Trying to kick psychiatric medications is one of those rarely discussed problems with the modern psychiatric business. For all the informative and sleek television commercials and all the simplified explanations by doctors, when someone decides to get off these meds, the experience can be an utter nightmare.
Writing for The New York Times in 2015, Diana Spechler spelled out her hellish process in an article entitled, 10 Things I’d Tell My Former (Medicated) Self. As she describes, there is very little support for people who wish to quit the meds and return to feeling like themselves again. One of her comments gets at the complexity and craziness of trying to quit.
You might need to taper more gradually than your doctor thinks. Reduce one medication at a time, just a sliver, every couple of weeks at the most. Be gentle. For example, if you’re planning to cut your benzo on a Friday night, but you’re still having withdrawal symptoms from your last cut, or you see the aftermath of yet another shooting on the news, take your usual dose. You can always cut on Monday. Or next Monday. Or the next. It will take you seven months to get off of three drugs. That’s fine. That’s good. You got this. Mid-taper, you can always go back to your previous dose. Medicate if that’s what helps you make it through a day without hiding in the bathroom. The goal is to feel O.K., not to prove that you are O.K. without meds.
This is the truth for most people. They simply have to find some inner strength and work out some plan for themselves and do the best they can.