SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome

What is SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome?

Selective serotonin up-take inhibitor discontinuation syndrome (SSRI discontinuation syndrome) is a group of symptoms which may happen when individuals stop or cut off the measurement of pharmaceuticals known as serotonin re-take-up inhibitors – prescriptions frequently utilized for tension and despondency.

It is may likewise talk about as serotonin re-uptake inhibitor withdrawal syndrome. The most well-known indications incorporate flu-like irritability, agitation, symptoms and diminished concentration, however there is a wide range of symptoms as discussed below.

Since the symptoms are now and then like those for which the medication was begun in the first place, it can be troublesome at times to know whether symptoms are identified with withdrawal from the medication or a repeat of depression or anxiety.

SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome

What Drugs are SSRI’s and Which Cause it?

Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) are medication utilized for depression and anxiety among different conditions. Medications in this classification (and half-lives) include:

  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)

The half-life of a medication is the measure of time it takes for 50 percent of the medication to have gone from the body.

Prozac has a long half-life bringing about few withdrawal symptoms. Because of its long half-life it as a result “weans” itself. Alternative medications, be that as it may, have shorter half-lives, and are a great deal more prone to bring about SSRI end syndrome when they are ceased or the dose lessened.

Why Do SSRI’s Cause a Discontinuation Syndrome?

SSRI’s work by obstructing the re-uptake of serotonin at synapses in the brain.

This brings about a higher measurement of serotonin being accessible in the synapses. After some time, this expanded level of serotonin in the synapse brings about a “down regulation” of receptors – meaning, in English, that less receptors are accessible for serotonin to act on.

Since there are less places for this neurotransmitter to append than there would have been preceding utilizing the medication, and it can take a while for the quantity of receptors to increment to the number present before you began the medication, there is a fleeting relative lack of serotonin activity on the receptors.


The most well-known symptoms of SSRI end syndrome incorporate symptoms like this season’s flu virus and symptoms that feel like the depression or anxiety they were normally recommended for in any case.

SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome Symptoms

SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome Symptoms Pneumonic


Neurologic symptoms may include:

  • Vertigo
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in walking

Physical complaints

Physical complaints may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headaches


Less regular difficulties may include:

  • Parasthesia (skin, prickling or burning crawling)
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbing influences
  • Shock-like sensations
  • Muscle pain


Non-specific symptoms may include:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depersonalization – A feeling of loss of self an unreality
  • Shock-like sensations
  • Impaired concentration
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Vivid dreams


More serious symptoms for example, catatonia or psychosis may happen, however this is very uncommon.

Is SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome Dangerous?

For a great many people, however the syndrome can be uncomfortable, it is not dangerous. As noticed, few individuals may create serious symptoms, for example, catatonia and psychosis, however this is generally identified with abrupt discontinuation of these drugs after numerous times of utilization. For the greater part of individuals, in any case, withdrawal symptoms are mild to moderate at most.

SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome Vs Recurrence of Anxiety and Depression

One of the troubles in perceiving this syndrome is that the symptoms might be fundamentally the same as the depression or anxiety for which the medication was begun in the first place. It can be useful to perceive the usual time period of the withdrawal symptoms and talk about this painstakingly with your specialist before ceasing the medication.

How Common is SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome?

The incidence of the syndrome relies on upon whether the solution has a short half-life or a long half-life. Prozac, with a long half-life once in a while brings about these indications. Alternate pharmaceuticals, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, and Lexapro, be that as it may, have short half-lives and withdrawal is fairly normal.

It’s evaluated that around 20 percent of individuals will encounter some level of SSRI discontinuation syndrome, though a few studies evaluate it is more common than this. Serious symptoms happen in a littler percent of individuals, and regularly happen after a man has been on one of the medications for an augmented timeframe. Symptoms are remarkable in the individuals who have taken SSRI medicines eight months or less.

When Does the Syndrome Occur and How Long Will It Last?

Symptoms regularly start one to three days after the medication has been stopped (or the dose reduced) yet may happen even not long after the initially missed measurements of medication. Symptoms regularly keep going for one to seven weeks, yet have been known to keep going for up to three months. Symptoms which last longer than a month and a half happen for the most part in the individuals who have taken SSRI medications for a long time.


There are ways that you can reduce or prevent discontinuation symptoms.

Dont Stop Medicine

  • Don’t stop a psychotropic medicine suddenly. Individuals may stop their drug unexpectedly for different reasons, including encountering repulsive reactions or feeling better, and also just neglecting to refill a prescription. Yet, stopping a few medications suddenly or “immediately” can bring about withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms.

Specialist Consultation

  • Talk to your specialist. If you’d get a kick out of the chance to stop your stimulant, first talk it over with your prescribing clinician. Voice any worries you have, and don’t endeavor to stop all alone. It’s a communitarian wander amongst patient and specialist.
  • Consider on the off chance that you’ve gotten an intensive clinical appraisal. Before ceasing an antidepressant — or any medicine — your specialist ought to evaluate whether this is a suitable time to do as such. He or she ought to consider different components. Counting your past clinical history and current anxiety level.

Discontinue gradually

  • One of the most ideal approaches to minimize discontinuation syndrome is by reduction of doses prescriptions, including SSRIs, gradually. Together, you and your specialist ought to choose how to reduce, then stop, the dose. Lessening the doses of a SSRI to zero continuously more than two weeks or longer is reasonable. Significantly slower discontinuation might be required if you’ve taken high doses for quite a while.

Practice healthy habits

  • In case you’re not sleeping well or under a great deal of stress or not eating nourishing foods ceasing medicine successfully might be difficult. It can build depression and anxiety, which can make stopping harder.

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