.

    I’m writing to catalog what a dangerous drug this is and to give anyone who is trying to withdraw from it hope. Good luck <3

    • Kait February 3, 2016, 5:28 am

      Hi, Sam. I wanted to check in with you to see how you are doing. I believe we are coming out of a similar situation.

      • Sam February 13, 2016, 8:51 pm

        Hi Kait, I am slowly getting better. I no longer have the panic attacks, or severe sobbing episodes. I do, however, think the withdrawal has left me in a depression. I wake up almost every morning with a sense of dread, don’t want to leave the bed, and just hope my brain is still recovering and will shift me out of this depression.

        While what I am currently experiencing is bad, I am still thankful that the worst is now over. But, I am plagued by the guilt of not being more productive, with publishing deadlines approaching, and absolutely no motivation. I hope you are doing OK. Where are you in the withdrawal process? Take care, Sam

  • M January 16, 2016, 8:33 pm

    Just an update. It has now been 2 months since my last dose of Abilify. I am still a mess with horrible anxiety and depression. Am taking 0.5 mg of Xanax twice a day which helps somewhat. Really feel hopeless and like this is never going to end.

  • E January 18, 2016, 4:51 pm

    Stopped 5mg Abilify cold turkey 3 weeks ago after realizing it was what caused me start gambling. UK and Canada have black box warnings regarding Abilify and gambling, but U.S. does not. Since I have stopped Abilify I have no urge to gamble; I have no urge to do anything, though. I feel like a zombie. Disassociate from the world or leave the world… I feel like this will never end.

  • Stephanie January 31, 2016, 2:06 pm

    Just stopped taking 30mg. Of abilify. I’ve been in it a few months at its highest dose. Stay away from this antipsychotic if possible. The withdrawal is severe. I have strong thoughts of suicide. I have an unrelenting headache and nothing helps to relieve it. I am anxious. Sweating has just started. My psych is away on vacation. Great! Bad timing. I am taking 1.5mg of Xanax to help with anxiety. This drug is hell to withdrawal front. Reading some of the stories here, I am even more afraid of what is to come. Please stay away from this drug at all costs!

  • mika February 8, 2016, 4:22 pm

    I used to take abilify 15mg a day for about 7 years. I came off it cold turkey. It’s been about 2 months since I’ve taken it. I have now got a withdrawal symptom called Tardive Dystonia which is affecting my mouth, hands and feet while I’m awake. I am using mindfulness techniques to reduce this withdrawal, but it’s tough going. I wonder how long it will last.

  • Scott February 17, 2016, 8:21 pm

    Just found this website. I’ve been on this evil drug Abilify for about 7 years at 15mg per day. Tapering off as suggested for about two weeks now. So hope things don’t go south. So far it’s bearable but am waiting for the brain to restore itself to the previous chemistry before Abilify. I was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, but have come to believe I had an old fashioned breakdown if I can use that terminology. Thank goodness for this website. It has been nothing short of miraculous in advice that is both encouraging and helpful. THANK YOU ALL who contributed.

  • Vickie February 21, 2016, 1:17 pm

    I took abilify because there was no alternative at the time and it helped at first, but caused extreme irritability and anxiety, so my doctor switched me to another medication. My thoughts are getting clearer, but the anxiety is still a big problem. Several people wrote that it gets better over time and that gives me hope; thank you for your honesty and kindness everyone. I think that all of you are incredibly brave to face this instead of running away. I admire your strength in the face of such difficulties.

  • Melissa February 29, 2016, 3:01 am

    I was on Abilify 5 mg for about 8 years for Bipolar disorder. 3 months ago my psychiatrist agreed to decrease the dose to 2.5mg. I took the 2.5mg dose for 3 months and was fine. I saw my psychiatrist 2 1/2 weeks ago and he gave me the go ahead to just stop it. I felt good until about 5 days ago, I have been feeling kind of down, I don’t want to go anywhere, I have more anxiety.

    I have been having really bad sharp abdominal pain for the past 5 days. I don’t know if the abdominal pain could possibly be related to stopping the abilify? I actually read about people who needed to get the liquid Abilify solution to wean down to a very low dose. Abilify really does more harm than good for sure.

  • Kirin March 6, 2016, 4:50 pm

    Update: I had my last dose of Abilify just before Christmas. I felt a little dizzy, and I’ve been more emotional, but other than than none of the horrible effects other people experienced. A few weeks later I tapered down and off the Zoloft. That went pretty smoothly too.

    Three nights ago I took my last dose of trazodone. I have been on that for about 20 years and had tapered down to 50 mg. Apparently that low dose was still really impacting my sleep. The last three nights have been rough, but each has been better than the last.

    For the first time since I was 12 years old I’m not on any sleep or psych meds. Finally! Kirin

  • Sally B. March 15, 2016, 5:18 pm

    I tapered off of Abilify until my last dose was 01/01/2016. I still have nausea, anxiety, headache, inability to concentrate, and a host of other side effects. Certainly not as bad as at first, but present nonetheless. I feel easily overwhelmed. I was on 10 mg of Abilify for approximately 8 years.

    I probably did not taper off of it long enough. Maybe a week to 10 days. At first, I thought I was going crazy, felt REALLY overwhelmed. I now have some good days. The insomnia is impossible. Last night I slept through the night for the first time since going off of it. But today I feel awful.

  • Chris March 16, 2016, 1:53 pm

    I was on abilify, 15 mg. For over two years. Along with 100 mg of lamotragine. And 10 mg of Buspirone. The 4 years previous I was on a number of other meds, but the major one was seroquel. A very high dose at that. I decided to quit cold turkey about two weeks ago. The only withdrawal symptom that I have noticed is insomnia. I have been getting an average of 3 hours of sleep each night for the last week.

    One night, two nights ago, I was fortunate to have 7 hours of sleep. I’m really hoping the insomnia will where off soon, as the lack of sleep can cause delusional thinking and hallucinations. I noticed a good habit to have is writing my mood and thoughts in a daily journal. Then each weekend I plan on sharing my journal entries with a therapist, to keep my thoughts and moods monitored.

    Diet and exercise is a huge must. Staying active, and surrounding myself with positive, uplifting friends is a must. Also, cutting out people from my life that bring me down emotionally, or try to start drama with me, is a must. That includes family members.

  • Jarrett March 22, 2016, 1:20 pm

    I found this page by far the most useful for determining how long Abilify withdrawal will last. The answer is that there’s no easy answer. In my case, I’ve been taking 15mg for five years, though I’m on 7.5mg now by recommendation of my psychiatrist. I don’t know how long withdrawal will be because my physiology may be different from others.

    I’ve been through Abilify withdrawal before, but I always get scared of the psychosis and end up reinstating the drug after a few days. I sometimes wonder if I just gave my brain time to adjust and reset if things would eventually return to normal. It’s scary though because there’s no way I could work when I’m going through that hell. How am I going to financially support myself while experiencing intense psychosis?

    Fortunately, at least for me, there are none of the physical symptoms that others have described here.

  • Lea April 24, 2016, 2:11 pm

    I have been on Abilify for several years. I am presently involved in tapering the dose very slowly. It may help others to know that I find success in reducing at increments of less than 10% of the total. I cut the tablets (which is fine) as per my psychiatrist’s instructions. This medication is available in tablets of 2 mgs.

    It is possible, therefore, to reduce at a rate of .5 mgs (1/4 tablet) every two weeks or more. I would not, personally, go faster than that. Even with a 10% reduction I do have some withdrawal effect about four days after the reduction begins. I have headache, nausea, flu-like symptoms where I just feel ill and so I rest. This lasts for about one day.

    I am really glad that I found this information so I do not feel alone or that something else is causing me to feel as I do. I truly feel for those who have had to stop cold turkey due to lack of ability to get the medication. I wonder if going into a hospital for a monitored environment is an option (Medicare will cover this) for some folks. It’s not ideal but it may be helpful.

    Thank you to all who have commented. We’re not alone. In my opinion, Abilify is a good medication for those who need it and I am thankful to have it, but it is wise to heed the information given here and go off of it very, very slowly with a doctor monitoring the weaning off.

  • Michelle April 27, 2016, 1:43 am

    Hi what a great blog site, thank you all for your contributions. I’ve been on aripiprazole for over 8 years. I have just stopped taking 7.5mg for the last 2 days. My husband of 10 days and I are trying to fall pregnant and thought it be best for our baby. I feel I have a slightly foggy brain but that’s all.

  • Jim G April 28, 2016, 5:03 am

    I’m experiencing withdrawal now after cold turkeying 3 or 4 weeks ago. Thanks for this important info. I can tell this is withdrawal and not a mixed bipolar mood episode thanks to your info. I was only taking 5 mg. so far I can do my job. Sometimes confusion but with more energy also. A mixed bipolar mood might actually be my withdrawal symptoms. Wish me luck.

  • Rhonda May 15, 2016, 1:43 am

    Six years ago I had a nervous breakdown due to the large amount of stress in my life. Traveling 6 out of 7 days, father diagnosed with cancer, rocky marriage and a teenage son. I spent 72 hours on a voluntary commitment in the hope if finding a solution for dealing with my stress. There starts my journey into psych pill land.

    I was incorrectly diagnosed Bipolar and put on xanax, Trazodone, Zoloft and Seroquel. Needless to say I could no longer function at a high level, all I wanted to do was stare into space and sleep. In addition, I gained so much weight and no longer resembled myself. Over the years I was “adjusted” onto different meds and finally found my way to Abilify.

    It was about 1.5 years after I started Abilify that I began the twitching. My Psychiatrist said I had Parkinson and the MDS said it was my “mental” medicine. She suggested a cold turkey off of Abilify to see if the twitching would stop. Horrible w/d symptoms; crying, anxiety, confusion, sweating and the shakes. I went back on Abilify and said I could live with the twitching.

    Six months later insurance said it would no longer pay for Abilify so Psychiatrist wanted to change meds again and I said NO, enough is enough, and this time I did taper. I experienced horrible brain zaps, anxiety, and increased blood pressure but it dissipated after a month. It was at this time that I was only taking Xanax add Trazodone. All of the Bipolar symptoms were gone.

    In February I began my taper of 1 mg of Xanax and I am now one week completely off Xanax. W/D is more challenging but I am surviving. In 6 months I will w/d from the Trazodone. To anyone looking to go off these meds, taper and see it through. There is life out there. Good Luck.

  • Shay May 17, 2016, 7:37 am

    I stopped Abilify cold turkey two weeks ago. Incredible pain and tension in legs ensued. I have Restless Leg Syndrome every day beginning around 4 p.m., and lasting well into the early morning. It makes my legs feel like they’re slowly contracting, then they’re pulled tight. This happens every few minutes.

  • Ronia May 19, 2016, 6:11 pm

    I was on Abilify 2 mg for years. My therapist said I should talk to my psych about getting off all meds since they are bad for your body. I have been off Abilify for almost two months now and a couple weeks ago started having bad restless legs and insomnia. My general doctor said to take magnesium 400mg at night. It helped a few nights but still having the legs issue. I hope it goes away soon because I’m so tired during the day!!! Good luck to all trying to get off it.

  • Ben May 27, 2016, 10:11 pm

    After being diagnosed with psychosis in 2003 it was three years of experimenting with medications before I was put on Albilify (30mg). It seemed to keep more stable than the numerous other medications I’d tried. During that time, between 2006 and present I had tried to come off the medication ‘cold turkey’ on a number of occasions – two times of which had landed me in an acute psych ward and experiencing the full effects of withdrawals from Abilify which wasn’t pleasant.

    After having a second visit to the acute psych ward unit in 2014 it took me until this year (2016) to finally decide to try cutting down the Abilify from 30 mgs to 5mgs over six months and with medical supervision. I’m now in my third week of being off Abilify and I can feel myself adjusting to no medication. The side effects that I’m experiencing are mild mood swings and dry mouth and lips. I feel more alert to my surroundings.

  • Donna Pilkington June 6, 2016, 11:23 pm

    I posted over 6 months ago with the story of my husband’s severe experience after tapering off Abilify. He has had much improvement since then but is definitely not back to his normal self. It was life altering. He cannot work full time or engage in any activity for very long. He becomes exhausted. He shakes, has trouble focusing, trouble with memory, and a host of other symptoms that were not present previously.

    I can offer more detail if anyone is interested. I see that there are lawsuits starting but the criteria for such only includes compulsive gambling and type 2 diabetics in children while taking Abilify. I know a lot of people have posted with similar stories to ours. I have reported to the FDA, the drug company, Doctors, pharmacists, and others. Perhaps if I could encourage others to do the same, we might get the support we deserve.

    It is our opinion and the opinion of many others that Abilify was the cause of my husband’s problems. Can’t change that now but we can advocate for others and expect support from the FDA, the drug company, and the medical community. I encourage you to share your experiences and report such to the above mentioned.

    You are not alone and I believe that if we join together we can make a difference for ourselves and possibly prevent future occurrences to others. If anyone wants to know more details about our personal experience, please post. I will be certain to check back.

  • Tim W June 13, 2016, 6:30 pm

    I was provided abilify from a doctor at the VA as an adjunct to my antidepressant for a couple of months. The medication did not work for me and was stopped. (I should have never been given it in the first place – the doctor did not do a good evaluation – I was treated like a number and not a patient.)

    As a result, I am suffering from classic abilify withdrawal symptoms to include anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite and so on. I have been off the medication for over two months and still have issues. All I can say is keep fighting through it – you will get better eventually. Also, make sure your doctor knows what the hell they are doing and do the right thing for you.

    • Donna Pilkington June 15, 2016, 10:20 pm

      Hi Tim, sounds similar to my husband’s experience. We keep hoping he will eventually be better. It’s been 8 months. He is having special testing next week to determine if his dopamine producers in his brain are functioning properly. It is possible that the Abilify triggered a Parkinson’s like condition or even possibly Parkinson’s Disease.

      The Doctors are on board with us now and believe that something happened and that it’s not exclusively anxiety/depression, I will post with an update when we know more. I hope you’re experiencing short term discomfort and recover quickly. I encourage you to share your experience with your Doctors and pharmacists. Good luck! Donna

      • Jarrett June 20, 2016, 7:40 pm

        Donna, can you please give me more information about your husband’s situation with this drug, such as, how quickly did he taper off, whether he experienced any psychosis, what were his full range of symptoms, what recovery looks like for him, etc. Thank you!

        • Donna Pilkington June 23, 2016, 4:26 pm

          Hi Jarrett, if you scroll up quite a bit you can find my entry that explains our experience. We have been dealing with consequences since last October. 8 months. His remaining symptoms are: generalized tremor more pronounced on right side. Even when not visible the tremors are felt within. They increase with activity. General malaise. Disrupted sleep cycle. Easily fatigued. Poor focus.

          Prior to this, he was able to attend to 3 computer monitors at a time while doing cad drawings and manage his company and work over 12 hrs at a time if necessary. Now he can only work for about 2 hrs and can only manage one monitor and is exhausted when he quits. Of course the inactivity has caused him to gain weight and lower his endurance even more. He just had a DAT SCAN which looks at dopamine receptors and is used to R/O Parkinson’s Disease. He does not have Parkinson’s Disease.

          MRI has ruled out stroke and tumor. Going for genetic blood tests, going to see an integrative medical doctor, and is having Lyme’s Disease testing. So far the only possible cause of all of this is the Abilify. It was the only variable present at the onset of symptoms. My research informs me that he may still recover in time or not! Thank God he is much better than the initial onset.

          He states that it was the worst experience he ever had and he felt he was literally losing his mind. That severity declined in about 6 weeks if I recall correctly. I’ve documented the sequence of everything and will hopefully post that when I get it all organized. Presently I’m planning on getting legal guidance not to be vindictive but to bring awareness to the public.

          Also, he was on a low dose for about 2 months and tapered off slowly and the severe withdrawal or whatever it was happened within a week of being off of it. If you can’t find my initial post let me know.

  • Melinda Hopson June 20, 2016, 4:27 am

    I stopped my abilify ‘cold turkey’ from my 60mg. Yes it was about 60mg, my doctor made a mistake and I was taking too much. I have been off for 3 weeks and have been experiencing extreme headaches, extreme light headedness, extreme nausea, lack of sleep, irritability, and depression. My choice to quit my meds was not a wise one I’ll admit, but I was getting frustrated at the ineffectiveness and the side effects.

  • Dani June 22, 2016, 6:21 pm

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. I’m torn between fear that the withdrawal symptoms are going to get worse, and gratitude that I no longer take Abilify. I was diagnosed bipolar around 2005 and took Abilify daily until three weeks ago. My final dosage was the full 30mg. About a month ago I started feeling unwell in general, physically and mentally.

    I got the idea that the Abilify was poisoning me and asked my new psychiatrist to change me to a different mood stabilizer. She did, and now I take 250mg Depakote twice a day. At that visit I submitted a sample for genetic testing to see which meds I metabolize well, and which I don’t. My results came back and I am green light go on the Depakote, but strictly contraindicated for Abilify. Go figure.

    Two years ago I was without the Abilify for two months and went barking mad. The withdrawals were horrible at best. I should have paid more notice to the fact that I felt so much better after getting back on the drug.

    So now I’m 3 weeks into a cold turkey Abilify quit, but on Depakote. I have constant headaches from grinding my teeth, severe brain fog that my ADHD med can’t touch, and no appetite. The last part is not so bad, I gained 75 pounds on Abilify over the years, it’s just that not eating makes the headaches worse.

    I’ve got a message into my doctor about possible vitamins or supplements I could take for help easing the symptoms. But, I am really scared things are going to get worse before they get better. Thanks again to all of you for letting me know I am not alone.

    • Donna Pilkington June 23, 2016, 4:01 pm

      Dani, keep us updated about how you are doing. Hope you feel better soon. I’d like to learn more about the blood test you described to assess which meds are compatible for each individual.

  • patience June 26, 2016, 5:22 pm

    Hi everyone. I would like to thank you for your comments, suggestions and personal accounts of dealing with coming off of Abilify. I found the information within this forum to be helpful in making my decision to taper off of Abilify after having been on a 10mg dose for around 4.5 years. I also did this without the support of my psychiatrist (as I have not made an appointment in a year and a half), but let my family doc know while I was in the process of tapering and he was OK with it.

    With my situation, I was hospitalized 5 years ago and diagnosed as Bipolar I during my first and only manic episode which came about when I was under extreme stress. Previously, I had been on and off antidepressants since my teens (with being off psych meds for close to 10 years). I was also diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive type) at age 27 and started on Concerta, in addition to the Sertraline I had been on at the time. The manic episode and Bipolar diagnosis followed a few months after.

    I was then taking Lithium for 2-3 years and tried several antipsychotics since hospitalization and ended up finding Abilify to be the most tolerable. There have been a couple occasions where I was not able to obtain Abilify for several days once my prescription ran out. I was sick from withdrawal with headaches, nausea and vomiting. With this, I knew that going off Abilify cold turkey was not for me.

    Following suggestions from this forum (and recalling how I tapered off of Effexor as a teen), I purchased a pill cutter and cut my 10mg tablet into eighths. I have gone down 1/8 of a dose about every 2 weeks. Once I had seen my doctor when I was down to taking 5mg, he prescribed 5mg tablets which I have only needed to cut into quarters. I am now down to taking 1.25mg and am not planning on anymore refills.

    After reading through this forum, I had greater insight into what I could possibly expect as symptoms of coming off of Abilify and was a little nervous. I let my husband know about what I had learned and he promised to keep an eye on me. Fortunately, although my symptoms have not been pleasant, they haven’t been too extreme. I mostly notice more headaches; often associated with minor stress, sometimes waking up with one and just more in general.

    So I have been going for the Tylenol or Advil more often than usual, but it helps and hopefully as my body gets used to functioning with lower doses/withuot Abilify, the headaches won’t persist. The other thing I have been experiencing is nausea and occasional vomiting in the mornings (especially when brushing my teeth). Combined with the headaches, it has felt like morning sickness.

    I ended up taking a pregnancy test about 5 weeks ago, but it was negative and my cycle is normal. (I have also made the decision recently to quit my birth control pills, but these symptoms started prior to that.) In the mornings, I have found the need to generally switch from drinking coffee to drinking tea as it is gentler on my stomach and have been late for work a few times because of the vomiting.

    My issues with mood are about the same as when I was taking my full dose. I don’t feel like another psychiatric med is the answer to solving that issue however and am working to find healthier ways to deal with it. At one point, I was prescribed Zydis for this which made me feel more mellow, but also made me want to sleep. Although I hesitate to mention it, the only other substance that I have found that makes me feel more mellow when I have a mood swing is marijuana.

    I don’t mean to endorse this and know there are risks especially for those of us with psychiatric conditions that can make things much worse. I would like to minimize my use of this as well and learn to better manage the mood swings without it. It doesn’t solve my problems, but it does make coping with my mood in the moment more tolerable and allows me to relate more positively with my family in those moments and so I am looking to obtain it via prescription for the time being to help manage.

    I will be meeting with a pharmacist to discuss the use and effects in a couple of weeks. But really, I would rather be without prescribed meds and self-medicating and see it as an achievable long-term goal. I have also noticed that on days when forgetting to take my meds lately, I have not been feeling as “out of it” and as tired as I used to and am able to function well at work. I’m thinking this is due to my body not missing the larger dose of Abilify that I had been on.

    Thanks again everyone! And if you’re considering going off Abilify, tapering is the safer way to go if you are able to do it. Please don’t feel discouraged by the potential effects that can occur if you choose to come off of it; just be aware of what could happen and monitor yourself (and let those close to you know, so they are aware as well). Everyone is unique and will respond differently to this.

    If you’re having a hard time with it, maybe a more gradual tapering is necessary along with professional guidance. It’s obviously not easy on your body to come off Abilify, so patience is also key. Although I’m still continuing with coming off of Abilify, the positives outweigh the negative aspects. I was feeling pretty good about starting on my last eight of a dose and expect to be done with Abilify in a little under 2 weeks.

  • Anne June 27, 2016, 7:55 pm

    I have been tapering off Abilify and now am totally off for 10 days. I have nervous/anxious symptoms and my mouth is full of cancer sores. I am very uncomfortable and can’t seem to get myself out of this angst. Is this a common withdrawal reaction? How long might it last? P.S. My e-mail should start with a lower case a not a capital A.

    • Donna Pilkington June 28, 2016, 12:22 am

      I haven’t heard of anyone as of yet suffering with canker sores. That’s awful! The other symptoms should improve. Can you be more specific about how you feel?

      • Anne June 28, 2016, 1:13 am

        I’m assuming those cankers are a result of anxiety gone wild after coming off Abilify. I just wonder how long can I expect this to last. I am treating the sores but figure the angst to be related to dropping the Abilify. I am really wanting to stay off Abilify and hope that the depression, low self esteem, lack of purpose will subside soon.

  • Julia July 4, 2016, 6:53 am

    I have been on Abilify since about 2009 (started on Olanzapine but changed to Abilify after a couple of years trying to minimize weight gain, ha ha). I started on 30mg which has gradually gone down for the last few years to 5mg. I am also on Sodium Valproate for mood (my diagnosis is Schizo-Affective Disorder, basically Bipolar with delusions).

    I have changed significantly over my 7 years on this drug: I have gradually lost energy and now have minimal energy, even climbing the stairs seems like a mammoth task. I have changed from someone involved in creative endeavors who had interests and enjoyed socialising into someone who remembers with amazement that feeling of being interested in life; someone who would now prefer to stare out of the window than do anything else, or just lie around.

    I sleep plenty but rarely feel rested. These habits/conditions have since Abilify days got gradually worse, though I can still work part-time, though I sometimes take sick time due to lack of the “will to live” in relation to working life. At first I was delighted that my psychotic symptoms were in check and my mood stable but years down the line I want to come off this drug: lose weight and rekindle a sense of being alive, and I am glad I found this website, and grateful to those who have shared their experience.

    My psychotic/manic breaks (about four of them, mid-thirties to mid-forties) which I experienced before taking the drug were, yes, difficult to handle, and frightening, but I would say the loss of feeling I am participating in my own life is more frightening and worse than that period of my life, even though I am now no trouble to anyone else – basically just a quiet fat lump in the corner thinking about whether to have broccoli in cheese sauce for lunch. I have been in the habit of blaming myself for this passivity and lethargy, and before I read these posts would not have thought the drug could affect me so much.

    Having read the experiences here of coming off Abilify (thank you again), I will take every precaution to taper and to be aware of the possibilities of some difficult times ahead. I am not due to see the psychiatrist until August so will either wait to get the green light from them so that I can have my GP on board, or see whether the GP will back a tapered withdrawal before then.

  • Donna Pilkington July 20, 2016, 5:33 pm

    Hi, I’ve posted several times and want to focus on response this time. Has anyone informed the FDA, the drug manufacturer, the Doctors, pharmacists, or even lawyers with all the posted experiences? It’s helpful to vent and share experiences but even more vital that we take action. I have done so. Had to fill out forms for some.

    Spoke to many. Lawyers will not accept cases for the most part unless there’s many requests. I have more to call though. I’m not trying to make a buck or totally dismiss the good effects of this drug for a select few but I feel the public needs to be aware and I believe this drug definitely should not be used as an adjunct to an antidepressant. It is an antipsychotic and has a profound effect on the brain and should never be used recklessly.

    Anyone no matter the reason taking it should never discontinue it without serious supervision and knowledge of the possible outcomes. Please, take action and make a difference if not for yourself than for others.

  • Andy July 29, 2016, 9:26 pm

    I came off of abilify nearly a year ago and experienced extreme fatigue. This symptom has still not subsided. I am pissed. I wish I had never been put on this drug it ruined my life.

