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Risperdal (Risperidone) Withdrawal Symptoms + How Long Do They Last?

Risperdal (Risperidone) is an antipsychotic drug that is primarily used to treat schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorder. In some cases it is used to help manage schizoaffective disorder as well as irritability among individuals with autism. It is considered an atypical antipsychotic due to the fact that it is newer and is supposed to have less side effects than the first-generation “typical” antipsychotics.

This drug functions as a dopamine antagonist, but also inhibits serotonin, epinephrine, and histamine to an extent. In some cases, this drug is even used as an antidepressant augmentation strategy. In other words, a psychiatrist may add on Risperdal to a preexisting antidepressant treatment to assess whether it provides additional relief from depressive symptoms.

As with any antipsychotic though, the longer you take it to treat your condition, the more difficulty you will have coming off of it and dealing with the discontinuation symptoms. I personally never recommend taking an antipsychotic for anything other than treating schizophrenia. Why? Because the side effects are pretty significant and upon discontinuation, most people experience powerful withdrawal symptoms.

The bottom line is that you should never take this drug unless you have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder that doesn’t respond to mood stabilizers. Additionally it should be mentioned that many people end up withdrawing from this medication due to unbearable side effects including: weight gain, metabolic changes, type 2 diabetes, tardive dyskinesia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

Factors that influence Risperdal withdrawal

When taking any psychiatric medication, there are factors that influence the severity of withdrawal and symptoms. Various factors that play an important role in discontinuation include: time you took the drug, your dosage, how quickly you tapered, as well as other individual factors (i.e. environment, individual physiology, etc.).

1. Time Span

How long did you take Risperdal? In general, the longer you take an antipsychotic, the more difficult it is to withdraw from. People that have been on an antipsychotic for a couple months should have an easier time withdrawing in comparison to those who have taken one for years. Additionally the longer you are on a drug, the more dependent you become on it for everyday functioning.

2. Dosage (.25 mg to 16 mg)

How much Risperdal did you take? People that take this medication for schizophrenia tend to need higher dosages to help manage symptoms. For schizophrenia, the average daily dose ranges between 4 mg to 16 mg. Individuals who take it for bipolar disorder generally take anywhere from 1 mg to 6 mg. Additionally those who have autism may take a very low dose from .25 mg to 3 mg to manage irritability.

Obviously the higher the dose you take, the more you are becoming dependent on the drug for functioning. Therefore it is always recommended to be on the minimal dose for symptom management. Being on the minimal dose makes withdrawal easier and also helps minimize unpleasant side effects. If you have been taking large amounts of Risperdal over an extended term, it is likely going to be much more difficult to withdraw from.

3. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

It is never advised to quit a powerful antipsychotic drug like Risperdal “cold turkey.” If you quit without conducting a gradual taper, you may end up with an array of symptoms that are overwhelmingly difficult to cope with. By conducting a conservative gradual taper, you are allowing your nervous system to adjust to very small decreases in medication over time until you are down to 0 mg.

For Risperdal, it is recommended to reduce your current dose by 10% every 2 to 4 weeks depending on how well you are dealing with these decreases. If you are extremely sensitive to medications and withdrawals, it is recommended to stick with 10% decreases every month. Therefore if you were taking 2 mg of Risperdal, you would cut to 1.8 mg for the next month.

4. Individual Factors

Other factors that play a role in determining withdrawal symptoms include: individual physiology, environment, habits, and other drugs that you are taking. Someone who is on an array of psychiatric drugs in addition to Risperdal may have an easier time coping with the withdrawal and/or may not even notice when they taper down from this drug.

Additionally it should be noted that some people are less sensitive to withdrawal symptoms than others. Having good dietary habits, staying busy, and a social support network can go a long way to help cope with the withdrawal experience.

Risperdal Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below is a list of common symptoms that people experience when they stop taking Risperdal. Understand that you may not experience all of these symptoms and the intensity of each one may vary. Your discontinuation process will be completely unique to you based on your circumstances.

  • Anxiety: Many people experience significant increases in overall anxiety. When withdrawing from any antipsychotic, if you notice that you become very anxious, understand that this is normal. Antipsychotics tend to sedate people and reduce feelings of anxiety. When you discontinue, you may notice that your arousal and anxiety spikes.
  • Appetite changes: A common experience on Risperdal is to gain weight while taking it. You may notice that when you discontinue, your appetite changes and you become less hungry and/or your appetite stabilizes.
  • Bipolar relapse: Individuals that take this medication for bipolar disorder may notice that their symptoms reemerge. In order to prevent this from happening, work closely with your doctor and consider conducting a more gradual taper. If a gradual taper isn’t working, you may want to try transitioning to a different medication.
  • Concentration problems: Antipsychotics are known to cause concentration difficulties while taking them. Additionally when you stop taking Risperdal, you may notice that you are unable to focus on anything. Just know that poor concentration is very common especially during the early phases of withdrawal.
  • Confusion: The combination of poor focus and memory problems can lead some individuals to experience a state of confusion. This confusion may be overwhelming and may lead a person to panic. If you feel confused as a result of your withdrawal, just know that it’s another fairly normal withdrawal symptom.
  • Crying spells: During withdrawal, you may experience spells of uncontrollable crying as a result of deep depression. The depression tends to be most severe during the first few weeks of withdrawal, therefore your crying spells should gradually improve.
  • Delusions: Some people experience delusions when they withdraw from Risperdal. Although this may signal a relapse for those diagnosed with schizophrenia, non-schizophrenics can also experience delusions during withdrawal. This has to do with changes in dopamine levels and receptor activity.
  • Depersonalization: When withdrawing from any antipsychotic, a person may experience feelings of depersonalization. In other words, they may feel unlike their normal self and as if they have been robbed of feeling “natural.” It is common to feel stressed, void of emotion, and almost robotic during withdrawal.
  • Depression: Many people actually take Risperdal to help ease depressive symptoms. Regardless of why you took this drug, experiencing deep depression during withdrawal is common. Most people feel severely depressed during the first few weeks of withdrawal.
  • Dizziness: Feeling dizzy is one of the most reported symptoms when withdrawing from any psychiatric drug. This symptom can be minimized by conducting a gradual withdrawal as opposed to quitting cold turkey. Some dizziness may last for weeks following your last dose, but should improve over time.
  • Fatigue: Many people report having little to no energy during the first couple weeks being drug-free. If you feel very lethargic and unable to get out of bed in the morning, the acute withdrawal is a likely culprit. Give your body and brain time to readjust and relearn how to function without the drug.
  • Hallucinations: If you have schizophrenia, you may experience hallucinations during withdrawal. Your brain becomes especially sensitive during withdrawal and this increased sensitivity and dopamine activity alteration could trigger hallucinations in susceptible individuals.
  • Headaches: Another extremely common symptom to experience when you quit taking Risperdal is headaches. You may experience minor headaches or very severe migraines – especially in the event that you taper too quickly.
  • Insomnia: In some cases this drug is actually prescribed off-label to help with insomnia. Withdrawal can lead to increases in anxiety, arousal, and sensitivity. It can also trigger uncontrollable insomnia. Some recommend taking melatonin if the insomnia is severe.
  • Irritability: You may notice yourself become increasingly irritable and edgy around others. Do your best to recognize that this irritability is caused by neurotransmitter fluctuations. Your brain is no longer operating under the influence of a drug that may have helped keep you calm – this can lead to irritability.
  • Memory problems: Some people report major memory problems after taking this drug. Antipsychotics are known to cause difficulties in cognitive processing and memory retrieval. Usually after a few weeks of withdrawal, your memory should start to improve.
  • Mood swings: You may experience mood swings during your withdrawal. Here I’m referring to crazy mood swings, but not “bipolar disorder.” One minute you may feel alright, the next you may feel very angry, the next very anxious and depressed. Understand that these changes in mood will improve the longer you are off of this drug.
  • Nausea: If you feel nauseous upon discontinuation, just know that you are not alone. Many people feel as though they are going to vomit. Feeling nauseated should gradually go away after the first week or so.
  • Panic attacks: The anxiety that people experience during withdrawal can be very intense. In fact it can be so intense that it triggers a panic attack. If you experience panic attacks, your best bet is to learn some relaxation exercises to lower your arousal.
  • Psychosis: It is known that withdrawal from antipsychotics can cause psychosis – even among people who are non-psychotic. Keep in mind that if you have schizophrenia or another illness with psychotic features, it is best to work with your psychiatrist to manage symptoms by transitioning to a different antipsychotic.
  • Sleep changes: You may notice changes in your sleep patterns when you initially withdraw. Some people report sleeping more than usual, others have difficulty sustaining a healthy amount of sleep. Understand that your sleep may be affected, especially during the first month or two after discontinuation.
  • Suicidal thoughts: It’s pretty common to experience suicidal thinking when you quit taking an antipsychotic. Many people that have been through withdrawal realize that the most intense suicidal thoughts are accompanied by anxiety and/or depression. These should gradually improve as your neurotransmitter levels adjust.
  • Sweating: Some individuals report profuse sweating all day for the first week(s) of withdrawal. If you notice that you are waking up during the night covered in sweat and/or are sweating intensely at work, it’s probably your body going through withdrawal.
  • Vomiting: The withdrawal period from this drug can make some people sick. Many exhibit flu-like symptoms for up to a full week as they readjust to functioning without the drug. This is more common in people who withdraw from higher doses that don’t conduct gradual tapers.
  • Weight loss: Since this is a medication that can lead to significant increases in weight, many people lose weight when they come off of it. This weight loss is usually not immediate, but may occur gradually over the course of a few weeks.

