Thursday, June 21, 2018

Support for Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs?

Home Forums Rethinking Psychiatry Support for Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs?

This topic contains 79 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  Eliza J 5 years, 6 months ago.

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    I have called the police when I was being assulated by someone who was in acute withdrawl from antipsychotics. They were taken to the local psych ward and pumped full of drugs. I knew there was a 99% chance that that would happen. Our police have become quazy mental health officers and I hate it. Equally though I was not going to allow a person to harm me any more. I have never taken more than half a second to call the police before, but that call took over 3 hours to make while I was locked up in a bathroom, but in the end they were going to come in through the door, it just took them time to get the weapons and strenght to do it.

    The simple fact though is that is withdrawl from medication does not need to be that hard. I did do it all alone, I had no choice. I either leave the mental health system behind or I die. And in leaving it behind I was leaving behind my whole life. I did it by researching the medications I was on and getting the lowest dose tablets. I asked the doctor to increase the dosage, and said it would be easier to take 5 of one strength tablet, than remember to take tablets from different packets!! Hence I had the lowest dosage tablet and of course 6 months of repeats. I did that for each medication. I reduced ON’E medication at a time by half of the lowest dose tablet and I stayed on that dosage for a month to ensure that I was able to stablise. I knew it would take much longer, but it was also about ensuring that I would get off them and never have to go back on them again. At one stage things got worse for me and so I stayed on the dosage that I was on for another month. I had also accumlated some benzo’s which I took for a couple of days if the withdrawl was really bad, when I lowered the dose. In withdrawing from Seroquel, which for me was the hardest I found I had to reduce the minimum dose tablet of 25 mg into quaters. It still amazes me that I was ever able to get the tablets that small. I had to buy about 10 different pill cutters before I found one that was going to be able to cut neating into such a small tablet, without it crushing the whole thing. I know someone who was on capsules and broke them open and counted out each of the beads in them, so they could reduce them by one bead a month!! I was on capsules and also changed that medication to another one of tablet form. I researched the antidepressents I was on and transferred to one that was going to have the lower withdrawl effects, via the longer half life, etc. This was all very very very planned. I saw a dietician, changed my diet and did exercise and I had regular massages, all to give me the strength and support that I needed to get myself through it. Patience was the hardest part, but I had tried before and failed and I was determined to make sure this worked and so I had to do it excessively slowly, and it worked. I’m now almost 10 months drug free and I love it. Each month I can feel more and more of my body coming back, it has not happened overnight and I suspect I have a long way to go yet.

    While they can have all the forced treatment orders in the world they only place people on them who they believe are non complaint. Suck up to them, thank them for the drugs, say this drug is really working for me now, I can now see that I do have a brain disease and I do need to take these drugs for life, etc, etc. Do everything they want, and guess what they drop the order, why, because who can be bothered to turn up and drug someone when they will go in and get the drugs themselves!!  Judy Chamblins article “Confessions of a non complaint patient’ bring that home all to well.  It is not hard to get off orders IF you play there game, and that is all it is. Sure it takes time and it is hard to have to lie to everyone for weeks, months and in some cases years, but if it is going to get you a better life you do it. How do people get out of prision, simple they follow the rules and become model prisoners and then they get parole and go and commit the same crime again. Simply be a good patient and you will be out of there much much sooner. Psychiatry is a game and if you want to get out of it, you have to play it first, to get yourself free. I have recently watch someone in my state get off a forced treatment order they have been on for over 10 years. As is required they are reviewed every 12 months. For the first 3 years he fought them, had the drugs forcibly injected into him every fortnight and refused to speak to them. As is also the case the psychiatrists changed regularly. When he got a new psychiatrist he said he wondered if he could change medications, as he wondered if some of his resistance was due to intolerable side effects. They agreed. He did not tell them of anything but the most severe side effects. He did not tell them of the voices he still heard, as hard as it was. He turned up for every single appointment early. He was polite at all opportunties. He asked for other services that could assist him and embraced them all as they expected him too. It was the hardest thing he has ever had to do and he had to do it for 7 years, but the order was revoked as he was now a model patient!!! He is now slowly reducing his medication and is free of ALL services!!!!! Sure he supposedly voluntarily engaged with a heap of them, but it was all for a very important purpose. And yes, it would have been much nicer if he did not have to wait 7 years, but in a place in which being diagnosed is enough for a forced treatment order, that allows them to do anything they like including ECT without any oversight at all and no questions asked, and in which over 90% of people die on orders after 25 years he has had a huge success. Freedom takes time and sometimes one has to be very patient to get what they want. But it also comes from playing their games. Be a model patient and we all know what is required for that and you will be free, it really is as simple as that. Tell them you don’t want the drugs, tell them that you plan to stop taking them, even one day in 50 years time and they will force it. Change the approach, say thankyou, say you understand that you have a life long brain disease and will need these drugs for life. Thank them for everything they do to you, ask them for psychological and social supports and information to help you to understand your brain disease and they will happily play along with you. It is a game, simple as that. A game in which the ONLY way to truly win is to free yourself of the WHOLE mental health system.




    I think it is near impossible for someone who has not been on multiple psychiatric drugs long-term to imagine what it is like for “mental illness” to become a person’s entire life.  I also don’t think someone could know how difficult it is then to realize that the enormous investment of time, money, and self into being “mentally ill” was a complete waste that must be jettisoned just to go on living physically intact.

