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Abilify Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

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

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

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

Factors that influence Abilify withdrawal

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

1. Time Span

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

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

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

3. Personal Physiology

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

4. Cold turkey vs. tapering

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

Abilify Withdrawal Symptoms: Comprehensive List

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

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

How long do Abilify withdrawal symptoms last?

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

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

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

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{ 305 comments… add one }
  • Wendy S January 21, 2018, 9:51 pm

    I have been on Abilify 30 for about 13 years. I have recently been tapering off and am down to 10 mg. The dizziness and anxiety is outrageously intense. I am glad to be getting off of it, but the ability to function from those side effects is profound.

    I have already lost over 10 pounds, however, which I think is great. And my blood sugars are leveling off. I know it’s going to worth it in the long run. The worse part of the withdrawal from 30 to 25 to 20 to 15 wasn’t so bad; the effects only lasted about three days. But it’s been 5 now and I’m still experiencing the withdrawal on 10 mg.

    I am going to continue to go off it, however, despite the side effects. In 9 more days, I go down to 5 mg, then I’m off it two weeks later. The benefits outweigh the risks for sure. But I DO NOT recommend discontinuing Abilify abruptly! Not that I’m a doctor or anything, but I know how bad it is tapering slowly! I can’t imagine what it’s like just stopping.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2017, 1:47 pm

    Hello to all; I started taking Abilify at early October last year, and finished last week of December. Doses were 15 mg daily. Today, 2 months and 1/2 ago since the last pill, I still feel like I cannot concentrate properly. I get up tired and sad in the mornings and I feel like I cannot concentrate properly, full of anxiety everyday, feels like I’ve lost my ability to focus, to concentrate on a single thing.

    My brain just seemed to lower its normal flow of thinking since that. Did Abilify altered my brain too much? Will I be able to recover from this med and continue my studies? Weren’t standard doses in short time so I shouldn’t worry about? What can I do now? How much do I have to wait until fully recover myself? Please, answers. Thanks in return.

  • Kateh March 15, 2017, 7:29 am

    I was taking 2mg Abilify as an adjunct to my Effexor (300mg) for profound depression. Have been taking it for about 5 years. I tapered the dose (every 2nd day) for about 2 weeks and then quit… and I have experienced almost every side effect known to mankind! The nausea and vomiting I can handle but the twitching/ skin crawling/ insomnia/ anxiety/ suicidal ideation is driving me up the wall!

    It has been six weeks and I hope to see my doc in the next couple of days. I now need more meds to get me through this piece of the process as the side effects are awful! Ondansetron has helped with the nausea but I think the crawling skin is the worst. Well – suicidal ideation isn’t the best either! And the anxiety is bad as well… all symptoms seem to disappear when I work – unless the anxiety causes a sick call.

    I’m also faced with situational issues and PTSD throughout this same time period. But I’m determined to get off this drug. I’ll hang in there – with support from my doc and the people around me that care!

  • piroklanis66 March 4, 2017, 12:19 pm

    Hello everyone! I decided to write this comment to inspire other people and show them that this day of quitting the pill actually exists! I had a psychotic episode 5 years ago. The reasons were 1) a heartbreak 2) a lot of stress and anxiety of finishing my school at the university and 3) the most critical reason that triggered the episode was the the extensive use of cannabis.

    It didn’t happen overnight, I wasn’t myself for months and finally the episode came. It was a very hard and tough time for me a while before the episode, during the episode and a while after the episode. My side effects of taking abilify were: 1) little shaking of hands when I had to do some delicate stuff, 2) sometimes little shaking of knees when stepping down some stairs, 3) a long delay of ejaculation, 4) some unusual weird periods of wanting to gamble. I also gained weight but I quit smoking for 1.5 years during that period and that may have caused it as well.

    I don’t want to demonize the pill in any case! It helped me very very much and I think it’s the best possible treatment for a psychotic episode. I stopped taking abilify 15 mg. Yesterday it was my last pill. I had been taking it for 5 years and 2 months. The last 2 months I was taking half of the pill (7.5 mg) for a gradual withdrawal. Of course with the proper guidance of my psychiatrist. I hope I don’t have unpleasant side effects!

    Taking abilify for 5+ years made me being afraid of stopping it, I was psychologically addicted to it in a way. I wanted to stop but I was worried if something bad happened again. I mean I was wondering what can trigger an episode again? Needless to say that I learned to protect my self from any hurtful situations!

