A lot of people say psychiatric drugs are a last resort, or that everything else should be tried first. Even many doctors claim psychiatric drugs should only be a last resort if all other options have been exhausted.
Really? Are people trying everything or even close? Some of these options might be prohibitive due to cost, beliefs, interest or access, and that’s why I’m sharing a long list. Please google any terms on this list you aren’t familiar with and be sure to do enough research to give yourself the best shot at succeeding at these methods. Most require ongoing regular practice.
Some are self explanatory, others require instruction or even medical advice. Some of these things won’t work for you, but keep scrolling and a few will. If you’re considering going on psych drugs (or planning to come off, or in the withdrawal process) here are some things that can help:
1. Acupuncture (community treatments are often $15-30, some areas have free group acupuncture).
2. Journaling. Writing my thoughts down every day has no doubt kept me out of the mental health system entirely for many years.
3. Art. Whatever kind you are drawn to can reframe your experiences so it no longer makes sense to see them as a mental illness.
4. Less refined sugar.
6. Massage from a friend/Self massage with oils
7. Professional massage
9. Run/walk/hike most days
10. Yoga/gentle stretching
13. More time in nature
14. Eating wild foods
15. Methyl folate
16. Methyl B12
17. Herbal teas
18. Vitamin C
19. High quality food-based multi vitamin
20. Cod liver oil
21. Flax seeds/chia seeds
22. Bone broth
24. Peer counseling
25. Warm lines
28. Go organic
29. Go to the beach/ lake/ river more.
31. More hugs/cuddling
33. Track the lunar cycles
36. Get tested for all vitamin/mineral deficiencies
37. Naturopathic advice
39. Flower essences
41. Weight lifting
44. Clean your closets
45. Hire/ask someone to help you do something you can’t do yourself
46. Peer support groups
48. Helping others with your madness/genius
50. Make more friends
51. Spend more time with your friends
52. Spend more time alone, in quiet
53. Let yourself stay in bed all day sometimes and let it be okay
54. Find friends you can have a meltdown with
55. Let yourself have meltdowns when needed
56. Avoid psychiatrists and people who believe in the medical model when you’re in crisis
57. Martial arts
58. Express anger in a safe place
59. Write letters to family members that you don’t send
60. Find someone who will just listen without judging or giving advice
63. Stick up for yourself
64. Avoid people who bring you down
66. Talk to yourself (vocal journaling)
67. Pray out loud
68. Vitamin D
69. Avoid too much caffeine
70. Limit other addictions
72. Bare feet on the earth
76. Join meetups/other groups
77. Play games
78. Theater-act out different parts of you safely
81. Make You Tube videos to reach out to others
83. Make online friends into phone friends and in person friends when possible
84. Connect with animals
85. Get more fresh air
86. Move somewhere with weather and culture that suits you
87. Do a fundraising campaign on Go Fund Me/Indiegogo/Kickstarter to raise money for a project, or just for your expenses/goals
88. Reach out more and ask for help directly (from people who won’t label you)
89. Start a support group if you can’t find the right one in your area
90. Listen to your voices; what is their message?
91. Reconnect with old friends
92. Find friends who understand difficult times
93. Allow all feelings and mental states to exist
96. Talk to your loved ones who have passed on and see if they have a message for you
97. Go to a psychic
98. Lie on the Earth and ask it to hold your problems for you for awhile
99. Stay hydrated
100. Take Epsom Salt/baking soda baths regularly
101. Use Coconut Oil on your body; it helps detox metals
102. Exfoliate your skin
103. Floss regularly-it prevents blood stagnation
104. Unplug when you need to
105. Let yourself rest/sleep more
106. Oil pull
107. Make a list of things you can offer and things you need. See where you can barter.
108. Slow down
109. Spend an hour a day expressing your creativity
110. Let yourself go crazy sometimes and know it is part of the human condition
112. Practice gratitude/gratitude lists
114. Check for allergies
115. Join a women’s group/men’s group/gender queer group
116. Avoid chemicals in foods and body products
117. Full spectrum light therapy
119. Ask others to send prayers/good intentions your way
120. Study family systems and find ways to step out of the identified patient role. This may require educating those around you about the part they play in the dynamic.
I have actually tried everything on this list; these aren’t random ideas I have heard of. Every single thing on this list is something that has kept me off psychiatric drugs! No joke. Though I thought it would be hard to write such a long list, now I think there are many more things to add too. Please add your own ideas in the comments below and please share widely so we can start to shift the idea that people have already “tried everything”.
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.