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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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312 thoughts on “Abilify Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Yup. I’m off a high dose of Abilify and Lexapro. Went cold turkey. 2 weeks off now. Symptoms lessening. Shocks, headache, dizzy, eye rattles, abrupt mood, appetite loss, insomnia. Sounds like a lot, but it’s not unmanageable. Working out again which makes the shocks exaggerated but it feels SO GOOD TO BE DRUG FREE.

      I can concentrate, assess circumstances clearly, and not have to word search when talking with others. Socially more engaged. It’s worth it. Probably another week to go of these shocks, but ibuprofen helps. Chin up. You can do it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for Listening

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hi Sabrina, I saw your question about Ability 5 mg. I was prescribed this medication about 4 years ago and when I first started taking the medicine I felt great! Then after being on it for three years I started getting strange side effects like MS so doctors told me to come off the drug. I am now what I know to be going through awful withdrawals. Insomnia, severe leg cramps, crying hysterically and etc. Just a horrible experience – please don’t stop cold turkey like I did. Hope this helps.

  30. hello.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you for reading! <3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Hello Karrie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks, and good luck!

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

      • Unless your tablets are scored, you might have a tricky time cutting the pills to get a smaller dose. I have schizoaffective disorder and I take 10 mg Abilify now (down from 20 mg) and my GP is helping me wean off of it. He told me that the medicine isn’t evenly distributed inside the pill unless it’s scored, then you can know you’re getting a half dose in each half of a pill.

        If your son’s pills aren’t scored, he might have back-and-forth withdrawal symptoms – worse some days than others. Honestly, the thing that has helped me get to this lower dose of Abilify so far has been diet and exercise. Get your son to eat lots of a variety of vegetables, organic meats and eggs, and stay away from grains and dairy, at least for now until he can get through the withdrawal stage.

        I worked on my diet and increased exercise for a couple months first, then started tapering down and haven’t had any negative side effects yet. I realize you might not have time to do that, so just start giving him lots of good, healthy foods now and get him to take a 30 minute walk every day (if possible) or get him to do some other kind of activity that he likes. I wish you the best.

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

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

  37. 30mg for three years. One, has stopped me getting pregnant. Two, impossible to stop hallucinating. I tried 10 different ones before it. Now worked. Sadly I’m better, but cant have a baby. I just stopped it, have before 4 months. Was fine until the panic attacked started. This is sad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Good luck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hey Michelle,

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

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

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

      You can do this Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • How are you doing on your withdrawal. I am on 2mg and cutting in half now and it’s terrible. How long has your withdrawal been bad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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