Can you stop taking Abilify cold turkey? (+5 risks)

In this article, we will discuss the risks of abruptly discontinuing Abilify and the importance of a well-informed, gradual approach to medication cessation. We will also discuss the precautionary measures that should be taken while discontinuing Abilify.

Can you stop taking Abilify cold turkey?

No, you should not stop taking Abilify cold turkey without proper medical guidance. Abruptly discontinuing Abilify can lead to potential complications, including withdrawal symptoms and a possible exacerbation of the symptoms the medication was originally prescribed to treat.

Abilify (Aripiprazole), is a second-generation antipsychotic medication that plays a crucial role in managing and treating a variety of mental health conditions.

From schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder to autism spectrum disorder and major depressive disorder, Abilify has been prescribed to provide relief and support to individuals facing these challenges (1).

The common side effects associated with the use of Abilify are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, constipation, and restlessness.

What does research suggest?

According to research, the abrupt discontinuation of antipsychotic medications, like Abilify, may be associated with an increased risk of relapse. This risk is potentially connected to neuroadaptations that persist after cessation, including heightened sensitivity to dopamine (3).

A research study showed that abrupt discontinuation of aripiprazole (Abilify) at a daily dose of 5mg had notable consequences. Within two days of cessation, the patient exhibited sudden-onset lightheadedness, nausea, severe insomnia, irritability, muscular twitches, anxiety, rumination, and dysphoria (2).

To minimize the risk of relapse upon discontinuation of antipsychotics, it is advisable to consider a more gradual tapering approach (3).

Research suggests that withdrawal syndromes, relapse, and rebound effects can occur when discontinuing antipsychotic medications, particularly if the discontinuation is abrupt.

As a general guideline, it is recommended to reduce and cease these medications gradually, ideally over a period of weeks to months (4).

What are the potential risks of stopping Abilify cold turkey?

It is crucial to understand that stopping Abilify “cold turkey” can pose several potential risks, as this medication’s abrupt discontinuation can have severe consequences.

Withdrawal effects

Abruptly stopping Abilify can lead to withdrawal effects that are not typically mild. These effects can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and a resurgence of the symptoms it was prescribed to treat (4).


Individuals using Abilify to manage conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder must avoid stopping the medication suddenly, as it can increase the risk of relapse. This is particularly distressing, as the return of symptoms can be severe and disruptive to daily life (3).

Neurochemical imbalances

Abrupt discontinuation of Abilify can lead to neurochemical imbalances, potentially causing unpredictable effects on mood and behavior. Additionally, the symptoms that led to the prescription of Abilify in the first place may worsen after stopping the medication suddenly, which may require additional intervention to manage.

Increased risk of self-harm

In some individuals, particularly those with severe mental health conditions, stopping Abilify without proper management and oversight can lead to an increased risk of self-harm or harm to others.


Sudden discontinuation of Abilify which has been part of a person’s treatment plan can be psychologically challenging and may lead to increased anxiety, frustration, and confusion.

Therefore, it is imperative to discontinue Abilify under the supervision of a healthcare provider. They can help you create a tapering schedule, gradually reducing the dose of the medication to minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent the abrupt return of symptoms.

What precautions should be taken while discontinuing Abilify?

If you are considering discontinuing Abilify, it is important to do so under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Here are some steps you can take to ensure a safe and effective discontinuation:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication.
  • Work with your healthcare provider to create a plan for gradually reducing the dosage of Abilify over a specific period of time.
  • Stick to the tapering plan and do not skip doses or make abrupt changes without consulting your healthcare provider.
  • Pay close attention to any changes in your symptoms during the tapering process and inform your healthcare provider promptly of any concerns.
  • Stay in touch with your healthcare provider for regular check-ins and monitoring during the discontinuation process.
  • Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor if you experience anxiety or psychological distress during the process.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
  • Educate yourself about potential withdrawal symptoms and relapse risks.
  • Have contact information for your healthcare provider readily available in case of severe or unexpected side effects.

Remember that the precautions may vary depending on individual circumstances and the specific medication regimen. The goal is to ensure a safe and smooth transition when discontinuing Abilify to minimize the risk of adverse effects and relapse.


In conclusion, abrupt discontinuation of Abilify can lead to potentially serious side effects. If you believe you need to stop taking Abilify or have concerns about your treatment, consult with your healthcare provider to discuss your specific situation and create a safe and effective plan for discontinuation or alternative treatment.

It’s essential to discontinue Abilify under the guidance of a healthcare provider to minimize these risks and ensure a safe transition to an alternative treatment plan.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Gettu N, Saadabadi A. Aripiprazole. [Updated 2023 May 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Sansone RA, Sawyer RJ. Aripiprazole withdrawal: a case report. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2013 May;10(5-6):10-2. PMID: 23882434; PMCID: PMC3719459.


Horowitz MA, Jauhar S, Natesan S, Murray RM, Taylor D. A Method for Tapering Antipsychotic Treatment That May Minimize the Risk of Relapse. Schizophr Bull. 2021 Jul 8;47(4):1116-1129. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbab017. Erratum in: Schizophr Bull. 2023 Mar 15;49(2):533. PMID: 33754644; PMCID: PMC8266572.


Keks N, Schwartz D, Hope J. Stopping and switching antipsychotic drugs. Aust Prescr. 2019 Oct;42(5):152-157. doi: 10.18773/austprescr.2019.052. Epub 2019 Oct 1. PMID: 31631928; PMCID: PMC6787301.


httpsWang G, Devi Thakoor JP, Wang X, Hao W. Severe exacerbation of psychosis after sudden withdrawal of chlorpromazine in the treatment of methamphetamine-associated psychosis with aripiprazole and chlorpromazine: 2 case reports. J Addict Med. 2014 Nov-Dec;8(6):479-81. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000061. PMID: 25303986. ://