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Peter Lehmann (ed.)

Coming off Psychiatric Drugs: Successful Withdrawal from Neuroleptics, Antidepressants, Lithium, Carbamazepine and Tranquilizers

About the Authors

Karl Bach Jensen was born in 1951 in Denmark. Experienced forced psychiatry in the early 1970s and in this century – unfortunately nothing else than the physical environment really changed. Get help from personal network and from natural remedies when madness appears. Since 1980 taken part in the national user-/survivor-movement in Denmark. Co-founder of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP) in 1991. Chair of the Network 1994-1996. Co-founder of LAP (Landsforeningen af Nuværende og Tidligere Psykiatribrugere), the Danish Association of Users and Ex-users of Psychiatry. 2001-2009: one of two European members of the board of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP). Worked for many years as a teacher in public school. For seven years employed as the manager of a drop-in and activity centre in Kolding, Denmark. After some years as a consultant in a social development center doing evaluations, research and courses employed as development officer in LAP. Edited a couple books critical towards psychiatry and wrote a number of articles about human rights and recovery issues in Danish magazines.

Regina Bellion, born 1941, cleaning-woman, factory-worker, haute-couture sales-woman, teacher, waitress etc. Today living in retirement in Wilhelmshaven.

Carola Bock (FRG), pseudonym, born 1949, industrial accountant, from 1991 in early retirement. Carola sadly died in November 2010.

Wilma Boevink was born in 1963. Social scientist. Working in Utrecht at Trimbos-instituut (the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction) as a senior researcher. Founder of TREE, a user-led training and consulting company in the area of recovery, empowerment and experiential expertise of persons with psychiatric disabilities. From 2006-2009, Chair of Stichting Weerklank, the Dutch organisation of people who hear voices and have psychotic experiences; from 2008-2013, Professor of Recovery at Hanze University Groningen. Former active member of the Dutch user-movement in psychiatry and board member of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. Publications include, Stories of Recovery: Working Together towards Experiential Knowledge in Mental Health Care (ed., 2006). Contributor to Recovery of People with Mental Illness: Philosophical and related perspectives (2012); Empowerment, Lifelong Learning and Recovery in Mental Health: Towards a new paradigm (2012).

Michael Chmela, born 1958, in Vorarlberg, Austria. 1976 to 1983, studied medicine in Graz. 1997-99, Chair of the information and contact-center for self-help-groups "Club Antenne" in Vorarlberg. 1999, co-founder of the so-called trialogue in Vorarlberg. Active preparation and participation of the First Austrian Conference of people who have experiences with psychiatry, held in Linz 1999, then co-founder and Chair of the Austrian Network of (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry. 2000, co-founder of the registered organization "omnibus" and lecturer at the Klagenfurt University for social professions, main foci: self-help, movement of (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, empowerment, salutogenesis. 2001-2007, leader of the peer-conseling-center "Gleiche beraten Gleiche" ("Peers advice Peers") in Bregenz. Publications in different specialist journals about patients' rights and dangers of the anti-stigma-campaign.

Bert Gölden, born 1955, in FRG.Educated as type-setter in 1969, further education as film-setter. From 1985-1987 independent work as film-setter. An obsessive compulsive disorder led to an early retirement from working life. In 1996, founding of a self-help group for people with compulsion disorders; group-director until 2004. From 2000-2008, representative for the Nordrhein-Westfalen region of the Deutsche Gesellschaft Zwangserkrankungen (North Rhine-Westfalen Society for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders). Later on, telephone information service in compulsive disorder matters.

Ilse Gold (FRG), born 1949. She was committed to a closed ward by a specialist for internal diseases for two weeks in 1991; secretly and by her own decision she quit taking Haldol and never took any psychiatric drugs again. Ilse Gold tragically lost her fight against breast cancer, which developed after the psychiatric treatment, on September 7, 1998.

Gábor Gombos, born 1961, is a physicist. He is engaged with the survivor-of-psychiatry-movement, since 1993. Since 1996, he is the chair of a Hungarian self-help association, Voice of Soul. For many years, he was the East European board member of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry and member of the International Panel of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP). Board member of the Hungarian Branch of the World Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. Awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in recognition of his work in the field of human rights of persons with disabilities in 2009. Gábor Gombos sadly passed away on June 5, 2022.

Katalin Gombos, Hungary, born 1954, computer expert, has more than ten years of experience with psychiatry and neuroleptics. She is one of the founders and board-member of Voice of Soul Association of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. Katalin Gombos sadly passed away on May 24, 2014.

Maths Jesperson. Born 1954. From 1980-1981, inmate of an old mental hospital. From 1982-1988, producer at the theatre company, Mercuriusteatern, as well as local politician of the Green Party in Lund, Sweden. Converted 1984 to Catholicism. Since 1988, regional secretary of Riksførbundet för Social och Mental Hælsa (RSMH) (Swedish national organization of [ex-] users and survivors of psychiatry). Founding member of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry 1991. From 1994-1999, editor of the European Newsletter of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. Since 1999, writer of cultural articles in a daily newspaper. Since 2000, actor in the Stumpen-Ensemble, a theatre group with psychiatric survivors, drug addicts and homeless people as actors. Concurrently, research work at Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Lund.

Klaus John, born in 1958, in West-Germany, married, father of two children, healing practitioner since 1985 with main focus on: acupuncture, electro-acupuncture according to Voll, homeopathy, guided affective imagery, hypnosis, transpersonal psychology and colortherapy. Three year training in transpersonal psychology with Stanislav Grof, USA. Workshops in this field and holotropic breathwork since 1988. Teacher for autogenic training at adults education centers since 1990. Development of programmes and equipment for color therapy since 1993. Publication: A Trip to Inside: Holotropic Breathwork with Klaus John (DVD, 2009).

Manuela Kälin (Switzerland), pseudonym. 1969, education as nurse. Practical work in different wards, abroad, too. 1983/84 education as medical masseuse. Three years physiotherapy in a hospital. Further education in complementary medicine. Since 1990 working in her own office in Switzerland.

Kerstin Kempker, born 1958 in Wuppertal (FRG), two daughters, lives in Berlin. From 1996-2001 she worked as leading social worker at the Runaway-house Berlin: house for people who seek shelter from psychiatric violence. Book publications among others: Mitgift – Notizen vom Verschwinden (Misgivings: Notes of Vanishing, 2000; e-book in 2022); Flucht in die Wirklichkeit – Das Berliner Weglaufhaus (Escape into Reality: The Berlin Runaway House, ed., 1998), Teure Verständnislosigkeit – Die Sprache der Verrücktheit und die Entgegnung der Psychiatrie (Dear/Expensive Lack of Understanding: The language of madness and the response of psychiatry, 1991). Since 2002, fiction author. Publications include, Die Betrogenen (The Betrayed Ones, novel, 2007), Das wird ein Fest (That Will be a Feast, novel, 2012), Die Erfüllung der Wünsche (The Fulfilment of the Desires, novel, 2014), Nur die Knochen bitte. Eine Übergabe (Only the Bones, Please: An handover, short stories, 2015); Bruderherz: Ein Flimmern (Brother Dear: A flickering, 2017).

Leo P. Koehne (pseudonym) was born in 1970 in FRG. Studied politics and works as a freelance journalist. Since 1994, member of the German Bundesverband Psychiatrie-Erfahrener (BPE; Federal Association of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry).

Jan Kuypers, born in 1942, in Flanders/Belgium. Chemist. Former teacher of mathematics and researcher for process engineering. 1983, non-intended founder of the psychiatry-critical Ombudscenter Kisjot, named after Don Quixote. 1993 project leader for the setting of a Flemish representative union for (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry. 1991 and 2001 co-founder of the European resp. the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. Further academic education in philosophy, criminology, game-theory, ethics, semiotics, churches' history, anthropology, brain-biology, health economics and forensic psychiatry. Hobbies since the middle of the 80ies: Co-founder of the authors' circle Littera and of a school for gifted talents als well as board-member for the science-philosophic working-group De Ronde Tafel (The Round Table) .

Elke Laskowski, born in 1958, in FRG, mother of a daughter, wife. Through my studies as a social worker, I came into contact with people who are considered mentally ill, saw their distress, and decided to find another way. This is how I became a healer. Since 1991, I work in my own office, now in Wunstorf near Hannover. My focus is on methods of energy healing; these are Bach flowers, biodynamic body- and aura-work and subtle work with emotions and fears.

Peter Lehmann (FRG). Born in 1950 in Germany. Education in pedagogy. Living as independent publisher, author and freelance activist in Berlin. In the past and/or presence, working with many organisations (as co-founder, member, board-member, member of the Advisory Council or Chair), among others the Berlin Runaway House, European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, INTAR (International Network Toward Alternatives and Recovery), joint WFMH-MHE (Mental Health Europe, independent European section of [and combined with] World Federation for Mental Health), MFI, NARPA, PSYCHEX (Switzerland), WNUSP. Since 2000, co-editor of the Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy. In 2010, awarded an Honorary Doctorate in acknowledgement of "exceptional scientific and humanitarian contribution to the rights of the people with psychiatric experience" by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. In 2011, awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the President of Germany. Publications include, Withdrawal from Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs (2023, edited together with Craig Newnes); Alternatives beyond Psychiatry (2007 / e-book in 2022, edited together with Peter Stastny); Der chemische Knebel – Warum Psychiater Neuroleptika verabreichen (The Chemical Gag: Why psychiatrists administer neuroleptics, 1986, 7th edition 2015; e-book 2022); Schöne neue Psychiatrie (Brave New Psychiatry, 1996, e-book edition in 2022), Neue Antidepressiva, atypische Neuroleptika – Risiken, Placebo-Effekte, Niedrigdosierung und Alternativen. Mit einem Exkurs zur Wiederkehr des Elektroschocks (New Antidepressants, Atypical Neuroleptics: Risks, placebo effects, low doses and alternatives. With a digression to the return of the electroshock (2017, together with Volkmar Aderhold, Marc Rufer and Josef Zehentbauer; e-book in 2023). More at

Ulrich Lindner, born in Lübeck, FRG in 1936. Retired theologian, philologist and historian. After he left the psychiatric system, he was for a long time active in the self-help field.

