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The Dangers of Stopping Antidepressants Cold Turkey 


The Dangers of Stopping Antidepressants Cold Turkey 

Antidepressant medications can be extremely effective in helping people cope with potentially debilitating conditions. Often, these medications don’t make a person feel “good” so much as level out their emotions to make them feel normal or stable. Without such medications, many people experience something akin to a frightening roller coaster ride that fluctuates uncontrollably between differing levels of depression. 

The key to ensuring a positive experience with antidepressants is knowing when and how to discontinue their use. If depression symptoms have diminished, a doctor may recommend that a patient begin the process of weaning themselves off a medication. This typically involves a gradual reduction in dosage until the patient is deemed fit to discontinue use of the drug altogether. Physicians rarely if ever have patients stop using a drug all at once — “cold turkey” — and with good reason.  

What Are the Risks of Discontinuing Antidepressants Cold Turkey? 

Antidepressant withdrawal, also known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, is a possible consequence of discontinuing an antidepressant too abruptly. If a patient experiences withdrawal related to antidepressants, it doesn’t indicate that they’ve become addicted to them. Rather, addiction-related withdrawal is typically accompanied by uncontrollable cravings for more of the drug and indicates that the brain has undergone a chemical change. 

Quitting antidepressants suddenly can trigger a host of conditions equal to or worse than the condition they were intended to treat and can sometimes undo the real progress made toward conquering depression. Potential complications include: 

  • Digestive system issues 
  • Headaches  
  • Fatigue 
  • Insomnia 
  • Flu-like symptoms 
  • A return of severe depression and/or anxiety 

Antidepressants are designed to remedy the imbalance of chemicals in the brain that can cause depression. The abrupt cessation of antidepressants can create a new kind of chemical imbalance, resulting side effects like the ones listed above. That’s why it’s always best to taper off an antidepressant dosage rather than stop using it cold turkey. 

Graduate-Level Studies in Physiology and Pharmacology 

Explore the impact of antidepressants and other drugs on the brain and the rest of the nervous system, as well as the cardiovascular, digestive, renal and other major body systems. Delivered entirely online through our renowned College of Medicine, the University of Florida’s graduate programs in medical physiology take a deep dive into the functioning of the human body and the factors that affect it, both harmful and helpful.  

These programs are presented in an asynchronous online format that gives you the freedom to complete coursework on your own schedule from virtually anywhere in the world. Whether you’re earning a master’s degree or a graduate certificate, you won’t have to take time away from other important commitments such as work and family. Let’s review these flexible programs now: 

Master of Science in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Medical Physiology and Pharmacology 

As a student in our online master’s degree in medical physiology and pharmacology program, you’ll review the various systems of the human body and see how drugs and organisms can alter how they function. Our program’s curriculum is designed to help you prepare for the National Board, MCAT and other crucial exams that can empower you to advance in a medical career or a related field. And there are many other program benefits:  

  • Finish a graduate degree in as little as one year. 
  • Complete coursework at your own pace. 
  • Develop the clinical knowledge that you’ll need to succeed in medical school. 
  • Get started without taking the GRE. 
  • Take advantage of several financial aid options, if needed. 
  • Build valuable leadership skills. 
  • Add a revered graduate credential to your resume. 

Graduate Certificate Programs 

Already in a medical career? We can help you excel at what you do by strengthening your understanding of the rudiments of physiology with an emphasis on the major organ systems of the human body. If you already hold a master’s degree and want to gain new skills and credentials that will improve your job performance, you’ll also find our Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology very beneficial. You can complete this program with as little as 9 credits, giving you the potential to collect your certificate after just one semester!  

Essential for anyone who works in a clinical setting, our 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology with a specialization in Cardiovascular/Renal Physiology provides a review of cardiovascular and renal health and changes that can occur to their functioning as a result of disease. Students are often able to finish this program in as little as two semesters.  

Combine Programs to Earn Two Respected Credentials  

Have you previously completed either a Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology or a Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology with a specialization in Cardiovascular/Renal Physiology? If so, you may already be halfway to earning a master’s degree! Our 30-credit master’s degree program accepts up to 15 credits from either of those graduate certificate programs. These programs work seamlessly together to provide a complex and essential understanding of physiology and pharmacology — and two career-enhancing credentials. 

Get the full picture of how drugs and organisms impact human bodies through one or more online graduate programs from the University of Florida.