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10 Best Supplements For Antidepressant Withdrawal

When withdrawing from any antidepressant, most would agree that it’s best to taper. Tapering reduces the likelihood that you’ll endure protracted withdrawal symptoms, and gives your nervous system a slower readjustment to homeostatic functioning from being under the influence of a drug. Taking steps such as: maintaining a good diet for mental health, staying productive, getting light exercise, enrolling in therapy, and staying socially connected – are all likely to help.

However, some people may need a little bit more help in coping with their withdrawal symptoms and returning original symptoms. Certain supplements are well-known to buffer the effects of withdrawal. Most people don’t really know what supplements to take, so they resort to taking a multivitamin or something recommended in a forum.

Factors to consider before using supplements

If you plan on taking a supplement (or stack) after you’ve discontinued an antidepressant, there are some factors that you should consider. Things to consider include: whether you’ve fully withdrawn, are taking other medications (or using other drugs), the dosage of the supplement(s) you plan on taking, as well as other interactions.

1. Fully withdrawn vs. still tapering

Someone who has fully withdrawn from an antidepressant is more likely to need supplements compared to someone who is still taking the medication. Although you may be tempted to take a supplement during the tapering phase, be sure that the supplement(s) you decide to take do not have an interaction with your medication. For more information on potential contraindications, talk to your doctor.

Withdrawal symptoms tend to hit hardest when a person is fully withdrawn, not when they’re still tapering. Although it may be difficult to taper, during the tapering process your body is still getting some of the drug. Once you’ve fully discontinued, there’s no more drug to stimulate the nervous system, leaving you with full-blown withdrawals.

2. Other medications

If you are taking other medications, these generally will help buffer the effects of withdrawal. Many people who don’t notice any (severe) withdrawals from antidepressants are on another medication (or cocktail of them). By taking other medications, these serve to mask many of the severe withdrawal symptoms from the antidepressant that you’ve discontinued.

All that said, before you consider taking a supplement, you’ll want to make sure that the other medications will not interact with it. Many drugs do have interactions with supplements, which could theoretically create an entirely new set of symptoms from the contraindication. Talk to your doctor to verify that there will be no interaction before supplementing.

3. Severity of withdrawal symptoms

Next you’ll want to analyze your need to take supplement vs. want. Don’t convince yourself that you need to take a supplement when withdrawal is going alright. Supplementation should be used for only the people that really need it. Think of supplements as additional tools to help you cope with certain difficult symptoms of withdrawal, not a cure for your particular condition.

4. Supplement dosage

Assuming you’re going to take a supplement, it is important to take the proper dosage that works to minimize the withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes people take a supplement, but aren’t taking enough, while in other cases, people are taking too much and end up with unwanted side effects (that become confusing when you’re already dealing with withdrawal). Take the minimal effective dose of whatever supplement(s) you find beneficial.

If you are confused about dosing, be sure to talk to your doctor and ask for some advice. Realize that dosing may require some individual experimentation to find what is most effective for withdrawal symptom reduction.

5. Supplement interactions & side effects

Before blindly throwing a supplement stack down the hatch, make sure you aren’t taking multiple supplements that have detrimental interactions. Additionally in order to minimize potential side effects and interaction effects, you’ll want to remain on the smallest dose of each that provides you with benefit. If you aren’t sure whether supplements interact with each other, look them up online and talk to a medical professional. It’s better to err on the side of caution as you won’t want more crazy side effects emerging with already-present withdrawal symptoms.

10 Best Supplements for Antidepressant Withdrawal (List)

Below is a comprehensive list of the best supplements to consider when withdrawing from an antidepressant. Understand that not everyone will benefit from all the supplements listed below. Some people may not find any supplement on this list helpful, and find them nothing but a waste of money. If you’re really struggling to recover from your withdrawal, the right supplements can make a huge difference in expediting your recovery.

1. Activated charcoal

Assuming you have taken your final dose of an antidepressant, you may want to consider taking activated charcoal to clear your body of potential drug-related toxins. Most people that take pharmaceutical drugs for a long-term (e.g. months or years) on a daily basis may end up with some drug-induced toxicity circulating throughout their body. To be on the safe side, you may want to consider taking some activated charcoal to help clear these.

Accumulated toxins can have detrimental effects on brain activity as well as general health. Activated charcoal has been around for thousands (upon thousands) of years and used as a way to improve the health of intestines. It functions through a mechanism referred to as “adsorption” which means “binding to,” which is different than “absorption.” While most people know activated charcoal is used to help clear the body of poisons and drugs (in the event of an overdose), it is a healthy supplement for detoxification.

Taking activated charcoal prevents poisons from being absorbed by the stomach, and inhibits the circulation of drugs, toxins, and all of their metabolites throughout the body. The activated charcoal is created by burning a carbon source (e.g. wood) and the high temperature eliminates all oxygen, activating it with gases. As a result an “adsorbent” material is created that contains millions of tiny pores that bind to any toxins within your body.

These pores have thousands of times more weight than the actual charcoal. Just a couple grams of this stuff has the same surface area as a football field. Numerous medical studies show that taking activated charcoal is completely safe for humans. You need not take activated charcoal frequently unless exposed to toxins.

Also, it probably shouldn’t be taken with other supplements as it may affect their absorption. Therefore you may want to supplement this within one or two days after your final antidepressant dose.  It should help clear the body of any chemically toxic leftovers.

2. Fish Oil or Krill Oil

There are numerous benefits associated with taking omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA). The DHA serves as an essential building block for your brain, and EPA helps reduce inflammation. There is scientific evidence supporting that omega-3 fatty acids can help increase brain volume, grey matter, and healthy brain processes. During withdrawal from an antidepressant, one of the quickest ways to help the brain heal is to supplement high-quality omega-3s.

You could consider taking either fish oil or krill oil – each has its pros and cons. I would recommend fish oil vs. krill oil simply because you’re getting significantly more omega-3s per serving than in krill oil. There is less research of krill oil’s benefits, particularly in regards to brain health. Therefore, pick a high-quality fish oil supplement, try it, and determine whether you get any benefit.

The nice thing about fish oil is that you can generally take them with your antidepressant (assuming you aren’t on any anticoagulants). Therefore you could begin supplementing omega-3s and let them build up in your system before you are completely off of your antidepressant.

Omega-3s may improve the following withdrawal symptoms: 

  • Aggression: Some people notice that after continuous supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids, they become significantly less aggressive. This could be due to changes in neurotransmission (both levels and efficiency) as well as a result of increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex.
  • Anxiety: Some studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids are capable of reducing production of the hormone “cortisol” which is directly tied to stress, anxiety, and the fight-or-flight response. For some people, omega-3s may significantly improve symptoms of anxiety.
  • Brain zaps: One of the most effective treatments for the dreaded electrical shock sensations a.k.a. “brain zaps” is omega-3 fatty acids. While it is unclear as to how omega-3s help these, many people have documented significant reductions in the frequency and number of zaps they experience during withdrawal as a result of supplementation.
  • Concentration problems: There is some scientific evidence in support of the idea that omega-3 fatty acids can help improve symptoms of inattentiveness and attentional deficits. Most people can’t think clearly when they discontinue an antidepressant, and the DHA contained within omeag-3s usually helps a little.
  • Depression: Some would argue that omega-3 fatty acids (particularly EPA) are capable of treating depression. While they may not be quite as potent as an antidepressant, they can be effective when taken at the right dose. (Read: Fish oil for depression).
  • Irritability: Many people become highly irritable during withdrawal from antidepressants. While omega-3s will likely not cure the irritability, they may help improve it. The improvement is likely a result of changes in brain activity and neurotransmission.

Note: It’s important to understand that although fish oil may help or not have a profound effect for certain people, others find that fish oil makes depression or anxiety worse.  If you notice a worsening of your symptoms after taking fish oil, do not hesitate to discontinue.  This may be caused by increased acetylcholine and/or a sensitivity to amines.

3. Glutathione (GSH)

Glutathione is considered among the most potent antioxidants in the human body. Every single cell contains glutathione, which helps reduce accumulation of toxins and prevents inflammation. Some speculate that as we age, the endogenous glutathione production within the body decreases. If you aren’t making enough, it could compromise your immune system and/or cause cellular damage.

Those who were taking an antidepressant daily for a long-term may have experienced liver problems. In fact, many antidepressants have a warning about the possibility to cause hepatotoxicity or liver damage. While most people won’t end up with damaged livers as a result of taking antidepressants, you may want to help your liver properly heal and your immune system stay strong upon discontinuation.

For some people, glutathione makes a huge difference in improving their health during the withdrawal process. If you’re already eating an optimal diet for mental health, you may not need to worry as much about supplementation because your body will be making it from eating greens (e.g. asparagus). If you suspect you have accumulated a significant amount of toxins, your body’s natural gluathione production may not cut it and supplementation should be considered.

4. Melatonin

Do you have ridiculous insomnia now that you’ve stopped taking your antidepressant? Most people do and don’t know how to cope with the inability to get sleep. Lack of sleep is not only problematic for physical health, but increases unwanted stress hormones like cortisol, which can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and depression. If you aren’t getting adequate, restful sleep during withdrawal, it’s going to be much tougher for your physiology to restore homeostasis.

Your body is responsible for endogenous production of melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Whenever you notice yourself feeling tired at night, it’s a result of your circadian rhythm stimulating the production of melatonin to tell you that your body needs some sleep. Unfortunately antidepressant withdrawal generally throws a monkey wrench into the circadian rhythm and melatonin production becomes abnormal.

Those with abnormally low levels of serotonin, probably aren’t getting sufficient melatonin. Serotonin is necessary for the production of adequate melatonin. During withdrawal, your brain is attempting to fix itself from an antidepressant-induced chemical imbalance. You had been taking the drug for so long, that now your serotonin level is abnormally low, which affects a variety of other functions, including that of melatonin.

There is evidence that exogenous supplementation of melatonin can help restore your body’s circadian rhythm and that it could even improve your brain health. Some speculate that melatonin acts as a neuroprotective agent with significant antioxidant properties. Melatonin is certainly something to consider if your sleep cycle has become problematic.

5. Magnesium

Many people consider magnesium to be an anti-stress mineral, and a deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms including anxiety. A lot of people notice that when they increase their magnesium levels, they start to feel more calm, and in a better mood. A considerable number of people are likely magnesium deficient as well, which can cause mood swings and unnecessary stress.

There’s no harm associated with supplementing a little magnesium, so consider adding it to your regimen. During withdrawal magnesium may help with anxiety, insomnia, restoring homeostatic brain functions, and may even reduce heart palpitations. Low levels of magnesium also inhibit your ability to absorb Vitamin D – low levels of this vitamin are associated with depression.

Make sure that your magnesium intake is adequate during withdrawal; supplements are not a bad option. Some even speculate that increasing magnesium will help the adrenals heal when they’ve been overtaxed by prolonged medication usage. Keep in mind that there are different types of magnesium as well, some of which are formulated specifically to help you stay calm.

6. 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan

Assuming you were taking an SSRI (serotonergic antidepressant), your serotonin levels are likely abnormal upon discontinuation. The drug rewires your brain to become dependent on it to create sufficient serotonin. When you discontinue the drug, the brain is still expecting to receive the serotonin boost that it got from your antidepressant.

It takes the brain a little while to figure out that it’s no longer getting any serotonin from the medication. Things can then get chaotic as the brain attempts to reset its normal functioning. By taking L-tryptophan or 5-HTP, you’ll be increasing the level of serotonin within the brain. This helps reduce anxiety, can improve mood, and decrease all withdrawal symptoms related to low-serotonin.

The dosage will vary, but some experts recommend taking 50 to 100 mg of 5-HTP or 500 to 1000 mg of L-tryptophan (twice per day); once in the afternoon and once before bed. Obviously you won’t want to take both 5-HTP and L-tryptophan together, but if one doesn’t work, try the other. Some people find that for targeting insomnia, the L-tryptophan is the more potent option.

You should not be taking these while still on any serotonergic medication as this may result in a dangerous condition known as “serotonin syndrome.” Understand that the dosages of these supplements will likely need to be adjusted based on whether you’re getting any benefit. If you don’t feel any benefit, you may need to do some personal experimentation to find out what works best. If you’re unsure about the dose to take, always talk to a professional.

Understand that L-tryptophan and 5-HTP both increase serotonin, but not everyone has the same reactions to them. One person may find L-tryptophan more beneficial, and another may prefer 5-HTP. 5-HTP bypasses a step in the conversion process of serotonin production. It is generally recommended to try 5-HTP prior to L-tryptophan due to speculative increased efficacy as a result of the more efficient conversion to serotonin.

Note: You’ll want to take these on an empty stomach due to the fact that they compete with other amino acids. Many people recommend taking them first thing in the morning with a Vitamin B-Complex or specific B-vitamins.

7. Vitamin B Complex

Assuming you’re taking either 5-HTP or Tryptophan, you’re probably going to want some B-vitamins. Specifically, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting Vitamin B3 (which aids in the conversion of tryptophan) and Vitamin B6 (which helps convert 5-HTP into serotonin). These are more for absorption of other supplements, but may provide unique standalone benefits as well.

It should be noted that some people react to B Vitamins with a significant increase in overall energy. While the energy boost may be beneficial for combating withdrawal fatigue, it may increase anxiety and/or agitation. Proceed with caution if you notice that your anxiety ramps up when taking B Vitamins and discontinue if you believe it is worsening your withdrawal symptoms. Should you notice detrimental effects of a B-complex, consider individual B-Vitamins like B3, B6, and B12.

8. L-Tyrosine or L-Phenylalanine (DLPA)

If you were on a non-serotonergic antidepressant, you need not use supplements that increase serotonin. Many atypical antidepressants affect neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine (to a lesser extent). Supplementing 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan is unlikely to help curb the neurotransmitter deficits that you’re dealing with.

A couple of options that you have if you’re trying to increase norepinephrine or dopamine levels are both L-Tyrosine and/or L-Phenylalanine. These are very potent amino acids and shouldn’t be taken in large quantities if you are particularly sensitive to stimulatory neurotransmitters. Taking too much may make you feel stuck in high-gear, like you’re uncomfortably agitated and/or hype.

If you supplement L-Tyrosine, your brain will be increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. While this may be what some people need during withdrawal, it is important to proceed with caution, especially if you have a history of anxiety. It should be mentioned that if you were taking an SNRI, you may want to take L-Tyrosine along with 5-HTP or a serotonergic agent.

10. Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt

If you have a low sodium-potassium ratio, you’ll want to increase your salt intake. Generally with prolonged exposure to a fight-or-flight response, your adrenals become taxed. If you feel excessively fatigued and trapped in a state of prolonged fight-or-flight, you may want to consider adding some Himalayan Salt or some fresh Sea Salt to your diet.

In animal studies, an abnormally low sodium intake is associated with increased anxiety. Some even go as far as to speculate that lack of salt in the diet can be a direct cause of mood problems and adrenal insufficiency. I’d recommend avoiding standard table salt due to the fact that it’s processed with chemicals; stick to fresh sea salt or Himalayan salt.

Other supplements to consider…

There are a few other supplements that you may want to consider if you haven’t found relief from the ones listed above. These include: GABA, Rhodiola Rosea, SAM-e, and St. John’s Wort.

  • GABA: It remains unclear as to whether GABA supplements actually work or if they’re merely a placebo. Many people speculate that they are incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, hence eliciting no effect. Others believe that certain GABA supplements work for anxiety and they notice a clear calming effect. You could experiment with GABA and determine for yourself if you get any benefit. If it works, it should calm you down, reduce anxiety, curb insomnia, and decrease agitation.
  • Rhodiola Rosea: Some people have had success supplementing Rhodiola Rosea after discontinuing their antidepressant. There is some evidence that this herbal supplement can help combat fatigue, increase energy, reduce depression, and even help with anxiety. This is certainly something to consider if none of the other supplements have helped.
  • SAM-e: S-Adenosyl methionine is commonly used by people to help take the “edge off” during antidepressant withdrawal. Many people consider it to function as a standalone antidepressant. If you aren’t having success with any of the options listed above, you may want to go through a trial of this stuff. Personally I used this during withdrawal from an antidepressant and found that it exacerbated my withdrawal symptoms. Although I had a bad experience, it doesn’t mean that yours won’t be better.
  • St. John’s Wort: This is a legitimate plant-based antidepressant that is known to help normalize serotonin levels during withdrawal. If you don’t find the 5-HTP or the L-Tryptophan helpful, this could be a third option to consider. It has been tested in clinical trials and has proven itself as one of the only herbal treatments for mild cases of depression.
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17990195
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22589230
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25719303

Don’t go overboard with supplementation

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t take more supplements than you really need. Additionally, both the dosage and duration of supplementation should be kept to a minimum. The more supplements you blindly throw at the withdrawal symptoms, the more likely you’re going to experience supplement-induced side effects and interactions. This will make it even more difficult to determine whether you’re experiencing protracted antidepressant withdrawal or side effects of your supplements.

