How to come off mirtazapine successfully?

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “How to come off mirtazapine successfully?”. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant which belongs to the class of tetracyclic antidepressants. It is used to treat a number of mental health related problems. 

However, it is not an easy medication when it comes to stopping it. This blog will cover the three best ways to wean off mirtazapine successfully and we will also talk about the consequences of abrupt withdrawal. 

How to come off mirtazapine successfully?

The three best ways to come off mirtazapine successfully include:

  • Follow proper taper schedule
  • Learn to deal with withdrawal symptoms 
  • Make healthy lifestyle changes

Follow proper taper schedule

Following a proper taper schedule is crucial when it comes to stopping mirtazapine safely. Antidepressants are known to cause disturbing withdrawal symptoms because of the mechanism of action through which they produce their effects. 

Mirtazapine alters the amounts of excitatory chemicals in your brain, both serotonin and norepinephrine. Now, if you take away such meds rapidly, the availability of serotonin and norepinephrine reduces. 

This results in the receptors craving these excitatory neurotransmitters as they have been receiving them for quite a while now, and you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 

This deficiency is responsible for producing withdrawal symptoms. In order to prevent such a situation, your healthcare provider simply just reduces the dose of your antidepressant. 

It enables you to start taking medicine in lesser quantities without completely depriving your receptors of serotonin. Half of the dose keeps decreasing gradually over the period of 7 to 8 days. 

After spending a week or two, the med is on its lowest possible dose and now it is considered safe for you to stop using it. Unfortunately, a lot of people choose to take the process into their own hands and either try and reduce the dose themselves gradually or stop it all together.

Now this is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Never stop or start any sort of medication on your own. There are medications, called over-the-counter meds, which can be taken without prescription.

But meds, like antidepressants, antipsychotics, CNS stimulants etc, which affect your brain, your cognition, memory, feelings, decision making abilities, how could you possibly think of starting or withdrawing such meds on your own? It is something for you to think about.

So, make sure you properly follow your healthcare provider’s taper schedule. It is also important to make sure you are stopping this antidepressant for the right reasons. 

Talk to your mental healthcare professional about whether or not it’s a good time for you to discontinue your medication. Do not go against your doctor’s recommendation. 

You might feel like leaving your meds once you start feeling better but sometimes, it’s just your brain playing tricks on you. As soon as you’re tricked to stop it, it all comes rushing back. It is crucial for you to listen to your healthcare provider before making any decision yourself. 

Learn to deal with withdrawal symptoms

The next step is to deal with your withdrawal symptoms. Even if you follow a proper taper schedule, you will still experience some of them. The benefit of tapering off is to reduce the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. The most common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Emotional stress
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Intrusive thoughts

These symptoms may vary from person to person, depending on the dose. This is why it is recommended to never stop your mirtazapine abruptly because these withdrawal symptoms may become much worse than the side effects your antidepressant was giving you. 

You can learn to deal with these symptoms by looking for ways to counteract them. Gastrointestinal side effects can be avoided by a healthy diet. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They are a good source of fibre and can improve your digestion and bowel movements. 

You can also try probiotics to replenish your healthy gut bacteria that can significantly make your gut health better. If you suffer from diarrhoea, there are plenty of over-the-counter antidiarrheal agents that can help you. Probiotics can also help with your diarrhoea. 

If you suffer from psychological symptoms that usually occur because of the absence of the excess amount of serotonin that mirtazapine was giving you, then you can try some natural foods to boost your serotonin levels. These include:

  • Eggs are considered a good source of serotonin. The protein present in eggs can significantly increase your plasma levels of tryptophan, which is the precursor  synthesis.
  • Pineapples are also a great source of serotonin. Make sure you eat them fresh, as the level of serotonin is highest in this time period. 
  • Cheese is also an excellent source of tryptophan. You can enjoy adding it to pretty much anything. I’m sure you have amazing recipes for it. 
  • Salmon is also rich in tryptophan. It is also a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • Nuts and seeds are good sources of fibre, vitamins, antioxidants, good fats, and of course tryptophan, which as stated earlier, is the precursor of serotonin synthesis. 

There are other ways to boost excitatory chemicals in your brain. Research shows a close relationship between sunlight and serotonin levels in your body. Go for a walk in the morning or afternoon to boost your serotonin and to enhance your sleep quality. 

Studies show that your gut microflora has a great impact on your serotonin levels through the gut-brain axis. Make sure to add fibre and probiotics in your diet. 

