The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs

Posted , 6 users are following.

Good morning all. Hoping this morning finds you feeling well.

This forum is really helping me, just reading through people's posts and seeing that I am not alone is a godsend.

One thing I am noticing again and again are the posts where people talk about reducing or coming off their meds. So many doctors seem to advise ridiculously fast tapering, telling people who've been on meds for a while that 'it will be okay and there won't be any effects.' This is really not seeming to be true, by what I am reading of people's experiences.

I also weaned myself off for a period before, and something that really helped was reading The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs.

Its not anti meds, but is written by someone who did come off, with a view to educating people.

It's a really good read whether or not you plan to come off, so just Google that title if you feel like reading, it's a free file download.

Have a good day xxx

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    I agree Ruth. I came off gradually as advised by GP. From 20 to 10 every other day then on 10 for a month, then every other day for a month and then I stopped. I did feel light headed and weird for at least three weeks. Eventually it went and now July I’m completely clear. I did have a bit of a shock when my mood went back to how it was at the beginning. I thought I might have to go back on it as husband, children and dog avoided my gaze! But I’ve had a good few weeks now feeling calm and level and actually happy. So you have to stick at it I guess. 
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  • Posted

    So true about doctors, these Pharma companies tests in all this does not appear to be enough to educate people.  My neurologist said to me regarding another med (but the same will apply with citralopram and how it affects me) that she has never known anyone to have side effects coming off 10mg, my answer to her was, yes you have ME!

    Long story short she is going to warn other patients.

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    • Posted

      Exactly..... and I don't know where she gets that from, cos all you have to do is read up and there are so many stories of people having withdrawal effects from coming off 10mg.

      You just can't know how an individual is going to react... we are all so different, and surely it's better to advise people to be really cautious.

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    • Posted

      Exactly Ruth, makes me so angry thats why I want to raise awareness. I had to research, make lots of complaints to my doctors and literally force them to listen to me, they are listening now, and really look after me, had to go through hell before that happened, and am now fighting for my job as my productivity has dropped due the exhaustion from 8 months of withdrawal.

      How are you feeling now Ruth?

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    • Posted

      You are so right, if this medication causes so many side effects getting it in to your system, what makes people, especially medically trained people, think it will just effortlessly leave your system? The other thing that makes me surprised is the amount of people and I include myself in this due to learning the hard way, is if it is working and there is no medical reasons, why we want to come off of something that is helping us live a normal life. Human nature needs to have a word with its self me thinks
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    • Posted

      Hi Sue, there are so many other factors at play with psychiatric meds that I have read. Age, menopause, weight, dosage, sensitivity.,length of time on these, interactions with other meds, herbs., some foods.,especially if someone has heart issues as mixing with certain pain killers could cause problems the list goes on. With regards to myself I will only take meds if it is absolutely necessary and after I have questioned and researched it.
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    • Posted

      Hey Paula, am OK. I think, although hardly want to tempt fate, that I am gradually settling on 5 mg. Don't get me wrong, waking is still a bit urgh, anxious feels, and also still some almost very small panic attacks, which don't come to much more than a fluttering heart followed by copious sweating...... its as if its just pouring out like a tap. I know it's hot at the moment, but it's clearly a side effect, it's so exaggerated. However, although I am still a bit preoccupied with how I am feeling, I am getting some longer windows in the day of actually forgetting about it. That's a good sign. I may just be okay on 5 mg. Fingers crossed. Been reading a lot about ssri and windows and waves in withdrawal....... I think it also applies to when one starts or increases the drug. How are you doing?

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    • Posted

      Yes, I do understand. It's a big decision, to come off. I kind of want to, one day, but that's not gonna be for a while yet, and only when other situations have really stabilised. And I would not hesitate to use anti ds in the future if that proved a mistake.

      I question why I might want to come off, I suppose I am curious about how I would do without it. I am also trying to eliminate lots of factors that have made life so stressful in the past. As a therapist said to me, if you're gonna stop, you have to have other things in place to replace your antidepressant.

      But at the end of the day, it's also about quality of life. If being off anti ds means a s****y quality of life and being a miserable nervous wreck, I would seriously reconsider.

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    • Posted

      I totally understand your curiosity about life without anti d's. The other observation I have made by reading posts on here is just how many are scared to go on them, understandable, given it is a step into the unknown but not the same percentage are scared to come off, could this be that the drugs have done their magic and made us feel invincible to whatever our mind / brain decides to tell us. Known what you mean about small panic attacks haven't had one for years, just got fed up with them and adopted the attitude ok come on then do your worse I am not worried and think my brain just thought ok sorry and gave in but had a very small 2 minute one yesterday whilst out shopping and then, like yourself dripping in sweat, like I had just stepped out of the shower, put it down to side effects and the hot weather, not coping with this heat at all! British Airways plane engines probably do not have as many fans as I have going right now!

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    • Posted

      its so weird that waking up feeling, I had that drunk feeling getting out of bed yesterday which I thought had disappeared so must be the window and waves.  It is so hot at the moment am assuming you are in the UK? which is not helping.  I am fine apart from the tiredness, should hopefully be gone in about a month or so, my doctor told me it can take two months to settle, then I will be tapering off Citalopram, I must be a masochist!
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    • Posted

      It's horrible. Yes, am in London, where it is disgustingly hot! Good to hear you are OK, and yes, the tiredness is a killer..... tired from small increase. Absolutely whacked out, but know that's a side effect, I feel a bit sedated but that's far preferable to anxious. Be really interested to hear how the taper off completely goes. Have a good day!

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  • Posted

    Hi, 

    I have been on Citalopram for 10 years, due to severe anxiety attacks , I decided to just stop , was taking 20mg.

    The first month was pretty bad , sickness , headaches, insomnia , its been 4 months now and i get headaches ringing in my ears , but no sign of anxiety or worry, the only thing I have noticed , well not me , other people is mood swings especially after alcohol. I have tried to stop the alcohol but i then get insomnia, until 2 nights ago when I slept the whole night, its a real boost for me because things are looking good, I don't know what started my anxiety , i put it down to having young children at the time, especially a son of 5, I was always putting my hand on their chests checking if they were breathing, sounds crazy, but now they are grown up I don't worry, so hopefully thats the end of the drug

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