Post-Election Considerations for Users and Survivors of Psychiatry


In the wake of last month’s election, many harsh realities have been hitting us. Our work to guard and protect those vulnerable to emotional/mental meltdowns is even more cut out for us than ever, and we were already under-resourced and overwhelmed.

What many have studied along the lines of helping people in crisis and in psychiatric drug withdrawal will become increasingly relevant if/when 20 million Americans lose health insurance, or other services for poor and disabled people are defunded, cut or eliminated.

What is the timeline for this potential catastrophe? Republicans and the Trump administration are responding to public pressure to eliminate Obamacare on Inauguration Day. Those concerned with avoiding the social crisis of eliminating one plan without having another in place are hopeful that the administration will “repeal and delay” — that is, officially get rid of Obamacare to appease those demanding follow-through, but allow it to function for another two years while the Republicans create a new healthcare plan which is sure to offer less to those more vulnerable.

I do see this as a real threat of people eventually not having access to meds that they would be challenged to rapidly taper from or go off cold turkey, which can lead to extreme health problems and extreme symptoms of panic, anxiety, depression and psychosis — often reported to be far worse than the person ever experienced before taking psychiatric drugs.

A variety of scenarios of social and economic collapse have gone through many of our minds since Election Day. Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies want to keep people on drugs, but what if there was no government subsidy for those who can’t pay? Perhaps they have enough political clout to ensure everyone’s meds will be covered, but this could be a conflict of interest with an administration that strikes many of us as erratic and severely unconcerned with protecting the vulnerable.

Imagine the lines at emergency rooms and free clinics if 5 million people suddenly needed to get emergency meds because they no longer had health insurance. This is a modest estimate, assuming that only 25% of low income people who have Obamacare are on meds. It would probably be closer to 15 million people, but either way, meds would no longer be the easiest and most accessible form of care. Right now drugs are the most convenient form of “support,” but what if they were a major hassle?

We can only guess what will happen and how imminent the threat is, but all of our reality-checking about corporate psychiatry and its unsustainability could easily be the sh*t hitting the fan if we achieve the type of social breakdown and revolution many are anticipating.

With an unpredictable and politically inexperienced president in charge, there are many scenarios (such as nuclear war or spending the nation’s social service money to further boost billionaire interests) that could quickly make us vulnerable to a healthcare system that no longer “functions” for the poor. It’s not functioning super well as it is, and our nation is already sleepwalking and complacent in a health crisis that is affecting everyone.

In anticipation of what may come, it might be useful to take preemptive actions — such as med hoarding — now, while people still have access to the temporary stability of some structures. This is important not because people want to stay on psych drugs for as long as possible (as pharmaceutical companies would like), but rather because going cold turkey off of most psych drugs is very dangerous, and can even lead to death, suicide or homicide.

While some people may be able to rapidly taper from certain drugs, such as Prozac which leaves the system slowly, most people are unable to safely withdraw from most psychiatric drugs without support, a plan, and a good amount of time for the body to adjust to each gradual reduction in dose. Due to the dangers of quick tapering, med hoarding might be a wise form of harm reduction, but would still be a band-aid without a more proactive plan and support for reduction in place.

Corporate pharmaceutical psychiatry was never sustainable, safe or a source of resilience for humanity, but especially not for those with chronic health concerns and others who cannot safely and quickly come off substances they may lose access to.

The idea of losing access to pharmaceuticals is probably hard for most people to even imagine — they are so ingrained in society as the medicine we are all entitled to. Yet there are other things we take for granted that could easily run out eventually, such as oil to drive vehicles. We know logically that it is possible and would create dramatic upheaval in both cases, but for now, we have seemingly unlimited access and don’t see any indication of our supply being cut, so we generally put these thoughts on the back burner if we consider them at all.

Efforts to support people choosing to safely withdraw from any dependency-creating pharmaceuticals (especially opiates, benzos and neuroleptics which are all extremely dangerous to go off quickly) are urgently needed now more than ever. Could this catastrophe be the wake-up call America needs to finally acknowledge that we require safer forms of medicine and support?

For those who’ve considered coming off psychiatric pharmaceuticals and have the resources and support to do so, I can only suggest that now might be a good time to stabilize off drugs. Of course the concept of “stability” is increasingly a joke that the collective is catching onto. Still, there are more and less resilient types of instability, or perhaps there is some level of choice as to whether we want organic, natural instability of our emotions (which I am calling stability here) versus a pseudo stability destined to come crashing down on us.

Some things that would be helpful to do now, to begin to rebuild (or arguably build for the first time) the kind of community resilience we will need in the coming days, months and years:

1. Learn to talk to each other again. This is so fundamental and so clear. For those who interact primarily by text and social media, the normal abilities needed to emotionally and physically self regulate in conversations with one another have declined dramatically. For various reasons including trauma triggers, overwhelm and privacy/surveillance concerns that suddenly seem more truly dangerous, some people are limiting or even eliminating use of social media, texting and email for important conversations, and that trend will likely continue.

People are in different places with this. Some are finding Facebook, Twitter and texting to be important movement and revolution building tools while others are feeling more and more isolated, spending upwards of 10 hours a day behind screens yet feeling less truly connected than ever before.

Take media/social media breaks. I personally deactivated my Facebook account a couple of months ago, realizing it was a serious addiction that was only killing my capacity and options for having satisfying relationships.

