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.
Psychiatric drugs can’t address isolation, poverty, inequality, racism, intolerance, hatred, bigotry, sexism, etc., but they can mask those things. Perhaps that is why they are so successful. The blame is placed on us, the patient, for being broken because it obviates the need for powers that be to take any action to address those underlying causes of distress and suffering.