Safe Reduction Begins with Knowing Where We Are, Where We’re going and How We Will Get There

Posted on March 28, 2012

Preparing to reduce reliance on or withdraw completely from the use of psychotropic drugs is NOT something we “just do”.

Yet…those who seek help from myself and others who have gone through the process in one way or another – often are not looking for help, they are looking to be validated for taking some often foolish actions and wanting to be rescued in the midst of their crisis after abruptly “going off” their “meds”.

That sounds harsh. I know.

Yet the truth is I don’t often hear from those who are mindfully preparing and planning to end their dependence on psychotropic drugs. 

I hear from those who already have gone off their drugs impulsively.

I hear from family members who are advising their relatives with no concern for the potentially devastating effects of going off their “meds” abruptly.

I hear from those who are not taking these drugs consistently and are suffering extreme ups, downs and sideways psychosis, anxiety or depression that comes with using these mind altering chemicals inconsistently.

And I’m here to tell you again that safe reducation or withdrawal begins with forethought, planning and preparing.

To do otherwise is to risk ones safety as we become unstable and start “de-compensating” where once we have lost control over our own self – the families and authorities begin to step in and take over.

For those who are using psychotropic drugs and family members….

It is vital to understand what we are dealing with in order to safely embark on this part of our journey.

It IS possible to live beyond the sedating and often crippling effects of these chemicals that after years of use cause chronic health issues beginning with metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes.

And to do so is as in any other life venture.

We must know where were are at and be prepared to understand what it “looks” like when we begin the taper process.

We must understand what the withdrawal symptoms look like by others reports and then learn to recognize them in ourselves.

We must understand that “tapering” may take months and years….

Not days and weeks.

And we must be able to maintain our focus on the hope of living a full, productive life – whatever that looks like to you.

So in the spirit of the mission of this blog for those who desire to understand how to safely reduce reliance on or withdraw completely over time from these drugs I can suggest some readings…

Beyond Meds This is the most comprehensive resource I know of regarding being self educated on the use and reduction of psychotropic drugs. There is a LOT of information here so narrow your focus and read a lot over an extended period of time.

Peter Lehmann is an ex-user/suvivor of psychiatry and has been speaking and teaching for more than a couple of decades on these issues. Check out his book Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs for some great insight and personal stories by him and many others who have “been there and done that”.

Will Hall is also an ex-user/survivor of psychiatry including forced drugging and other human rights violations of his person. Today Will is a respected International speaker on dealing with extreme states of being and finding balance in a harm reduction approach. He authored a manual call the “Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal” which you can read here or download and print…for free.

These are the top sources I can suggest to anyone as a primer for learning what to consider, expect and do to engage in a safe reduction/withdrawal process of these drugs.

There is much more to learning to live beyond the idea that taking a pill will make us “better”…

And I’d like to invite you to join me at the Empowering Solutions Community on Facebook where each day you’ll receive the notes I post on the often nitty gritty down and dirty stuff about learning to live beyond the dysfunction and distress that often drives us to seek “help” to begin with.

And I couldn’t leave you without offering a solution to the quesiton…

If we don’t take the drugs what DO we do?

And I can honestly tell you….

We learn. We read. We study and hopefully this blog and the resources I provide can become a source of information, inspiration and hope as you become “pro” active in creating your own safe plan to effectively reduce reliance on or withdraw completely from psychotropic drugs.

We are not as broken as we once thought….the human brain has amazing potential that once we learn how to tap into it…

We can do amazing things. 

Thanks for reading today….and remember….

Safe Reduction begins with:

1. knowing where we are at – the drugs we are using, the known side effects, the known withdrawal symptoms

2. Knowing what to anticipate – having a plan in place and knowing the next best steps to take while going through this process. Knowing the consequences of our actions and taking responsibility for our choices.

3. Knowing where we want to go – having a plan and following it, adjusting it as needed and…remembering the reason we are doing what we are doing helps us to stay on track when the going gets tough.

Check out the powerpoint of the original workshop here to get an idea of some things you can do to take that proactive stance in planning your safe reduction/withdrawal.