Risperidal Withdrawal: How Long Does It Last?

Although it would be nice if there were an exact Risperdal withdrawal timeline that could be followed, there’s not. Withdrawal lengthy and symptoms will vary based on the individual. Some people don’t really even notice much of a withdrawal when they come off of this drug, while others experience every symptom in the book. Just know that when it comes to withdrawing from any psychiatric medication – especially an antipsychotic, there are no “normal” symptoms.

If you experience something that you know is from withdrawal, trust your experience. Many people withdraw from Risperdal and report some pretty crazy symptoms, report them to their psychiatrist and the psychiatrist insists that these are not normal to experience during withdrawal. I cannot emphasize enough that it is important to trust your own instinct – you know more than anyone if the withdrawal created unwanted symptoms.

In most cases, people should start feeling more “normal” and have less withdrawal symptoms after they have been off of the drug for a full 90 days. I’m suggesting that it takes 3 months before most long-term antipsychotic users start to feel their discontinuation symptoms subside. If you have gone through Risperdal withdrawal and could share your experience in the comments section below, I’m sure someone would greatly appreciate some additional insight.

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188 thoughts on “Risperdal (Risperidone) Withdrawal Symptoms + How Long Do They Last?”

  1. I’m 44 and have been on Risperdal for 6 years at 2mgs. I’m doing a slow taper and am now at .5 mgs. No withdrawal symptoms until a few days ago, a little too happy, mild nausea and unable to sleep through the night. Otherwise, ok. I’m tapering without my doctor’s approval because I don’t think he’d agree.

    I won’t tell him when I’m done. I’ll just keep taking the scripts and not fill them. I don’t need this stuff and this should never have gone on this long. I want to sue my doctor for forcing me to take this all these years and misdiagnosing me. Looking for a new doctor.

  2. My daughter is almost 31 with Down Syndrome we started this drug two years ago after she seemed to have a nervous break down. She also has to take Benztropine because she has a reaction to Risperidone she looks up without the Benz. She started on 2mg, but she is very sensitive to drugs so we settled on 1mg and often times cut those in half.

    We have been going to the Dr every few months a quick 10 min very expensive visit for our insurance. I have tried a couple times to take her off and the odd behavior I thought was her relapsing, but after reading what they can go through coming off the drugs it’s almost the same as what she was experiencing just before being put on the stuff.

    Also, my daughter has gained nearly 45 pounds in these past couple years and I have told the Dr she isn’t eating any different so I have decided enough we are going to go off and wait out these obvious signs of withdrawal. Wish us luck because this has been the most difficult heart breaking few years of our nearly perfect 28 years we had previously with her. My daughter is not high functioning and this has made it even worse, there has to be a better answer then this horrible drug.

  3. I’ve was prescribed Risperdal after being diagnosed with psychosis. I took it for about 2 months not knowing how hard it would be to get off of it. First time I tried to stop I couldn’t sleep for a day and then went into a state of confusion so I gave in and took another one. I was on 3 milligrams so I started cutting the pills in half for about 12 days then I stopped again.

    This time I don’t know if I slept but I ended up going into psychosis on the second day and took a half a pill. Now is my 3rd attempt and I’m dealing with a lack of deep sleep and feel emotionless. I wish they would warn of the withdrawal before they give this medication. But I’m hoping I can get through it because I’m hopeful to have my old self back.

    • If you are having psychosis when you are not taking risperidone, you can’t stop taking or taper the medication. Trust me, you will not want to be psychotic and medication-free now and later take antipsychotics for 2 years like I did. Be safe.

  4. I was misdiagnosed and first put on risperdal (risperidone) along with Zoloft in Sept 2000. My misdiagnosis was due to an event related situation: I was having anxiety over the possibility of losing my job. It all came to a head when I went for 7 days without sleep; I literally did not so much as doze off for 7 days straight!!! Everyone should know that sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations, both auditory and visual, more anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, depression, etc., etc., and the list goes on.

    I ended up in the stress unit where I was prescribed Risperdal and Zoloft, when all I really needed was a couple good nights of uninterrupted sleep. I was in hospital for three days (I checked myself in). The attending physician said I would be on the meds for 60 or 90 days and taper back off them. Unfortunately, he was not accepting new patients in his practice, and he referred me to another “physician” psychiatrist who informed me I would be medicated the rest of my life.

    This new “physician” only increased my meds when I complained of vivid dreams and other side-effects. I started on .5 mg of Risperdal, and at the peak dose, by 2010, I was taking 4 mg, not a large dose by some standards, however, it was for a very long time. In 2012 I had an incident at work early in the morning 5:30 where I thought I was alert and awake the entire time, but I discovered at 8:30 I literally lost 3 hours with no recollection of what had transpired. I had perceived only about 15 minutes had passed, in my mind.

    By then, I had moved from Missouri to Florida (late summer 2010) and was seeing another “physician” psychiatrist who I knew would want to hospitalize me and drug me further into oblivion if I was to inform him of what happened. In lieu of calling this pagan “physician” psychiatrist, I decided to call a pharmacist in my home town, whom I knew I could trust. His gut-feel was I was getting too much risperidone (generic Risperdal) and he suggested I cut back.

    With prior experience of attempting withdrawal from powerful mood altering drugs, I began to cut back while at the same time eating healthier and walking/exercising vigorously and daily as much as possible. Every time I cut back I felt more focused at work, more engaged and all around better mood. I actually came off the Zoloft in December 2009/January 2010, but because I tapered off according to the pagan “physician” psychiatrist’s schedule, I had to go back on another anti-depressant, Lexapro.

    By the end of 2013, I was completely off the Lexapro, and I am now completely off the risperidone for 5 or 6 weeks. I only cut back 1/2 pill at a time and asked my PCP (I fired the pagan psychiatrist) for smaller and smaller dose pills. I do still feel some negative side effects, but I believe these will subside very shortly.

    • I, like you, had hallucinations after experiencing extreme stress at work and in my father’s family home due to a family member who was ill, I could not sleep for about 3 months and I ended up with auditory hallucinations, I was aware that they were hallucinations and did not believe them, but the insomnia physically and emotionally exhausted me.

      I was put on 1mg of risperidone, put on 25 kilos I am not sure how much that is in pounds. I also had insulin resistance which is a precursor to diabetes 2. I tried many times to give it up but have been unsuccessful because of sever withdrawal symptoms, it does seem to affect your hormones while you are on the drug which you notice once you stop, your post has given me hope, I am on leave and just have not been taking it for a week.

      I am feeling a little lethargic, but I am feeling clearer headed I hope I will succeed and lose the weight again and have a more normal physiology. My Dr at the time called it late onset schizophrenia, but I only had one episode. And she said that I could try and give up if I wanted to as my dose was very low and it was more likely to be for bipolar problems rather than schizophrenia.

  5. Hello everyone, I have a question. Yesterday I lowered my dose to 1.5 mg risperdal after 6 month of a 2mg / day period. My sleep wasn’t affected and I don’t see any withdrawal symptoms, but am much more happy and energetic than before. Does everyone notice some horrible effects, which are described here? Do these symptoms start off days after the taper? I’m a little scared for what will happen… Can anyone tell me? Thank y’all!

  6. My 10 year old grandson has been on this at bedtime for the last 4 years. He started having headaches every morning so I thought I’d stop the medication to see if that would help, it did. He stopped having morning headaches but last night, night 2, he got up and went over to the wall rubbing it. I asked what he was doing and if he was OK, he replied” I just wanted to turn the volume up a little.”

    After a couple seconds he snapped out of it looked at the wall and said “o” then went back to bed. He also woke up later sitting up in bed saying “really dude” once again realized he was still in bed and played down and went to sleep. He’s never sleep walked before and it scared me as I live in an apartment and could be seriously hurt or worse if he were to sleep walk off the balcony. On one hand I don’t like him going through this, but on the other, can’t stand to see him in pain every morning with headaches and with what it’s doing to him now, would love to see him off of it.

  7. Hey all, I was diagnosed with bipolar about 5 years ago and recently went to a new psych who said they had misdiagnosed me. All I had was bouts of reactive depression. Anyway they had me on 3mg of risperidone and 50 mg setraline. I tapered off both and stopped taking them both about a week ago. My energy levels are slim to none and I’m itchy all over. Thank goodness my appetite has dropped because I gained like 35kg whilst on this drug. My body aches and I’m really tired but looking forward to the long term results of being my self again and losing all this weight!! Wish me luck!

  8. I was prescribed Risperdal – 3mg in early September following an episode of self injury for which I had to be hospitalized (I have depression and borderline personality disorder). It made me feel anxious, restless and not like myself at all. I lost interest in everything – music, TV, schoolwork. It was hard to concentrate and I was feeling detached from the world.

    I told my doctor, but he didn’t seem to think any of it was a problem until I told him it was making also me lactate! So, I stopped cold turkey in mid-October. Immediately, I crashed into one of the worst depressions of my life. I was crying day in-day out, worried about my mom dying, paranoid about my friends leaving me, money, school, the future, and I still couldn’t function well enough to do anything. It was an all consuming, unrelenting terror.

