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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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{ 305 comments… add one }
  • Amy September 30, 2018, 2:43 am

    I tried quitting cold turkey off of 2mg. I’ve been sleeping all day for 5 days now. Never felt SO much fatigue in my life. Also feeling nauseous and lightheaded.

  • Ruby August 19, 2018, 8:52 am

    I stopped taking it cold turkey. The worst side effect is extreme fatigue. I never slept during the day before… I was also nauseous. No increased anxiety or depression yet. Good luck to you all!

  • Sil July 23, 2018, 4:16 am

    I was on abilify for 3 months. Went from 2.5mg to 5mg and asked my doctor to taper me off of it. So went back to 2.5mg and then quit. I stopped taking it July 10th and for the past week, I’ve been having severe panic attacks at night about dying.

    I keep worrying about dying. I worry that I’m 30 and am getting closer to death and then start to cry and panic because I’m so scared. Then during the day, I’m in my own crazy world. My brain thinks about the past and the things that were done to me to hurt me and then I get super upset.

    When my fiancée is being silly and tries to make me laugh, I can’t stand it. I just want him to shut up and sit quiet and leave me alone. Him being silly irritates the crap out of me. Idk what to do anymore, but I feel like I’m dying when I’m having panic attacks about the day I die.

    I can’t keep having panic attacks like this every night. I just want to feel normal again.

    • Jack July 23, 2018, 4:03 pm

      Stopping cold turkey of 2.5mg of abilify, withdraw is very likely to occur. Based on what I learned from forums, it is required to take 2 to 3 months to taper off from 2.5mg. It will be safe by splitting the pill to 2mg, to 1.5mg, to 1mg. Some may stop from 1mg. To be safer, take another month to split 1mg to 0.75mg, to 0.5mg, to 0.25mg, then off it. But most important, talk to doctors for tapering off.

      • Deborah July 26, 2018, 3:59 am

        Well I had been taking 2.5mg of abilify for at least 5 years along with Celexa and Buspirone. Late March of this year my doctor told me that I needed to come off Abilify and to just stop it cold turkey. She said I shouldn’t experience many side effects. Wow was she wrong!

        It is now July and I am just feeling better. Before I lost my appetite and sugar cravings. I cried all the time. I was irritable and more emotional than usual. Stomach issues, nausea, diarrhea etc. Extreme anxiety too. One day I went on the scale and noticed I had lost 10lbs.

        Eventually I started to feel better. While on Abilify my sugar cravings were over the top. I was even pre-diabetic. Still couldn’t control my sugar cravings. Now that I have read everyone’s post I feel better. Still feel nervous with weight loss. I suffer from OCD and anxiety and I am a hypochondriac.

        Needless to say, is it normal to have lost my extreme sweet tooth and lose weight? I don’t eat as much food either and once again I walk my dog every day for 30 minutes. BTW, I’m still on 40mg Celexa and 30mg twice a day of Buspirone. Thanks for reading my long post. Hope I have shed some light! Hugs ❤ Deborah

      • Michele September 23, 2018, 7:18 pm

        I am splitting a 2mg dose I need in half to 1 mg. I can’t cut pill into fourths. How are you supposed to go down to 0.5 mg? Alternate days?

        • Jack September 25, 2018, 2:56 pm

          Just cut the half into halves. The splitter can do it.

  • Jack July 18, 2018, 1:30 am

    My daughter suffered depression with some kind of psychosis last Dec. Doctor gave 10mg aripiprazole. She is 25 years old and never had such illness before. We thought she could taper off very soon. Every month we asked the doctor if she could start to taper off.

    But the doctor did not give the green light. After 3 months the doctor said she needed to take another month and then could taper off to 5mg. As we think 10mg to 5mg is a big jump. We started to tape at the beginning of the 4th month by splitting the pill to 9mg, 8mg, 7mg, 6mg in equal period.

    So when the doctor gave 5mg, it was perfect to be connected and she did not have any withdrawal problem. The doctor needed her to take 5mg for 2 months before giving 2mg. so we split the bill from 5mg to 4mg, 3mg in equal period and well connected to the doctor’s 2 mg.

    She felt the tapering off was very smooth. Then the doctor needed her to take 2mg for 2 months before 1mg for anther month. Now we are tapering off from 2mg to 1.8, 1.6, 1.4. and will be at 1mg at the end of July. So far she is feeling ok. We will hope the remaining tapering will be smooth too.

    • Kathy September 14, 2018, 12:54 am

      How were you able to measure or cut the pill to 10 percent?

