Reflections: Navigating the Unknown

fog and tree

If you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or confused after reading the articles in this step, reassure yourself that it makes complete sense to be feeling this way—especially if you’re one of the millions of people who are taking two or more psychiatric drugs simultaneously, and you’re wanting to figure out how to taper as carefully and responsibly as possible. These topics are dense, complex, and hard for many people to figure out right away – including for us here at TWP! If you have a friend or family member who is a “science buff”, they might be a good help as you navigate your way through these issues. And remind yourself, as well, that through asking questions, thinking critically and becoming citizen researchers, we are all helping each other to become better informed and to start taking our power back over our own bodies and lives.

There’s no denying that those of us who have taken or currently take multiple psychiatric drugs are in effect “human guinea pigs” living inside a vast void of scientific understanding and a severe dearth of serious research into polypharmacy. Nevertheless, many people taking multiple medications have successfully withdrawn from some or all of them—even with all the biological, chemical, genetic, and pharmacological complexities and unknowns involved. It seems that one of the most important factors for a successful journey off multiple psychiatric drugs is to simply cultivate the capacity to listen and wisely respond to the body and its messages—a theme at the heart of this Companion Guide—and to be guided by a sense of faith and trust in the body’s innate healing capacities.

If you’re worried about how to begin becoming more informed about your personal situation, take a deep breath and rest assured that many, many ordinary people have walked this path before you, and have found a way through successfully. Besides, if you are already at risk of dangerous drug-drug or drug-enzyme interactions, then it’s best if you learn exactly what they are as soon as possible so that you can take measures that might help reduce those dangers. Conversely, if you discover that you’re fortunately not currently at risk of such interactions, then making decisions that help ensure that you keep things that way as you move ahead is vital.

We suggest that you start by reading about the interactions identified in your drug labels and the online drug-interaction checkers (see Step 10 for more information about reading drug labels), and by determining whether any of your drugs interact with metabolizing enzymes in your body. Ideally, you also have open lines of communication with a well-informed prescriber so that you can together explore your drug labels and think through a plan of action depending on the interactions or metabolic issues you might discover that you personally are facing. TWP Connect may also be a helpful resource—for example, you might ask fellow members if there are any especially well-informed pharmacies/pharmacists to get guidance from regarding drug interactions, or knowledgeable specialists to consult with regarding “genetic polymorphisms” or “CYP450”. It may be helpful, as well, to seek out fellow TWP Connect members who’ve successfully come off multiple drugs themselves, to ask them about their own personal experiences and what they’ve learned along the way.