Skip to content

Why You Should Always Talk to Your Psychiatrist BEFORE Stopping Your Psych Meds

Image by Serena Wong from Pixabay

I have learned a lot in the 20-some-odd-years since I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder. No one really wants to be told that they will be on medications for the rest of their life, but that is just the way life happens sometimes.

Some people are lucky enough to be able to become stable enough to reduce their meds before tapering off them altogether; under a physician’s watchful eye. I am not one of those lucky people. I know my limits and know that every single time I have tried to go med-free (on my own) in the past, I always ended up having to be hospitalized in a Behavioral Health Unit. People might share some of the same symptoms as others when trying to stop taking their meds, but everyone deals with the situation differently too.

It is never advisable to just stop taking even just one medication on your own, let alone all your meds. If you want to stop a med or even all of them, it is best that you do so by talking to your prescribing doctor or psychiatrist. They can work with you if you want to stop a medication or all medications. Before your next appointment, write down reasons why you want to stop your meds and also write down any questions you may have for your doctor. You could also write up a pros and cons list to see which one seems like the better and more logical choice,

When you try to simply stop or taper down your medications on your own, there is a possibility that your symptoms could get a lot worse. You could even go through withdrawal when stopping certain medications.

This one time when I was on Effexor, I had to stop it abruptly because I lost me medical insurance. I ended up getting vertigo for an entire month which started a day or two after my last dose. My Bipolar symptoms got worse and I was swinging back and forth between mania and depression rapidly. I just wanted how I was feeling to end. But I knew I could not afford the Effexor. Back then, Good Rx was not around yet. I just had to ride out the withdrawal symptoms from the Effexor because nothing else could be done. 

With all medications, different people might feel different effects from trying to stop cold turkey or tapering down the dose when they try stopping their meds on their own. Just like how Effexor gave me withdrawal, another person might find that they do not really feel any symptoms after stopping the same exact medication.

Psychiatric medications usually come with a long list of scary side effects that can be annoying or aggravating. Or the drug pamphlet might say not to stop the dose until you speak with your prescribing physician. Doctors also tell you not to mix your psych meds with, well, any drugs basically. Some meds, if you mix them with too much alcohol, could also become fatal if combined. Doctors also may tell you to avoid some specific foods such as grapefruits or anything with grapefruit in it because it can either raise the levels with certain meds or it could also decrease the levels of the drug in your system.

After all my failed attempts of trying to stop my medications myself, I have finally learned to talk to my doctor first. It helps keep your doctor informed about what you are going through. Maybe you just need a med adjustment. Or if the med is giving you bad side effects, you should contact your doctor right away so they can use the knowledge they have gained from all their years of school and continuing education credits to better help you. Depending on the side effect, if you are having difficulty breathing or if you break out with hives accompanied by swelling of the face, lips, or tongue with difficulty breathing then you should call 9-1-1 immediately.

The point is that you should always talk to your prescribing doctor before you decide or demand to stop taking any medication. This goes for all meds, as well…

Samantha View All

Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog

3 thoughts on “Why You Should Always Talk to Your Psychiatrist BEFORE Stopping Your Psych Meds Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: