Can Antidepressants Stop Working?

Can antidepressants stop working?

Infographic Text: Can Antidepressants Stop Working?

Yes. Some people do develop a tolerance to antidepressants, seeing less and less results from a drug that previously helped. This process is sometimes called ADT tachyphylaxis.

Estimates vary, but research suggests 25% of people taking antidepressants for depression will eventually develop a tolerance. This number rises to 42% for people diagnosed with dysthymia, a type of long-lasting depression.

People experiencing antidepressant tolerance have several options. They can seek a clinical evaluation to make sure they have depression and not bipolar. They can ask their psychiatrist to help them switch to a new medication. They may also seek out additional treatments such as psychotherapy.


  1. Antidepressant dependency and withdrawal [PDF]. (2018). All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence. Retrieved from
  2. Hall-Flavin, D. K. (2018, Jan 31). Antidepressants: Can they stop working? Retrieved from

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