The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs

Most people who discontinue antidepressants do not suffer from withdrawal symptoms that last longer than a few days. Some experience none at all. “The medical literature on this is a mess,” Chouinard told me. “Psychiatrists don’t know their patients well—they aren’t following them long-term—so they don’t know whether to believe their patients when they say, ‘I’ve never had this experience in my life.’ ” He thinks that withdrawal symptoms, misdiagnosed and never given time to resolve, create a false sense that patients can’t function unless they go back on their drugs.

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