‘I stopped sleeping’: the sometimes difficult path off antidepressants

One in seven Australians take antidepressants. How well do we support them when they want to come off the medication?

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Six weeks after my doctor advised me to stop taking the lowest dose of desvenlafaxine, an antidepressant I had used for seven years, I returned to my GP.

I was having huge mood swings: one minute I’d be so jittery and hyperactive I felt as if I could jump out of my skin, next I’d be sobbing hysterically, convinced that life was hopeless. My stomach churned with nausea and bright light burned my eyes. Worst of all were the “brain zaps”, a deeply unpleasant buzzing pulse that shot through my skull at random.

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