Cold-turkeying off psych drugs is not a wise choice except in a life-threatening emergency


An important Facebook update by Alto Strata from the Surviving Antidepressants withdrawal board (which gives very careful and sober information for coming off all psychiatric drugs):

suI am seeing an unfortunate trend in the psychiatric survivor community: People are saying cold turkey can be a perfectly fine way to go off psychiatric drugs.

We know many people get away with cold turkey, but others injure their nervous systems severely, for months or years. You don’t know in advance what will happen. Even a taper over a month reduces the risk of injury.

What’s more, if you do get withdrawal syndrome, you’re on your own. You cannot imagine how bad it can be. There’s no real medical treatment. You can’t count on a nice doctor with a pill to save you.

We need to get together to protect each other, the way the gay community united to encourage safe sex to protect people from HIV infection.

Please help spread the word: Friends do not let friends cold turkey.

Yes, withdrawal syndrome is hell. Be safe. Do whatever you can to avoid it.

While I’m posting that concise and important message from Alto Strata, I’ll take this opportunity to repost below the withdrawal and withdrawal syndrome round-up page from Beyond Meds that has lots of compiled information that can help you withdraw from psych drugs more safely. Withdrawal always has risks. Minimize the risks by being cautious and methodical in your approach to coming off.

Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

In the course of my work with those coming off psych meds I’ve learned that there are few people, even among critics of psychiatry that have a clue at the potential severity of psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes. That also means there are virtually no professionals that can offer meaningful support when people encounter serious issues. We remain dependent on each other.

Other than those who’ve directly experienced protracted withdrawal or those who have lived with those who have experienced it, it simply remains under appreciated and therefore under treated and under recognized even, as I said, among critics of psychiatry. It’s rather horrifying for those of us who find ourselves struck by such illness. While perhaps a minority, we are not an insignificant minority. I alone have had contact with 1000s of us.

The other thing to consider is that we are perhaps not even a minority because the fact is so many issues with withdrawal are not recognized at all and are instead considered and then treated as the “underlying illness,” many folks simply get sicker and sicker on meds and never even know why they’re ill. Those people never come to understand that all the multiple trials of drugs and the numerous times of coming off and on them has actually been the cause of their illness.

I’m putting together a collection of withdrawal links for the navigation menu since the drop-down menu has become rather long. I will post it as a new post and then it will be accessible permanently from the top of the blog.

Generally, prolonged withdrawal syndrome is not recognized by medicine. You will find very few doctors to diagnose it and still fewer to treat it. This is a collection of links that might help you educate yourself so that you can find more appropriate care when the time comes as well as hopefully avoiding falling ill at all. I found that being well-educated and finding doctors who respected how much effort I put into educating myself helped me. It must be said, though, that it is also a curse because for every doctor who appreciates a knowledgable patient there are likely 15 or 20 or maybe even more who feel threatened by that same patient. Still, it is a plus to know what we are doing.

I will update this page as appropriate and as I remember about older posts from the archives.

See also: Peer support? This is the real thing. Free of institutionalization. (psych drug withdrawal)

For general information on withdrawing from psychiatric drugs see here: Withdrawal 101

 For additional information on psychiatric drug withdrawal support and withdrawal boards see here: Support in withdrawal

This post and it’s content really only scratches the surface of the issues we face. Still it’s a good place to start.

●  The truth is often ugly… (what people are up against when they choose to free themselves from psych meds)

●  Stop taking your meds, right now… (NOT!)

●  Some thoughts on stopping psychiatric medications — pros and cons to coming off

 Introduction to psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome

●  Psychiatric drug withdrawal: Why taper by 10% of your dosage?

●  The slowness of slow tapers (safer withdrawal from psychiatric medications)

●  Withdrawal syndrome vs adrenal fatigue

●  Protracted withdrawal from SSRIs and SNRIs antidepressants

●  GABA/Glutamate cycle in withdrawal from psychotropics– SSRIs, benzos, and Lamictal

●  Benzo withdrawal info

●  Lamictal redux

●  Multiple drug sensitivity (a not infrequent outcome of over-prescribed medications)

●  Trellis: this is your brain on (psych) drugs

●  GABA/glutamate system and how it might work with benzodiazepines and Lamictal

●  Drug Withdrawal and Emotional Recovery

●  Chronic pain (psych drug withdrawal induced and chronic pain in general too)

●  Dogmatic anti-meds stance can be dangerous

●  Alarming report on persistent side effects of antidepressant drugs published online

●  Histamine intolerance(likely to apply to others on psych meds and coming off

Share all of this information with the doctors in your life:  A plea to prescribing physicians and psychiatrists: please help us heal

See here for the Freedom Center and Icarus manual:  Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs & Withdrawal (newly revised edition)

For general information on withdrawing from psychiatric drugs see here: Withdrawal 101

 For additional information on psychiatric drug withdrawal support and withdrawal boards see here: Support in withdrawal

I also have a page that is a collection of my own withdrawal documented.  It has a lot of posts that talk about what I learned on the withdrawal boards while I try to recover from my own protracted withdrawal and so a lot of it has value to others in withdrawal: Monica/Gianna: withdrawal documented

Recently the concise story of my withdrawal and subsequent disabling iatrogenic illness was published on David Healy’s site, RxIsk: Monica’s story: the aftermath of polypsychopharmacology

And for ways to support your recovery you can visit the Healing Arts and the Nutrition sections at the top of the page. There are drop down menus available with lots of options.

If you’ve found yourself very ill from this process I also have a section at the top of the page to support those with Chronic Illness. Check that drop-down menu too or click here.

Click here

If you have found my work helpful and can afford to do so, please consider making a contribution and becoming a supporting subscriber of Beyond Meds.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters