Withdrawal Tips

Here are some tips that might help when tapering from psychotropic medications. These may or may not apply to everyone.

  1. On your worst days in withdrawal, remind yourself you’re not crazy, that it’s withdrawal and it will pass.
  2. Avoid alcohol if possible – it often hinders the healing process and can cause more damage.
  3. Don’t compare your story or symptoms to others, as everyone is different.
  4. Don’t push your brain/body to function beyond its capacity. Distractions are good and so is rest/lack of stress. Listen to your body’s needs daily realizing that needs change.
  5. Journal your taper/recovery process: daily symptoms, progress, setbacks, triggers that aggravate symptoms (helps to stay in the day/accept the process).
  6. Stay focused on the progress, especially on bad days, while keeping your eye on the goal.
  7. Remember, ‘windows and waves’ are normal (good days/bad days) while the brain and body continue to heal.
  8. Let go of expectations for healing. Don’t project a time limit. Stay in the day.
  9. Trust in your body’s ability to heal.
  10. Set limits with others when necessary because you’re fighting for your life.
  11. Don’t over-explain your story/symptoms to those who aren’t willing to hear or believe you – you don’t have that kind of energy. Instead, refer them to the proper resources.
  12. Treat yourself with gentleness and care as you would towards anyone who’s suffered TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
  13. Not only are we injured by drug damage and withdrawal that doctors didn’t warn about, we also experience Betrayal Trauma by prescribers once we realize the damage they have caused (via prescriptions and deception), when in fact, they were supposed to “cause no harm” (Hippocratic Oath). This can take a long time to recover from.
  14. Rage against your prescriber is normal and healthy, but it’s wise to wait until more healed before placing accountability. As long as you’re tapering, it’s important to ‘play the game’ while you make your gradual escape. Best not to ‘rock the boat’ or ‘threaten’ your prescriber in any way as long as you depend on the scripts. This is when placating might prevent being dropped/cold turkey. (Typically, they feel threatened when we’ve discovered the truth about the drugs and seem to know more than they do).
  15. For relief from head swelling; lay on your back with an ice pack/clay pack under the back of your neck or on your forehead.
  16. Take time out to deep breathe on a regular basis.

–Jennifer Bryant