Recovery Rate Six Times Higher For Those Who Stop Antipsychotics Within Two Years

New research finds that people with "serious mental illness" who stop taking antipsychotics after initial treatment are more likely to recover, even accounting for baseline severity.

Peter Simons
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A new study by Martin Harrow, Thomas Jobe, and Liping Tong found that odds of recovery from “serious mental illness” were six times greater if the patient discontinued antipsychotics within two years. The study followed patients with schizophrenia and affective psychosis (bipolar and depression with psychotic features) diagnoses for 20 years. The study was published in Psychological Medicine.

Specifically, the researchers found that those who stopped taking antipsychotic medication within two years of first taking the drug were almost six times (5.989) more likely to recover from “serious mental illness” and were only 13.4% as likely to be re-hospitalized.

“Regardless of diagnosis, after the second year, the absence of antipsychotics predicted a higher probability of recovery and lower probability of rehospitalization at subsequent follow-ups after adjusting for confounders,” the researchers write.

That “after adjusting for confounders” is important. Critics of findings such as these argue that the data is explained by people with more severe symptoms taking the drug, while people with less severe psychosis stop taking the drug—although there is no evidence that this is the case.

However, the researchers did their best to account for this possibility by adjusting their model to account for factors such as the specific diagnosis and/or the baseline severity of symptoms. This is called “controlling for” or “adjusting for” the confounding factor.

Harrow et al. controlled for this confound by controlling for “prognostic potentials.” At the first interaction, participants were assessed on several “prognostic” measures (the Valliant, Stephen’s Symptomatic Prognostic Index, and Zigler’s Prognostic Index). These measures allowed the researchers to sort the participants into poor versus moderate prognostic potential—or likelihood of recovery. The measures included items like symptom severity and education level; age, sex, race, drug and alcohol use, marital status, and the number of previous hospitalizations were also accounted for.

“Even when the confound by indication for prescribing antipsychotic medication is controlled for, participants with schizophrenia and affective psychosis do better than their medicated cohorts.”

According to the researchers, some studies have shown that some patients derive a short-term benefit from using antipsychotic drugs. Most of these studies take place over the course of a few weeks to months. However, people diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and even depression are often prescribed antipsychotic drugs for long-term use—for the rest of their lives, in many cases.

But research into long-term outcomes has found a disturbing picture. According to Harrow et al., “Multiple studies indicate that after 2/3-years of antipsychotic treatment, persons with schizophrenia and affective psychosis not prescribed anti-psychotic medication start performing better than patients with those prescribed antipsychotic medications.”

So why is taking an antipsychotic drug associated with worse outcomes? According to Harrow et al., antipsychotic-induced dopamine super-sensitivity psychosis may play a role. Because antipsychotics block dopamine receptors, the body may compensate by increasing sensitivity to dopamine. This, in turn, could cause increased psychosis.

According to Harrow et al., 30% of people with schizophrenia who take antipsychotics may experience super-sensitivity psychosis; 70% of those diagnosed with “treatment-resistant” schizophrenia may experience it.

Harrow, Jobe, and Tong’s findings are consistent with a growing body of literature that finds long-term antipsychotic use to be harmful rather than protective. Harrow and Jobe have previously published the 15-year and 20-year outcomes from this study, both of which were consistent with this result.

Wunderink’s study of patients with first-episode psychosis also found that patients who discontinued antipsychotics were twice as likely to recover than those who continued taking them. Researchers have also found that a large percentage of patients experience no further psychotic episodes despite not taking antipsychotics; this has led to the acknowledgment that antipsychotics are unnecessary for at least some group of patients.

In summary, Harrow, Jobe, and Tong write:

“These and previous data indicate that after 2 years, antipsychotics no longer reduce psychotic symptoms and participants not on antipsychotic perform better.”

 

 

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Harrow M, Jobe TH, Tong L. (2021). Twenty-year effects of antipsychotics in schizophrenia and affective psychotic disorders. Psychological Medicine, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720004778 (Link)

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Peter Simons
Peter Simons was an academic researcher in psychology. Now, as a science writer, he tries to provide the layperson with a view into the sometimes inscrutable world of psychiatric research. As an editor for blogs and personal stories at Mad in America, he prizes the accounts of those with lived experience of the psychiatric system and hopes to create alternatives to the biomedical model.

60 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Peter. Excellent information as usual.
    Although we should stop calling them “anti-psychotics”,
    it is a completely false name given to a dangerous drug
    to try and hide it’s dangerousness and it’s actual effects.
    It really was meant to convince the public, and not cause
    them to look deeper into not just the chemicals, but into
    the darkness of the paradigm.
    And which of course would lead people to conclude that they
    were mislead about and resulting in the disastrous consequences of human lives
    humans who were not guilty of anything.

    • There is also no such thing as advertising to the public and whoever else not familiar with science, in the form of spewing chemical words and making it sound as if these chemicals are responsible for whatever seems out of the ordinary.
      Psychiatry operates in advertising as facts that which ever only went into research based on curiosity.
      Nothing has ever made it past curiosity (which is postulated as research and hypothesis).
      The whole paradigm operates with absolutely NO understanding, or even a willingness to understand.
      It should be illegal to “treat” anyone with these dangerous chemicals.

    • Sam
      My understanding of Dopamine Supersensitivity Syndrome – is that when a person withdraws from Neuroleptics they don’t necessarily come back the same:- I suffered from the Longterm Withdrawal Symptom of “High Anxiety”.

      I believe Dr Peter Breggin describes this syndrome as a chemically created PTSD Type Syndrome.

    • Hi “newbie”! (Or is it just the name that’s new?) I’d also say we should get away from the concept of “psychosis” vs. whatever vernacular you prefer; lets not help them sound “scientific” with their labels by accepting some but not others — the entire milieu is fraudulent, and semantically absurd to boot.

    • “According to Harrow et al., antipsychotic-induced dopamine super-sensitivity psychosis may play a role.” I agree, withdrawal from the antipsychotics can result in a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic “psychosis.” Or for me, what was personally, more like an awakening to my subconscious / dreams. Which was not too bothersome to me, personally, thankfully.

      Hi, incontinentia buttucks, lovely name (sarcasm). “Any ‘healthy person’ put on [the antipsychotics] will experience ‘negative symptoms.'” I think it depends on the dose, since I suffered from anticholinergic toxidrome – which mimics the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” “bipolar” and “depression with psychotic symptoms.” Except one is made hyperactive, instead of inactive, other than to sleep way too much.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

      When a healthy person is put on way more than the recommended dosage of multiple antipsychotics at once, to cover up the common symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, and other easily recognized malpractice, and/or medical evidence of the sexual assault of their small child, as I was. My experience was I was made “psychotic” with the antipsychotics, via anticholinergic toxidrome.

      Thus I was made “hyperactive,” not “inactive.” So my work and medical research is now way “too truthful” for the systemic child abuse covering up psychologists and psychiatrists I worked with, who want to “maintain the status quo.”

      https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
      https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

      Thanks, as always, Peter, for the honest reporting on the neurotoxic psych drugs.

    • Recovery as a concept is not bogus. It’s the disease model that is bogus. Something was wrong even if we don’t call that something schizophrenia or bipolar or what not. But it seems important to me that MIA publish research showing the harms of the drugs regardless of the researchers use of terminology. Would the result somehow be more meaningful if the researchers had said “people experiencing extreme states get better quicker when they discontinue neuroleptic drugs”? I know we’d rather they weren’t taking them to begin with but the way to get from here to there seems to be to show the harm being done by them, no? How do we get there, otherwise? Asking the APA nicely and protesting outside their yearly convention is working so well toward that goal…

  2. Oldhead,

    I did recover as a result of stopping “medication”.

    “…A good case can be made that many of the difficulties he had in the 1980s stemmed from the medication he was put on for a possible Schizophrenia or Schizo Affective Disorder…”

    From the last Psychiatrist I saw, in 2018.

      • oldhead, This is where I, either slightly or somewhat disagree with you in that, more and more, the biggest causes of any disease or illness are “drugs” and the “drugs in suspect” are usually the prescribed drugs not just prescribed for the very fake diseases of “mental illness” but even those for more legitimate illnesses, usually treated by various specialists and General Practitioners, etc. Drugs cause diseases that need more drugs causing more diseases, etc. Now, how do we get that first prescription of drugs. That varies with the illness someone seeks treatment for, who they go to for the treatments, etc. So, I guess, in my way of thinking, maybe, most who recover from a disease are actually recovering from a “drug-induced disease.” And, tragically, if there is no recovery, but death results, the death certificate will very probably not show that as the cause of death, although it probably is. Thank you.

