Monica’s Story: The Aftermath of Polypsychopharmacology

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November 12, 2012 | 70 Comments


  1. I’ve known Monica’s story for quite some time now, but what really impresses me here is the courage that she demonstrates by confronting the psychiatrist who harmed her in a phone conversation. That takes guts. Bravo, Monica. Thanks for all you are doing to alert people to the dangers of polypsychopharmacolgy.

    • I agree 100% with Monika letter. my son is 33 and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 23. he too is on a cocktail of pills and is so phyisically and mentally unwell that my mother’s heart is so wounded. e my son and I are scared and don’t know where to turn.

      every word in Monika’s letter is describing perfectly what has happened to my son by the so called professionals. Like monica my son too is highly intelligent and realizes the delema he’s in and what has happened to him.

      for me, it is bittersweet to finally hear from someone who has experienced what I’ve seen happening to my son.

      • Dear Melina I have just come across your comment on this wonderful website and would like to offer you insight into what I have researched about Schizophrenia; I have a brother with with the same diagnosis. I also have been labeled Bi-Polar II. There is a type of therapy called Orthomolecular Medicine Therapy and a wonderful Psychiatrist called Abram Hoffer spearheaded this medicine particularly for Schizophrenic patients he was treating. Hoffer did not agree with the cocktail of drugs his peers were administering to these dear souls and researched in great depth the benefits of vitamin and supplement therapy along with other holistic approaches and had tremendous success. Hoffer has since passed away but his work lives on and practiced by the brave souls who believe in his pioneer work. I highly recommend reading and watching films about his work. I am using a wonderful Naturopathic doctor in Canada who completely advocates OMT and after years of being on ADs, am now following this line of therapy and starting to see some very positive results. I am gradually weaning of Effexor but having strong support and knowledge is critical for this stage. I am taking it slowly and feel more informed than any previous times in my life. We, the patients must take control and not feel bullied by the system that purports to have all the answers…they don’t!! I truly empathize with you about your son and hope that this wee bit of information will perhaps help lead you in a more informed direction regarding his illness.
        Kindest regards,

        • My son who is 40 years old, has been in psychosis for 3 years after abrupt withdrawal from several drugs after being admitted to a mental hospital. Ativan 2-6 mg, Ambien 10mg, Cogentin 6mg, Tylenol 650mg, Klonopin 1mg, Risperdal 2-9mg, Zyprexa 30mg. He was placed in jail, for 5 months for several misdemeanors that he did not appear on. He was found incompetent to stand trial, and was headed to forced treatment. No beds available, so he was released at 9:30pm on our stormiest night of the year. Our family was there to pick him up, he would not go with us as he did not know who we were or who he is. He was taken to emergency, diagnosed with severe dehydration, severe malnourished and electrolyte issues. They kept him for 2 days and he started to do better, he knew who he was and knew his birthdate etc.
          I had him taken in on a welfare check about a month later as he was suppose to receive follow-up care from his emergency visit. The emergency room, did not listen to my concerns of abrupt withdrawal, I told them I wanted no drugs used, as he had been off all medication for 3 years, and wanted to find treatment that understood what he was going threw. I went to eat, upon returning they had given him Ativan 2mg, & Haldol 3mg, and sent him to behavioral health, where they started Zyprexa 30mg. He was released 17 days later, and again in abrupt withdrawal. I do not know what to do. He does not know who we are, or who he is. We live in a smaller town in northern California and I cannot find good help. I am frightened for him, I do not know what’s happening. He is a shell of his self, he has lost around 40 pounds this year. If anyone has a referral to a great Doctor that understands the use of these deadly medications, please let me know.

          • My brother is a diagnosed schizophrenic he currently considered gravely disabled as of yesterday by judge…it took us two years to get him help he knows his name birthday but answers idk to everything doesnt remember what he ate 30 min ago ..what is the best treatment out there my family needs help all i want for my brother is quality of life. Hes taking olazipine is it safe?

          • I sure hope that you see this and that this may help. Please look up Dr Kelly Brogan and try to get a hold of her book, A Mind of Your Own. She is a psychiatrist treating with diet only, no longer prescribing.

        • Just want to let you know that Dr William J Walsh in USA follows much the same type treatment as Abram Hoffer. He has been training doctors in Australia and USA using vitamins and minerals to rebalance biochemistry with excellent results. He has written a book called Nutrient Power which is very enlightening if you have any sort of mental illness.

          • Dr Carl Pfieffer also came up with interesting research along these lines too and reported excellent results working with schizophrenic patients. From memory, I think he looked at copper and other minerals which had an effect. Worth Googling his work and seeing if he and Dr Hoffer were getting similar results.

      • I have been reading Monika’s website and am very intrigued. I also do not like to take pharmaceutical drugs. One day I was living life and the next I found myself in a mental health hospital. When I became aware of my surroundings again and knew who I was, I was shocked and confused that I was diagnosed as psychotic. That was three years ago. I had overcome Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue through neuroplasticity. I applied the retraining steps to my current condition and it worked! I am currently seeking employment. The program is available on DVD. I do not work for DNRS, I merely am one of their success stories. Go to If you’re skeptical, start out with their book.

    • Hi Monica,

      I have read half of your story as I have to go out to alexander technique now. Thank you so much for sharing I have a similiar story. I would love to talk to you about this further. I don’t know anyone who has come off anti-psychiatric medication for me it’s 2 & half years-ish, but my short term memory is so bad I am not exactly sure and am worried if it will ever be okay again. For now please if you haven’t get some activated charcoal it takes poisons and mercury & metal toxins from the body I am taking lots of this and it is helping me think straight. My email is Please don’t message me here but use my email.

      Best wishes
      XX Louisa

  2. I have been in contact with Monica before and subscribe to her blog. Myself, I was lucky in having been locked up through my childhood, but before the drugs were so widespread. If I had been drugged throughout my childhood, I would not be alive today. Monica, I think you express this serious problem for society better than anyone else I’ve ever read. Keep up the fight!

  3. Hi Monica. I can hardly imagine the feeling to have spoken with this man. It sounds like you have the best, and still realistic outlook possible on this “relationship.”
    My best, Syl

  4. So brave! Thank you, Monica.

    It’s so hard to confront the doctors who harmed us. Yet, if we don’t, they’ll continue in their fantasies that they have the magic touch with patients and they’re all doing so well with the medications.