Learn new (old) ways to connect. The access we will have to safe and secure electronic communications in the future is unknown, and it would be wise to prepare by relearning basic things like how to have conversations, how to listen (a practice that is clearly declining; why listen to the person in front of me when I could be texting someone else?), how to make friends and meet new people, including and especially those very different from ourselves. There is an emphasis on learning/relearning to do these things in organic ways, outside of contractual relationships. In the new regime, which is clearly a new paradigm, we could be called to step even further outside of our comfort zones, both to protect targeted groups and to reach out for help ourselves.

2. Reach out. Reaching out is a hugely important skill right now. Being able to be honest and vulnerable (with safer people) and say when we are scared, sick, traumatized, broke, or being targeted by discrimination is essential, and there is a greater opportunity for it at this turning point. People are actively looking for the most vulnerable and for ways to stand by their sides in solidarity and protection.

3. Spread the word about needs for safe withdrawal support. My hope is that those vulnerable to psychiatry and to unsafe, forced withdrawal, will also be seen in the public eye as a group that needs solidarity and support — not only to keep meds accessible to those who cannot safely withdraw right now (which is sadly many), but to help build the longer term resilience for a world post-corporate patriarchy.

4. Study more sustainable options. Yes, on the surface, corporate psychiatry is continuing to grow and destroy our resilience out of proportion with what harm-reduction humanistic efforts can manage, nurture, contain, and attend to. The administration coming in has an agenda the opposite direction of many people, yet with collapse there is opportunity for growth. If the level of pharmaceutical destruction we’ve already experienced hasn’t been enough to convince policy and law makers that we need something better, a totalitarian takeover just may force us as individuals in our local communities to take matters into our own hands and build resilience efforts with one another and the earth.

Learning about nutrition and herbal medicine is crucial right now, as many of the herbs we need for our physical and emotional well being are likely growing freely within walking distance of where we reside.

Medicine that reconnects rather than disenfranchises takes some time to build a relationship with. There is a learning curve here, because medicine itself is a learning process. This can feel like just another burden we don’t have time or energy to deal with or to delve into deeply, but when we can step towards it in any tiny way, we can count ourselves among the privileged. There is also a lot of free and good information online, and in many areas, local herbalists to befriend and learn from.

Other ideas on a practical level would be to go out to support groups, find ways to see your friends and neighbors in person and reconnect with non-local friends and family in ways that feel most real and resilient to you (hint: it may be more than a Facebook like). Retreating into solitude when overwhelmed is also a completely valid response at times like this, however. In fact, all responses and strategies are valid.

We can only hope that the rest of the world will soon catch up with us crazy folk who’ve known all along that consensus reality and corporate medicine with financial ties to insurance companies and politicians were fragile at best.


  1. Chaya

    Thank you for raising this issue here on MIA.

    I believe that this is something that must be discussed in hopes of finding some workable answers for people who already must have help to pay for the psychiatric drugs they are on. I began worrying about the prospects of people loosing access to these drugs over a year ago when Trump decided he wanted to raise his reality tv star status to a higher level. His selection for the person to head the Department of Health and Human Services does not settle my concerns one little bit and in fact only raises them to higher levels.

    What happens when Social Security, where most disability monies come from, is dismantled, along with Medicare and Medicaid? Where will the subsidies come from to pay for the drugs that tens of thousands of us labeled as “mentally ill” depend on to keep our lives somewhat stable? These drugs are some of the most expensive on the market and most people having to take them can’t pay for them to begin with. So what happens when the rug is pulled out from under us with nothing in place to help us with the withdrawals that will follow?

    The powers that be don’t believe in withdrawal in the first place so I think we’re screwed, to say the least. Couple this with the fact that the “mentally ill” are not a priority in the first place, despite all the talk of how we need more and better “care”, in the form of more drugs of course. They’re talking about more “care” , which means drugs, while Trump is appointing people who will totally dismantle the entire thing!

    I live in a state that went totally red two years ago. We are now experiencing the total lack of concern for the poor and the unprivileged, the vulnerable, in the plans that our dear legislature has and is creating to disenfranchise entire groups, with no care or concern as to how people are supposed to survive. It’s like they’re punishing the poor and the vulnerable. And now we have Trump who will shortly sit in the White House. No one can convince me that he has any understanding nor empathy for those who are labeled as “mentally ill”.

      • Stephen,

        I would wish anyone a very cautious withdrawal (with responsible people around them).

        What happened to me was I made Full Recovery – but with a Dreadful Final Diagnosis and Prognosis.

        I was given the opportunity of abrupt withdrawal as a youngster and ended up in hospital very quickly. I then had a series of hospitalizations, which were diagnosed as relapses!

        I tapered slowly then for as long as I liked, with the help of psychotherapy. This worked and the drugs eventually reduced to nothing!

    • No. If you asked your legislators about their conduct, they’d fill the air with so many platitudes about Personal Responsibility (which they believe their “mental” patients are avoiding), you’d be ready to strangle them with their own neckties.

      Incidentally, this is also why your legislators are casual about letting their prisons turn into zoos- to teach the inmates a lesson. Unfortunately the lesson turns out to be a tutorial on how being truly mean and violent are your means to survival and recognition by your peers.

  2. Hi Chaya,

    Its great to read your words of wisdom.

    Coming off psych drugs abruptly can be very dangerous and reducing them slowly can still be very stressful. I had years and years of anxiety and misery.

