Information in this post is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please read my medical disclosure here.
The desire and decision to want to wean off of psychiatric medications is a personal one and should be made with a well thought out and researched plan which includes consulting with your prescribing physician.
Most people who get to this point have hit their limit with the side effects and health consequences they have endured from taking psychiatric medications.
The good and bad news about weaning off psychiatric medications
The good news is that there are natural solutions available that have helped thousands of people wean off psychiatric drugs and get restored to better health and wellbeing.
The bad news is that the journey to getting there may be long and hard. It can also be difficult to find support in doing this. In fact, you most likely will get resistance from friends and family as well as medical professionals.
So it isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is possible. You just have to be determined to press on and persevere with the hope that you will get to the other side.
What you need to know about my qualifications for sharing information on how to wean off of psychiatric medications
Let me stop here and clarify that I am not a medical professional, I don’t have any degrees or training that would give me the credentials to make any recommendations about how you should go about weaning off psychiatric medications. My only training is from life experience and learning a lot of things the hard way.
I am just a mom. My experience has come from losing my 19-year-old son to suicide almost 8 years ago and then almost losing my youngest daughter to the same fate.
We faithfully followed the conventional approach to treating their mental health issues and the result was not only losing our son, but also watching our daughter’s health and life slowly decline with the side effects and health consequences of the psychiatric medications she had been taking for years.
Fortunately, my desperation in finding a way to save my daughter led me to a book called Med-Free Bipolar.
Both my son and my daughter had this diagnosis hanging over their heads. We were told they would have to be on medications for life. The medications my daughter was on would prevent her from ever being able to have children, something she always looked forward to in life. So naturally, I was intrigued by the idea that it was possible to be medication free. It gave me some hope!
Reading this book opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibility for my daughter and for our family. It was the beginning of our natural health journey.
How I helped my daughter wean off of all the psychiatric medications she had been on for years.
This book led me to True Hope, a company in Canada that had successfully created a natural supplement that transformed thousands of peoples lives all over the world. People who were once plagued by mental illness were now leading happy, healthy, productive lives. This product is called Empower Plus which is micronutrients targeted for brain health.
When you purchase Empower Plus through Truehope they offer weekly support and guidance in helping you to slowly wean off psychiatric drugs as you take this supplement. Once your brain gets what it needs from the nutrients it has been lacking, it no longer needs psychiatric medications. (Please note: I am not affiliated in any way with Truehope and I do not get any compensation from them for recommending their product)
I heard that True Hope works with many medical doctors and psychiatrists all over the world so I asked for a referral for a Psychiatrist that uses this product who practices near me. The closest one was 3 hours away but that didn’t matter, it was well worth the drive.
It turns out that she is a Holistic Psychiatrist. She is a full-fledged Psychiatrist with years of experience but she has the additional experience and training to specialize in Holistic Psychiatry. I didn’t even know there was such a thing.
So this Holistic Psychiatrist has been the person who has walked us through weaning off psychiatric drugs. It was over a 2-year process that was full of challenges and severe withdrawal issues but it was 2 years of watching our daughter come to life before our eyes and blossom into this amazing young woman full of promise and hope for the future.
It was hard but totally worth it. Now she is completely off all her psychiatric medications and has even been able to reverse some thyroid problems that resulted from being on those drugs. Everything she takes now is completely natural. And she still takes Empower Plus. In fact, she never misses a dose.
There is so much more to this story that will be a part of a book I started writing to share lessons learned on our journey.
I just wanted to give you a little background on my experience with helping my daughter wean off psychiatric medications before I give you my tips.
Some great resources to start with before trying to wean off of psychiatric medications
First of all, a great resource for getting started is the “Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs.” It was published by The Icarus Project and Freedom Center and is a 54-page comprehensive guide to help you in your journey of weaning off Psychiatric Medications. I have a copy available in my resource library that you are welcome to download. Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to gain access to my Resource Library.
I also recommend reading my summary of “5 Books That Changed My Mindset on Dealing with Mental Illness & Why.” This can also be found in my Resource Library.
My best tips for weaning off of psychiatric medications
- Do your own research: Read the resources I suggested. Do online research of your own. Look up every drug you are currently taking on www.rxlist.com and read all about the side effects, adverse drug reactions, signs of withdrawal, and the recommended reduction of each drug.
- Look into True Hope and Empower Plus. There is so much information on their website. Call them and talk to them about any questions you have.
- Become your own advocate: (or become your loved one’s advocate if they can’t advocate for themselves) You need to be strong and fight for yourself or your loved one.
- Find a Holistic Psychiatrist or Functional Medicine Doctor to partner with you. They will want to get to the root issues and identify nutritional deficiencies that most likely caused your mental health issues in the first place.
- Put together a support team of a few friends or family members to partner with you.
- Include a good counselor as a part of your support team. As you are weaning off psychiatric medications some things may come to the surface that you haven’t dealt with or worked through while you were numbed by the medications.
- Keep a diary and record everything. Start with all the medications you are on currently. Document how you feel and what your life is like currently. You’ll want to go back and remind yourself later. Write down every change, what you ate, how you slept, what your moods were like, and what things are going on in your life at that moment.
- Learn to listen to your body and what it is telling you.
- Formulate a plan with your team (this includes your doctor, True Hope advisors, and your support team)
- Wean off very slowly, only making one small change per week and then journal everything and listen to your body. Don’t make the next change until you are ready.
- Do everything possible to eat healthy, eliminate caffeine and alcohol, drink lots of water, get exercise and plenty of sleep. This isn’t a time to abuse your body.
- Make a list of coping skills you can use to get through the hard days. Think about what things make you happy, or feel good, or distract you when you are feeling bad.
- Put together a list of quotes and scripture to hang on to and encourage you on the hard days. I created a pin here with some of my favorites.
- Pray and ask God to heal your body and to heal your brain and to help you get through this hard time. He made your body to heal itself and He is the great healer and our best source of peace and comfort.
- Ask a few faithful friends or family members to pray for you as well.
Practical nitty gritty reduction tips
- For reducing tablets I use a pill splitter and cut them in half and half again and reduced ¼ of a tablet every time we reduced. (Note: extended release ER medications cannot be done this way and you will have to get prescriptions for smaller doses as you reduce and in some cases work with a compounding pharmacy to do customized dosing)
- For reducing tablets of a medication that you are having a really hard time weaning off of, it may be necessary to do 1/8th reductions each time you make a reduction. In this case, I smash the tablet between a butter knife and a plate and the make the powder into a line. Then I cut the line in ½ and ½ again and ½ again to get a 1/8th. I take 1/8th out at each reduction and then scoop up the remaining with a folded business card and bend it to pour the powder into an empty gel capsule.
- For capsules, you just open them up and take out the desired amount like described in my last point and put the remaining back in the capsule.
I realize this all may seem very overwhelming but I just want to encourage you and say that it is well worth it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it will pay off with a happier and healthier life than you ever thought possible.
Wishing you Joy in your journey,
Some of my other posts related to this topic include:
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