    Of course I could play it extremely safe and taking it for the rest of my life. But now I know it’s the next logical move for me to end this chapter and begin a new one. Wish me luck! :)

  • Jamie February 26, 2017, 11:06 pm

    Hello, first I would like to say that I sincerely hope everyone feels better soon, withdrawal is no fun! I’m only sharing my story to prove that even the smallest amount of Abilify can cause withdrawal. I have taken 2 mg for many years and gained 60 lbs, even at that low of a dose! My dr. recently decided to change my meds and put me on Latuda due to my weight gain causing depression (so the abilify was causing more harm than good).

    She told me to immediately stop taking Abilify and start on Latuda. As with most psych meds, it has to Latuda has to build up in your system. However the withdrawal from Abilify has been a nightmare! I have Bipolar, major depression, social anxiety, PTSD, etc. I have been so depressed, moody, ANGRY at the world, my family was wondering what in the world was wrong with me until they found out my meds were being changed.

    I’m fine one minute and crying the next. Then I’m yelling at everyone for no reason! I can’t stand myself right now! At first I didn’t realize what was going on, I thought it was everyone else, then I realized it was me that had the problem. I am paranoid about everything, (accusing my boyfriend of cheating when has done nothing wrong), blaming my kids for everything, I feel like a horrible person right now!

    It’s terrible that a medicine that is supposed to help you, can actually wreck havoc when you stop taking it! Like I said, I was only on 2 mg! I can’t imagine what those of you on high doses are going through, but my heart goes out to you. I’m just praying this time will pass quickly and my family and boyfriend will forgive me for my psychotic behavior caused by withdrawal. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment. I wish you all the very best.

  • Colleen January 30, 2017, 4:42 am

    Per my doctor’s orders, I will be coming off Abilify. I have been taking 15mg of it for the past year for an addition to my Wellbutrin which is supposed to help with my depression. Anyway, my doctor told me to go down to 10mg for one month, then 5mg for one month and then stop. He actually said that I could go more slowly or quickly as I felt was necessary.

    I had actually set up a schedule that looked like this: 12.5mg for two weeks, 10mg for two weeks, 7.5mg for two weeks, 5mg for two weeks, then 2.5mg for two weeks then stop. The problem is that I don’t think I will be able to get the dosages that I need to do this properly, so I’m going to try his schedule (for right now), instead. I’m really nervous and worried that I will have extreme withdrawal effects from doing it his way.

    If his schedule doesn’t work, then I’m going to try my own schedule. I think he wants me to come off of it as quickly as possible due to the fact that it causes neurological problems, etc. He is now telling all of his patients who are taking it to wean off. I think all these drugs cause so many problems, and I’m not a fan of Big Pharma…anywho…

    What would you do? I have people around me to support me, but I don’t want to end up becoming a monster to them. I figure the first week will be the toughest.

  • Brian December 31, 2016, 12:07 am

    I’ve gone cold turkey off escitalopram and abilify, for 2 weeks now. Fairly high doses for a year. Withdrawal includes nausea, brain zaps, and dizziness. Also insomnia. It’s not unmanageable, and the brain zaps are not entirely unpleasant. They remind me I’m drug free which feels good. My mood is managed as well by my spiritual practices.

    • Mellie December 31, 2016, 2:30 am

      I am doing the exact same withdrawal. Sending you great vibes.

  • Pete November 21, 2016, 2:28 am

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

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

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

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

  • Misuzu October 27, 2016, 6:31 am

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

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

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

  • Erica October 13, 2016, 2:56 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Jamie February 26, 2017, 11:24 pm

      Erica, My heart breaks for you, as I have been through a lot of the same things on Abilify, just not to the same extent. I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone in the gambling with Abilify. They actually have a class action against Abilify right now for those who have lost money due to gambling while on Abilify. I am not encouraging anyone to falsely sue BC this medicine does help some people, however in your case it sounds like you deserve to know your rights. Please look up Class Action Lawsuit against Abilify for help. I hope this helps and I wish you the best.

