Cymbalta Withdrawal & Detox
Last Updated Dec 2, 2021
Cymbalta is a prescription antidepressant medication in the SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) class. These medications are very effective in treating depression, but they can also help address pain issues.
While Cymbalta can be helpful, it can also be harmful, especially if you quit taking the medication abruptly. About 1% of people who quit duloxetine (the generic version of Cymbalta) had symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, and more when they quit.
Significant withdrawal symptoms increase your relapse risks. You’ll return to drug use to ease your discomfort. Every time you quit and return to drugs, you damage your body’s delicate systems a little more. The next time you relapse could be your last.
In a detox program, teams can taper your dose properly and offer therapies for uncomfortable side effects. This is a safer way to get sober. And once the program is complete, you can enter rehab programs to preserve your newfound sobriety.
What Is Cymbalta Withdrawal?
Human bodies crave homeostasis. Our nervous systems, digestive systems, and more resist change. When everything is the same from day to day, our bodies don’t panic.
If you’ve taken Cymbalta for long periods, your body believes it needs the drug. When you quit, withdrawal begins.
Many medications and illicit drugs cause withdrawal, including these:
- Prescription painkillers
Detoxification programs are designed to help you move through withdrawal safely, so you can focus on your recovery and build a new life in sobriety. While withdrawal is a natural and normal reaction to the absence of drugs, most people need help to get through this recovery stage without relapsing to drugs.
Common Symptoms of Cymbalta Withdrawal
Irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and nausea are all common in people who quit using Cymbalta abruptly. Some people develop even more serious withdrawal signs and symptoms.
In severe cases, people who quit Cymbalta abruptly developed the following:
- Mental health issues: Depression, irritability, anxiety, confusion, and agitation are often associated with Cymbalta withdrawal.
- Unusual pain: Some people feel shocking pain in their fingers and toes.
- Energy changes: Some people feel lethargic and slow. Others feel extremely energetic and even manic.
- Seizures: Some people develop seizures during their withdrawal process, and those episodes can be life-threatening.
3 Factors That Determine Your Withdrawal Intensity
Some people develop mild forms of withdrawal that are uncomfortable but not life-threatening. Others have such severe problems that they should stay in a hospital for around-the-clock care.
It’s impossible to predict what kind of withdrawal experience you might have. Bodies can be unpredictable, and even people that seem healthy and ready for mild withdrawal may have an unusual experience.
But these three factors can increase your risk of developing health issues during Cymbalta withdrawal:
1. How Much You Took
People who abuse Cymbalta tend to take very high doses multiple times per day. Each dose alters brain and body chemistry, leading to damage you may not notice until you try to quit the medication.
The higher your daily dose of Cymbalta, the more likely it is that you’ll have difficulty during withdrawal.
2. How Long You Took Cymbalta
The longer your body is exposed to Cymbalta, the more it expects the drug. If you’ve struggled with drug abuse for months, you’ll likely have a harder recovery than someone with a week-long history of abuse.
3. Your Overall Health
Withdrawal is a taxing process, and it’s harder to complete when you’re not feeling well. If you have other physical or mental health issues, you’ll likely have a more difficult withdrawal process than someone who is healthy on other fronts.
What Causes Cymbalta Withdrawal?
Prescription medications like Cymbalta are closely tied to difficult withdrawal, especially in people who stop taking them abruptly. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but they believe serotonin plays a role.
Your nervous system produces serotonin, which regulates your attention level and behavior. The substance can also interact with your intestines, heart, and body’s temperature system.
If Cymbalta boosts serotonin levels, your body may stop producing the substance without the drug. The withdrawal symptoms you experience are closely tied to a lack of serotonin, and they can persist until your body starts making more without the help of a prescription.
How Long Does Cymbalta Withdrawal Last?
Most people develop withdrawal symptoms within a day or two of quitting drugs like Cymbalta. And most feel better within about three weeks. But since you can experience life-threatening complications during your withdrawal process, it’s not wise to ride out the process alone.
Typically, your withdrawal is medically managed. Your doctor determines how much Cymbalta you’re taking now, and together, you develop a tapering schedule to help you quit.
How long your taper will take depends on how much Cymbalta you took, your overall health, and your willingness to get sober.
A Typical Cymbalta Withdrawal Timeline
There is no boilerplate schedule for Cymbalta withdrawal as every person, and every body, is a little different. But this is a common schedule for people who tried to quit the drug with the help of a medical team.
Your experience might look like this:
- Day 1: You take less Cymbalta than you did previously.
- Day 3: You continue to taper and develop moderate issues, such as restlessness and insomnia.
- Day 6: Your taper continues, and your symptoms get slightly more severe. You may have gastrointestinal symptoms in addition to mental health challenges.
- Week 2: You continue to taper, and you notice that your discomfort is fading.
- Week 3: You’re barely taking any Cymbalta, and you feel like yourself.
Some people have withdrawal symptoms that appear later, long after they thought they’d recovered. And some people have symptoms that last longer than the timeframe we outlined here.
Since withdrawal from Cymbalta can be so variable, it’s critical to work with a team that can support you, monitor progress, and offer help when needed.
Detoxing From Cymbalta
Never try to quit Cymbalta cold turkey. Always work with a medical team to develop a taper schedule, and follow your team’s recommendations carefully.
Seizures and other complications can put your life at risk, and without the proper help, you could relapse to drugs before you get sober.
Talk to your doctor about how you’re using Cymbalta, and point out that you want to get sober safely. Be open and honest about how long you’ve been abusing your medication and what you want from the future. Together, you can develop a program that’s right for you.
Get Help for Cymbalta Addiction
Detoxing safely is part of a treatment program, but it’s not the end of one. Once you’re sober, you still face all of the triggers and challenges that made you abuse Cymbalta in the first place. A treatment program can help.
In a structured addiction treatment program, treatment professionals can help you build up the skills you need to deal with old triggers in new ways. You’ll emerge with a toolkit you can put to use when you’re tempted to abuse Cymbalta. And you’ll understand what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and sober every day.
Talk to your doctor about addiction treatment, and enroll in a program that’s right for you. With the right support, you can build the foundation for a balanced life in recovery.
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A Systematic Review of Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Duloxetine. (October 2020). Frontiers in Psychiatry.