The Psychiatrist Who Got Hooked on Antidepressants — Now, He Helps Others to Quit


From The Times: “In 2019 Horowitz and Professor David Taylor, the director of pharmacy and pathology at the Maudsley Hospital in London (who went through his own ‘strange and frightening and torturous’ withdrawal), co-authored an article in the Lancet Psychiatry journal arguing that tapering should happen far more slowly than official guidelines suggested. It drew global attention and Horowitz received thousands of emails from people requesting his help with coming off their medication ‘because their doctors didn’t know how,’ and ‘telling me that relatives of theirs had passed away from suicide during withdrawal.’

Many who had sought medical help for their symptoms had been told that they were simply experiencing a relapse of their original mental health condition. ‘People felt very gaslit by doctors telling them that it wasn’t a real thing.’

In October 2021 Horowitz set up England’s first deprescribing clinic in north London with Joanna Moncrieff, a consultant psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at UCL, which has so far treated 40 patients but fields referrals for hundreds more a month. ‘The story is the same,’ Horowitz says. ‘They were put on a drug when something went wrong in their lives’ and simply never told to stop.”

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