Antipsychotics are a group of prescription medications used for the management of psychotic symptoms, such as delusions, paranoia and hallucinations, and bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Since they affect the brain chemistry, there’s a higher chance of dependence and addiction. Withdrawal from these drugs can cause severe headaches, nausea and vomiting. Self-attempt at tapering off drug doses can be dangerous. The withdrawal treatment should be undertaken under the guidance of an addiction specialist yet, one can use some self-help strategies to get off them.
Given below are some important considerations for antipsychotic withdrawal.
- Watching sleeping patterns: The withdrawal should be a gradual process. One should avoid cutting down the dose completely till the time he or she develops a sleeping pattern of at least nine hours a day with the help of nutritional Getting lesser number of hours of sleep can lead to insomnia, fatigue and restlessness. Doing meditation and using essential oils like lavender and ylang-ylang can help one in sleeping peacefully.
- Using liquid antipsychotics: In comparison to the solid form of dosage, it is easier to taper off liquid antipsychotics. If not available at the retail pharmacies, these can be compounded and dispensed from the stores that sell nutritional supplements.
- Managing diet: It is essential to take an anti-inflammatory diet devoid of dairy, wheat and white sugar during the withdrawal phase. One can also take supplements rich in vitamin-C, omega oils and probiotics. Additionally, it is also inevitable to keep a check on the oxidative stress levels that can be achieved by taking maqui, acai and goji powders.
- Strengthening GABA system: The GABA neurotransmitter gives the signals of tranquility to the body. As a result, one must focus on increasing the concentration of this neurotransmitter as it may lead to decreased dependence on the antipsychotics. Intake of organic brown rice can help in the production of GABA.
- Intelligent tapering off: Different antipsychotics affect different types of receptors, such as Zyprexa, Abilify, Seroquel and Haldol. Using a step-down process can greatly help in achieving the desired results. For example, when one is tapering off Zyprexa, the amount of Abilify could be increased and once a patient is safely off Zyprexa, one can start tapering off Abilify and increase the dose of Seroquel. It is important to remember that the alternate antipsychotic drug should be the one that affects fewer receptor sites. All this must be done in parallel to supplementing the body with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements.
- Treatment of underlying problems: During the withdrawal process, it is essential to have clinical treatment of infections, traumas, genetic mutations, heavy metal poisoning, and other such conditions as the hidden problems can increase oxidative stress and inflammation, affecting overall health.
- Minimizing social stressors: Withdrawal can get very challenging for someone who had a flourishing social life. It is advisable to take a break from Internet and online social sites. One should be around people who support healing and recovery.
- Giving it time: It is important to be patient while the withdrawal lasts. Sometimes it takes weeks and months to become sober again therefore, thinking that withdrawal should last only a few days is a misconception. Taking one day at a time, connecting with support groups who understand the journey and taking a leap of faith might lead to a rewarding future.
Timely intervention to manage addiction, withdrawal
Addiction to antipsychotics takes place because of their mood-altering property. Cutting down on antipsychotics use suddenly can produce critical side-effects. It should be managed strictly under the supervision of trained and experienced health care personnel.
If you know someone who is addicted to antipsychotics or any other prescription medication, seek help from the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline. Our representatives can connect you to some of the renowned and evidence-based prescription drug abuse treatment centers. To find a prescription drug abuse treatment clinic near you, chat online with an expert or dial our 24/7 helpline (866) 450-1557.