Psychiatric drug withdrawal: preparation for before you begin

 

The below is an updated note with quite a few additional comments that I now include on most pages on psychiatric drug withdrawal on this site. When I came off these drugs there was little to no information on how to best do it. We are still largely in the dark about what is actually going on in the body and brain as it adjusts to becoming free from the neurotoxic drugs that it’s become acclimatized to. This process can be a violent, difficult and destructive one and certainly was for me. It is not always like this but it often is and it happens far more often than the medical establishment is willing to acknowledge. The level of denial in the medical world is a devastating and tragic reality that we must contend with. We are the only people who can take care of ourselves. Quite often we do not find competent medical help as we come off psychiatric drugs because it’s simply not widely available. My advocacy in large part has been about educating those in positions of power so that this might change. Clearly, it’s something we have only been able to work toward in baby steps.

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/mind/spirit before starting the withdrawal. I did not know to do that, but in retrospect had I known what a profoundly healthy and clean diet and healing lifestyle could do, I would have worked towards those things first. So, that means learning how to profoundly nourish your body/mind and spirit prior to beginning a withdrawal, and then throughout the process, so that it might all be a healing process, rather than one of total destruction and disability (like it’s turned out for so many of us).

We can still heal once that happens (I’m living proof), but trying to avoid it strikes me as a very good thing.

As a general rule we don’t know how to live well. We don’t know how to support our bodies and minds in profoundly nourishing ways and that is how we end up on the drugs that further sicken us, to begin with. Of course our entire society is complicit in this nightmare and a large part of learning to heal is a process of deconditioning. Most of what we’ve been told by the human beings around us isn’t the way of healing nor is it in alignment with nature.

For suggestions on how to go about deeply supporting your body/mind and spirit 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, community, service etc. Paying attention to all these things as you do them helps too. Listen to the body and how it interacts with our environment. That is mindfulness. That is meditation. The body will let us know what it needs as we learn to pay attention. This is about process and practice. It takes time and patience.

Some of the books that might help you do this sort of thing are listed below. No one has the one and only way to do this stuff. Most books present themselves as perhaps having that sort of knowledge. I’ve worked with many different systems of diet and nutrition now to learn about my body and the one thing I’ve learned and know on a deep level now is that we’re all different and we all need different things at different times. This is true of diet especially and there are numerous dogmatic camps and so it gets very confusing. I have learned from all these camps now and I don’t believe any of them have the one and only way to do anything at all.

Ideological attachment can be your enemy when you’re trying to learn to listen to your body. Your body doesn’t care what vegans, paleo folks or anyone else is saying. It simply needs what it happens to need right now. What is that? Listen to your body because no one else can actually tell you that though many people will try to convince you that they know exactly what you need. Need I remind you we’ve got to this place, harmed on psych meds because we allowed doctors to do that (or it was literally forced upon us). It seems most human beings like to believe they know what is best for others. There are certainly times when others can be deeply helpful to us and vice versa, but that happens in the context of sharing information, not imposing it — information that is offered up for consideration as opposed to advice that one expects you to take.

see also: Remineralization…a good thing to do in preparation for drug withdrawal (as well as for general well-being)

Below are three books with diverse perspectives on diet that I’ve found helpful. There are literally hundreds of books on diet and nutrition out there. Trust yourself and learn from where your heart takes you. These are only my suggestions you may find other books that are much more meaningful to you. I share these books because healing the body is foundational.

Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition.  — (Paul Pitchford, the author, is a vegan who understands that folks with various sorts of imbalances do, indeed, need animal products quite often) His book also serves as an introduction to Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine. Both of those systems have been hugely helpful to me in learning how to come into alignment with nature. That, in fact, is what is largely missing in western medicine.

Woman Code – this book is on diet and helps women balance hormones and gives very good, relatively non-dogmatic and flexible suggestions for healing with whole real food. I really loved it. This is my review of the book on this site: Young women (15 – 49) with hormones please read this

Nourishing Traditions: A cookbook and encyclopedia of sorts that teaches one how to prepare foods in traditional ways that maximize nutritional value.

Remember, meditation, exercise of various sorts and many other things are equally important. EVERYTHING MATTERS. It’s really true. So if you need ideas about those things too, check the drop-down menus at the top of this site and then start googling and find those things that matter to YOU. They will likely be different than that which mattered to ME.

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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.  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. 

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters