To summarize the possibilities: you could be just fine, you could struggle for days or weeks, or you could have trouble for months or years. You could have just one or two symptoms, or several, or very many. They could be minor, pretty difficult, compley disabling, or worse. The outcome is not directly defined by how long.
There are a lot of people who will suggest that Prozac is “self-tapering” and does not feature a withdrawal syndrome, or is quite unlikely to. These claims are not backed by evidence, and nobody knows how often withdrawal syndromes happen from specific drugs such as Prozac or Abilify. Of the few studies which even measure for and characterize the intensity and length of withdrawal symptoms, none of them follow a patient from discontinuation through the subsequent years of recovery to see if withdrawal does occur and how long it lasts.
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The doctor shouldn't make you quit cold turkey. Good luck. The correct way to get off any medication is to be tapered off, that way there will be less or no withdrawal getting off any medication.
There can be physical, structural, functional, and epigenetic changes caused by psychotropics like antidepressants and antipsychotics which can involve side effects and drug-induced problems that continue for years or decades after discontinuation, and the implications of lipid-associating medications, metabolites, or altered biochemical states being stored in fats or built into our bodies are not yet known or significantly explored.
Probably nothing. With Prozac the half life is so long you get an automatic taper over several weeks anyway. After 2 weeks the drugs are just barely starting to work on changing the brain.
Guides to drugs: Antidepressants| RxISK Antipsychotics| RxISK. A.
RxISK Guide: Stopping Antidepressants Dependence and Withdrawal.
Professional dogma serves some people more than others, and taking the chance that you won’t be one of the people thrown under the bus is an unnecessary risk which creates preventable patient harms on a daily basis. You want information from people who have been there, and from scientific evidences.
Taking only a few days or weeks of doses, taking only low doses, and tapering off slowly do not necessarily keep you from going into withdrawal, since all use creates significant changes and all reductions can produce withdrawal effects even if they are minor. Switching to a drug with a longer halflife does not necessarily keep you from going into withdrawal, as all antidepressants and antipsychotics create physical dependencies and the halflife does not determine whether or not withdrawal occurs once the drug that we become dependent upon is not available in the same concentrations as usual.
We do at least know that it is not a homogeneous experience, and there can often be multiple underlying processes or dependencies. Because very little study has been done into the causes of psychotropic withdrawal syndromes following the use of psychiatric drugs, we don’t know the mechanisms behind the myriad of possible symptoms and we don’t have any good way of discerning people who will have terrible and prolonged withdrawal experiences rather than short and manageable ones.
Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ - Tapering.
Guides to withdrawal post-discontinuation difficulties:. B.
The various side effects which result in death, such as abortion, fatal toxidromes, fatal internal bleeding, sudden cardiac death, suicide, and homicide are also quite enduring. How often these things happen is not known, especially because drug-associated problems are often misdiagnosed, unreported, or lacking appropriate investigation. Even without the consideration of withdrawal, some side effects of these drugs can last for the rest of a persons life, such as movement disorders, amnesia, stunted growth, birth defects, damages from organ toxicity, damages from emboluses or seizures or falls, etc.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to find competent professional help, and to not allow yourself to be browbeaten, manipulated, gaslighted, or subverted by doctors who perpetuate the preventable harms that greater attention, care, and accountability could reduce. Being proactive and holding your medical consultants to a high standard of care can save your life, or keep you from going through unnecessary and terrible ordeals.
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Quora posts on withdrawal and recovery which contain many more resources:. C.
Seeking Information. I. Nobody knows.
The intensity and length of withdrawal seems more dependent upon personal physiology and reaction history than anything else. All antidepressants and antipsychotics seem to have a significant likelihood of withdrawal, and no clinical dose or treatment duration is so small or short that withdrawal cannot occur in some patients. A few patients report serious or lasting withdrawal symptoms after just a single dose while a few quit after months or even years of use and do not have any trouble with it. Most people respond somewhere between those two extremes.
II. For resources that can help you come to a more informed and self-capable understanding of withdrawal syndromes for these kinds of drugs, you can visit the links I include at the bottom of this answer. As there is a lot to say, even this somewhat lengthy post cannot get into all the important details you should have access to before making decisions about dose or drug changes. The Studies.
Everyone is different, of course, but I would look for other explanations for “withdrawal symptoms”; for instance, return of whatever symptoms the drugs were managing. It would be very unusual for someone to experience withdrawal symptoms after taking fluoxetine (Prozac) & aripiprazole (Abilify) for only two weeks.
The guides are written by a team of psychiatrists, the Quora posts are written by me, and the other off-site link is to Surviving Antidepressants, the best withdrawal-related community I know of.
The lack of evidence-based decisionmaking and the huge amount of misinformation and disinformation circulating (in professional circles and in the public arena) create a situation for patients that is dangerous not only because of the poor general quality of care but because we are taught to trust doctors and imagine that they have a decent idea of what they are doing. Withdrawal syndromes from antidepressants and antipsychotics are very often misdiagnosed, mishandled, mistreated, dismissed, or ignored. One last thing to mention is that the medical care you receive may put you at further risk rather than helping you.
Medicine Induced Stress Syndromes (MISS).
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What post-discontinuation symptoms are due to withdrawal syndrome and which may be better described in other terms is not sufficiently illuminated by research, so labeling things can get messy. The important thing is to understand that what symptoms you encounter, and how severe or long-lasting they are, is variable and may or may not be limited to withdrawal-type problems. The Complications. V.
And it's not long enough to get any withdrawal from Abilify. Prozac has such a slow buildup in your system that you won't even be near therapeutic levels after two weeks. After two weeks? None. Which also means there is no point to taking Prozac for two weeks.
While a rare few individuals perceive no withdrawal symptoms at all, even upon cold turkey cessation, withdrawal syndrome can be compley disabling, and some people do die as a result. Not everyone has the same withdrawal effects, or the same severity or duration of these effects. Some people feel reasonably recovered within a few weeks or months, but some people deal with side effects for years after discontinuing antidepressants or antipsychotics—even over a decade in some cases.
D. Additional information on tapering, withdrawal, and healing:.
This makes withdrawal less likely since stopping a drug w/ a long half life automatically creates a taper, allowing the body to adjust more gradually as the drug is cleared. In other words, in most people, there will be appreciable drug or active metabolite in the body for weeks after the last dose. Both drugs have extremely long half lives - on the order of weeks.
The outcome is not directly defined by how long you took Prozac or Abilify, and you can have mild, moderate, or serious withdrawal symptoms regardless of how long you took them or at what doses. They could be minor, pretty difficult, compley disabling, or worse. To summarize the possibilities: you could be just fine, you could struggle for days or weeks, or you could have trouble for months or years. You could have just one or two symptoms, or several, or very many.
Because we cannot predict what you may go through, the focus should be on making responsible, well-informed decisions and reducing the risks of using and discontinuing drugs like antidepressants and antipsychotics.
A history of taking multiple medications, tapering multiple times, tapering too quickly or quitting cold turkey), and having a difficult withdrawal experience previously may contribute cumulatively to more numerous or intense withdrawal symptoms or longer withdrawal periods. Unfortunay, not much research has been done into establishing why withdrawal happens, why some people or instances of psychotropic dependence have worse withdrawal states than others, or what factors might keep people safer or warn them about future withdrawal risks.
The Possibilities. IV. Some doctors have a much better understanding than others, and whether your professional gives you a life-threatening or life-saving recommendation is more a matter of how invested and experienced they are rather than what their credentials are or how long they have been working with these drugs or patients who are taking them. Many or most professionals have an opinion, but only quite rarely are these opinions grounded in the withdrawal experiences of thousands of patients, and a more comprehensive acknowledgement of the scope of possibilities.
Even more troublingly, there are no substantially evidence-based guidelines for how to discontinue these drugs in a less risky manner, or what to do if you face difficult or catastrophic withdrawal symptoms. Though antidepressants and antipsychotics have been causing withdrawal syndromes for over half a century, we still have a very marginal understanding of the phenomenon, and any professional advice you may get comes from assumption, extrapolation, and personal opinion rather than scientific study—that is how scant and poorly representative the research tends to be.
It is simply impossible to predict how severe or how long your withdrawal syndrome will be when discontinuing antidepressants and antipsychotics. Drug halflife, binding affinities, and the presence of active metabolites do not determine how difficult or long your withdrawal might be. The severity and duration do not seem strictly related to what doses you took, how long you took them for, or how quickly you taper.
We are in a scientific no man’s land when speaking about how long withdrawal lasts and who will have what sort of withdrawal experience. III. Professional Opinions. The only studies which speak about long term withdrawal syndromes are drawing from the reports of doctors and patients because no blinded placebo trials exist for it. Similarly, the only studies which try to establish a percentage of patients who have noticeable withdrawal symptoms do not follow patients long enough or with sufficient rigor to account for all the withdrawal reactions that may happen.
People who say “Oh, you will probably be just fine” are not preparing you for how to make it more likely to be just fine, and are not giving you the resources to preserve your health or save your life if shit hits the fan. Platitudes are not a stand-in for proper medical advice, and I recommend consulting an expert in psychiatric drug tapering and withdrawal syndrome rather than relying on the spotty input of random internetpersons (with and without degrees).
I broke up the links into categories so you can skip to the areas of greatest present concern. Below are some preliminary resources for information on antidepressants like Prozac, antipsychotics like Abilify, their potential side effects, and risk-reducing ways of handling tapers and withdrawal.