    But the end result of freedom from “overriding anxiety” is achievable, and can be a fantastic joy.

    I invariably wake most mornings with Anxiety – but this only lasts for a short while.

  3. I’ve been waiting for this article since the election. Finally somebody saying more than “the sky is falling!”

    I certainly agree with the suggestion to close down social media accounts. But I’m not sure I agree that people should reach out. In fact, I suggest something radical. Do not reach out. Do not call suicide hotlines. Do not tell your doctor or therapist what you are thinking, especially if you suspect that thinking is disturbed. When people ask how you are, take a deep breath and lie through your teeth if you must. But do not tell anyone you are struggling – most especially during drug withdrawal. Anything else leads you back to psych drug dependence. If I had done otherwise, during the horrors of withdrawal, I would have been hospitalized and again pumped full of drugs. I learned the hard way to lie to the doctors (and friends and family) about how I was really doing. Even those on psych drug withdrawal peer support websites seem to see themselves as authorities and if you do not follow their somewhat arbitrary titration rules to the letter, you will find yourself with a sudden lack of support there too. So lie. Do not tell anyone save perhaps those you actually live with, what you are going through. This may be the new version of fake it until you make it, but we’re left with little other options in our current society if we want to keep both our freedom and any remnant of our sanity. Asking those with a history of psychiatric disturbance to reach out *and* trust that telling the truth won’t hurt them is asking too much of them.

  4. It think it’s GREAT that funds for “mental health services” will be cut if it’s true. In fact I think we should urge Trump to do so in an organized campaign.

    The LAST thing people need to worry about is not having enough drugs to satisfy their dependencies. Big Pharm runs this country, do you seriously think they’ll let Trump interfere with their ability to keep people strung out?

    • I have this vision of seedy company reps in company cars hanging out in parking lots, particularly in bar parking lots. Cases of drugs still fill their trunks, the way they when Medicaid was still around. There’s no danger from the police or the DEA- they’re scouring the countryside looking for marijuana operations, being told by the Attorney General that this is the key to exterminating drug abuse.

    • So, what do you do with all the people who are on the drugs through no choice of their own, or who have been dupped into believing the lie about chemical imbalances, when all of a sudden there is no drug to taper slowly and safely off of? Are we to just turn our backs on our sisters and brothers and walk away? I do not take any of the drugs myself and am against their being used against people, but I can’t just forget about the people who are trapped with the drugs at this point.

      • Personally, I am expecting to read a lot more stories about police shooting people in mental distress, which will likely serve to reinforce the public perception of mental patients as dangerous, then leading to more restrictive laws advocating forced treatment. Mental patients are being set up. I can only thank goodness I saw the writing on the wall and successfully withdrew from the drugs already. Many will not be so lucky. I don’t know what the answers are. Perhaps those of us who are ahead of the curve can make an effort to reach out to those in distress to try to avoid the extreme outcomes many are predicting.

      • Think you missed my point Stephen — why on Earth are people afraid there will not be enough drugs around? This runs counter to all we know about how Pharma operates. Don’t worry, they’ll be the last ones to allow their products to go unused or become unavailable, it’s simply not in their interests. And their bottom line is THE bottom line.

        • No, he didn’t miss your point Oldhead. If access is cut off to healthcare, people can’t get the drugs they need to continue their psych med taper or stay on the med which would result in horrific withdrawal issues.

          Some drug companies will provide free meds to people but not all of them do. Found this out first hand when I was on psych meds and hit my yearly meds deductible that precluded any more coverage.

          • It’s in the system’s interest to keep people strung out, I’m confident they’ll find a way. There’s a thin line if any between business and government.

            Granted if the “tapering” drugs are different from the original drugs causing the dependency, that could be an issue since going off the drug may be opposed on the excuse of “going against medical advice.” But I imagine there’s some official controversy around that already.

            I’m not arguing that the drugs shouldn’t be available, just questioning whether it should be a serious concern.

        • Absolutely true, Fiachra, the medical community seems to be completely deluded about both the adverse effects of their drugs, and the withdrawal symptoms, which can last for years. Especially if one considers the time it takes to mentally digest the sheer magnitude of the medical betrayal and fraud that today’s psycho / pharmaceutical industries have perpetrated on humanity, particularly on our most vulnerable children. “You measure the degree of civilization of a society by how it treats its weakest members.”

          I agree, given the uncertainty of the future of medical coverage, I would recommend people safely try to wean from the drugs. And I have thought for a long time we need safe places for people to “be” while in the drug withdrawal and recovery phases.

        • Right. Doctors in general these days seem to not be very well informed about the very drugs that they hand out to people. Never have been a fan of doctors of any specialty but am particularly wary of all of them these days. They are not the great experts that they like to think of themselves as being.

          • Me too! I stay away from doctors and social workers. Either can call you MI on a whim and even section or “urge” you to go to psych. Other than that, even though the ones I have seen lately I managed to lie to about my history, I find them haughty know-it-alls, especiallyh male doc/female patient combo. They have the audacity to claim they know us better than we know ourselves. Baloney.

            I also notice that they act all nice at the first session. After that, they’re their usual selves.

  5. I don’t think Big Pharma is losing any sleep over all this. They’ll get their $$$, especially with the GOP in control.

