Inner Compass Initiative’s The Withdrawal Project Gets Mention in The New York Times—Is the Tide Finally Turning?


Slowly but surely, word is getting out to the general public about the very real and very serious issue of psychiatric medication withdrawal.

On the front page of yesterday’s The New York Times print edition, an article by Benedict Carey and Robert Gebeloff called “The Murky Perils of Quitting Antidepressants” looked at the epidemic rates of long-term antidepressant use (twenty-five million adults in the United States alone) and the serious mental, emotional, physical, and cognitive problems that many are grappling with in the wake of trying to stop them. (The online version of this article, called “Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit”, can be accessed here).

At its heart, the article poses a serious question to its readers that carries huge stakes for the health and well-being of our societies: If the safety and effectiveness of long-term use of antidepressants is not actually supported by the evidence despite many millions of people taking these drugs for many years, and if there is essentially zero scientific research into or clinical understanding of how to help people come off these drugs safely and successfully, where, exactly, can people turn to for help?

ICI’s The Withdrawal Project was built as a response to this very question. We are so grateful to the Times for drawing people’s attention to us.

ICI Co-founder and Executive Director Laura Delano, who took psychiatric medications between the ages of fourteen and twenty-seven (always with an antidepressant in the mix) was quoted near the end of the piece. Her struggles to come off and heal from these drugs and her decision to take what she went through and channel it into leading the building of ICI’s The Withdrawal Project were highlighted.

The public response to this article has been big for us at Inner Compass Initiative, and seems to only be growing: Laura is slated to be interviewed today on BBC World Service’s “Outside Source” radio show at 11:40AM EST (the show will be live-streamed here for those interested in listening). We are being contacted by other journalists for additional interviews, so we’ll be sure to update this blog as more are scheduled.

The number of visitors to both of our websites is exploding—we’re eagerly tracking analytics. Particularly, TWP's step-by-step tapering manual called our Companion Guide to Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and our Cope & Heal section, which offers a long list of layperson-reported withdrawal symptoms and tips for coping with them, are getting many hits.

Huge numbers of people are registering for TWP Connect, our free networking platform that helps people at all stages of the psychiatric medication withdrawal journey find one another in their local communities based on personal experiences, interests, and needs.

And membership at ICI Connect is taking off, too—this, our second free platform on ICI’s website that helps people who are asking questions and thinking critically about today’s mental health system find one another locally to organize discussion groups, mutual support networks, and much more.

Is the tide finally turning when it comes to making visible to the public the grave reality of psychiatric medication withdrawal and the dire need for support and resources for those struggling to come off?