New study: stopping psych meds is difficult, but most “satisfied with choice”



New study finds that stopping psychiatric medication is difficult, but most are “satisfied with their choice”

Download the Press Release

Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric medications can stop taking them if they choose. Individuals who discontinue report that self-care and social support help, but mental health professionals could be more helpful.

In an article published this week in Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association, titled “Discontinuing Psychiatric Medications: A Survey of Long-Term Users,” researchers from Live & Learn, Inc., New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, UCSF’s Department of Psychiatry, and UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs present preliminary findings

See the article on the Psychiatric Services website.

The Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction study (PMDR) is the first U.S. survey of a large sample of longer-term users who chose to discontinue psychiatric medications. The study, funded by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care and led by current and former users of psychiatric medications, sought to understand first-hand experiences and strategies of individuals who decided to discontinue psychiatric medications, and either stopped or reduced the use of these medications.

For information about full-text access to our article in Psychiatric Services, please contact


*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

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. 

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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One thought on “New study: stopping psych meds is difficult, but most “satisfied with choice”

  1. Monica, I have been eyeing the Foundation for Excellence for a while. Apparently they have independent grant money, non-pharma money. I would love to see a survivor-only (or shall I say, those of us who used to be prisoners…) project done on there, not some project done by some post-psychiatry group that call themselves “alternative.”


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