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SamanthaBlake
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13 May 2014, 7:48 pm

Hello,
Im an aspie who has been on medication for 4 years(abilify,lexapro). My therapist and psychiatrist said when I turned 21 and my brain has finished developing I can try going off my medication. I started going on medication in high school because I had severe anxiety to the point where I was hallucinating and slightly psychotic. I was losing it because of my hormones and sleep deprivation mixed with aspergers. I went off abilify when I was deathly ill with mono two years ago and I was definitely acting crazy but it could have been because I was very sick or being on the lexapro alone made me crazy. this year so far especially since cutting sugar out of my diet ,I havent had any meltdowns or strange thinking .if matured and balanced out to the point where I dont need to see my therapist anymore.

I wanted to try an alternative therapy like biofeedback ,or herbs. maybe see if i have some strange food allergy or something.
Is their a specialist who helps people get off their medication? Like a herbalist? naturopoath? Homeopath?

has anyone tried doing the same thing?

thanks !



LongleafPine
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13 May 2014, 8:21 pm

For many people, psych meds are much harder to get off of than they anticipated. I've compiled this list of books over the years about psych meds. Hope something helps and that you can find a way.

Drug Effects
Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker
The Emperor?s New Drugs by Irving Kirsch
Myth of the Chemical Cure by Joanna Moncrieff
Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Peter Broggin
Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent by Grace E. Jackson

Psychiatry in General
Mad in America by Robert Whitaker
Rethinking Madness by Paris Williams
Toxic Psychiatry by Peter Broggin
Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry by Daniel Carlat
Crazy Like Us by Ethan Waters



Callista
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13 May 2014, 8:59 pm

Yes, there's a specialist who helps people get off medication. They're called "psychiatrists". :)

Seriously, they don't just put you on meds--they can help you get off, or reduce the dose, or find another one if you can't go without them and your meds are causing side effects. Ask. If your meds are causing trouble, or you have been stable for a long time and want to try reducing the dose, ask the guy who prescribes them. They're the ones who know most about how they work.

Herbalists--ehh. Well, herbal medications aren't useless, but the amount of active ingredient you're going to get per dose isn't for sure. Some herbs can be dangerous; others are totally harmless but also pretty much useless for anything but morale-boosting and settling the stomach (ex. peppermint; chamomile--both make lovely teas but not too useful as medication). Others have proven uses--St. Johns Wort works pretty much like Prozac, for example. But on the other hand, the ones that work also need a doctor's supervision, because like any functioning medication, they change the way your body works, which means some risks and side effects.

Naturopath--Iffy. The problem with these guys is that they use a lot of anecdotal stuff, a lot of unproven stuff. They don't really go on science; they don't really test their remedies. On the one hand, most of their remedies are harmless (and don't work well, if at all). On the other hand, they do tend to encourage a healthier lifestyle, which is cool. They will probably not be covered by insurance in most places. If you want the healthier-lifestyle benefits without the possibly-expensive, probably-not-so-effective home remedies, you could try hiring a personal trainer, nutritionist, or (for specifically disability-related issues) an occupational therapist.

Homeopathy--Useless. It's water. Don't waste your money.

All right. Here's the deal: You're on meds. You don't want to be on them. You need to be sure that your life will be better off meds than on them. You're going to need a psychiatrist who is willing to help you try getting off them, or else one who can explain to you exactly why it's not wise to try this.

The psychosis--however mild--is probably going to be the most troubling to psychiatrists. You probably remember from when you were psychotic--you weren't thinking straight. Logic was harder. Since it wasn't extreme, you probably didn't completely lose the ability to take care of yourself and you probably weren't outright delusional, but it probably wasn't very compatible with being able to judge whether or not you needed medication. So that's one major thing you're going to need. You're going to have to be very self-aware, to track your symptoms, to be aware of whether you're having trouble or not. Any psychiatrist worth his salt will be very reluctant to take you off meds quickly, especially all at once, especially without close monitoring.

You do not want to have another episode of illness like what you had when you were in your teens. On the other hand, if you don't need the meds, you don't want to go through the trouble and possible expense of buying and taking them. That's logical. If your life is better with meds, then you owe it to yourself to stay on them. That doesn't mean you can't try to figure out whether it would be better not to take them. It just means you need to remind yourself that not taking medication is not automatically better. Sometimes it's worse.

I have recurrent depression. When I went into remission for two years, I stopped taking antidepressants, weaning myself off over the course of a month with progressively smaller doses. It took three years before I had another depressive episode--and then it didn't take very long for me to realize what was going on and get back on the meds. I'm on very little medication right now--low dose, just the antidepressant and a stimulant for ADHD (which has nothing to do with the depression; it just helps with focus and organization). If the doctors had had their original way with me, I'd be on six medications, including an antipsychotic, and I was never psychotic to begin with. I got lucky--I ran out of money for those meds soon after they were prescribed. So I've been on both sides of the medication picture; I've been prescribed too much and too strong, and I've found ones that work well, at a dose that doesn't cause unacceptable side effects. You can't let them overmedicate you; you want just enough, and no more, and no less.

Your goal is to find that ideal dose. You can try going off the meds, and if your ideal dose is zero, that's great. But, you need to know enough about yourself to know when things are getting risky again. If you're lucky, you'll find out that you can stop taking meds safely, because you won't have another episode. But if you're like me, and your issues are recurrent, you need to know how to identify the red flags and seek help before they take over weeks or months of your life. Get them to monitor you, reduce the dose slowly, and make sure you can identify problems if they happen. If they do happen, don't ignore them.

BTW, if you find you have to reduce the dose extremely slowly, get liquid medication. You can only cut up a pill so many times.


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B19
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13 May 2014, 10:37 pm

I have little faith in psychiatrists, because of their tendency to tunnel vision. As in the old saying: "if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

Good luck OP with your search. Amino acids helped me as an alternative, particularly for anxiety (GABA).



desertnomad
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13 May 2014, 11:52 pm

I would definitely encourage you to get off the meds. If you are serious about it I would recommend slowly decreasing your dosage over the course of a few months to avoid negative withdrawal symptoms. I'm not sure how herbs and alternative therapies will help with ASD but I am a strong believer in them for other ailments. Also P.S. if that's you in your picture you're gorgeous.



SamanthaBlake
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14 May 2014, 12:42 am

Callista - thank you for the advice , I will try and find a new psychiatrist and also check out the clinic my friend went to where a team of specialists help you figure out the root of a problem .

B19 - what amino acids have you taken that help? what kind of gaba?

desert nomad- Aw :3 thank you ! and I wish I could decrease the dosage but im on half the lowest amount. its the equivalent of a high dosage for me because I metabolize medication differently - its like a genetic thing or a subclass of people that might be rare?



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14 May 2014, 1:30 am

I would also recommend that you also download and read the Harm Reduction Guide for getting off Psychotropic Drugs, that is produced by the Icarus Project. This pamphlet recommends a slow taper off these drugs, starting with a 10% reduction in your prescription. If 10% is too much of a taper, the dosage reduction can be made smaller. I would also show this to your psychiatrist and ask him or her if this would be a sensible method for getting off these drugs.



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14 May 2014, 1:40 am

I have used different amino acids at different times for different issues:

Stopping smoking/depression: DLPA plus 5HTP (worked like a magic wand!)
Mild anxiety: L-Theanine
Major anxiety: GABA (extraordinary transition to non-anxious functioning)
Major depression: SAM-E
Mild depression: Methionine plus DLPA

Important notes:

Take amino acids on an empty stomach, not with food, at least 20 mins before eating
Don't take DLPA after 2pm (may delay sleep if you do)

It's all to do with levels of neurotransmitters and increasing the ones that are low:

DLPA is a dopamine precursor - raises dopamine (motivation)
L-Theanine is a GABA precursor - promotes tranquility

GABA is a neurotransmitter - if deficient you tend to get chronic anxiety. Quite a few studies have found GABA deficiency in ASD populations, and the deficiency appeared to be innate, not acquired. You can buy GABA as a supplement, some people prefer to take it before bedtime as it can cause drowsiness in some people. But you tend to get a great, deep sleep with GABA.

Everyone is an individual although I hope you get some good results if you choose to experiment with aminos. They can be as powerful as prescription drugs but without the nasty side effects.



timf
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14 May 2014, 9:09 am

You might also want to consider Lithium Orate. Much of our food supply is from over-used fields that over the years have become depleted in trace minerals and micro-nutrients. You may want to go to a supplement web site like iherb.com and read the reviews of people who take various supplements to see if you want to experiment with something.



ECJ
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14 May 2014, 3:28 pm

Meistersinger wrote:
I would also recommend that you also download and read the Harm Reduction Guide for getting off Psychotropic Drugs, that is produced by the Icarus Project. This pamphlet recommends a slow taper off these drugs, starting with a 10% reduction in your prescription. If 10% is too much of a taper, the dosage reduction can be made smaller. I would also show this to your psychiatrist and ask him or her if this would be a sensible method for getting off these drugs.


this.
And also see the website surviving antidepressants because they help people coming off antidepressants.
I came off zoloft far too quickly (following my doctors standard taper) and this website helped alot as other people were experiencing symptoms similar to myself. I've been seeing a psychiatrist and a naturopathic doctor who have helped me with withdrawal issues.



SamanthaBlake
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25 May 2014, 11:34 pm

ecj- How do I find a naturopathic doctor who deals with this? all of the ones in florida only deal with diet and nutrition.



goldfish21
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26 May 2014, 2:11 am

This thread made me smile. :)

Read the link in my signature where I've shared my story about going off meds & treating myself via diet/herbs and learning from my Herbalist friend and his Naturopathic Doctor father. It pretty much has all the info you seek. Feel free to PM me about it any time. 8)


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ECJ
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26 May 2014, 3:57 pm

SamanthaBlake wrote:
ecj- How do I find a naturopathic doctor who deals with this? all of the ones in florida only deal with diet and nutrition.


I was just lucky - my psychiatrist works with a naturopathic doctor so I was able to see her. I found I had to make changes to diet since coming off meds and being in withdrawal because the meds messed up my body so much. I've developed intolerances to nuts/soya/high histamine foods, which I didn't have before withdrawal.