Some people are so terrified and reactive they assume that I am somehow suggesting that everyone come off their meds. Like right now. It’s a sad reflection of exactly how fear based most treatment and care in mental health is…people cannot even conceive of actually having a choice in these matters.
Not only is it very unsafe and potentially quite dangerous to come off meds precipitously, the truth is I’m also extremely open to the huge differences in our personal experiences and have great respect for the choices individuals make whether they choose to medicate or not.
Given that drugs harmed me and I now know of thousands of others who have also been seriously harmed, I do use this blog to educate those who may not know about the issues of iatrogenic injuries caused by psychiatric treatment. I do want to help people understand that there are very serious risks involved in choosing to take psych meds and that there are meaningful alternatives that can help and heal a very large number of folks that psychiatry routinely say need meds for the rest of their lives. I now know of thousands of folks harmed by drugs and many other thousands who have freed themselves from drugs who now are thriving and healthy and med-free. That, according to psychiatry, doesn’t happen. Someone has to get the information out there. I am, of course, not alone in doing that, but the powers that be have bigger means of getting the message out that pharmaceuticals are the preferable way to go. Many of us have found that to be a dangerous untruth.
This blog attempts to combat the lack of information about alternatives…that is all. I have no issue with folks who choose medications. What I have an issue with are psychiatrists and other mental health professionals telling people they MUST take neurotoxic drugs that harm, often for the rest of their lives, when that is often simply not true for a huge percentage of folks.
Once people have information on options they can make their own choices. Included in that is not using meds at all, minimizing use in general, or using meds in a very targeted fashion while in crisis only.
I posted the first couple of lines of this post on Facebook first. There are comments there from people who have found that they needed the information this blog shares. The fact is we’re simply not told that we have options when we visit the psychiatrist. In fact the psychiatrist often doesn’t even know that there are meaningful and effective options.
The other thing we need to be aware of is that as long as options and support for alternatives to medications and psychiatry are not widely made available that means that many people really have no meaningful choice but to take drugs. We do not all have the same resources — emotional, financial and otherwise, to allow the same freedom of choice. This is especially true since there is no infrastructure of care for alternatives. People do need support of some kind. If all that is on offer is drugs, what are they to do? This is what ultimately must be changed. Structures must be made that make options and choice real. For everyone. Right now there is nothing available for far too many people. That being the reality people do the best they can. We all do.
Several years ago now I also wrote this little blurb. I think we who opt for drug-freedom would do well to remember this:
It is equally coercive to tell someone who feels they need relief through medication, and cannot currently fathom or access other means of relief, that they cannot take meds as it is to force meds on one who does not want them. As soon as the option of choice is removed so is self-determination. We never, ever know someone else’s experience. We simply are not all the same. Assuming we have the answer for someone else based on our experience and limited knowledge is hubris.
I’ve collected posts that speak to the broader view I hold below because choosing to be med-free needs to be done carefully…if for no other reason because there are few mental health professionals who understand what is involved. Also because it can be potentially hazardous. Below are posts that reflect this sense of caution:
Update 2016: It’s become clear to me that whenever it’s possible that it’s helpful for folks who’ve not begun withdrawal and have the time to consider a carefully thought out plan to attempt to bring greater well-being to your body before starting the withdrawal. That means learning how to profoundly nourish your body/mind and spirit prior to beginning a withdrawal. For suggestions on how to go about doing that check the drop-down menus on this blog for ideas. Anything that helps you learn how to live well can be part of your plan. That plan will look different for everyone as we learn to follow our hearts and find our own unique paths in the world. Things to begin considering are diet, exercise and movement, meditation/contemplation etc. Paying attention to all these things as you do them helps too. The body will start letting us know what it needs as we learn to pay attention.
*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page.