Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

This is a copy of the original post that’s located in the drop-down menus at the top of this page.

This page is regularly updated. Below the initial commentary is a collection of links with lots of information to better inform the reader on psychiatric drug withdrawal. Educating oneself and preparing for a safer taper goes a long way in mitigating the risk of serious protracted withdrawal issues.

*feel free to share via social media. You are also free to copy and paste and republish as widely as you’d like. 

Not everyone is subject protracted or even significant withdrawal issues. That said everyone needs to be aware of the risk so that every reasonable precaution can be made to avoid potentially serious issues. In the interest of informed consent we need to know what the risks are. Many psychiatrists are not telling people about these risks. What is worse is that psychiatrists don’t even understand the risks or recognize what they’re actually witnessing when they start happening. This level of ignorance is a criminal reality at the moment.

See: the “It Gets Better” Series if you’re sick and in the midst of psychiatric drug withdrawal

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.

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 

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

More:

See: the “It Gets Better” Series if you’re sick and in the midst of psychiatric drug withdrawal

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

MORE  RESOURCES: a list curated by Laura Delano:  Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Resources

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 

More recently I detailed my history on Mad in America’s website: Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs

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.

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*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. 

For a multitude of ideas about how to create safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters