Advice and information on coming off medication

Advice and Information

ComingOffDrugsGuideCOVERBIGThe Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off  Psychiatric Drugs
The Icarus Project and Freedom Center’s 52-page illustrated guide gathers the best information  and the most valuable lessons learned about reducing and coming off psychiatric medication. Based in more than 10 years work in the peer support movement, this Guide is used internationally by individuals, families, professionals, and organizations, and is available a growing number of translations. Includes info on mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, risks, benefits, wellness tools, psychiatric drug withdrawal, information for people staying on their medications,detailed Resource section, and much more. A ‘harm reduction’ approach means not being pro- or anti- medication, but supporting people where they are at to make their own decisions, balancing the risks and benefits involved. Written by Will Hall, with a 55-member health professional Advisory Board providing research assistance and more than 50 collaborators involved in developing and editing. The guide has photographs and art throughout, and a beautiful original cover painting by Jacks McNamara.
Now in a revised and expanded Second Edition and in 10 languages.

The Guide is available as a free downloadable document here. It can be read online here.


Coming Off Psychiatric Meds website
Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 09.56.02This website aims to give you up to date information about psychiatric medication, how it functions and the withdrawal process. It is put together by people who have been prescribed medication and withdrawn from it, and clinicians who have been involved in supporting this process. If we have a period of distress or confusion and receive medical help we are generally given a diagnosis and prescribed psychiatric drugs. Research suggests doctors tend to know more about putting people on medication than the actual withdrawal process. It is important therefore to disseminate information about the ‘coming off’ process.

MindComing Off Medication: Information from Mind
Explains issues faced when coming off medication, how to approach it, techniques for gradual reduction, possible withdrawal symptoms and how to tell the difference between withdrawal and relapse.
Includes sections for family members and friends and a useful contact list, click on the titles below for further information:



Coming Off Psych Drugs: A Meeting of the Minds

Trailer for “Coming Off Psych Drugs: A Meeting of the Minds,” a 75-minute documentary film. More than half the film’s subjects have successfully come off a variety of medications, including antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and benzos, and several participants give trainings on the process. Here they tell how they did it and they provide a philosophy and framework for coming off.

Film DVDs available here

Starring Will Hall, Oryx Cohen, Laura Delano, Chaya Grossberg, Daniel Hazen, Laura Van Tosh, and Spencer and Matt Ladner. Directed by Daniel Mackler.

Forums and Discussion Groups

Recommended books

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 17.53.58Coming off psychiatric drugs  Ed. Peter Lehrmann

The first book in the world about the issue of successfully coming off psychiatric drugs primarily addresses people in treatment who decide to withdraw. It also addresses their relatives and therapists. Millions of people are taking psychiatric drugs, such as Haloperidol, Prozac, Risperidone or Zyprexa. For them, detailed accounts of how others came off these substances without ending up once again in the doctor’s office are of fundamental interest.

In this manual, 28 former psychiatric patients from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Serbia & Montenegro, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA write about their experiences with withdrawal. Additionally, eight professionals, working in psychotherapy, medicine, psychiatry, social work, natural healing and even in a runaway-house, report on how they help in the withdrawal process.

Prefaces by Judi ChamberlinPirkko LahtiLoren R. Mosher and Peter Lehmann. The chapters: The Decision to Withdraw · Withdrawal without Pharmacogenic Problems · Coming off Step by Step · Counterweights · To Withdraw with Professional Help · Better Sometimes than Forever · Professional Support · The Time After

Your Drug May be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medication by Peter R. Breggin, MD and David Cohen, ISBN: 0-7382-0184-7, Perseus Books

“Psychiatric drugs are given upbeat names like antidepressent, tranquilizer, sleeping pill, stimulant, and mood stabalizer. They are prescribed to more than 20 million Americans to help with problem called ‘depression,’ ‘anxiety,’ ‘panic disorder,’ and ‘attention deficit hyperactive disorder; But can these drugs do you more harm than good? Can they make you feel worse than you did before you took them or when you stop?”

Contacts and Links

Battle Against Tranquillisers (BAT)

helpline: 0844 826 9317

Information and support for those coming off tranquillisers and sleeping pills.

Information on benzodiazepine and z-sleeping pill addiction and withdrawal with detailed dosing schedules.

Bipolar UK

tel: 020 7931 6480

Support for people with bipolar including network of self-help groups.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

tel: 01455 88 33 00

Lists details of local practitioners.

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)

tel: 020 3178 2199

Register of regulated complementary therapists.

Council for Information on Tranquillisers, Antidepressants, and Painkillers (CITAp)

helpline: 0151 932 0102

Help with withdrawal.


Patient information leaflets and summaries of drug characteristics.

Hearing Voices Network


Self-help groups for those who hear voices.

No Panic

helpline: 0800 138 8889

Support and information for people with anxiety problems.

Rethink Mental Illness

tel: 0300 5000 927

Advice, information and support groups for people with mental health problems.

For people who are taking or withdrawing from paroxetine (Seroxat).

The Icarus Project


American project which publishes the Harm reduction guide to coming off psychiatric drugs on their website.

Turning Point


Recovery services for people with substance misuse problems and mental health problems

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