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Reducing antidepressants

After the miscarriage, after 8 weeks of pregnancy, I had a major setback of my postpartum depression. I saw my psychiatrist more often but it took several weeks before I felt somewhat normal again.

Reducing antidepressants after postpartum depression

Because of this setback, I took a break from my shop so I could recover at my own pace. When I began feeling better (after a few weeks) I started sewing again. First only clothes for my baby girl but soon the activities for my shop continued. I also started doing my workouts regularly again. After a while, I felt so good that I want to reduce my medication in consultation with my psychiatrist. I thought, if I get to be pregnant again, at least I don’t have these meds anymore.

My psychiatrist agreed and wanted to guide me in this as I had been doing better for a while now (about 8 weeks).

Reducing antidepressants has to be done very gradually as immediately stopping would almost certainly result in a setback. I received a lighter dosage of my medication so I could reduce with small steps at a time. The first two days with the new dosage were fine as I did not notice any differences. Then the withdrawal symptoms started. I had severe headaches and fatigue. I was hardly capable of doing anything. I felt like my body was working very hard for something while nothing was shown on the outside. I did not feel down or sad which was positive. The headaches and fatigue lasted about 3 to 4 days after which I felt a lot better and was functioning again.

The next step in using a lower dosage, this whole cycle happened again. The first days were ok and then the headaches and fatigue started again and after 3 days I felt better again.

As I felt like I was taking a too big step in medication reduction I consulted my psychiatrist and we decided I should stay on this dosage a while to give my body some rest. When I felt strong enough again I would take the next step.

Unfortunately, I started feeling worse again. I felt down and started to cry a lot again. The psychiatrist wanted to increase the medication again but I wanted to wait and see what happens. I had been through so much with the reduction of the medication that I did not want to throw that again. I really did not want to go through all those withdraw symptoms again. The next days only got worse. I cried even more and by now it was limiting me. Also, the negative thoughts about my baby girl started again. The latter I thought was horrible so as soon as I noticed this I started using my former dosage of medication again. Maybe I should have been more subtle about this by increasing in small steps but I wanted to get rid of those negative thoughts immediately. This resulted in being a bit hazy the following day.

Reducing antidepressants after postpartum depression

In short, this attempt at quitting with antidepressants was no success. But, I do know what to expect next time I give it a try and I will take more time in doing so. 

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