I’d do some experimentation and find what works best for you. If you don’t react well to one supplement, simply stop taking it and try something else. Realize that activated charcoal isn’t something you need to take daily, and that melatonin can be used on an “as-needed” basis. If you’re trying to increase neurotransmitters that were depleted with your antidepressant, then specifically target those – don’t throw other supplements (that increase other neurotransmitters) into the equation.

How long should you supplement?

There are certain supplements that should be taken “as-needed” and clearly don’t need to be taken daily for benefit. For example, if you are sleeping good, but randomly experience a bout of insomnia, you can take some melatonin. Understand that humans didn’t evolve shoveling down supplements on a daily basis.

Therefore you should attempt to gradually reduce your amount of supplementation over-time. If you are taking 5-HTP or L-tryptophan daily, you may want to keep at it for a few months. Once you’ve taken them for a few months, you should then attempt to reduce the doses and taper yourself off of them. While these help increase serotonin levels, you don’t need to rely on them for the long-term.

Think of the supplements as a way for your body to repair itself and minimize withdrawal symptoms. Just like opioid-replacement options are used to help people discontinue painkillers, think of these serotonin boosters in a similar sense. They will help make the transitory process a little bit easier from being medicated to being medication-free. Eventually, you’ll want to be both drug and supplement free (if possible).

Should you take every supplement listed above?

You certainly don’t need to take the entire stack of supplements above to get benefit. Be sure to focus on the most troubling withdrawal symptoms and using a supplement that directly targets those symptoms. If you’re experiencing insomnia, taking omega-3 fatty acids probably aren’t going to help much. For insomnia, you’d be much better off supplementing melatonin.

On the other hand, if you’re experiencing foggy thinking and brain zaps, but have no problem falling asleep at night, you may want to avoid the melatonin, and take the omega-3 fatty acids. Obviously in the event that you have an array of severe symptoms, take as many supplements as necessary to get you back on track. Always make sure that the combinations of supplements you’re taking aren’t going to interact.

Keep in mind that taking activated charcoal with any of the supplements listed above will minimize their effectiveness. Activated charcoal is meant to clean up toxins within the body, but when you take it with other supplements, it binds to them and may minimize their effectiveness and/or clear them from the body.

What about multivitamins?

There is significant controversy regarding the usage of multivitamins. These are composite vitamins that contain a “little bit” of each of the essentials. The problem with multivitamins is that you’re getting a diluted source of each vitamin, and you’re also getting vitamins that you probably don’t need. Multivitamins don’t generally provide a sufficient source of the specific vitamins that your body needs, and you’re getting stuff that you don’t need.

Most large-scale studies show that mortality actually increases with consistent supplementation of multivitamins. While some people claim that multivitamins offer balance, you should hesitate to take them and instead opt to take the vitamins that specifically target deficiencies. A case could be made for a very high-quality multivitamin, but do your research before you supplement.

What supplements helped you during antidepressant withdrawal?

If you’ve taken supplements to help you cope with antidepressant withdrawal, be sure to mention them in the comments section below. Feel free to discuss what your most troubling withdrawal symptoms were, what supplements helped the most, and/or what supplements didn’t provide any benefit. If there’s a supplement that’s not listed here that you think should be included, don’t hesitate to mention it below.

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{ 85 comments… add one }
  • Ivy B August 20, 2015, 1:19 am

    Very informative article. I take Omega fish oil every morning, sometimes with a vitamin E. In the evening, I take a calcium/magnesium/D3 supplement. I have melatonin to help me sleep at night and I do need it most nights. I hope to get my other nutrients from a good diet. I have been off an SNRI for almost 10 months, after being on it daily for 10 years. I did use a very low dose of fluoxetine for months 3 through 9 of the 10 months, so feel I may now need to take 5-HTP and B6 for a month or so because I still get depressed at some times and anxious at others. Still it’s better to let my brain heal itself without a daily blast of strong pharmaceutical SSRIs and SNRIs.

    • Erin July 14, 2016, 3:27 am

      Hi Ivy, I am trying to taper right now and having a horrid time. Can I ask what does you were on for those 10 years? Best, Erin

  • Nick September 11, 2015, 2:25 pm

    For those of you who are considering taking 5-HTP (side note: I’ve tried it with no results) you should take Vitamin B6 alongside it to help with absorption. MAKE SURE it’s the P-5-P version of B6, though, or it won’t help.

    • IC March 9, 2016, 5:11 pm

      I agree. I wouldn’t recommend 5 HTP unless necessary to balance with the use of another drug. I’ve experienced mild withdrawal effects & only used it consistent for a week to reduce stress & regulate appetite. I used it once a day when it actually suggests 2 a day. I’m on this website now in search of a recommendations to reverse the effects. However, I discontinued it completely & decided to go natural to cope w/ productiveness, protein, fitness, socializing (speaking about the issue) & magnesium.

  • Suzana October 13, 2015, 6:36 am

    I am on AP Seroquel and Lithium. Taking Lithium Orotate, taurine, magnesium oil, Dr. Schulze’s Superfood, chia seeds, as I am vegan, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Good supplementation is essential in withdrawal.

    • Nick June 22, 2016, 7:58 pm

      Obviously, since she’s vegan, she couldn’t go 5 minutes without announcing it.

      • Emily August 7, 2016, 5:50 am

        I think she said she was vegan to explain using chia seeds as opposed to a fish oil. :)

  • nikki November 1, 2015, 3:46 am

    Although I have never posted my thoughts online before, I will say this article was a great article. For me I’m still on opiates…I haven’t done it yet. ‘It’ as in quit taking the opiates. I’ve been on them for 12 years…and I’m young. Sad really, but I want to and I’m researching how to make the withdrawals go away, well at least lessen the effects. I want my brain to heal and be healthy so I may feel life again! Why must we feel pain before we can feel real joy?

    • Jean November 15, 2015, 12:51 am

      Nikki, your post touched my heart. I have struggled with anxiety all my life. I hope you have tried a standard SSRI or SNRI, which can really help. Maybe a little Trazodone for sleep versus the opiates. Also, try CalmAid, a lavender supplement. It has been helpful in allowing me to reduce my Trazodone–I take 160 mg of this special form of lavender at night, but you could take the smaller dose (80 mg.) during the day. Somewhat vigorous exercise (out in nature!) also helps. Please believe others struggle along with you. All we can do is learn from each day, and grab what joy we can. Hugs and all good wishes to you!

      • Jason February 24, 2016, 1:43 pm

        Jean, respectfully, this discussion is about which supplements aid in withdrawal from SSRI & SNRI, not giving advice to take them.

        • Rex February 27, 2016, 11:50 pm

          Yes, Jason. But sometimes you need to transition into a lessor evil to get rid of a larger one and then transitions again after time. This is not an overnight process. It will take some time. I’ve been working on getting off Citalopram and Trazadone for a couple of years. And so just a tapering off program helps the pain of withdrawal.

      • Jane June 30, 2016, 9:00 am

        So he should substitute the opiate addiction for a more dangerous SSRI addiction?

    • Ishmael January 11, 2016, 9:05 pm

      Transition to a weak short acting opiate (codeine) and then start on an SSRI. This is what I did and it helped massively. I’m now tapering off the SSRI’s with B complex and Omega 3.

      Most importantly, however, use your time to open yourself to let meaning into your life. Don’t try to find meaning because it must find you. All that you can do is be open to self discovery and the rest will follow.

  • Chubaloo December 4, 2015, 9:32 pm

    Interesting, and handy list. I have been following this site since I began getting brain zaps after alcohol withdrawal. I took Omega 3 DHA/EPA for a while and I felt great, but had to come off it due to high cholesterol. I found some EPA only capsules but these had 1000mg instead of the 120mg from the original capsules. Long story short, these 1000mg EPA only capsules actually seem to CAUSE brain zaps for me. Has anyone experienced this? Why would this be the case, just a too large of a dose?

