Reflections: Grappling With the Facts About Psychiatric Drugs

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For many of us, the discovery that psychiatric drugs can lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal left us feeling like we’d been socked in the stomach—Why hadn’t our prescribers told us this at the outset? Why hadn’t we read about this information online? Why hadn’t the sources we’d trusted told us the truth?  We felt betrayed and outraged. We felt regret that we’d never taken it upon ourselves to figure this out at the start. We felt taken advantage of. But for others of us, learning about these issues brought about a very different experience: it deepened our sense of confidence and personal power, because it validated and reinforced what our instincts had been telling us for a while about our medications. And still others didn’t even know what to make of this information—indeed, for a time, all we felt was utter confusion and overwhelm. We became concerned, afraid and insecure about the power we’d realized our medications had come to have over our lives, and we didn’t know what to do with these feelings, or whom we could turn to for help.

Some people find that learning about these issues reinforces their convictions that they want to come off their medications right away—if you’re one of those people, we encourage you to hang tight with this Companion Guide so that you can inform yourself extensively about how to do so carefully and responsibly! Indeed, wherever you may be on the spectrum of possible feelings, stay with it all—with the pain, discomfort, excitement, exuberance, grief, anger, regret, worry, angst, fear and the rest. Remind yourself that there is plenty of time to navigate what you’re experiencing before making decisions about if, when or how you might come off your medications, and that the more time you give yourself, the deeper you’ll connect with your intuitive wisdom. Use whatever thoughts, questions, concerns, or emotions you may be experiencing as catalysts to propel you forward in this Companion Guide. Your feelings are here for good reasons—they have arisen out of what’s happened to you in your life and have been further shaped by your beliefs, relationships, values, health, and many other factors. It’s through exploring and better understanding those reasons, unlearning old beliefs, and learning about potential new approaches—which this Guide is here to help you do—that you’ll find increasing clarity about what it is that you want for yourself moving ahead.

And if you have more questions, confusion, or curiosity about the topics in this step, here are some options for further exploration:

  • Explore TWP's Help Hub.
  • Reach out at TWP Connect to discuss your feelings with others on the withdrawal journey.
  • Read ICI’s Learn/Unlearn section.
  • If you find yourself wanting to learn more detailed specifics regarding the 5-10% per month rate and why the layperson withdrawal community considers this to be the most risk-reducing range, you can jump ahead to read TWP's review on the safest known taper rates called "Psychiatric Drug Taper Rates: A Review and Discussion".