    I started drinking to get through the days, which dulled the anxiety somewhat but ultimately made it worse. Desperate, I attempted suicide near the end of the month, and, ironically, wound up hospitalized again in a much worse state than I had been in before. It’s almost 3 weeks since then and I still wake up in tears every morning, with a feeling like there’s an iron fist around my heart. I’m usually bedridden until about mid-afternoon when I start to feel a little better.

    My doc raised me from 20mg of Lexapro to 30mg, but, though I’ve been taking it for almost 7 years with no problems, it seems to have no effect anymore. He’s thinking of switching me to Paxil, but I know this hellish feeling of despair is withdrawal from the Risperdal. Even though I was depressed before, I could manage it somewhat. I feel like I knew myself before, and now I’m lost. Really glad to find out it’s not going to last forever.

  9. Okay I took 2mg of Risperdal on day one, I think they gave me that 2x a day on day one and two, then I had a seizure or eps or something, VERY TERRIBLE, my tongue was as if it was trying to stay stuck outta my mouth or detach itself, it got worse because them my head involuntarily and rigidly kept turning to the left, then my left foot was rigidly sticking toes up, heel down, so they got me on 1mg of Risperdal on days 3-5 I guess, and 1x a day…anyways, it is day 3 that I quit taking that “medicine” as I quit cold turkey, I didn’t want it in the first place… Since I haven’t been on it long at all, shouldn’t it be outta my system by now?

  10. Took 1mg for 10 years with an increase to 2mg over the last 10 months due to depressive Bipolar episode and anxiety. Tried to taper off, going from 2mg to 0 in about 3 weeks. My first night off meds, I did not sleep well. Over the next two days got goosebumps, chills, shaking, muscle spasms, diarrhea, and a headache. Doc put me back to 1mg and all symptoms stopped within about 5 hours and felt back to “normal” by the next day. Going to stay at this level why we introduce Latuda, and then taper off Risperidone over a much longer amount of time.

  11. I’m having withdrawals from risperidone. Nausea, headaches, body pain and sleep problems. Just coming down 1/4 amount from 1 mg for a week now. Was on it for 6 years. On valproic acid also. Problems with weight and memory. Hope next few weeks aren’t going to be so hard.

  12. I am shocked and horrified by all the people going cold turkey, especially those whose doctors told them to! NEVER, EVER, go cold turkey on psychiatric meds. The only way to come off them is by tapering, slowly. I’m not talking about halving your dose one day, and then the next, you need to take weeks or even months coming off this drug, go down by 10% every 2-4 weeks.

    • Have you even been on risperdal? If so, you should understand why they’d want to quit cold turkey. It isn’t necessarily harmful, just difficult to deal with. Trust me, it is better to go cold turkey when it comes to that drug than to suffer through its zombifying effects for any longer.

  13. I was taking 8mg of Risperdal daily for 3 years for Bipolar I. Seemed to help with the hallucinations and manic anxiety. Since I’ve remained euthymic for such an extended period of time now, my doctors have given me permission to discontinue my use of both antipsychotics that I was currently taking (Risperdal and Seroquel). We gradually tapered my dose of the Risperdal by cutting it down every two weeks by 1mg.

    Today is two weeks since my last dose and, well, things could be better… But they could most definitely be worse. My two main problems are insomnia and night sweats. Obviously, anyone with a psychiatric condition NEEDS good, quality sleep, so this is proving to be very trying for me. I stop taking in caffeine and nicotine a little while before bedtime most nights, which seems to help a bit.

    When my significant other sleeps next to me, I seem to sleep much, much better. I’ve also noticed slightly elevated levels of irritability and I shake sometimes. The worst is the constant nausea, but this symptom is improving every day. All in all, if this is what I have to go through to be Risperdal-free… Then, so be it. I laugh ALL of the time now, am losing weight already (appetite seems to be normalizing), and generally feel so much more alive now. Good luck to you all. :)

  14. I have stopped taking 2 mg 2x daily if risperdal for bipolar. I was on it for 1 and 1/2 years and stopped cold turkey. Its been 10 days. I have serious anxiety like something bad is going to happen. This scares me. Bad thoughts enter my head lie a day dream. I feel nervous. I feel sick to the stomach (nausea). It’s hard to think to eat because it makes me feel sick. I lay in bed mostly trying to cope and hoping this will soon past.

    I sleep sporadically during the night. If I would have known of the withdrawal symptoms I would have never agreed to start risperdal. I have gained about 50 pounds while on risperdal. I hope this nausea and near vomiting stops soon. Also the anxiety about something bad happening. With patience and determination I will not let these withdrawal symptoms get the best of me. After reading everyone’s comments I know my symptoms are normal. Hopefully I don’t have long to go before the withdrawal symptoms are over. I wont give up.

  15. Bipolar 1 w/ psychotic features, PTSD. I only took it for 3 nights. It’s been 6 days since I have taken the last dose (.5mg). I am also on other drugs including Depakote (500mg) and a pain patch. I warned my doctor several times about my concern about contraindications from my pain medication and antipsychotics, but she insisted that side effects would be minimal since the dose is minimal and the only time it happens is with geriatric patients (I am 29 years old).

    Low and behold, on day 3 I get movements and the feeling of my muscles ripping apart. I had the sensation of feeling hot and cold so I would take my clothes off and put them back on. I went to the hospital and was given 4 mg cogentin and sent home and was told to keep taking Risperidone. I did not. Since then I have developed laryngeal dystonia. I cannot talk without sounding like a weirdo. Before this I made a living being a recording artist. Now my passion has been ripped away from me. Despite it being almost a week this particular symptom has the been only thing that has stayed.

    The shakes and pain in my arms have gone away. But I still cannot talk. I haven’t left my house in days because I am too embarrassed to even order a coffee. I am so afraid of this being permanent. And my psychiatrist says nothing about it. Just wait she says, there is nothing to do about it she says. But the longer I wait and do nothing while this voice thing is still around makes me more scared of it being permanent. Like having chronic pain, being bipolar and now this. My life is a nightmare that keep getting worse and I now have nothing to look forward to in life. I am trapped. Silenced and trapped.

    • Hi, This might not mean much from me know but… The withdrawal symptoms will pass (As its been two months on since you posted they might have already/ Or are getting less prominent (Which is GREAT!). If not don’t be discouraged. You will be recording again in some way or form. It has been early stages. From what I read a large part of the pain is from losing your recording.

      You haven’t lost your recording you have just added character in your voice, many have had it work to their advantage. A more interesting person is one with character and what you have been through is the definition of character! The other part of the pain is the constant trials of life. Life is messed up but life always gets better as long as you are striving for it. You get better at dealing/managing with things once you have realizations in what is going on and know when something is happening (I have found [Being knowledgeable is the key don’t let people brush you aside when it comes to your well being. You have a right to be informed]) and I hope you find that too with your illness.

      The trials strength us and allow the world to be seen with a new perspective and wisdom I hope you can find that. If you are still embarrassed to go outside: I suggest something that I did which I would modify for an example you gave of ordering coffee. Go to the coffee shop think about exactly what you want to order and order it. If the barrister doesn’t hear and wants you to repeat it, repeat it…You have a right to be heard and they are their to get you a coffee…if they laugh or giggle…who cares what an insensitive barrister thinks, they don’t know you or the strength it takes to endure life’s difficulties that you have had or many with illnesses have had…and make sure they get you your coffee (calmly of course) and say thank you.

      Then go there the next day to get a coffee, and the next for a few days to build up the stamina for it. The worst that happens is you have people that have no significance in your life or to you give you a funny look. I hope you are feeling more hopeful and recording again. Charlie

      • Charlie, I don’t know when you put this on the post but it is now 3 of 16, and I was on risperidone for approximately 12 to 15 years at .7 milligrams or 7 milligrams I’m not sure due to PTSD symptoms. I went off cold turkey about 3 months ago and AM experiencing extreme pain, anxiety, rages, etc.

        Do you think they will ever get better and you have an idea when or what I should do about it? I have an appointment again with my doctor on Monday the 13th of March, but I’m at a loss as what else to do, any advice? Hope you have a good day and I liked what you had to say. Julie

  16. I tapered down from 4 mg to 2 mg, then to 1.5 mg and 1 mg, after that I had a hard time but I managed to get through to 0.75 mg. I tried to go to 0.5 mg but the irritability and the insomnia were unbearable so I upped the dose to 0.625 mg. My plan is to stay on that dosage for a month than go to 0.5 mg then decrease 0.0625 mg (a quarter of the 0.25 mg pill) every month until I’m drug-free.

    • I’d like to leave an update. So it seemed like I had the most struggles when going to 1 mg through 0.5 mg. I took 0.56, 0.5, 0.43 and 0.375 mg dosages and after I reduced to 0.25 mg, then 0.12 mg and now it’s the second week I’m drug-free. I had just a little anxiety in the first few days.

  17. I have been tapering off risperdone by shaving a bit off the pills for a week now and slept the first 3 days. Now I’m not sleeping the early part of the night. The pills are only 1 mg. I shave about a 1/4 off as its hard to do. Any suggestions?

