Peter Lehmann & Craig Newnes (eds.)

Withdrawal from Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs. E-book

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About the editors | Contributors | Content list | Editors' foreword | Preface by David L. Richman | Coming off in a Global South Country (Paulo Amarante) | Name index | Subject index | Recommendations | German edition |    Home

About the Book

Doctors, including psychiatrists, prescribe antidepressants, neuroleptics ("antipsychotics"), mood stabilizers, tranquilizers and psychostimulants all over the world, and, in most cases, without providing information about the risks of taking them and problems when stopping, for example, adverse effects, tolerance, treatment resistance, bodily and psychological dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Nor they tell people about ways to avoid or minimize the risks.

This volume presents a collaboration of users and survivors of psychiatry (ex-patients), professionals, researchers, lawyers, and academics around the world committed to helping people understand the potential harm (including drug dependence) that prescribed psychotropic drugs can cause and how to safely reduce or stop taking them. The chapters include individual accounts of people who discontinued their prescribed psychotropic drugs, information about withdrawal groups, the most up-to-date research data (especially about antidepressants and neuroleptics) and a commitment to safe withdrawal that will offer hope to many people; those who want to help and those who want to withdraw.

This world wide collaboration and the practical relevance make the volume a unique and essential reference work.

Contributions by Volkmar Aderhold, Paulo Amarante, Peter Breggin, Tatiana Castillo-Parada, Mary Ellen Copeland, Anna Emmanouelidou, Fernando Freitas, Jim Gottstein, Peter Groot, Swapnil Gupta, Marina Langfeldt, David Richman, Olga Runciman, Jann Schlimme, Trudy Slaght, Jim van Os, Robert Whitaker, Martin Zinkler and many more.


Millions of individuals have been prescribed psychiatric drugs, but many discover that these drugs – physically and psychologically – do more harm than good, and then, seeking strategies for safe withdrawal, they discover that shockingly few doctors understand the science behind these drugs' actions. In a sane world, Withdrawal from Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs would be required reading for medical school students and prescribing physicians, but nonprofessionals need not wait for a saner world, as comprehending this book requires no advanced degree.
– Bruce E. Levine, author of Resisting Illegitimate Authority

Lehmann & Newnes' excellent anthology looks at the real evidence and brings vital knowledge to where pharma's profit-driven healthcare research refuses to go. People can and do live better lives without psychiatric medication: here's why and how to withdraw.
– Will Hall, author of the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and schizophrenia diagnosis survivor

Free of industry bias, this book is a clarion call for informed medical decision making for starting and stopping psychiatric medications.
– Pat Deegan

The book provides a comprehensive overview of both the advantages and the problems associated with withdrawal, as well as potential solutions. It shows the controversial attitudes of professional researchers, highlights the perspective of (ex-) patients themselves, touches upon legal remedies, suggests changes in policies and can be recommended as a valuable information resource both to professionals and policymakers, and to the wider public.
– Olga Kalina, Chair of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

You may say that it is up to the individual to decide whether to take drugs, or that you already know about the harmful effects of psychotropic drugs. However, I still recommend this book to you, assuring you of an valuable discovery. From my perspective, it is interesting to know lived-experiences and self-help practices as well as medical information and methods on withdrawal problems and solutions in various regions.
– Kasumi Ito, research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

During the last 40 years, I have accompanied hundreds of psychiatric patients, who tried to come off psychiatric drugs. All of them had to do it by themselves, because there was no competent support available. Very few succeeded. And I have followed many who died before the age of 50 to the grave due to metabolic syndrome caused by neuroleptics. This book is much needed.
– Maths Jesperson, founder of Personal Ombudsman in Skåne

Contributing to a growing trend of supporting responsible withdrawal from psychiatric medication, this book brings together a broad range of authors and topics across continents, offering up-to-date, reliable, accessible information that would enable persons wishing to come off prescribed psychotropic drugs pursue their recovery goals. A truly remarkable contribution!
– Eugenie Georgaca, School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Once more, Peter Lehmann has edited an historic resource that revolutionizes mental health – now together with Craig Newnes. The social change movement led by people with lived experience of mental health issues champions quot;choicequot; as a central principle. Some of us reject all psychiatric drugs; others take them, voluntarily or involuntarily. In my 45 years as a psychiatric survivor activist, I've met many who experience brain changes from psychiatric prescriptions, making it very difficult to quit. Peter and Craigs thorough, meticulous manual defends true freedom of choice.
– David W. Oaks, Ačiū! Institute, LLC

"There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen) With this anthology Peter Lehmann and Craig Newnes show there are cracks, there is light ahead of us when it comes to finding safe ways to withdraw from psychotropic drugs and to overcome the worldwide psychiatric epidemic: the ideas and practices of labeling human diversity as illnesses in need of lifelong "treatment" with artificial chemicals, harmful to the human body, mind and soul. My hope is that this publication will support and strengthen global efforts to liberate and safeguard our inner world from being polluted, damaged and destroyed.
– Karl Bach Jensen, former Co-chair of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

This is a compilation of wisdom from those who have gone through the experience of coming off psychiatric drugs themselves, and those who have helped other people go through it. It is full of sensible advice and suggestions and provides invaluable guidance for patients and professionals alike.
– Joanna Moncrieff, University College London, author of The Bitterest Pills

Psychiatry continues to torment people with ever increasing dosages of multiple potent psychotropic drugs to be taken forever. Peter Lehmann and Craig Newnes' book provides a powerful antidote to this perpetual development by enshrining the human and ethical right of free choice to take, refuse or withdraw from psychiatric drugs.
– Peter Stastny, psychiatrist, co-editor of Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry, and co-author of The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic

Peter Lehmann and Craig Newnes have brought together the world's leading experts on the subject, to provide a timely and invaluable resource for the millions of people around the world struggling to come off psychiatric drugs, and for the professionals and loved ones supporting them to do so.
– Dr John Read, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London / Chair, International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

The Editors

Peter LehmannCraig NewnesLeft: Peter Lehmann, D. Phil. h.c., is a certified pedagogue, independent publisher, author, freelance activist in Berlin, and Associate of the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Since 1979, he regularly speaks on and publishes in the field of alternatives beyond psychiatry, support in coming off psychiatric drugs, and safeguarding human rights of people with psychiatric diagnoses. He was co-founder and, until 2010, for many years board-member or Chair of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and in 2011, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the President of Germany. English publications include, Coming off Psychiatric Drugs: Successful withdrawal from neuroleptics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, Ritalin and tranquilizers, edited in 2004; e-book in 2023); Alternatives beyond Psychiatry, edited together with Peter Stastny in 2007; e-book in 2022). More about Peter Lehmann

Right: Craig Newnes: Critical psychologist, editor, historian, publisher, musician and author. He has published numerous books, book chapters and academic articles and edits The Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy. In 2003, he was Chair of the British Psychological Society's Psychotherapy Section. Until 2007, he directed one of the largest NHS psychological therapies services in the UK. His latest books are Racism in Psychology: Challenging theory, practice and institutions; A Critical A-Z of Electroshock;and, with Cemil Egeli, Psychomusicology.