Anti-depressants: gentle detox

Chelidonium: a great liver support for detox
Chelidonium: a great liver support for detox

Many of my patients have tried to come off Anti-Depressants in the past and been unsuccessful.  This can leave them with a sinking feeling of being stuck on their medication.  Working with the body, rather than sending it into a state of shock and withdrawal, it is possible to do a naturopathic detox which puts the body under less pressure.


It’s worth saying before you read on, that being drug-free is never conditional to working with me.  It is never my recommendation that you should come off any medication.  This should be discussed with the person who put you on the medication in the first place, likely your GP.  Only you are responsible for your own wellbeing but I am here to support you.

Different strength pills help you come off gently
Different strength pills help you come off gently

Take Citalopram as an example, this is an often prescribe anti-depressant which is an SSRI or Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor.  Briefly, serotonin is our friend, it makes us feel happy.  By blocking the uptake in the brain, we think we have more serotonin than we do.  But by blocking the brain what else is happening?  Seratonin is made in the gut, so by altering the production here we are messing with our gut flora and by extension our entire nutritional uptake.

According to a study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists the most comment withdrawal symptoms are as follows:

  • anxiety (70%)
  • dizziness (61%)
  • vivid dreams (51%)
  • electric shocks / head zaps (48%)
  • stomach upsets (33%)
  • flu like symptoms (32%)
  • depression (7%)
  • headaches (3%)
  • suicidal thoughts (2%)
  • insomnia (2%)

By supporting the body naturopathically, it is possible to reduce these symptoms and ease the body into transitioning much more gently.

I am not here to tell you all the reasons why it is bad to take this medication.  But it’s important to understand what areas of the body are affected by this recoding because these are the areas we need to support as you come off the medication.

Did you know that it takes 35 hours for Citalopram to come out of your system?  This means that, if you skip a day of medication, about half way through the day, your body will start to panic about why it hasn’t had its top up.  This is why we recommend reducing the strength before the frequency.

While we’re still on Citalopram, we know that it detoxes mostly through the liver, but partly through the kidneys, so both of these organs need to be assessed for susceptibilities and most likely supported.

Together, we come up with a clear plan to follow: organ support in various forms; nutritional replenishment and a slow and steady removal of the drugs from your system.

Effectively, you need the right stuff in your body to discharge the bad stuff.  This is needed at a cellular level with water at heart of it all, hydrating and cleansing every cell in your body.  Putting these minerals and vitamins back into your body is essential for the mechanical functions of your body.  So we look for the deficiencies and aim to reintroduce these back into the body.  We make sure what you are taking will work with you rather than against you.

Honestly, it’s slow and you won’t feel much different for a few months while the dose is reduced by your GP.  But it’s gentle and at the end you will be drug free and altogether healthier for it.  Some people take 5 months, some people take 2 years.  You don’t need to see me regularly in that time, but I am here if you need me.

When unsupressing the action of drugs on the body, we dig up some old feelings at the same time.  There will be a reason why you started on antidepressants in the first place and it’s important that these feelings a properly supported through the process.

Everyone’s reason for starting anti-depressants is different and the beauty of this treatment is that it is an individual as you are: tailored to account for how you got to this place in the first instance.

Coming off any kind of medication requires some adjustment.  If you think this option might be for  you then I offer 15 minute no obligation chats to discuss what your personal treatment plan might look like.


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