Originally marketed for children with a diagnosis of autism or who struggle with sensory issues, weighted blankets have become a popular coping method among some people who are navigating psychiatric drug withdrawal. Created by sewing nontoxic beads or pellets into chambers throughout the fabric, weighted blankets (which can be used while sitting or lying down) are said to exert a deep touch pressure that has an effect somewhat like being swaddled as an infant—a kind of full-body “hug”, without the sensory overload of being touched. Anecdotal reports suggest that, for some people, using the blankets may help ease withdrawal-related anxiety, insomnia, restless leg sensations, and other symptoms.
When choosing a weighted blanket, the general recommendation is to find one that weighs between 5% and 10% of your body weight. The commercially available, adult-sized blankets on Amazon range from about $100 to $300, though it may be possible to find one for less on a site such as Etsy. Because the blankets are pricey, you might want to see if a friend, neighbor, or relative has one you could try out before buying your own. You may also consider making one yourself: there are several YouTube videos available that offer instructions for sewing a weighted blanket for considerably less.
Those who sell weighted blankets suggest that they may not be suited for anyone who has difficulty regulating body temperature or for people with breathing, circulatory, skin, or cardiac problems; epilepsy; or serious hypertonia (muscle rigidity).