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SSRI's - Withdrawal and Dependency


Here are some quotes from very long article called SSRIs & WITHDRAWAL/DEPENDENCE  written by Dr. David Healy. He is the doctor  who had a job offer rescinded when he spoke out about the problems with Prozac.

“SSRI Dependence v Benzodiazepine Dependence"

“There is in fact no basis for distinguishing clinically between the normal dose dependence produced by benzodiazepines and the normal dose dependence produced by the SSRIs. There almost certainly will be some differences between the two in various animal models, just as there are between different antidepressant groups, but at present there is no systematic set of clinical criteria to distinguish the two phenomena.“

“SSRIs including sertraline, venlafaxine and paroxetine are now being heavily promoted for anxiety using variants of the following wording – "Anxiety can be treated with both benzodiazepines and venlafaxine/sertraline/paroxetine. Benzodiazepines cause dependence. Venlafaxine/sertraline/paroxetine are not benzodiazepines".

“Most patients reading this will assume that SSRIs, unlike benzodiazepines, carry no risk of therapeutic dependence and that they will be able to stop venlafaxine/sertraline/paroxetine at short notice without undue discomfort and certainly without medical risk. This is simply not true. Indeed for many patients it will be more difficult to stop these SSRIs than it would be to stop benzodiazepines.”

Speaking of SSRIs:

“In a proportion of patients who are able to discontinue by taper, ongoing problems in many cases of very significant severity can be expected to continue for months or years. “

This article actually has some other interesting points. Here are a couple of more quotes:

“There is in point of fact not a single class of drugs within the antidepressant group or class of drugs within the antipsychotic group that has not been associated with dependence and withdrawal prior to the 1990s, although there appear to be gradients of risk among the drugs in each class.

In the mid-1990s the notion of dependence on and withdrawal from antipsychotics and antidepressants began to re-emerge. In the case of the antipsychotics this was with the appearance of an article by Gilbert et al. Commentaries on this by many noted figures in the field betrayed an almost complete ignorance of the earlier literature.”



Disclaimer:  The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.

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Last updated 21 July 2020