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Readytoheal: anhedonia after Abilify and Prozac


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I'm new to the community and at this point am very scared. I will give a quick history and then a couple questions that I would love help with, if you don't mind. 


I have been on and off prozac for around 9 years(as needed). I was diagnosed with PPD after my son was born. I never experienced emotional blunting while just on the prozac. However, in Dec. 2017 I had a breakdown after suffering a big T (trauma). My doctor prescribed me Abilify to go along with my antidepressant. I almost immediately felt emotionally blunted, and asked if it could be the drugs. I never took them extremely regularly. I would go a month and do great then come off for weeks because I hated how they made me feel. After much research I decided to come off of every thing in May 2020. I have just hit a wall of anhedonia.  I would have never dreamed it would get this much worse after being off the medicine this long. 


Here are my questions:


1. Is it common to have anhedonia set in this late in the withdraw process?

2. Will this last forever, or will my full range of emotions come back? Have I done permanent damage?


Thank you in advance. 


Prozac - 20 mg; On and off since Nov. 2010

Abilify - 5mg ; On and off since Feb.2018

Edited by Gridley

Prozac -  on/off Nov. 2010 - May 2020

Abilify - on/off Feb. 2018 - May 2020


cold turkey/ no meds since May 2020

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Readytoheal.  I'm sorry you're experiencing this.  To answer your questions:


1.  Anhedonia is a common withdrawal symptom, and it is not at all uncommon for withdrawal symptoms to be delayed.  

2.  This will not last forever and your  full range of emotions will come back.  You will heal but we can't predict how long it will take.  You have not done permanent damage.  


What is withdrawal syndrome.


Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 


Apathy, anhedonia, emotional numbness, emotional anesthesia


When we take psychiatric medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


Brain Remodelling 


We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 


Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 


Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.


This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.




Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Jan. 11, 2022: 5.4mg 

Taper is 71% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Thank you so much Gridley. That calmed me and gave me a sense of hope. The articles were so helpful!


Thank you again. 

Prozac -  on/off Nov. 2010 - May 2020

Abilify - on/off Feb. 2018 - May 2020


cold turkey/ no meds since May 2020

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Readytoheal: anhedonia after Abilify and Prozac
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi and welcome from me too,


Please create your drug signature.  This will appear below every post you make so that we can see your drug history at a glance.  Thank you.


Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature
Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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How long did you use Prozac + Abilify before you CT'ed? Did you CT both of them at the same time?

2012 - 2016

Sertraline (50 mg) + Aripiprazole (5 mg) (Both CT) (After CT I had my first mania attack.)

2016 - 2017

Sertraline (50 mg) + Aripiprazole (5 mg) (Both CT) (After CT I had my second mania attack.)

October 2017 - January 2018

Sertraline (50 mg) + Aripiprazole (5 mg) (Both CT) (After CT I had a movement problem)

March 2018 - April 2018

Bupropion (150 mg) + Aripiprazole (5 mg) (Both CT) (My movement problems were resolved but I became angrier than usual while I was using them)

April 2018 - July 2018

Prozac (20 mg) + Aripiprazole (5 mg) (Both CT) (After I CT'ed because of different problems which were related to my vision and finger jerks my movement problem came back.)

September 2020 - ...

I'm on Sertraline (50 mg) + Aripiprazole (2.5 mg).

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  • Moderator

Hi there. Are you seeing windows and waves in the past several months? 

You are likely out of the window for a safe reinstatement, so it’ll be a matter of time and support for you to heal. 

I recommend doing what you can to get a support network in place, even a few trusted friends you can call up can be life-giving. Also try cultivating healthy lifestyle habits like gentle walking, nutritious eating, and journaling or therapy. You will benefit from as many tools as you can build into your toolkit. 

warm wishes. 

Apr 2018: 10 mg Amitriptyline (for headaches & insomnia).

Jul - Aug 2018: Fast taper to 5 mg and then 2.5 mg (too fast, hellish withdrawal at 2.5 mg).

Sept 2018: Reinstated 10 mg (many symptoms improved).

Oct 2018 - Apr 2019: Updosed & stabilized on 11 mg (2 waves at 3 and 5 months post-withdrawal).

Apr 2019 - Apr 2020: Tapered 0.5-0.25 mg per month using compounded pills: 11 mg —> 6 mg. (2 waves at 12 and 16 months post-withdrawal.)

Apr 2020 - present: Switched to a liquid taper at rate of 0.1 mg per month. Currently: 3.8 mg. No more waves. 

Supplements: Omega-3 fish oil, Vit B12, coenzyme Q10, Hawthorn extract (for tachycardia)

Tools for insomnia/waves (as needed): Epsom salt foot soaks, 0.5 mg Melatonin, quality time, waves WILL PASS.

Lifestyle: Eat real foods, mostly plants; sunlight & walking; symptom tracking on adapted Glenmullen chart.

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I did CT them at the same time. I used them together on and off over a span of about two and a half years. I was never super regular about taking them. I’d do two months solid then be off for a few weeks or a month. 

I have mostly been in a heavy horrendous wave ( dissociation, Anxiety, anhedonia, obsessive thoughts, PSSD, mental fog), but have seen glimpses of Windows. They are weak and fleeting. What’s helped most is trying to be mindful and present it seems. This is scary and I just want it to be over with and be back to my old self. 

Prozac -  on/off Nov. 2010 - May 2020

Abilify - on/off Feb. 2018 - May 2020


cold turkey/ no meds since May 2020

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  • 5 months later...

Hello Readytohealare you feeling better ?

  • February 2020LEXAPRO 15mg/April : lowered to 10mg/Mai : 7,5mg then 5mg/June 15 : lowered to 2,5mg --> major WD living hell)
  • June 19 : back on 5mg/June 23: back on 10mg, major WD gone after a few days /End ofJuly 2020 : feeling amazing
  • September 2020 Lower to 7,5mg --> Instantly anhedonic
  • December 2020 : Decides to up my dose because I really can't take the anhedonia anymore --> insomnia + vision disturbances + what I think was akathesia. From that failed updose remains a feeling of inner tension (mild aka ?) that I will often feel later on 
  • February Started the process of converting my solid dose to a liquid "homemade" dose --> figured out that for me the liquid was way more "powerful" than the solid 
  • March 4th :  3mg
  • May 26th : 108mL<-> 2,7mg --> symptoms : high heart rate (120 when just standing), dry mouth and eyes, difficulty sleeping, crying spells, anxiety (whereas anxiety and sadness are completely inexistent on 120mg, it's like there's some sort of passage where under 3mg, feelings come back full force with almost no "transition" from 0 to 100, it's like under 3mg, the zombie/suppression of feelings effect of the med is inefficient, like a threshold)
  • June 3rd : back on 125mL <-> 3,125mg, completely stable again a few days later, no suffering whatsoever, just the anhedonia
  • August 1st : hit with intense panic, cortisol, cannot eat. 

If you're happy on your antidepressant, really think twice before taking the decision to stop it. Because even by tapering slowly, it can have long-lasting hellish consequences


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