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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. My little brother was diagnosed with an emotional disorder but doesn’t fully have bipolar disorder. He started taking it about 6 yrs ago. And as he got older the upped the dosage, he’s now taking 1.5mg 3 times a day. But recently I’ve noticed that he’s sleeping much more than usual.

    We’ve told his psychiatrist but she hasn’t really said what we could do. He’s 14, I know teenagers like sleeping but not to the point of sleeping almost 13 hours a day and just waking up to eat and then going back to sleep. I finally told the doctor enough is enough and she said to have him off the medication for the next 4 days to see how he reacts.

    I know the withdrawal symptoms because when he’s really sick and on antibiotics the medication doesn’t really work. I’m worried for the struggle he might have ahead for him. But I would also like to know if anyone else has struggled with sleeping too much? I hope he doesn’t have to struggle too much.

  2. I’m tapering off Risperdal, I’m highly sensitive to withdrawals from this drug so I’ve ground my pills into a powder. I’m tapering 10% by weighing each week. I’ve gone from 2mg to 0.5mg, but I can’t seem to reduce any further at the moment because of the crippling anxiety.

    I’m also suffering crazy nightmares and sleep paralysis. I’m exercising too to help relieve withdrawals. This drug is awful and I’m 98kg thanks to Risperdal. I’ve also come off Venlafaxine and I’m very close to being psychiatric drug free. I’ll never take any psychiatric drugs again.

    • Thanks Emily for sharing. I am currently tapering my 17-year-old son off of this crap. Unfortunately he was dabbing which caused psychosis. The psychiatrist put him on Risperdal. I have been giving him 1mg now for 2 weeks.

      Now we are 1/2 pill at night. I am standing on my FAITH that he will be fine. I also bought him GABA 750mg to take beginning May 5th. I hope you will also have a victory ending.

  3. I was wondering if anyone that was withdrawing from risperidone had the effect of itching all the time. My mom took it for about 7 or so years. She has tapered off of them from 3mg to 1.5mg to 1mg and now 0mg. She has been itchy all over and the doctor keeps saying it’s not from this medication. So I’m curious if anyone else has experienced this symptom.

    • Yes, my daughter is tapering off of Risperdal and is constantly scratching her arms and legs. I have to keep her fingernails trimmed.

  4. I just wanted to give an update. So I’ve been off it for a month and am feeling great. I am taking a hemp extract mixed with hemp oil. It really helped me. I would get extreme anxiety and would take it and be fine. A couple times I felt I was going to lose my mind worse than schizophrenia and took it and was fine.

    CBD is supposed to work just as well as antipsychotics for schiz. What I take has all the other cannabinoids as well. It does not get you high. I was on 4mg. Cut to 2 mg for a while. I then tapered off that in about 2 months. It was hell but I made it. Worst thing I have ever been through in my life. I have lost 50 lbs as well.

    • David thanks for giving us your update. I think it is great that you are finding relief in CBD oil. My son was put on 6 mg initially 6 weeks ago and we are working him down – he is now at 3 mg, hope in the next couple weeks to go to 2.5 and get him off this in a couple months.

      It is horrible – he feels “empty”/”flat”. I would like him to try CBD soon. He is in his 20s and just wants his life back.

  5. I have been on risperidone 2mg since third grade and am now 21. My doctor had me quit cold turkey last week and it has been a whole lot of hell… I went 67 hours without sleeping.

    My appetite, which was terrible before is now worse and I have lost 8 pounds since stopping, mainly from not being hungry enough to eat anything or getting nauseous when I get up or stand for too long.

    My brain goes for a few hours feeling okay ish, but my body feels weird, and for the most part, my brain feels off and out of wack. I have experienced several of the listed side effects and don’t know how I should feel or even how I was before I started taking it, as it was so long ago.

    Luckily, I have an appointment tomorrow and I hope my doctor will be able to help me figure out some things.

    • Hi Lauren. Just wanted to send you a stranger internet hug – I’ve been on Risp nearly 10 years and have just started another taper off of it, though I wasn’t on as high a dose. 67 hours without sleeping sounds like absolute hell – it causes the wide wakefulness in me too when I forget it or reduce it. I’m 72 hours into taking a tiny tiny dose – 0.125mg – and I slept through the night last night. I feel like a zombie today, but I’m hopeful. I hope you are getting on okay.

  6. I went cold turkey off risperidone 19 days ago. The withdrawals started on day 4. It’s been a bumpy ride. I would feel okay for a few days and then it would get really intense for 2 to 3 days.

    I can only liken it to some weird LSD trip. My only saving grace was that I slept okay. I feel good today after 3 days from hell. I really don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. It’s been wild and the anxiety is nuts. Good luck.

  7. I am tapering of this drug now and am experiencing some crazy symptoms. It is very hard. I have found hemp oil to be very helpful. It really helps with anxiety and dizziness. As soon as I started taking it I started losing weight. Exercise really helps as well as keeping yourself occupied. Good luck everyone! This is a terrible drug and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless they simply can’t function without it.

  8. I am trying to get off Risperidone as quickly as I can. I was on it for 12 months for Rapid Cycling Bipolar after trying Quetiapine and Aripiprazole and struggling with both. I thought I was doing well with Risperidone, I have Hep C and PCOS so I’ve been suffering with bad fatigue, hair loss, no periods, night sweats and constantly needing the toilet every hour.

    It was only 13 months later and seeing a new doctor still complaining about my fatigue and other symptoms that she suggested I have a blood test for my hormone levels. Out of every doctor I have seen in the past year not one suggested a hormone screen. Apparently my symptoms were Hep C and PCOS related.

    Well after getting my blood results back and finding out my prolactin was very high and oestrogen very low the Risperidone was to blame and has basically ruined my life for 12 months. I’ve been a zombie and missed out on so much as a result. I feel totally let down because they should have tested my prolactin every month but they did nothing just left me on it wasting away.

    I trusted the doctors and I was let down badly. So I was on 2mg. I went 2 days with none then I’ve done 1 day on 1mg and now I’m on 0.5 which I will stay on for 4/5 days then go cold turkey using supplements. Niacin and plenty of vits B and C and L Tyrosine and Magnesium for the muscle aches.

    Fish Oil too for mood. I need to get off this horrible drug. I would rather be manic and hallucinating then continue to take these horrible meds called antipsychotics. I will let you know how I get on. It won’t be easy but it’s worth it!!

  9. My granny was prescribed Risperidone 2mg for Dementia by a psychiatric specialist, she has taken for about a month and now she couldn’t walk properly and always feel dizzy. In the last two days she wets her bed also. Today I read an article in one of the medical websites that says that ‘This drug may increase the risk of death in seniors who have dementia (a brain disorder that causes memory loss)”.

    This drug isn’t approved to treat psychosis in seniors with dementia. I told this to my mom and we both got tense and worried. We really don’t know what to do now. Please guys anyone give me a solution.

    • You are right. This drug should never be given to seniors especially those with any type of dementia. Get her off of it ASAP. You don’t ever have to blindly follow any medical professional’s advice. Get a second opinion… dump that “psychiatric specialist”… find good care tor your Mom. (I take care of both of my 92 year old parents and have had similar experiences recently).

  10. I found this website a wealth of knowledge. I took risperidone so long I can’t remember when I started. At least 7 years ago. I have bipolar 2 and ADHD. After severe depression for 2 years i was looking for ways to alleviate things that can cause depression.

    I also felt void of my being. I didn’t care about anything any more. So, I decided the risperidone had to go as part of helping myself feel better. So I read, and read and read about everything I could. I have psych dr that prescribed this monster.

    Never mentioning to me what a powerful drug it was. So, I decided to taper myself off of it. My mother is a nurse so I know when a drug says to taper off, I know it is serious. And the more I read the more I realized this drug could be bringing me down. And that I had a long road ahead of me.

    I was on 3mg daily. I started the taper at 3/4 of a pill for 2 weeks, then down to 1 mg pill prescribed by dr for tapering. Now I am on 1/2 mg a day, which I will do for 2 weeks. I have experienced most of the side effects listed to some degree or another the couple days after I reduce my dose.

    But, the crying spells do not stop. They are daily. So 1 more week of 1/2 mg then I will cut down to 1/4 mg for two weeks, then stop all together. If I had ever known that this drug was so powerful and hard to withdraw from I would not have taken it. But, when you are in a deep dark place anything the dr suggests is welcomed.

    Medication is given with the intent that the side effects outweigh the benefits. Well 70lbs later here I am. Mad at myself for not researching this before I took it. I read every bit of info I can find now on a drug before I take it. I read that it is meant for short term use. Not years.

    I just want people to know what they are getting themselves into before they start this med. I think it worked for a while, but then it brought me down and devoid of inner feelings. Please read as much as you can about meds before ingesting.

    There is so much info available to the layman now you must take advantage of it. Would I recommend it? NO NO NO! I wish everyone well on their mission to find a good place in life that they want to be. Read, Read, Read!

  11. Wow! All.these stories are horrific! I’m so sorry you all are suffering so much. I’m on 1mg. Risperdal at night for schizo affective with depression. I was on 1.5 mg for almost 4 years. Went up to 2.5 mg. But was so zombied went back to 1.5 mg after 1 Or 2 months them to 1mg. And was thinking about going to .5 but am hesitant from these stories.

    I am also on Zoloft 50 mg. Didn’t help much so dr. upped it to 100mg but that made me feel angry so went back to 50mg and then down to 25mg but suffered intolerable anxiety. I want off both drugs, but my doctor says.can on3 drug at a time.

    Don’t even know if he’d agree me off the risperidone. Said ok for antidepressant to get off slower. Then want to get off Risperdal and see what happens. Miss my emotions and creativity, and energy the most. May God bless us and help us all.

    • I was on .5mg of risperidone for several years with no problems. I always got the Patriot pharmaceuticals brand of risperidone. I tried one or 2 other bands and always had side effects from them. However, it can be hard to find a pharmacy that carries or will order the Patriot brand.

      Currently, Kroger is the only pharmacy that would order it for me. I tapered back to 1/2 of the .5mg pill for 1 year with no problems. I have recently gone to 1/4 of the .5 mg pill and have experienced some side effects (occasional nausea and slight headaches). I’m off now and hope the side effects will quit in 90 days per the article.

      • How are you doing A? I am helping my daughter taper off. Did you hop off at .125mg (1/4 of .5mg) to zero? If so, how long did it take for you to feel “back to normal”? We still have a ways to go and probably won’t hold as long as you did, but would love to hear that you are doing well.

  12. I started decreasing risperidone last June 2017 from 2 mg to currently at .25mg. I’ve been studying diet for some time and am 95% off gluten, started a whole foods plant base diet, no meat since Sept 2017. Since it works to correct dopamine and serotonin in the brain I studied how to increase these two neurotransmitters in my brain.

    Tryptophan produces serotonin. The only withdrawal I have experienced has been insomnia real bad so I started taking 1 mg melatonin one week ago and it is working. I also started taking tyrosine 1 week ago and I am feeling pretty good. I’m sleeping a little more in the day right now but I am giving myself grace for that. I have decreased at .25 mg at a time from 2 mg’s.

    When I decreased sometimes I would go a couple days then increase back up by .25 mg for 1 or 2 days depending on how I felt then settled at the lower dose after a few days. I went to .25 mg 5 days ago and so far so good. I’ve tried to go off before in the past several times but ended up in the hospital for any where from 5 weeks to 3 months but this time I really researched diet and started changing there.

    I don’t know if I can cut the little tablet in half for the next decrease. The pharmacy said the lowest is .25 mg. I don’t see the doctor till March so I will probably stay at the .25 mg till I see him and see if he can find a way to decrease to .12mg. I’ve been on this drug since 1996 with a diagnoses of schizo affective disorder.

    I’ve been off antidepressant, that I’ve been on since 1980, for 5 years. Original diagnoses was bi polar. Many different drugs and even shock treatments in 1984. Nothing seemed to help till 1996 when I went on risperidone. This is the last medication I’m on. I am a fighter and believed I would some day be free.

    Through much prayer I continued to believe and everything has changed since I researched nutrition and diet and began to change that I have had this success thus far. I’m still believing I will be healed completely but being very careful at this point. Hope this is of help.

    • My 16 year old is currently in the hospital and coming off of this med. She’s down from 3.5 to 1mg over one week. After reading all of this, I am very worried. She hasn’t had any issues thus far. I am glad she’s in the hospital but really wants off this medicine (started 9/17) as she feels it’s made her condition worse.

      She was very thin (ballet dancer) and gained 20lbs. She has missed so much school due to her emotional instability. She appeared medicated to us, no emotion other than expressing her depression and anxiety. It’s been a horrible ride as a parent, but I am sure much worse for her. I am praying she gets back to my beautiful, healthy baby girl.

      I do believe a healthy diet is the way to go and she will start that day one home from the hospital. (I cringe at the foods the hospital is feeding kids…and no exercise at all) She is hoping to find out today when she is coming home and now I am very worried about side effects happening at home.
      She’s been suicidal since 9/17 with varying degrees, hence being hospitalized again.

      She is so smart and I am sad when she says she couldn’t do school work because she couldn’t concentrate. After reading all of these comments, now I understand. I hope and pray to come back to this forum to tell you it’s gone well. We are grateful to have found a Dr. who has more clearly understood and diagnosed our daughter better than the string of others we have seen since last summer.

      Why weren’t any of us notified of the side effects? She was put on the medicine for hallucinations which the current Dr has realized are stemming from intense anxiety, not a psychosis, so she should have never been put on the medicine. She is now “trying” her fourth SSRI.

      We believe all of this comes from her chronic lyme disease. (Which many Doctors don’t even believe exists). We are hopeful after this horrible situation, we will find her true health through a clean diet and get her back to the beautiful person she really is. I hope the same for all of you.

      • My daughter is on a similar journey. It’s been so scary. We are cutting her risperidone from .5 mg to .25 mg at night. Your post about your daughter made me feel like I’m not alone. I too miss my baby girl. The last 7 months have been hell.

  13. Reading lots of the comments here it appears that many of you or your children/those you care for are experiencing the symptoms of your mental illness flare up after stopping risperidone. The medication does have side effects but it does help treat serious mental illness. Why suffer? Telling yourself you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms for months when it’s more likely mental illness. There are many other medications that can help and can be combined with CBT, yoga etc.

    • Are you a doctor, a patient who is taking risperidone, or a family member of a patient? Are you qualified to know the difference between withdrawal symptoms and mental illness symptoms?

      People who have decided to stop taking the drug are trying to navigate through withdrawal. Please offer suggestions toward withdrawal rather than condescending, fluff magazine-worthy tidbits about doing yoga.

      Yoga doesn’t help someone on day 4 who hasn’t slept for 48 hours. Sometimes the benefits of a drug DO NOT outweigh the symptoms. Sincerely, a mother watching her son go through withdrawal.

  14. I took 2mg Risperidone for 5 months and developed tongue spasms. I have been off it for 1 week. How long before the tongue spasms stop? Driving me crazy.

  15. Ever since I stopped, I’ve had this constant pressurized flame of anxiety inside of me and I’m not my usual self, I’m not as productive as I used to be and am always lying around even though I don’t want to be. It’s like my willpower has been replaced by enormous loads of pointless anxiety. I always feel tense and feel like part of my consciousness has been taken away.

    And when I wake up from naps I get frequent hot flashes that sometimes keep me from sleeping. I was taking 0.5 mg twice a day then went to 0.25 twice a day then 0.25 only at night and then stopped. That process lasted about a week or two and I think it was a bit too fast. I didn’t think I would feel such effects from a small dosage. I hope I don’t go insane.

  16. Hi, I was on risperidone for 5 years even though my doctor insisted I stay on it. It was a nightmare to be on. You are zombie like and my thoughts never shut off. I have been off a little over a year. I did develop a gambling problem as a result and my thought process is confused at times. My brain seems numb and I sometimes have to focus on getting things done.

    Working three jobs was good for me. Now done to one due to osteoarthritis of the spine. Hoping as I turn 50 this week that I’ll start living again and feel like me. Don’t let anyone put you on this. I was against it from the beginning. It didn’t improve my life at all. Therapy worked for me and keeping stress level down. My initial diagnosis was bipolar. On the third visit he said it was in remission.

  17. I have been taking risperidone for 6 yrs. I have bipolar disorder. I have health issues developed due to my weight gain. I’ve gained 23kilos. Developed polycystic ovaries due to my weight gain. I have decided (on my own) two days ago to taper off my medication. Unfortunately as of this time I do not have a good doctor to monitor me.

    My previous doctor just let me increase or decrease my dosage on my own. She cannot even give me sound advice. So now, on my own, I tapered my medicine from 2mg to 1 & 1/2mgs. I have experienced anxiety, depression and panic attacks immediately when I cut back. I have told my mom and told her we need to see another doctor to help me or at least guide me. Please pray for me. Thanks.

    • Hi. This is a update from my last post last yr. I am doing well. I recently went to an Alternative medicine doctor -licensed. He recommended me St. Johns Wort for mood enhancer. I have to say that this helped me a whole lot. I have been sleeping better, I don’t get easily irritated or even panicky. My mind is clearer and I don’t have any depressive episodes for a long time.

      I did not go back to my psychiatrist anymore. As of last month of January, I have lowered my dosage into .25 mg. I do still take it at night along with St. Johns Wort. I am just finishing my supply and not go back to Risperidone. I strongly believe there is hope to get better and start living life as God has intended for me.

  18. I just stopped taking Risperidone a few days ago after seeing my psych doctor. I don’t understand how he could tell me to just stop using it and then in a couple weeks he would prescribe a new medication. I’d been taking it since I was diagnosed as Bipolar in 2004 and I’ve always taken it along with Celexa.

    My Risperidone dosage was 1 mg 2x’s daily… it worked very well. Then at the end of last year, he upped me to 2mg, 2x’s daily. Well, this caused me to have a jaw clenching problem and teeth grinding problem… and I don’t mean just at night, I mean my jaw was constantly clenching and I couldn’t control it.

    It was very painful until my psych prescribed a medication to control the jaw clenching. So he just took me off the Risperidone altogether, but today I look like a crackhead who has been up for too many days. I’m making these weird facial expressions, I’m nervous, I’ve been walking funny, feeling lightheaded at times… so I decided about 15 minutes ago to cut a 2 mg Risperidone in half with the pill cutter and take it.

    I stood things for as long as I could today, but then I got to the point I just couldn’t stand it. I’m calling my psych tomorrow to tell him I went back on because of blah-blah-blah, my symptoms. So the one piece of advice I can give is DO NOT just stop taking it, because you could possibly experience the same type of things and trust me, this is not fun.

  19. My 20 year old mildly mentally handicapped daughter took a taper of prednisone for hives (don’t know why she had hives). Within 4 days she was talking to herself and unable to respond or do her activities of daily living. We stopped the prednisone when she was at a 10mg dose (was on prednisone for a total of 10 days). She is now 21 and it has been 11 months later. She has never recovered from the psychosis.

    Don’t know what type of daughter we will see when she gets the risperdal out of her system. Prednisone has ruined her life and drastically changed ours. She is not the same girl. Used to laugh and talk and want to ride her bike and travel. Used to feed herself, bathe herself and hold down a simple job. Now she sits on a couch and talks to herself.

    She has been on risperdal for three months with moments of being lucid here and there. We finally tapered her off the risperdal as it is a very nasty drug. Last dose Feb 9th. we tapered from 1.5 to 1.0 in 2 weeks and then 0.5 in two weeks and then off. She has been off for 3 weeks now and has gotten worse with increasing psychosis, pacing, saying ‘ouch’ and decreased appetite.

    Dr has approved to start her back on risperdal but I so don’t want to do that. Anyone feel better much better after three weeks of being off? Wish I had my beatiful daughter back. Medications destroyed her life.

    • Update: Sorry to see so many folks suffering from tapering or withdrawals from risperdal. Glo is now down to .5 mg. We have been tapering since last May. After every dose decrease she has withdrawal symptoms (insomnia, nausea, irritability, increased psychosis) all of which resolve within 10 days to 3 weeks.

      We let her brain ‘rest’ a bit and then we decrease her again. We are finally starting to see her sing again and talk more now that she is on this lower dose. We are happy to have found a ‘pattern’ that happens after each dose decrease.

      We had a awful experience when she tried to cold turkey off of the med last January from 1.5 mg to 0 in 3 weeks. We read and found that no more than a 10% cut (of previous dose) every 4 weeks is a much better way to get a person off of this med. It takes longer but helps avoid protracted withdrawals. Good luck everyone!

  20. I was prescribed risperidone for anxiety and OCD 4 years ago. It never made the symptoms fully go away, it helped some with anxiety but it mostly helped me gain 40lbs. Been off it for one week, experienced some sweating, nausea, and bad depression and anxiety. I take a benzo which I suffer through the day without so I can take it in the evening. Also I sleep a lot. I just want the depression and severe anxiety to go away and hopefully lose the weight. Hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.

  21. Hi, I have been taking 0.5 mg risperidone for 2.5 months for postpartum depression and anxiety. My doctor advised me to stop it on Saturday 28 Jan. Today is the 5th day and mornings have been very difficult.

    Even 0.5 mg of this drug may cause such heavy withdrawal effects. I cannot imagine what all of you guys going through. But feeling that I am not the only one who suffers makes me feel better.

    Hope everyone gets better very soon and do not need such drugs anymore.

  22. I was put on medication permanently in 2007. I was also put on social security and have been on both up until now basically. They cut my social security and my insurance, so I have been having a very hard time getting my medications. I take four of them currently: Buspar for anxiety -risperidone for bipolar and PTSD – citalopram for depression – and wellbutrin for depression.

    As I mentioned I am not able to get my meds currently and have not been able to get help through local clinics. I have been off all the meds for two weeks cold turkey after being on some of them for many years. I just got out of local mental clinic last night trying to get help and they could not get me my medication. I am very scared as I write this.

    I have hallucinations, hearing noises at night alone when wife is at work, I see bad images in my mind sometimes, I cant sleep hardly at all for more than 30 minutes. My body is like an oven one minute and then freezing the next. My eyes feel like they want to roll back in my head and I am going to lose consciousness. I lied on the floor the other night crying something so deep out of inside me for Jesus to help me and forgive me.

    I don’t trust anyone in the world. I am afraid everyone has evil in their heart anymore and there is not a single good person left and its the end of the world. I have very bad anger and irritability. I am snapping at my wife and children constantly to do something faster or stop making noise. My ears hurt very bad and some noises cause them to hurt worse. I have to lay down every two or three hours and try to rest.

    Just an hour or two ago there was something that happened and I laughed so hard it scared me really bad. I don’t normally laugh but a little bit. And I couldn’t stop laughing until I got very dizzy and disoriented. On the meds my body aches a lot. My health and immune system has gone so far downhill since 2007 and first taking meds. I was on a medicine called Geodon for a couple years that almost killed me.

    I became bed ridden and got up to 250 lbs. My normal weight is 190 and I have a very fast metabolism and was very healthy physically before. Right now my mind seems like its working way faster being cold turkey. But I know I will have to lay back down again in an hour or so and this is a bit of mania. After all of this and them putting me on meds for severe PTSD, bipolar, manic depression, panic attacks, putting me on social security, making me tell my life stories to strangers who didn’t care at all, and then just cancelling it and telling me I’m not bipolar and not disabled.

    I am also having super sensitivity or something where I am thinking of sex a lot. And like I am super stimulated. This scares me because I love my wife but I feel so attracted to women ATM. I also feel so desperate like I have to run away to some woods far away and never be seen again. I want to go sleep on the streets and just die but I cant leave my children alone. I have had suicidal thoughts for many years, sometimes its worse than others.

    But right now I feel numb to it, like if I had to do it it would be to escape the awful way I feel, body and mind, and impulse to not suffer. It would not be because of depression like when I had the thoughts before. I don’t know whats going to happen next. I am praying every day, and sometimes on the floor crying with every fiber of my being. I don’t know if there is hope to ever have a life again, or have to a good life. Its been so long, so hurtful, I don’t remember many things anymore, and whatever happened along the way broke me down into nothing.

    If I don’t die from these withdrawals and I can somehow be healed, I will be starting life all over again at 36. I am very sorry for all of you, and know life can be beyond hard sometimes. I hope and pray all of you find God and Jesus, and life again after whatever has happened to you. If I had a way to help anyone else I would. While I write this I have roaches crawling on me every night because the trailer is infested with them.

    Leaving very bad itchy bite marks all over me. Our kids have struggled with lice for over a year. The poverty has been very hard for us with four children and me not being able to work anymore. All that said, if I make it through this there are no words for how grateful I will be if I can feel again and do something in life again. And please if you read this and you have been on some of these meds for years do not cold turkey like I am doing.

    I have no choice because I cant get my meds and the system dumped me and has left me at the mercy of God. These symptoms are awful. I think I have all of the known side effects and then some. May God the Almighty father of the Holy Bible guide you, and may you be covered by his son’s blood no matter what happens or where we go. Stay strong and pray. And the tears flow as I finish writing this. But somehow inside me, these tears, this pain coming out, the laughing, like I am starting to feel again.

    And if I don’t make it, I know I have asked to be forgiven and tried to live right with all my heart. I don’t want to be afraid of whatever is going to happen. And may all of you fully recover in mind, body and spirit and thrive again. My deepest prayers and thoughts for all of you and your families.

  23. I am a retired nurse and mother of a 35-year-old son who was diagnosed with schizophrenia 15 years ago. Three years after diagnosis, after a lot of pressure, he started Risperdal at a very low dose which was not too bad, but he was pressured to keep increasing it. He generally has very low tolerance to all meds and the increased dose up to, I think about 3mg/day, resulted in an episode of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a very nasty and dangerous condition.

    After many years of trying things he ended up with Risperdal 1.25mg plus high doses of B vitamins, zinc and manganese, plus, in the last 2 tears, L-glycine, which made some difference. However, his life, in terms of socialising, working, etc. was no better overall on the drug than off it – in fact worse in some ways. He did try coming off once over a few weeks and again it was disastrous with NMS happening again.

    With the help of our GP he has been tapering since June this year, with 10% reductions every 4 weeks, with available back-up of diazepam (Valium) or promethazine (Phenergan). He is now at just under ⅓ reduction and has had 4 occasions in the past 2 months when he has become incoherent and felt unwell. Each time he has immediately taken either 2.5mg diazepam or 5mg promethazine, the latter makes him more sleepy so is best used at night.

    The effect was very quick and he was fine after. He is now so much more alive – smiles, makes the odd joke and more like his old self. This is all on the advice of Professor Joanna Moncrieff in London (by email from Australia) and definitely, to give the best chance of success, people really should taper extremely slowly. The desire to get off as quickly as possible can be understood, but to be more likely not to suffer too much, taking time is so important. It is necessary to get Risperdal in liquid form in order to manage really slow reductions.

    Using part tablet, part liquid at first works OK. It is necessary to obtain 3ml and 1ml syringes and to dilute the stock liquid x 10. I got a supply of little plastic essential oil bottles so a week’s supply could be made up. If you are not confident about diluting, ask a pharmacist to do it for you. We still have a long way to go, but so far it can be managed. I feel for all of you.

    This class of drugs should never have been used for long-term treatment and certainly not in the high doses that have been prescribed. Google and read Robert Whitakers ‘The case against antipsychotic drugs: 50 years of doing more harm than good’. Good luck.

  24. I stopped taking risperidone after learning that it can cause erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. On the risperidone, I noticed that I could not get aroused, even by the most extreme things and therefore, could not achieve an erection. This worried me so I quit cold turkey. A few days after quitting, I noticed an improvement in my condition and I can now get aroused by the Asian girl whom I once loved and lost an interest for.

    My mental health though is deteriorating and everybody is pressuring me to get back on it. I live in Canada thankfully so I have the right to refuse drugs, where in Japan, I could be committed to a psych ward without even committing a crime. I’d rather live long and be crazy than take a dangerous drug and be normal and possibly die from side effects. I’m glad I got my mojo back so I can now fuck my wife again. I’m glad to be sober again.

  25. I’d like to share my withdrawal story. I started to have unbearable akathisia while on Risperidone for more than a month, so my doctor quickly tapered me off. Soon I got anorexia, nausea, vomiting, shaking body and hands, racing thoughts, and akathisia got worse. I couldn’t function. Akathisia is such an evil symptom that people kill themselves to end the suffering. I was in despair and misery.

    Once I got into this suffering, secondary suffering occurred, which is a psychological thing, meaning you get fear, depression etc. or your fear and depression get worse due to the primary suffering. Gosh I was so suicidal. I saw no hope. I placed back and forth all day that my hip and feet hurt. I called my psychiatry nurse everyday frightened and distressed. I must say he is a great nurse and quickly identified I might have akathisia and after a few days that things didn’t improve, he arranged a meeting with a psychiatrist.

    I was given Diazepam to try to dampen akathisia, because they were not sure if my akathisia is a withdrawal symptom (I did find account of akathisia after being on or quitting Risperidone), or a protracted symptom (I was on day 13 quitting Risperidone but I was still lactating which is a side effect of Risperidone), or my urge to pace around was due to anxiety attack. The only option was to put things under observation for another while and treat akathisia symptoms with Diazepam.

    If Diazepam didn’t work, I could try propranolol, so he said – I suggest increasing mirtazapine and quetiapine which may help, but doctor said they might worsen akathisia so best to leave them as they were. I went home, took Diazepam next morning at 5am – yes it was that early due to insomnia – by 5am I was already pacing around in despair. Diazepam didn’t help. I called my nurse in despair and shaking (the suicidal urge was so strong which you will see many patients who suffered from akathisia talk about the same ordeal on internet).

    My nurse was so patient and told me to call him anytime if I didn’t feel safe. Just when I felt so hopeless, I started to experience “Windows” in which I was less restless! That was about day 15 or 16 since I quitted Risperidone. I still felt nauseous but I started to be able to feel hungry and eating became less difficult. I spent a lot of time researching which wasn’t possible due to restlessness. So here I am, day 16 since quitting, gradually recovering from withdrawal symptoms.

    I don’t know if tomorrow morning will be really bad again as morning seems to be the worst. I am no doctor, but what helped me is: a) energy drinks for anorexia because eating can be impossible and if you live on your own you probably can’t cook, yes this is just that disabling, don’t go get antiemetics because they are antipsychotic drugs as well which can lead to akathisia, b) mega-dose vitamin C and take B vitamin, some say they help detox and help your brain to heal. But don’t overdose b vitamin as it can be neuro-toxic if too much. Another reason to take these supplements is because you struggle to eat so you just can’t enough nutrients into your body but you need them for your brain to heal.

    This is the 3rd week into withdrawal. I am still nauseous but appetite improved. I find akathisia traumatic and am still a bit frightened deep inside. But I hope eventually I will be all right, both mentally and physically.

  26. Well, I was on risperdal for a little over 3 years, mostly at 1.0mg to 1.5mg. I was given it by my doctor because I was having some issues, which I now know were from being on clonazepam and being in “tolerance withdrawals”. Last year I tapered off of clonazepam, which was a completely horrifying experience. While doing this, at the urging of my doctor, I increased my dose of risperdal to about 3mg.

    However, I was weary of this, so I didn’t stay on the 3mg for more than a few months. I cut from 3mg to 2mg, without much of a problem, (or it was hard to tell, as I was having lots of problems from clonazepam), then I cut back to 1mg, and that was a little rough. However, a month after I got off the clonazepam, I tried to go cold turkey off the risperdal (from 1.0mg), and I had a terrible experience.

    Severe headaches, flu like feelings, head pressure, dizziness, etc. I tried to tough it out for a week, but then re-instated to .75mg, and I had a very rough month full of symptoms. I decided to stay on the .75mg to try and stabilize, as I was shocked at how badly I reacted from the c/t attempt. During the summer, I began to exercise intensively, and got fit again, which I really believe helped me to taper off of risperdal successfully.

    So, I started my risperdal taper on August 27, and finished it on September 30th, and I’ve been off of it for 4 days so far, without too much trouble. I cut the .25mg pills into quarters with a razor, and began my taper by reducing my dose by .0625mg. I’d hold for a few days, and then press on. I definitely felt the flu like feelings come back, and the “cog fog”, as well as general malaise and body aches, but something I did which was smart (I think) was force myself to go to the gym (no matter how bad I felt), and do an intense cardio workout.

    This daily workout helped me fight the depression, and raised my dopamine and serotonin levels, so after a workout, I’d feel much better and be able to sleep. I was so worried about having to taper off of this junk, but it really wasn’t that bad for me, (especially when I compare it to the benzo w/d I went through last year). However, I am worried about the cognitive problems I experienced from being on this drug, coming off of it, and I am hoping I will recover, as I hate feeling like a lobotomized idiot..

    I’ve heard some doctors refer to risperdal as the “shut up” drug, because patients basically stop complaining when their on it… In hindsight, I really turned into a zombie of sorts while first on the benzo (clonazepam), and then being on the risperdal as well. So, like most of you, I’m pretty upset with our medical field, and big pharma… I don’t know how these people sleep at night!?

    Anyway, it was helpful for me to find this message board while I was tapering, so I thought I’d chime in and let you all know that I did a pretty fast taper off of it, and so far, I’m okay! Here’s to our healing from these awful drugs! Eric

    • Well, it’s 11/8/16 now, and I’ve been off of risperdal since October and I’ve started to get hit pretty bad with some withdrawal symptoms.. I was hoping to get off easy! However, lately, I’ve had some insomnia, flu like feelings, body ache, a “heaviness” feeling, where my limbs feel like they’re like “lead”, more cog fog, spaciness, fatigue, more tinnitus, head pressure, muscle spasms, etc..

      I hear it’s only supposed to last another 4-6 weeks, so I really hope to be much better after that! Once in a while, I get a glimmer of my personality coming back, but then it’s gone again.. Hopefully this is a sign that it’s still “in there” somewhere and will come to the surface once again… I wish I’d never taken this poison.

      • Eric, You came off that last 1 mg way too fast. You could be having problems for quite some time. Was anxiety one of your withdrawal symptoms?

        • Well, (not that it makes much difference), but I came off of .75mg, and yes, you’re right, it was fairly fast – but I just wanted “off” this stuff asap, and couldn’t bear the thought of being on it for several more months, once I’d learned more about risperdal. I have had some increased “chemical anxiety”, during and after my taper, but after withdrawing from the benzo, (clonazepam), the risperdal isn’t too bad.

          When I get that type of anxiety surging up again, I just go to the gym and workout like crazy (hard cardio), and then I always feel much better for the rest of the day. Of course, the next day, it’s back to square one though. Why do you think I’ll be having problems from the rapid taper for “quite some time?” Is there such a thing as “protracted” w/d from risperdal? (I know there is such a thing with benzo w/d..)

          Anyway, I’m pretty screwed up from that benzo w/d, and will be for a while, so I don’t know how much of a difference it will make? I just wanted off this junk, and I’m really glad I am “off” of it now – it’s been almost 60 days, so if the author of this article is right, then I should only be dealing with this for another 30 days or so? – but, I do understand there is no exact “timeline” for recovery from these awful drugs.

          Have you been on it long, or have you done any tapering or recovering from risperdal? I can’t seem to find much information on it. Thanks, Eric

          • Eric, Yeah I am tapering risperidone very slowly. I have read that withdrawal from it can last anywhere from 3 to 12 months. Sounds like the withdrawal wasn’t as bad as the benzo withdrawal though. Are you prone to anxiety, and that is why you were on the benzo? I wish you luck in your withdrawal.

  27. I started taking risperidone about 1 year ago for Schizophrenia and psychosis. I have been trying to stop risperidone but I go without sleeping for days. Last time I tried quitting cold turkey I didn’t sleep for 9 days straight. I couldn’t go on without sleeping any longer so I took the pill again.

    I started with 1 milligram now I take 2mg. After reading all the side effects people have with this pill and how some finally got off of it, I am not going to try to quit cold turkey anymore. I am going to tell my doctor to reduce the mg every month to get it off my system. I hate this pill.

    I gained 30 pounds I went from 120 to 151 pounds. I have been very depressed since I started that medication. I regret greatly taking it in the first place. I just wanted to be better for my family. I have an appointment to see the doctor next week see how that goes.

    Doctors just want to give you pills and more pills, I won’t take any more pills I don’t need them. I feel like addict with this pill not been able to get off it.

  28. I was put on 3mg for a psychosis after a withdrawal from Trileptal. Every withdrawal I do seems to need to be slower. I did withdrawals by 10 percent but when I got down to 1mg the depression set in. My doctor prescribed abilify and tried to get me off fast. It was way too fast and the anxiety was too hard for me to handle so I went back up to .6 but the depression got worse.

    I have never had suicidal thoughts like this. Now she took me off the Abilify and on Latuda and I am at .1 for two nights and then I will be finished. I am in hell in my mind. I have the Deepest depression I have ever experienced with suicidal thoughts. I hope to God this doesn’t last because I can’t handle much more.

    • How are you doing now? I feel for you totally. I am getting through a difficult time as well which I think is withdrawal symptoms, but my doctor says research doesn’t back up the theories posted in this forum. In short she doesn’t agree what I am getting is withdrawal symptoms.

  29. My gosh after reading all of this it all makes perfect sense. I decided to get off of this stuff because it was not making me better. I felt I was getting worse. The doctor put me on this after going through a difficult time and being unable to take antidepressants. I have more anxiety then I have ever had in my life.

    I was on .5mg twice a day and went down to once a day. Every morning I wake up at 330 anxious and ready to commit myself into the hospital. I pace the floor, think crazy thoughts, and want to be committed. I take my .5mg dose and soon the feelings subside. I’m terrified to wean down to .25mg. My thoughts were to continue for a few weeks until I normalize again but I don’t see that happening right now.

    I know I can’t continue this way. It is terrifying and I have never experienced anything like this. Why do doctors put people on medications like this. How long will it take before I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with racing terrifying thoughts. I pray I find some relief soon and can go down to the .25 MG once a day and finally go down to 0. I wish I knew all of this.prior to ever going on this stuff.

    It is the worst experience I have ever had in my life. A person who was going through circumstances is now feeling completely mentally ill. I pray for some relief soon. Take this drug off the market. It is no good as far as I am concerned.

  30. I am in hell. No doctor will prescribe as much as a muscle cream for the constant body cramps. I went down to .25mg and it was so bad, so went back up a 1/8 the of a tablet… but the pills are tiny and hard to cut. Still really full of cramps all through my chest and neck. Jaw cramps when I eat.

  31. It’s day three of reducing my risperidone. I took 1 mg at night for 2 years as a supplement to my depression medication and am very excited to be drug free soon. My doctor instructed me to reduce to .5 mg for 2 weeks, then stop completely.

    The withdrawal side effects were immediate. Insomnia. Anxiety. Mood swings. Depression. Lethargy. It’s really bad. I just wish I could sleep again. Hopefully, these withdrawal symptoms will stop soon.

  32. I have cut down on Risperidone from 6 mg to 3 mg and I have been having moderate withdrawals. I notice that if I take 500 mg of Niacin every 4 or 5 hours my brain doesn’t feel too bad. Then I have been using more nicotine than usual because I think that helps a little.

  33. I’ve been on Risperdal for almost 6 years. Was on 2 mg. and tapered down to .25 mgs. over several years. I’ve had no w/d symptoms and think it’s because I’m doing a very very gradual slow and small taper each time. I will taper off the .25 mgs. slowly over the next year or two with the hope that no w/d symptoms will emerge when finished. I sleep well and have no anxiety. – hard to believe, really!

    Only side effects from the drug are short term memory loss and some confusion occasionally. Otherwise, I feel and am functioning great. NEVER, NEVER quit cold turkey or stop the medication abruptly. NEVER miss your doses. You don’t want to fool around with antipsychotics.

    People need to understand that it takes a long time for the CNS to readjust, and or some even longer, with each taper so it’s crucial that the tapering be done very slowly with long stretches in between and in very small amounts, preferably 5% or less tapers each time. That’s being quite conservative. I think even 10% tapers every 4 weeks (which is often recommended online) is far too much too soon.

    W/d symptoms can be cumulative meaning you can taper a few times only weeks apart and it may take weeks after the last taper for w/d symptoms from prior tapers to catch up to you and then misery sets in. Try at all cost to avoid that from happening! Best of luck!

  34. I’ve only been on risperidone for 6 months, 2mg daily for auditory hallucinations. But I think I gained weight on it and I don’t want to develop dependency so I’m quitting cold turkey. In my first week of withdrawal, deeply depressed for no reason, though the mind will find reasons to get depressed if the pit is already in your stomach. Decreased appetite and trouble falling asleep, but no hallucinations yet, thank god.

  35. I’m 42. I’ve been tapering off Risperdal 2 mgs. for almost 2 years now. Now at .25 mgs. As you can see, it’s been a very gradual and slow process. I don’t have w/d symptoms to speak of because it’s been slow and steady. I highly recommend this to keep symptoms at bay. Maybe I will experience some w/d symptoms as I go lower.

    My doctor wants me on it indefinitely. I don’t agree so made the decision to taper without his knowledge. Once through, I’ll be leaving him. I think this has been the best approach so far. It would have been nice to have received his support and guidance through this but he wouldn’t have agreed.

  36. Hey, so I was diagnosed with a psychosis and took up to 4 mg for three months. My psychiatrist said “two years minimum on the drug or you will relapse”. I decided against his advice, I just couldn’t stand life on risperidone and searched the net for alternative methods to recuperating. I found a hormone doctor, who said there are many different reasons for psychosis, gluten intolerance, hormone imbalance etc.

    She prescribed many vitamins and supplements. I then began tapering off the drug quite hastily, suffered through extreme depression for three weeks while continuing my art work and started to see clearly after the third week (I actually did get foggy vision from that drug). I highly recommend the lowest dosage of risperidone possible, apparently it works quite well at very low dosages with a supplement of vitamins.

    Check this guide ;’prescription to nutritional healing’ found in most health food stores. Physical activity is a great asset as well. Don’t stay on it too long!! You can do this with a low dosage!! My doctor said two years minimum on the drug and I stopped after three months, no psychosis since, good luck!!

  37. My son was put on Risperidone for about 5 weeks. Immediately taking them he suffered extreme side effects, insomnia, restlessness, strong flu-like symptoms also increased anxiety, and unable to sit down for long resulting in virtually non stop walking. Often between 12 -14 hours a day. His nurse recognized it was the Risperidone and said he shouldn’t be taking them as they are inappropriate for his condition.

    And thus got the Doctor to discontinue them straight away. As soon as they stopped he began suffering extremely severe withdrawal symptoms of terror of the future, panic attacks, unable to focus on previous interests, like music, etc. Extreme fatigue and tiredness, no interest in anything, feeling completely helpless and very ill. And continuing non stop walking – often between 12 -14 hours a day.

    Which also has frightened him thinking what if he can never stop walking and he said the very thought of it devastates him. Before the Risperidone, at least he looked alive and could still laugh and take an interest in his life and focus much better. I’m now hoping and praying these withdrawal symptoms will wear off so he can get back to some kind of normality.

  38. Now that the 3rd Neurologist has asked my friend with dementia what she is doing on Risperdal we are going to attempt a slow withdrawal. The FDA has placed a black box warning (that’s their highest one) on the use of Risperdal in patients with dementia. She doesn’t want to involve her Psychiatrist so we are going to take this very slowly. She takes 2- 3mg pills per day.

    God knows why, but she has been taking them both at the same time everyday (no she is not stupid). We are going to try taking away 1/8 per day for one month and add 1/8 each month to the amount we take away. If it gets to be too difficult then she will have to decide which doctor she wishes to consult or possibly a withdrawal expert. As bad as all this is, Risperdal in people with dementia can cause death.

  39. I was put on risperidone when I was 14 to treat drug induced psychosis and continued to stay on the medication for four years. I am now two years clean of any psychiatric drugs. Risperidone caused severe weight gain for me as well. I went from being 120 to 150 within the first month, maxed out at 165 when I was about 17.

    I took myself of the medication and did it rather quickly and had horrible withdrawal symptoms. I would be sitting in class and my leg would kick or my arm would fling. I couldn’t hold anything, because I had such bad tremors. Two months after getting off it, I was back to my normal weight at 120. And around three months, the tremors and the twitches subsided.

    I would never recommend any of these to anyone. Do not take risperdal. It sucks the life out of you internally and then causes you to hate yourself and even more so when you have serious weight gain. Do not take this crap.

  40. I have been taking risperdal for 8 years and recently have just come off it. Now my sleep pattern has changed – I wake through the night all the time. Went to my doctor who put me on Melatonin for a month to see how I go. I have been on it for 2 weeks so far – nothing much has changed.

  41. My son has been on risperdal since he was 9 and now he is 15. The highest dose he has been on is 1.5 mg. When this drug was added to his other medication his OCD anxiety immediately got better – like a miracle drug. His OCD got bad again in 8th grade and he began doing CBT. We have reduced the medication to .5 mg and all has been going great.

    With the end of the school year approaching we decided with his doctor to reduce the dosage to .25mg. After one week he started having severe twitching of his body and the frequency is getting worse. I haven’t heard anyone mention this as a side effect of withdrawal but I have read that it is a symptom of the medication. Anyone else have this side effect? His doctor thinks it will subside as he gets used to the lower dosage.

  42. Hi I’m Emily, I am 16 years old and I’ve been on risperdal for 2 years now. It was first given to me against my will while I was hospitalized for an eating disorder. Every time I got angry or anxious they would increase my dosage. I finally left that Doctor. The one I’m seeing now does not like the drug but does not want to take me off of it because of the effects it could cause me.

    However I have had the hardest time concentrating and have had a lack of personality for a long time now. I feel like I lost my life to this drug. I’ve decided to take myself of of it but I’m also really scared. Even days when I simply forget to take it I feel awful and spend most of my day an anxious mess. Well, I’ll see how this goes. I hope it isn’t too bad.

    • Hey, I just wanted to say. I can relate to you. I was put on medication against my will when I was 14 and was forced to take them til I was 18. I understand the anxiety it goes with forgetting just a simple day, because it’s almost like everyone keeps telling you that you need these drugs and although you don’t want to believe it, you think they might be right. I did the same thing of taking myself off. Good luck if that’s the route you take.

    • Hi Emily! I took risperdal for 1 year and due to significant weight gain, recently started weaning off it. It started with 5 days of just .25 mg, then none at all. I had severe withdrawal symptoms: anxiety, agitation, lack of focus, concentration, feeling like my mind was racing, couldn’t relax, totally activated. I had to go back on .25 mg to stop the withdrawal symptoms. I was just wondering how you made out?

  43. It’s been almost a week since my last dose of this and I feel completely void. I’ve been sleeping okay when I eventually get to sleep, but I find myself waking up and praying the day goes slow because I find being active is the only escape from my mind. Once I try to sleep my depression goes crazy, I feel empty, useless, stupid and just in general a waste of oxygen.

    I can’t talk to anyone in fear I scare them away. As for the drug, I can relate to people’s comments of “not being themselves”… I wanna love people and I wanna be loved back, the problem is having feelings in the first place, because right now I just feel empty. I’m not religious but I believe in spiritual energy. That our souls and “inner” thoughts are enough to guide us where we need to be. Peace.

  44. I took 1MG of Risperidone for about 8 years for insomnia/depression. Worked OK, but I gained some weight (10 pounds), not knowing that was a side effect. Found that out after having my dosage increased to 2 MG. Gained a little more weight and now know why all of my hard work in the gym never paid off. Went cold turkey about 1 & 1/2 weeks ago and had many of the symptoms others have had. Hope things get back to “normal” soon. Got on another med for insomnia that doesn’t include weight gain. I feel sorriest for those kids who have had to be on this med.