  • Heather July 16, 2018, 7:57 pm

    Has anyone experienced involuntary tongue movements while quitting Abilify? I never experienced this when I was taking the medicine.

    • Kate July 19, 2018, 8:46 am

      I have had severe withdrawal symptoms when I quit my 15 mg of abilify cold turkey. I had been on it for over 6 years.

      I have developed compulsive swallowing, clearing my throat, runny nose, what feels like swollen tongue and swollen throat (almost to where it impairs my ability to swallow, but upon examination no swelling was visible).

      This has been going on for over 7 days and I am going slowly crazy from it. I want to just check myself into the hospital to be sedated!!

    • Virginia July 30, 2018, 10:52 pm

      Heather, I have been off of Abilify for a couple of weeks and I am having the same withdrawal symptoms I’ve had when I’ve tried to taper off in the past. I clench my jaw and my tongue becomes hyperactive, circling around in my mouth and darting out between my lips involuntarily.

      Please keep me posted on your circumstances. I am praying this goes away with time. I am having to wear a mouth guard during the day at work.

    • Natalie August 7, 2018, 5:19 am

      Yes I am experiencing this now! Not much fun.

    • Diane September 18, 2018, 10:43 pm

      Yes, I have had involuntary tongue movements for about 1 month now – did yours stop yet?

  • Judy July 6, 2018, 8:08 pm

    The headaches are what’s getting to me. I ran out of my abilify and have to order it through the mail because of insurance, so I was off it for about five days and thought if I could live without it for five days, why not keep going. I had been taking it with my Effexor for depression and anxiety.

    I haven’t really felt like it has been helping lately anyway, so no biggie to quit right? I guess after reading this article I really underestimated it’s power. My anxiety has been a little increased, and definitely now I know why I can’t get to sleep at night and my ADHD seems amped up.

    I was only on 10mg, and I’m a big gal, tall and heavy, so I really didn’t think that much about quitting cold turkey. But I have been taking Excedrin like crazy with not much help for the headaches, and I don’t have an anti-anxiety med that I take for acute situations so I guess it’s time to call the doc.

    My previous shrink decided that since he was moving to a different practice or state or something and he deemed me as stable on my meds, I didn’t need a psychiatrist, I could just see my regular MD for med follow up. Yeah well…

    I hope others are doing well – and make a better choice than I did to quit cold turkey! God Bless!

  • Mary June 26, 2018, 4:25 pm

    Hi all. Would love to get some input on if you have had a similar experience with Abilify withdrawal. I was on it for the past three years as an adjunct to Zoloft. I took Abilify for depression/anxiety/paranoia.

    Since I am in a pretty steady stage of life, now being done with school, have a home, a healthy long term relationship, etc. I asked my doctor if I could go from my 5mg dose to 2. This was about 8 months ago. I experienced no mood change when going down.

    I wanted to be OFF this medication. I am planning to start having kids in the next 2-3 years, so I don’t want to conceive when I’m on such a strong medication, or medication of any kind. I also have gained 35 pounds over the past 3 years on this drug, which has been hugely frustrating.

    I always want to eat, especially processed things. I eat whole30 compliant foods (no dairy, sugar, carbs, grains) for the most part, but the weight gain persisted. All this led me to want to get off. My doc let me go from the 2mg dose to 0, with a week of taking 1mg in between, so I was tapering…sort of.

    I have been completely off of Abilify for about 4 days now. My stomach has been very bloated, and I’ve been nauseous and sometimes even crampy since the day I stopped taking it completely. I also have had pretty severe diarrhea since that day.

    I am generally confused, and feel like I’m in a bit of a haze. This combined with the dizziness/ lightheadedness that I feel all the time is pretty frustrating. Anyone else experience this? I know the dizziness and confusion is typical…but the stomach stuff? Any thoughts?

    Your input is super appreciated! If you are going down or off Abilify, God be with you! We are all going to be okay, whether or not that requires great tenacity and strength or not. To all those reading, best of luck and I wish you very well! -Mary

  • Nola June 26, 2018, 12:22 pm

    My doctor put me on 5 mg/day Abilify for hypomania. I decided to come off it (because it wasn’t helping) after a few years. As seems to be typical, my doctor said there would be no withdrawal symptoms. Wrong!!

    The worst has been what someone here reported as restless leg syndrome but all over the body. This (akathisia) has been reported during withdrawal from other anti-psychotics. It has been three weeks now and it is still awful.

    (Just being with people is hard because I can’t seem to stop jerking and twitching in response to this feeling.) I didn’t think I was having trouble with mood swings, but I totally lost it (anger) with a co-worker. I just felt out of control.

    Also, I don’t have much appetite. It has been invaluable to find out that I am not alone in getting withdrawal symptoms, and I wish I had read these comments before I went cold turkey because I think tapering would likely have been easier.

    Why are these doctors so clueless about this? Anyway, thank you all.

  • Elizabeth June 25, 2018, 12:19 am

    I was put on 10mg of Abilify 5 years ago for a psychotic episode caused by stress. My new shrink wanted me to come off of it, but didn’t tell me to taper or about the withdrawal symptoms that were to come. I did some research before starting my taper, and decided to go with the safe route and taper very slowly.

    I decrease my dose by .50 ml every 6-7 weeks. I came up with this time frame and reduction amount by playing trail and error. I would wait until my withdraw symptoms would subside or go away with each reduction, and found every six to seven weeks I begin to stabilize to the new reduced dose. When stable, I wait another week for my body to rest from the ordeal of withdrawal.

    Then I taper down another .50 ml. I use oral liquid to measure this small decrease. Its been since December, about six months, and I am halfway there. I am stable now, and will go down to 2.5 mg from 3.0 next week. I found this technique of listening to my body before reducing down another notch, gives my body and mind time to adjust to a new lowered dose, in return, making my withdrawal symptoms minimal (but still very much there) and nervous system in tact.

    I believe if your one of those people who have severe withdrawal from Abilify, you should take it very slow when tapering off it. After all, your goal is to get completely off Abilify without damaging your Nervous System. Waiting until you stabilize from a lower dose to go down some more is the key.

    That means your body is getting use to lower and lower amounts of the drug, and your nervous system is slowly getting use to the absence of the drug, which indicates to me, this is a much gentler way to taper off than cold turkey or rigid time schedule.

    Listen to your body, and it will tell you when your ready to taper down a bit more.

    • Bill July 1, 2018, 6:10 pm

      Hi Elizabeth. I am trying the same method. Tapering down from 1 mg. I have been going down about .10 mg every couple weeks. I had no side effects until I hit 0.25 mg and then was hit with anxiety, dread, etc.

      So I have been stalled at 0.25 for about 4 weeks now. I guess it’s best to hold steady for awhile longer. This is tough.

  • DA June 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

    My 20 year old son suffered from major depressive disorder. Left college and was unable to maintain a job due to his extreme anxiety and recurrent panic attacks. Since the age of 14 he had been seeing therapists until one recommended a psychiatrist.

    The recurrent episodes of ER visits and his symptoms gave way to have him started on Lexapro 20 which really helped with his anxiolytic symptoms. Yet he was still not functioning, very antisocial, not leaving the house having no friends and being negative in all aspects of his life.

    He was in very black hole and felt very much alone. So a new medicine was started Abilify 5 mg which he took for about 8 months. He gained over 90 lbs became pre-diabetic and his blood pressure was high.

    This medication did nothing, he still remained in his black hole and had no motivation to commit or begin anything new. He completely refused seeing therapists and psychiatrists saying they did not help and it has been years.

    His primary doctor recommended he go off the Ability and continue with a low dose of lexapro 10mg so he did. Three weeks later he was having pulsating headaches, extreme anxiety and nausea. He felt like he was spiking a fever and was going out of his mind with panic.

    It was a horrendous scene to see your son go through this and have psychiatrists tell you it’s not related to stopping the medications. I feel it’s important to have an open discussion with your psychiatrists and have them detail the pros and cons of meds prior and after usage rather than just handing you a script and saying let’s see if it works.

    It’s not about being sedated or drugged it’s about trying to find a sense of normalcy and improve the quality of life in each patient. Word of caution: Beware and be informed prior to starting any medication. Wishing everyone here a fulfilled and healthy life.

  • Nope June 18, 2018, 8:53 am

    My husband was on the max dose of Abilify for years and quit cold turkey due to side effects that developed. It has been approximately a month since quitting. All was well until about 30 days later. He is now in jail.

    He completely lost it and I don’t know if I or our child will be allowed to see him anymore. I am pissed that he is going to have his life ruined because pharmaceutical companies want to experiment on us for their own profit.

    When are pharmaceutical companies going to face the consequences of their criminal actions?

  • Joana June 17, 2018, 6:02 pm

    I’m at the end of week three after stopping cold turkey. Which I don’t recommend anyone doing. I did it because I had been on Zoloft and quit with no withdrawal symptoms so I thought this would be the same. This time I was on abilify 5mg and lexapro 20mg not sure which one is the main one messing me up, but the withdrawal symptoms seem to be the same for both.

    The only good thing is I was only on them for about four months. So I’m hoping that the symptoms go away soon. I have had no appetite, increased anxiety and panic attacks which I can ride out, the worst part is the depression. As described above, mine is worse than the depression I had before the pills.

    Makes me regret going on them at all. Week two was the worst for me as I sometimes lost hope and the will to live. Now I seem to have really bad depression in the day which subsides in the evening. It’s very weird, but also sucks that you feel better and wake up feeling like crap again.

    I have read a lot of stories of people taking different supplements to help with withdrawal. I have since started to take omega-3 and vitamin d3. The only thing that helps me through these tough times is my sister that lives with me. I don’t know what I would do without her.

    She drags me to the gym, and even though I have less energy, I find that it helps a little bit. Scientifically it’s supposed to be one of the best things you can do.

    I’ve also been doing a lot of praying and I have faith that God will help me through this. I really hope this doesn’t last much longer. Reading everyone else’s stories somehow makes me feel better. Thank you all for posting.

  • Don June 11, 2018, 7:34 pm

    I’ve been on 4 mg of Abilify for four years. I quit cold turkey – big mistake. I am 34 days into my withdrawal and have severe pain in my teeth and jaw. I went through the sweats nausea and shakes the first two weeks.

    I have withdrawn from of many different things. This may be the worst and longest of all time. For those of you reading this – do not quit cold turkey and contact your doctor. Good luck to all of you.

    • Nola July 13, 2018, 6:39 pm

      Thanks for reporting the pain in your teeth and jaw! I am just getting this, five weeks in, and I was thinking it just didn’t seem like a withdrawal symptom so I wondered what was happening to my body now. It’s kind of a relief to think this is just more withdrawal.

    • Virginia July 30, 2018, 10:55 pm

      Don, Has your jaw pain decreased since June? I am clenching my jaw and have involuntary tongue movements… I am about to go crazy.

  • Missy June 7, 2018, 8:32 pm

    Hi! I’ve been on Abilify for 11 years as an augment to my anti-depressant and I’m trying for the second time to come off of it. I’m in my 3rd week now and this is the worst I’ve felt. The withdrawal progression has been as follows:

    -1 week off – no noticeable physical or mental changes.
    -2 weeks off – restlessness begins at night. Having to sleep in the spare bedroom so that I don’t wake up my husband. Mood still good but moving around like a fish out of water at night.
    -3 weeks off – Still have the restlessness. Feelings of depression are setting in with some increase in anxiety. Heart was fluttering last night. Feelings of wanting to cry overcome me while I’m at work during the day.

    Today – I’m at the point where I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it through the withdrawal. Went to the pharmacy and got a refill of Abilify just to have it by my side in case I really can’t do this.

    I talked to my doctor and my family knows that I’m going through withdrawal so I have a good support system. But the dip in my mood is frightening me. Just not sure if I can make it through these withdrawals. Prayers! I know I will be better off in the long run if I can get off Abilify.

  • Judi Halliburton May 30, 2018, 12:41 am

    I took 5 mg Abilify for 13 months when my Psychiatrist took me off “cold turkey” due to shaking in hands and lips. The first 6 days were fine, then I went shopping and started profuse sweating and flushing. By the time I got home, (I live alone) I was soaked through my clothes and shoes.

    Then the nightmare really began! Sever shaking, shivering, sweating, leg aching like I’d climbed a major mountain, anxiety attacks, off and on lump in my throat and crying at “Toy Story,” the only show I could handle on TV. Putting one foot in front of the other was incredibly difficult and deciding what to wear was a decision beyond my control due to anxiety.

    I wore the same pair of sweats or lounger day in and day out. Most of the next 10 days I found myself sitting in tense S position hugging myself, shaking or shivering while continuing the profuse sweating. I had to consciously make myself eat and drink. After about 10 days I started feeling a little better, but my ability to focus and/or concentrate on anything was gone and the anxiety when, just thinking about a simple task continued.

    My mood was flat and I spoke in a monotone. I finally had to shop for food. By the time I got to checkout I was sweating and flushing. I managed to drive home and nightmare started all over again. I had relapsed! My sister and niece insisted on taking me to ER. During the 4 hour wait I decided the only thing I could do was put myself back on the Abilify I still had.

    After leaving ER without being seen, I took a 5 mg tablet and within 24 hours I felt more like myself than I had in about 3 months. I received no help from the doctor I had seen for over 25 years. He actually saw me in full shaking mode, asked what was going on and when I said, “Abilify withdrawal,” he said, “there is no withdraw from Abilify.”

    To which I said, “Look it up!” He was visibly surprised and confused and unable to offer any help. All he said was, Let’s see how you’re doing in a month.” I later learned he’s not the only doctor that didn’t have a clue. I’ll be seeing a new Psychiatrist tomorrow. I pray he can help. This Website has been a Godsend, just in knowing I’m not alone.

    • Don June 19, 2018, 3:02 am

      I talked to doctors today – the one that gave me the medication and my general. They both told me there is no withdrawal off Abilify. I’ve been going at it for almost 40 days and it’s not getting any better.

      I’m 66 years old and I’ve been on the drug for four years. I took it upon myself to quit cold turkey – big mistake. I hope to God all of us are feeling better shortly. Good luck to you.

      • Penny July 16, 2018, 3:44 am

        I’m sorry to hear this. I would keep your son in close contact with your mental health provider and keep him at the 2.5 mg until his symptoms improve. Otherwise it will only get worse and may become unbearable.

        I am currently going through withdrawals as well and this is how I would approach this situation. Side note: I am a parent of two boys as well. May God be with and heal your son, while He comforts you both! In Jesus name, amen. 🙏🏻

      • Tom July 18, 2018, 11:22 pm

        Are you feeling better? I hope you are. I’ve decided after 3 weeks to go back on it since the withdrawals aren’t getting better. Anxiety is so high. Sweating. Not hungry. Tired all the time. Depressed. Worried about everything.

  • Nj Derosier May 13, 2018, 2:31 am

    My 17 year old son is currently having some really difficult withdrawal symptoms. He went from 5mg to 2.5 mg about 4 & 1/2 weeks ago, and now is supposed to go off completely. But I have yet to do that, because the current symptoms are so bad, I’m scared of making them worse.

    His anxiety is way up, he’s not able to fall asleep, but the worst one is he is hearing voices in his head constantly… negative, angry voices. At first it was just a whisper, but now he says he hears it clearly all the time.

    It’s taking a terrible toll on him, but he is afraid we will put him in the hospital, so I’m trying to help as best I can. Is it better for me to leave him at this dose a bit longer before ending it completely?

    Will that give him an easier time coming off, or am I just prolonging his agony? Any instructs would be welcomed! (P.S. Puberty is not making this any easier!)

  • lindsay May 8, 2018, 5:50 pm

    Hi, I was only on Abilify for about 5 weeks – 5 mg. I’ve gained 20lbs in those 5 weeks. They took me off Zoloft and put me on only Abilify. I suffer from anxiety, not depression. I’m on day 4 without Abilify and feel good. Little tired but sleeping well and feeling more clear headed. Maybe because I was on such a small dose for a short period of time?

  • clare m May 6, 2018, 3:48 pm

    Hello! Who knew there were withdrawal symptoms? I just went through horrible withdrawal off of Klonopin, not knowing how addictive it was. My psych prescribed 2 mg Abilify to may antidepressant regime. I specifically asked him if there would be withdrawal symptoms if I needed to come off…

    Of course he said NO. What’s up with that answer from psychs? Of course there were withdrawal symptoms, but less than the side effects of using this drug. Mostly dizzy now post abilify for 2 weeks. While on Abilify felt really good, but could not stop eating, buying things and the muscles in my neck were off the wall in pain.

    Not to mention I had insomnia. Considering all things I am happy to go through dizziness and stomach aches rather than continue on this drug. Seriously these doctors need to buck up and tell it like it is. Too many people get on meds that are habit forming and need tapered withdrawal when the bad side effects kick in from taking a DRUG.

    Surely they know of these negatives from other patients they have prescribed these drugs. All I know is my brain is still readjusting from the Klonopin and now I have added Abilify to the mix. I seriously hope I have still have a brain after all this readjusting. They really need to black box these drugs, they are more dangerous than the mental disorder they are supposed to help!!

  • Amanda G April 26, 2018, 3:29 am

    I was prescribed abilify 10mg (5 mg x 2 daily) and have since weaned off of it. I’ve since been experiencing horrible withdrawal symptoms from the medicine and lack thereof it.

    The list of withdrawals above? Have all of them (more or less) and wish this nightmare would cease. Thank goodness for my fiancee Joe. Without his love and support I don’t think I’d make it through all of this.