  5. I was prescribed several different anti-depressant drugs (etc) and took to shop-lifting and stealing – something which horrifies me now – I ended up in prison at the age of 56 where I took the decision to stop taking all medication. Although I still suffer from depression due to childhood trauma etc. I have turned my life around – but have a criminal record which shames me……xx

  6. Wow, Monica. Your story is harrowing and inspiring. I was also prescribed poly-psych-meds after docs diagnosed me as Bipolar II (whatever the hell that is). They were so sure there was some med out there that could “cure” me that they completely ignored the horrific side effects I experienced on antidepressants, and later benzos. As Dr. Peter Breggin writes in his book “Medication Madness,” our culture is hypnotized by the psychiatry industry and Big Pharma into thinking that psych meds are safe and good for everyone. Thanks again for your wisdom and bravery!

  7. I did ask the psychiatrist what he thought when he heard I had almost taken my life from Seroxat.
    His face did redden, he said he didn’t know whether it was the drug or me.
    But then he did not know that the gp had not taken his advice to switch to Fluoxetine, due to the short half life of Seroxat and the longer life of Fluoxetine. So, only now, can I perhaps think this psychiatrist had more going for him that I initially thought.
    After all, he did then put me on a year-long programme of tablets and liquid reduction which got me off Seroxat, eventually.

    So, if this man in a small psychiatric hospital in Argyll, did this for me, why then, does GSK insist on a two week withdrawal and why then did my gp fail to recognise manic psychosis and give me Chlordiazepoxide, Propanolol, Lorazepam, Diazepam, and fail to mention Fluoxetine to me.

    Answers on a postcard please to:
    ‘Land of the Brave’

    • annie, I’d very much like to know who that doctor is, who understood gradual tapering. If you will, please send me a note with his contact information survivingads at comcast dot net

      Thank you.

  8. Hello Monica,

    I’ve read your text and I can relate to you. I’ve been experiencing probably the same thing as you. My original diagnosis: bipolar disorder II. The psychiastrist then gave me Prozac, Lithium and Benzodiazepines. 2 months after starting the medication I went through a severe hypomania that got me a lot of troubles. That was in 1996, as being told I was bipolar, I then felt in the trap of being told: you are going to take medication all your life…
    From 1996 to 2010, I’ve been prescribed 16 drugs such as lamictal, valproique acid, cymbalta, etc. Other than overstimulating me, I think, as you do, that these drugs got me really sick. I’m still fighting to get back my health.. Never tought medication could get me worst. But I’ve discovered, than I read a story like yours and the reality is hard to accept. Because I tought I did what I had to do by taking these pills…

  9. Recently I have come to realize the utter devastation psychopharmacology has had on my life over the last 13 years. I would love someone to talk to. I am in the process of documenting my experiences and feel compelled to bring this issue into the light. My life has been robbed from me and the Dr.’s have never taken my complaints seriously. I am devastated. I am angry and I am outraged.

    • I too have been on antipsychotic meds, primarily seriously for 14 years & would be happy to talk to you about our experiences. I would love to get off seoquel as it has caused me to gain 60 lbs.

  10. Dear Martie – I think everyone here can share those feelings of outrage and bewilderment. I blamed myself for a long time for taking seriously the pretense that there was Big Science behind the treatments I was given, and swallowing obediently while my mind and health went downhill.

    Well at least we are thinking for ourselves now, and this site is meant to help us keep doing so!

    The Internet can be a godsend in this process. There are gutsy and dedicated people like Monica working hard to maintain quality blogs. There are also a lot of “discussion boards” springing up where people try to help each other with the fallout from various psychotropic drugs. Here are a few I know personally:

    Most of these boards discuss more than just the one drug in the title. They all have plenty of members who have been diagnosed as bipolar and put on multiple drugs. The advice varies – just remember that no one’s an expert and everyone’s nervous system is different. Paxil has probably caused more misery to more people trying to quit than any single drug – but I was taken off cold turkey, and barely felt a bump. I was not so lucky with the next set of drugs. Go figure. Check back in here soon and best of luck!

  11. stan, french, 62 years, victim of protracted antidepressant withdrawal since more than 4,5 years after 13 years 20/10mg deroxat/paxil

    when you hurt someone, you must answer for your actions before a judge, whether you made this intentionally or by accident, and the judge determines liability and damages;

    For doctor and psychiatrist, it’s good, they never worried, even their victims come talk to them,
    This joke can still continue years

  12. Pertinent comment, Stan. ‘Even their victims come to talk to them.’

    I made an analysis of my gp, who led me a not so merry dance regarding Seroxat and many benzos.

    I don’t know anything about psycho school or how psychiatrists are trained in dispensing ssris and benzos, but I do know that filtering responsibility to a gp is like giving a gp ‘a weapon of mass destruction.’

    I am always finding analogies and ‘weapons of mass destruction’ brought on a war with Iraq, which became ‘sexed up’ dossiers from our government, and in the end the suicide of a man, called David Kelly. An eminent scientist who, I believe, took his life due to pressures from those who abandoned him.

    Returning to my gp, who was old fashioned, elderly, frumpy, disillusioned, cynical; the sort of woman you would not want in your life.

    So, she came out with a statement, in my medical records, which I will reel from for the rest of my life.

    She said:

    “She has had Seroxat which she discontinued last summer when she was well at his suggestion of Fluoxetine. It does not appear that either of these drugs have made the slightest difference to her and I notice in a recent article they are no more efficacious in anxiety than benzodiazepines.”

    1. She did not give me Fluoxetine.
    2. After eight weeks off Seroxat I hacked myself with a carving knife, tried to hang myself and then swallowed 28 beta-blockers.
    3. If they are no more efficacious in anxiety than benzos, then why did she give me chloriadopoxide, Lorazepam, Diazepam, Propanolol for months on end.

    What am I missing. Was this a deliberate attempt at criminal intent to deceive, or was this just ramblings from a tired, old woman.

    Whatever it was, it put me in a ‘near death situation’.

    This is why gp’s meddling in pharmapsychology, is way beyond acceptable, and why I should have gone right back to the psycho, who gave the advice, instead of allowing this gp to nearly murder me, caused me two years of unimaginable distress, and ten years of trying to right what should not have gone so cruelly wrong in the first place.

    Way to go, with this.

  13. I’m going to repost something I posted on the thread at Mad in America on this same article. I’ve edited it a bit.

    “When I engage with the doctor I do it because I care about the people he is still treating. It’s not some sort of touchy feely exercise to commune with him. Seeing and believing him to be evil when it’s clear to me that he is not would get us no where at all. It would only totally alienate him. I may not change him 100% but I’m sure at this point he will never prescribe quite the same way again either. (I’ve been sending him my work on the harm psych meds cause for several years now) Any time less aggressive prescribing is used…any time people end up on less medications… will diminish how much people are harmed. This too is harm reduction.

    It’s convenient and sometimes satisfying to imagine all these prescribers as evil. (And for our healing process it may also be helpful at certain junctures) But it’s simply not the case all the time…misunderstanding this fact can forfeit any chance of meaningful dialogue with those who might have ears to hear. I opt for meaningful dialogue and frankly I welcome the opportunity to dialogue with people that are not part of the choir.

    We all work where we are called to work. Talk to those we can communicate with and help. I was a professional in this field. I am skilled at communicating with other professionals. I do what I can on as many fronts as possible in this battle to educate and change what is happening with the use of psychiatric drugs.

    It’s better that we support each others unique skills rather than question their value.”

    If talking to MDs doesn’t feel right people shouldn’t do it.

  14. I really, really agree with you but when the people you want to have a dialogue with totally refuse to discuss anything to do with it in a rather unrepentant and hostile manner, then what on earth do you do?

    I have two letters.

    One from the hospital who put me on Seroxat and although, offered sincere sympathy, for my distressing symptoms, refuse absolutely any further discourse. In fact, they tell me to talk to my surgery.

    The other, from the surgery, refuse totally to even begin to talk to me. Notwithstanding, a very distressing telephone call from a man in Canada, who tells me that he has not the time to listen to my complaint about ‘potential manslaughter.’

    I am not a trouble maker, I am not someone who makes a fuss about nothing.

    I have just been met with a brick wall and in ten years cannot penetrate it.
    I really do now think that I have met the lowest, most absurd people.

  15. yes, Annie. I hear you…it’s simply not always possible nor is it always appropriate or safe. I certainly support protecting ourselves and NOT retraumatizing ourselves or risking our safety in any way. That is why it depends on the person and the situation. It’s not always the right thing to do. I applaud you trying but I wouldn’t sweat it for a minute if it’s not the right thing to do… I personally go with the flow on this stuff…it works for me so I do it. I wouldn’t do it otherwise.

    And so it’s totally legitimate to simply not go there at all. Absolutely.

  16. You are a wonderful and contained person and I admire your resiliance and fortitude.
    Of course, you are right, why should I let these people get to me. But they did, and I cannot let it go. I cannot let it go.

    I live in a caravan. I lost everything. Except, for myself, as it happens. Although, it took me a while. Once, this is all over, I will face the world, without being forced into mania and suicide and disgrace………

    However, all is not lost. I work six days a week as a freelance gardener, in a Scottish castle, I try to paint, I want to be an artist. I read, I think, I live.

    But, the pain and anguish I have in my heart because of GSK and their rotten drugs and the way I was treated by the gp and psychiatrist have left me bereft, that I could have been anniliated so easily; without one single person trying to help me out.

    Thanks, Monica. I appreciate your thoughfulness in responding.
    All my comments on David’s blog have the only belief possible. Seroxat causes suicide and no one will tell me otherwise. And, altercations with surgeries, will continue …………..

    • Annie…
      your story, as most of our stories are, is one filled with trauma. I find the trauma lens to healing the best one for me. If you’ve never looked at some of the newest methods of caring for yourself once traumatized you might find it helpful. If you don’t know where to start getting info you can look at the page on my blog that has a collection of info about trauma and care of trauma. I’m mostly drawn to the fact that trauma is often embodied…it sinks into our bodies…quite literally. Healing for me has become hugely body oriented. I have no idea if it will resonate with you but I felt moved to share that I’ve found it helpful.

      here is the page I’ve put together on trauma and it includes quite a lot of suggestions for getting in touch with the body.

      Your job sounds perfect…really…working with plants outside is so healing. When the weather permits and you aren’t using any dangerous equipment try working barefoot…direct contact with the earth is another one of my “therapies.”

      best to you. hang in there.

  17. I totally related to your experience. I went to the doctor in 1992 and reported symptoms that I now know were situational anxiety due to many life events and a job that was incredibly stressful. The Psychiatric social worker told me that she thought I was depressed. Just the word “depressed” didn’t seem to fit what I was going through. She did a little trick that was totally unethical and was part of a con-job that really destroyed much of the life that I was building. She said, “Just try the medication (Prozac). If you aren’t depressed it wont have any effects and if you do feel relief then you will know you were depressed.” I reluctantly started the meds. After about a month of taking them I was driving to work and I noticed that I felt pretty good. I immediately thought, “It must be the prozac! I guess I really was depressed!” I then committed to taking these meds. After a time the effect wore off and I found myself feeling much worse than when I initially went to the doctor. When I went for a foolow-up my dose was increased. Over the next 10 years I went from being a moderately successful professional with incredible prospects to someone who looked and acted like someone with severe mental illness. I basically lost everything in time and ended up on the streets in a state of utter desperation. I finally quit taking any medication and lo and behold I feel much better and am productive in my life. Going to a psychiatrist to deal with life’s stressors was one of the worst decisions I had ever made. I would have been better off if I had gone to a street drug dealer. Really though social support and self-awareness have made the difference. I know that I am the authority on my body and mind today. Physicians are consultants and today I know they cannot be trusted. Just like when buying a car I am going to weigh anything the seller tells me with the knowledge that he/she is trying to SELL the car.,Going to the doctor is the same thing. Medical treatment is partly a financial decision. The motives of the medical establishment are obviously tied up in money and my well-being is not always the main concern. Thank You Again John

    • ^ THIS:

      “Going to a psychiatrist to deal with life’s stressors was one of the worst decisions I had ever made. I would have been better off if I had gone to a street drug dealer. ”

      I was put on an antidepressant after having my first child because I felt fatigued and dizzy. I was told “these pills help lots of new moms. If it helps, then great. If it doesn’t, then just taper off the same way you began.”