    The issue, as I see it, is that there’s lots of rage towards “the other” in American society, and “mental patients” and former “patients” (“uppity mental patients,” if you will) are probably not going to do so well over the next 4 years. Its not just Trump, its the way society is going in the US at this point. Try to reduce racism, sexism, stigma, and a whole lotta people react angrily to “liberal PC stuff,” because they’re suddenly expected to simmer down and maybe, just maybe, try civil communication and treating their fellow Americans with some respect.

    Maybe the next 4 years will see a lot of us American change our minds as we see the disastrous effects of social darwninism and xenophobia? Maybe. Maybe not.

    • “I don’t think Big Pharma is losing any sleep over all this. They’ll get their $$$, especially with the GOP in control.”

      I’m a die-hard liberal but I’d like to urge people to keep some perspective about partisanship. Mental health issues are not a Red v Blue issue. At least not anymore. We need to remember that the Democrats pushed us under the bus with the 21st Century Cures Act. It passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming Democratic support, Vice President Biden personally lobbied for it, and President Obama said he was looking forward to signing it. While the Right tends to see mental distress in terms of poor character development, an awful lot of educated liberals who worship at the altar of science have bought into the idea that mental distress is a medical (brain chemistry) issue and that lack of access to psychiatric treatment is the actual problem, not overtreatment. We need to be careful to identify the villains correctly and not just villainize “the other side”. I think this perspective is in line with the rest of your comment about the tendency to villainize “the other” and that is where the true problem lies. It’s just that we mental patients are “the other” to all sides.

  6. I take strong exception to this article.

    Yes, the election of Trump is a horrible thing. But, that is not a reason to prey on the vulnerable by using things like Therapy, Recovery, and Healing.

    Things change when people can organize and talk political action, not when they let therapists and life coaches make them more neurotic.


    • Well, Nomadic. Donnie will let you buy all the firepower you want without checking your background. Maybe you should see if this Administration will go all the way and allow automatic and antitank weapons without checking you, either. Don’t forget the tracers- in intense firefights, few are aiming, so you need a means of seeing where your bursts are going.

  7. I agree with the comment about not telling people how you really are because then they just want you to go somewhere and get it fixed, and that turns off socializing, which is what you really needed. I liked what was said about reverting to the old style of socializing, away from the electronic kind.

  8. Donald Trump: “Nobody’s going to be dying on the street if I’m President.”

    At the Republican debate, Donald Trump: “Nobody’s going to be dying on the street if I’m President.”

    2nd video is better.

    “Imagine the lines at emergency rooms and free clinics if 5 million people suddenly needed to get emergency meds because they no longer had health insurance.”

    National Emergency Department Inventory – USA The 2013 National ED Inventory-USA (NEDI-USA) contains data on all 5,025 US EDs for the year 2013, including facility location and annual visit volume.

    I imagine about 995.024875622 people at each ER
    Welcome to National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics …

    Approximately 1,200 Free and Charitable Clinics are located across the U.S. providing health care to the medically underserved in their community.

    1,200+ 5025=6225
    5000000/6225= 803.212851406=long ass line

    • This is my point exactly, what happens with all the people that may suddenly be without anything? I myself go to a clinic that uses a sliding scale in payment for their services. They rely a lot on Social Security with people like me. They will not be able to handle all the people showing up on their doorstep if things go south and I won’t be able to pay for medical services that I need badly what with the numerous physical problems that I have. I must pay for my blood pressure medicines myself since I can’t even afford the Part D drug thing with Medicare. Things could get ugly if things turn out badly. And look at the Cabinet appointments; billionaires are heading departments that they’ve worked decades to destroy!!! Talk about crazy!!

      • You really think they’re going to take your Medicare? Why are they charging for blood pressure meds anyway? — they’re supposed to be provided without a co-pay I thought.

        We need to distinguish between true “medical services” and fraudulent ones. Once people are drug dependent it becomes a medical issue, not a psychiatric one, where REAL doctors should be available.

          • And everyone needs to be calling their Senators as often as possible to fight this. Even if your Senator is a Republican, call them because Trump voters are beginning to realize their Medicare is in danger. So they may start getting besieged by these voters.

          • Trump is not the initiator of this class war against working people. It has been underway for decades, beginning in earnest with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and continuing under every succeeding administration, including the eight-year tenures of Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The colossal redistribution of wealth and income from the bottom to the top of American society reached record proportions under Obama, whose legacy of falling living standards and worsening economic crisis for tens of millions of workers was a decisive factor in the victory of the fascistic demagogue and con artist Trump.

            You did read that part, right? The main thing I’m not buying in this discussion is the presentation of these issues in democrat-republican terms.

          • I agree with AA about making it very clear to government officials that the public will not tolerate any deform of Medicare and Social Security. This is an issue that we have to be prepared to occupy public space over if need be.

            I also agree with oldhead’s point about this not being a Democrat-Republican thing. It should be kept in mind that Hillary had plans to start privatizing Social Security.

          • UR — I’m a little baffled as the title seems unremarkable, no biggie as I see you get my point. At least if occupying shit becomes necessary a lot Democrats will be involved — if Clinton did this they’d defend her and stay home. They might even call people who supported Social Security “deplorable.”

