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WarriorWoman

Seeking Feedback for How & Why to W/D From Psych Meds Course

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WarriorWoman

Hello all,

I am a student working on receiving a certification in the world's only known psych med withdrawal program. It is taught by the Wellness Health Forum out of Ohio, US. (https://wellnessforumhealth.com/)This course is for psychiatrists, LPCs, social workers, RNs, MDs, clergy and other professionals who are looking to assist those who are or want to come off of these drugs. It is also about educating those who are currently taking them why it's a good idea to withdraw from them.

I am currently working on my final projects for various instructors and am seeking information and feedback that I can share with the institute, instructors and fellow students. I am in a unique position in that I am the only student in the progra who has gone through this experience. I tapered an antidepressant, 2 anti-psychotics, a mood stabilizer and a benzo after 12 years of daily use. 

While the course has a lot of great information and many of the instructors are fairly well informed, one of them being Dr Peter Breggin, MD, I feel that there is a gap between "ideal tapering" and real-world tapering. I know that not everyone has a horrible time coming off. But many, many do. This is who I want to hear from! I have the unique opportunity to provide feedback to the institute as well as the instructors and I want to make sure I make the most of it!

I welcome all to provide the following information by April 7th, 2020:

1. What would you most like the professionals who are taking this class know to prepare themselves for helping patients taper?

2. What type of information would you have liked to have known via Informed Consent prior to taking the medication(s) you are tapering? (Please provide the medication type or name)

3. How can your prescriber better support you during this process?

4. What would you say to someone who is considering starting medication?

5. Anything else you would like those who are trying to create a new paradigm by teaching classes and certification programs regarding psych drug withdraw to know?

 

Thank you all so much! I look forward to getting this vital information into the hands of those who are  working to make a difference.

In gratitude,

WarriorWoman

 

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Beckys

If you want people to respond to your questions, I recommend disclosing your true "in real life" identity, ID your professors, mentioning supervision by your professors and how we contact them if we have concerns like an email address, adding a disclaimer before the survey, and most importantly, a way to answer anonymously.  I won't answer. I need to focus on positivity not digging up the past.  Some people have trouble reading, so maybe make a video too.  Good luck, hope your assignments turn out well.

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Altostrata

Hi, @Beckys. Since you're new here, please start an Introductions topic so we can get to know you better.

 

Members often request information here as part of formal and informal research projects.

 

As everyone's identity here is protected by a pseudonym, responses are, in effect, anonymous. WarriorWoman, who is an established member, does not have access to any personal information about anyone else on this site unless individuals care to share such with her.

 

I recommend responses to WarriorWoman's question be sent to her in our personal messaging system.

 

@WarriorWoman, this is not a research project with committee review, as you'd do in a university, is it? I do recommend you prepare a statement about maintaining privacy to inform each person who responds to your request.

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Cocopuffz17

1. What would you most like the professionals who are taking this class know to prepare themselves for helping patients taper?

The true withdrawal symptoms people go through. I have dealt with way too many professionals who prescribe these drugs on a daily basis and downright deny the withdrawal symptoms.(If I would of been told the honest truth from the get go I would of saved over 8 years of on going health issues that are related to the use of this medication). Honestly it comes down to sh*tty medical professional. If numerous people come and say these drugs give issues and they constantly deny it that is messed up. They don't admit it because it is not in the pamphlet from the pharma companies.

 

2. What type of information would you have liked to have known via Informed Consent prior to taking the medication(s) you are tapering? (Please provide the medication type or name)

Paxil - The actual long term effects these medications have on the body. There is very little known about these drugs that are "suppose" to be safe for lifetime use. 

That the chemical imbalance theory that they preach is actually bullsh*t. ZERO tests are done to confirm anything. You take a survey that was designed decades ago and this is how medication is determined to be used. 

The halflife of the drug. That it is critical to know this as it can produce interdose withdrawals with these extremely short halflifes.... quite odd for medications they say are needed for life. 

 

3. How can your prescriber better support you during this process?

Fixing the ROOT cause, unfortunately this does not make them money. So this will be a point of contention with modern medicine as they are driven by money. A lifetime costumer is better than a cured costumer. Proper tapering would be extremely beneficial. 1 week  to get off a medication is absolutely nuts.  