      What I should have done: drank more coffee, hired a babysitter and house cleaner.
      What I did: popped that first pill.

      I had NO prior history of depression or mental illness, and within 2.5 years of taking that first pill (10 mg celexa) I was diagnosed as Bipolar 1.

      The pill caused debilitating depression, and I only took it for 4 weeks. I went through withdrawal which I had not been warned about at all. This lead to further drugging (lexapro) because I was told I just needed to try a different antidepressant. The lexapro CAUSED hypomania. Because of my “history” of depression this lead to a diagnosis of “underlying” bipolar 2 and then I was slapped with mood “stabilizers” (Lithium, lamictal).

      These medications made me unbelievably suicidal. One day, it was so awful I drank an energy drink (Spark) to combat the effects- just hoping to make it through the day alive- and then ended up hospitalized with full blown mania. Then, I was labeled bipolar 1. More drugs were added. The side effects of these drugs have left me disabled- mentally and in many ways physically (fatigue, severe weight gain).

      Oh, and all the while I am trying to mother my two small children (ages 3 & 6 now)– I feel so bad for them (and my husband). It blows my mind that anyone would put a new mom on these strong drug cocktails!

      Anyways, I read a few pages on Mad in America (Anti-depressant Induced Mania)(Bipolar Everywhere) and also asked my husband to read them. Suddenly, it was clear to both of us that the drugs had CAUSED the bipolar 100%.

      I have been seeing a new therapist who is taking a holistic approach. I will taper off my meds very slowly over the course of a year (75mg lamictal, 5mg lexapro) and learn mindfullness techniques to help. It was also immediately obvious to my therapist that the original fatigue and dizziness were signs of adrenal fatigue syndrome- something common in new mothers– which can present depressive symptoms and thus leads to misdiagnoses of new moms.

      I feel lucky to have found my truth, and a safe way out of the darkness that is psychiatry. I also feel fortunate to have an understanding spouse, and beautiful children who make every day worth living for.

      Your blog is a godsend. Thank you for speaking out. Also, I hope I have the courage to confront my original psychiatrist to inform him that his choices to medicate and ignore the side effects nearly cost me my life.

  18. Monica, I don’t know if I could be so forgiving of the harm done to me, as one suffering protracted withdrawal, no-one could even begin to imagine the torture that ensues with this “condition”. Originally, I visited the Dr, who’s bad advice resulted in me being in this position, seeking help and answers. He was unhelpful and this only further amplified my suffering. It took 19 months of suffering for anyone to confirm that what I was going through was withdrawal and that it was most probably due to quitting prozac so abruptly. This confirmation was from the psychiatrist on my first visit. All the other Dr’s in the practice are aware of problems withdrawing from these types of drugs and usually switch drugs and reduce gradually to prevent problems. Why did my Dr find it inconceivable that I would not suffer any adverse effects quitting 40mg prozac after 2 1/2 years use without problems. His actions nearly cost me my life, have cost me my sanity (for a while), my health and the life I wanted for both myself and my family.

    • Chrissy, I just recently read about Monica. Can you tell me why she is unable
      to go out? Is she disabled permanently from taking these meds? I don’t know
      how to get in touch with Monica.

  19. I nodded my head throughout this whole post, as my son experienced a lot of the same, being on ten different meds for severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He recovered from his OCD, you guessed it, once we insisted he be taken off all medication and be given the right type of therapy (Exposure Response Prevention). I follow your blog, Monica, and appreciate your passion to get the word out about psychiatry and these drugs.

  20. Thank you for writing this blog. It is so nice to find like minded people. My “bipolar” was caused by Wellbutrin withdrawal (given for smoking cessation, not depression), worsened by a major drug interaction with a pain killer Ultram and ADRs from a NSAI. All these meds given to me by a PCP, I later learned from reading all my medical records, was paranoid of a malpractice suit because her husband was the “attending physician” at a “bad fix” on a broken bone.

    My pastor told me I dealt with the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” (Apparently historically, and still, any time a pastor or doctor wants to cover up a sin or malpractice, they recommend a therapist, who claims the person has a mental illness, ships the person off to a psychiatrist, who then makes the person ungodly sick with drugs.) I survived 15 distinctly different drug cocktails, before I was finally weaned off drugs. Talk about insanely inappropriate medical care, and betrayal.

    But I am grateful to the kind nurses who eventually handed over my family’s medical records, recommended we find another doctor, switch medical insurance groups, and the one nurse who followed my family to our next two PCPs, and worked to protect us.

    When an industry offers malpractice suit prevention as a service to the balance of the medical community, it’s no wonder there is an anti-psychiatry movement. They claim to be doctors there to help you, but in reality they’re just hypocrites trying to harm patients to cover up a “bad fix.” Truly, Dante was correct when he claimed the hypocrites belong in the very lowest depths of hell.

    Will I ever overcome my disgust? I’ve been drug free for six years now. And I’m not certain I will ever trust, or even respect, any doctor again knowing this is commonly accepted behavior within the medical community.

    All people should be made aware of this “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” (Put a person on a drug that causes mania, misdiagnose – according to the DSM-IV-TR – the drug induced mania as bipolar, then render the person senceless with antipsychotics, et al.)

    And the most appalling thing about this, is that this is exactly the same way the medical community created an iatrogenic “childhood bipolar epidemic” in this country. The scope of the iatrogenic crimes against American children by the US medical industry are almost unfathomable. We need a return of ethics in this country.

    Shame on Dr. Joseph Biederman, the psycho / pharmaceutical industries, and the US governmental agencies who allowed over a million children to be misdiagnosed as bipolar. Shame on the lawyers for not taking these easily provable malpractice suits. Read your DSMs, doctors, if mania is caused by a drug, then a bipolar diagnosis is wrong!

  21. Having a very hard time right now coming to terms with the fact that these drugs over time have caused me to barely be able to leave the house the last few years, seriously. Fatigue, mental fog, severe depression have been my chronic companions, not therapeutic help in the form of these toxins. I finally got a neuropsych at an ECT consultation appt. to admit that yes, the meds could have made me worse and his advice was to get off Cymbalta and see how I do. I’ve been on one after another med and the last three years, I’ve been battling extreme depression with severe headaches, fatigue, and memory loss. I got myself off of Adderall and ma now in the midst of Cymbalta withdrawal. Next will come Tramadol for the chronic pain. I have to find another way to deal with that though if that is the only drug I have to take if it, I would pick that over any of the total psych meds I’ve been on. I am just sad. I really liked my doctor as well and I will still have to go see him to keep up my disability until I get somehow get back to work – if I ever can after all this. I think my energy systems were severely damaged by these things over time. I don’t know if I will ever be the same but slowly but surely on what I have quit so far, I am feeling some clarity and some passion – but some rage coming back as well. I am 47 recently and I worry I’ve lost most of my life by now to all this – 30 years to be exact of being medicated. I hope there is still hope. I guess I have some grieving to do and some old trauma stuff to get through.

  22. there is always hope Cat. I highly recommend this withdrawal board:

    there you will find others with similar stories to your own and support and the safest methods of withdrawal available at this time. While it’s name contains antidepressants there is extensive information and help to come off all psych drugs.

    I wish you the best on your continued journey. I’m sorry you’ve had to suffer so much.

    • Thank you, Monica. Really enjoying your Facebook page and I take great inspiration from your story. I found the group you suggested and I don’t feel so alone or hopeless anymore. Thank you! I think supplements should have been tried in my case but the whole psychiatry trip has you believing over time that those can’t possibly touch such severe illness and you need the drugs and need to keep trying them or combinations until you find the right one(s). Such baloney! Desperation keeps so many mesmerized and spellbound by the effects of the drugs that by the time we figure out something is really wrong, it is much later than we are prepared to deal with – like the frog in the slow boiling pot of water. Not fun realizing I’ve been burned but on the other hand, as David Foster Wallace said, “The truth will set you free, but not until it is done with you,” and unfortunately I don’t believe he lived to survive psychiatry, is the conclusion I drew after reading his biography. But our experiences and talking about them will hopefully be useful to others over time and I commend you dearly for making use of a major challenge and tragedy in your lie. I will endeavor to do the same and find a way to start a blog to share my healing journey. I am finding Yoga Nidra recorded meditations to be very helpful recently as well.

      • Monica, I relate to everything you say – In Ireland I was abducted by the psychiatry world for questioning general medical wrongdoing in a hospital – I am now going through the same as you as nice qualified doctor psychiatry tells me that I have a clinical imbalance and must stay on the drugs for the rest of my life – if only I would for my own sake he declares go on the monthly injection it would save me a lot of unnecessary worry on having to think to take the “tablet” every day – I tell him about the adverse side effects, and show him xrays of wrongdoing in the general medical field – he completely bypasses all that and tell me how wonderful I am doing on the medication – forced psychotropic drug – I talk about the proven information on Council for Evidence based Psychiatry – he ignores all that and tells me how important it is for me to stay on the medication – that it is in my best interest – in an area not far from his office I read about the sponsorship from Lundbeck…another bulletin states do you want to get of benzos – we can help – the entrapment of human life beyond what the world wants to know…slaves of pharma, endorsed by the well dress gatsby type figures whom Big Pharma depend on…Well done Monica, you have found a way out of the dungeons of Pharma control…God Bless you.

        • Hi monica

          I read alot about your situation.
          I am in a very desperate one myself. Very desperate. I was put on and off of meds this year and the last med they tried on my i developed horrible akathisia. I can not tolerate anything anymore and can not sleep. Or lie down. My situation is very bad. I read that you were put on lamictal to somehow reset you brain…can this be necessary? I really really need help from someone who understands what he is doing.
          Sorry for being so desperate.
          Melanie from germany

          • To: “melanie”, and “Teri”:
            Don’t know if either of you will see this reply, but YOU ARE WORTH my time! Best suggestion is to visit “”, and “”, and “”. Those are 3 excellent websites where you will find days & weeks & months worth of reading information and also personal support stories. I’m sorry that you both have suffered ‘Iatrogenic Neurolepsis’, which is when Dr.s cause a type of chemical-induced brain damage and changes by so-called “meds”, which are really DRUGS. Psychiatry does more harm than good, but there are many victims who survived, got away from the quack shrinks and their poison pills, and who are well into recovery. Please accept these few humble words in the Spirit of true hope, and true healing. Yes, that’s MY story, too! You CAN heal and recover! Best wishes! ~Bradford

    • Im am so with monica on this story my sons father shot and killed himself right in front of me something i look on and cant understand how i pulled through they had me on several different meds to the point i was unaware of who i even was….. Also hated evey min i was alive when i finally relized the meds were only killing me and hurting me i have been off all meds i still have to deal with life but not with hell… I believe there are meds that some people need but i do not believe that anyone should be put on a bunch of meds and become zombies we are people and one thing we have to learn is theres not meds for everything u feel some things are just like that we are suppose to feel…

  23. that’s very hard to do, you are lucky and you situation was likely different than mine if you were able to bring a case against him. My psychiatrist did nothing unusual as compared to other shrinks…and given it’s standard care it’s almost impossible to bring lawsuits against. I actually consulted with a law firm that deals with iatrogenesis and was told I had nothing.

  24. thank you so much for your blog and site. I am a RN with 22 years of nursing experience. I was prescribed benzos in 1994 with a job change and told I had an ” anxiety disorder ” and I would have to take them the rest of my life. my mother was mentally ill so I too was labeled with something wrong with me when I needed the help of a qualified psychotherapist at that time in my life. This morphed into a horrible experience being given more drugs over a period of 20 years and polydrugged. It has now been 16 months and I am benzo free and in withdrawal still with horrible physical symptoms. But my mind is clear once again and I am so proud!! after a review of these years, I now know I had a thyroid disease for years Hashimontos’s that was not treated for a period of 10 years, then when it was treated, it was treated with the wrong thyroid medication for 7 years. I have also learned that instead of an anxiety disorder, I have bipolar disorder, that was not treated for 10 years, and the following years, not treated with the right medication. I am talking lamictal 100 mg daily and feeling more normal. I am so happy now for after spending 2 years on my back in the bed, I am now healing enough to face the day, and up and going altho in a great deal of physical pain. my body is overweight, and I have lost muscle mass, but I hope to heal my body with proper exercise. I would like to go back to work, but due to the damage to my body, I am unable too at this time. so anyone who has been prescribed benzos, and who is in recovery or in withdrawal know you can overcome and reclaim your life. I am not totally there yet, but I am on my way. if I never work as a RN again, I will find a fulfilling way of helping my fellow man again.

