Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal

ComingOffDrugsGuideCOVERBIGThe second edition of the excellent Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal is now available for free download or purchase.

‘The Icarus Project and Freedom Center’s 52-page illustrated guide gathers the best information we’ve come across and the most valuable lessons we’ve learned about reducing and coming off psychiatric medication.

Based in more than 10 years work in the peer support movement, this Guide is used internationally by individuals, families, professionals, and organizations, and is available a growing number of translations.

Includes info on mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, risks, benefits, wellness tools, psychiatric drug withdrawal, information for people staying on their medications, detailed Resource section, and much more.

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‘One Gutsy Woman’ by Daisy Anderson

dandersonAn inspiring, beautifully written story from Mad in America about being drugged by the biological psychiatry industry and a courageous battle through drug withdrawal to recovery

‘Part One: Becoming Psychiatric: Easy as 1-2-3
Living with a mental illness is hard work. I know because I lived as a psychiatric patient for over thirty-seven years. Working to become well turned out to be even harder. I know because it took everything I had to recover. Even though eighteen psychiatrists treated me, my health only got worse. I recovered completely after hiring a private psychologist. Now, I take no psychiatric drugs and see no psychiatrists.

My almost-completed book, which I call The Daisy Project, tells the story of how I first became a patient in my home province of British Columbia, Canada, why I was sick for so long, and the hurdles I went through to fully recover. This blog provides a brief overview of my journey.

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‘Psychiatric Drugs: More Dangerous Than You Ever Imagined (A New Video)’ by Peter Breggin MD

Peter Breggin is a very special man and has been detailing the dangers of biological psychiatry and psychiatric drugs for many years. Here is a video he posted on Mad In America.

‘We are facing a tragedy of enormous proportions!  Psychiatric drugs of every kind are exposing people to long-term risks of a declining quality of life, apathy, chronic disability, and even shrinkage of the brain.

When they try to withdraw from the drugs, they are likely to find themselves afflicted with new symptoms of drug-induced harm that the medications were suppressing.   Then they may find it physically and emotionally painful, and even dangerously unsafe, to withdraw from these psychoactive medications.

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Psychiatric drugs cause altered mental states

Another ‘Unrecognised Fact’ from the Council of Evidence-based Psychiatry

‘Just like other substances that affect brain chemistry (such as illicit drugs), psychiatric drugs produce altered mental states. They do not ‘cure’ diseases, and in many cases their mechanism of action is not properly understood.’

Check out the other two short videos and research evidence.

‘Support for those in Withdrawal Who Struggle With Family & Friends Not Understanding’ by Baylissa Frederick

bfrederickOne of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of withdrawal is that feeling of being misunderstood, unsupported and isolated.

If someone has diabetes, dystonia or other chronic illness or experiences a life event such as a bereavement, people will more often empathise and offer support. They understand these issues – the required dietary restrictions, medication, etc., and they will be able to tell you the stages of grief. Support of every kind is forthcoming because there is enough awareness, shared through every medium, on these topics.

Even an addiction to cocaine, alcohol or heroin receives more attention and holds more credibility than protracted benzodiazepine and antidepressant withdrawal. It is saddening indeed that those in withdrawal are so terribly misunderstood.

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Myth of the chemical imbalance

Here is the second ‘Unrecognised Fact’ from the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry.

Psychiatric drugs have often been prescribed to patients on the basis that they cure a ‘chemical imbalance’. However, no chemical imbalances have been proven to exist in relation to any mental health disorder. There is also no method available to test for the presence or absence of these chemical imbalances.

‘4 year anniversary of withdrawal from psych drug cocktail: healing continues’ by Monica Cassani

yayCONGRATULATIONS Monica on your 4th Anniversary and your fantastic website.

Here is what Monica had to say on her blog:

‘Below is the post for the anniversary of the completion of the psychiatric drug withdrawal process I went through that I wrote for last year. Much of it remains relevant and true, so I thought I’d share it again.

I actually have had my best year since coming off drugs this last year. I started seeing improvements somewhat faster in the last year and am getting significantly physically stronger and healthier in general. Discovering the histamine intolerance a little over a year ago led to the most significant personal dietary change I’ve made.

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“Benzodiazepine withdrawal as told by a woman in the midst of it…” by Monica Cassani

A very moving video. There must be much more awareness raising about the effects of these drugs, particularly amongst doctors and psychiatrist. Here’s what Monica Cassani had to say and she has included essential links:

‘This is a story I know so well and I generally can’t and don’t read stories anymore having read literally 1000s of them now. This video, however, grabbed me and it also brought me to tears. This is my story too. And the story of 100s of thousands of us and yet it’s a story that is still widely denied within psychiatry and medicine in general.

Benzodiazepines are not the only psychiatric drug that create this sort of withdrawal syndrome. Please educate yourself about psych drug withdrawal syndromes here.

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Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal

Unknown-2I cannot recommend the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal enough. It is essential reading! The publication is written by Will Hall and published by The Icarus Project and Freedom Center. You can find out more on Will’s website.

Here is what Will has to say about Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal in his Author’s Note:

‘This is a guide I wish I had when I was taking psychiatric drugs. Prozac helped me for a while, then made me manic and suicidal. I was sick for days after coming off Zoloft, with counselors telling me I was faking it. Nurses who drew blood samples for my lithium levels never explained it was to check for drug toxicity, and I was told the Navane and other anti-psychotics I took to calm my wild mental states were necessary because of faulty brain chemistry.

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‘Psych drugs can strip folks of caring about hygiene & home environment’ by Monica Cassani

adlI really like Monica Cassani’s blog Beyond Meds. Monica say: ‘This blog documents and shares many natural methods of self-care for finding and sustaining health in body, mind and spirit. My own experience as both (now – ex) patient and a mental health professional allows for some interesting and sometimes uncomfortable insights into the mental health system in the United States.’

In the world of social services they refer to them as your ADLs. Activities of daily living. ADLs encompass more than care of self and home but I’m referring to those two things here as they are the most common and visible dysfunction quite often.

If you’ve been part of the mental health system you’ll know that mental health professionals quite often check in with you to see how well you’re functioning by asking about your ADLs. And people who’ve been highly psychiatrized quite often know the acronym. ADL.

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