Coming off psychiatric medication

Coming off medication can be risky. At time of diagnosis and prescription there needs be a plan for how withdrawal can be achieved. Without such a plan patients may believe they have to take the medication for the rest of their lives even when doctors are not thinking this way. Patients need to know what is realistically possible by way of recovery and coming off medication.

Withdrawal tends to work with tiny steps. It helps to find a doctor who knows about the medication, the likely withdrawal side-effects, believes you can do it and has time to work with you. It can take a lot of looking to find such a doctor in your neighbourhood.

 

When a diagnosis rate doubles…

When a diagnosis rate doubles, health professionals get concerned.

After a talk I gave on ‘recovery from mood disorders’ a psychiatrist asked my opinion on the bipolar diagnosis rate reaching a new alarming high for young women in their city .

I remembered this conversation when I read “…the number of disabled mentally ill in the United states tripled over the past two decades…”

No one knows for sure why rates for diagnosing bipolar are increasing in so many countries.

Could the answer to far higher diagnosis of young women than the young men (in that city in 2010) be linked to medication? The young men certainly had alcohol as their drug of choice while the young women were more likely to tell their doctor about their troubles and be given antidepressants. Both drugs can make bipolar diagnosis more likely just that the more powerful drugs may take people to this place quicker?

Controversial?

Have you read…

Whitaker, Robert, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. 2010, Crown (Random House). ISBN 978-0-307-45241-2.

Diagnosis plus medication is not ideal

Here is a second quote from Robert Whitaker’s book.

“…before medication, 15 to 20 percent of bipolar patients became chronically ill. Half remained symptom-free in long-term studies after a first hospitalization for mania or depression. Seventy-five to 90 percent worked, and showed no signs of cognitive decline.”

I would have been one of the 75-90% who stayed well without medication having no significant mood swings for 17 years and no talk of bipolar disorder until I was persuaded to take an antidepressant.

This is not about everyone giving up medication – some people need to stay on their meds. I am wondering how many others would have stayed relatively well if they had not taken that first tablet?

Whitaker, Robert, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. 2010, Crown (Random House). ISBN 978-0-307-45241-2.

When bipolar follows on from antidepressant meds

“Today, one percent of all American children have it, and more than 65 percent of them developed bipolar after being treated with a stimulant or anti-depressant” Whitaker

Most people I know and work with who have a bipolar diagnosis say that they took an anti-depressant shortly before they were diagnosed.

Health professionals need to think carefully before giving antidepressants to people who show any signs of bipolar disorder.

Whitaker, Robert, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. 2010, Crown (Random House). ISBN 978-0-307-45241-2.

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