Has anyone successfully withdrawn from Abilify?

Posted by barjar @barjar, Apr 5 11:57am

I have been off of Abilify for 6 weeks. I was on a low dose, 1mg a day. I feel
terrible, physically and mentally.

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Hi, I am on 30mgs per day.

I cannot even imagine trying to come off.

The only thing I can say is ask your provider if there is something you can take that will ease the symptoms, don't suffer.


About seven or eight weeks ago, I quit a combination of Abilify and Effexor in a moment of near-suicidal rage. I'm diagnosed bipolar 2, and there's some evidence that Effexor can lead to rapid cycling with this condition. Apparently this is what it did to me. I was in a depressive cycle when I acted rashly. But I also genuinely feel both drugs were making me worse. So my experience was coming off both at once, cold turkey. I cannot entirely say what aspects of my withdrawal (which lasted about a month) were caused by Effexor (which is a monster to quit), and what parts of were me coming off of Abilfy. But the Abilify had stripped me of my personality. Even my psychiatrist, the last time I saw her before abruptly quitting both drugs, sounded ready to take me off of it because I'd become such a zombie. It's a problematic drug. It definitely stabilized me right when I needed it, so I'm not exactly against it. But a few months on it were pretty detrimental to my state of mind. Even my wife told me I wasn't myself anymore. I was just walking around in a haze.

I've been off both drugs for nearly eight weeks now. I do feel like I have my personality back (and that loss was definitely Abilify, as soon as I went on it last fall I began going flat), but I don't advise quitting like I did. It's not medically advised and it wasn't fun (I'm pretty belligerent when I want to do something, which is why I was able to ride it out). I do wish doctors would do a better job of telling patients what they can expect if they go off a drug. I was never told what would happen with either. The Effexor had been prescribed long ago by a different doctor, so it was a legacy drug after my fairly recent diagnosis. My psychiatrist added Abilify to the mix, but I didn't really know the side effects. She did a better job of explaining the good and bad on the one she put me on about five weeks ago, which is a different class of pharmaceutical entirely. I wasn't ready to be medication-free, but this time I felt I made an informed choice. Whatever drug they're giving you, be sure to ask about what happens if you need to quit it. Because this is a game of trial and error, and you might need to get off the drug (as happened to you with Abilify). So you want to be sure going in that it's a good idea. It's hard and discouraging sometimes, but you have to advocate for yourself. That's the system, unfortunately.

I hope you're able to see the other side of this. It can be miserable.

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