A therapist who gets it speaks

Some of you have likely already seen this as I shared it all over social media yesterday. Still I wanted a link to it on the blog too and certainly not everyone uses social media in the same ways.

Jonathan Keyes speaks to the very serious issue of psychiatric drug withdrawal and specifically the society wide denial about the issue and the lack of support for those of us who brave the journey.

From Mad in America:

jonIn my practice as a therapist I often work with people who have been seriously hurt by the practice of psychiatry, either directly or indirectly through family members. Many of them started taking psychiatric drugs for moderate depression, or for some anxiety, or for panic attacks. But as time went on, their doses went up. More meds were added. By the time they realized the drugs were making things worse, they were already stuck on a large cocktail of psychiatric drugs. The side effects worsened and became intransigent. Increasing depression, lethargy, loss of libido, confusion, mental fog, weight gain, lowered immunity and poorer sleep became the norm. Drugs were added to combat the side effects, leading to more side effects. At some point the realization settles in that the psych meds are causing tremendous suffering, are causing iatrogenic illness.

The sad part about this common story is that when the person finally decides that the psych drugs have caused deep harm, and that they want to stop, the road towards coming off these drugs is long and arduous. Doctors often encourage a very fast taper. But when the person tries to to taper off too quickly, many find that their suffering is magnified a hundred fold. They are, in essence, stuck with the drugs that made them sick, and have to spend a great deal of time, energy and personal strength to manage a slow taper, a process that can sometimes take years…


…In the midst of this iatrogenically caused suffering, a person tapering off meds may be further challenged by having little support or understanding in the larger world. How do you explain the sheer Hell of a benzo taper to your neighbor, or parents at your kid’s school? Even if you were to do so, there may be feelings of shame and embarrassment for some. But not telling acquaintances leaves some feeling increasingly isolated, having to create a mask of false happiness when talking to people. The suffering induced by psych drug withdrawal is compounded by societal isolation and lack of understanding.(read the rest)

I made two comments in response to Jonathan Keyes bringing up the isolation we face. I’ve consolidated them into one here:

Yes, and thank you.

The isolation one faces when critically ill with withdrawal syndrome was the entry way to the darkest period of my life. The sense of abandonment only deepens the iatrogenic injury. I have seen far too many people face the same thing.

This is one of the reasons I continue to do the work I do.

I have a collection of posts that speak to the isolation and many have found them helpful at various times when going through withdrawal…here for any of Mad in America readers who are facing such isolation…

The isolation and sense of abandonment many people deal with when sick with protracted withdrawal illness.

And I want to say, it gets better. Much better. Hang in there.


Please do not attempt to discontinue psych drugs without first very carefully educating yourself on the risks involved so that you might minimize the chances of developing grave iatrogenic illness if you decide to withdraw: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

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