        • Oldhead

          First of all, I don’t trust the real doctors any more than I do psychiatrists. Secondly, they are out to destroy Medicare. They want to give people vouchers so that you can go and buy private insurance. No insurance company is going to give a policy, at a reasonable rate, to anyone who has pre-existing conditions. Medicare doesn’t make any difference as to whether or not you have pre-existing conditions. And of course, not every Medicare policy is the same. They send out a thick book every years listing all the companies that provide Medicare coverage and no two plans seem to be the same. You can just choose to go with what Medicare provides and be done with it rather than trying to wade through all the plans. I can’t afford Part D of Medicare that deals with the drugs. I must pay for any medicines out of my own pocket, period. Medicare gives you a choice as to whether you want Part D or not. And by the way, it took years for my doctor and I to find two blood pressure medicines that hold my pressure down. One costs little while the second costs quite a bit. I live on a very fixed income and can’t afford to pay out tons of money for medicines that I desperately need.

  9. Chaya; this is a great article; I really enjoyed it. You are so right about the importance of speaking to people face to face versus texting and facebooking. Real relating is where it’s at.

    Your article reminded me of something I read recently, Survival Plus by Charles Hugh Smith. Do you know him?

    Here’s an excerpt from Smith about the current state of our economy and healthcare system, with a word on psychiatric drugs from an outsider:

    (From “Survival Plus”)
    A great clash between what we are told is unfolding and what is actually unfolding lies just ahead.
    The status quo “Powers That Be” and its mainstream media repeatedly insist that:

    We have abundant cheap energy for a long time to come; Peak Oil is decades away. We have plenty of time for technological wonders to arise and replace petroleum. The Social Security and Medicare entitlements promised to all Americans, though totalling some $50 trillion in excess of projected tax revenues, will be paid; all that is needed are modest policy adjustments. The current financial meltdown was unexpected and could not have been foreseen; it is a temporary “bad patch” which has already been fixed by government intervention and modest policy/regulatory adjustments. Environmental issues such as the stripping of the world’s fisheries, dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay, dwindling fresh water acquifers, etc. can all be fixed with modest policy adjustments. The consumerist culture which has evolved over the past 60 years is a natural and highly successful perfection of capitalism, prosperity and American values; Americans are the happiest, most prosperous people on the planet.The fast-growing epidemic of obesity and related chronic diseases in the U.S. are puzzling and worrisome, but we have the finest healthcare system in the world.

    Yet all of the above is demonstrably false.

    In reality, the decline of abundant cheap oil (oil under pressure in supergiant fields) has already begun. The iron laws of demographics dictate the promised entitlements cannot be paid and that Medicare is only a few short years away from insolvency. The current financial meltdown was not only easily predictable, it was inevitable, as the consequences of systemic fraud, deception, embezzlement, misrepresentation, collusion, debauchery of credit, exponential expansions of risk, debt and speculative leverage could not be held off forever.

    The devolution of American culture and values to a one-dimensional “consumerism is the highest good in the land” was not natural, and rather than produce the perfection of capitalism, it has produced the perfection of crony capitalism, monopoly capital and an ever-expanding State beholden to an Elite which owns or controls the vast majority of the productive assets, financial wealth, income and lawmaking machinery of the U.S.

    Rather than being the happiest people on the planet, Americans are visibly unhappy, anxious, depressed, distracted and all too often heavily sedated with powerful psychotropic medications.

    This is not to question the positive contributions made by psychiatric medications to those suffering from psychiatric disorders; but we should question the idea that tens of millions of our citizenry (including children) are suffering from serious psychiatric disorders. We should wonder if the overzealous dispensation of such drugs masks cultural rather than psychiatric disorders, and an unspoken desire to “treat” these cultural disorders in a relatively low-cost fashion by numbing the patients’ awareness of their own alienation, anxiety and unhappiness.


  10. Again Oldhead, you’re not listening. If you can’t pay for your meds and Pharma doesn’t have a patient assistance program, you will be royally screwed, particularly if you are taking psych meds that are costly.

    I mean no disrespect but I am not sure why you’re not understanding that?

    • What I’m saying is I see no reason to believe this is what’s going to happen on any significant scale, other than for what may turn out to be democratic fear-mongering; I guess we’ll find out. I’ve watched the comings and goings of democratic & republican administrations all my life and haven’t noticed this sort of thing changing; the only possible exception was with Bill Clinton cutting welfare for lots of people.


        And what do you expect people without health insurance to do if they have other healthcare needs besides psych meds? Right, the emergency room will take care of everyone as they did prior to Obamacare. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

        • Not sure how this conversation turned from people’s concern about drugs being taken way to a general discussion of Obamacare, Democrats & Republicans.

          It’s not really my conversation as the only thing I’m really personally concerned about anyway is Emergency Room care. I consider the medical industry to be largely fraudulent and clueless as well, it’s just a different kind of fraud. When Obamacare first came about a number of holistic healers speculated that death rates from some conditions would rise because people would be more likely to receive medical treatment. I think this is possibly true, especially with the general approach taken to things like cancer.

          Closer to the subject, only 20 million people get Obamacare anyway, right?

        • You’ll all have to enter the military early. It will have to look after you, unless our generalissimos want to command a military of “certain to flee” troops. Despite the efforts of our patriotic politicians, the VA, despite its many weaknesses, isn’t going anywhere soon.

  11. Hi Chaya, Thanks for pointing this out. This could very well be an opportunity we can take advantage of. Sometimes, when a person is withdrawn cold turkey not by choice, but by circumstances (changing insurance, loss of job, provider’s idiocy) they suddenly “wake up” and realize just how dangerous these drugs are. While withdrawing may be scary it is also a point of growth and enlightenment.

