In a spirit of Unity and the interest of safety, we suggest facilitators become familiar with and steer others to the following resources. This is not meant to be an exclusive list. We encourage groups to explore any and all of the many resources available. Our aim is to be inclusive while utilizing a core list of solid resources to ensure safety. It is suggested that each WARM group remain autonomous and not officially affiliated with these or any other resources or organizations.
All Classes of Medication:
Because we believe individuals need scientifically independent and comprehensive information on ALL medicines, this resource is suggested as our backbone for safety. We advise starting with the Drug Search tool to get a more complete picture of the medications you are taking, whether psychiatric or other drugs. From the website:
RxISK is owned and operated by Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd. (DBM), based in Toronto, Canada.
It is run by a group of high-profile medical experts with international reputations in early drug-side-effect detection and risk mitigation, pharmacovigilance, and patient-centered care.
RxISK was launched in October 2012 with the goals of:
- Educating and empowering patients to have better conversations about their meds with their doctors.
- Collecting data on the unintended consequences of prescription medications so that we can draw attention to them.
RxISK has a number of tools and resources to help inform and support those experiencing withdrawal problems, or for those who are about to start a drug and are concerned that it might be difficult to stop at the end of their treatment.
Other DBM related sites include:
One of our goals is to encourage partnerships between individuals and their providers to reduce one’s overall medication burden. From the website:
With TaperMD, patients and their health care providers have a simple but powerful tool to begin a meaningful conversation by discussing questions such as:
- Do I still need all of my medications or can some of them be tapered or stopped?
- Do my medications reflect my priorities for care?
- Can this effect that I am experiencing be caused by a medication?
- Can my pill regimen be simplified?
- Are there strategies that don’t use drugs for my condition?
It may be that at the end of the process, patients find that they are on exactly the right medications and that no changes are necessary, but not always. Remember, less is often more!
Mad in America is an umbrella organization that has a wealth of information on psychiatric drug withdrawal from both professionals and the layperson community. We recommend the following MIA resources specific to withdrawal:
MIA’s Drug Withdrawal Resource page where you will find a directory of providers who help people taper from psychiatric medications, and information about withdrawal guides, educational courses, research studies, and personal withdrawal studies.
A weekly podcast that searches for the truth about psychiatric prescription drugs. Featuring interviews with mental health professionals such as Dr David Healy, Dr Joanna Moncrieff and Professor Peter Gøtzsche and those with lived experience, this podcast presents the reality of taking and withdrawing from psychiatric medications.
Courses are taught by leading researchers and practitioners in the field, provide a scientific critique of the existing paradigm of care, and tell of alternative approaches that could serve as the foundation for a new paradigm, one that de-emphasizes the use of psychiatric medications, particularly over the long-term.
Courses specific to withdrawal:
Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal – featuring Emily Cutler, Jocelyn Pedersen, Dina Tyler, Sandra Steingard MD, Kelly Brogan MD, Peter Breggin MD, Will Hall MS, Robert Whitaker.
Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal II – featuring Robert Whitaker, Joanna Moncrieff MD, Sandy Steingard MD, David Healy MD, Johanna Ryan, Sami Timimi MD, Swapnil Gupta MD, Pesach Lichtenberg MD, Roger Mulder MD,
Antipsychotic Withdrawal – Olga Runciman
Antipsychotics Short and Long Term Effects – Sandra Steingard
My personal guide
Self-management of mental health medication
For many people, taking a mental health medication can be a source of concern. The lack of information about medications, the sometimes very painful side effects, the suffering present despite taking medication or the desire to live without medication can often explain some discomfort or concerns.
To respond to the situation, the Quebec Alternative Mental Health Resources Group (RRASMQ) and the Association of Mental Health Intervention Groups in Quebec (AGIDD-SMQ) in collaboration with ÉRASME (Research Team and action in mental health and culture) have developed this personal guide to Autonomic Management of Medication. He proposes a process of reflection and action aimed at better knowing and understanding his medication, his role and his effects in all aspects of his life. It helps the person to recognize his needs and to be more informed in his decision-making. Contact Laurieoakley217@gmail.com for more information.
From Peter’s website:
The book provides a new roadmap for prescribers, therapists, patients and their families that will enable patients to taper off their drugs and achieve emotional and physical recovery and well-being. At the same time, it provides an improved treatment approach for all patients regardless of whether or now they are taking psychiatric drugs.
This is an excellent resource that is available in hard copy as well as online for free. It has been translated into many different languages. From Will’s website:
The Icarus Project and Freedom Center’s 52-page illustrated guide gathers the best information we’ve come across and the most valuable lessons we’ve 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.
SurvivingAntidepressants.org has been providing essential support for antidepressant withdrawal for many years, for individuals who are tapering or after they’ve quit. The site is not affiliated with any religious, medical, or pharmaceutical organization or company.
This website offers an accumulation of information regarding all psychiatric medications and withdrawal. It also has a tool for connecting with others in your area.
“This free online platform allows registered members who are thinking about, are in the process of, or have past experiences with reducing or coming off psychiatric drugs to find and connect with one another based on geography, interests, and needs. TWP Connect facilitates mutual support, the sharing of helpful lay resources and tips, in-person meetings, and hope and inspiration between its members.”
Specific to Benzodiazepine Withdrawal:
Benzodiazepine Information Coalition is a non-profit organization that advocates for greater understanding of the potentially devastating effects of commonly prescribed benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin, as well as prevention of patient injury through medical recognition, informed consent, and education. We seek change by educating and partnering with doctors, mental health providers, journalists, lawmakers, researchers, the benzodiazepine-impacted community, and society at large.
The only medically researched method of tapering off benzodiazepines that we are aware of was done by Dr. Heather Ashton. Her work in the field of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome resulted in what we’ve come to know as the Ashton Manual.
Specific to Opioid Tapering:
From JAMA Internal Medicine: Although reducing opioid use is a national priority, existing opioid tapering models use costly interdisciplinary teams that are largely inaccessible to patients and their physicians. Patients and physicians need solutions to successfully reduce long-term prescription opioid dosages in settings without behavioral services.
From his website: Whether you have been taking opioids for a couple of months or a couple of years, it can be hard to abruptly stop. Suddenly stopping opioids can lead to unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal and can possibly cause harm. One proven method for opioid weaning is called tapering. This process involves decreasing the opioid dosage by a certain amount over a specific period of time.