  18. I have been on risperidone for about a year now after several other drugs caused several side effects. The reason was due to a single bout of mania/psychosis not a harmful one, one with lots of love and lots of hugs. I have been of risperidone after tapering of from 1mg to 0.25 for about a week I have had nothing and all I can say is even if a doctor tells you to, don’t ever start this drug. It might be fine while your on it but trying to come of it is absolute hell.

    Like I would rather be in a pychosis than coming of this drug. Suicidal thoughts, hot sweats, aching muscles, confusion, memory loss, I honestly do not know how doctors think it is ok to prescribe stuff like this. If your a mother or father brother or sister wife or husband if you are basically a human being that cares don’t let someone you love start this drug and if someone you love is coming of this drug be there in whatever way they need you. Infinite love peace and happiness to all my brothers and sisters! Stay strong!

  19. Thank you so much to everyone for their comments. I was on 3mg. of risperidone for bipolar disorder for over 11 years. With a new doctor who wanted me to taper down, I went to 2mg. with no discernible problems whatever, then went to 1.5mg and all hell broke loose: could not concentrate, and plagued with endless anxious thoughts about money, and even some suicidal ideation. After a few weeks of this, went back to 2mg., and am feeling better. I read all the negative effects of this drug, and I experienced none of them. I am loathing to try to reduce my dosage again.

  20. Currently going through withdrawal from .5 risperidone after being on it for 3 months and I have to say it’s terrible. The medicine itself was working great for me but also giving me rare side effects such as lactation. So my doctor told me to stop it “cold turkey”. I feel dizzy, exhausted and worst of all the detachment mixed with anxiety attacks.

    I thought on such a low dose the withdrawal wouldn’t be bad, but I know me and medicine react weird. I’m supposed to wait a while before starting a new medication to make sure all the risperidone is out of my system, but to keep from random anxiety attacks/crying spells I’m having to constantly take xanax.

  21. Taking 3mg of risperidone for 2 months, weaned down to 1.5mg, then decided not to take thereafter. It’s been 5 days without taking it. Most of my time within those days was spent laying down shaking either freezing cold or extremely warm. My thoughts are disturbing and intrusive and my whole body is itchy. Wish I knew when this horrifying experience will pass.. (I’m 18 years old and suffering from GAD, panic disorder and depression). Best of luck to everyone.

  22. I have been taking Risperdal 1 mg twice a day for two years and was recently taken off of it… Down to 1 mg for two weeks, then nothing after that. I am experiencing dreadful anxiety and sweating like crazy. My tongue feels funny in my mouth and my stomach feels funny. The anxiety is the worst, though. I am hopeful that something can be done to help with the anxiety in the meantime and that I can be without risperdal for good. Oh yeah, I gained a whopping 90 pounds with this drug and am at risk for Type 2 Diabetes as well. Hopefully we caught it in time.

  23. I feel very comforted reading all of your comments on this article. I am seeing the side effects of this drug from an outside. Me and my family have been through hell and back watching our beloved be taken over by this horrendous drug. My sister had an ‘episode’ last August and when she was put on 4mg/day and discharged from hospital. The hospital Drs told her she would need to be on it for 1 year, therefore she was fixated on this advice.

    As the drug took more of a hold on her (as it was fully into her system), we watched her become zombie like, masked faced, emotionless. Like she had gone. Sleeping all day, one worded hollow answers, no emotion and no care for anything. It was like she was there, but removed entirely from the world. Stuck in a constant routine of sleep, eat and repeat. No acknowledgement of responsibility of things. She has left her job and at the time had no interest in anything.

    It took me until Jan 2015 to get a Psych appointment and finally get the dose reduced to 3mg. Since then, in March another reduction down to 2mg. We are waiting for our next appointment for a further reduction and finally be taken off this medication. After the reduction in January, about 1 week later we noticed a big difference. She was starting to ‘come back’ Albeit, in a state of nervousness about everything and not wanting to go out the house alone at all. Terrified that ‘something might happen’.

    From March reduction, she has been out of the house on her own and a lot more chirpier. Still nervous and she has hot flushes and hunger bouts – where she is extremely hungry all of a sudden. No matter what she is doing, she is convinced she must eat, ‘little and often’ to keep her strength up. I know it is a long road to (hopeful) recovery and I do not believe she should have been put on this medication at all. I really wish you all every success in coming off of this medication completely.

  24. I’ve been on Risperdal for six months. I take it for drug-induced psychosis. I took 3 mg but now I am on 2 mg. Since then I feel like I am in a dream–or in a nightmare. I suffer severe memory loss; sometimes I am on my way to work or on my way home and forget where I am going. I forget who I am occasionally and who the people in my life are. I have gained 40 pounds since being on Risperdal.

    I just don’t feel like myself anymore. I do not think the same way and I have a shadow of doubt that follows me wherever I go. At first I thought I was crazy but I then realized I felt this way since taking Risperdal, and not even so when I was at my worst phase of psychosis. I simply do not feel there is a joy to living anymore. I feel mentally and intellectually impaired and I have had enough. I feel numbed out, a statistic in a linear world.

    Tonight I have decided I am not taking my medication anymore. I read that Risperdal withdrawal can last up to 90 days, but I will see how the first day goes. Wish me luck for I am longing to be unleashed from the prison this beast holds me in. I feel bad for anyone that is subject to this drug’s side effects. Good luck to all of you.

  25. I have just come off risperdal after taking for year. I had really bad side effects but I am now back to normal and feeling better. I wanted to post this as I came on here when I was going through hell and there wasn’t much info on how long the nasty pain of withdrawal would last. I was taking 2mg a day, for one week I halved my dose then quit completely. As a result I was in a state for about 3 weeks in total – symptoms included very bad depression, anxiety, constant feeling the need to cry, not eating properly. I spent most of the time in bed, it was awful.

    The good news it is DOES pass and for me it took around 2 weeks to get over the worst and 3 weeks happy as ever. While I was going through the withdrawal and felt horrendous I found meditation helped (I’m not the meditation type) but quiet dark room, close your eyes and listen to a video like this.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw7rmdITCFs. Good luck with coming off, keep faith and remember these nasty feelings won’t last forever, in my case only a few weeks!

    • It is very good to hear from someone who has come off this drug and for whom the effects have passed. I have been on a fairly low dose for several years. I tapered – halved the dose – and the effects shocked me more than I can say. I am now on 0.5mg and will continue tapering. Waves of bleakness and despair I have never before experienced are frequent along with severe sleep disruption and intense anxiety.

      I sincerely wish that I had not been prescribed this drug. Whilst in that space I cannot believe that the feelings of despair will ever pass. Right now they seem only to lift a little bit, but I will persevere. Thank you for the positive words and the link.

  26. I’ve been taking 4mg of Risperidone for about 4 years. I tried quitting cold turkey but gave up after having severe anxiety, sweating, insomnia, and mania. I’m going to go to see a psychiatrist and get help with tapering off from this med. I have gained about 50 lbs while on it and now have type 2 diabetes because of the extreme weight gain. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

  27. I took risperdal for 6 months…I’ve always weighed 120lbs or less (I’m 5’4) and within the 6 months I took risperdal I gained 30+ lbs.. I’ve never weighed this much. I had no emotions while taking risperdal, felt no joy in everyday life, stopped singing along to my favorite songs, just felt flat everyday. The first time I tried to stop taking it I quit cold turkey and within 3-4 days of not taking it, I went into a deep psychosis had crying fits, felt itchy and very aggravated and had serious thoughts of suicide, so I got back on the risperdal for about a month. Then I tried to quit again but this time decided to taper to hopefully avoid the withdrawal symptoms I had when quitting cold turkey.

    I was taking 10 mg and started by cutting my pills in half for about a month, then cut the halves in half and again halved the halves every two days and in about a week I was taking none-this time it worked… I had no withdrawal symptoms and within about 2 weeks of no risperdal I started to be able to feel things again, like songs, happiness, joy, being excited, even thirst and hunger. I’ve been risperdal free for about 4 months now and feel so great… risperdal was such a horrible drug and I wish I would never had taken it in the first place because it was pure hell trying to get off it. I am much happier now!

    • Good to hear you’re better now.. I’m the same, it was HELL getting off it, but so great to feel normal again now it’s out the system :)

  28. I have been on respiridone for 3.5 years. I have cut back from 6mg to 4 mg now I am on 2mg will go to 1mg next week then .5 for a week the 0 mg. This has been over a 3 week period. I am bipolar with psychotic episodes I have not experienced any withdrawal symptoms other than very minor headaches and a little anxiety and some hand tremors. I am taking clonazepam for anxiety and have increased from 300 mg of lamictal to 400 mg.

    So far I have not experienced any major discomfort or mania thank goodness! I am worried the mania will return but hoping increasing the lamictal will help. I DO NOT WANT ANY MORE ANTIPSYCIOATICS! I gainedd 67 pounds on this medication. Hopefully will loose weight. Over all I am feeling better after coming down from 6mg to 2mg. Good luck everyone I hope you will all be okay and be able to come off this horrible drug without to much discomfort. For me it has been very minor so far.

