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Antidepressant Withdrawal

The Alternative to Meds Center specializes in antidepressant withdrawal at a pace that can be endured. Of the many reasons that people choose medication-based help, the most common ones stem from poor diet, neurotoxicity, medical conditions, and situational and psychological reasons. We strive to first discover, then address the true causal factors for depression.
Do Antidepressant Drugs Raise Serotonin?
Antidepressants are thought to “work” by affecting the chemicals in the brain, specifically the serotonin levels. These drugs are promoted as agents that can increase serotonin levels in the brain and thereby raise a depressed mood. This implies that a depressed person was deficient in serotonin.

It is important to understand that even if a person was not deficient in serotonin in the first place, medication can create a deficiency in this and in other vital neurotransmitters. Serotonin is a chemical that dampens or inhibits stimulus that comes in from our environment, producing a sensation of relaxation and calmness.

Antidepressants, whether SSRIs, SNRIs or other medications, do not produce additional serotonin. These drugs act by blocking available serotonin from being reabsorbed (as is meant to happen).  These serotonin molecules stay trapped in the nerve synapse until the molecules eventually degrade and become a waste product.

This temporary entrapment or accumulation creates a temporary lift in mood, similar to the way cocaine uses dopamine to produce a temporary high. But in the process, the neurotransmitters (chemicals) are “spent” or used up. This ultimately leaves a deficit.

It is important to note, in the presence of analogues (fake chemicals) the body stops producing its own natural chemicals. So when antidepressants are taken, the body stops producing serotonin.

Why Does a Person Experience Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms?

During antidepressant withdrawal, the deficit (whatever the cause or compounded causes) will often lead to increased compulsive behaviors, Tourette-like symptoms, insomnia, depressed mood, and brain zaps which are quite common with antidepressant withdrawal.

There are many additional withdrawal symptoms that can make the process of reducing antidepressant medications extremely uncomfortable. The body is out of balance, and there may be many other health factors that need addressing besides brain chemistry.

Never abruptly stop taking antidepressant medications as it can be injurious to do so. There are many ways to aid the gradual and gentle process of reduction or tapering medication, to avert these harsh reactions.

For example, using corrective nutrition, we can provide the precursors that the body needs to begin creating its own serotonin once again, naturally. This is a great help to soften symptoms that can occur during antidepressant withdrawal. There are many other methods used in our programs that profoundly help the process to be as comfortable as possible.

We commit to discover and correct the real reasons for imbalance.

At the Alternative to Meds Center, we have found that traditional treatment methods alone are not sufficient. We strive to determine the medical or other reasons why a person might by unable to sleep, unable to relax, why there is a chronic low mood, and so on.

In our program lab testing is performed, followed by the use of orthomolecular medicine (natural substances) to correct nutritional deficits and imbalances. This is a practical approach, and is effective.

A detoxification process to purge accumulations of neurotoxins significantly supports the withdrawal process, along with neurotransmitter repair therapies and specifically targeted nutrition. The program uses peer support, personalized trainer-led mild exercise, massage therapies, yoga class, counseling in various genres, and many other holistic therapies such as life coaching, to combat depression, anxiety and insomnia.

In contrast with our approaches to mental health treatment for depression, the majority of facilities will actually increase antidepressants, along with minimal counseling, and provide inadequate nutritional support, and even counter-productive diet choices.

Alternative to Meds Center Searches For and Corrects the Underlying Causes of Depression

Often overlooked, food allergies can lead to internal inflammation and swelling, This may slow metabolism, resulting in a host of possible negative outcomes, including lack of energy. Slow metabolism means a sluggish energy level. A low thyroid condition may be present. As well, a diet that is poor in nutrients does not include the essential raw ingredients needed for optimal brain health.

Additionally, accumulations of environmental toxins over time may take an enormous toll on both physical and mental well being.  Such toxin burden places a strain on the body’s ability to metabolize and produce energy. Heavy metals are linked to a number of commonly reported symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Accumulated heavy metals can be removed from the body gently and effectively using the protocols in our program.

It is not uncommon for a person to suffer some trauma, loss or other situational distress for which antidepressants are prescribed. Yet, several years later it may well be that the person is still taking the antidepressants, unable to stop taking them without severe withdrawal effects. Perhaps the person may be experiencing an unfulfilling life, needing a more supportive environment so that healthy changes can be considered, planned, and put into actuality. These areas can be addressed effectively in various forms of therapy we provide.

When a person is struggling in the midst of such a number of negative factors, the side effects from the antidepressant drugs themselves can add another significant burden. But attempting to quit taking antidepressants without taking into account the wider range of causal factors can often lead to failure, as the process is simply too uncomfortable to endure. This is why trying to quit taking antidepressants without help often proves too much of a challenge, and can end in hopelessness and failure.

Our Medical Professionals Oversee Personalized Treatment Plans in a Luxury Residential Facility

Alternative to Meds provides a relaxing, luxury-styled, retreat-like facility for those who wish to accomplish the task of getting off antidepressant medications in a much more comfortable and humane setting. In this nurturing, caring setting, investigative work can begin that can isolate the factors that need to be brought in balance to attain better overall health. Offering a customized diet and nutritional support as well as individual counseling and peer support, adds powerful tools for recovery.

The lab testing that is done helps to understand the potential underlying causes of depression and other negative symptoms that one wishes to be rid of. Using the lab results, medical professionals can design a personalized treatment plan that is based on the person’s unique medical assessment and biochemistry.

Using the protocols described above, we can help individuals to expedite the withdrawal from medication without suffering the majority of the usual adverse effects associated with medication withdrawal.

Meet the Team

Antidepressant Withdrawal at the Alternative to Meds Center

Corrective techniques as described are focused on eliminating the causal factors of depression so that coming off antidepressants can be accomplished much more comfortably and usually within our 8 week long programs.

Many of the staff members at the center have had their own personal experiences with coming off antidepressant medications, and with proper treatment, they have successfully overcome these challenges and have reached better health as a result. Our medical team and staff are well-trained in their various disciplines of therapy, and can provide meaningful and thoughtful assistance to individuals who are seeking freedom from medication, as well as freedom from depression and other unwanted symptoms, without drugs.

Our goal is to help the individual create lasting and sustainable success, in a state of being medication free. Our numerous holistic healing services help make this process a reality. Contact us for more information and find out if Alternative to Meds Center has the program you or a loved one could benefit from today.


This content has been reviewed, and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

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