Saturday, February 4, 2023

Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

Mad in America has been writing and hosting discussions about dependence on and withdrawal from psychiatric drugs since 2011. This page presents an overview of both recent and archival articles discussing the issues.

Antidepressants

How to Avoid Severe SSRI Withdrawal Symptoms?

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After long-term use, most people are going to have serious symptoms when stopping SSRIs. Many people are going to have transient, mild to moderate difficulty and some are going to end up falling down the akathisia rabbit hole. That is a long, difficult drop.

RxISK Stories: Withdrawal from antidepressants – V’s story

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I quit taking Prozac using a step-down method. Started in Sept. 2011 and finally off in January 2012. I experienced severe loss of balance early on, which progressed into full-blown ataxia & parasthesia. Have had extensive blood-testing & MRIs of brain & cervical spine, all negative! I have to believe this is a result of coming off Prozac, although most sites say the withdrawal side effects don't last this long.
antidepressant withdrawal

How Long Does Antidepressant Withdrawal Last?

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The patient experiencing the pain of withdrawal believed that they would feel better when they stopped taking their antidepressants. After all, they’re under the care of a board-certified medical professional who has vowed to do no harm. But despite those reassurances, they find themselves in a world of hurt.

Antipsychotics

Enslaved to Abilify

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A very gifted and compassionate friend recently said that she feels enslaved to Abilify - that she has tried to taper off it several times but always ends up slipping into an extreme state, no matter how slow she tapers. She said this repeated experience makes her feel like a slave, because she has to go back on the drug to stop the very intense extreme state induced whenever she tries to stop taking it.

Cold Turkey

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The other day I talked to a friend who I hadn’t seen for quite a while. She told me that she had been prescribed Seroquel for sleep problems about a year ago. But when she started to read about it a couple months ago she got really nervous that it was causing her long term health complications and she stopped taking it - cold turkey - without tapering. I wondered about our conversation afterwards and thought about the countless amount of people who don’t tolerate their psychiatric meds and quit cold turkey.

Components for a Good Neuroleptic Withdrawal Program

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The United States desperately needs good programs to help people withdraw from neuroleptic drugs. From all I have seen and heard, there aren’t any - none at least that can reputably claim to get good results on a fairly consistent basis. Again and again I find myself challenged to envision such a program, and in reply to the challenge I have broken down this hypothetical program into various components.

Benzodiazepines

The Prescription that Changed My Life

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What I have learned is that benzos don’t discriminate. They don’t care that you have a master’s degree or that you are a good person in the community or that you were just doing what the doctors told you to do and you were woefully ignorant and misinformed of their dangers.
doctor

Benzo Withdrawal: Why Don’t Doctors Know?

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Many have asked: “Why doesn’t my doctor/provider know what is happening to me?” Benzodiazepine tolerance and withdrawal are not new. So, why isn’t it simple to diagnose and treat? As both a health care provider and a withdrawal sufferer, I’d like to offer an inside and outside perspective on this question.

There’s No Duct Tape for Benzo Withdrawal

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It’s stunning what a quarter milligram of a benzodiazepine can do to the body. I’ve been detoxing off a high dose of benzodiazepines since September of 2011. The first few months were a failure. But this past May, I found my expert and thought I had the formula. Things were going well for detoxing off a substance many deem more addictive that heroin. That is, I realized, until they weren’t.

Stimulants / Mood Stabilizers / OPIOIDS

3 Facts All Parents Should Know About ADHD Stimulant Drugs

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Medicating children for a host of mental disorders has become very popular in some parts of the USA. More than 8 million kids from 6 months to 17 years of age are on pharmaceutical drugs in this wonderful country. We lead the world in drugging youth for behavioral, cognitive and attention issues. We are once again #1. But I would like to share with parents as well as adults working with children a few not so readily available facts related to medicating kids for behavior issues.

The Medical Model Discovers Heroin Addiction

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The United States is experiencing an epidemic of heroin addiction and a sharp rise in opiate over-dose death. Contrary to addicts being introduced to opiate addiction through street heroin, 75% of new addicts became addicted through prescription opiates. While SAMSHA does suggest that Opiate Treatment Programs screen for other drugs, SAMSHA is unclear about what should happen if the urine tests positive.

Reasons Not to Believe in Lithium

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I Don’t Believe in God, But I Believe in Lithium’ is the title of Jamie Lowe’s moving account of her manic depression in the New York Times. The piece reminds us how devastating and frightening this condition can be, so it is understandable that the author put her faith in the miracle cure psychiatrists have been recommending since the 1950s: lithium. The main problem is that there is no study in which people who have been started on lithium have been compared with people who haven’t.

Continuing Education

Visit our MIA Continuing Education site to find courses and webinars discussing psychiatric drug withdrawal and informed consent.

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Research - Antidepressants

Research - Antipsychotics

Research - Benzodiazepines

Research - Stimulants / Mood Stabilizers / Opioids

Withdrawal Podcasts

Withdrawal Resources

Mad in America’s Provider Directory – listings of individual practitioners, peer organizations, mutual support groups, and residential and outpatient programs that will support people who want to taper from their psychiatric medications.

Mad in America’s Withdrawal Pages – Continuing Education courses, personal stories, blogs and more.

Rxisk – maintains a searchable database of adverse effects of prescription drugs that have been reported to the FDA in the United States, Health Canada, and to RxISK.

Surviving Antidepressants – Volunteer-led peer-support for tapering off psychiatric drugs and for withdrawal syndrome and tips about coping with symptoms.

Inner Compass Initiative – provides information, resources, tools, and connecting platforms ​to facilitate more informed choices regarding all things “mental health”.

Will Hall’s Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs.

Tapering Strips – an innovative option for gradual reduction of prescribed psychiatric drugs.