  29. My name is Frank, I am 61. I have been taking 12mg of Risperidone for what seems like years. In those years I have gained 30 pounds. I am now trying to wean down so I can get off, and lose this weight. It has been about 2 weeks now and tomorrow night I’ll be down to 3mg. So far so good. After 1 week at 3mg I will cut down to 1 1/2 mg and see what happens. I see my Doctor tomorrow morning and I am going to tell him what I am doing…Lord knows what he will say. No side effects yet, but I am still taking (albeit) much less Risperidone than ever. Wish me luck!

  30. I started this exactly one month ago at 5mg a day to treat my bipolar disorder and save my relationship and family. Soon after starting I began having severe anxiety attacks. So severe that I was terrified of going to work, was unable to perform my duties while there and began setting people when I’d be the only one at work. I was at a point where I couldn’t watch the show I enjoyed, out of fear that something would provide an attack. Heck, I’d get an anxiety attack over getting paid. It got to the point where I felt like I was going crazy.

    I finally went in to the doctor the days ago and we decided to give it up cold turkey for a week and see if my symptoms got better. Now I’m dealing with hot and cold flashes, anxiety still, the hallucinations (though not nearly as often), emotional instability, and severe nausea. I decided last night to just take half a pill and taper off rather than just quit cold turkey. I’m so scared I’m going to have a psychotic break I’m from of my children and can’t wait to go back and get on something different.

  31. I’ve gone cold turkey three times from Risperidone, and this time is going to be the last time: The first couple of times I tried it I lost weight–now I’ve gained 40 pounds in eight months. Withdrawal starts right away with low energy levels and crying. I don’t remember any nausea, but remember, it’s different for everyone, every time. My symptoms lasted about a month, tapering off gradually. You can do this!

  32. Hi, I am so glad that I found this site as I have literally been tearing my mind apart about the withdrawal symptoms of Risperdal. I was in the hospital diagnosed with drug induced schizophrenia from Nov 9th 2014 – Dec 01 2014. I got out of the hospital and then I quit taking Risperidal completely cold turkey Jan 4th and it’s now Jan 28th. I was on 2mg every night. The withdrawals were complete misery. I was extremely sad for the first week and could not even manage to get up out of bed.

    I would berate myself with negative thoughts like, “Why can’t you do this? Why can’t you just think straight?” The first few days that I quit taking the medication, I noticed immediately that I no longer answer questions with one word answers. Now that it has been a few weeks, things are improving but there are withdrawal symptoms that are becoming more evident. I’ve been feeling like I want to run but I feel paralyzed and can’t move at the same time. There is a separation between the left side of my body and my heart where my heart will thump out of rhythm occasionally and I can’t feel any emotional pull on the left side of my body either.

    I have a hard time feeling any emotion at all as I tend to feel intense pressure on both sides of my head, almost like I am wearing blinders and I can’t see. I don’t even like moving my head side to side anymore. My emotional state is that nothing at all really matters anymore – I just can’t seem to find a way to care about what’s happening to the people around me. Sometimes I have the urge to look upwards (when I was in the hospital my eyes would roll into the back of my head occasionally). My communication has changed. Sometimes when I am speaking, I will come up with different words to say rather than the word I was looking for (because I can’t seem to remember what I’m trying to say).

    This has been a side effect I’ve been able to deal with in the past (when I took a lower dose). Now my short term memory loss is a lot stronger. I can read something and not remember anything that I read or after having a conversation, completely forget what was said later on that day. My memory has changed completely because I’ve forgotten things I used to know that were normal! Like the names for animals or companies or shows, very simple titles that I can’t find in my memory banks even though I know they are there.

    Even down to typing and grammar – I’ve forgotten words that I’ve known all of my life. Everything that I once knew is muted. It’s very hard to speak with others about myself because I can’t remember anything that I used to do or like. I have to speak slowly in order to expand on my meaning and while I’m speaking slowly I have to come up with the ideas simultaneously rather than being able to think ahead or in real time. I’m a lot less creative than I was because I’m unable to expand on my ideas or even come up with new ones. My inner voice is a lot louder but it’s sluggish.

    I am always thinking extremely slowly and without any meaning behind what I think which makes me fearful that I’ve lost IQ points through the usage of this medication. Sometimes I find myself zoned out for half a minute at a time before coming back without having had any inner thoughts. Sometimes I find myself thinking the same things over and over again. I’ve also noticed that my thoughts are completely dampened by the medication – it does not allow me to think clearly or expand on my thoughts. My thoughts are there (so I’m hoping I haven’t lost IQ), but I cannot grasp them to make sense of them. It’s like my true mind is on a much quieter frequency – practically muted.

    Now my concentration is completely different. Sometimes the way my mind processes makes me feel as though I were deaf trying to read someones lips but can’t understand what they are saying fast enough to make sense of it but slowly I do afterwards. It’s nearly impossible to focus on two things at once. While I’m trying to write, my brain will fill in the blanks with random words that don’t make any sense towards my meaning and I’ll have to stop and rethink what I meant – I don’t even know where those words come from.

    I also get major headaches in the back of my neck and the left side of my brain and face. Sometimes my muscles will completely tense up as I stress about something in my mind and I have to remind myself to relax completely. I’m a very spiritual individual. User Tin Foil hat stated: ” I feel in my heart that certain mental illnesses are more than just that. I believe they hold a spiritual purpose. A journey within. A Kundalini of sorts. When my psychotic episode first erupted, it was amazing & I was in what some would call a delusion of grandeur. And I was fine with that.” The feelings of grandeur exactly describes how I felt when I was on Risperdal.

    Now that I’m coming off of it, I think that those of us suffering with side affects from this drug have to complete extra steps in order to get to our goals but that those extra steps are the exertion of spiritual energy that is our unused life force because we live in muted agony. That unused life force very well may be where our spirits reside so that when say, you forget something or phrase something differently because you can’t remember the right way to say it, the spirit is actually intentionally allowing that to happen so that it alters the frequency we share between others thus causing a rippling affect in the time continuum.

    Solutions: I’ve noticed that when I eat on time, and sleep EXACTLY on time, I actually feel normal. I think that in 90 days, my body will stop craving the medication but I’m not sure if all of my symptoms are a result of a lack of medication because I still feel like I am still on it. I think my sympotoms are a result of the medication still being present in high levels and hopefully I am just waiting for it to decrease. Drinking alcohol kinda helped me feel more like myself.

    I’m not really sure if I will ever feel like myself again but it has only been three weeks so hopefully within 90 days, I will have a different attitude, it’s just that it is taking forever and it’s hard to keep my spirits up. Thanks for reading my experiences! Most of all remember, even though it seems like everyone is looking at you, people don’t really notice when something is wrong or even care. It’s a lot larger in your mind than it is to other people. GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE. RISPERDAL IS SOME SICK STUFF.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’ve been on it for 5 months at 2mg for organic schizophrenia. I started lowering my dose about 4 days ago. I skipped my dose, took 1mg for two days, skipped my next dose, and took half a mg today. I’ve had a LOT of the same symptoms as you and can definitely relate to the getting stuff stuck in your head on repeat. I told my doctor about that but she said that was an unusual side effect that she’d never heard of. I also have noticed the loss of my inner voices and the random words popping up where they don’t belong.

      I think, total, I gained 20 pounds when I first started taking it. The only withdrawal symptom I’ve noticed so far is a dull pressure in the back of my head and an occasional mood swing toward depression. It was great to read your story because I could relate so much to some of your issues. It really helped calm some of my anxiety about this withdrawal process. To anyone else considering or going through the withdrawal process, good luck and I hope your feeling of being ‘your normal self’ can finally return. I’m certainly hoping I’ll get there soon.

  33. I started my withdrawal from Risperdal on Dec 16th 2014. I had been taking 3mg for about 4 years at bedtime as a mood stabilizer. I dropped from 3mg down to 2mg and the biggest issue I had was sleep deprivation and for the first 5 days of the withdrawal I had some muscle spasms and twitching. The half life of Risperdal is about 20 hours. So it takes roughly 100 hours for the drug to level out. After it levels out it then took (myself) another 2 weeks for my brain to adjust to the changes. It is now January 14th and I am down to 1mg at night, slowly tapering off every 2-3 weeks. My next drop will be to .5 mg then I will stay at that dose for 3-4 weeks then go off completely.

    I do take some other medicines that help with the withdrawal that I plan on staying on. So in my case it is mostly just letting my brain adjust with each withdrawal. I already take another mood stabilizer that works well so I am just enduring the process as best I can. I am hopeful and doing better each day. I promise it gets better! Especially after the first 2 weeks go by. Just make sure to be consistent with your drops and the taking of the medicine! It is a bit difficult, however the withdrawal process can be completed!!

  34. Hi I’m Jon, I’ve been taking risperidone for 7 years and I’m starting to wean off it. I’m taking the .15mg tabs 2 in the evening one at night. They’ve been weaning off it by half a pill a month I’ve gone through 2 months so far. So I’m now at 1 tab in the evening and 1 tab at night. I can say the reduced appetite and weight loss were almost instant… could be because I workout. The nausea I get once in awhile same with panic attacks. Right now is when I almost had a breakdown.

    I was having an argument with my mom because I remembered doing something and my said she did it. I made it into a whole big deal because I thought she was gas-lighting me by saying I did something I really didn’t do, but it turns out I think I did it. When it came to me I started balling then looked up withdrawal symptoms and this came up. Now I’m beating myself up because I still can’t remember and this has been happening on and off in December, but now I’ve realized it. Unfortunately my mother is the only one who understands.

    One of my brothers literally wants me out of his life and says I’m an embarrassment even though I’ve been stable for years and he had just got out of a mental hospital. My dad has come to be accepting and I know he loves me, but I’m not so sure about my mom. Same with my middle brother he loves me too. The memory thing for me right now leaves me in a pool of shame and embarrassment too afraid to come to the surface. My mom won’t listen to me about side effects because she absolutely believes its my OCD.

    She doesn’t know what any of my disorders are even though I was diagnosed as a kid. So the memory is my biggest problem right now same with mood swings and irritability due to bipolar disorder. Luckily no relapse because I’ve done 3 CBTs and am on my 4th also. I’ve been on mood stabilizers forever. In the end I know I will succeed and conquer these withdrawals because I am strong and determined! :-)

  35. I too am a victim of using recreational drugs, having a bad trip thus leading to a diagnosis of bi polar. When it first happened life was easier as I was young and only needed my friendship circles and there company to know that I wasn’t bi polar, was still the same guy and the bad trip had caused what all bad trips do. But then I got older. Friends moved or married and I had no support system. I had instead a mother who insisted I was mentally ill, and did everything in her power to keep me on meds and as time went on living in the system. I was stupid.

    I let myself get into the system as a way to prove I didn’t need it. I didn’t take medication all the years prior, but lead her to believe I did with her telling me how good I was doing? What a joke I always thought, if she knew the truth. I used to be successful in all I did, and now I’m in this rut. A year and a half ago I was forced to take risperdal by the housing I lived in, private through An agency, due to the fact I was hospitalized for a major panic attack.

    It was the first time and only time I was hospitalized without my mothers intervention, and the first time in over twelve years. I was forced on to an AOT or I would have had to move… and I was put on Risperdal Consta. I had been on the very mild tegretol at its lower dosage and experienced nothing from it. Now side effects, no change in mind or behavior. It was like taking aspirin. So I just didn’t care. The risperdal when on it basically changed nothing in my mind, but put over thirty pounds on me and has tore apart my muscles, with constant aches all over.

    The AOT expired, I took myself off the risperdal, as now I was receiving it orally. I need to get back to my real life and put all this horror behind me. Now I am experiencing horrible side effects, being off it for a month. Severe headaches. So severe that I thought it best to get a ct scan of my brain, just to be on the safe side. Now this week I have felt irritable, and panicky when I have never felt either of these things before. I’m shaking as I write this. Today I woke up with extreme anxiety, sweating and the same headache.

    And it takes up to ninety days for the withdrawal process? Damm, its scary to look at the time frame, as I am in great pain. But its all about persevering. This is a highly potent drug, very dangerous and one panic attack and a couple of nervous old women have caused me great pain. And now I read above that they are putting children on this. It’s insane. So what it comes down to is that I’m clawing my way through withdrawals so I can have my normal life back once again. As I’m writing this I’m getting hungry and nauseous at the same time and my head is killing me.

    Point of it all: People need to know how powerful this drug is before going on it! I was never told. I was also not told of the withdrawal, because although I quit taking it cold turkey, providers don’t know. But they put me back on the tegretol in a taper. I decided not to take that either. These are the side effects I’m experiencing: headaches, nausea, weakness,short term memory problems, irritability, emotional influx, tiredness. I have never in my life been irritable, never felt any bipolar emotions, but the withdrawal is messing with me and I’m conscious of it. This is my experience with the system and the drug that I wanted to share. Good luck to all going through the same thing.

  36. I’m 50 years old and experiencing a very difficult pre-menopause. After experiencing extreme bouts of sleeplessness (4-6 days of no sleep), I experienced psychosis and was admitted to the hospital. After a few days, I was released with 1 mg Resperidone daily dosage after the first hospitalization, and 2mg dosage after the second hospitalization several months later.

    After really poor medical care at the hands of many inept and over zealous psychiatric providers, I discovered that my condition was due to severe fluctuations in estrogen associated with pre-menopause, NOT the sudden onset of a mysterious psychiatric condition. Withdrawal from Resperidone the first time was easy, I experienced no side effects at all. I’m currently withdrawing from the drug a second time and I’m experiencing lots of withdrawal symptoms, including severe naseau and fatigue.

    I am really angry that such an obvious illness — pre-menopause at the age of 50 — has been misdiagnosed and mistreated with such a heavy duty and dangerous drug. I have repeatedly explained to health care providers — almost all women themselves — that I am having severe insomnia associated with menopause. Still, they have all tried to push this drug on me at higher and higher doses. I have had no choice but to take charge of my own health and I encourage others to do the same — especially women who may be pre-menopausal.

    • I’m 53 and was hospitalized after I “snapped”. I was diagnosed as bipolar but now found out that I’m completely out of estrogen. Meanwhile, I’m now a fat catatonic drooling zombie completely addicted to this crap.

  37. My 14 year old daughter has been taking Risperdal since she was 9 for bipolar disorder. The choice to add Risperdal to her mood-stabilizer was made after we had no luck with antidepressants or mood-stabilizers. Risperdal was like a miracle drug for us, as we saw huge improvements in every area of her life! In school, she went from being far behind her peers and having an IEP to exiting the IEP and getting all As and Bs. Her mood stabilized, my home was no longer a war zone, she was no longer having nightmares, and she was happier.

    About a year ago the decision was made to increase her dosage because she was experiencing a return of symptoms. This can be expected with hormonal changes and the increase in height and weight. She went from .5 mg to 1.5 mg a day. Unfortunately her prescribing doctor has moved out of state, and last month the new doctor has decided that she should reduce her dosage to 1 mg a day. Since then she has experienced severe depression, crying fits for no reason, severe anxiety, irritability, insomnia, suicidal idealization, lack of concentration, and wild mood swings.

    She is not experiencing PMS or any other life events that would make her feel like this. I can understand and appreciate the doctor’s desire to keep my daughter on the lowest dose possible, but I am angry that he did this to her right now. My motto is, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. She was stable, and now she’s a mess! I cannot bear to watch her go through this for three months, and I don’t think she is capable of experiencing these symptoms that long without going into a full-blown relapse. :(

  38. I’m 23 years old and I’ve been taking 2mg of risperdal for 5 years. I’m prescribed to it for bipolar and PTSD. I stopped taking it all together a week ago and the last 3 days I’ve had the worst anxiety I’ve ever had! As I’m typing this, I feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin! I feel so nervous and unsettled and not myself at all. I feel like I don’t know what to do with myself and I constantly try to do something, like crafts or games, but I can’t stay focused and I just wanna freak out. I wouldn’t recommend going off this medication cold turkey!

    • I agree… I took Risperidone for about 5 weeks for mood swings. Felt ok while I was on it but then on my fifth week started crying and feeling depressed. I saw on the website that this was a severe side affect and I should talk to my doctor immediately. I called on Friday and she was to be out of her office until Monday so I decided to stop cold turkey. The withdrawals were brutal.

      The worst being I actually did not sleep one minute for three straight days. Finally last night after taking Benadryl 50 I slept ten hours. I am 7 days from stopping cold turkey and withdrawals seem to be getting better. My wife has been great in talking me out of my stages and reassuring me it’s just withdrawals and I will get through.

      Keeping busy is definitely the key if you sit around and just think you will have a tougher time. Powerful drug to quit cold turkey.

      • Good for you Mike I tried quitting but last time without the pill I didn’t sleep for 9 days straight. I tried Benadryl but didn’t help at all.

  39. Hi, I am reading all of your comments as I listen to my 20-year-old son with autism screaming out and he tries to fall asleep. For three years he has been on Risperdal (I fought against him going on this awful drug but lost to family and physicians) and I have been tapering him off. He is now on .25 once a day and because he is having so many side effects (odd tongue movements, odd body posture, staring, not being able to move unless prompted, his arm shoots out all of a sudden, confusion and I believe loss of IQ points) his doctor stopped his medication on Thursday because these things can become permanent.

    My heart is breaking and I pray for him to not have to suffer. He cannot speak, he cannot tell me what he is feeling. I think he may be seeing things, and he looks scared one minute and stone-faced the next. He can be aggressive and I (his mom) am the only one who can be brave enough to be with him when this happens. I can’t go to work and he can’t go to school. Is there anything that will help him with the withdrawals? We have been using a product called Body Calm Daytime Relief and it has been helping.

    I bought it from a program called “The Road Back” and they help people get off of so many awful drugs. I wish I could go back in time and I would NEVER have given this to him. I hope anyone who reads this and has a child with autism understands that their child is not psychotic, just autistic and can be helped through nutrition and supplements. DO NOT put your child (especially if your child cannot speak) on this awful drug. Every day when I gave it to him I would tell people that I gave him his poison. TRUST your instincts! My son is now out of bed again. God bless you all as you go through this journey.

    • Kim, I am a Mom of a 24 year old autistic son also. We went off cold turkey beginning of December. It has been heartbreaking as we are all sleep deprived as the first 10 days he was violently ill, paranoid and everything else you can imagine. He still sleeps 18 hours a day and it’s been almost a month. 4 mg per day for 3 years. Now some good news. The other day he was smiling and we all were in shock! I am ok! That’s what he said!!! We do lots of oils for relaxation and just let him be. He has lost 20 lbs in under a month. This drug is demonistic for our autistic kids and we as parents need to become their advocate!

      • Hi How is your son? My son is twenty. We have been tapering his Risperidone for a year now… not sure if we are going to slow. He was on 4.25 mg for almost three years.

      • My son is 21 and has autism. We are weening him off of risperdal after at least 10 years. It is also heartbreaking to watch him go through Parkinson-like symptoms of body shaking and motions. We are weaning him slowly and I pray these symptoms go away. He is very much himself overshadowed by these symptoms, but I’m so afraid of what I am seeing.

    • My son is 13 and has bipolar disorder with psychosis and autism. He came of his risperdal (2mg daily) very quickly due to highly elevated prolactin levels (3 times what a lactating woman should have). He has become highly agitated with increased stimming behaviors. Lots of rocking, pacing, repetitive movements, non stop talking, aggression, and overall disruption in his mood. Seems to become highly depressed every afternoon, but cycles back to mania once or twice a day. Hoping this reduces soon, as he seems to just want to crawl out of his skin! My heart aches for him.

    • Hang in there, Karen. I am in the same boat with my 17 year old daughter. She has autism and fragile x syndrome. We have never found a medication that truly helps her with anything. We put her on Risperdal to try and control her mood swings, but all it did was numb her personality. We talked ourselves into believing it helped with her self-injurious behaviors, but they still come back at times.

      I am putting my foot down and weaning her off of all of these awful, useless medications. I’m going back to natural supplements, like we used to do when she was little. We may lose some sleep, but it will be worth it to get these things out of her body. Good luck, I hope your son is able to calm down and sleep. By the way, I am home with my daughter, too, and she is not in school. We need to support each other, there doesn’t seem to be anything in place for kids who can’t handle a traditional school environment. Take care.

    • How is your son now after all of this time since your entry? I am in the last stages of tapering my 16 year old non verbal ASD son from this. Thank God he was only on it for about 6 weeks. Horrible stuff! Should not even be legal to be given for ASD in my opinion.

      • I was diagnosed with high functioning ASD/Asperger’s in ’94 and I’ve been on and off Risperdal for close to 20 years. Quit it cold turkey 9 months ago and I’ve been pharma free ever since. The physical/physiological withdrawal was easy to get over…but the psychological withdrawal on the other hand is ongoing.

        Severe mood swings (one minute, everything is going full steam ahead, making plans for the future, the next I’m contemplating how I’m going to end my life, seeing how much my music/sound equipment would be worth to cover my debts and pay for funeral with no insurance, etc), paranoia…didn’t anticipate that at all. Upshot is I lost a lot of weight, my work ethic is way better, I can think a lot faster. Has anyone been involved in an outpatient rehab program for Risperdal withdrawal?

    • Thank you so much for this post it helped me a lot. I also have a 12 year old son who the doctors diagnosed him with autism and he lost his speech at 3. I have stopped giving him this drug, which I never wanted to give him, and now he is having withdrawal symptoms. I will try the body calm daytime relief and pray it helps my son as well. God bless you and family.

    • My daughter with autism was taken off Risperdal at the end of March. In June she really started showing symptoms exactly as you described. Today, Nov 6th they are still awful! We went out an involuntary movement disorder specialist who prescient gabapentin…she is no better, maybe worse. Like you I wish I had never given her meds! I have a nurse who has worked with adults with disabilities for years say she needs to go back on. Her psychiatrist says no way, but wants to put her on clozapine sp? which would require weekly blood tests! Have NO idea what to do!!

      • My son has Asp, and has been on Risperdal, 4mg a day for years. Really helped with heightened senses (he couldn’t eat much because it hurt too much). Of course, weight gain was dramatic, but other than that he was able to attend school and over exceeded. First year in high school, hormones kicked in, worked against Risperdal (doc said) and everything has been hell for him since.

        He could not attend school. He completed high school online. It is free in our state (Ohio) and is considered part of the public school system. ECOT was the school, and he did great. Teachers were wonderful! IEP is still in effect and through computer video cam, headset/microphone, smart boards (that were interactive with other students) and phone calls. They supplied everything! We returned it all after graduation).

        The weight gain from Risperdal, is a huge concern, and my son has been on Risperdal for over 10 years. We tried once to slowly transition him off, but he became suicidal and the heightened senses were unbearable for him. We felt like we had no choice but to put him back on Risperdal. Finding a doctor and therapist that understands autism has been challenging!

        The ones that I have found are so booked, that I can’t get in for months! Luckily, I found a psychiatrist that refuses to prescribe benzos and his first objective is to get my son off of Risperdal. My son takes Paxil as well. He replaced Risperdal with Seroquel, and we kept Paxil. At first, the change was miraculous! I couldn’t believe how happy my son was, and enjoyed not having to lock up food! That was 2 days in.

        I knew that was too easy! 2 more weeks in, and he is going backwards. During the day he is planning for his future and optimistic. 3 pm, then he goes backwards. He is frustrated with no relief, gets deeply depressed, cries and is desperate for stability. His cheeks get very red as well, but no fever… On the plus, he has already lost weight.

        When he is good, it is amazing… but it takes a quick scary turn quite quickly. I have started St. Johns Wort, which my son says helps, 4x’s a day). I am grateful to read your comments. I am convinced that he is withdrawing now. I am grateful that he can tell me how he feels… My heart goes out to those of you who do not have that. I have been told that Gatorade helps with withdraw, so I plan to start this with vigilance!

        Lots of water as well. This breaks apart the cells that are sticking together and flushes this evil drug out faster. I am always hoping, like you, that tomorrow will be better. I can’t take him to the er. The last time, they gave him Xanax! They do not know how to deal with mental health. They just stabilize, and benzos just make it worse! If you can, try to stay away from benzos. I will keep you posted on Seroquel.

        Please, if you know of anything else… please advise me. I wish brain scans could be done, and brain chemistry could be treated more individualized. There is a doctor that does this close to me. I have read amazing stories on this, but of course, insurance will not cover it, and the price is astronomical!

        • When I saw you were going to start a Gatorade regimen I cringed. Gatorade and other sport drinks have harmful chemicals nobody should have. You can Google “homemade electrolyte drink recipe” to provide an alternative. I have been on risperidone for 12+years and started at 4MG then about 2 years ago tapered to 1mg.

          I had no problem tapering to 1mg, but I have been cold turkey for a week and I have been so anxious and have been dealing with a headache and also another weird symptom. I have this thing with my mouth where I either bite the end of my tongue till it is really sore, or with my mouth closed, I suck all of the saliva out of my mouth till it is painfully dry.

          That’s the only way to describe it. I am miserable and have been in bed for a week (from physical discomfort and feeling beside myself). 90 days is a long time, but I can’t wait to be past it.

    • May God give you both strength as you manage the withdrawals. My son is high functioning and I can’t imagine what you are experiencing. I am weaning my 12 year old off 1mg and decided to reduce dosage after her doctor said cold turkey. Wrong. My daughter just wasn’t feeling right. 1 dose later and much better. You are in my prayers. You are a great mom too and are doing your best.

    • Hi Kim I am also a 20 year old autistic man. I’m going off risperidone in September I really feel extremely sorry for both you and your son. I know how it feel’s being in this world and not being able to talk but fortunately I am verbal. I hope I don’t get any symptoms now that I read this I’m extremely afraid. And I agree people with autism should not be on this drug. I hope he recovers.

    • Hi Kim, I don’t know how long ago your post was but I’m just wondering how your son was in the 6mths after coming off Risperdal? My 9yo son was on it for approx 4yrs due to his severe autism but I tapered him off 6mths ago and over the last couple of weeks he has gone back to some behaviours we haven’t seen in years like wandering off, hitting himself and repetitive behaviours but also the last few months terrible headaches.

      Like your son, ours is non verbal and for a child who ignores most pain he just screams with these headaches. Our paed wants to put him on new meds but I think not we are looking at alternatives within nutrition to help. I was just wondering how things went for you and you son. Kind regards and best wishes. Julie.

  40. Hi I have been on 3mg of risperidone for a year. I have been gradually tapering off went down to 2mg for two weeks and 1mg for a couple of days. I am now on 0mg and I am getting withdrawals. My sleeping is terrible – fall asleep for twenty mins then wake up. Feel like I have not slept. Also getting chills… I am on abilify now so was hoping I would not get as many withdrawals. I was put on risperidone due to psychosis, but I am not mentally ill. -Matt

    • I am experiencing the exact same side effects, it’s almost like having the flu. Hot and cold sweats, tremors, shaking, mood swings, crying spells, fatigue, loss of sleep.

  41. I have been on risperidone on and off for ten years and decided to stop taking it with permission of my doctor so he decided to ween me off it over a month period, currently I’m getting bad withdrawals severe head aches nausea. And my sleep pattern is erratic going to bed about 6pm waking at 11pm getting up for something to eat and drink for say an hour, then going back to bed then sleeping until 5am the same pattern every night. I believe when I get risperidone out of my body and the withdrawals stop I should be fine, awful time but getting on with it.

  42. My 50 year old sister, who is developmentally disabled, a Rubella Syndrome, was recently prescribed risperidone for repeated behavior. She would sometimes scratch her skin. Although that behavior subsided, she was way too mellow, sort of zombied out. It’s Thanksgiving day, and my family is here visiting. My sister, who has been off, cold Turkey, for less than a week, from a .25 dosage, twice a day.

    She seems aimless, going up and down the stairs, in and out of doors, to the bathroom, and opening doors. It’s unnerving- she already needs consistent supervision and care. Stairs, although manageable for her, are a danger. She’s over exerting herself, not interested in eating, and completely out of character. It’s day three of the side effects, and I’m hoping for it to subside soon.

  43. Hello. I have been on Risperdal Consta (both 35mg & 25mg) due to Paranoid Schizophrenia for coming onto 3 years of my life now. I am 21 years old, male. Only a day ago (27/11/2014) did I decide with my doctor that I will be coming off the medication altogether. As I did inquire about any side-effects I may experience due to coming off cold-turkey; he insisted that I should not experience any at all. I am happy to hear that from him, because I needed someone else’s positive attitude towards this whole situation.

    So far as it is still early, I don’t believe I have experienced any withdrawal symptoms, and hope & pray not to fall back into any dark mental state of mind. As I stand now, I feel in my heart that certain mental illnesses are more than just that. I believe they hold a spiritual purpose. A journey within. A Kundalini of sorts. When my psychotic episode first erupted, it was amazing & I was in what some would call a delusion of grandeur. And I was fine with that.

    To me, it feels like falling prey to this mental ailment is somewhat like taking a drug for the first time; it comes on strong and you freak out a little.. But after a while of taking the drug, you become use to the feeling. I believe if I were to become ill again, I could tame this demon & ride it. It is a journey of enlightenment, I have grown as a person. I am thankful for all the good & the bad things it has brought me. It is my birthday tomorrow (29/11/2014) – I will be 22 years old. And I hope to see many more birthdays outside of the hospital. Bless all your journeys & stay well. -Tinfoil hat

  44. My mom is 70 and was prescribed Risperidone in June 2014. Her doctor stopped it a few weeks ago and wrote her a prescription for Lexapro. 3 days into the Lexapro, she became withdrawn, couldn’t sleep or eat, and began having severe panic attacks which she has never experienced before. Her doctor decided to stop Lexapro thinking she was having a negative side effect from it, but I think she is suffering from Risperidone withdrawals.

    I have her going to see a Mental Health doctor to help her figure out what to do next. I feel like I am so helpless when she is suffering from the disconnect and anxiety. Since the past couple of weeks, my mom has never been so unstable as she is now. Everyday I am hoping she has a “good” day without these feelings because she doesn’t want to continue feeling like this… and she has even began a weird twitch with her mouth and tongue that she can’t stop. I am so worried but trying to stay hopeful.

    • I had virtually exactly this happen. We were replacing Risperdal with Latuda, and did some decent transition planning. Both are similar regarding dopamine impact. Still, on the second full day without Risperdal, I went into hallucinations. Some neutral, but some really frightening negative stuff. We thought it was about the Latuda, but on reflection it was Risperdal withdrawal. At this point I’m still on Risperdal because stability is the most important thing. You can’t just swap this for similar meds.

  45. 72 yrs and taking it for 3 yrs due to depression. Decided to stop and quit for 3 days. Horrible side effects of chills, sweating and shaking until I finally took half a tablet. Need to figure out the dosage needed to quit successfully.

  46. We have discontinued my mother in laws use of Risperdal cold turkey. She was on it for 3 moths at .25mg. Prior to that she was on Abilify for over 1 1/2 years. She has dementia. She is in week 2 of withdrawal and I have seen an 8% change in her. She is less zombie like and can actually give answers in sentences instead of 1 word responses.

    Her sleeping is the same. No insomnia, her appetite is slightly decreased, She still can stay on task when guided. I keep her busy physically by walking the dogs over a mile a day and keep her mind focused on things like chores, cooking, making lists and reading to me out loud. I am concerned that she may experience a manic episode soon as this happened when she stopped Abilify, but so far things are good.

    • I took Risperidone 2mg for about 8 months. I have bipolar disorder. My husband said I was like a zombie when I was on Risperidone with slow reaction time and a blank expression. My psychiatrist is taking me off Risperidone and tapered off slowly. Just 1mg for 1 week then 0mg following.

      This is is 2nd day I have stopped taking risperidone. I feel I have faster and normal reaction time and I can smile and not have a blank expression. I feel more responsive. I have terrible sleep. This is my only withdrawal symptom. I lie in bed at 9pm to 7am but I feel I only sleep for 2 to 3 hours. When I close my eyes I sometimes see scary images then I say, “In the name of Jesus Christ I cast you out” about 3 times.

      I try to pray when I lie in bed. I really hope in 3 months after not taking risperidone my sleep will improve. I used to weight 110 lbs at 5 foot 1 before taking risperidone. I gained 15 lbs to 125 lbs now. I really hope I can lose the weight now that I am off Risperidone.

      My doctor took me off risperidone because my prolactin was 10 times the normal amount of a non pregnant woman. It was 470 when the normal amount is 10 to 20. I also stopped getting my period for 5 months due to risperidone. I hate Risperidone. Doctors should not be allowed to prescribe such a horrible drug.

  47. Hi there. I was on risperdal for 2 years and now I think I am dealing with withdrawal. I’m lying in my bed all the time now. I have symptoms of hot and cold flashes, anxiety, muscle stiffness, my body became dependent to the drug. I also have symptoms of mania and feel overstimulated. I don’t know if I have problems with my nervous system because at the beginning of treatment I was taking 2mg, but then my doctor cut back to one. I don’t know if this is a withdrawal effect or side effect. My hair are is falling out. I have an appointment tomorrow, so I will see what happens.

    • I was on Risperdal for 2 months and now it has been 1 month since I stopped taking it. In the first two weeks I was also lying in bed all the time, I had no energy, I was depressed. And now I lost half of my hair. Did your hair stop falling out? How long did that last?

  48. I was on risperidone 2mg for 6 years,I came down to 0.5 when I was released from hospital following a section under the mental health act. I can function but have been experiencing blurred vision, feeling very detached, extremely aroused, crying fits and delusional thoughts. I think its starting to wear off a little now but its a terrifying experience!

  49. I was on risperidone 2mg then 1mg for ten years and tapered off for a week or two before completely quitting about four days ago. I have been very tired and in bed most of the time when not at work (i work part time as a cleaner). I have been sweating a lot too. Maybe tired because i’m not sleeping as deeply as i would on risperidone. Other than this i am fine :-) i was prescribed it because i had / have anxiety depression and “a touch if psychosis” due to recreational drugs plus an ex who used to mess with my mind.

    I always slept too much on risperidone – up to 16 hours a day so when i didn’t have a job..i would end up sleeping all day and up all night with no regular pattern. This was bad for mental health. I found having a job really helped improve symptoms as it made me less isolated. Also being a cleaner is pretty simple so if i felt ill i could cope. The hard part was getting up in the morning hence wanting to quit risperidal. Also i have started cbt..cognitive behaivoral therapy..which helps me control the effect of thoughts on how i feel.

    Also i have a coach who stresses the importance of feeling grateful and doing stuff you love in order to feel better and think positive thoughts. I read books like rhonda byrnes..deepak chopra..brian tracey..wayne dyer..louise hay..marianne williamson.. have goals and think positive. Ironically i decided to read forums about coming off risperidal and it made me start feeling wired and stuff cause people were saying it was terrible. But i am ok.

    I was supposed to consult with psychiatrist before stopping but i was impatient plus a precious psychiatrist told me he thought i could come off it with cbt. I am grateful because before he said that i was told i would be on it for life. All western medicines have side effects..even non psych medicines..so i am very happy that i can come off risperidone now. Even though it did help for a long time..i didn’t like the side effects.

  50. I took risperdal for 7 years, it was initially prescribed for me to help with the side effects of my addiction problem, I was diagnosed with “substance induced schizophrenia”. I visited a psychiatrist, after being clean for a year, and we agreed I should quit, I had gained an awful amount of weight (90 pounds), and had developed a lot of health issues related to that.

    So I tapered but not as slowly as this article suggests, and I still have some of the symptoms, although I stopped over 3 months ago, the worst one being insomnia. I also have PTSD so I have a lot of nightmares, but that combined with insomnia has lead me to sleep between 1 and 4 hours a day in the past few months.

    I am not sure if the following is an effect of insomnia or is due to risperdal withdrawing, but at times I have some visual hallucinations, but they feel more as if I was dreaming awake, auditory hallucinations sometimes come with them, and they usually happen when I feel I should be sleeping but can’t.

    Regarding other symptoms, anxiety is pretty bad at times, but meditation helps me cope with that. Memory problems are also bad, but just in short term memory, I have found that keeping a journal, and a strict schedule help with that. Concentration problems are moderate, they come and go, I am unable to concentrate most part of the day, it requires effort but I am still able to work and do all the things I have to do. Headaches happen sometimes but they aren’t that bad, and my irritability seems to annoy the people that live with me, but it doesn’t affect me that much. My appetite has reduced a lot, which helps with the weight problem, and at last, fatigue, which is quite annoying, but I take it as just one more thing to cope with that can be dealt with an approach of patience and persistence.


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