Psychiatric Medication Withdrawal: Survivor Perspectives and Clinical Practice

Will Hall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


As patient/survivor movements continue to challenge reductionist biological views of mental health and psychosis, there is rising skepticism toward psychiatric medications and growing interest in withdrawal and alternatives. This new perspective also calls for a rethinking of reductionist assumptions about psychiatric medications themselves. General medical patient experience with collaborative decision making for other conditions has broad implications for psychiatric drug withdrawal, and by recognizing psychiatric medications as psychoactive substances, addiction science also suggests a central role for social context and therapeutic common factors in medication withdrawal response. New understandings of madness and medications support an emerging reconsideration of what constitutes the very definition of "health," where measuring the absence of disease symptoms gives way to a systems-based focus on self-management, social relationships, and adaptability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-729
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Humanistic Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotics
  • anxiolytics
  • collaboration
  • deprescribing
  • discontinuation
  • DSM
  • harm reduction
  • mental disorder
  • mood stabilizers
  • psychiatric drugs
  • psychiatric drug harm reduction
  • psychiatric drug medication withdrawal
  • psychiatric medication
  • psychiatric medication harm reduction
  • psychiatry
  • psychosis
  • psychotherapy
  • psychotropic medications
  • qualitative research
  • rebound psychosis
  • schizophrenia
  • tapering
  • therapeutic relationship

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