 

4. What would you say to someone who is considering starting medication?

Weigh all the options! Medication or lifestyle changes. I have turned my life around with getting off medication and making nutritional changes. This is after over 8 years dealing with 10-15 different medical professionals and always getting the answer of my results are normal. But I continued to have so many health challenges. 

 

5. Anything else you would like those who are trying to create a new paradigm by teaching classes and certification programs regarding psych drug withdraw to know?

These drugs effect the whole body. Numerous systems are effected by the use of daily medications. My personal experience on a SSRI is that it changes absolutely everything, from how I pooped to how my blood clotted. There is huge changes within the body from these medications and to look at the body as a whole. 

 

Thanks for interest. I look forward to reading more in the future! 

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WarriorWoman

Hi all,

This is not a University I am attending. It is an institute whose sole purpose is to provide curriculum for their students to become informed consumers of the medical system as well as teach medical professionals themselves about how to practice in ways that actually help people and not harm them. 

Because everyone is anonymous to me I have no way of knowing who is providing what responses.

The questions I am answering as part of my final project are: "What was not included in this certification program that you feel would be helpful to include in future offerings?'" "What information would be beneficial for us to add to this course and/or how can we make it better?"

While the class was excellent it fell grossly short of the reality that I and many of us in this forum have experienced during the coming off process. Because they want to know, I am going to tell them. Whether it's based solely on just my experience or others in this forum. I plan to give them accurate real-world information so that the picture they are painting going forward isn't so rosy.

I am planning on compiling the answers and presenting them as "Based on patients who have or are going through this process and are being supported by an online forum here is what I think you should know." I will NOT be mentioning specific forum user names. 

hope this helps clarify some things. I am only giving forum members who wish to do so an opportunity to pass along welcomed information about how to make a drug withdrawal certification program curriculum better for the professionals who are wanting to do something different than the majority of what is currently being done.

Thank you all!

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Hibari

1. What would you most like the professionals who are taking this class know to prepare themselves for helping patients taper?

They need to educate themselves on both the side effects of the medication and withdrawal symptoms.   While they are similar, and sometimes overlap, they are not always the same.  Many medications, such as Klonopin and Valium cause depression as a side effect.   When this is expressed by the patient, they don't need another medication to relieve it unless it becomes too unbearable.

They also need to prepare themselves for the emotions that happen during withdrawal.  Despair, grief, anger, sadness and anxiety.    They need to be able to hold the emotional space for their patients to express these feelings and not try to "fix" them.   Patients need and will feel a wide range of emotions and the practitioner cannot be afraid of the depth of feelings that come up around withdrawal.

2. What type of information would you have liked to have known via Informed Consent prior to taking the medication(s) you are tapering? (Please provide the medication type or name)

Remeron/Mirtazapine:  I was told it caused hunger but I was not told it would slow my metabolism down to a halt.  And that not matter how well I ate or exercised, I would not be able to stop the weigh gain. Eating healthily does not stop this metabolism slow down. 

Lamictal/Lamotrigine :  This medication caused a flattening down of emotions and fatigue.  I was tired all the time.

Klonopin:  Was not told that this medication causes crushing depression and anhedonia.    Was not told that it would cause benzo belly and effect digestion.  A terrible medication.

3. How can your prescriber better support you during this process?

Let the patient drive the taper and don't hold them to some schedule just because it's what the literature says.   Don't just offer the same superficial advice such as meditation and exercise.  I couldn't and still can't meditate during withdrawal and was a mediator before.  I couldn't exercise at the beginning of my taper and only when I had come down some.  These are healthy habits but not everyone can do them right away.

Don't tell the patient that having a negative attitude will make their taper worse.  Not true.  I have have had a range of negative attitudes and still have had windows during my tapers.  

Withdrawal agoraphobia is different than other types of agoraphobia.  It's is caused by a fragile nervous system and injured brain.   It resolved for me as I got more stable  

Be patient centric.

4. What would you say to someone who is considering starting medication?

Please get a full physical and have things like thyroid and adrenals checked.   Find a good therapist and get emotional support.   Talk to people who have been on medication or gotten off, if possible. 

Start on the lowest dose possible if you decide you need medication and then keep a record of how you feel.   Evaluate often. 

5. Anything else you would like those who are trying to create a new paradigm by teaching classes and certification programs regarding psych drug withdraw to know?