    • For me, 3 years of clean after 16 years on mind numbing psychiatric medications is an awakening to myself!! Be kind, be compassionate to you. Mindful meditation via MBSR workbook via Bob Stahl and Elisa Goldstein PhD ‘ s helped me first. It takes a long time to come back inside the body and mind after being gone. Do your best. Enough~

  25. Wow. Seldom am I speechless, but this ‘takes the cake.’ A journey I’m not sure I could do myself. I’m grateful that you’ve gone before me Monica, introducing to me the dangers. I’ve read about the politics of medicine for years, but your personal experiences are far more reaching than a text and I am paying attention.

    Thank you, Monica….you keep me on my path and I am reminded…I am not alone.

  26. I was prescribed 400 mgs. Seroquel and 15 mgs. Zyprexa for my seizure condition, and became a zombie. I lost a decade or my life, quit driving, gave away my car which was paid for. Finally, one doctor told me, “You’re on some major antipsychotics.” I was devastated and immediately got off–cold turkey. Now I use black cherry concentrate exended-release tablets (I have to OD on them as my brain is still injured) and 40 mgs. melatonin to sleep. My question now is, 6 years past the use of those drugs, will my ability to feel anything close to love ever return? I still feel indifferent to everyone and everything around me. I can’t feel love anymore. And to think these monster “physicians” are doing this to foster children. BTW, my brain has shrunk–my skull now has large indentations and ripples in it. But I can work a computer now, and much of my memory has come back. My heart goes out to everyone harmed by these drugs. Please watch a youtube video, “Making a Killing the Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging” for an insight.

  27. Thank you Monica for your erudite and very brave article. I am so sorry you had such an awful experience but am full of admiration for you, having come off so many medications which must have been incredibly difficult. I have been left in antidepressants for 24 years, after an initial diagnosis of postpartum depression following the birth of my son, but no medical practitioner in the UK has ever advised me to withdraw. I have now taken this upon myself and have been withdrawing over 6 months. I am beginning to experience clarity in my mind, not only this, I am starting to feel creative once more. I am furious that my clearness of mind and artistic talent has been stolen from me for 24 years and can only hope as the days go by I will be able to forgive the medical professionals. What on earth possesses these people to damage and abuse their patients in such a way? It is unethical by all accounts. I have been denied talking therapy, which sends a rather sinister message in that they would rather kill me than cure me. SSRI’s shorten our life expectancy by many years. I am hoping and praying as a 53 year old woman that I haven’t left it too late. I wish everyone clarity and peace in successful recoveries.

  28. Hi Monica: I have read about your experience and am sorry for what you and so many people have experienced. I have been on these drugs for at least 22 years and have always wanted to withdrawl but was too scared. I am from Canada but don’t think it’s much different here either. People here are prescribed drugs too and have talked to many people that have been on them. Am disappointed that I did not bite the bullet and got off them sooner. I have gone through a horrible menopause that started when I was 47 and I am 57 now. It’s been difficult to stay with jobs over the years and raise 3 kids I was in health care and we have a Marina and worked there too, also had a art gallery above our Marina for 4 years promoting other people’s art and my own. Have been off the meds this past year and went cold turkey. I was on 10 mg but before was on 20mg. It’s been a difficult year and also found out I have a low hemaglobin, low Iron and would like to know if anyone else has experienced this from maybe long term use of meds. I have been on Celexa for 12 years and prior to that prozac for quite a few years and imimpremin prior to that. I have never felt a 100 percent on them but I have lost my drive and self esteem and confidence. It is so sad because I have been such a happy individual. I also was very active and now am lucky if I get out of the house and I hate feeling this way. I use to ski, exersize, boat etc. Don’t know if it’s because of my age or that I am still suffering from withdrawl. Does anyone have any answers would appreciate a reply. Would be ever so grateful. Thanks Hope.

  29. Hello. I would like to thank all of you for your posts… they have been most enlightening. The reason I sought out this site was to try and gain information on how to help my grandson who is suffering through psych pharmaceutical hell. To begin with, he never had a chemical imbalance in the brain of any sort… he simply has cognitive delay which would not have prevented him from leading a normal, healthy and happy life. That is until his other grandmother got a hold of him. His mother abandoned him and his father turned to meth, so my grandson went to go live with his other grandmother who is on antidepressants herself – claiming that they work wonders for her. My grandson was 15 at the time and understandably upset and angry with his parents. The grandmother tried to put him on drugs, but his doctor said no – there was absolutely no need since there was nothing wrong with him. So the grandmother shopped around until she finally found some doctor at some clinic to prescribe them. He didn’t like how they made him feel, and he told my wife (the father’s mother) that he wanted to stop. My wife told him to not take the pills, so my grandson spit them out whenever the other grandmother gave them to him. But when the other grandmother found out that he was not taking his pills, she became extremely angry and made his school force him to take them. After a short while, my grandson started to suffer the first of the side effects that would ruin his life from that point on. More drugs were prescribed to deal with those side effects, then more drugs and more drugs. My grandson began to hallucinate and didn’t know if he was coming or going. He began to lose interest in all the things he loved until he did nothing at all. He just existed, nothing else.
    Now, 8 years later – a lot has happened. His other grandmother couldn’t deal with him anymore so she pawned him off on her daughter, Cheryl. Cheryl is also addicted to prescription drugs and naturally viewed my grandson as a fresh source of pills. She is an alcoholic, she stole his money and his identity to get her cable turned on, emotionally and mentally abused him, constantly telling him that he needs his pills or he’s going kill people one day. That he is a monster and that the pills are what’s keeping the world safe from him. None of this is true, but unfortunately my grandson believed her – still does to this day. What he didn’t realize at the time was that his aunt was intentionally mixing up his meds to make him look crazy, thus supporting all of her claims about him. This ensured that he would get meds that she could steal for herself. Then his uncle told us (and him) that there are only two outcomes to his life – suicide or jail. No one on that side of the family holds out any hope for him, and treat him as if he were some sort of monster. His clinics do whatever he wants, up his dosage, change his meds… whatever he wants to do is okay with them. He’s his own guardian after all and capable of making his own decisions – even if those decisions are obviously wrong. But when my wife and I speak with anyone associated with the clinics and express our fears and concerns, they tell us that their model for treatment is drugs first, therapy last. They also tell us that our grandson needs his medications, that he requests them (which he does for fear of what he will become without them), and that we need not fear. The drugs he is one (four of them – they won’t tell us which ones) are wonderful – no side effects whatsoever! Who are they trying to fool?!? My wife and I have been advocating for our grandson since 2010 – ever since we discovered what was happening to him. We could see the changes in him, the darkening personality, the restlessness and anxiety, and his fear he would hurt others. We also knew that he was receiving Risperdal and having extremely bad effects on that. The doctors refused to change the meds. Then he began receiving injections about two months ago, and his personality went from bad to worse. He didn’t care if he hurt anyone anymore. He didn’t care that he was insulting, confrontational, and two days ago he broke the face of a girl working at the group home he lives at in Arizona. He was arrested but released into the care of the Pastor who runs the home. A restraining order was issued to protect the injured staff member (who needs a plate in her face and plastic surgery) and his legal future is uncertain. But my wife and I have been warning folks for years about what would happen if he was not taken off the meds…. that he was going to hurt someone someday and it wouldn’t be his faulty. But everyone is treating him like a psychopath, and he believes it himself. He refuses to get off of the drugs because of what his aunt told him that time, and he gets angry at anyone who tries to help him. He feels no one understands what he’s protecting others from. He won’t listen to anyone, doctors, police, paramedics, anyone – because they don’t know what they’re talking about. Only his aunt Cheryl can make him well.
    My wife and I don’t know what to do. We don’t know who to contact, what to try… we have to do something to save him. He doesn’t realize what is happening to him, and he wants to continue taking his drug cocktails to keep himself well, not understanding that it’s the drugs making him sick. There’s nothing wrong with him aside from the drugs, but permanent damage may have been done by now. We will never know unless he can get off of these horrible medicines under controlled conditions… but we don’t know how to reach him – how to make him understand.
    Can anyone help us? Is there hope?