  • Jennifer December 30, 2015, 9:25 am

    The supplements which have helped me most in withdrawal are: Magnesium, Taurine, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, L-Theanine, Inositol and drinking Camomile Tea. Fish Oil consistently made my symptoms worse and I tried loads of different kinds including Cod Liver Oil, liquids and capsule of recommended kinds. I also found I needed to give up caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, most sugar and artificial sweeteners.

    • Rex February 27, 2016, 11:55 pm

      Jennifer, Did you ever try getting rid of wheat? It helps!

    • Tonia May 26, 2016, 2:15 am

      Jennifer, How much of each of those supplements did you use? I’m going through Paxil poop out. When it quit, it quit. The withdrawal is horrible!! I may have to end up going on some kind of antipsychotic to get off of Paxil. I’m already on 1mg of clonazepam in the morning. I stay jittery, nauseous, headaches, have heart palpitations can’t sleep but for so long. I’ve been on Paxil for 15 years and it’s going to take a while to slowly get off. I’m at 45 mg now.

      • Mitzi July 17, 2016, 10:42 pm

        I have been on Paxil 40mg 17 yrs every time doctors try to take me off the withdrawals are so bad and so scary! I am going to take myself off this time. I have a lot of bad health problems and severe anxiety. I don’t even know where to start?

        • Sonia July 21, 2016, 2:35 pm

          Mitzi, I feel your pain. I withdrew from Paxil and it was hell. I felt like I had the flu all summer. Very sick! I persevered and finally got off of it. I was not prepared for the depression that followed and I eventually went on Prozac and Wellbutrin. Big mistake. Now I am withdrawing from Prozac and Wellbutrin.

          I have since learned that if I had treated my withdrawal and subsequent depression naturally, I probably would not have needed to take the Prozac and Wellbutrin. This time, before starting my withdrawal from Prozac and Wellbutrin, I sought treatment from a chiropractor, who has helped me build up my stores of nutrients and I am doing pretty well so far.

          He told me he could help if my withdrawal symptoms are too unpleasant, but so far so good. If and when a subsequent depression hits, I plan to try every possible natural remedy. Hang in there. You can do it!

        • Cathy September 20, 2016, 6:24 am

          I’ve been detoxing for 7 years… tried detox by titrating but not with Dr’s care, it was terrible. I want to detox right way… So afraid… where to start? Any help would be much appreciated!! Ty

  • Marwan January 24, 2016, 10:35 pm

    I used to take zoloft for 17 years. I gradually stopped taking them almost 3 months ago. I’m taking b100 complex, magnesium, omega 3 and vitamin C supplements to help buffer the withdrawal. It’s helping well. But I’m feeling quite agitated and weak lately. Hopefully it’s only a phase until I completely get better.

  • Itzel January 31, 2016, 2:19 pm

    Thank you to this article for such useful information. I just got of my meds 4 days ago, and have been feeling some withdrawals. I will start taking fish oils and vitamin C. Prayers to everyone going through this.

  • Challis February 1, 2016, 10:24 pm

    Thank you for this article. My mom has taken many antidepressants. She was on Zoloft for only a few months. The side affects have been so severe she has almost given up on living. I want to encourage all of you to turn to Jesus as well not pharmaceuticals. They are all more harm than good. God gave us the green to keep us healthy. Make changes in your life. You will find healing and deep joy in your heart.

    • Marcel May 16, 2016, 3:52 am

      Challis, antidepressants have been a lifesaver for millions of people. Hopefully you won’t have to experience true physical depression but if you do, saying Jesus is the answer is naive and only then will you understand this.

      • Lindsay June 8, 2016, 7:42 am

        Antidepressants have also been a downfall for many people. The longer you are on them the harder it is to get off them. Also, they tend to eventually pooping out, leaving you in a worse place than before starting them. I almost lost my mom to them, and they can cause you to be suicidal. Very dangerous drugs. Russian roulette.

      • Jane June 30, 2016, 9:03 am

        Marcel, it is naive, dishonest, and irresponsible to call poisons “SSRIs” life savers. The biggest mistake I ever made was taking antidepressants.

        • Melissa August 18, 2016, 10:57 pm

          Wow! This is supposed to be an article to help people with a very serious problem, and yet, I see so many people attacking other people for sharing their opinions and/or stories! I came here looking for help from SSRI withdrawals, Zoloft, to be specific. Zoloft helped me for years! But, I had to quit cold turkey due to insurance issues, and it has not been a good experience.

          I’m hoping some of the supplements will help me, as I would now rather stay off the Zoloft. Please remember, everyone is different! Just because something doesn’t work for you, or you had a bad experience, doesn’t mean everyone will. :-)

  • Victoria February 3, 2016, 12:34 pm

    I am day 5 into a cold turkey withdrawal from veneflaxine. Stupidly I didn’t plan it, I just did it without researching help first. I can cope with the night terrors and nausea, the sweats and headaches have gone now but I still have a fuzzy head and dizziness which is debilitating. Having now read a lot about withdrawals, I’m certainly not risking going back on my meds. But I’ve not told anyone what I’m doing as they’ll insist I start them again. So in short, can anyone advise the best supplement to help with my head please?

    • Amy March 10, 2016, 7:08 am

      Victoria, I quit Lexapro, 20 mg., cold turkey, a week ago as well. I don’t want to go to my MD, as he will tell me to taper off it, and I’m just DONE with it! My husband is reluctantly supporting me, because he’s not sure whether this is safe or not. I have been forgetful, confused, sometimes emotional, and need extra sleep. I’m taking fish oil, drinking epsom salts as a detox and got a 7-day detox from the grocery store. Just kind of “winging it!” Best wishes to you!

      • Gavin July 23, 2016, 11:53 pm

        Hi Amy, I’m currently trying to come off Lexapro. I tapered down from 10mg to 5mg to 2.5mg for about 3 weeks but am now completely stopped 4 days and having moody and irritability spells. It’s really heavy…. I’ve started taking Some of the recommended supplements because I hit a low today that wasn’t good at all… How are you now and how long did it take you to feel better? Sending support…

        • Steven August 4, 2016, 8:47 pm

          Hey Gavin, how are you doing now? I did the same thing as you. Tapered from 10mg Lexapro about six weeks ago. Went to 7.5 for a week, 5 for two weeks, 2.5 for two weeks, jumped to zero a week ago. Didn’t start getting any WD symptoms until day four. The last couple days have been very bad. I’ve been supplementing with a hefty stack and just started on 5-HTP, so hopefully that helps. Hope you’re doing better and would love to know about anything you did that may have helped.

          • Sherry November 15, 2016, 2:18 am

            Thank you for this blog. I have tried getting off of 10 mgs. of Paxil four times with medical doctors. Was not successful, due to all of the withdrawal side effects, mentioned in this blog. I am starting on 5HTP 100 mgs. today to try and balance the serotonin levels. I am praying this will work. I have gained 50 lbs. on Paxil and my physical health is declining, because of the weight gain. Any feedback is appreciated.

    • Toni November 15, 2016, 1:55 pm

      Hi, I did an Effexor WD about 13 years ago and it was a nightmare. I decided on cold turkey and it took 5 months to stop feeling the side effects. They included night terrors, feeling frozen in nightmares, the good old head zaps, frantic, frustrated…hard to remember now. For a long time I had to sleep with the light on because too deep a sleep was terrifying. My current (10 year) regime was 40mg lexapro and 600mg seroquel XR.

      Over a couple of years I decreased the seroquel and was down to 100 when I decided to get off the lexapro. Did a taper but two weeks after dose zero I’ve been hit with tinnitus which is driving me mad. I’ve been taking half a xanax to get some sleep but this noise in my head is one of the worst things ever. I see an ENT next week but I have read that citalopram is a major culprit of causing tinnitus.

      Two nights ago I started halving the seroquel cause I thought I feel like sh-t anyway – may as well get it over with. My advice to anyone trying to get off psychotropic drugs is do not cold turkey! It is EXTREMELY painful. I am going to get back to the fish oil and b group vitamins and hope they help. I also started ginkgo yesterday to try to help with the tinnitus. My heart goes out to all who are suffering withdrawals. It is truly awful.

      I’d also like to add that while I feel there is a place for antidepressants and antipsychotics they are being prescribed way too easily and commonly. I have NEVER been psychotic and yet I’ve been on seroquel for 10 years. I took it because they told me to. Please, please think and research before you take mind mess and spread the word that there are so many other ways for most people to cope with being human

  • Jane February 22, 2016, 2:20 am

    I have been on antidepressants for five years. I suffer badly with brain zaps, vertigo, nausea, fatigue, etc. when trying to lower the dose and withdraw. High strength flaxseed 3000 mg and red krill oil 2000 mg plus high strength probiotics have been making a big difference in the brain zaps. My energy levels are way better and the anxiety is not as pronounced.

  • Jason February 24, 2016, 1:51 pm

    I have tried at least 10 different antidepressants in my life and do not tolerate them well at all. The last one I took was Lexapro for only 5 days. The side effects were so horrible I was suicidal,OCD,couldn’t think straight, confused etc. (all magnified with Lexapro). I am now in withdrawal and this article seems promising. I started taking Magnesium, 5-HTP and Fish Oil today. Will see if they help my symptoms. Thanks for the great info!

    • Lindsay June 8, 2016, 7:44 am

      Hope you are feeling better. Antidepressants for sure can cause you to be suicidal, I almost lost my mom to these drugs.

  • Pat February 28, 2016, 5:02 am

    I am 72 and after 20 years of Paxil/Paroxetine, I quit. I tried tapering off several times, but got bad zaps and crashed, so I went back on it. This time I just quit all at once, and have been using vitamin supplements. I had no symptoms for over two weeks, other than some insomnia. I have only had a few mild zaps in the last couple of days. Now I am dealing with the nausea and just feeling rotten. I am also going to the YMCA three days a week for exercise classes. I eat a very healthy, organic diet and that may be helping. Is there any help for the nausea?

    • Michelle March 18, 2016, 5:05 am

      I heard that crystallized ginger does wonders for nausea… maybe look into that.

    • PC April 29, 2016, 2:43 am

      I also am around 70. I decided to jump off paroxetine and did it without tapering. I had been on it for several decades. I have had many of the usual withdrawal symptoms and most unpleasant is night sweats. Most of the withdrawal symptoms are gone but not all. I’m at about 14 off.

      The best approach to stay mentally healthy is to take a substantial amount of exercise every day. Support groups for problem solving and or speaking to intelligent and resourceful psychologists are the two best ways to work on mental challenges. I feel that taking antidepressant drugs prescribed by psychiatrists is less effective then utilizing exercise and taking a cognitive approach.

      Some problems are situational and do not need drugs but human interaction, time and inner strength.

      • ANNETTE NICHOLSON October 21, 2016, 7:00 pm

        I just recently stopped Paxil or Paroxetine after 18 years; I just got tired of having to contact a doctor to refill the prescription. About 4 days after quitting cold turkey I got all the symptoms…nausea, dizziness, sleep problems with bizarre nightmares, headaches, difficulty in concentrating, balancing problems, aches, disorientation.

        It helps if I take 2 hour brisk walks at least once or twice a day and at least at work I keep moving. I am going to try one of your recommendations just not sure which. I do plan to stop the multi vitamins. And I am really tired of these withdrawal symptoms. Thank you for the info. I really don’t want to be on antidepressants again.

    • Jane Maxwell August 14, 2016, 9:50 pm

      Try chewing cumin seeds for nausea, in turn it helps the feelings of anxiety. I am coming off Remeron. I am also taking Omega 3 and magnesium. On day 4 these have all made me feel more like my normal self. I am a 70 year young grandmother have been on Remeron for 12 years because I have Narcolepsy. I can no longer tolerate the voracious appetite and the extra weight, 2 stone, which can’t be healthy. Not alone.

    • Glenda August 20, 2016, 9:01 am

      Sounds like you are doing really well Pat. I use organic ginger powder made up into tea and sip until it eases. Usually 2 teaspoons added to 2 cups of boiled water in a teapot helps mine settle. It’s a huge relief!

  • Mell March 17, 2016, 12:57 am

    I’ve been on Effexor XL 225mg for 8 years but just found out I’m pregnant and doctors said I’ve got to stop immediately taking it. I have but I’m having the worst withdrawal symptoms ever, my heart is pounding, I’m nauseous, dizzy, brain zaps. What can I take please??

    • zip March 28, 2016, 9:33 am

      Take Omega 3 straight away it will help as well as a multi vitamin suitable for pregnancy (get one from a health food store that is good quality). Make sure you eat lots of greens and fruits too.

    • Lori November 1, 2016, 4:19 pm

      Look in to essential oils. They are a great option to help WD symptoms. Bergamot, lavender, peppermint. To start :)

  • TP April 11, 2016, 2:48 am

    I have been on Zoloft for what seems like forever. I first saw a psychiatrist while in a mentally abusive relationship. My ex told me that I was crazy and needed meds. Huge mistake!!! My 1st psychiatrist misdiagnosed me as bipolar and played russian roulette with a few bipolar medications that ruined years of my life and nearly killed me.

    One gave me a life-threatening rash, another made me so suicidal that I attempted suicide out of state in the middle of the woods. These made me CRAZY! I was fine before any medication. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety, panic disorder and prescribed a few SSRIs and SNRIs. The one without side effects was Zoloft. I admit in the beginning I liked Zoloft, but I felt high.

    People also thought I was high! After years now of feeling no benefit from the drug I can not stop taking it. My discontinuation symptoms are severe. I have tried both tapering off and quitting cold turkey. I hate that this drug is holding my brain hostage. I recently ran out and have been off of my 100mg/day for the past 3 days.

    The brain zaps, muscle pain, heart palpitation, sensitivity to noise, vertigo, among other side effects have made it impossible for me to function. It is hard to even organize my thoughts and type. I have had to retype this several times, because I am having trouble even spelling simple words. Unfortunately, I was kidnapped and almost murdered by an ex-boyfriend.

    I now suffer from CPTSD, anxiety, and have recently developed Acute Stress Disorder and am experiencing Disassociation. After the trauma of the assault I suffered a TIA. I spent a week in the ER alone and scared. They told me that the mini-stroke was a result of my PTSD and some sort of Conversion Disorder. It has been almost 2 years since I was kidnapped and assaulted. My life has completely fallen apart and gets worse as time goes on.

    After the stroke, I am now extremely paranoid. The paranoia stems from my brain not being able to handle anymore stress. I need help and don’t think drugs are the answer. At my most recent doctors appt. my doctor told me that I need to take an antipsychotic. I am not sleeping, working, leaving the house. I just exist. I occupy my mind with trivial things and lose all sense of time. I used to be so happy. People look at me and assume I am fine.

    That is the most frustrating thing. I modeled which was not necessarily healthy, since I controlled when I worked and could easily disguise anxiety by putting on an act. I am no longer able to even do that. I am healthy afraid to take an antipsychotic when I wish I had never begun the Zoloft. My doctor says that because my discontinuation symptoms are so severe that I will need to take Zoloft for the rest of my life. What kind of life is this though????

    • Louisa April 28, 2016, 1:13 am

      My thoughts are with you and I wish I had a magic wand to make everyone on this page better.

    • Meiam May 19, 2016, 6:08 pm

      I have NO IDEA when you wrote this comment but your story sounds EXACTLY like mine! Even down to trying to end your life in the middle of the woods! At this point my trauma ended almost 5 years ago but I still burst into tears reading your comment. I don’t know if you’ll see this or not but if you do, how are you? Do things get better?

    • Kaeley June 5, 2016, 12:14 am

      Oh dear. I’m five days into Paxil withdrawal just scrolling through this page and your comment made me sob. You are loved and you are in my thoughts. Try joining a group like a spin class or yoga class. Or maybe even a support group. Seek comfort in people who are going through what you are. Much love and good luck.

    • Jane June 30, 2016, 9:12 am

      Because of the withdrawal the doctor insists you take that high of a dose for life? These doctors need to be held accountable for the poison they keep handing out. That is unethical.

    • Lynn July 13, 2016, 1:48 am

      I’ll have to come back another time still having problems. Spelling and thinking. Would like to tell my story, of 29 years of meds. I’m finally only taking one 25mg zoloft, one every week. The head zaps creep up on me slowly and finally I can’t function at all and have to take one. Head zaps disappear within an hour. I’ve just started recently taking supplements.

