Step 2- Learn About Psychiatric Drug Dependence, Tolerance and Withdrawal

Ativan chemistry

Why this step is important

Informing yourself about key topics such as psychiatric drug dependence, tolerance and withdrawal is key to understanding the risks of rapid withdrawal and the importance of tapering slowly and in accordance with the messages of your body.

light blue strip

Getting Oriented

Many of us who have experienced or are in the midst of withdrawing from psychiatric drugs were never told that our drugs, when taken as prescribed, could cause physical dependence to form. When withdrawal symptoms emerged, then, it was a rude and sometimes harsh awakening—and virtually all of us came to wish that we’d been better prepared for the reality of withdrawal. Self-education along with teaching and learning from each other have therefore come to play a central role in helping us to reclaim our personal and collective power, our bodies, our minds, and our lives—though the process of getting meaningfully informed is often far from easy. Indeed, it can bring up a variety of feelings, reactions, and thoughts, many of which are difficult to grapple with. But we’ve found that simply being aware of and honest with ourselves about what our minds and emotions are telling us can itself be an elucidating and meaningful part of the process of taking back our agency. So as you read through this step, even if the facts about psychiatric drug dependence, tolerance and withdrawal are not new to you, be mindful of any feelings that might emerge as you re-read and reconsider these issues. For it is your own personal engagement with these ideas, and the act of exploring the emotions and thoughts that arise for you along the way, that will ultimately play a significant role in guiding your taper preparation and planning as you move ahead.