  30. Hi Monica, well done!

    One thing you have brought up in this piece, is the fact psychs dont like to put us on Disability. In their eyes, we are well, even though we suffer as you have said above. I had the same problem, my psych saw me deteriorate, with her treatment, and when I asked for Disability, she refused. Eventually I just got my gp I think, and the DSP people to interview me, I immediately got Disability.

    I have thought about this, and I truly believe that the Psychs refuse to admit they have done damage, they refuse to admit to themselves, that their treatment has made us worse, so asking them to grant us Disability, is too hard. It would shatter their dream world! They are so indoctrinated, so blind in their pharma beliefs, and brainwashing, they can not even SEE what is before them.

    • yes! you’re absolutely right…they can’t acknowledge they’ve harmed us and clearly if we’re asking for disability we’ve gotten worse while in their care. very insightful and spot-on.

    • I believe I was actually funneled onto the disability system. My psychiatrist and his brother were in private practice and the brother was on the regional SSDI board so my application crossed his desk for approval. My doctor told me I needed to be on disability and I was approved in 7 months.

      Within a year and a half of going on psych meds – which were initially prescribed by a gp – I attempted suicide three times, lost custody of my daughter, moved state, went on disability and suddenly had multiple personalities. Can anyone say TRAUMA?

      I am completely off three medications (Lexapro in August, Neurontin in October, and Latuda two weeks ago) and now trying to get off the killer – Lamictal. So far so good going down by a half mg a day.

      The last time I did this in 2012, I tapered by 50 mg per week because I didn’t know any better. When I had severe withdrawal symptoms, my doctor made me admit defeat and agree I needed drugs before she would prescribe the Lamictal and relieve the pain. My current doctor does not know I am tapering. I have not been willing to give her that power over me. I simply informed her when I was no longer taking the medication after I had successfully tapered off and hadn’t taken it in a few months.

      Since I am still on disability, and not yet in a position where I can work, I am also afraid that if they know I am not taking drugs, they may take my benefits away from me if I am not mental when I’m off of them. Believe me, I want to work. But I spend most of my time in bed. Not depressed. Just sooooooo tired.

      At least I have my intellect back after stopping Latuda. I can think again. I could cry tears of joy when I realize I can think.

      Thank you for this site. It gives me so much hope.

  31. I’ve been on several psychiatric medications, and I can attest to the fact that they do not always help. Many of mine have had awful side effects, and I’ve found that my non-pharmaceutical coping methods have helped a lot more, especially meditation.

  32. This is an inspiring story. I had my final dose of Xanax about three weeks ago after being on it for eight years, prescribed for trouble sleeping during a particularly stressful period of my life (divorce). Little did I know at the time that I was stepping into an almost decade long dependence. I ended up on 1mg per night to sleep, up from the original .5mg. It took me a year to reduce the dosage to .125mg per night, at which point after some weeks I stepped off. I’m doing ok but am tired all the time and quite hazy. From what I have read, these symptoms may last weeks or months more, if not longer. I’m not angry because I know that doctors just don’t know better. But looking back I am somewhat shocked that my doctor put me on such an addictive drug in response to a fairly normal reaction to an adverse life circumstance. I’m very sorry for people, like the author, who have been subjected to far worse–coping with the withdrawal from a moderate dose of Xanax has been hard enough, and there were certainly times I didn’t know if I would make it. Thanks for sharing this story!

  33. Monica story is so true my sons father shot and killed himself right in front of me talking to me something i thought was going to kill me while in all reality all the strongest meds they put me on were going to kill me for sure thank the man above im off all meds and my life is so much better the meds they put u on just make u into a zombie i believe some people need meds but not several meds

  34. I really like the fact that you are not condemning the doctor, but looking at all of this objectively. Sorry you went through so much, that your brain and your body have been through the wringer. This part of your story is so important: “After an illicit drug-induced mania I triggered in college, psychiatry got a hold of me. I was told that I was bipolar and would be sick for the rest of my life.” First of all, psychiatry was not prepared for the mental states induced by illicit drug use, and didn’t know how to handle it. They still aren’t handling it too well.

    Secondly, you are an advertisement for young people to realize why drug use is simply not worth the risks. I have friends whose children have gone into manic states from drugs, especially the high-THC marijuana of today. Please use your experience to warn young people not to use drugs. By the way, your website is wonderful!

