Psychiatric medications can mess you up. Just stopping taking them will, most likely, really mess you up.
If you take psychiatric medications please do not just stop taking them.
There are some good sources of information that can help you make informed decisions, set realistic goals, use medications safely and should you decide to reduce or stop taking psychiatric medications to do so safely and manage your wellness. All the guides offer broadly similar approaches…
- inform yourself about your medictions and the effects you may experience as you reduce or discontinue them – you may experience unpleasant and difficult symptoms
- get support from those you trust
- gradual, staged or phased reductions over a period time
- use all your coping strategies, wellness tools to manage what can be a dificult time and to keep yourself well – a proramme like WRAP can help you with this.
Withdrawal, or Discontinuation [Cessation] Syndrome?
The Medical Profession and Pharmaceutical companies do not like the term withdrawl when applied to the difficult experiences that can result from stopping taking the psychiatric medications that they say you need to take all your life.
Drug companies must, by law, publish information about their product and medical professionals will follow protocols for reducing medications. This information is available to you, though you would not be alone if you found it tricky to obtain.
Protocols typically involve gradual stepping down of doses – and sometimes switching to a different medication which has more easily managed discontinuation or cessation effects.
Here we share the best sources of information we’ve found from around the world…
Harm Reduction guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs
This is a great guide for anyone wanting to undertsand more about psychiatric meds.
Well researched and containigs information that is as good as you’ll find anywhere – the best information and valuable lessons we’ve learned rom experience about reducing and coming off psychiatric medication.
Includes infornation on mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, risks, benefits, wellness tools, psychiatric drug withdrawal, information for people staying on their medications, detailed resource section, and much more.
The harm reduction approach is neither pro, nor anti-medication, but aims to support people in balancing the risks and benefits involved when in making their choice.
Written by Will Hall, with a 14-member health professional Advisory Board providing research assistance and 24 other collaborators.
Gaining Autonomy With Medication
Self-Management of Psychiatric Medication is something survivors have been doing with very little support for a long time. A mental health coalition in Quebec has created a resource guide and a training program (GAM) that offers essential support to those who are seeking to navigate the medication maze.
GAM Is About:
- Learning and understanding about medications and its effects on all aspects of a persons life.
- Questioning ones needs and preferences with respect to medication.
- Making decisions, self-advocacy, engaging external supports, taking risks and taking charge.
The ultimate goal of this process is to achieve a more satisfying quality of life.
Making Sense of Coming off Psychiatric Drugs
The image to the right shows a glimpse of their main site.
The booklet includes information on most psychiatric drugs, effectiveness, side effects, and information on half-life of meds. All likely useful information if you are contemplating reducing your meds.
Copyright is owned by MIND UK- the copyight allows you to use the booklet for your own personal use. However, it does not permit professionals to print off copies for distribution to colleagues or clients.