  • Xiola April 22, 2018, 3:19 am

    I had been on 5 mgs for a few months before they raised it to 15mgs. Last week I decided to just stop taking them and I feel horrible. All day it’s headaches, nausea, body pains, extreme tiredness and not wanting to eat. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • Jenny April 15, 2018, 6:33 am

    I have been taking 2mg of Abilify for about 3 yrs, it was an add-on to Cymbalta that I was taking for depression and fibromyalgia. Had I known all the possible side effects and the withdrawal systems before I started taking I might have thought twice about starting Abilify…

    I should have done my research ahead of time until waiting until I wanted to get off of it. I started taking hemp CBD oil in January 2018 for fibromyalgia and chronic lower back pain and to help wean myself off the prescription medications that I was taking, Abilify and Lipitor are the last of my prescriptions to stop taking.

    I took my last Abilify 4 days ago and have been experiencing lightheadedness and headaches as well as having ringing in my ears (tinnitus). The tinnitus is actually what I was trying to find out about – if withdrawal from Abilify might be causing it.

    Anyway, the hemp CBD oil helped tremendously with weaning myself off my other meds so I’m hoping that if I increase the amount of CBD oil I’m taking it will help with Abilify withdrawal as well.

    Even with the withdrawal symptoms, it is still a good feeling to know that I have gotten off of all my prescriptions except for Lipitor which is the next and last one on my list.

  • Jolyn April 13, 2018, 10:27 pm

    My daughter was diagnose with SAD 2 years ago. We have been changing medicine ever since. She just started this March 13 and was put on it with her depression medicine. She was taking 2mg every morning. Last weekend April 7 she had such restless legs she couldn’t stop kicking them.

    She asked me to take her to the doctors to have them stop it. I took her in to the Walk in Clinic because it was the weekend. He told us she had way to much medicine in her body. He had us stop taking this and her depression medicine unless she starts to get really sad then take 1/2 tablet.

    He suggested us to have her take 5,000U D3, we live in Washington and he believed her D level was down. He told her to get into a tanning bed for 2 min every other day until she starts to feel better. He also told her she needed to exercise faithfully.

    He told her to take Milk Magnesium to help flush her out and drink a lot of water. To stay away from caffeine and if she needs it to drink it before noon so it doesn’t interfere with sleep. Also to follow up with our family doctor.

    We have done everything the doctor told us, she as been faithful in drinking the water too. She has headaches, sweats, very hot, and bad restless legs (even keeps her up at night).

    Week down and everything else is getting better but the restless legs. So my question is, has anyone else have or had restless legs really bad with this and how long did it last?

  • Mikayla April 4, 2018, 9:13 am

    I was taking Abilify for roughly 6years at an average dose of 7.5mg (sometimes I’d have to increase dose). I’m 1 year and 4 months off the drug. As much as I wish to sugar coat it so I don’t trigger anyone…I also want to share my story that this drug was pure toxicity to my body. Others may have different opinions and that is totally okay.

    Our bodies are all different. It was hell to come off of. And still is. I quit cold turkey. I would say I spent three/four months with the physical symptoms and another 4 months of extreme anxiety and panic attacks. Big crying spells (that came out of no where) and extreme paranoia/intermittent hallucinations.

    I note that I have never experienced any psychosis of any kind. I was given Abilify for depression. Fast forward to a year and 4 months later, insomnia is probably the worst symptom I struggle with. It’s impacted my life so much that I pulled out of school and work because I cannot sleep at all during the night.

    I struggle with anxiety more than I used too but the panic attacks are far less and so are the crying spells. I also believe it’s contributed to my loss of appetite and inability to gain weight. My depression isn’t so dark anymore either. And I feel much more rational and level headed then I have ever been.

    And the biggest and most positive change I’ve noticed is my impulsivity is completely gone. When I was on the drug over the years, my impulsivity was ruining my life in many many ways. I have done a complete 180 on my mood and impulse control which is what keeps me motivated to keep fighting through this journey of coming off Abilify.

    I strongly believe it will take years for my brain and body to even out and become healthy again. I believe this drug causes long term withdrawal in stages and I’m hoping no permanent damage for life. I have read and heard many stories from others that it can take years before the symptoms of withdrawal completely go away.

    I’ve had people say that maybe it’s just my underlining mental health illness causing all this but I disagree. I have never felt more emotionally and mentally stable in my life. I was in chaos for ten years and the worst years was when I was taking Abilify. And the last 7 months of being off of it, I’ve never felt so calm.

