Coming off anti-depressants

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Anti-depressants can serve a useful function.  When depression is severe, and you are unable to help yourself as a result of its debilitating effects, then having help to balance your brain chemistry can sometimes give you the lift you need to begin your healing and self-help journey.

However, client experiences tell me that anti-depressants can come at a cost. For some people, they seem to deaden all feelings, making it hard to feel pleasure, joy, excitement and motivation as well as lessening the effects of emotions like sadness, emptiness, guilt and shame.

As clients come off anti-depressants I often find that there can be a difficult transition as emotions become more strongly felt.  Especially after a long period of anti-depressant use, I have known clients to find it uncomfortable to begin to feel more intensely.

So what can be done? It seems important not to take away a coping mechanism like anti-depressants until there is something else in place to support you.  It is certainly not something to contemplate without discussing it with your GP.  As and when you do decide that you are ready to reduce your antidepressant use, spending time building up your emotional resilience and coping skills is an important preparation.

As a first step, why not develop a simple self-care plan that details the few impactful actions you are going to regularly take to support your mood.  Exercise, social contact, hobbies, mental stimulation, structure and routines, good nutrition, relaxation and mindfulness can all be important components, the key thing is to tailor your activities to what will most benefit you. 

You may also need support with managing your emotions in the moment.  For help with this check out my series called Managing Your Feelings for tips and ideas.

For one to one support with containing your emotions, psychotherapy can be useful. If you would like to explore how, then get in touch on 0191 3720318 or fejrobinson@gmail.com.

Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

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