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Is Quitting Psychiatric Medications Cold Turkey Dangerous?

Updated on April 6, 2020

Psychiatric medications

Psychiatric medications are antidepressant drugs that help elevate your mood. Taking antidepressants are dangerous as it is, just by taking them, but quitting them cold turkey could, in fact, cause some unwanted side effects. I have quit my medication cold turkey before and I will tell you from personal experience, it was not at all what I was expecting. My unsought experience with quitting my psychiatric medications without tapering off slowly was misjudged. Tapering off your medications is highly recommended. I was fed up with having a daily routine of taking medication. Sure, I needed it, but that did not mean I wanted to ingest them. I soon found out that I had made a terrible mistake.

"Do not quit your medication all at once."

I should have tapered off my medication

Here is a list of the side effects I had after quitting psychiatric medications cold turkey.

  • My mood swings were a lot worse than what they were before I even started taking medicine.
  • My appetite decreased.
  • I had tremendous anxiety attacks throughout the day.
  • Insomnia seemed as if it would never end.
  • Withdrawal
  • Worsened my conditions in which were my very reasons for taking medications in the first place.
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Lhermitte's Phenomenon often described as an electrical shock sensation in your head.
  • increased depression

This sums up all of the side effects I experienced with quitting my medication. If you quit your antidepressants cold turkey you may be at risk for these side effects.

"Don't put yourself at risk."

A risk of worsening other conditions

It could pose a risk to your mental health by making those conditions worse. For example, if you were taking psychiatric medication for a mental condition such as bipolar disorder, then it could make those symptoms worsen, or even cause you to develop a new type of mental illness. In return, you may end up needing to take more medication than you were before you quit your medication. Rather you think quitting this medication cold turkey would be better for you, it is extremely harmful. You should always talk to a medical professional before deciding to quit your medication. I am not stating that you need medication in order to function normally, but it is best to taper off. Some people need medication to feel as if they are not being controlled by their mental illness. Before I started taking medication, I felt like I was not in control of my own body. I would like to give a statement as I am not a medical professional. I simply speak from personal experiences that I have had in the past when quitting psychiatric medications cold turkey.

"Quitting your medicine all at once can cause a potential hazard to your mental health."

Taper off your medication

I would never advise anyone to just up and quit all of their antidepressants. It is very unhealthy for your mentality. Even if you may not be taking the more powerful of psychiatric drugs. Occasionally you may think your "The crazy person" for needing to take this type of medication, but you are far from crazy and there is no harm in needing medicine to function as normally as you can. I used to have a tough time dealing with the fact that I was different from everyone else because I needed medicine to stay sane. Truth is, taking medicine is a part of almost everyone's daily routines. Someone else may have a heart condition and they are in need of medication. He or she just has an illness that they are needing to cure rather it be lifelong or short term. This would apply to mentally ill patients as well. Your taking medication for an illness rather it is lifelong or short term. Having a mental illness does not define who you are. You just need to accept that you have a mental illness in order to accept yourself. You can not fully accept yourself if you do not accept what you are struggling with.

"Accepting your mental illness is powerful."

Dealing with a mental illness

If you need someone to communicate with about how you are feeling then please see a therapist. Therapy is great for those who do not really trust anyone they know with what's going on with them. If you are having suicidal thoughts, do not act on those. Call the suicide hotline, or talk to a friend or family member that you are able to trust. You can search online for a suicide center that will text you back and forth. The suicide hotline is not just for people who want to commit suicide, but it is also for people who just need someone to talk to. Wanting to talk to someone does not mean you are weak. It means you are strong for getting the help you deserve. Leave a comment down below if you have any experience with quitting psychiatric medication cold turkey. I would very much like to hear your story.

"If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts, do not act on those. Call the suicidal prevention hotline or text a suicide center that accepts text messages. Those can often be found online."

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Miranda Scott


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