Psychological Support for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal


This week on MIA Radio we turn our attention to support for those who are struggling to withdraw from psychiatric drugs. Recently in the UK, this issue has become headline news with more and more attention being given to the work of groups such as the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry and peer-led initiatives such as the Bristol Tranquilliser Project.

December 4 2019, marks the release of guidance which has been specifically written to support psychological therapists and their clients in having discussions about taking and withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. The comprehensive guidance is a collaboration between psychologists, peer support specialists and psychiatrists and aims to provide important context and evidence-based support to psychological therapists, whatever their particular modality.

In this interview, we chat with psychotherapist and project lead Dr. Anne Guy, Peer Support Specialist Paul Sams and Professor of Psychology John Read.

We Discuss:

  • How the project to create guidance for psychological therapists got started.
  • The need to address a significant gap in knowledge and experience, particularly given the numbers of clients who work with psychological therapists and are already taking or thinking of coming off psychiatric drugs.
  • That therapeutic training previously hasn’t addressed the intersection of psychiatric drugs and the practice of therapy.
  • How a recent survey showed that 96% of all therapists are seeing at least one client who is taking psychiatric drugs.
  • That the guidance is not prescriptive but provides an opportunity for a therapist to respond to drug issues that other professionals may not have time available to address.
  • The important distinction made between giving medical information and giving medical advice.
  • How the guidance will be launched in Westminster, London on December 4 2019, and that people can read the guidance and view a Q&A here.
  • That next year will see some Continuing Professional Development activities.
  • How lived experience and peer support knowledge has been applied in developing the guidance.
  • How the guidance opens up the conversation such that no go areas are addressed as part of the overall therapeutic discussion.
  • That the approach is one of empowerment and supporting conversation rather than defining or being prescriptive.
  • How the evidence-based part of the guidance came together and that there was a fairly consistent finding that around 50% of people coming off psychiatric drugs will experience some sort of withdrawal with around half of those describing the withdrawal effects as severe.
  • That the guidance has provided the chance for psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists to work together.

Relevant Links:

Read or download the guidance here.

View the guidance Q&A here.


  1. Does no one else see the irony of psychiatric “professionals” trying to undo the damage caused by psychiatry itself?

    Does no one else understand that psychiatry is the primary CAUSE of the damage that is being inflicted upon the innocent people who are labeled as “mentally ill”?

    Abolish psychiatry. If people really cared about healing and helping the afflicted and the so-called “mentally ill” they might start by working to abolish the primary CAUSE of the suffering, namely psychiatry itself.

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    • Yes slaying, and they, the psychiatrists see it also. Make no mistake about it, psychiatrists themselves wonder where it is headed. More and more people are concerned about what they are putting in their bodies. People talk. It is the major reason psychiatry is in the school system now. Young parents easily influenced. This is how psychiatry operates, preying on a vulnerable population.
      There are a lot of parents that do not want kids on stimulants, so they prey on the parents and their kids who might not have all their shit together.
      Today I went for a massage and of course I talked about MIA to this new massage therapist, and she mentioned taking her child out of the public school system because the teacher and the principal included were harassing her to put her son on Ritalin.
      Her son was chewing on his shirt, sitting in a corner. She put him in a private school, where the curriculum is the same, but a lot of it is outdoors, kids climb trees, are allowed to use hammers and other tools.
      He is doing fantastic, gets great marks, there is NO bullying, and he goes to school happy and comes back happy.
      BUT, she had the insight, foresight, because of her hippie like background.

      As long as they are around and as long as our leaders and governments could not care less about the kids and vulnerable people, they will slink around trying to create this weird society where everyone is mentally ill.

      We just need to keep putting the message out there. Even if it takes putting information leaflets with facts on people’s car windshields.

      Can they arrest me for putting leaflets on car windshields?

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  2. I agree, the psychologists need to quickly run from the iatrogenic illness creation crimes of the psychiatrists, and their theorized, but “invalid,” “bullshit,” and actually doctor caused psychiatric DSM disorders.

    The problem seems to be, however, that the primary actual societal function of both our psychologists and psychiatrists, and all their “mental health” minion, historically and still today, is profiteering off of covering up child abuse and rape, which is illegal behavior.

    But largely the result of the fact that the DSM does NOT allow ANY “mental health” or social worker to EVER bill ANY insurance company for EVER helping ANY child abuse survivor EVER, unless they first MIS-DIAGNOSE them. So they do, because all the “mental health” workers want to profiteer off of so called “helping” people, when in reality they do nothing more than systemically neurotoxic poison and harm child abuse survivors on a massive societal scale.

    This whole paternalistic, primarily child abuse and rape profiteering, “mental health” system needs to be taken down. It’s all based upon scientific fraud, ignorance, and the criminal behavior of those who deny that child abuse happens. And the systemic scientific fraud of the psychiatric and psychological industries.

    I agree people need to be helped. But the psychologists, and all the so called “mental health” workers, need to run as far as possible away from the child rape covering up, by the psychiatric DSM design, iatrogenic illness creation system of the psychiatrists. But this also needs to be an admitted, historic problem of the psychological industries, since it is.

    Both the psychological and psychiatric industries need to get out of the child abuse and rape covering up business.

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  3. The reason I was able to withdraw from Neuroleptics and Overcome “Schizophrenia” and Neuroleptic Disability, was because I was able to find Psychological Approaches that worked.

    …and what worked for me in overcoming “Schizophrenia” would not be too difficult to describe.

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  4. I had the experience with a number of psychologists, social workers, etc – people I was seeing for “talk therapy”and who were not licensed to prescribe – each of whom, at some point during the course of treatment, raised the idea that I was not being drugged enough or, in one case, when I had stopped all psych drugs, the psychologist suggested that I needed to face the fact that my disorder required me ingesting psych drugs as a part of my treatment. All of these non-medically trained talk therapists turned the conversation to psych drugs, one even insisting that if I refused to take psych drugs, she would drop me as a patient. She spent an entire session talking about what she thought would be a good drug cocktail for me, based on what her other patients were taking. None of them allowed for the possibility that the drugs I was taking or had recently withdrawn from had harmed me. Psychiatry’s propaganda about chemical imbalances and patients “needing to be compliant with medications” brainwashed across the board… including talk therapists.

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    • If people keep reinforcing the idea that a person is sick, that their suffering is an illness,
      ones own mind participates in that thinking even more so.

      I watched a history bit. When protestant ideas came about and resulted in people burning, with the public believing in it and cheering on. It was the social construct of the day.
      To challenge, was heresy.
      Indeed, psychiatry views us exactly as heretics. It is an honour to be among heretics.

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