Coming Off Psychiatric Medication

This website aims to give you up to date information about psychiatric medication, how it functions and the withdrawal process. It is put together by people who have been prescribed medication and withdrawn from it, and clinicians who have been involved in supporting this process. If we have a period of distress or confusion and receive medical help we are generally given a diagnosis and prescribed psychiatric drugs. Research suggests doctors tend to know more about putting people on medication than the actual withdrawal process. It is important therefore to disseminate information about the coming off process.

As well as the information available here we particularly recommend the excellent Icarus Project free publication:

Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs

Distress or confusion tends to be episodic in nature. Once an episode has passed or if the psychiatric drug is not helping we may wish to stop taking the drug. If we want to reduce or stop our dependence on psychiatric medication, it is important to develop other ways of balancing mood and dealing with difficult mind states. It is also important to develop a support network around you that will support you in this coming off process. We recommend where possible people work collaboratively with their prescriber to negotiate the coming off process. Reducing medication can be a difficult process so it is important to prepare well before starting a reduction process.

How to use this website

If you are considering coming off your psychiatric medications you can find information about your specific medication by looking under the heading "Your Medication". This will give you information on how the drug interacts with the brain, adverse effects of the drug, any associated withdrawal effects and suggested rates of withdrawal.

Under the heading planning you will find information about things to consider when planning your withdrawal. The planning of the withdrawal is very important weask you to consider questions such as, is this the right time for you to withdraw, what have you got in place to replace the drugs, who could you turn to for support etc. Therefore, we strongly recommend you go through the Planning your withdrawal pages before commencing your withdrawal.

Under the heading "Alternatives" are stories of how individuals have found other ways (without medication) to manage difficult mind and mood states and where these services/activities can be found/accessed. We strongly recommend individuals find other ways to regulate/support their mental health and start incorporating these into their lifestyle before starting their withdrawal.

Under "Stories" you will find individuals accounts of withdrawing from psychiatric medications, how they did it, what was useful to them in this process, what were the hurdles and how they were able to overcome these. If you have successfully withdrawn from psychiatric medications yourself and have written an account of this, we would welcome hearing your story.

We plan to develop links to useful sites on medications, withdrawal from medications, non-pharmaceutical ways to manage distress and difficult mind states and other useful organisations. If you have contributions or ideas of how to improve the web-site please contact us.

Who are we?

The contributors to the Coming Off Psychiatric Medication web-site include mental health professionals and people who have used mental health services and their relatives. The contributers include (Dr.) Rufus May, who works as a Clinical Psychologist and Adam Jhugroo who works as a Psychiatric Nurse. Professor Phil Thomas of University of Central Lancashire and formerly worked as a consultant psychiatrist, is among the advisors to the Coming off Psychiatric Medication web-site.

The website is recommended by the Department of Health publication: Medicines Management: Everybody's Business