  • Derek August 9, 2016, 4:38 am

    Where to begin? Well, I’ve been on abilify almost 2 years now. I was pretty much forced to submit to taking abilify via injection while in the psych ward for psychosis. Yes, the psychosis was real, but I firmly believe it was from a benzodiazepine withdrawal. I was forced to go cold turkey after 3 years on nitrazepam. Anyways, I’ve been constantly brining up the notion of tapering down from my 300mg a week injection with my doctor, but the guy won’t budge.

    He thinks all of the side effects I complain about are all in my head, but the side effects I am bringing to his attention are all listed on abilify’s labels and warnings. I wish that the severe anhedonia, apathy, sluggishness, tardive dyskinesia, impotence etc were all fabricated in my head, I really do. So, I recently declined my last injection. This was about a week and a half ago and so far the only thing I notice is a mild headache.

    I obviously don’t recommend this to anyone, but I felt trapped. I am a bit scared about the coming weeks after reading every single withdrawal experience online. Its almost as if the delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms was created by design to make it appear that its the symptoms of “our disease” causing the extreme distress. I don’t want to list all of the things that I have been doing and am going to do in the near future to hopefully ease this transition.

    Some of it involves self-medicating with dangerous drugs, but I am sure that it’ll work. Also, look into the healing powers of crystals and gemstones. They really do work if you believe in them and I believe that they help normalize our brain chemistry. It’s worth a shot if you’ve exhausted every avenue as far as help goes.

    O.k. Thanks a ton to everybody who has shared their story. You all have been a great help and I sincerely wish you all nothing but the best. I WILL update my progress in exactly one week.

  • Naomi August 10, 2016, 9:46 am

    Hi, I read this page when I was considering withdrawing from Abilify and Sertraline. It really worried me. Nonetheless, I weaned myself off Abilify starting from 10mg and halving the dose every 10 days until I couldn’t half the tablet flakes anymore. It’s now a month since my last sliver of tablet.

    I’m perfectly well and have experienced no withdrawal effects, even though I was taking 10mg every day for over 2 years. I just wanted people to know that you won’t necessarily become dreadfully ill when withdrawing, it depends entirely on your own physiology. I feel better than I’ve felt since I started taking the drug and I’m really happy I made the decision to come off it.

    I also withdrew from Sertraline with no problems. I hope everyone who continues to suffer manages to get through it and experiences a better life on the other side of the withdrawal. Good luck to everyone trying.

  • Derek August 13, 2016, 7:17 pm

    Hi. I am updating my post from about a week ago in regards to withdrawals from going cold turkey off 10mg a day abilify. This is now my 3rd week without the drug. So far I have had severe headaches accompanied with “brain zaps”, diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems, extremely aggressive behavior, loss of appetite, profuse sweating, vision disturbances, insomnia and constant ringing in my ears. Oh, and I fainted once after getting up too fast.

    I know I shouldn’t be doing this cold turkey, but I felt as if I had no other choice. Now that I am not “med compliant” it seems as if my doctor and health team have abandoned me. The scariest side effect of this withdrawal is the aggressive behavior. Its like a wave of anger comes over me and I have no control over it. Since stopping the abilify I have been involved in numerous confrontations in public. This behavior is not like me and its frightening.

    I will update my progress or lack thereof in exactly one week. I hope this gets better because I really can’t envision it being much worse. My heart goes out to those of you who are going through the same experiences. Best wishes to you all.

  • Amy August 24, 2016, 12:13 am

    I have tried to come off of Abilify several times over the 4 years I’ve been taking it and have been unsuccessful because I couldn’t handle the withdrawal symptoms. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 4 years ago in which I think and so does my family that I was misdiagnosed. I’m 35 years old and I’ve never been told that I was bipolar or had symptoms of bipolar until I saw this psychiatrist for depression.

    Once I started Abilify it made me feel numb like I had no opinion. I gained 50lbs over the past 4 years along with increased depression. My husband, on the other hand thinks this medicine is a miracle drug for me but I know it’s not. He sees me when I have tried to come off of it and experience withdrawal symptoms and asks me to start taking the Abilify again.

    So I give in because I feel so bad from the withdrawal symptoms and I know that I’m unpleasant to be around. I’m currently tapering off right now from 5 mg by cutting them in half for about 2 weeks and now I’m on 2.5mg every other day. I’m experiencing slight withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, difficulty concentrating and depression.

    I was very shocked to see everyone out there that is experiencing the same thing I am with the difficulty coming off of Abilify. I want to come off of this medicine for several reasons. Like I said earlier I have put on 50lbs which has caused me to be insulin resistant and depressed. Diabetes runs in my family so I am scared that if I continue to take this I will be facing that next.

    Also my blood pressure has increased more than likely from the weight gain. Also I have tried diet and exercise and the scales don’t budge! I have a very flat affect, with no personality. I have no drive to do anything since I’ve been on this medicine. I feel like the past 4 years have been a blur. If there is anyone out there who can give me some advice on a better tapering method that would help me out so much! I’m currently taking 0.25mg of Xanax twice a day as needed for the withdrawal symptoms.

  • Paul August 29, 2016, 1:49 pm

    Hi all, I was just informed yesterday that my current insurance does not cover Abilify, and I am all out of it. I was thinking about just giving it up, since I was only on a small dose (2.5mg), but I’ve been on it since 2009 in addition to 40mg of Prozac to treat my depression and anxiety, and apparently it sounds as though the withdrawal can be quite bad the longer a person is on the medication.