    I hope that eventually the insomnia will correct itself so I can sleep again. This has been the hardest but most rewarding journey for me. My life off pharmaceuticals is a far better one! Hopefully this is of help to anyone.

    What made it most possible for me to start and keep with this journey is a great support psychiatrist, the ability to live at home with my family while I go through this, and years of learned coping skills to use when things got super sketchy in the initial few months.

    As well as a few strong individuals who are nonjudgmental and patient that knew how to help me navigate this. I couldn’t imagine doing this on my own while trying to support myself. So I hope others consider their current environments and the people around them before making this journey.

    I also celebrate every month free of Abilify. It’s been super helpful to remind me how far I’ve come and that it’s worth going through this! :) Thanks for reading, and warm wishes to you all!

    • Hilary April 28, 2018, 12:33 pm

      Hi Mikayla, thanks for sharing your story. Was wondering if you felt restless when you were on Abilify? I was put on it for only a few days and I had to stop taking it because I was very shaky and felt like I had restless leg syndrome except it was my entire body feeling restless not just my legs.

      Felt like I couldn’t sit still and was often rocking back and forth. I immediately stopped taking it but I am still feeling the effects as if I’m still taking it. I was only on it for a few days because I couldn’t handle it.

      • Mikayla May 1, 2018, 8:34 pm

        Hi Hilary, That sounds awful :( sorry to hear. I think I read something about that being a possible side effect of taking Abilify. I would definitely call up your doctor right away. And I would research Abilify side-effects. Just put that into Google and see what you come across. I hope you feel better soon!

    • Teri June 27, 2018, 2:23 pm

      It has done me so much good to read about what others have gone through because I have struggled to get off Ability for many years, many separate times and was unsuccessful. I have been taking it as an adjunct to my antidepressant drugs for about 15 years.

      I have to say that it did help me, but I have gained 50 pounds and I am only 5’4″. I am now obese, and have been on every diet, exercise plan and nothing helps. This is a reason in itself fair being depressed. I have now been off it for 6weeks after going down very slowly over a period of 4 months and have lost 13 pounds without even going on a diet.

      I agree with Mikayla when I say that doctors should be more honest when they prescribe it about the side effects and weight gain. I remember asking my doctor if maybe Ability was contributing to my weight gain and she said no.

      The longest I have ever been able to go off it was 3 months cause it seemed like the withdrawal symptoms were as bad as ever. I’m hoping that I can stick it out this time because I have added support in the form of acupuncture and medical aid which has helped.

      My heart goes out to anyone going through this, it takes a lot of courage and determination.

  • Morgan March 30, 2018, 5:24 pm

    I stopped taking aripiprazole almost two weeks ago and I have experienced increased anxiety and depression since going cold turkey. The first few days were great but as time has gone on my mood has become flat, everything feels like a huge effort and I’ve had anxiety about the most everyday tasks.

    I’ve felt on edge and panicky this entire week and have been taking Kalms tablets to try and negate the side effects. I hope these side effects don’t last much longer as I really hope to be able to manage my bipolar without medication.

  • G Parish March 27, 2018, 11:38 am

    After trying to wean off of 2mg unsuccessfully, my doctor put me on liquid Abilify to wean slower. I’m down to .5 mg a day and doing well. I drop down .1 mg every two weeks.

    • Melissa B April 5, 2018, 11:17 pm

      Hi, I’ve been on 2 mg as an add on to an antidepressant, I just tried to take a half of a pill last night and will take a whole one tonight, half tomorrow, etc… then if that works for two weeks I’ll try less of a pill. Curious if you also tried that before going to liquid form? Thanks.

  • John March 9, 2018, 10:23 pm

    First I want to thank everyone who has posted their experience. It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in this. I was on abilify for over 6+ years and quit cold turkey 3 weeks ago. I don’t recommend going cold turkey since the withdrawals have been really bad.

    I had gotten cold sweats, shivers, headaches and let’s not forget the really bad anxiety. I am on week 3 now and most of the withdrawals are over so far. I’m starting to feel better now and feel like I have more energy and excitement for my day.

    I have lost my appetite and have lost 8 lbs so far, but find myself having to push myself to eat. I feel like this is all worth it in the long run. Feel free to respond or ask questions at anytime. Thanks for reading my experience and hope this helps someone who is going through the same experience.