      A psychiatrist, I finally got to see, has put me on, omega 3 oil 1000mg of DHA/500mg of EPA. And 500 MG of B6. I also put myself on taurine, because I developed a heart pvc when zoloft was increased. It seems to be working. Also I take evening primrose oil. A good brand name multi vitamin for women. Also a prebiotic. Tried rhodiola rosea.

      I think it helped with energy, it irritated my anxiety. I’m starting to feel up and down relief. My brain has been fighting to come back for 5 years now. But finally off antidepressants and way down on ativan. My advice is keep researching, never stop. Cause doctors don’t seem to really know what your talking about. Look up tardive dysphoria.

    • Annie August 11, 2016, 8:07 pm

      I have been going through withdrawal for over a month now. My boyfriend makes me feel like a complete failure. I’m not getting better fast enough for him. I really wished I would have done this without being in a relationship. I feel guilty for not being what I was a few years ago before I was on prozac. It’s hard to heal when someone is always telling you to get it together.

      • Theresa August 27, 2016, 8:54 pm

        Amy, hang in there. Most people take longer than a month to overcome withdrawal effects. If your boyfriend has a problem with this than it is his problems not yours. I have been on Paxil for more than 20 years and I am at two months after my last dose. I’m still having aches, pains, nausea, and other assorted things. It is getting better but it is also taking its sweet time.

        I also have family that find it hard to believe that this is all real. I can’t convince them. I just have to do what it right for me. Right now I’m just trying to find a way to ease the nausea and be able to eat something other than jello. My taste buds are making everything taste funny. Good luck to you and don’t let anyone tell you to get it together. They can’t possibly understand unless they have been in your shoes.

  • Deb April 23, 2016, 10:52 pm

    Thanks for this wonderful article. It has been challenging finding updated information from people getting off of these types of anti-depressants. Your article gave me hope during my weaning part AND all the comments reinforced what I know I should do. After experiencing the withdrawals from Venlafaxine I will happily get on board a healthy lifestyle. Only on day 2 – and it is nothing I could have thought of… No one tells you about it – no matter how close you are to your doctor. It’s all scary unless you KNOW what you’re in for.

    • Deb April 24, 2016, 6:43 pm

      Wanted to immediately update you all after yesterday’s post. I have had a product that I have used off and on for a year – many I know speak praises about it. It is an activated charcoal product – when I saw the initial post I jumped for joy because the number one item for removing toxins is activated charcoal – and it was first in the article.

      I wanted to find something to help with the withdrawal night headaches. Because of this I used my product and instead of 6 hours of headache – I only had a moderate one for 3 hours. I also upped my magnesium, utilized my probiotic and am feeling better. Thank you for all your comments. They DO help someone at sometime WHEN they need it – that person was me yesterday!

      • Tonia May 26, 2016, 2:08 am

        What kind of magnesium should I use? My Paxil pooped out in 2015 and I basically exist. Between nausea, headaches heart palpitations, severe anxiety and depression and can only sleep until 6 AM in the morning it’s awful. I don’t go anywhere because I feel so bad.

  • Carrie April 28, 2016, 9:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! Very helpful! I started Cymbalta 12 years ago, then about 7 years ago switched to Pristiq. Due to adverse effects on my pituitary gland, I have to stop the Pristiq. I began tapering 2 weeks ago- from 50 mg to 25 mg. I’m on day 3 of zero Pristiq and I literally feel like I’m going to die.

    I have every withdrawal symptom they list on withdrawal sites. It’s beyond horrible. I’m so hopeful to try some of these ideas to help alleviate some of the extreme discomfort. If the doctor had told me what it would be like to stop this med, I would never have agreed to take it. Thank you for sharing this information!

    • Laura May 20, 2016, 2:52 pm

      Carrie, I too have just stopped Pristiq. I was on it for just over a year. I started weaning 6 weeks ago in the form of taking my 50 mg every second day. 3 days ago I completely stopped taking it. I feel horrible. I hate the brain zaps. shakiness, lack of concentration, nausea, dizziness being numb and feeling disconnected from myself and the world.

      Yesterday I stood in front of the mirror in an attempt to see myself. After five minutes I gave up and cried. This is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I have Zoloft ready for me at the pharmacy but I really REALLY don’t want to take it. I’m hoping some of these supplements will help. I’m also hoping you see my reply to your comment and tell me how you are doing now.

      • Shawna July 16, 2016, 7:56 am

        I’ve experienced horrible withdrawals myself–lexapro–and did a lot of research. It’s recommended that you wean no faster than 10% of your dosage per month. Slow WAY down. The withdrawals can come and go for 3-6 months otherwise. I know.

        • Wendy August 13, 2016, 8:15 pm

          I agree 100% with you Shawna to slow the weaning way down! I started taking 75mg Effexor 16 years ago and decided 7 years ago it was time to see if I could live without it. I tried weaning twice – both times with the “help” of a GP – the first taking 2 weeks, and the second time taking 6 weeks. I had brutal withdrawals so had to go back on during the weaning. Then 4 years ago I was told to try Pristiq instead of Effexor (less side effects) which was a huge mistake.

          After 3 years on Pristiq I finally found a Naturopath (GPs did not believe me about the withdrawal symptoms) and a Psychiatrist who both told me I was not crazy and that some people can wean easily while others have a horrific time. The Psychiatrist hearing of my side effects from the Pristiq itself (extreme exhaustion, brain fog, inability to focus, memory declining etc) said I should never have been on it! Right away my Naturopath had me taking Magnesium and Fish Oil twice/day. And then added Gaba nightly and B Complex twice daily as well.

          With both their help (my confidence with the Naturopath got my Psychiatrist on board) I started weaning off 50mg Pristiq in April by 2.5 mg every two weeks. I use a pharmacy that specially prepares the pills for me so I can wean that slowly. My Psychiatrist offered me the option of adding another antidepressant to help with the side effects of weaning but I said NO. My goal was to rid my brain/body of drugs and then decide what I needed. He was totally supportive to my dismay.

          It is now mid August and I am down to 22.5 mg/day. While I did have some brain zaps in the beginning and have had bouts of irritation and inability to focus, hold new information, and I continue to need 10 hours of sleep a day and have headaches sometimes, it is like night and day compared to when I tried to wean quickly. I am determined to make this work!

          Diet and exercise I find are huge in how I am feeling. Also low stress helps for sure. Stay strong and find the help that is supportive for you, not that makes you feel like you are “crazy” because you are not. I have found a wonderful therapist that supports me a great deal with losing loved ones, transitions, changing old negative thought patterns. Slowly but surely I am remembering how to have fun again and to feel more in control of my life and mental health.

    • Lindsay November 19, 2016, 5:26 pm

      Carrie, I stumbled upon this today in my google search for SNRI withdrawal rendered this forum. I have been takin Cymbalta for 6 years. I was on 60 mg and having extreme irritability a few months back so I was increased to 90mg. Recently I moved and quit my job and my primary insurance terminated. So for a variety of circumstantial reasons, I ran out of Cymbalta and can’t get in to see my new doc until Monday.

      I’m on day 4 or 5 (I’m losing sense of time), and the confusion and vertigo are peaking. Its horrible. I read something about taking diphenhydramine (Benadryl). I took a children’s dose a couple of hours ago and it’s helping the vertigo and disorientation. I also have seasonal allergies, so it helped that, as well. I am so tired of being a slave to all of these meds.

      Taking Concerta (prescribed for ADD) to get myself up in the AM (barely), then Gabapentin for anxiety and irritability (which I think is exacerbated by the high dose of Cymbalta). Ambien for insomnia (which I’m sure is in-part due to the Concerta). I’m also out of Gabapentin, but I saw it coming so was able to taper myself. I’ve been on psychotropic meds since menarche, and have no idea what my life would be like if I weren’t constantly medicated.

      I’m thinking of asking t3 doctor about weaning off the Concerta or trying a softer alternative. Ambien is just not working anymore and I’m experiencing bizarre side effects like night eating and online shopping in the middle of the night that I don’t recall in the morning. I’m over it! Tired of all of these drugs!

  • Christine Zimmer May 11, 2016, 10:48 pm

    I was wondering about L-Theanine…it was suggested to me. Anyone have any luck?

    • Tonia May 26, 2016, 2:18 am

      My psychiatrist that practices natural/reg med psychiatry told me to use it. I also had a pharmacist to say it was ok to use it.

  • nishant May 16, 2016, 2:39 pm

    I tried many things to overcome withdrawal but nothing works much except alcohol in beer or any other form. Read somewhere that alcohol increases serotonin level in brain, may be that’s the reason behind it. Today only I read that curcumin as well as saffron both increases serotonin in brain. Will try those 2 later. I just now drank 2 beers with dramatic improvement in withdrawals. I even switched to long acting SSRI, from escitalopram to fluoxetine. I take less dose of fluoxetine when compared to escitalopram. Don’t know whether I’ll be a winner in quitting it .

    • Kim October 6, 2016, 5:46 am

      I agree with the poster who shared about receiving relief of symptoms by means of alcohol. Let me say that I am not a drinker! I received a bottle of Alaskan vodka over a year ago and never cracked it… alcohol has never been rewarding for me… until now. While I dislike the taste of it, I can tell you that a small amount consumed in the early evening has been of tremendous help with brain zaps, muscle pain, flu-like symptoms, and sleep.

      I tapered from 20 mg of Paxil to 0 mg of Paxil in one week. My symptoms are not what I anticipated. I wrongly assumed my symptoms would be primarily emotional (anxiety, depression, etc), but my symptoms are primarily physical: nausea (take Dramamine), muscle aches, weakness, chills/hot flashes, brain zaps, clumsiness, vertigo, wheezing, hot sweaty lung feeling (if that makes sense)…

      I’m two weeks unto my withdrawal, and happened to have an alcoholic beverage with a friend at dinner this past weekend. Wow…it really did alleviate my symptoms to a manageable level. For those probe to addiction, please do not hear me saying anyone should go out and drink! For those who don’t usually drink, a small beverage might help to alleviate symptoms.

  • Karen June 2, 2016, 8:23 pm

    I’ve been off all antidepressants for 5 weeks after being on different ones for approx 20 years. Wondering about activated charcoal. Would like to hear from more people who have used it.

  • Julie June 10, 2016, 6:16 pm

    Thank you, this article was very informative and useful. Going of my poopy Paxil, that has quit helping. Made me feel like I didn’t care about anything, so goodbye Paxil! Going to try Fish Oil & Vitamin B’s in the morning and Magnesium at night…in addition to my doTerra oils I have been using. Which by the way have helped immensely!

    I love the Balance and Lavender during the day, and diffuse Serenity and Vetiver at night. I went through Serotonin Syndrome while trying to get of Lexapro, I wish then I would have had these oils. After 20+ yrs of antidepressants, I hope to never see them again! Good luck to all!

    Note: Although the oils have helped support me, they may not be for everyone. I am not suggesting you stop you medication and use oils, just to clarify. Just stating what has helped me.

    • Darlene August 2, 2016, 1:06 pm

      Just read your comment about using lavender. Just wanted to say my Cymbalta was discontinues abruptly due to a change in insurance plans. My doctor switched me to Zoloft as I was afraid of withdrawal symptoms, I took 25 mg of the Zoloft for 4 days and could not sleep. The lavender oil along with coconut oil rubbed on the back of my neck helps me stay calm and avoid headaches and nausea.

      I never have taken antidepressants until the passing of my husband, which left me very sad; however, I was functional and handled many changes at a rapid pace and continued working. My doctor prescribed the Cymbalta to help me cope with the sadness, all over pain and lack of energy. At 30 mg, I felt great, then after 3 months, the insurance switched refusing to pay for the medication.

      As I look back at all that has happened in my 60 years on this awesome earth, I have been strong enough to handle it. I realized I just needed more time to make the transition of losing my husband after after 40 years. I wished that I had read about the dependence on antidepressants before I had so easily accepted them.

      As I know many people do need this medication, I feel strongly that I will be fine without it so I have taken my last antidepressant as I have stopped Celexa after a short time in the past without any side effects. I feel strongly as I listen to my body as an health care professional working with others to overcome physical disabilities, I can do this.

      I had a good nights sleep last night as I know the Zoloft was keeping me awake so I feel much better this morning. Good luck to all of you who have decided to take health into your own hands. Do what is best for you as we all have different needs. Listen to your body if something does not feel right then it isn’t.

      Doctors are much to quick to offer medications as a solution instead of looking at the whole picture. That being said if you need the doctor please work closely with him and communicate your feeling as this will help you optimize the care that best fits your needs. We are all different keep this in mind.

  • Andrea June 16, 2016, 1:16 pm

    I’m trying to get off Lexapro / escitalopram right now. Posted this in a few comments already, but I keep finding interesting articles on this website. I took Lexapro for 6 years and gradually tapered (over years) from 20 to 5 mg. After my relapse 6 weeks ago I increased the dosage to 15 but nothing happened, so now I’m tempted to quit cold turkey.

    Not looking forward to feeling sick so planning to stay on 5 mg for a week (of maybe two) and then split pills in half…so I can take 2.5 mg for like a month or something. And then hopefully I can reset my brain again and go natural again! Anyway, I bought Krill oil but it was a little expensive. I should take 1000 a day? Or even 2000 mg’s (4 capsules?) I’m now taking one a day.

    Also, a friend of mine can provide me with wheat grass juice. Can this help as well and can it replace a vitamin-B complex? Planning to by Magnesium as well. So 1) Krill oil, 2) Wheat grass juice daily and 3) Magnesium? Is this a good stack?

  • Susan June 22, 2016, 10:50 pm

    I have been on SSRIs for 20 years. My insurance company recently refused to pay for 30 mg of Lexapro per day, so I had to suddenly drop down to 20 mg. that wasn’t too bad, but in an effort to taper, I wound up running out 2 weeks before my next refill. So I went cold turkey. The first 2 weeks were tolerable, but now I am in week 3 and having the worst withdrawal symptoms yet!

    I filled my prescription, but, after 3 weeks, I want to keep going! This article is helpful and I have most of the supplements available thank goodness. Immediately took them all! The reason I want to continue is that I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on after 2 decades of antidepressants! I had no idea how sedated I was and how flat my emotions were! I have been so much more productive without the Lexapro.

    I have a new found interest in people, and I find my self chatting and asking questions when previously I was totally disinterested. The down side is that, after not crying for 20 years, I find myself tearing up at everything – happy or sad. Maybe that’s a good thing. I’m quite sure I am still inclined toward depression, but I am far from the place I was at 20 years ago.

    SSRIs are an excellent tool for treating depression but I sincerely believe that prolonged use is a very bad idea. This is one of the worst things I’ve ever been through medically. Right now it feels like little spiders biting my hands and feet and the brain zaps are horrible. I had no idea but I am determined.

  • Melissa June 29, 2016, 4:28 pm

    My heart goes out to each and every one of you trying to rid your bodies of these monster SSRI drugs! I starting searching for information after my 17 year old daughter decided she didn’t want to rely on Lexapro anymore for her anxiety and wanted to try to deal with it on her own and with supplements. She stopped taking it on her own and didn’t tell me a little over a week ago.

    With in 3 days of stopping, her vision became unpaired, body aches, headaches, disassociation, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, dizzy, emotional, snippy… I am scared. I wish I could make this all just go away, but it can take weeks to months. I am hoping since she was only on it 8 months it will not be tremendously long, but it’s a wait and see situation.

    I do not know about you all here, but her doctor never told me anything about withdraw from this drug and I am not happy with her at the moment. Good luck to everyone. Hang in there the best you can and know you will see that light at the end of the tunnel!

  • Azize July 29, 2016, 8:31 am

    Really, really useful article. Thank you so much for all this information. I am tapering off Cymbalta now for 10 days and will stop in 20 days. I am hoping to balance with all these supplements when I am completely off.

  • Cara Martinez August 6, 2016, 9:20 pm

    I am on day 11 off of effexor but it was a very slow taper and a prozac bridge was used. Supplements are omega 3, vit d3, b12, b6, mvi, calcium with d3, vit C. Most importantly I am not doing this on my own. I see a psych nurse practitioner, a counselor, rely heavily on higher power. I exercise everyday, and have taken a leave of absence from work. I wish you all the best and it is good to know that I am not alone.

  • Maddy August 19, 2016, 12:15 am

    Hello! Just new to this site but this has been a very informative article. I’m wondering if you could assist with some advice. I’ve been on and off zoloft 50mg for the past 3-4 years. I’ve finally decided I feel strong enough to wean off them once and for all, and we have additional motivation because we would like to start a family soon and aim to do this in the healthiest possible way.

    I saw a psychiatrist last week who was most helpful and suggested a slow weaning process; I’m on 25mg one day, 50mg the next, for the next couple of weeks, then 25mg for the next couple of months, and then all being well will aim to get this out of the system by the end of the year or thereabouts.
    Can you please tell me what the best combination of supplements would be over this period of time to help my transition?

    I feel so overwhelmed by so much information that I don’t know where to start! Any advice from personal experience would be most appreciated. I understand everyone has a different take on these things but as you all know, it is trial and error and my goal is to be back to living a drug free life in the near future! Many thanks!

  • Nicholas August 24, 2016, 6:59 am

    I’ve been on Zoloft for 2.5 years, it was my second time going on it and the longest time on it too. I too have experienced the discontinuation symptoms with every dosage decrease. I’ve been one week off of it and I’m getting my sleep back, but still experience mild odd physical sensations and sad moods but not deep depression, as I have to remind myself they are the symptoms because they are paired with physical symptoms as well.

    For my supps, I start with a drink of VITAFORCE in the morning. Then in the afternoon I take 1,500 mg of EPA paired with a lovely anti-stress cap by Oregon’s Wild Harvest called Stress Guard (Holy Basil, Ashwagandha Root, Skull Cap). At night I take 500 mg of GABA. I know it’s a lot but I haven’t experienced brain zaps and my symptoms have been mild, with just bouts of sadness (but not severe hopelessness).

    Good luck to everyone and just find what works for you. If you keep on seeing the same recommendations from comments, chances are they work =) .

  • Joseph August 25, 2016, 3:40 am

    I started tapering Zoloft 15 months ago. I tapered for a year and have been completely off for an additional 3 months. I am still experiencing significant, debilitating withdrawals. There are defensive comments like “well SSRIs help people.” Maybe they do, but honestly I don’t think the amount of relief is worth the risk. I am convinced that everyone, even those who initially experience relief, would be FAR better without this stuff.

    I never was never personally unhappy or bothered by anxiety but was medicated on the advice of a doctor during a physical in 6th grade because of type A tendencies causing anxiety in school. Something completely trivial. I took it for 7 years. Never experienced depression before Zoloft and have been utterly miserable for about two years and a zomby for 6 before that.

    I also felt significantly worse on it than before starting but was unable to stop until recently because the doctors urged me to keep taking antidepressants to treat withdrawals (which they somehow convinced me were original symptoms). None of them believed that withdrawals were even a possibility, yet half my life has been negatively affected by this stuff. To a magnitude I can’t begin to describe.

    Getting off these mess has been the most challenging undertaking of my life, and the primary occupation of my life for the last few years. I would recommend Point of Return to anyone struggling. They have been immensely helpful, the medical doctors and psychiatrists have absolutely not. I have had two friends commit suicide and my dad cannot get out of bed because of pharmaceutical “medication.”

    The doctors threw a wrench in my life several years ago and I have been suffering ever since. I don’t want to sound too discouraging because I’m convinced it’s possible to surmount this. But it’s not easy and it may take a matter of years. Don’t waste your time with quick fixes, commit to a healthy lifestyle and be patient and persistent.

  • David August 27, 2016, 9:29 pm

    I have been taking Mirtazapine, (Remoron) at the dose of 7.5 since July, 21, 2016 and decided early on to go the more natural route. With the approval of my MD I have been tapering from the original dose to of .75 mg to .8 of that amount and this is 5 weeks into the taper. I know many of us are not MDs here but if one assumes a 3 month taper length of time, would it be appropriate to add serotonin adding supplements like tryptophan or 5 HTP beginning at the end of this 3 month period or could I begin supplementing at the very end of the taper process? Thanks very much, David

  • Anthony O'Brien September 4, 2016, 10:29 am

    Good article but I seriously question the use of activated charcoal. This can only work to clear the intestine of toxins as it is does not cross the intestinal barrier. In any case it can also absorb useful molecules including the supplements you suggest, rendering them totally useless. Activated charcoal is used medically to clear the digestive tract of drug overdose etc. I would certainly not use it where somebody is taking daily medication of any sort.

  • Karen September 9, 2016, 1:48 pm

    Thank you for this article. I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping Cymbalta. I’ve found that taking 5-HTP, omega 3 oils, magnesium, B complex vitamins, and L-Tyrosine have been very helpful in keeping the brain zaps to a minimum. I’ve been off Cymbalta now for 2 & 1/2 weeks. Any advice on how to wean off the supplements (when to start and which ones to stop first)? Thank you again for posting this vital information. If I hadn’t found these supplements, I probably would have gone back on the drugs. Peace, Karen

  • Alexandra October 5, 2016, 9:23 am

    I’ve been on so many different anti depressants over the last 10 years, the only one that seemed to actually work was sertraline but the side effects were so bad completely depleting my libido and giving me restless legs that the psychiatrist changed me over to moclobemide which seems to do nothing but make me angry. Coming off the sertraline has been so bad, I feel like a zombie. The first 2 weeks I thought I’d tapered well enough to escape the side effects but then it hit me.

    I have 2 toddlers which I can’t even look after and my husband has had to take time off work to take over. The most I seem to do is sit on the sofa. My brain is foggy, if I get up and walk to another room, It’s like I’m drunk, my body aches all over and these brain zaps are ludicrous. I’m taking 3,000mg omega 3 fish oil, vitamin b supplements to try and lessen the effects to no avail. My mental health nurse says there is nothing anyone can do.

    I just don’t understand how I’m meant to cope like this, it could be weeks, months? My two daughters don’t understand why mummy is like a zombie. My husband can’t take any more time off to help. I feel like there is nothing left but to find the strength to try and end it all. I can’t do anything like this, I feel like some sort of vegetable.

    There is no more meds left to try. I’m too worried to take 5-htp as the last time I tried that I got very violent. I can’t cope anymore. I don’t understand why nothing seems to work for me.

    • Lindsay November 19, 2016, 5:47 pm

      Alexandra, Take a look at the other comment I made on here today. I can empathize and relate 100%. It feels like someone took my brain out of my skull, put it in box, shook it up, then put it back in my skull. My thoughts are fragmented and I can’t articulate them meaningfully. I’ve found some relief with a children’s dose of diphenhydramine and practicing yoga. Also, making lists helps with the brain fog because otherwise I cannot remember or even conceptualize any tasks or intentions for the day.

    • Alexandra Faller November 21, 2016, 7:10 am

      It took a long while after I posted this but it finally cleared. I’m not sure if it was because I started zyban or not but I was grateful to get the withdrawal effects gone. I wish doctors would take this seriously as the ones I speak to don’t even think it exists as bad as it is.

  • Dana October 22, 2016, 2:20 am

    Very helpful article. I stopped taking my 10mg of Lexapro 10 days ago with my Dr’s knowledge and started on Wellbutrin. The Dr. thought that I would have no adverse affects since my dosage was so low. Starting this week I have been having anxiety, mood swings, disassociation, headaches and I’m sure other things too. I’ll be running to the health food store tomorrow morning to pick up most of what is on this list!

  • Joanna November 30, 2016, 10:49 pm

    Please tell me these zaps will stop? I rather abruptly stopped taking Cymbalta 30mg 1 week ago. First couple days were ok but now it’s horrible. Started fish oil and vitamin e on Monday and added a b multi and 5htp yesterday. No improvement.

    Only relief is taking Benadryl and melatonin to knock myself out. This has to stop! I was given this script for chronic back pain from which I saw no relief. No warning whatsoever from my doc when I told him I wanted to quit.

    • michael December 1, 2016, 3:28 pm

      Hello Joanna, I am in somewhat of the same situation. One thing I have learned… there are no hard and fast rules with regards to getting ones’ life back after taking these drugs. I am slowing trying each “recommendation” to see which one(s) work best for me… There is hope… I have to believe there is… the healing process is slow. Joanna, keep trying… at some point you will see what I call a glimpse of relief. It may be brief at first, but build on it. Michael William Mac Neil

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