    I am so glad you have survived and have lived to write about it!

    When I read your words, I have thought a few times of the Australian released 2009 claymation movie, Mary and Max.  I imagine that we are like the pen pals of this movie!  You are my Aussie friend with your wonderful Aussie accent!

    I can’t wait to toast your anniversary of your first year free of psychiatric drugs on New Year’s Eve,



    Eliza J

    Hi there, i am new to this thread but not new to coming off medications. i was compliant for ten years, a horror story none of you need the details about, just the usual increase in illness, increase in hospitalisations, etc etc etc.

    i finally took myself off meds alone and without any support in 2000, the new year did it for me too.

    i had to get rid of toxic relationships as well as toxic foods and substances in my life. i found out Gluten had a very negative effect on my body/mind system, also high sensitivity to Caffeine, Alcohol, cannabis and pretty much any man made substances Monosodium glutamate etc. i have been experimenting and refining for the last twelve years and though things have not always been perfectly within my control i have not needed hospitalisation other than self referral to a women only crisis house when sleep disturbance became an issue and out of my control.

    i suppose what i am trying to say is, it is possible to take care and take slow steps toward getting free of the major symptoms. for me the largest hurdle was in trusting what my body had been screaming out to me for years. ‘these pills are killing me’. i knew very well they were causing my illness to spiral out of control but because of the abusive family i grew up in i had been convinced to believe everyone else before my own truth.

    that was a key turning point for me. and then trying to learn how to take care of myself enough to keep well, find out enough to know how to do that, and recognising that for what ever reasons… more of that another day… i have super sensitivities that require i live life in ways very different to the bulk of the population.

    anyone thinking about quitting meds, there is a video by Wil Hall on some pointers that may be helpful when considering trying, also Icarus project have a leaflet in several languages which can be downloaded.

    also, it would be a good thing to be able to build up a resource on this site of things people have managed to find for themselves which have helped them and so, may help others. it is important to understand that we all have these symptoms and unique coping strategies and we have evolved them for our own safety over many years, decades sometimes. the drugs/medcations can rob us of self control and over time damage our capacity to manage without them. but it is possible to recover your vivacity, hope, your mental agility and powers of reason and creative thought with good nutrition, self care and time.

    also, High Quantities of Vitamins and mineral supplements have been helpful to me in stabilising and maintaining good health, something to look into. we are so lucky to have the internet.

    when i was first hospitalised in 1991 i had no clue how to find alternate information even about the doctors ideas were grounded in other than go to a library. i know there are a lot of competing voices and it can be hard to find which ones to trust but the voices of those of us with lived experience are the best places to start. so long as the pharma companies do not infiltrate and start abusing this kind of forum as they have taken control of support groups both in the UK and US.




    Hey Eliza,

    Congrats on being off of psych drugs for more years than having have been on them!  I have already wondered who I will when I have been off of psych drugs as many years as I had been on them (I’ve got a long intervening time to find out as it will be in 2023!).   One of the things I wonder about is whether I will have any interest in what is going on in mental health/psychiatry.  You sure are current with your mention of The Icarus Project, Will Hall’s Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off of Psychiatric Drugs (which is available for download to read and/or print for free), and its corresponding video (note: all three of these are linked in the Resources tab above which is part of the top banner.)

    You write, “i was compliant for ten years, a horror story none of you need the details about, just the usual increase in illness, increase in hospitalisations, etc etc etc.”

    I, for one, love details.  There are many of us who would appreciate and benefit from your perspective given your unique position of being a potential ‘chronic’ for a decade and now having been away from psychiatry for twelve years.  Not all of us with psychiatric stories have the writing skills necessary to effectively tell the tale the way you obviously do.   Please consider writing your story.

    The MindFreedom I Got Better campaign going on now at thankfully allows for video submissions for those of us who aren’t a fan of writing.

    Cheers for your UK spellings,




    Eliza J


    thanks for the encouragement.

    what i really wanted to add is that Belinda is totally right . your  advice about compliance and the need to be willing to play their game and act out what ever the heck it is that will get you out of their clutches and into your own enviroment. so far as i know from my own experience that was what saved me, being submissive, compliant, taking the meds while on the wards and then getting the heck away from the whole thing as far as i could to learn how to take care of myself. it is not an easy process, at least i didn’t/haven’t found it an easy process. mostly because there was/is some underlying cause that is abuse based, trauma based that is the heart of all the ‘psychosis’ i have lived through. i was very severly abused as an infant. it took more than twenty years post first hospitalisation to come to that truth, and i realised after i had written the piece above i was actually self medicating with heavy canabis resin use and alcohol for ten years before that from my first suicide attempt age 15, so this whole process has defined and taken over my life in one way. to imagine there is any alternative to being involved as an activist and campaigner after a life career in mental illness and it’s associated resistance movements is beyond thinking. there have been times when i have been going through a lot and not had the energy to participate or contribute meaningfully, but that is the illness. the drive as soon as i am well enough is to get fully involved. i find the APA lecture Will Hall gave this year hugely inspiring and he gives me great hope for my own contributions on this side of the Atlantic in bringing about change.

    anyway, not much time as i am at the library and can’t really edit or manage this in the time i have left so appologies if this is a bit of a babble.

    just thanks and if i can give support, advice or help to anyone, well, i will do what i can.

    much love X

    ELiza J

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