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Antidepressant withdrawal can cause long-term or even permanent sexual dysfunction
Wednesday, October 03, 2018 5:00 pm Email this article
“Typical [antidepressant] withdrawal reactions include increased anxiety, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, nausea, imbalance, sensory disturbances, and hyperarousal,” notes a new review paper by Dr. James Davies, from the University of Roehampton in London, England, and Prof. John Read, from the University of East London.
“Dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, brain zaps, diarrhoea, headaches, muscle spasms and tremors, agitation, hallucinations, confusion, malaise, sweating and irritability are also reported.”
“Although the aforementioned symptoms are the most common physical symptoms, there is also evidence that [antidepressant] withdrawal can induce mania and hypomania, emotional blunting and an inability to cry, long-term or even permanent sexual dysfunction.”
“More than half (56%) of people who attempt to come off antidepressants experience withdrawal effects” the paper notes.
“Withdrawal incidence rates from 14 studies ranged from 27% to 86% with a weighted average of 56%.”
“Nearly half (46%) of people experiencing withdrawal effects describe them as severe.”
Withdrawal effects can last for weeks or months the paper notes.
One study calculated the average duration of withdrawal to be 79 weeks or 1.5 years.
Davies J, and Read J. A systematic review into the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal effects: Are guidelines evidence-based? Addict Behav, 2018 Sep 4; Available online 4 September 2018.
Author’s Contact Info
University of Roehampton
London, United Kingdom
All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence
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