freakoutcrazy

Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Kategorie: Absetzen

Tapering Neuroleptics: Two Year Results

As I have described previously, I have been tracking my experience with tapering neuroleptic drugs in my clinical practice. With all of the people I see who are stable on a particular dose of a neuroleptic drug, I discuss the risks of long-term use of these drugs. We also discuss the potential benefits.  This conversation varies from person to person. We take into account what has happened in the past,  how he is doing now, and what she has to lose if her past problems were to re-emerge.  If a person wants to taper, I suggest slow reduction; 25-30% every 3-6 months.  I keep track of who chooses to taper and who does not.  I now have a colleague who is doing the same in her practice.   Together, we are following 112 individuals. We presented our data in a poster presentation at the Institute of Psychiatric Services in October, 2013.

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My Story and My Fight Against Antidepressants

My name is David Fox, and I am a registered Psychologist living in Sydney, Australia. In the past five years, I’ve focused predominantly on counseling people with anxiety, depression and a range of other issues. I was also on antidepressants, myself, until a few months ago. I’d like to share a bit about what happened to me after being placed on these medications, and how I successfully got off. Until recently, I was embarrassed to talk about my personal experiences publicly, as I’m a professional who specializes in anxiety and depression. Today, medication free, I feel better than ever before, and I am now on a mission to help my current clients get off medications, and to inform others through my writing about the dangers and pitfalls of starting antidepressants. This has not been an easy story to share as the stigma of depression and anxiety disorders remains strong, but I feel compelled to do so, in the hope that it will help others.

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The Withdrawal-Aware Doctor

Recently, I have been thinking about the difference it makes to the patient’s experience of withdrawal when a doctor is knowledgeable about the drug and its effects. I’ve heard accounts of doctors who are able to hold their patients’ hands (metaphorically speaking) and reassure them. I, too, was fortunate to have encountered the most encouraging doctor at a time when I desperately needed answers and appropriate care.

I recall going to see him at the private BUPA hospital in Cardiff during the later stages of my recovery, after having some weird ear sensations, facial numbness and other peculiar symptoms, and being told by my GP that I probably had a throat infection. The consultant was a semi-retired ENT specialist with kind eyes and a gracious manner. He gently placed his hand over mine, looked me in the eye and in a quiet yet firm voice said, “You’re still in withdrawal. I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen patients who think there’s something else wrong with them but I’m telling you, it’s the benzodiazepine.” Then he patted me on my shoulder reassuringly and said, “Go home and don’t worry about it. You need to give it more time.”

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Playing the Odds: Antidepressant ‘Withdrawal’ and the Problem of Informed Consent

If I thought that it was possible, I would have opened a string of clinics all over the country to help get people off of antidepressants.  Unfortunately, the problems that sometimes occur when people try to stop an SSRI antidepressant are much more severe and long-lasting than the medical profession acknowledges, and there is no antidote to these problems.

Outside of using a benzodiazepine, I don’t have a lot of suggestions.  Reinstating the medications often does not help and sometimes there is a negative reaction. In the past I worked with SAM-e, thought to enhance neurotransmitter synthesis, and L-tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin.  It had placebo value, but was not an ‘antidote’ to the problem

The problem starts with nomenclature.  The citizen scientists of the Internet have labeled the problem ‘protracted withdrawal.’  To physicians, withdrawal is a phenomenon that starts when the blood level of a substance drops to near zero and persists for a week or two.  The concept of ‘protracted withdrawal’ is inconsistent with the very definition of withdrawal.  So when a patient tells their doctor that they have ‘protracted withdrawal’ the doctor draws a blank.

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Finding the Meaning in Suffering: My Experience with Coming off Psychiatric Drugs (in a Nutshell)

For the last month or so, Mad in America has been hard at work building a directory of “mental health” providers across North America (and eventually, we hope, the world) who will work with people wanting to come off psychotropic drugs.  So far, we’ve connected with traditional doctors, osteopaths, naturopaths, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and alternative/holistic practitioners and healers who do this work in varying ways — some have prescribing capacities and some don’t; some do the actual tapering, while others provide psychotherapy; some offer nutritional or supplemental support; others, Reiki and acupuncture.

I’ve been honored to have been tasked with the responsibility of building this directory, and I have to say, it’s been inspiring to talk to people all over the country who do this work, and who “get it”.  Closer to the launch date, which we anticipate will be in the next few weeks, I’ll write up more about this project, and thank those who’ve played such a significant part in making it happen.  In the meantime, I’ve been itching to write a bit about my own “coming off” journey.  While it’s on my mind every day, I’ve been thinking more about it recently, given my work on the directory and the recent release of Daniel Mackler’s new film, “Coming off Psych Drugs: A Meeting of the Minds”.  I woke up this morning and my fingers were itching.  I knew it was time to write.

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