    • Scarlett April 4, 2018, 9:45 pm

      Hey I was on it a similar amount of time! I think 7 years…and my doctor was all “go cold turkey – it’ll be fine!”… he was WRONG. For me it’s mostly dizziness and all that jazz, no real intense mood issues beyond being weepy which is my normal state on or off this medication so…

      I’m only on day 5 though, so if it gets worse I’d like to know! That’s my only question! Though it brings me hope to know that yours lasted about a month, my psych when I had her said that I metabolize drugs 2x faster than others which is why they lose effectiveness so quickly, so I’m hoping for maybe a reduced time for withdrawals.

      I WANT TO BE ABLE TO FOCUS AND NOT SLEEP MOST OF THE DAY – lol. Anyways keep me posted on the “does it get worse after week 1” thing thanks! Scarlett

    • Angel April 18, 2018, 1:50 am

      Thanks for sharing as I’m on day 11 of quitting cold turkey. Today was my first really bad day of being sick and having massive panic attacks. I hope to feel better soon. Good luck to you!!

  • Jon March 6, 2018, 3:43 am

    I was taking 20 mgs of Abilify for almost 5 years now. I have been weaning off it since early January. I took 15 mgs for two months. And now I’m on day 11 of taking 12 mgs. I have had lightheadedness, confusion, and highs and lows.

    Also note I have ADHD. About 6 years ago I experienced a psychosis episode. I was put on Abilify to cope with all this. I was wondering what homeopathic remedies there are for withdrawal and if there are any natural herbs which I can take? Jon

  • Nikki February 28, 2018, 12:50 am

    I am 23 days without Abilify. I started the drug in December and took my last dose February 5th. I went cold turkey at 7.5mg. I didn’t experience any withdrawal until 6 days ago. It started with a panic attack and quickly escalated from there. Tension in my neck and shoulders, uncontrollable anxiety that comes in waves, Insomnia that can’t be fixed even with Trazodone.

    Lightheadedness and loss of appetite. I have to force myself to eat and drink. How much longer will I have to sustain this living hell for? Has anyone been in my shoes and came out the other side? How long did it take for the withdrawal to finally stop and to resume a normal life again?

    • Brian March 8, 2018, 2:05 am

      This is what I did for temporarily relief from those withdrawals. I took either a 2 mg or a 5mg Abilify tablet, and I took a small tiny bite out of it. Like maybe 1/10 of the pill, every time I got withdrawal symptoms. Mine were anxiety and paranoia. And every time I took a small bite, my symptoms would go away for a few hours.

      When I first quit my actual dosages, I was taking these small bites about 2-3 times per day to help with my symptoms. And then after a couple months, I didn’t need the bites anymore. So you could try that if you’re willing to, and see if it helps you cope.

      • Nikki March 15, 2018, 10:19 pm

        Did you battle with Insomnia? Has it stopped for you? If so, how long did it take? I am a week away from a month since the Insomnia started. It has gotten better (I average 4-5 hours a night), but that’s nowhere near my normal sleep schedule. Before the Abilify and Trazodone I had zero issues sleeping.

        • John March 16, 2018, 9:32 pm

          Yes I battled with insomnia and it did last about a little over a month. I noticed that exercising and keeping my body busy helped as well. Another natural helper for insomnia is valerian root. The valerian root tablets are natural and have helped on the tough days of no sleep. Hope this helps.

  • C February 24, 2018, 2:57 am

    I have been on AP’s for 2.5 years for psychosis. I have slowly lowered my dose and switched meds until was on Abilify 2mg for the last 2 months. My pdoc is OK with me going off of it. I had no withdrawal lowering my meds (thank, God) but fear the worst going off it completely.

    I’d love to lose the last 12 pounds. I gained a total of 30 but managed to lose much of it from lowering my meds. I don’t want to take a med that I don’t need and I think I can function without it. I am SO scared though! Scared of all the sides and rebound psychosis. I am still kicking it around. Dunno…

  • leah February 20, 2018, 1:34 pm

    My doctor at Seneca refuses to prescribe me my medications until I do more lab work. They know that my family struggles with transportation issues. Yet they still cut me off cold turkey. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been off of them for three weeks now. It’ll be another week before I possibly get them again. I’m having so many breakdowns in school. What do I do?

  • John Wilford January 29, 2018, 2:40 pm

    I am on my second week coming off 10mg of Abilify for years. I am taking 5mg now, but still, am experiencing extreme drowsiness, fatigue, lightheadedness, have trouble sleeping, nausea and increased anxiety. It is a struggle to just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.

    I have to force myself to do things however uncomfortable to keep my sanity intact. I was not warned by my doctor of these symptoms, but have communicated them to her. I am determined to get off this drug and am paying the price. If you are having withdrawal symptoms, you are not alone.

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