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Mind & Mood

Tapering off antidepressants sensibly

August 1, 2022

Going cold turkey on depression medications can be a bumpy ride.

photo of a woman in silhouette holding a pill near her mouth about to take it

Nearly 13% of American adults — two-thirds of them women — take antidepressants. That puts these mood medications among the most-prescribed drugs in the United States.

While antidepressants can be extremely effective and safe, it’s well established that they don’t help everyone, proving effective in only about half of those taking them. The drugs, which alter brain levels of chemical messengers affecting mood, can also trigger side effects ranging from low sex drive to weight gain to trouble sleeping. They usually aren’t meant to be taken indefinitely, either.

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