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Antipsychotic Withdrawal

Antipsychotic medications comprise a group of drugs that are used in the main to manage disordered thought, psychosis, delusions, and hallucinations. These medications are quite often very effective at their onset, however not well-tolerated over a longer term and can frequently result in some unwanted side-effects.
Alternative Help for Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal
When an individual suffers a psychotic episode, or psychotic break, or if other prescription drugs do not work, the person is usually started on a course of antipsychotic medication.

Such an individual who is medicated on antipsychotics may be unable to work or perform as they would like to in life, including having difficulty setting goals and an inability to perceive reward in their life. A person may decide that even though these side effects are not desirable, that it may be preferable compared to multiple hospital visits or continuing insomnia, and so they may decide to continue on the medication.

Examples of antipsychotics are Risperdal, Seroquel or Lithium, used where a person has a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder episodes. These drugs are also prescribed for severe depression or anxiety.

It is possible to overcome the side effects of antipsychotic medications, and it is also possible to withdraw from them with proper and adequate treatment.

Are There Other Solutions for Psychotic Symptoms?

Successfully tapering from antipsychotic medication is made more possible when investigative work is done to try and discover what any underlying causative factors may have preceded medication. At the Alternative to Meds program, the initial action is to run labs to identify any root causes for the symptoms that are troubling the person.

The largest contributor we have found is the presence of toxicity, sometimes as a result of environmental poisons, and also that may accumulate as a result of the individual’s genetics. In both cases the goal is to gently clear these out of the body.

Stabilizing the individual’s neurochemistry is further supported by the restriction of processed foods, avoiding preservatives and additives, and also omitting sugar, caffeine, limiting the number of cigarettes for a person who smokes, while giving supplements that produce known benefits for persons with these conditions.

It is at the time that the person starts to experience balance as well as calmness and sedation provided by the natural therapies and supplements, that their medication can be tapered slowly and appropriately adjusted.

Can We Understand More About the Source of Psychotic Thoughts and Behavior?

Each individual has specific reasons that are unique to them, as to why the person may suffer from disordered thinking, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and so on. However, a common thread seems to be the presence of excess dopamine. Dopamine is the “reward” neurochemical. Too much dopamine can make everything extremely stimulating, leading to mania and other problems. Where this is the case, often it can be an excess of neurotoxins that are stimulating the neurology, throwing it out of balance.

Can the Source of These Symptoms be Effectively Addressed?

We have seen that a genetic problem may affect how effectively (or ineffectively) toxins are being cleared. One example is a poor methylator will not efficiently clear out heavy metals, such as mercury, and these will then accumulate within the nerve and brain tissues. Additionally, where a diet is inadequate in certain essentials like Vitamin C, Zinc, B6, in combination with preservatives, low blood sugar, or other food-related problems may trigger psychosis in people with sensitivity to such issues. But one may not have to suffer side effects if these issues can be sufficiently addressed.

An antipsychotic medication restricts dopamine at the nerve synapse. The synapse is the point where a nerve “talks” to the next one in line. The role of dopamine is to excite the impulse or nerve message, sending it on to the receptor at the next nerve. However, when dopamine is low, the body begins to create additional receptors. Now the same amount of dopamine will have an augmented or magnified stimulating effect, even when an antipsychotic medication is in use. This is the point where, often, the medication dose is increased. Doing so will result in an increase in side effects as well.

If the person stops the medication, the result is that more dopamine is released and more receptors are on hand to magnify the stimulating effects. Often, this results in extreme withdrawal symptoms including needing to be hospitalized for mania or other psychotic symptoms.  Never abruptly stop an antipsychotic medication for this reason, and always seek help and guidance for tapering off this type of medication safely.

Alternative to Meds Center’s Approach to Getting Off Antipsychotic Medications

Our approach to antipsychotic withdrawal is the only one like it in the world. It can be a complex process with many parts, and is specifically tailored to the individual. The process can often include genetic considerations and holistic remedies for improvements, as well as stabilizing the neurochemistry using natural supplements and substances.

A thorough cleanse of neurotoxic material is very often instrumental in that stabilization process.

The goal is to achieve maximum stabilization, and the least amount of medication, and the least amount of side effects, while still allowing the person to enjoy a satisfactory quality of life and ability to function. Whether that can be accomplished during the 8 week residential program is determined on a case-by-case basis.

In some cases, such as where a person has taken antipsychotic medication over a long number of years, it may be more realistic to focus on the goal of stabilizing the person’s neurochemistry, reducing the medication as low as possible, and then work on optimizing function. For a 6 or 12 month period of time, the person returns home, and using after care resources and under local medical supervision, the person may continue to slowly continue to reduce their dosage over time.

Our coaches and counsellors, as well as the team of case managers and our peer support model can provide an effective container that can provide a workable alternative to continuing a life on psychiatric drugs.

Summary: How to Get Off Antipsychotics

We offer programs for:

The first action is to draw lab tests to investigate root causes for the original symptoms.

That information leads to corrective actions such as removing neurotoxins.

Dietary changes are implemented such as restricting neurotoxic food additives, chemicals, sugars, caffeine, etc., and providing the supplements that will be most beneficial to soften antipsychotic side effects as well as withdrawal symptoms, and support correction of the person’s neurochemistry, so that it can repaired back to a state of balance.

Many types of adjunct therapies are used to create natural calmness and sedation, such as yoga, therapeutic massage, Reiki, nebulized glutathione, bentonite clay packs, mineral baths, and many more natural therapies and numerous genres of counseling.

These are natural, science-based solutions to problems of mental health.

Discover How We Help Various Mental Health Issues

Would You Like More Information?

We have helped thousands of people over more than a decade to reach their goal of overcoming antipsychotic medication withdrawal.

Please reach out to us to get more of the assistance that you have possibly been waiting for, for far too long. Someone will speak with you when you call and will be happy to answer any other questions you may have about the services offered at the Alternative to Meds Center.

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

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