Withdraw from anti-depressants and feel again
A client I was working with recently withdrew from anti-depressant medication(whilst consulting with her GP) . This was a frightening decision. She started the medication when suffering from anxiety and depression symptoms ten years ago.
At that point, she didn’t know about inner transformation and she could not prevent the downward spiral (read: Change: prevent the downward spiral).
She contacted me a few months after being medication free, panicking, she was having a bad day ………..
In his book, Anatomy of an Epidemic (Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America), Robert Whitaker (Journalist and Author), shares the story of Kate who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia during her University years and given antipsychotic medication. A lady with no voice …..
In her words “Recovery on the med model requires you to be obedient, like a child, you are obedient to your doctors, you are compliant with your therapist, and you take your meds. There’s no striving toward greater intellectual concerns”.
Years after her diagnosis and medication, she met someone who made her question her identity as a mentally impaired person. Her life fell apart. She decided now, to wean herself off psychiatric medication.
Whitaker shares the story “it was at that perilous moment, when it seemed that she was about to crash, that Kate agreed to meet her mother for dinner. “I think she is having a breakdown,” her mother says. “She sat very proper and looked scattered and disorganised. Her body was stiff. I was seeing a lot of the same symptoms as before. Her eyes were dilated and she seemed paranoid.” As they drove away from the restaurant, Kate’s mother started to turn towards the hospital, but at the last second she changed her mind. Kate “wasn’t so crazy” that she needs to be locked up. “I went home and cried,” her mother remembers. “I didn’t know what was happening.”
By her mothers reckoning it took Kate six months to get through this withdrawal process. But she emerged on the other side transformed. “I see that her face is so alive now and she is more connected to her body,” her mother says. “She feels comfortable in her own skin and more at peace with herself than ever. She is physically healthy. I didn’t know that this kind of recovery was possible.”
How do Psychiatric Drugs Work
If a person is unable to cope with life and life changes, they start to experience strong emotions and suffer symptoms of stress, often resulting in anxiety and depression. If the downward spiral (read – Change: prevent the downward spiral) is not prevented, more serious mental health labels are often given to explain the symptoms and behaviours.
Doctors tell patients that they are experiencing a mental disorder due to a chemical imbalance (read – What someone with anxiety and depression would love to tell you) and prescribe psychiatric medication. Psychiatric medication like any drug affects state of mind.
These medications can help a person feel like they can cope with symptoms and life. That said, these medications do not address the underlying emotional problems. Long-term use of these medications poses a serious risk to individuals, which is the whole premise of Robert Whitakers book.
He explains through his rigorous research about medications ..”the medicine clearly doesn’t fix a chemical imbalance in the brain. Instead, it does precisely the opposite. Prior to being medicated, a depressed person has no known chemical imbalance. Fluoxetine then gums up the normal removal of serotonin from the synapse, and that triggers a cascade of changes, and several weeks later the serotonergic pathway is operating in a decidedly abnormal manner.”
Anyone struggling with symptoms, see here:
What someone with anxiety and depression would love to tell you
In his article Medication Madness: How Psychiatric Drugs Cause Violence, Suicide and Crime, Peter R. Breggin MD, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist explains that the main problem is that people on these medications do not realise they are intoxicated.
The results can be that people are unaware of how the medication is impairing them – mentally and physically from irrational to euphoric. People may also not realise the affect these medications are having on them and blame themselves (becoming suicidal) or blame other people. People can become delusional, thinking they are doing much better than they are in reality. People can also lose control of themselves and take horrendously destructive actions.
Peter R. Breggin explains one of his cases, a ten year old boy with no history of depression, taking his own life after being prescribed a stimulant for ADHD.
He goes on to say “Psychiatric drugs – like all psychoactive substances – work by impairing brain function, and when we’re under stress and have problems to solve we need a fully functioning brain and mind. We need to be able to take complete responsibility for ourselves and to think through our problems with rational clarity. All psychiatric drugs impair those higher mental functions.”
Also, worth noting, Peter R. Breggin has spoken about the role that Psychiatry has played in violence “whenever there is a totalitarianism state, psychiatry, in modern times, becomes the cutting edge of oppression. He explains the role that Psychiatry played in Germany prior to the holocaust. In 1938, pre-dating Hitler, German psychiatry organised the formal killing of between 60,000 to 100,000 mental patients. These centres trained the personnel for the holocaust.
We are in a psychiatric drug epidemic and it’s getting worse. Anti-depressant usage has doubled in the last decade – 70 million prescriptions in England and 930k in Scotland (NHS).
Now back to my lovely client, who is having a bad day.
She is off medication and facing life.
She is surprised by response … “it’s normal, that’s life”. I say. Ten years of living in a constant plateau, she has no idea of the wave of emotions, how life moves, expands and contracts, the highs and lows ….
What I can do is help her to reduce fear (read – Mental health: fear is the biggest factor)
She has to learn how to feel again.
To learn how to live.