  35. This is my story to a T!! I feel as if my life has been stolen! I am currently so very sick and sooo sick of being sick…and being treated like a hyperchondriac just to top off all the other peachy symptoms, like worthlessness!, I get slammed with on a daily basis! Awesome! No Psychiatrist will listen due to the fact that most all of them are being paid and/or receiving many benefits from the pharmaceutical companies. Period. That’s how [they] became legit, if you will, in the first place! Beware, more diagnosis to come! Pharmaceutical company’s need that drug to pass FDA~better find/ make up another “mental illness”!! This is not good practice and it’s certainly NOT SCIENCE!

  36. It is good for me to re-read and contemplate on our shared experiences, even as diverse the situation we each find ourselves in. I am so thankful to still be alive as I try to heal and taper from 25 years of pharmaceuticals, 17 of those years on polypharmacy and a plethora of traumas. Letting go of the anger that humans have continued to impose these and other atrocities on other living beings.

  37. Thank you for sharing your story! I feel really bad for the people that have experienced so much misery on these meds. There are lots of people that find meds helpful it is just so individual. I agree with the person who said that it took such courage to reconnect with your Dr. after what happened! I look forward to continuing yo read your blog.

  38. I stopped cold turkey Prozac and a low amount of diazepam. I had but taking them for 14 years and I did the ct in early 2014. I have been so unwell since and have many of the symptoms on Monica’s list. But also two more that are the only ones making me consider going back to an antidepressant. I have severe depression, I black mood that I cannot shake. I also have very bad insomnia and have done for over 3 years and it’s not improving, in fact for some reason my mood is lower if I ever get more sleep.. I cannot go on with this low mood and I lack the strength to carry on fighting. I loathe drugs but I can’t continue without any happiness any more. Even if I got the courage to go back to drugs I don’t think my hyeralert body would tolerate them but I really need some relief

  39. I am on Effexor 450 mg/day. Have been (first Prozac, then Effexor) for 26 years.

    Also on: Seroquel, Zolpidem, Klonipin, and Methylphenadate (and drugs for resulting high blood pressure).

    Diagnoses: Depression, Anxiety, possible ADD.

    Is there any hope at all for me to get off of these drugs safely? I don’t know of a doctor who would be willing to oversee this. I have seen the same Psychiatrist for about 20 years. I don’t even know who I am or what I am like without these drugs, as I have been on them for more than half of my life (and my memory is long gone)!

    I have been on so many other, additional drugs throughout the years (Lorezepam, Trazodone, Abilify, Concerta, etc., etc.). The exact four drugs above, though, I have been on for a very, very long time (Effexor 450 mg/day, Seroquel, Zolpidem, Clonezepam, Ritalin) — 15 years, at least.

    I wish there were an inpatient program or somewhere we could go to get help for weaning off various (high dosage) drugs as well as to find out who we are or what our diagnosis (unmedicated) even is.

    What a relief that I finally found you people! Thank you so much,

  40. All these drugs induce permanent brain atrophy – shrinkage – which is why it’s impossible to get off them. If you stay on them you’ll be even more damaged. This is CRIMINAL. I know I am finished.

  41. What is Proffessional about dosing a person up in trial and error and never asking longer term hoe it changes the inner feelings towards becoming a stranger to the self. My names Chris and although i have a name ive rarely felt a place in this world. I have a few conditions and its not my fault so everyone tells me what with an abusive neglectful upbringing yet there is no cure in a world which already seems far worse than i. I have lived as homeless even now stability is something which illnesses impact and staying alive is a tough thing when your as depressed and disinterested in the world the way everyone else is insterested in it. My first tablets were Antidepressants i have been on setraline, Citalopram, Venlaflaxine, Mirtrazapin and others. I get sleep terrors and to sleep i have been given an anti psychotic as with mirtrazapine but was also on Zoplicone and Diazepam. So whats my Issue? Thats why ill write it here. For all the tablets and pills i feel ive lost me the real Chris and im replaced by an insecure, non confident, worthless shell where certain days no one will get close as ill likely bite their head off in another unexpected rant. I blow up so quick sometimes and its never around others its in my own space. Glass in my eye from biting the mobile phone screen, a finger nail ripped from its bed havibg crushed a bottle of the finger and the door frame. I have i remind myself im really not well untio i visibly see and feel the effects of it all around my sphere. I dont want to shout, i dont want to chase medicines through the GP and the Pharmacists who for over two years have had me Withdrawing to the point i was suicidal and self harming. If there is no consistency to me getting what they say i need why has no one taken me up on the fact all ive asked for in two years was for both medicines to come at the same day when they run out as withdrawing is a killer. Imagine the pill was your confidence your good you whats it like when they leave you to rot and how do you even survive it. It is not easy no matter what your illness is, but guinea pigging people shouod be temporary if it can be helped ivr been on trials since a teen and im the worst person i know. I have BPD but i feel the world of Normal has a lot lot worse. A lack of ibterest in the process, in the waits into the individual person. The psychiatrists have since i were aged 14th left me to journey through various programmes and in the end was i born ill or was it the world that made me ill. I care for everyone i feel intelligemce is truly lacking in a world which divides but any means it can. Ive been in the Army and sent to prison justice does not exist in my book if only truth counted for something. Self harm, self destruct, Insomnia, Hyper Vigilance, Ptsd, Bpd, Eating Disorder, Ibs and i had a polyp taken out aged 34 now the future is what i make and ive decided im away to try natural remedies becasue in Scientific Fact they dont have a clue what they are doing nor what they do. I have a great idea and ill fix my bloody sepf even if that takes another 19 years god help me. Covids one thing and inner traumas entirely different imagine questioning your own body attatched to what feels seperate the brain. Ive been hard on myself and hard on others but i was born blue and in my shoes there has been nothing in which i was not required to fight for. Im now Ill but im not giving up. Not yet. For 5 years ive been trying to complete my degree in Anthropology. For five years and im near completed year three. I was too ill and had to drop out. Ill as always but im getting it done so i can actually figure out who i am and what i want to do. Dont be tricked into believing there are professionals you cannot be a believer of this. The greatest professional is your own self you really need to remember that and never ever doubt.

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