I feel there is a lack of knowledge about withdrawal in both Western and Eastern medicine.  I have been harmed by holistic practitioners during withdraw as well as by allopathic practitioners because they were not willing to really educate themselves on what withdrawal is all about. 

Immerse yourself in reading the peer support groups and learn from the people who are and have gone through the withdrawal process.   These are the people who, through a hard won experience, have a ton of information to offer.

 

 

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carefulprayerful

1. What would you most like the professionals who are taking this class know to prepare themselves for helping patients taper?

Many people cannot reduce the dose by 10% every 2-4 weeks.  

Personally I am microtapering off Risperidone (starting dose 1 mg).  By microtaper I mean minute daily reductions, for example 0.001 mg/day.  This is a microtaper of 10%/month: after 30 days of these minute reductions, my dose on day 30 would be 10% less than on day 1. 

While microtapering Risperidone 10%/month, I experienced 'psychotic' symptoms (around 0.330 mg) as well as syncope and vomiting (while unconscious).  The latter was around 0.300 mg.

After the syncope/vomitting incident, I did a 3- to 4-week hold and resumed tapering, this time doing a microtaper of 5%/month.  As of this writing, I am at 0.220 mg Risperidone.  

This process will require extreme patience from both you and the patient.  If you encourage people to listen to their body and practice patience, that is the best you can do.

2. What type of information would you have liked to have known via Informed Consent prior to taking the medication(s) you are tapering? (Please provide the medication type or name.)

Many of the worst side effects appear long-term, and their appearance may be so gradual as to be hardly noticed.  These drugs are poison and will be a burden to your body.

You will lose brain function and parts of your personality, and you will not be able to perceive this because of the impairment of your brain ("medication spell-binding").  You may also lose organ function.

Patients on cocktails including an antipsychotic die 15-25 years ahead of life expectancy. 

All of these drugs can cause severe dependence and withdrawal.  In order to avoid potentially severe, debilitating, or life-ending withdrawal, you may have to taper them over a period of several years.

According to research, you have a much better chance of full recovery from mental illness if you do not take these medications or do not take them long-term.

There is no biological need for these drugs. 

Lithium: One in three people who take this drug for over 10 years develops signs of chronic kidney failure.  

Risperidone: TD occurs at an alarmingly high rate, can be disfiguring/disabling, and is likely to be permanent.  Among the antipsychotic drugs, Risperidone is one of the most likely to cause TD. 

Lamotrigine: Though they are rare, Lamotrigine can have nasty side effects (deadly rash, organ failure).    

3. How can your prescriber better support you during this process?

Ask, "What do you need?"  Apologize for what they are going through.  Be humble about the limits of your own knowledge.  Don't be skeptical about the severity of these symptoms.  Understand that healing takes time, and don't give up on people.

4. What would you say to someone who is considering starting medication?

Prescribers are not well-informed and will probably provide you with misinformation.  In a crisis, the drugs may be helpful for a night, a day, a few days or a couple weeks, but they may not be.  Long-term, these drugs do not heal mental suffering, and they are harmful to the body.  Drugs are not the answer.  They should be used only in serious cases, after non invasive approaches have been tried, as a last-resort, for the shortest possible duration of time, and with informed consent.

There are many other approaches which are effective long-term, even for the most serious mental suffering, such as community, friends, family, spirituality, self-love, self-care, healthy home environment, healthy work environment, proper nutrition, meditation, helping others, positive psychology, recovery programs, support groups, trauma therapy, exercise, time in nature, following your own path, believing in yourself, choosing your thoughts, art, journaling, goal setting, the internet, the library, etc.  What do you need?  Seek it.  It is worth your time and effort, and that is what it will require.  You can get back to a state of thriving but stronger and wiser than you were, even if you're not sure how right now.  There are resources out there and within you.

5. Anything else you would like those who are trying to create a new paradigm by teaching classes and certification programs regarding psych drug withdraw to know? 

I am grateful to see this work being done.  Thank you for your efforts!  There are a few key changes I would like to see: (1) Government restraints placed on the practice of prescribing psychiatric drugs.  (2) Public awareness of the danger of these drugs.  (3) Public awareness that there are non-drug alternatives that are in fact far more effective.  (4) Government funding channeled toward services that the data show are helpful, whether that is early childhood education, Soteria houses, tapering centers,...keep it coming.

 

@image.gifWarriorWoman, great job!  What profession do you practice?

 

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