When one is coming off of psychiatric pharmaceuticals, it’s common to experience withdrawal induced anxiety, panic and psychosis. Here are some tips to help calm your body.
Herbs to help with withdrawal induced anxiety/insomnia/psychosis:
Herbs are best absorbed as tincture or tea (rather than capsules or pills). If possible, buy (or forage or grow) loose organic herbs and steep your own tea. Organic bag tea is also fine but use 2 tea bags and steep for awhile to get a stronger tea.
Chamomile, Angelica, Passionflower, Skullcap, Lemon Balm, Licorice, Lavender (also good as essential oil), Valerian (can help with sleep just be careful not to get dependent on it), St. Johns Wort (need to take regularly to experience results), Meadow Sweet (also for headaches), Ginko Biloba, Kava Kava (good for sleep), Hops, Melissa, Rescue Remedy/Rescue Sleep/Homeopathic sleep aid.
Essential Oils: Basil, Lavender, Frankincense, Orange, Melissa, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Geranium, Rose. Many other oils are good for anxiety. These are my favorites for calming.
Supplements (take high quality food based when possible as liquid/chewable for better absorption): B Vitamins, Vitamin D (sublingual), Vitamin C (take powder but too much can cause digestive upset so mostly get it from fruit), Calcium, Magnesium, Melatonin (for sleep).
Synthetic vitamins should be used with care, similar to drugs. Avoid taking a lot of new ones all at once and/or stopping a supplement regimen suddenly as most contain synthetic chemicals and mild toxins and should be withdrawn from slowly. If you use high quality, you won’t need as much. Intuition helps when choosing which ones to take. Trust your instincts, be moderate, get as much as possible from food and broth.
Foods: fats (a spoonful or 2 of olive oil/sesame oil/coconut oil can help with insomnia/anxiety), proteins (if not vegetarian red meat is helpful though too much can increase aggression in some people; good in Winter and for anxiety and fatigue), lots of vegetables.
Protein powders from whey/hemp/pea/rice (not soy protein isolate). Fruit and honey at bedtime. Whole milk goat dairy products if dairy is tolerated.
Probiotics: miso, sauerkraut, kimchee, yogurt, kefir, cultured foods.
Bone broth: Cook organic bones in a crock pot or on the stove on low for a day or so with a dash of vinegar. Recipes available online to get ideas. Great source of calcium, magnesium, B Vitamins and soothing for digestion. Drink this daily with salt and add it to cooking.
Also: warm baths with Epsom salt/sea salt/baking soda and essential oils before bed or when sleep is interrupted. Rub coconut oil on feel/scalp/body for relaxation at bedtime.
With withdrawal induced panic and psychosis, remember it will pass. Do your best with self care and know that once the drug has been mostly detoxified, you will return to homeostasis. Usually the acute phase of withdrawal lasts less than a week with each reduction. Go slower if needed.
This is not medical advice, simply ideas I and others have found helpful. There will always be more things to try, as well as differing viewpoints and nutritional outlooks so I mostly recommend things I’ve used myself and know others have used that have been of benefit. This is not meant as a “better” diet or the “right” diet. There is no right diet. Every single food, herb and supplement will be undesirable or intolerable or cause an allergic reaction to someone. Every person is different in constitution, sensitivity and ability to tolerate different foods and substances. Please share what has been helpful for you.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.