Tapering off the antidepressants...a little help, please!

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

My doctor says that my PPD is caused from all the hormones I have in my system with nursing and being on the mini pill. I've been on Zoloft since the beginning of October, and I'm wondering when I should start getting off it. My doctor said I would only need to be on it for about four months and then I could start tapering off, he's okay with me being on the medication as long as I feel like I need to though. I want to nurse for about four more months, so my question is if it is a good idea to wait until I am done nursing, or get off the meds as soon as possible. My worst fear is being stuck on these pills for the rest of my life. I tried only taking a half dose for past few days, and today has been a disaster. Is it normal to fight your way off and deal with the depression like this for a while, or should you really not notice too much if you are ready to wean yourself off? I'm just asking your advice, I'll definitely discuss things with my doctor, but I'm curious to find out what other moms have been through with this.


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Michelle - posted on 01/27/2009




Cindy - if you are struggling take the pills, but talk to your doctor first. Some pills (for me) I needed to be weaned on. Taking some antidepreesants are a little harsh to the system when first taken - others don't have a problem. Aside from that, i reccomend that you take the pills. Believe me they are worth every moment x 10 for every moment you waste your energy trying to deal. Give yourself a break! You can't be anything else to others if you can't be something for yourself!

Naomi - posted on 01/27/2009




Samantha. i had PPD with my first although i didn't go on "happy Pills" until was pregnant with my second. It was the worse 2 years of my life. I have been on my pills now for over 4 years and have no plan to get off them in the near future. - i can still remember what it was like. Listen there is nothing wrong with taking happy pills never feel you have to stop because of what other people say.  i get very upset when people feel like they have to come of they pills because of the shame other people project on to them. I always say would you tell a diabetic to stop taking their insulin. Don't let anyone push you off your drugs. if you want to come off and feel better then fine. Go talk to a pysciatrist coming off Zoloft is had you may need a mild sleeping pill. I was on Zoloft but my Dr wanted me to change to a safer drug when i was pregnant with my 2nd son.  Zoloft is great but it is hard and takes a few weeks to come off it. The other problem with Zoloft is most people put on 10lb. For me i put on 30lb. I like the happy pills now its still SSR (tofinal - i don't know what it is called in the USA, i live in Australia), but one of the older ones so it is safer to take when you are pregnant. Which is handy for me as i seem to get pregnant when ever i look at my husband. Number 4 is due in July. Basically there is nothing wrong with being on happy pills for the long term, but its ok to come off them sooner. Don't let anyone push you off them before you feel like you are ready. Good luck with what ever you decided.

Michelle - posted on 01/27/2009




Depression is such a personal thing. I have dealt with it for many years. Before and especially after pregnancy. (I took zoloft too, good drug) Listen to your body and how you are feeling. I think of depression as if you are standing in a narrow boat - after a while it is exhausting to maintain the emotional balance. (It took me at least 9 months which may depend on age, I am older) to get my body back into balance after nursing. If you are still feeling off, take the pills until you are ready. Don't be in a rush. Take your full dose - especially if you are struggling. You need to take care of you. (believe me you will feel better for you, being a wife, dealing with extra stresses at home/work and especially as a mother). Let the hormones adjust and give yourself a break. If you normally don't take antidepressants, once your body adjusts you shouldn't need them anymore. Right now it sounds like you need to take them for a few more months. If you are feeling ashamed about taking a pill to feel good - don't. Let your body do what it has to do and you need to allow yourself to feel good while it happens.

Take care of you!

[deleted account]

I just recently started on Wellbutrin.  It really does make a big difference.  I couldn't get through the nights without screaming about something before, and just couldn't remember really enjoying life... but now, seriously, it feels like spring time.  I am just more aware and excited about life, and enjoying the little things... and appreciating my family more. 

My therapist and dr have both said to plan on 6 months to a year, at least, before weaning off the medication.  My therapist also strongly advised seeing her more often when I started weaning myself off the med so that she could help me through that phase.

Kelly - posted on 01/26/2009




I was on anti depressant for 2 years after having my son. If your weaning and you feel you need them, then keep taking them. Sometimes it takes 3 months for you to get the full effect of them. So it surprises me your doctor told you that you would only need them for 4 months. You will not be on them forever! When you wean you will go through with draws, good and bad days. But if all your days are bad then your not ready!

Wendy - posted on 01/26/2009




With both my children, I suffered from depression. Both times my doctor put me on Effexor. Even though my depression seemed to subside after about 3 months, my doctor recommended me staying on the medication 18 months minimum. At about 15 months, I started weaning myself off at a very slow pace. Listen to your body. At my highest dosage, I was taking 150mg. I would decrease in very small intervals until my body got used to the smaller dosage and then I would decrease again, until I was actually splitting one pill into 4 pieces.  Good luck.....things do get better!

[deleted account]

To answer Cindy's question, yes, the antidepressants have made a HUGE difference for me. I started to notice that I got depressed after my baby was about 4 months. For about two months after that I thought, "I don't have post-partum. I just need to get out more, or I just need to move out of my in-laws' house, or if only my husband supported me more, or if I just lived closer to my own mom, I would be happy" but I finally realized that I was stuck. I was dysfunctional, and I didn't want to change myself, I just wanted to stew over what others were "doing to me." I think the thing I finally started to notice were the mood swings. I would get extremely happy, and then the next moment I would be pissed and crying. While my baby was napping and my husband at work, I just layed in bed thinking about what I could do that would make me feel better, but I couldn't move, and I didn't want to. I cried, and cried, and hated life, and hated myself, and hated my husband. I loved my baby, I never wanted to hurt her, and she was the one bright spot in my life, but I was just depressed. I still thought I didn't need the meds, but I couldn't stand the way I treated my husband anymore, so I just went to the doctor. I got the prescription filled, but I was unsure about taking the pills at first. After a week, I decided to try them. They didn't work for the first month, but once they got in my system, it was amazing how my life changed. I was actually happy. I didn't feel weird or different - I just felt normal for once. It has been great, but I am starting to face the reality of wanting to get off the pills, and I know I'm not ready yet, so I will stay on them. Hopefully when I am done nursing, I will try to wean off again, but for now, I need them still, it isn't worth getting off them right now. Thanks for the other moms' comments, it's good to know that it's okay to stay on the meds for a while until I am ready.

Tricia - posted on 01/23/2009




My daughter was born in OCt of 06, anad I have been on antidepressants since she was 5 months old.....it took me that long to give in and admit something was wrong.  I am just now getting weaned off, down to half a pill a day but it's over the course of a month.  It takes a little time to get used to the lower dosage but over the course of the month it is getting easier.  Obviously you would go with whatever the Dr tells you to do but I have tried both stopping "cold turkey" (such a bad decision.....yikes) and the gradual weaning off, and the weaning off has definitely been the way to go for me.....good luck!!

Linda - posted on 01/22/2009




Personally, and this is only my from my experience, I believe your body will let you know when to start tapering off. I was stubborn in the beginning and would try to get off medicine as quickly as possible. And by quickly, I mean as soon as I was doing really good for a couple of months. It was a disaster. Then when I finally accepted the fact that I was going to have to take the medication for a while and stuck with it, with my counseling and being in tune with my body, I was able to begin weaning off. I cannot remember the exact dosage, but for example, if I was on 60 cymbalta daily, I then went to 30 daily, and then 30 every other day, then 30 on M,W, and F and then 20 on M,W,F and then 20 Tue and Thurs until I did not need it at all. I also needed to take Xanax or Clonozpam for panic attacks, but neither of these were for longer then 2-4 months as well as I needed to take Ambien to sleep. I was not for Ambien very long either. The only medicine that I stayed on for about 1 - 1 1/2 years, was Cymbalta. Again, this is just my own experience, but I would highly recommend to anyone not to be in a rush to get off the medication. It most likely will only be temporary and what is one to two years in the long run??? I always told myself that it was like taking a multi vitamin or insulin shot - it's what I need to get myself back to my normal state and to be a good mother and wife. I sure hope that helps and definitely feel free to email me any other questions. I want to be able to share my story and assist anyone with PPD. Nutrition is also a critical factor and should not be taken lightly either. Many Blessings - Linda :)

Dube_cindy - posted on 01/22/2009




I hope someone answers your question.  I am looking foward to finding out the views on this question.  I am considering going on an antidepressant.  They are sitting in my cupboard just waiting.  I am thinking I can beat this without them, but I am unsure.  Did the meds help you a lot?

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