  45. What a nightmare. I go for days without sleeping. I have had so many problems while on this medication. My testosterone is a mess and after finding a lump in my breast was diagnosed with gynecomastia. FML. This drug is evil. I hope all this crazy withdrawal lessens soon.

  46. I have been on the medication for 3 years, up to 4mg. I started taking half doses with a little more depression, but not much. I have been doing that for about 9 months. I started trying to quit but after a couple of days I started being more depressed and fearful. So I took 2 mg for quite a while. But 4 days ago I stopped taking it. I was very tired and depressed but I kept working at changing my focus to positive, proactive thoughts and behavior. Yesterday I woke up feeling better and today I feel even better. I have high hopes that I’m off for good.

  47. I was diagnosed with high functioning autism when I had just become school age, and I was officially diagnosed with low level Asperger’s in ’94 and I took Risperdal from that time until 2002, and my psychiatrist at the time put me on Ritalin under a mandate from my parents who wanted me to lose weight so I would be more employable (yes, this is how my mother thinks). Went on Ritalin for a few months and I was suffering from nausea and acid reflux, so they switched me over to Dexedrine, which is basically the pharmaceutical equivalent to speed or amphetamines…

    Needless to say I experienced major bouts of paranoia, psychosis, feeling aggressive and angry all the time coupled in with the initial withdrawal from Risperidone along with some issues of CPTSD and codependent tendencies brought on by toxic shame based parenting from living in a Christadelphian (a fundamentalist Christian cult) family, along with unresolved issues from childhood. After the police were called to my parents house a few times too many and after a couple visits to the local psych ward, I went back on Risperdal in 2005 and stayed on 2mg until a couple years ago when I brought myself down to 1mg under doctor’s supervision.

    My weight had peaked by then near 390lbs, my prolactin levels were through the roof, and I had a rack that most women would be envious of. I came off Risperdal cold turkey after 20 years of on and off usage as a mood stabilizer for management of irritability that comes with low level Asperger’s along with dealing with other social issues that had arisen at work and growing up in a codependent dysfunctional family whose entire social structure was built upon an ultra fundamentalist Christian cult.

    After I came off the drugs, conveniently I had some major crises happen… my friends I had found out weren’t really my friends and were using me and my business to further their own agenda at my expense, and I nearly lost my best friend, and it affected my ability to do my job and things I hadn’t dealt with for a long time all of a sudden came into the foreground. Over the holidays I started outpatient CBT at the local hospital, and recently I have found myself suffering from severe mood swings (one minute I’ll be OK, the next I’ll be in a deep state of depression, I want to desperately cry sometimes but I force myself not to because that’s not what a man is supposed to do), severe depression, fits of anger and sadness, road rage.

    Upshot is I lost a lot of weight (around 4-5 inches off my waistline), my libido went through the roof and I feel less uncomfortable and way less repulsed by sex (I’m 34 and a virgin due to the above issues…namely being a victim of a dysfunctional codependent ultra religious family who used shame as a tactic to keep me in line), I’m able to stand up for myself a lot more and despite my fears to the contrary, it has improved a lot of my relationships, even with my parents.

    I have been off Risperdal 9 months and getting over the physical withdrawal was the easy part, but the psychological withdrawal on the other hand has been extremely difficult as of late. I am getting professional help for it but I would appreciate any advice from other people in similar situations, and it looks like no one is lost for words on this horrendous poison that Johnson & Johnson have been peddling for years and have ruined so many lives so they can eat at the Palm and fly private.

    • Did you get any help with this. I basically told my psychiatrist to f*ck off today. She said, good luck, you’re on your own and wouldn’t even give me a sleeping med to help with the insane insomnia. She did however tell me she could put me on another anti-psychotic with just as scary looking side effects. I do have an Rx For Lunesta and Belsomra but neither are working. Note on that, she called the pharmacy and canceled those scripts anyways. Why is she pushing these insane drugs on me?

  48. My son is only 9 years old and his doctors put him on Risperidone 5 months ago to treat his rare autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder. The result of my son’s disorder is severe inflammation in his brain that affects behavior and movements which has resulted in many symptoms, including complex tics. Risperidone was prescribed to help control his tics and help his anxiety. After my son received antibody infusions, I discovered that Risperidone was exasperating his symptoms and making his condition worse.

    One of the reasons we spent over $15,000 on these treatments was because his symptoms were becoming so severe, now I am wondering if these were side effects from the medication or were they from his autoimmune condition. I am beyond angry reading these posts and I can’t believe I listened to these doctors that put my little boy on this medication! I was desperate to find him some relief and I trusted their opinion without question, I am so disappointed in myself and his doctors.

    He was taking 2 mg a day, last week I cut it down to 1 mg, and this week I cut it to .5 mg. Do you think this is too fast? I am desperate to get him off this medication as fast as I can, but I want to help alleviate some of these horrible side effects by tapering. I would appreciate any advice? Also after he is off the Risperidone completely, how long does it take until it is completely out of your system?

    • I just had the exact same experience with my daughter. She had PANDAS but with movement disorder so they ended up diagnosing her with Sydenham’s Chorea. The hospital staff kept giving her extra doses of risperidone as if it would calm her down when all it did was make her more anxious several hours later.

      She is in a brain injury rehab now where they try to help her manage her anxiety through behavioral intervention not sedating her thank god and she is off the risperidone but they did it very quickly. She was only on it about 5-6 weeks really and only 1.25 mg per day but they tapered only 4 days at .5mg then nothing for the past 5 days.

      Last night she slept 7 hours finally. The insomnia was due to getting off the risperidone although it never really helped to sleep that much anyway. She is much more “normal” now and smiled and laughed for the first time in a while. It seems like a common thing to put these PANDAS kids on but not very helpful at all…

  49. I’m 22 years old (male) and I was prescribed risperidone for bipolar disorder. I began with 1 mg for 4 weeks, then 2 mg for 2 weeks. I stopped (cold turkey) taking it 2 days ago and feel much better. While I was taking risperidone I was exercising regularly (free weights, cardio, yoga) and took time off work to properly heal mentally and physically. This method increased my wellbeing by 30%. I now believe in FITNESS as the one true cure for any mental disorder.

  50. I decided to tapper off. I ignorantly in times past went cold turkey off of my meds, only to end up being hospitalized. The diagnosis is schizophrenia. This time I have done alot of research. I went from taking 1 & 1/2 mg for six years to 1mg for three years. I’m trying a longer tapering off process due to the diagnosis.

    Since I decreased the mg I have experienced: restlessness in my left leg, night sweats, moodiness, poor concentration, inability at times to recall test material, and weight gain. Many of these effects are similar with pre menopausal symptoms, so I’m not sure which is which. I’m uncertain if I will tapper completely off of my meds due to my unpleasant hospitalizations, and my doctors and family being fearful of my condition becoming worse.


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