How Do I Use Omega-3 for Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms?
Depression is the leading cause of disability among American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It's not surprising, therefore, that many people take antidepressants. While prescription antidepressants are often effective, some individuals suffer negative symptoms when they attempt antidepressant withdrawal, even experiencing depression relapse in some cases. In addition, some depressed people want natural ways to reduce mood symptoms, rather than antidepressants. Omega-3 fatty acids, which seem to alleviate depression in some people, seem a promising remedy. More research is needed, but omega-3s may be helpful if you suffer from mood problems and/or negative experiences with antidepressant withdrawal.
Eat more fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and trout. These fish are high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, a type of heart-healthy fat that also seems to benefit brain health and mood, according to MayoClinic.com. Include two to three servings of fish in your diet each week for optimal results.
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Try an omega-3 supplement pill. Not everyone likes fish or finds it easy to eat enough fish to ingest optimal levels of omega-3s. In this case, taking a daily omega-3 caplet may be helpful in improving mood and possibly easing antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.
Take fish oil. Another way to increase your omega-3 consumption is through pure fish oil. This is a liquid supplement widely available at health-food or nutrition stores, the dosage of which is generally 1 tsp. oil per day. Until more evidence is available regarding the efficacy of fish oil and omega-3s in reducing depression or antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, it's best to take fish oil along with following your doctor's recommendations for conventional treatment.
Omega-3 fatty acid and fish oil supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and may not be appropriate for everyone. Get your doctor's approval before beginning any supplement.
Antidepressant withdrawal can cause serious withdrawal symptoms and, if not done properly and with expert guidance, can even be dangerous. Never take yourself off antidepressant medication without consulting your physician and seeking professional medical guidance.
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- National Institute of Mental Health: The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America
- MayoClinic.com: Fish Oil Supplements: Can They Treat Depression?
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (2016). Retrieved January 18, 2018, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcidsandHealth-HealthProfessional/
- Jouris, K. B., McDaniel, J. L., & Weiss, E. P. (2011). The effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the inflammatory response to eccentric strength exercise. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 10(3), 432.
- Tartibian, B., Maleki, B. H., & Abbasi, A. (2009). The effects of ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids on perceived pain and external symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness in untrained men. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 19(2), 115-119.
- Parra, D., Ramel, A., Bandarra, N., Kiely, M., MartÃnez, J. A., & Thorsdottir, I. (2008). A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss. Appetite, 51(3), 676-680.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (2016). Retrieved January 18, 2018, from
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Shannon Hyland-Tassava has more than 16 years experience as a clinical health psychologist, wellness coach and writer. She is a health columnist for the "Northfield (Minn.) News" and has also contributed to "Motherwords," "Macalester Today" and two essay anthologies, among other publications. Hyland-Tassava holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois.