Successful Withdrawal from Abilify

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Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by Carol Gillette

“My worries about ATMC possibly being another trauma-inducing facility melted away.
My life is changed in a wonderful and exciting new way.”
Prior to becoming a resident at ATMC, I had been on the highest recommended dose of Abilify, as well as the mood stabilizer lithium, and the highest recommended dosage of Adderall. Due to the severe side effects and inefficacy of Abilify to adequately treat depressive symptoms, it was decided that I could come off the medication. I was not made aware by my psychiatrist back home that there was a strong likelihood of very harsh withdrawal symptoms.

Only a few days after my last dose of Abilify, I became suddenly thrust into the deepest, darkest depression I have ever known. I didn’t sleep for nine straight days which led me to go to the emergency room seeking anything to get me to go to sleep. While at the ER, the doctors were immediately able to identify that I was going through withdrawal; something I was unaware could even occur. By the time I had gotten to the ER, I was almost unable to speak due to slowness in speech and slurring. I was also experiencing dyskinesia, a condition that led my legs, arms, neck and face to make very pronounced and uncontrollable twitching. My eyes were in a state of nystagmus, which is where they moved rapidly from side to side without the ability to stop them, and that occurred all day long. I had extreme headaches all day, every day. My blood pressure had become very high. I experienced paranoia. I couldn’t walk straight or with any speed. I began to fall. And I experienced bouts of confusion, not knowing where I was while in my own home.

A couple of weeks later, my psychiatrist, attempting to get my body back into some form of homeostasis, discontinued me from lithium and Adderall as well.

I couldn’t drive due to my eyes doing uncontrollable things, and I shortly thereafter had to stop working. I was the senior level position in my department, so my absence was felt immediately at work. Even though the ER doctors were aware of what the issue was, they did not know how to best treat it. I reached out to my psychiatrist for help, but she was unaware withdrawal was possible and said she also did not know how to treat withdrawal. She did suggest that I try and get as much rest as possible during my time off from work. So, over the following three months, I tried my best to rest as much as possible. Unfortunately, when it was time to return to work, my condition had not improved, and I had to consider the possibility that I might permanently be on some form of long-term disability.

Fortunately, my wife did some research and found ATMC! We read up on what it is they do there and reached out to them to see if they felt capable of treating withdrawal symptoms of Abilify. To our encouragement, they were very familiar with treating withdrawal symptoms for numerous psychiatric medications, including Abilify.

Once I arrived at ATMC, roughly four and a half months after I had originally stopped taking Abilify, I was still in terrible shape. I was leaving the comfort of my own home to go somewhere a thousand miles away that I had never been before. Of course, I was nervous and had experienced several traumatic hospital stays in the past years for treatment of depression. So, I was unsure of what to expect and felt anxious and worried that ATMC might be a similarly traumatic experience for me. My fears were quickly alleviated.

Every member of staff, from housecleaning to chefs to care professionals to doctors, exhibited a passion for what they were doing, which was helping each individual resident heal and overcome medication withdrawals. They are supportive any time of day or night. All of them expressed genuine care for each resident. My worries about ATMC possibly being another trauma inducing facility melted away. All the staff provide encouragements, affirmations, and emotional support in whatever way they can. I never felt like any of them simply “worked” at ATMC. It always felt as if each of the staff wanted to be a big part of my recovery, and that care shined through each and every day of my care. I would absolutely love to detail out all the specifics of each of the staff’s contributions to my recovery, but I just couldn’t do the right amount of justice for each person.

While at ATMC, I participated in so many different treatments geared towards removing latent medications from my system and in treatments that provided emotional support. I learned to add into my life an exercise routine that is fairly minimal in the grand scheme of things in terms of time consumption. This new routine will serve me well going forward for so many health-related reasons, and it provides me the ability to do daily walks in the neighborhood with my wife, who has been asking for a while now for just that. I spent long periods of time detoxing in the sauna, sweating out built up toxins in my body. There were spa-type treatments as well. Those included massages, acupuncture, toxin removing foot baths as well as relaxation inducing foot baths. There were several other toxin removing and healing related treatments also.

Another large benefit of the program is an individualistic supplementation protocol that is tailored for each person based on their specific needs and symptoms. In order for supplements to effectively work, one must concurrently focus on removing toxins that are presently blocking the body’s ability to adequately receive them. The detoxification process is further aided by removing certain elements of dietary substances that can cause inflammation in the body. The food is prepared by chefs who are able to provide delicious and very nutritious dishes that give the body all the necessary ingredients for building back a healthier individual.

In all the years I have struggled with depression, the one type of treatment I had determined was completely ineffective and therefore useless was therapy. At ATMC, they connected me with a great and strong therapist who was able to overcome my doubts on this type of treatment. She was very knowledgeable, willing to listen, and was able to ask the right questions to effectively make progress in each session. She was very willing to provide me with Christian based therapy, which made me feel even more heard and cared for. My view on therapy has gone from regarding it as ineffective to seeing it as a strong form of treatment that should always be considered and tried before taking any psychiatric medications.

There were many other effective treatment modalities while I was a resident at ATMC. I participated in cold plunges, meditation, yoga, additional exercises, group support sessions, art therapy, dance therapy, hikes, and many other program features.

At ATMC, their approach is not “one size fits all.” They truly do learn about what each resident is specifically wanting to achieve, and they work closely with each resident to make those goals a reality.

I am graduating from the facility in a healthier state than I have been in for more than a decade, both physically and mentally. My kids, ages 13 and 10, have only ever known me as being riddled with constant depressive episodes all their lives. When I got admitted to ATMC, they last saw me as a dad with cross-eyed vision 100% of the time, falling at home, running into things, walking very slowly, experiencing confusion, constant bad headaches, and generally in bad shape. Because I lost my job due to my symptoms, my family was unable to afford to come out and visit me while I healed. They have heard about the transformation, but not seen it in person. I am very excited to surprise them at the airport when I get home with a new and healthier me. They have never seen me in this state, and it will be such a grand gift to give them a happy and healthy dad. I am also very excited to see my wife and for her to see me in such a healed state.

I thank the staff and doctors at ATMC for all the purposeful and intentional effort they put into my recovery process. My life is changed in a wonderful and exciting new way. I have a new lease on life!

With much love and great sincerity,

Timothy Litherland

Successful Withdrawal from Abilify
Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.