    I look back with much amusement at how I got off two antipsychotic drugs cold turkey and nothing bad happened. This wasn’t even my choice. I was forced into an ER (you couldn’t call it much more than a prison) and as I was being brought in, I told the staff what drugs I was taking, very clearly, and saw them put this cocktail list into their computer.

    I was there three days. For the entire three days I got no pills. Oddly, my providers were in touch with me, and I take it, in touch with the ER. This mistake in the ER’s communication ended up much to my benefit. They finally gave me a “PRN” of Lamictal, gotta laugh at just how stupid they were. But no other pills.

    I got out. They released me to go straight home. I asked myself, “If i feel no different, if I am clearly not psychotic and not really feeling very bad at all, why not just keep on not taking those two antipsychotics? I had been on 20mg Abilify and 3mg Risperdal (down from 6). Also, I was so thin, starving and dehydrated at the time that something told me the drugs would harm me if I continued taking them.

    I “woke up” and realized I never needed those pills. Why had they given me three antipsychotics at once when I was never psychotic nor manic? I think they weren’t listening, eh? What didn’t occur to me for years after, though, was that taking the drugs for decades most likely caused so much brain damage that my ability to fall asleep and stay asleep was completely destroyed.

    The best part is being un-diagnosed. That’s so critical, at least for me. If they see you as crazy, you are. This, and this alone defines “mental illness,” nothing more than “misunderstood.”

    • Julie,

      You are lucky nothing happened by cold turkeying your meds. But many people are not that fortunate and suffer horribly for years doing this.

      And by the way, this is how many people end back in psych hospitals or end up getting shot by the police. They cold turkey their meds which then result in horrific withdrawal issues that clueless professionals deem as a relapse which either results in the tragedy of being shot or back into psych med hell.

      • Yes, true. It’s completely unpredictable who will have the withdrawal problems and who will not, and if you cold-turkey once successfully that does not mean if you do it again, everything will be okay.

        Still, when I see other people blaming ordinary life events on “withdrawal” I realize they are taken up by the withdrawal hype. Examples include mosquito bites mistaken for “itchiness” due to anxiety, common cold mistaken for withdrawal, sweating in hot weather mistaken for “the sweats,” ordinary muscle aches following exercise mistaken, again, for ” withdrawal anxiety.” Etc. In other words, where we used to call all of life’s normal everyday problems “symptoms,” now, there’s this switch and life’s problems are blamed on withdrawal. Have we forgotten that shit happens? I think people need to know that the extreme reactions to withdrawal happen only to some, and these should be taken very very seriously. Otherwise, you know, life is simply not perfect and it doesn’t get handed to folks on a silver platter the way it was in the nuthouse.

        • Totally agree Julie that people tend to blame things on withdrawal that are simply due to life altering events. That is why I feel a site like Surviving Antidepressants is vital so people can get support for their issues and find out what are normal withdrawal issues and what may be something else.

          • The power of a group coming together that has had, or is having, a common experience is amazing.

            I go to forums often because I find that reading individual stories tells me so much more than anything you can get in an office or from reading institutional propaganda. Even Amazon reviews are very telling. Any posting anywhere that isn’t edited nor censored (taking out the facts they don’t want anyone to know) is incredibly valuable. I don’t put any stake in “advice” sites where the authors are clearly profiting or out to sell something.

        • For four years, I somehow maintained a forty hour work week while going to law school and juggling twelve to fifteen credit hours a semester, being a ta, and interning for the DA followed by the Juvenile Justice Department followed by the ME…. while taking 8 to 10 MG of attivan a day (on a good day. 12 to 14 on a bad day) along with Valium at night and Xanax (when needed)… all prescribed . One day I read the original study from the sixties on Valium. They did establish a much publicized decrease in anxiety and panic with Valium…. for the first eight weeks. After that, panic attacks steadily increased with the drug. These drugs don’t fix anything; they merely numb you to the experience by suppressing parts of your brain, but the brain was never meant to be suppressed so it kicks into fight or flight constantly building in intensity until it can overcome that suppression. So now you aren’t prepared to deal with it, and you feel blindsided by what seems like overwhelming anxiety and emotion for no reason. The reality is that part of living with anxiety or depression or bereavement (which now requires drugs too) is learning to live with it…. you have to establish triggers and what works for you. I get thirty attivan a month nowith for emergencies, but I rarely take anything near that now. I cut out the other two entirely and started asking more questions. I’m a much more obnoxious patient now (with a different doctor).and imagine that… facing my problems was much better for me than taking all those drugs to avoid them…

      • You bet Oldhead! I am sure if I stayed on them, or took their lovely “recommendations,” I’d be dead now. Seeing too many doctors results in our losing touch with our bodies. We rely on THEM to tell us what’s going on. That’s baloney of course. If you are free of the doctor-addiction, you get back in touch and your gut instinct is reliable once more. You end up much, much healthier. People who are lacking in so-called health care due to poverty are amazing at that self-preservation that their wealthier counterparts have lost.

    • Actually, much of the “therapy” we received used the exact same techniques as the heavy-duty brainwashing cults. The brainwashing alone will sway many and this has nothing to do with “character strength.” I was in a brainwashing cult. They used powerful suggestions, sleep deprivation, isolation from society, limited access to telephone, using mealtime and “lecture” timed so that people get lectured after meals, when they are sleepy. The meals were high in sugar and starch, enhancing the sleepiness effect. They used slogans, children’s games, and songs. The leaders were charismatic. They used deception as well of course. Look up brainwashing and you see a psych ward. Drugs are not necessary to accomplish this. People stayed in these cults for years and to leave was traumatic and scary. Another thing the cults use is scare tactics, telling people of the horrors of leaving, such as, “The Devil will get you.” Likewise, “If you stop coming to treatment you will RELAPSE,” oh, the scare tactics…..

      • No one will take these pills voluntarily unless they’ve been brainwashed into believing they have a terrible disease. I guess it depends on your age since back in the early 80’s drugging didn’t happen first. They brainwash first. I ASKED for drugs, begged for them, banged down their doors trying to get them to listen. That was 1982.

  12. Most of my friends are petrified about what’s ahead with Trump. The up side of this is that we’ve set up a group to discuss things and take action. I’ve not been politically involved to this degree since the late ’60’s.
    And there are also upsides for discontinuation of government support for psychiatric medications. As in Whitaker’s and others books, countries that are so poor that their populations cannot afford these meds have better long term outcomes. The upshot is that after a period of a lot of suffering, in my opinion, we will all will be much better off without the harmful medications, and instead, as you have so well discussed, focus on developing real alternatives to a system that in most cases does not work.

  13. The tendency to see disgruntled, angry, or poor people as “mentally ill” continues to increase. And this will remain so as long as people are promoting Psychotherapy, Recovery, and Healing.

    So instead we need to start taking legal and political actions, and fighting for concrete gains, rather than just looking for ways to tune out and “feel better”


    Please Join:

    • I agree 100%, Nomadic. This is why I see us banding together in peer support, without clinical interventions, without pressure and wholly accepting everyone’s experiences as valid. Not only this, but the need for peer support groups to cross-fertilize with other social justice action groups: Black Lives Matter, affordable housing, work with living wages, and awareness of sexual preferences and lifestyle differences, etc. It’s all a part of the same knot.

      • Don I completely agree with you about people banding together.

        But when you call it, “peer support, without clinical interventions”, then that sounds like Therapy, Recovery, and Healing.

        Well, if you or I have been marginalized, the way we get our social and civil standing back is by banding together and engaging in principled conflict with real people.

        We don’t gain anything by providing each other with Therapy, Recovery, and Healing. That is simply the abused and outcast further abusing each other.

        No, we only discuss our affairs with those who are stating shoulder to shoulder with us, in fighting for social justice. We discuss our affairs with comrades, not with those who want to turn us into Uncle Tom’s.

        And Oldhead, yes indeed the knot is Captialism.

        But just saying that does not always do that much. Need to find specific attack points.

        And Don, yes, Predatory Capitalism. But understand that predatory or crony Capitalism is the only kind there has ever been or ever will be. Capitalism needs labor, land, natural resources, markets, and cash. And the way it gets these is by going to the government, because Capitalism can only work when it can scramble social codes. Think British East India Company. And then think of their flag, snatched off of one of their ships to become the flag of the United States.


        Move From Talk To Action, Please Join:

        • Nomadic–I appreciate your participation, but you do need to investigate what the true “peer support” movement is all about. (Note: there are bastardizations of this movement) It is not about therapy or recovery. Healing, maybe. Better word is transformation instead of adjustment. Peer support is about social change, and so is aligned with other forms of social justice, as one cannot really separate these issues, as was said earlier. Please look at this:
          And this is a community resource group I took part in from May-Aug last year.
          We were talking about changing the name because of the confusion around the word “recovery.”

          • Peer support has zero redress. It is all Recovery.

            No good, that is second rape, abusing the survivors of abuse.

            If you or I have had our biographies voided, we do not restore our social and civil standing with Recovery, Therapy, Healing, or Peer Support. No, the way to restore our social and civil standing is to engage in public conflict, to hold perpetrators accountable.

            Therapy, Recovery, Healing, and Peer Support are all based on the premise that standing up for ourselves and holding perpetrators accountable and restoring our place in this this world, are immoral.

            For myself, I have a long way to go. I need comrades. But at least I’ve done something, I helped to put a Pentecostal Daughter Molester into our state prison.

            Its not peer support that we need, its comrades. Comrades stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we engage in the fight.


            Move from Therapy, Recovery, Healing, and Peer Support, to Action; Please Join:

          • Nomadic–

            I truly appreciate your knowing and stating your needs. This is certainly about you. I am different with a different way of looking at things. Please respect me as a unique person and do not include me in your expression about “we” and what “we need.” OK? I take the “we” as yet another form of control and do not want it.

      • This is why I see us banding together in peer support, without clinical interventions, without pressure and wholly accepting everyone’s experiences as valid. Not only this, but the need for peer support groups to cross-fertilize with other social justice action groups

        Another problematic term: “peer” — what does this imply? Pretty clearly that there are lowly “peers” who “support” other “peers” under the direction of someone who is more than a “peer.” Sort of like a caste system.

        Soon however “peers” will have to fulfill psychiatry-determined requirements before they “officially” qualify as “peers.” It’s in the recently-signed Murphy’s Law. (The solution? Don’t try to make “peerdom” a career choice.)

        • Comrades in the struggle for redress and social justice, people who stand shoulder to shoulder.

          But never “Peer Support” as in Recovery Circles. That is the survivors of abuse, abusing each other, trying to convince people that they are wrong to demand and seek redress, and to fight to restore their social and civil status.


  14. Yes, things might be a great deal better for all of us on the other side of all of what might happen. But my question again is what do you do for people who are already on the drugs, for one reason or another, when there are no drugs to be had so that they can taper? What happens if thousands of people are thrown into withdrawal through no fault of their own? And what do you do with all these people while they’re going through the withdrawal and experiencing psychosis, hearing malignant voices, and experiencing as the other things that get people back into the psych “hospitals” when off the drugs? I think it’s very irresponsible to just turn our back on people and say, “oh well, you just have to make it the best you can through this, so sorry”. Yes, this country would be a hell of a lot better off without these toxic and very harmful drugs, but we aren’t there yet!

    • I think you’re putting words in his mouth. I think Chaya expresses a legitimate concern but I still see no reason to panic about this. It’s not logical. This system is no more about to take drugs from “mental patients” than it is about to take the bars off the prison cells. I’m sure Murphy would help out with this in a pinch.

      Another consideration: Most of are fighting to keep their drugs away from us and our lives. We don’t want this concern to be turned around and used against us either, i.e. with media propaganda stories about the poor “patients” crying out for the lifesaving “medicines” they’re afraid of being denied under Trump.

        • And I’m saying once more that it’s in THEIR interest to make sure this doesn’t happen. So I guess we’ll see, no use in arguing about something that MIGHT occur at some point in the future, there are still too many variables. Do you live in a state without Medicaid?

    • We don’t do drug maintenance for heroin or cocaine users.

      When people want to and need to, they can do extreme things. During a battle people can go without sleeping for as much as 3 days. Though not in battle, I have done this.

      When people want to stop, they stop.

      Recovery ( alcohol, street drugs, psych meds ) is what people go for when they want to stop using, but don’t want to have to change their screwy thinking or face their actual pain.


      • If you think cold turkeying is so easy Nomadic and just takes alot of willpower, you should go to and tell the administrator, Altostrata, that you will take over the board and be the source of support to all the folks who have cold turkeyed. You need to put your money where your mouth is.

        All sarcasm aside, your comment is extremely irresponsible and could cause great harm to people who decide to cold turkey due to thinking it just takes alot of effort. Yeah, some people might do ok but the problem is you won’t know if you are one of the lucky ones until it is too late.

    • Wasn’t it more irresponsible to call those medications treatment when they only reliable outcome is that you will either become a victim of a system that sees your failure to comply to their notions of normality as a personal affront that has to be punished or you will become a victim of the medications and the price everyone seems willing to pay to pass as normal?

  15. Deena, I gotta laugh. If you fell asleep involuntarily after taking 1mg Abilify, then that must explain why two of my “therapists” fell asleep in the “sessions” I had with them. They must have been on Abilify! So that explained it! I should have suggested a “taper” to them, eh? I had no clue. I didn’t know what to do while they nodded off except to wait it out or maybe take out a book and see how many chapters i could read till my “session” was over.

  16. Don, can you show me any of these peer support networks that are fighting for Redress, holding parents and other abusers responsible? Total number of years of sentences? Total dollar amount of civil judgments?

    Or are they all intoxicated on that denial system known as Live and Let Live, while they administer Therapy, Recovery, and Healing upon their peers?

    Redress, that is the key difference. Otherwise the whole thing is just another denial system, as the victims further victimize each other.


    • I understand that redress or revenge is your bag.

      I’ll make two points:
      1. It is much more complex. The parents and others you call abusers have been duped. The real culprit is Big Pharma and the committee who compose the DSM. Here is where you might consider focusing, not on those who have so little power and are ignorant. For them, it is trying to increase their awareness.
      2. If you want to contact someone involved in redress, I suggest Dr. Peter Breggin. Go to his site, find his phone number and give him a call. He’s tackled Big Pharma in many successful court battles.

      There is more to life than redress. Life is not black or white. There are many shades of gray and even beige.

      Peer support is about mutual support, not redress, necessarily. It is also not about therapy, recovery or healing but transformation.

    • I guess “we” do not see eye to eye. My experience with peer support is transformative whereas yours isn’t. I was involved with one of the premier patient’s rights groups in the 1970’s–Mental Patient’s Liberation. Also with Claude Steiner at Berkeley Rap Center. Syracuse NY, my hometown, is where Thomas Szasz worked at that time.

      And I still am not included in your “we”. It’s a subtle form of control and I do not like it.
      I’ve no desire to control your expression.
      It’s an issue of effective communication.
      I think maybe you’d like to be effective?

      Think about it if you will.

      • I think peer support is a good thing too. Especially prior to the hijacking, as Don as described, back then, it was totally non-hijacked. It wasn’t the same as the ones paid by the government to drive patients to appointments and coerce people to “care.” Not the same at all back then. There were phone networks and meetings that the “establishment” didn’t even know about. To me, peer support, even now the terminology, sadly, is confusing. There are peers out there that help escapees stay out, help explain to potential patients why they should not become patients, why depression is part of life, why one might consider NOT going to a hospital and maybe doing some other thing, etc. Life was very different then, the networking was amazing and much of it is still there.