Support

Please note that CEP cannot provide any medical advice or individual support.

Psychiatric drugs can have powerful withdrawal effects, and rapid or cold turkey withdrawal can be very dangerous and lead to more severe and long-lasting symptoms. It is therefore important that anyone deciding to withdraw from psychiatric medication tapers off slowly under the supervision of an experienced doctor who is well-informed about withdrawal and who respects the patient’s desire to come off their medication.

Some doctors however are unaware of the potential severity and duration of withdrawal effects, and may misdiagnose these as the return of an underlying disorder or even a new disorder for which more drugs are sometimes prescribed. In these circumstances, patients are advised to seek out a more experienced doctor and/or get in touch with one of the withdrawal charities below.

There are various resources available to help support and educate you (and if necessary your doctor) about the process of coming off.  In the UK there are several withdrawal charities set up specifically to help people withdraw from benzodiazepines and z-drugs.  Some of these will also help with tapering other prescription drugs, including antidepressants and painkillers:

Addiction Dependency Solutions (Oldham)
www.adsolutions.org.uk
0161 831 2400
 
Battle Against Tranquilisers (Bristol)
www.bataid.org
0844 826 9317 (national helpline)
 
Bristol and District Tranquiliser Project (Bristol)
www.btpinfo.org.uk
0117 950 0020 (national helpline)
 
R.E.S.T. Minor Tranquilisers Service (Camden, London)
www.mindincamden.org.uk/services/minor-tranx
020 7241 8980
 
The Bridge Project (Bradford)
www.bridge-bradford.org.uk
01274 723863  

Many people have found support online through one or more of the withdrawal support groups. These include:

 www.survivingantidepressants.org
(an internet forum providing peer support for individuals withdrawing from antidepressants)
 
www.benzobuddies.org
(an internet forum providing peer support for individuals withdrawing from benzodiazepines and z-drugs) 
 
There are also several Facebook groups which have been set up to offer peer support and advice.  These include the Benzo and Psych Med Withdrawal Group and Healing from Psych Drugs; you can search for these and others within Facebook.

Other helpful online resources include:

www.recovery-road.org
(an internet and Facebook site with lots of useful ideas and information to support the withdrawal process)
 
www.benzo.org.uk
(the web’s largest resource for news and information about benzodiazepines, including summaries of benzodiazepine litigation)
 
The Ashton Manual
www.benzo.org.uk/manual
(UK expert Professor Heather Ashton’s manual on how to withdraw from benzodiazepines and z-drugs)
 
The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs 
www.theicarusproject.net/alternative-treatments/harm-reduction-guide-to-coming-off-psychiatric-drugs
(written by Will Hall, a leading US mental health advocate and counselor, this guide shares insight and experience of withdrawal from all classes of psychiatric medications)
 
Beyond Meds
www.beyondmeds.com
(a blog written by Monica Cassani describing her personal journey off psychiatric medication; it also contains a wealth of material on withdrawal, along with discussion of non-drug alternatives to support the process)
 
Mad In America
www.madinamerica.com
(founded by American journalist Robert Whitaker, this site serves as resource and a community for those interested in rethinking psychiatric care, with news, stories of recovery, access to source documents, and the writings of leading bloggers)
 

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