Psychiatric Drug Recovery Stories from the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry (CEPUK)

These stories of psychiatric drug recovery are produced by the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry in the UK.

Mary: a survivor of ECT and decades of psychiatric drugging

Mary had a bad reaction to nitreous oxide which was given to her during the birth of her daughter. This led to multiple drugs and a series of electroshock treatments. After many years Mary decided to come off all her drugs and is overjoyed with her ability to feel and to think clearly once again.


Rachel’s recovery from psychiatric labelling and unnecessary treatment

After suffering abuse as a child Rachel began to hear voices while a teenager and went to a psychiatrist for help. Years of hospital and drug treatment followed. However Rachel only recovered once she rejected psychiatry and began to embrace her ‘symptoms’ as a meaningful response to childhood trauma.


Jo goes ‘cold turkey’ from 60mg of diazepam

Jo suffered from exam stress at university, which led to insomnia and a prescription for lorazepam from her doctor. After having a bad reaction she was switched to diazepam, and eventually came off 60mg ‘cold turkey’. She went through a horrendous withdrawal experience and still suffers from some symptoms two years later.


Baylissa’s journey off clonazepam

Baylissa (who has written her story at Mad in America here), suffered from dystonia since childhood and was given a prescription for a benzodiazepine called clonazepam in order to minimise a facial tic on her wedding day. She soon became addicted and subsequently spent three years in withdrawal. However this terrible experience led to her work as a withdrawal support counsellor and – fully recovered – she now has no regrets.


Paul’s recovery from antidepressants

Paul describes how a virus led to a prescription for Prozac and other antidepressants. He ended up on Effexor and has spent over four years in horrific withdrawal from the drugs, leading to the loss of his career and the disruption of almost every other aspect of his life.


Ian’s recovery and subsequent work for the Bristol Tranquilliser Project

Ian describes how work stress led to a prescription for lorazepam, which he stopped cold turkey in the late 80s. His withdrawal caused many symptoms, including crippling anxiety which lasted over 18 months. He only discovered what was wrong when he visited the Bristol Tranquilliser Project, and has now worked for this organisation for over 20 years, helping thousands of people successfully withdraw from benzodiazepines and antidepressants.