    In recent months, my doctor increased my Prozac to 60mg, so I thought maybe that would compensate for the loss of the Abilify, but all of these posts make me quite nervous about quitting. I can ask my doctor if he has some samples, but I doubt he has enough to last me until November 1st when my new benefits kick in at my new job. I certainly cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket. I could use some advice.

    Also, has anyone made it through withdrawal and returned to a stable mental state after? I don’t ask that to be smart, it’s just that most of these posts have to do with folks who are still in withdrawal.

  • Samy September 5, 2016, 8:38 am

    Hello, I’m coming off Abilify cold turkey for around 10 days now. I was on Abilify 10mg for a year and 15mg for a year also. I’m shaking like a leaf but have much more energy to cope with my work instead of being half asleep all the time. I’m glad I found this website, never wanted to start this medication anyway, thought it would take away a lot of my normal way of life. Good luck everybody!

  • Lee September 9, 2016, 6:33 am

    I am 17 days off of abilify and finally getting to almost feel like myself. I had all of the symptoms listed above after the first week off. The worst anxiety of my life!! Flu like symptoms. All of it! I thought I was going to lose my job.

    It gets better!! Keep with it. the second week is the worst. The third is disappointing when it’s not all the way gone and you still feel terrible. But there are breaks in the day that remind you who you are. It is possible! It is just very scary in the mean time. I wouldn’t suggest doing it alone.

    There are going to be days where you can’t feed yourself, but you have to eat. Make sure you have help before you tapper off! Good luck!! I just wanted to tell you all it is possible! I did a lot of meditations and hypnosis throughout the second and third week. It helped a lot.

    • Lee September 16, 2016, 12:30 am

      Update: I am almost at 4 weeks off. I thought I was doing better then I had a really bad day yesterday that made me think I would be living like this forever. However, I woke up this morning feeling like myself and all day today I have felt pretty good. I slept most of the morning away. But all afternoon I’ve had hardly any neurological issues at all.

      Just an update to say it gets better then sometimes worse for a day then better again as it leaves your system. Keep with it!! I have been taking B vitamins every day (one with P5P) and 800 mg of ibuprofen twice a day and 200 mg of 5 HTP once a day. Also occasionally still pills for my stomach, as I was still having nausea and diarrhea into the 4th week!

      The only stories on here are from the beginning weeks it seems like, which is disheartening. I wanted to come back and say, it gets better! It’s just a long process. Don’t plan to work for week two or week three! It’s too much. Good luck and God bless!

  • Susan September 16, 2016, 4:17 pm

    Does anyone out there have positive experience coming off this drug Abilify? I have been on 5mgs for 4 months. It helps me a lot. I am a different person on it. Today I am cutting it in half. I don’t want to go higher. I thought it would give me energy but it doesn’t, I am going to ask the doctor to add Topamax to help with the weight gain and headaches. Has any anyone heard of this combination? Please and Thank You.

  • Mari September 26, 2016, 2:05 am

    I was on Abilify 15mg along with clonazepam .5MG for anxiety, being diagnosed with bipolar. I’ve only been on it for 11 days but I hate that I was so sleepy during the day and my body wold be restless at night. My mind was so cloudy I couldn’t think. I have to take another clonazepam and my doxepin 10mg (PTSD) just so I could sleep at night.

    On 9/22 I stop Abilify cold turkey just because it became too much. Now I have all the withdrawal symptoms and it’s been 4 days. I can’t handle the restlessness and the anxiety and muscle spasms. How long will this last since it only been a short time taking it? Am I looking at 2 weeks for just a short period of time?

  • Suzanne Lafreniere September 27, 2016, 5:02 pm

    I have quit taking Abilify for 4 wks today! Before quitting completely I weened off for 5 wks. The 1st 3 wks I cut down to 1/2 or 2.5mg daily. The following 2 wks I took 2.5mg every 2nd day only. I think I should have weaned off for longer! I don’t know if it would have lessen the withdrawals. I don’t know for sure but I am not going back!

    When I started Abilify I called it a Godsend! It was for me! But now going thru these withdrawals I wonder if it was all worth it. I still say yes but with reservations. I still can’t handle daylight; it makes me so dizzy and upsets my stomach. I lost 7 lbs in the last 3 wks. I don’t have an appetite so I bought Premier Protein Drinks to get me thru the day. I’ve had diarrhea for at least 4 wks.

    I can’t think clearly… I’m so glad to have found this site today. Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. Stay strong!

  • Kathryn October 7, 2016, 1:20 am

    Due to a change in prescription plans I went off Abilify 15 mg cold turkey. My doctor made no effort to advocate for me with the insurance company even though my withdrawal symptoms are severe. He wants me to take Risperdal.

    I was prescribed Abilify as an antidepressant not an antipsychotic. I don’t feel comfortable with this. Besides, the Abilify withdrawal symptoms could go on for several more weeks. Constant nausea, anxiety, dizziness, chills. Fainted twice and hit my head.

  • Amber October 9, 2016, 9:49 pm

    I was put on abilify to help boost my lexapro. I was put on 2.5mg. Was on that for about a month then we upped me to 5mg, I immediately couldn’t stand it, so after about 2 weeks, we put me back down to 2.5mg. It’s been about another month on it and we just found out that I am pregnant, so I stopped cold turkey. Being as I was on such a low dose, don’t know how I could have weaned off. I feel like I am dying though.

