We discuss the release of guidance which has been specifically written to support UK psychological therapists and their clients in having discussions about taking and withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. The guidance is a collaboration between psychologists, peer support specialists and psychiatrists and aims to provide important context and evidence-based support to psychological therapists.
Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is an issue which is rapidly gaining attention in many parts of the world, yet professional medical circles can sometimes be remote from the discussion. The International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (IIPDW) was created in 2017 to respond to the need to widen the debate and to develop ways to assist people withdrawing safely from psychiatric drugs.
In almost any other situation, pinning people down and injecting them would be cause for investigations and criminal charges. The perpetrators would be seen as aggressors. Those who fought back would be seen as courageous. Those who accepted their fate would be understood. We would draw a line.
Manchester University is currently recruiting people to take part in a research study looking at what support people with experience of psychosis want when stopping antipsychotic medication.
The treatment of mental disorders with drugs is not the same sort of activity as the use of drugs in medicine. The ethical implications of the two situations are different. Insisting on equating the two obscures these differences and presents the use of drugs for mental distress as less controversial than it actually is.
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