  • Justin October 12, 2016, 10:15 pm

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

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

  • Amber October 9, 2016, 9:49 pm

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

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

  • Kathryn October 7, 2016, 1:20 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mari September 26, 2016, 2:05 am

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

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

  • Susan September 16, 2016, 4:17 pm

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

  • Lee September 9, 2016, 6:33 am

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

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

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

    • Lee September 16, 2016, 12:30 am

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

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

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

  • Samy September 5, 2016, 8:38 am

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

  • Paul August 29, 2016, 1:49 pm

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

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

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

  • Amy August 24, 2016, 12:13 am

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

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

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

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

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

  • Derek August 13, 2016, 7:17 pm

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

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

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

  • Naomi August 10, 2016, 9:46 am

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

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

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

  • Derek August 9, 2016, 4:38 am

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

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

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

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

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

  • Andy July 29, 2016, 9:26 pm

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

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

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

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

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

  • Julia July 4, 2016, 6:53 am

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

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

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

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

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

  • Anne June 27, 2016, 7:55 pm

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

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

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

      • Anne June 28, 2016, 1:13 am

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

  • patience June 26, 2016, 5:22 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Dani June 22, 2016, 6:21 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Tim W June 13, 2016, 6:30 pm

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

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

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

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

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

      • Jarrett June 20, 2016, 7:40 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Carrie Zelman January 6, 2017, 8:27 am

            Dear Donna, Thank you so much for the information. In September 2015 my 52-year old husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor that blocked his lateral ventricle, which caused hydrocephalus and severely high intracranial pressure. The jerks in his arms and legs started shortly after his 10 hour brain surgery in October 2015, and remained occasional for the better part of a year.

            In September 2016 he returned to work, but within 4 weeks he developed such severe irritability that it could have cost him his job so he went back on medical leave. Then the tremors and jerks became so bad he couldn’t fall asleep. The last four months have been hell. He is EXTREMELY irritable, exhausted, twitches, jerks, tremors, has started stuttering, personality change, trouble word finding, and he cannot concentrate long enough to read even a single page of fiction.

            He went to the ER twice with Parkinson’s like symptoms. This is coming from a science professor who wrote a textbook two ago, and now he cannot even edit three paragraphs that he needs to do by next week. He’s now on long term disability. His follow up appointment with the doctor yesterday was so alarming that she sent him to neurology today, and now he is getting screened for dementia.

            He “sleeps” for 10-11 hours every night and wakes up absolutely exhausted. The sleep study he took last month showed his brain does “spontaneous arousal” 120 times that night, or 22 times per hour. He has mild sleep apnea due to the 30 pounds he gained in the last year. Here’s the kicker. Yesterday his PC doctor suggested putting him back on aripiprazole (2 mg/d) because he stopped taking it, cold turkey, on doctor’s advice in late August 2016.

            Since he is starting the med, I decided to look up its side effects (today) and learned that EVERY single problem he has had since the twitching started is correlated with starting and stopping that drug. Three weeks before the brain tumor was discovered, he saw a psychiatrist for manic symptoms and he was put on aripiprazole. For all this time I blamed possible brain injury from hydrocephalus, a 10 hour horrific brain surgery, and the stress of returning to work – and we have even been considering dementia and Parkinson’s.

            He is still completely unable to work and cannot get a single night of refreshing sleep. I am shocked and appalled that no one, not any of the multiple doctors and neurologists he has seen, ever just looked at his list of meds and the FDA WARNING about risk of tardive dyskinesia and put two and two together, and that I had to figure this out on my own from just one evening of reading about possible side effects of this medication.

            Even in the neurologist office today with the med back on my husband’s current list of prescribed meds, and with him unable to walk a straight line. I never suspected it because he stopped taking it a month before he spiraled downhill, and if his pc doc hadn’t suggested putting him back on it yesterday I would still be cruising the online brain injury support groups tonight. Unbelievable.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ben May 27, 2016, 10:11 pm

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

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

  • Ronia May 19, 2016, 6:11 pm

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

  • Shay May 17, 2016, 7:37 am

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

  • Rhonda May 15, 2016, 1:43 am

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jim G April 28, 2016, 5:03 am

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

  • Michelle April 27, 2016, 1:43 am

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

  • Lea April 24, 2016, 2:11 pm

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

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

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

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

  • Jarrett March 22, 2016, 1:20 pm

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

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

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

  • Chris March 16, 2016, 1:53 pm

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

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

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

  • Sally B. March 15, 2016, 5:18 pm

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

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

  • Kirin March 6, 2016, 4:50 pm

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

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

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

  • Melissa February 29, 2016, 3:01 am

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

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

  • Vickie February 21, 2016, 1:17 pm

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

  • Scott February 17, 2016, 8:21 pm

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

  • mika February 8, 2016, 4:22 pm

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

  • Stephanie January 31, 2016, 2:06 pm

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

  • E January 18, 2016, 4:51 pm

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

  • M January 16, 2016, 8:33 pm

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

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