    I’m like living in a haze, my head is foggy all the time, I get these “popping” sensations in my head, I’m light headed, just want to sleep. I literally feel like I am losing my mind and I can’t stand it! Since I’m pregnant there isn’t much I can do since this drug is so harmful to fetuses. I just hope that this doesn’t last long. I’ve read it can last months and I really hope not because I won’t be able to survive this that long.

  • Justin October 12, 2016, 10:15 pm

    Am coming off a small amount of Abilify – 2.5 mg. Already feel my concentration going, harder to move. It’s great hearing from those who’ve come out the other side. It seems like an impossible mountain to climb. Just knowing that it’s normal to lose concentration, feel depression, helps.

    I’ve had success with the Walsh protocol. No SAD last year. Wouldn’t mind losing those extra pounds I gained (is that why despite eating super-healthy it doesn’t come off?) This stuff is brutal to come off.

  • Erica October 13, 2016, 2:56 am

    I have been on Effexor off and on for 5 years but went through a rough patch where the psychiatrist recommended Abilify. I wanted to get better so I agreed to it. It started off at 2.5 mg but, with no noticeable changes, I was boosted to 5 mg and then 7.5 mg. Abilify has been a nightmare for me. I take responsibility for my actions but they came out of left field. For one thing, I started gambling. A lot.

    To the point of serious financial hardship. Before this drug, I HATED gambling. If my husband went gambling I would be very upset. Another thing: I started eating nothing but junk food. I was insatiable. I went from a size 8 to a size 16 in 6 months. I gained so much weight in such a short period of time my wedding dress almost didn’t fit. I was told Abilify wasn’t known for weight gain. Obviously the eating caused the weight gain, not the drug itself, but the cravings and the feelings of never being satiated were unbearable.

    I was a complete zombie on this drug and was continuously having outer body experiences. I felt like an outsider of myself with no control over my own actions. I would watch myself gamble away all our money and eat junk food. My personal hygiene was impossible to take care of. I stopped exercising and our home was in a constant state of chaos. I stopped grocery shopping, lost all sex drive, stopped socializing, stopped being able to converse with people, lost interest in my friends, started sucking at my job, and turned into a blob. A literal blob.

    Three weeks ago my psychiatrist finally realized the Abilify was hurting me more than making me better so he took me off them, reducing my dose from 7.5 mg to 2 mg. I had such a bad experience on it I decided to quit cold turkey to try to get back to at least some remnants of my former self. I’m going through withdrawals now: panic attacks, bad clenching of the jaw, sweating and overheating, nausea, breaking out into rashes, sleeplessness, brain jolts, stomach pain, extreme thirst and paranoia.

    However, I can feel the desire to binge eat and gamble reducing, which is very important to me. I’ll take withdrawal symptoms over that any day. One of the worst side effects of going off of this drug is the feelings of shame. I’m ashamed a drug designed to help has caused me so much setback. I’m ashamed a drug almost ruined my marriage. I’m ashamed because I’m ultimately responsible for my own actions, but I know in my heart the drugs influenced a lot of bad decision making on my part.

    If these pills help you I think that’s wonderful. But honestly, don’t be so quick to take this drug or increase the dosage unless you’re forewarned of some of the consequences. Psychiatrists don’t seem to warn people of the hell some of the wrong drugs can cause a person, especially an anti-psychotic or other mind-altering drug. I hope if you’re experiencing some of these same symptoms, either on the drug or withdrawing, you have a strong support network because you will need it.

  • Misuzu October 27, 2016, 6:31 am

    I was on Abilify due to constant nausea with an unknown cause for about 5 months and quit cold turkey 3 weeks ago. The first week was fine. It was as if nothing changed. Then, the 2nd week I started getting really upset over small things and looked up Abilify withdrawal symptoms and realized that was what I was having.

    This week I don’t feel as depressed anymore but my neck feels stiff and I’m having a bad case of nausea. I also feel very sleepy all day long. I’m glad to have found this website because some websites say Abilify rarely have withdrawal symptoms. I hope these symptoms go away soon, but from everyone’s experience it seems to last a while longer.

    Luckily I was only on 3mg once a day so hopefully it won’t be as bad. Everyone’s comments here are very educating and inspiring. I wish doctors talk about withdrawal symptoms before prescribing these drugs.

  • Pete November 21, 2016, 2:28 am

    I’ve just about had it with Abilify. The first time I was on it I gained 57 lbs. Then I was switched to the maximum dose of Geodon, 160 mg I believe, which I have never understood. I was able to lose all the weight with diet and exercise.

    Then I started having severe insomnia with racing thoughts every night and very weird feelings of “unrealness” (the best way I can describe it, it was so unnerving) always during the day. I had been taking the Geodon before bed at night. So my doctor put me back on Abilify, 2.5 mg this time, and about 2 years later I have gained 75 lbs.

    Exercise no longer works, and dieting is impossible because I am always hungry. The sad thing is that I feel fine mentally. However the weight gain is too much no pun intended. Still my doc refuses to take me off Abilify without prescribing another antipsychotic.

    So next Wed I am seeing a nurse practitioner who can prescribe meds with the hope that she will taper me off Abilify 2.5 mg. I have some hope considering I’m on a low dose. I just have had it with this weight gain. Thanks for this site!

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