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Abilify is an antipsychotic medication used to treat symptoms of conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Similar to other antipsychotic drugs like Risperidone, Abilify works by changing the balance of certain brain chemicals responsible for regulating mood and behavior. Research shows Abilify can be highly effective in helping manage symptoms, but many people wonder ‘how long does it take for Abilify to work?’

It is important to note that everyone responds differently to antipsychotics like Abilify. Results can vary — some people may feel better immediately, while others might not see improvements until they’ve been on Abilify for several months. This means patience is essential when trying new treatments since knowing if something is working can take time. Taking Abilify precautions and seeking medical advice before starting this medication is crucial in avoiding adverse effects and learning about common side effects of Abilify.

Keep reading to answer the question how long does Abilify take to work and learn what you should be looking for before you seek Abilify online or in person from a psychiatrist. 

Can You Feel the Effects of Abilify Right Away?

The short answer is no — most people don’t feel any immediate effects when they first start taking Abilify. That said, the drug levels out serotonin and dopamine levels, which can result in subtle changes in mood or behavior within a few days after beginning treatment with this medication. For example, someone struggling with anxiety might find they can relax more quickly or have fewer anxious thoughts shortly after starting Abilify.

How fast does Abilify work, then? The answer depends on several factors, including body chemistry and metabolism rate. 

“Generally speaking, Abilify (Aripiprazole) will begin to work in 1 to 2 weeks, but its full effect may take several weeks. During the first 3 to 4 months of taking this medication, some individuals may experience continued improvement.”

Talkspace therapist Bisma Anwar, LMHC

How Do You Know If Abilify Is Working?

If Abilify has been prescribed correctly, there should be noticeable improvements in symptoms over time. For example, you might experience decreased anxiety levels or improved sleep quality. You may also notice reduced compulsive behaviors, suicidal thoughts, or manic episodes depending on the condition you are taking it for. However, it is essential to remember all of this depends on each unique individual, and the results will differ for everyone. 

Some people even report feeling calmer or less irritable than usual once Abilify starts working effectively. Since everyone responds differently to this medication, regular check-ups with your doctor will help monitor progress so adjustments can be made if necessary.

Factors that Affect the Onset of Action for Abilify

How long does Abilify take to work? Several factors can affect how quickly you start feeling the effects of Abilify:


The dosage prescribed by your doctor will affect how quickly Abilify begins working for you. Generally speaking, higher doses work more rapidly. Follow your doctor’s prescribing information and instructions regarding dosage to get the most benefits possible.


Everyone metabolizes medications differently due to genetic differences and lifestyle habits like diet and exercise. This means some people may find their symptoms improving after just one dose of the antipsychotic drug, while others may need multiple doses before they start feeling better. 

In addition, if you have a slower metabolism, it could take longer for the drug to become effective compared to someone with a faster metabolism.


Age also plays a vital role in understanding how long it takes for Abilify to work. Younger people tend to metabolize drugs faster than older adults due to liver function changes over time. In addition, elderly patients may require lower doses since they can be more sensitive when taking certain medications.

Your doctor can determine which dose is right for you based on these factors. If you take other medications while using Abilify, make sure to tell your healthcare provider so they can adjust doses accordingly if needed to avoid any adverse reaction.

“It’s important to discuss any barriers or risks involved with taking Abilify with your doctor. It can help to clarify how the medication can be effective and what factors can affect the onset of action for this medication.”

Talkspace therapist Bisma Anwar, LMHC

What to Do When Abilify is Not Working

When Abilify isn’t working, it can be challenging and confusing. Remember, this is not uncommon — many people have trouble finding the proper medication for their mental health needs. 

If you’ve been taking this drug for a while but are still curious about how long does it take for Abilify to work, there are some steps you can take to help.

Assess your symptoms: The first step in determining whether your medication works is to assess your symptoms. Note any changes since starting the medication and how they have impacted your life. This will show you whether the drug effectively treats your condition.

Talk to your doctor: If you feel Abilify isn’t working, talk to your doctor immediately. They may suggest changing dosages or switching medications to find something that works better. Be sure to communicate openly so they can make informed decisions about what would best suit your needs and circumstances. It is crucial to work with a doctor when switching medications to avoid facing any severe Abilify withdrawal symptoms.

Consider other treatments: In addition to medications, other treatments may help manage symptoms when Abilify isn’t doing its job effectively enough. These might include online therapy sessions with a licensed professional experienced in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). 

Additionally, lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, stress management techniques, meditation, journaling, and practicing self care can all be beneficial in managing symptoms related to mental health conditions more effectively than just relying on medications alone.

If you’re wondering ‘how fast does Abilify work,’ remember that most drugs take time to work, and the effects may not be immediately felt. However, by taking Abilify regularly as prescribed, you can start feeling its benefits over time.

Get Personalized Mental Health Treatment with Talkspace

If you want personalized treatment options and support, consider talking to a mental health professional through Talkspace. We can answer questions like how long does it take for Abilify to work and anything else you might be wondering about. The platform connects you with licensed psychiatrists and therapists from the comfort of your home, giving you access to expert advice to help you find the right solution for your unique situation.

With Talkspace, you’ll receive individualized care tailored so you can start living your best life.


Citrome L. A review of Aripiprazole in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar I disorder. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2006;2(4):427-443. doi:10.2147/nedt.2006.2.4.427. Accessed February 9, 2023.

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