One of the questions I get asked a lot about antidepressant medication is how long should someone stay on the antidepressant medication? Is it okay to discontinue it right after the symptoms get better? Should they stay on it for life? Or is there some in-between area that is really the ideal length of time? And the honest answer is that there is no clear consensus on this and it does depend on a variety of factors that you should discuss with your doctor. Some of the things that your doctor may consider are the number of depressive episodes that you’ve had in your life. For example, is this the first time that this is happening or is this the seventh time that this is happening? That might impact on that decision. The severity of the depressive episode might impact on the decision of how long to stay on the medicine. The side effects on the medicine might impact on whether you’d want to stay on it long-term or not. Whether you’re involved in psychotherapy might affect that decision. And the level of support that a person has in his or her life. Family members, friends versus living a more isolated life without those sources of support and people who could encourage to come in if symptoms redeveloped, might also be a factor in considering the decision. It is really important to talk with your doctor about that.
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