Alice W. Lee, MD, ABIHM, ABoIM
Currently, the field of psychiatry is beginning to understand the severity and persistence of psychiatric medication withdrawal symptoms [1,2,3]. Functional approaches have been proposed for some psychiatric medication withdrawal processes [4,5], but there is no consensus for a reliable method for guiding safe psychiatric medication withdrawal or resolving underlying causes of mental illness for psychiatric patients’ unique needs over the course of treatment. Consequently, mental illness is still generally considered a chronic incurable disease, and the use of psychotropic medications is still recommended as the best treatment option for an indefinite period of time.
To have a successful psychiatric medication withdrawal process without having a relapse during or post withdrawal, a patient must simultaneously heal from their underlying causes of mental illness and any dependency on drugs/psychiatric medications. This process requires sufficient understanding of relevant factors impacting the patient, which shift over time (and during the actual healing process). Factors that powerfully affect a patient’s mental and physical condition include, 1) genetics, 2) nutritional status , 3) healing interventions, 4) internal and external stressors [7,8], 5) toxicity [9,10], and 6) drugs/medications.