Step 5- Building a Support System

flowers growing up a trellis

Why this exercise is important

Some people successfully come off psychiatric drugs without any kind of help from others. Some, however, find that the taper journey becomes far easier when they have support systems around them comprised of people in their lives who’ve become informed about psychiatric drug withdrawal. These people may then be able to provide essential practical, emotional or other types of support in times of need.

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Getting oriented

Some people come off psychiatric drugs with extensive support systems around them, while others do so with none at all, whether by choice or because of circumstances. Sometimes, people are lucky enough to have others helping them get their various needs met during withdrawal, while many others forge ahead accepting that they probably won’t get any outside assistance of any kind. There is no “absolutely essential” kind of support needed for the taper journey, and many—perhaps the majority—of people come off their medications under less-than-optimal circumstances with less-than-optimal supports in place. Nevertheless, it can certainly be helpful to take some time in advance of a taper to think through and lay the groundwork for a support system that is based on your own personal preferences, needs, and circumstances. Of course, it can be difficult to know for certain now what you might want or need later—but some people find that it can feel much more stressful and overwhelming to have to scramble for support once difficulties emerge. For these reasons, making time now to prepare for a range of possible support needs down the road can be valuable.

In this step, you’ll consider what “support” means to you, learn about some of the most common supports people in the withdrawal community seek from family and friends while coming off psychiatric drugs, and get some layperson tips for helping to build or strengthen the supports in your life before starting your taper.