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Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome: Symptoms and Management

Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, also known as withdrawal syndrome, is a common occurrence when an individual abruptly stops taking their antidepressant medication. This syndrome is typically characterized by a range of physical and psychological symptoms that can last for several weeks or even months. The abrupt discontinuation of antidepressant medications can cause a shock to the body and brain, leading to a host of withdrawal symptoms. It is important for individuals to understand the symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome in order to properly manage and treat the condition.

Symptoms of Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome

  • Flu-like symptoms: Individuals may experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Dizziness and vertigo: Antidepressant discontinuation can cause individuals to feel dizzy and experience vertigo.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is a common symptom of antidepressant withdrawal.
  • Anxiety: Antidepressant discontinuation can cause anxiety and panic attacks in some individuals.
  • Irritability: Individuals may feel irritable and have a low tolerance for stress.
  • Brain zaps: Brain zaps, or electric shock sensations, are a common symptom of antidepressant discontinuation.
  • Mood changes: Antidepressant discontinuation can cause mood changes such as depression, agitation, and anger.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Persistent sadness: Individuals with depression may experience persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness.
  • Loss of interest: Individuals may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.
  • Fatigue: Depression can cause individuals to feel constantly tired and fatigued.
  • Changes in appetite and weight: Depression can cause changes in appetite and weight, leading to weight gain or weight loss.

Managing Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome

  • Gradual tapering: The best way to prevent antidepressant discontinuation syndrome is by gradually tapering off the medication under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
  • Lifestyle changes: Engaging in healthy habits such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Alternative therapies: Alternative therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acupuncture, and meditation can help manage symptoms.
  • Medication adjustments: In some cases, healthcare providers may adjust medications to help alleviate symptoms.

It is important for individuals who are considering stopping their antidepressant medication to consult with their healthcare provider. Abruptly stopping medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms that can be difficult to manage. Healthcare providers can provide guidance on the best way to gradually taper off medication and manage any symptoms that arise.


“There is a rebound effect to stopping antidepressants” according to Dr. Serin.

Many adults and children on antidepressants do not need to be taking them but when they try to discontinue the rebound effect is so bad that they become convinced they need to stay on them for a lifetime.

At Serin Center, our Director of Integrated Care, can help adults and teens go off antidepressants safely and add non-invasive treatments to ease the transition off of the medication.

“Many people don’t realize that the science is clear- treatments that don’t involve medication are often more successful in treating anxiety and depression long term than medications. And when medication is prescribed, adding therapy produces a much better effect,” says Dr. Serin. So if your antidepressant is falling short, why not integrate care? And if you want to go off of an antidepressant, we can help.

Warner, C. H., Bobo, W., Warner, C., Reid, S., & Rachal, J. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. American Family Physician, 74(3), 449-456. Retrieved from

At Serin Center, our experienced team of mental health professionals specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of mental health conditions. We use precise data and advanced technology to develop personalized treatment plans for each individual, including neurofeedback therapy and EMDR therapy. Our goal is to help individuals achieve real, lasting results and improve their overall quality of life.

Serin Center experts have been utilizing applied neuroscience to enhance the lives of children, adolescents, adults, families, and executives with effective and innovative therapy.

Experience the power of innovative and effective applied neuroscience therapy for mental and emotional wellness. Visit Serin Center in Phoenix, Arizona. With offices in Peoria and Scottsdale, our experts provide cutting-edge approaches for faster, long-lasting results. Upgrade your life today and contact us to see how we can help your child, teen, or yourself.