For many people suffering from psychoses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, etc., feeling normal and balanced by taking antipsychotics is a wonderful change of pace. However, the problem with this is that the antipsychotics are being relied on to fix their problems instead of individuals fixing the problems on their own.
Are you really your Diagnosis?
Just like a person who is feeling sad and decides to smoke marijuana or shoot heroin to feel better, a person who is feeling psychotic or crazy turns to a fix too. However, just like smoking marijuana or shooting heroin, the problems are still there; the drug is just covering them up. If you stop taking the drug or you come down from the high, all of the problems re-emerge. You don’t have to feel the problems while you are taking the drug. Antipsychotic abuse is a quick fix that makes you feel better while the drug is active in your body but it does not really fix anything; it may even make things worse and cause problems such as medication withdrawal.
When you have been consuming a psychiatric medication that changes chemicals in your brain, such as Risperdal (risperidone), Abilify (aripiprazole), Zyprexa (olanzapine), or Lamictal (lamotrigine), your body can start to develop an antipsychotic dependence to the effects of the substance. These antipsychotic drugs act on certain chemicals and receptors in the brain that affect how we feel and how we behave. People who take these drugs may personally know best the physical dependency that these drugs can cause. Missing or forgetting a dose, reducing dosage, or discontinuing use completely can induce not only antipsychotic withdrawal symptoms, but often a worsening state of mental health, too. So basically, if you want to keep your psychoses under control through the use of these medications, you would have to take them for the rest of your life in order to avoid antipsychotic withdrawal. Fortunately, though, there are extremely effective antipsychotic alternatives to psychiatric medication options available. No one has to struggle with Abilify addiction, Risperdal addiction, Zyprexa addiction, or Lamictal addiction. There is help.1
Most people do not want to take these drugs for the rest of their life and this is not what most people have in mind when they are first prescribed these drugs; antipsychotic addiction seems to be somewhat of a side effect for some people. You start taking them and as time goes by, you may become more and more dependent upon them and you need them to feel “normal.” This is what most people describe during heroin addiction: “I don’t want to take heroin for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to be in withdrawal and I want to feel normal, I will have to deal with my problems if I stop doing Heroin.”
Seeking antipsychotic tapering help substantially eliminates any problems associated with the process of rehabilitation from antipsychotic medications. Being able to deal with your problems without an alternative to psychiatric treatment is a very rewarding feeling. No one has to settle for antipsychotic dependence. Individuals are, more often than not, put on these medications during psychotic episodes or after other medications have failed to work. Though antipsychotic drugs may appear effective at the onset, they are not typically tolerated well in the long-term. Individuals using these medications usually feel like they cannot function in life as they desire to, and find difficulty in setting goals and perceiving reward. These serious side effects are often deemed as better than having to deal with visits to hospitals, or an inability to sleep in the case of insomnia, so many individuals continue taking the drug.2
The staff at Alternative to Meds Center includes medical professionals to offer effective antipsychotic addiction treatment. To successfully end antipsychotic abuse, we employ the following techniques. Lab tests are used to find what may be the causes of the original symptoms. Toxicity is frequently found as the culprit. Whether this is a result of genetics or the environment, we then aim to clear the person of these toxins. To do so, processed foods, caffeine, and sugars are restricted and supplements known to be of benefit for these individuals are used as well as supplements that stabilize the inhibitory part of neurochemistry. Our program for antipsychotic withdrawal also works to support the neurochemistry through using natural substances, orthomolecular medicine, cleansing to remove toxins accumulated environmentally, targeted nutritional treatment, amino treatment, medication withdrawal modalities, peer support, personal training, yoga, exercise, massage, and alternative mental health therapies to address addiction to antipsychotics. When the individual begins experiencing the sedative and stabilizing effects of these therapies, their medication can be slowly and gradually reduced. You are invited to call and speak with us to obtain a more complete understanding of the types of antipsychotic addiction help that are available to you or a loved one.
Samaha AN, “Can antipsychotic treatment contribute to drug addiction in schizophrenia?,” CNS Research Group. The University of Montreal [INTERNET]June 2013 and 2014 published in the US National Library of Medicine and online, [cited November 9, 2019]
Information Letter by CAMH, “Illness and Addiction – Antipsychotic Medication” published 2019, [cited November 9, 2019]
This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.
Dr. Samuel Lee
Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente. He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.