Make healthy lifestyle changes

Adopting a better, healthier lifestyle is the key to help you fight against not one, but a huge number of illnesses. It not only makes your body healthy but also boosts your immunity. 

Exercise is one of the best ways of increasing ‘happy chemicals’ in our system. Workout for at least half an hour, 3 to 4 times a week. Enjoy going for long walks. Learn new yoga moves, as yoga is one of the best ways to relax your racing mind.

Drink plenty of water. Water clears out toxins from your body. Try making a detox water by adding your favourite fruits in it. You can add lemon, cucumber, kiwi, oranges, berries, ginger etc, to make drinking water less boring. 

This will not only add taste, but also makes your water nutritious and full of antioxidants. 

Psychotherapy can be useful for people battling with negative emotions. Such therapy can take all the negative energy in you and convert it into positive thoughts which are beneficial to guide you out of your depression and hopelessness. 

Some therapies can also give you a platform to talk about your depression symptoms, if they ever come back. You can also try group therapy sessions which can help you learn about other people battling with depression or antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.

Maintaining good sleep hygiene is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests following tips to make your sleep quality better than it is now. These include:

  • Try to go to bed at the same time every day, working days as well as weekends. 
  • Make sure your bedroom is always quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature to help you relax and make your sleep quality better.
  • Do not use electronic devices or gadgets before going to bed. They reduce your sleep quality. Make sure you remove such devices from your room or switch them off.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. They will only ruin your sleep quality.
  • Stay active. Exercise can help relax your muscles and make your sleep quality better.

Caffeine can affect your sleep by keeping you awake for a longer period of time and can compromise your alertness the next day. The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) recommends no more than 400 milligrams (about four or five cups of coffee) per day.

Try to keep your mind on the positive side. Studies suggest happiness and positivity increase energy levels naturally. When your brain absorbs positivity, it releases energy. 

So, always surround yourself with people who deal with you positively, people who are supportive and fill you up with optimism and people who make you look at the brighter side. 

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have discussed three best ways to come off mirtazapine successfully. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant which belongs to the class of tetracyclic antidepressants. It is used to treat a number of mental health related problems. 

However, it is not an easy medication when it comes to stopping it. Following a proper taper schedule is crucial when it comes to stopping mirtazapine safely. Antidepressants are known to cause disturbing withdrawal symptoms because of the mechanism of action through which they produce their effects. 

Make sure you properly follow your healthcare provider’s taper schedule. It is also important to make sure you are stopping this antidepressant for the right reasons. 

Talk to your mental healthcare professional about whether or not it’s a good time for you to discontinue your medication. Do not go against your doctor’s recommendation. 

FAQs: coming off mirtazapine successfully

How long does it take to feel normal after stopping mirtazapine?

The time taken by your body to completely adjust without mirtazapine depends on your physiology. There is no standard time duration for this and it hugely varies from person to person. Some people start to get better in just a few weeks, while others may take 6 to 7 months to feel completely normal again. 

What is the best way to come off mirtazapine?

The three best ways to come off mirtazapine successfully include:

  • Following a proper taper schedule is crucial when it comes to stopping mirtazapine safely. Antidepressants are known to cause disturbing withdrawal symptoms because of the mechanism of action through which they produce their effects. 
  • The next step is to deal with your withdrawal symptoms. Even if you follow a proper taper schedule, you will still experience some of them. The benefit of tapering off is to reduce the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Adopting a better, healthier lifestyle is the key to help you fight against not one, but a huge number of illnesses. It not only makes your body healthy but also boosts your immunity. 

What happens when you come off mirtazapine?

Abrupt withdrawal of mirtazapine leads to withdrawal or discontinuation syndrome. When you start taking antidepressant, it increases the amount of serotonin in your body. You may suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Emotional stress
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Intrusive thoughts

How long does it take for mirtazapine to leave your system?

Mirtazapine is a long acting antidepressant with a half life of about 20-40 hours. It means that the concentration of the drug is reduced to half after this time period. The remaining amount is further reduced to half in the next  20-40 hours. This process keeps on ongoing until the drug is completely washed out from your body. 

Does your brain go back to normal after antidepressants?

Your brain does go back to normal after you stop using antidepressants, but it takes time and this time taken depends on the duration of your antidepressant therapy. It could take up to 10 months to go back to your normal serotonin levels, after long-term antidepressant therapy.

References

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