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About SurvivingAntidepressants.org

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Altostrata

Sunrise through cloudsSurvivingAntidepressants.org provides volunteer peer support for antidepressant withdrawal, while tapering and after you've quit.

 

(This site offers information to empower you to talk with your doctor. For medical advice, consult a knowledgeable medical caregiver.)

 

While some people may be able to quickly stop taking psychiatric medications without serious discontinuation symptoms, others cannot. Slowing the taper usually makes quitting more tolerable, reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Gradual weaning can take many months and much patience. If you are tapering or thinking of going off a drug, visit our Tapering forum for information.

 

For a minority, antidepressant withdrawal symptoms may continue after stopping medication, for weeks, months, or years. This can be distressing, debilitating, and even disabling. Those who quit without tapering off ("cold turkey") or taper too quickly are more likely to develop severe and prolonged withdrawal syndrome.

 

Gradually tapering off the medication is the only known way to reduce the risk of prolonged withdrawal syndrome. Don't risk the integrity of your nervous system -- unless you have intolerable side effects, do not risk suddenly stopping any psychiatric medication.

 

Please note: If you think certain symptoms or habits of thought are controlled by psychiatric drugs, you will need to learn to manage those symptoms without drugs if you decide to go off them. We cannot treat such conditions here.

 

If you are suffering from withdrawal syndrome -- also called discontinuation syndrome -- from antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs, register to join us for peer support while you recover.

 

Then, please start a topic for yourself in the Introductions and Updates forum -- you can ask questions and track your progress there.

 

Pertinent discussions

- Rules and guidelines

- Intro to antidepressant withdrawal syndrome

- Tapering multiple psych drugs? Taper the antidepressant first

- Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

- Want to ask a question? Become a member

 


READ THIS SITE ON A COMPUTER OR TABLET. CELL PHONE USERS MAY MISS IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

Surviving Antidepressants is entirely volunteer and supported by member donations. It is not affiliated with or funded by any medical or religious organization.

Edited by Altostrata
updated

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Altostrata

MISSION OF SURVIVINGANTIDEPRESSANTS.ORG

 

Surviving Antidepressants is a site for peer support, documentation, and education of withdrawal symptoms and withdrawal syndrome caused by psychiatric drugs, specifically antidepressants.

The participants on this site have all experienced or are experiencing difficulty in withdrawal from psychiatric medications. We offer peer support to those who are similarly suffering, drawing from our personal experiences.

(No posting on this site should be construed as medical advice. For medical advice, consult a trusted medical caregiver.)

The personal stories on this site are documentation of an iatrogenic condition -- suffering caused by medical treatment -- that is almost always ignored, misdiagnosed, or denied by the medical establishment. Given the widespread prescription of antidepressants to tens of millions of people worldwide, withdrawal syndrome probably affects hundreds of thousands if not millions -- including newborns and children.

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome can last weeks, months, or years. It can be distressing, debilitating, or even disabling. It may be adding to an increase in what is termed disabling mental illness.

With our documentation of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, we hope to educate the medical establishment about this problem. Case studies are essential; they are evidence understood by doctors, the psychiatric industry, and government regulatory agencies.

Our hope is, eventually, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs will be prescribed rarely, and only in cases of extremely severe mental illness after less invasive treatments have been tried.

Please join Surviving Antidepressants in its mission to support, document, and educate about psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome.

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Altostrata

Allow me to clarify:

 

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome can last weeks, months, or years. It can be distressing, debilitating, or even disabling. It may be adding to an increase in what is termed disabling mental illness.

 

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome is almost always diagnosed as relapse, unmasking, or emergence of serious mental illness, calling for treatment with more drugs. Usually additional medications make it worse, and the person becomes sicker and sicker -- again an iatrogenic (treatment-caused) condition. At the extreme, a person might become disabled.

 

In this way, antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, as well as other adverse effects of psychiatric drugs, may be adding to the numbers of psychiatric disabilities all over the world. (This is described in the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.)

 

An iatrogenic condition need not be a permanent disability. Recovery is still possible, but if the symptoms are from an adverse or paradoxical reaction to medication, the medication has to be gradually withdrawn for recovery.

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Altostrata

This site was started in March 2011. Altostrata is the site administrator and owner. She runs the site with the help of amazingly dedicated assistant administrators and moderators who have become knowledgeable about tapering. We are all peer counselors -- none of us offer advice as medical professionals.

No one profits from this site. We are all volunteers. The site is funded by contributions from its members and guests.

Many of the charter members had been participants for years in other antidepressant withdrawal forums.

SurvivingAntidepressants.org was started with these intentions:

  • To provide ongoing support and information for people tapering from antidepressants and those suffering from the ignored iatrogenic condition of prolonged withdrawal syndrome.
  • To offer good information about tapering and withdrawal syndrome, with reference to scientific research if available, rather than the usual messy mixture of myths and truths found on the Internet. This information may be used to discuss treatment with health providers.

    Hopefully, proper tapering techniques will become widely known and withdrawal syndrome much more rare.
  • To collect case histories of tapering and iatrogenic damage (see the Introductions and Updates forum) attempting to follow people through the recovery process.
  • To inform physicians and find effective treatments for withdrawal syndrome, reform psychiatry, and change medicine.

We follow a harm reduction philosophy in that tapering or recovery be tailored to the individual to minimize discomfort and symptoms. In tapering, 10% reduction per month is suggested as a starting point, to be speeded up or slowed down as the individual can tolerate. This protects sensitive individuals -- which could be anyone. No one can predict whether he or she will be vulnerable to severe withdrawal syndrome.

We have no position on the decision to discontinue or resume medication -- that is entirely up to the individual. However, if you think the drugs are controlling certain symptoms for you, in order to go off successfully, you will need to take responsibility for learning to manage those symptoms without drugs.

 

Taking responsibility for your own health and behavior is key to going off psychiatric drugs. If you cannot do that, and the symptoms are hampering your life, perhaps going off drugs is not for you. This site provides support for tapering and withdrawal symptoms only, it is not a general mental health support site.

 

The deepest hope of all of us is that, in time, we'll all recover, many fewer people will be suffering from adverse reactions and iatrogenic damage from psychiatric drugs, and this site will have done its job.

 

If you are new to this site, please go to the Introductions and Updates forum and start a topic for yourself. This will be your topic to record your journey.

Edited by Altostrata
updated information

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GiaK

Agreed,

you do a damn good job Alto!

Best board I've come across and I've hit just about every one in the last 8 years!

xo

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Altostrata

Thank you so much for those kind words.

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Barbarannamated

Damn good- amazing - phenomenal -

I still cannot grasp the magnitude of it all and I've only been on 1 site -

Plus Gia's incredible journey -

 

I hope I can one day do a fraction of what you have -

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Gem

Brilliant, ground-breaking site.

 

Very important and absolutely vital.

 

So important to have somewhere that recognises prolonged withdrawal too.

 

Many, many thanks.

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Altostrata

I want to thank, very deeply, everyone who has donated to SurvivingAntidepressants.org since it started in March 2011.
 
I wanted to let you know how your generosity has helped hundreds of thousands of people.
 
It has helped SurvivingAntidepressants.org fulfill its mission as described above.

 

Currently, this site receives more than 600,000 pages views per month. Since SurvivingAntidepressants.org started 3 years ago, the Tapering forum, Symptoms and Self-Care forum, and Introductions forum, which can be found through Google and other search engines, each have been viewed about one million times.

 

The site receives about 500,000 page views a month.

In the Tapering forum, these topics suggesting ways to go off specific drugs have been viewed the most:

*To my knowledge, this is the only compendium in existence of ways to go off Pristiq
 
I like to think that all of those page views mean that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people have become aware of the need to taper gradually off psychiatric drugs and saved themselves a world of hurt from too-fast tapering. I also like to think those people have discussed this information with their doctors and, slowly but surely, are helping the medical profession understand a significant risk in psychiatric drugs.
 
As we go forward, my hope is that SurvivingAntidepressants.org can reach out in other ways to educate patients and physicians. Donations may also go to these projects.
 
Thank you again for your donations, our only source of funding. You have helped SurvivingAntidepressants.org to be a beacon of good information that doctors often lack, and saved many from injury.

Edited by Altostrata
updated

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