Depression

Frequently Asked Questions

12. I have been taking an antidepressant for a while, and now I am feeling better. Can I stop taking it?

Stopping medication should be done only under a doctor's supervision. They need to be gradually stopped to give the body time to adjust. Although they are not habit-forming or addictive, antidepressants should not be stopped abruptly because that can cause withdrawal symptoms or the depression may return. If your depression is chronic or keeps returning, you may need to stay on the medication for a long time.

If you are experiencing your first episode of depression, you also may want to stay on antidepressant medication for a while, even if your symptoms have disappeared. Recent research shows that patients age 70 and older who took antidepressant medication for two years after they became symptom-free were 60 percent less likely to experience a relapse than those who stopped taking the medication.