        • In the USA, receiving medical care is the third leading cause of death. Over 220,000 deaths in hospital settings alone are caused by errors or unnecessary surgeries, but most of all by side effects of properly prescribed and properly administered drugs. Seeing a doctor can be very dangerous!

  3. This is weird, actually, that the “researchers” claim a two year demarcation for those who respond better and those who do not. I lost count how many years that I was on one or more anti-psychotics and other related drugs, too. It was not until I was on these drugs for several years that I obtained the label of having a “severe and persistent mental illness.” Perhaps, one day, these psychiatrists, etc. will “come clean” and confess the truth: Drugs cause mental illness! Another point to be made is that continued use of these drugs, maybe two years or more (maybe even less for some) produce toxicity in the body and brain that could extend to other substances that the body may take in to it, including some food, other drugs, etc. This is all individual to the person. This two year idea for so many is way too little, way too late. But, then, what psychiatrist, etc. would try to adhere to this? Probably, so few, so few… They will just blindly continue doing what they have doing—damaging and destroying people’s brains, bodies, lives, etc. Thank you.

    • I think two years is just where the divergence becomes big enough to be obvious and undeniable. I am sure the damage is being done from Day One, but possibly it is more “healable” before the two-year mark, after which the changes become more permanent and deterioration becomes the rule of the day.

      • The damage is mainly psychological. The brain is very complex, and can recover from drug use. It already does it’s best whilst on them. I’m not sure where you got this idea from that it’s “more permanent” after two years. If you care to elucidate, I’m all ears.

        There is no such thing as “more permanent”. If you mean in a statistical probabilistic sense, then say so.

        You don’t know what the effects are of taking antipsychotics for any length of time, you also don’t know the psychological impact it has. You are merely speculating.

        in terms of “deterioration” being the rule of the day, your time will come as well, make no mistake.

          • Steve, that is simply false logic. At any time from which the toxin is removed, healing can begin. And perhaps a transformative healing, because there has been interference with nature and we might not know or be able to predict how that repair will take shape and look like on the other side, but full repair of damage done by these things is always an attainable possibility, and perhaps there may be other conditions or factors to consider individually.

            However, length of time on these things, or how many, makes little or no difference in the intention of healing. The brain is very healable from this. I was on tons for a long time until it became clear I could no longer tolerate them, tapered off over a period of time and had the horrendous withdrawal, with no known precedent or informed resource. My brain was definitely damaged, couldn’t balance a checkbook suddenly, and I’d been a bookkeeper, math is easy for me.

            That was 19 years ago, I’ve been as long off of them now as I’d been on them at that time, when I ditched them. It took a while and I did soooo much to heal naturally from different avenues and sources, and together all of it worked. I’m back to being a math whiz and creative channels have opened, mind is clear and relaxed for the most part unless I’m focusing on something. I’m sure I’m not an exception.

            People need hope and inspiration for this not doom and gloom based on vague speculation, with all due respect. I know you want to see this all change, too, but as a psychiatric survivor who healed brain damage after 19 years of these brain toxins, the actual truth of the matter is way more encouraging than what you say here, and I felt strongly compelled to offer this rebuttal.

            The malpractice and betrayal are, indeed, more far reaching. These are the issues which have yet to find resolution. And they are crimes, damaging to society on the whole, and they’re still at it. THAT’S the problem to solve.

          • I am glad to hear that you were able to heal, and I’ve known many who have been able to, probably a majority. But I have run into a number who seem to be set up now so that stopping the “antipsychotics” leads to massive “relapses,” and despite slow tapering and support, it seems they have now become dependent on these drugs for stability. Bob goes over the mechanism in his book, and it makes perfect sense. So I agree that keeping hope alive is critical to recovering from the “help” usually doled out by the psychiatric industry, but it does seem to become harder the longer one is on these (on the average), and there does seem to be some lasting damage that some folks are not able to shake, in my experience.

            The spirit, however, can always be healed!

          • My comment is regarding the projection of fear with inaccurate, or at the very least, speculative and vague information. One should NEVER lose hope and I feel the need to at least make an attempt to unplant these seeds of false and damning beliefs. Out of respect for those us of who have taken this journey first hand, please do not perpetuate them. End of discussion for me.

          • Alex, I hear where you’re coming from, but I also think it’s important to hear the voices of those who have tried and failed repeatedly to come off the drugs. It is disheartening for anyone trying to do something and failing to hear that they just have to hold out hope. I have great experience with this with chronic illness. I do not need hope that my illness will be cured. I need support to live each day to the fullest even when they’re really bad. The people who have stopped trying to come off the drugs and are just trying to live each day to the best of their ability, they deserve the respect for forging the path they’re on and not to be forced to hope they can eventually be on the path you think they should be taking.

            Telling people they need to hope for a specific outcome can be just as harmful. There are a lot of people getting caught up in this fight when it comes to opioids and benzos too. The answer is to stop prescribing these drugs to new users, not torture people who’ve been on them for decades and find themselves unable to come off. I don’t know if I’d have been able to successfully withdraw without the support I had. I live a pretty cushy middle class lifestyle with friends and support and there are STILL days four plus years on that I think about going back to the system. I can’t imagine some of the situations I’ve heard people are in and they’re talking about withdrawal on top of that. So, please, coming from you, this kind of judgment leaves a bad taste. Everyone’s situation is different and we can respect that, surely.

          • Bob has done a service to many by showing numbers and percentages and all that, but that in no way qualifies you or him to judge whether or not people need anti psychotics to to lead a dignified life. The complexity is psychological at it’s origin.

          • Hi KS, thanks for the feedback. I remember we had this disucssion a while back, regarding healing and offering hope which may be false hope for some, and I took it to heart, don’t believe I’ve said this since in such a general way. I do maintain my personal philosophy on healing, but I’m not out to impose that where it feels like judgment. So, my apologies for that. I have a lot of respect for your perspective and I know that it is well-founded, it very often rings true to me.

            Here, I am specifically speaking about the topic in this thread, the idea that the longer one takes psych drugs, the less likely that the brain damage caused by these can be repaired once they are off of them. This is a fear-causing statement which is not logical, simply not true, and it serves to dampen hope, which is what I feel is harmful. That is my objection here.

        • I do not know Steve McCrea’s total relationship to psychiatric drugs. He must be allowed to speak for himself. But, please, don’t tell me that I don’t know what the effects are. Perhaps, you are trying to say that the lived experience of someone who has directly experienced what happens “under the influence” of these evil drugs is useless information unless may be it could be replicated by research or in some sterile lab. And I do know what the effects of having been on these psych drugs, as I was on them for about sixteen years. Therefore, since the brain is so complex, why prescribe them in the first place? Finally, if something is for instance, “psychological” it automatically affects the “physiological” and vice versa. To say these drugs only cause psychological damage just discounts and disregards the pain of so many on this site who have suffered so much in so many ways. Callousness is never a substitute for sensitivity. Thank you.

          • Rebel, I never said the drugs are only psychological. I am saying that the damage they do is mainly psychological in it’s intent. It’s meant to snuff out the spirit, so it never occurs to you that you are being lied to and manipulated an then decide, on the basis of that insight, to stop taking drugs. The Harrow experiment is a good example, what was it that a percentage, even though their symptoms were severe at baseline, decided to stop the medication? It’s not just about the medication and it’s side effects, it’s something deeper. This is something that is not contemplated in the Harrow study, but it is crucial.

            The drugs are not “evil” in and of themselves, the ones who promote them, I call “court jesters”.

          • Rebel, you’re clearly misreading Steve here, whatever he said. Steve might be the only true ally of anti-psychiatry “survivors” in all of MIA. But I’ll let him take it from here.

          • The drugs are not “evil” in and of themselves, the ones who promote them, I call “court jesters”.

            “Neurotoxins don’t kill people, shrinks kill people”?

  4. Based on some of these comments, I think there is some misconception about the nature of this study by Harrow. It was a naturalistic study, and Harrow had nothing to do with the “treatment.”

    People who were “psychotic” were treated in the hospital with antipsychotics (conventional treatment.) They were discharged and then Harrow and Thomas Jobe simply followed up with them periodically for the next 20 years (followups were at 2 years, 4.5 years, 7.5 years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years.) Some people stopped taking antipsychotics during the first two years, and other kept on taking the drugs. All Harrow did at the two year follow-up was report on this medication use, and he did so at each of the follow-ups.

    What he found, when he analyzed his followup data at the end of 15 and 20 years, that those patients who, for whatever reason, had taken themselves off antipsychotics by the 2-year follow-up (many may have stopped soon after being discharged from the hospital, and thus only been on antipsychotics for a short time) had by far the best outcomes over the long term, and many who had stopped using antipsychotics by year two never took the drugs again. Among the people who were still taking antipsychotics at year two, many may have taken themselves off the drugs by some later date, at least for a time. But what Harrow found was this: the best outcomes by far were those who had stopped taking the drugs at the two-year followup. So what you see in this naturalistic stud, which means Harrow was simply studying people who were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder and treated conventionally in the hospital by hospital staff and seeing how they fared over the long term.

    There was no protocol that called for anyone to go off the drugs by year two. Harrow just observed stark differenced between the long-term outcomes between those who had rejected the antipsychotics by year two, and those who were medication compliant during the study.

  5. I left my last lockup in ’74 with a script for Thorazine, probably 300 mg. a day (down from 1600!). I took one or two. My girlfriend took 100 mg. to see what it was like and said she felt like she was going to die. after that I flushed it & went back to smoking pot. No real issues, though it may have created some very mild extrapyramidal stuff down the road a bit, for a while. Still not sure. Certainly what one needs to focus on “recovering” from are the drugs themselves.

    • I have *very* fond memories of Thorazine. On the adolescent unit, we used to *go off* intentionally just to get a hit of it.

      I still maintain that those who don’t feel the need to recover from trauma and it’s lifelong consequences shouldn’t speak for those who do. Some of us are in recovery and proud to be so because the alternative for many of us is self-destruction in ways that led us to psychiatric treatment to start with. Psych drugs for many of us serve the same purpose as alcohol or street drugs.

      And weed is NOT innocuous and can have deleterious effects, too. If you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re one of those for whom, like me, experiences anxiety and paranoia from levels of THC that are typically found in both street and legal cannabis these days. I have to go out of my way to find products with low amounts of THC and higher CBD to get the synergistic effect without the negative effects I get from most of the easily available cannabis products. And most people still don’t know that the amount of THC in a lot of those products can cause psychosis. Weed can just as easily become a way to numb out feelings and be used the way alcohol, other street drugs, or psych drugs are used. So making a big distinction between them is not very helpful. The biggest difference between legal drugs and illegal ones is who is making the profit. Alcohol destroys as many lives as psych drugs do, probably.

      • There may be two aspects of this: morality and efficacy. The first is easy to address — anyone has the right to take any drug they can get their hands on, in principle. So any moral judgements made or implied should be limited to oneself. As for the best drugs to utilize for one’s benefit, that’s something open to collective discussion and self-education — we should be as concerned with safe drugs as with safe sex. I prefer to stick to what was put here for us to begin with (ganja), not toxic chemicals designed to blunt my consciousness. But that’s neither here nor there in terms of this conversation.

    • Your last lockup was in ’74! Geez, what are you scared of when it comes to using your own name? My first lockup was in ’73. Don’t think they want me any more though, and I’m happy for that. I’m not doing my best impersonation of Borat either though. Of course, I always got prescriptions, too. The secret is to ignore them. For appearance sake alone though, there is that matter of, uh, if anybody asks, yeah, putting on a good show. I know there are people who are pressured into taking drugs, when somebody is not spiking their food, but, to paraphrase, what they don’t know, won’t hurt you.

      • I wondered why my GP had me revived as a Severely Mentally Ill Person (in 2012) 30 years after I had recovered:

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vYO9r1FkdJSv8Bi8Q3c3u9WXNZXkmxvO/view?usp=drivesdk

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bTUsvmamFk3-CA0wKPDlJMakxLGUJFBq/view?usp=drivesdk

        I’m 60 years of age and to this day, have no Criminal Record in the UK or Ireland or anywhere else. At the Maudsley Hospital (in 1980) I was put under Psychiatrist Dr DC Mawson future Psychiatrist to Ronnie Kray https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kray_twins

        Theres NO AMSTERDAM (where I had spent the preceding Summer months) on the UK side of my Records – and I believe this might be the reason why.

        (Dr DC Mawson who I don’t recall ever meeting never mentioned “Schizophrenia” in his correspondance regarding me. But there was a strong emphasis on “street” drugs which I had consistently denied taking).

      • Frank — I use my own name sometimes, publicly. Just not in connection with AP. It’s not like I think I can hide from anyone with access to my personal information, even if I wanted to. I’m more concerned about internet creeps-on-a-mission, who I don’t want showing up at my front door or otherwise fucking with me — I am as you know a “pill-shamer,” according to the sorts of misguided assholes I’m most wary of. As well as a bunch of other things clueless neoliberal ass-kissers consider politically incorrect. I’m more concerned about these types than cops (not that I have any current issues with cops). And considering how crazed just about everyone is these days I’m glad this is the way I chose to go. (I became “Oldhead” very impulsively as a top-of-my-head username to log into MIA, which I happened to stumble upon while web browsing. It’s worked fine ever since.)

  6. I’d be interested to know what kind of support networks the different groups had going, income and social class measures, etc. thing is…

    a “Schizophrenic” with extensive support from a family in the top 20% or above may very well be able to taper off the tranquilizer and find an ‘exit’ from mental health, inc…

    while a person with ‘psychotic depression’ with no outside support and few resources may very well be stuck in the ‘sick role,’ indefinitely. and at a personal level, someone with few resources, no outside support may not be able to drop the tranquilizer as easily (at all?).

  7. As far as titles go, Recovery Rate Six Times Higher For Those Who Stop Antipsychotics Within Two Years seems weak to me. How about something more along the lines of Mental Illness Synonymous With Antipsychotic Drug Use? Next question, whatever would recovery rates be like among people never started on antipsychotics in the first place? Unfortunately, it seems few professionals are brave enough to seriously consider the matter from that prospective yet.

  8. Alex, You are right when you state that healing begins when the drugs, etc. are stopped. However, this is entirely an individual thing. I do not think it is illogical or fear-causing when speaking that the brain damage caused by these drugs, etc. can be long-term. It is something that the psychiatrists, etc. seem to very easily leave out of the conversation when prescribing these drugs, etc. And, that doesn’t even include the associative therapizing that usually accompanies these drugs. From my own experience going off these drugs seems to stop a portion of the damage. There are so many factors to consider in how much damage has been stopped. There are anecdotal stories of those completely debilitated from these drugs long after they have been stopped. In my opinion, we need to treat these drugs and their associated therapizing with the same caution of warning that we would attribute to “street drugs.” In many ways, the only difference between these drugs and “street drugs” is their legality and who the “pushers” of these drugs are; the former being M.D.’s with “society-accepted authority” behind them. (“pill-pushers in white coats.”) Thank you.

    • Everything you say here I agree with, Rebel. I think this entire industry is bad news, and I think these psych drugs are products of an ill-conceived society and indeed they cause damage, part of my story, too. I am aware that many people rely on them, or feel they do, and whatever choices a person makes to alleviate their suffering is something I would never judge, nor would I tell a person they are “wrong” about their choice, if it is part of their path and somehow, someway, it makes them feel better in the moment.

      Yes, these should come with full disclosure, at the very least, if not eventually phased out of existence. But people have to discover their own truth, one cannot impose their truth on another, that is purely a projection and I think it’s counterproductive to change, only creates resistance to it. I’ve certainly made mistakes in this regard, try to learn as I go. We are all products of brainwashing and propaganda, one of the things we’re trying to clear up altogether, I believe. This is what can get complicated, but there is a lot of truth which comes from cracking these codes and seeing past the illusions we’ve been fed. When belief systems get challenged, change is imminent.

      Although if I am in dialogue with someone who feels they need healing and they do not want to go this route, I will let them know there are other options which support real and true healing, which the pills of course do nothing of the kind. We have a nature, and that’s what we need to get back to, is my belief about all of this. Personally, I think learning how self-healing applies is a good education in life. Self-healing is guided by our nature, individual choice, and self-sovereignty, and it’s free.

      There are always new things to discover as we go along in life. I’d have never thought it possible to heal from any of this, neither from the drugs nor what took me to seek help in the first place, and 20 years ago I was scared to death that this was the case, based on what I was believing and being told at that time. The messages from the mh industry–top to bottom–were far more negative and discouraging than what actually turned out to be the truth, and the impact of this was severe, until I learned better.

      Once I came off the pills, I began a trajectory of learning which I’d never even conceived before this, had never been part of my life or psychic landscape–and most assuredly not part of my family or cultural upbringing, nor early education–and for the most part I hadn’t before heard or experienced what I eventually stumbled upon in my desperation to heal, after falling way down the psychiatric rabbit hole in mid-life, and get on with my life.

      Personally, I believe in all possibiilties, until we’re done. And of course, that *is* an individual thing, we all believe what we believe, based on our life experience so far. Keep going, is all I say. New things come along every day, if we are paying attention. That’s it.

      • Alex, I truly appreciate all.of your comments on this thread. I needed that little dose of hope this week. I was forced on psych drugs at 14 as a child sexual abuse survivor, because of the betrayal by my extended family choosing to harbor a known pedophile. My true feelings were an issue for them so I was labeled mentally ill. As a kid, I believed them that something was wrong with me, that my brain was defective, that I was defective. What kid wouldn’t think that when every adult who ever professed love of them, was telling them this(in the most kind and loving ways). But it was the mental health forced treatment in my early 20’s, after being poly drugged and then electrocuted because I was “medication resistant “, although I was so fucking drugged all I could do is stare like a zombie or cry to let me die, that has nearly stopped the forward trajectory of my life.That’s when they thought hooking me up to jumper cables was appropriate. I have never been the same since. I ended up married to a violent person who I left after 4 short months, while on zyprexa, zoloft, ativan and lithium and a few weeks pregnant. I fought the system for my child. I stopped all meds cold turkey, against their advice, for my growing child to have a chance in a safe womb. When I became increasingly suicidal due to the withdrawal, they admitted me to the hospital and gave me zyprexa and allowed my abusive ex to come do “therapy” together. It took until I was 35 to extricate myself from the psych drugs and just last year I was able to stop having a state psychiatrist. Yet, I am unable to work still, finding it so very hard to function in our society after all of that. Finding it hard to be around our “sleeping” public who throw around psych diagnosis on their own kids, as though it’s no big deal. I feel haunted by my experiences within our “caring” system. Moreso than by the abuse perpetrated by my uncle. An entire industry spit on my name. On my being.
        I say all of that to say thank you for reminding me that my story isn’t over yet. I’ve got an amazing young man to continue to raise and he thinks I’m amazing, and not crazy. I’m just his mom, making sure he’s safe and loved and guided. And for now, that can be enough.

          • Thank you Sam. The truth is hard to type out sometimes and always overwhelming to hit the “post comment” button, for me, after years of every movement, expression, word being used as a possible weapon. Hard sometimes to remember that I am safe now.

        • Hi psmama, I can certainly understand why your son thinks you are amazing, you truly are! Leaving an abusive marriage while drugged and pregnant is incredibly courageous, and then fighting this particular system for the well-being and safety of your unborn son–my utter respect to you. He is a very lucky young man.

          Of course I had reactions all the way reading your story which make me heartsick and angry. You are describing all the ways in which this entire paradigm has seriously failed us all. From a sane perspective, it is truly insane. Congratulations for leaving it in the dust!

          It IS impossible to be around mainstream thinking once we’ve been through this, and it’s irreconcilable when we know what we know. The good news at this point, I’d say, is that more and more of us are recognizing this, just at the time when anything mainstream is looking seriously suspect, society is in dismal shape and we are ripe for change. I don’t measure healing by necessarily being able to do what we could do before, at least not in the exact same way, but more so by how we can transform creatively, maybe get back some skills but also discover new ones, from a new consciousness that comes with all that healing.

          As per one thing I’ve learned over the years, I call us “expansive beings,” in that we’re never done, we just keep going and growing. When we are open to it, we can gain clarity daily. More than “healing’ at this point, I’d call it straight on transformation, and from there we can move forward with more of a feeling of control, from this wider consciousness. New things come along, synchronicity happens, and we become aware of a shift which keeps us moving forward with encouragement. That feeling alone generates a feeling of light and the power to manifest. As does the love shared between you and your son ♥

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