Iris Marmotte (pseudonym, FRG), studied German, arts and pedagogic in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), but was removed from the university and put into prison because of political reasons shortly before finishing her studies ("not a socialist personality"). Nurse job in a children's and adolescents' psychiatric ward of a regional hospital. 1983 imprisonment with political reasons, 1984 release from prison and GDR-nationality because of "special efforts of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)" and move to FRG. 1986 registration at the University of Bremen and continuation of her studies. 1990 phase of examination and interruption of the studies, because of illness, "revolving-door-patient," from 1992 to 1995 in sheltered living. 1994, "Die blaue Karawane" ("The Blue Caravan"), in Bremen co-founder of the "Nachtschwärmer"-("Nocturnal-Reveler"-)projects and work as board-member, founding-member of the music-band "Die Therapie-Resistenten" ("The Therapy-Resistant"). 1995 job as neighbourly helper and reestablishment of the studies. 1997 job as night watch in a hospital and pedagogical worker in a home for mentally ill persons. 2000, finished her studies, since then, grammar school teacher.

Constanze Meyer, born in 1959, in FRG, psychologist and psychotherapist. Since the beginning, her studies dealt intensively with women-specific health-issues. From 1992 to 1999, work at "Schwindel-Frei" ("Head-for-Heights"), an information and counseling center for drug-dependent women in Berlin. Established as an independent psychotherapist in Berlin-Spandau. Working as a supervisor and advanced trainer.

Harald Müller (FRG),pseudonym. He passed away on February 8, 2012 at the age of 85.

Eiko Nagano (pseudonym), born 1953, in Japan. From 1968 until 1999, she was a psychiatric user. In 1979, she graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in sociology. Since 1981, she has been a member of the Zenkoku "Seishinbyou" sha Shudan, the Japan National Group of Mental Disabled People. Publications include, Seishin Iryou (Psychiatric Treatments, 1990); Seishin Iryou User no Mezasumono: Oubei no self-help katsudo (About the Interests of Users of Psychiatry: Self-Help Activities in Europe and the USA, 1999 – the translation of Stopovers on My Way Home from Mars by Mary O'Hagan).

Mary Nettle (England) became a user of mental health services in 1978 and turned this negative into a positive in 1992 when she became a mental health user consultant. She is involved in presenting the user perspective with a particular interest in user led research. Working with many organisations to ensure the service user voice is heard by those undertaking health, social care and public health research. From 2004-10, Chair of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry. Co-editor of This is Survivor Research (2009).

Una M. Parker, Yorkshire, England, born 1935. Retired school teacher. Quaker. Lives in a flat in Leeds since 2001, leaving behind the large village where she had lived for 33 years. Widow. Two adult daughters and a grandson. From 1996. served six years as governor (voluntary) of the psychiatric hospital in which she was a patient in 1972. Co-counselor (Re-evaluation Counseling) since 1974. Now speaks informally on mental health in various situations. Belongs to local, national and international groups of psychiatry survivors, particularly Mind, and answers the phone as ECT Anonymous contact. Attended the Forum that met in Bejing alongside the UN Fourth World conference on Women in 1995. Enjoys singing, circle dancing, T'ai-Chi, Pilates, co-counseling, visiting family and friends, reading, writing, using computer, knitting, sewing, gardening.

Nada Rath née Dmitrasinovic was born in 1940 in Yugoslavia. Now living in Germany. Industrial chemist; early retirement in 1995. In 1992, co-founder of the German Bundesverband Psychiatrie-Erfahrener (BPE; Federal Association of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry), board-member from 1996-1998. In 1997, initiator of the foundation of the Hessian regional organization of users and survivors of psychiatry.

Erwin Redig (Belgium). Spent several years in psychiatry. Living as a free man now in Antwerp, Belgium, and have connections with the national and international survivor movements. The work is essentially humanistic; it is about human rights and human dignity. Erwin Redig sadly died on June 14, 1999.

Hannelore Reetz (FRG), pseudonym, born 1943, accountant, married, clean since 1990.

Roland A. Richter, born in 1963, in FRG, worked as a social worker in state institutions until 1995, since then he is working as a case worker for people in custodial care and sheltered living, for people who are regarded to be chronic mentally ill. Since 1995, has lived in Bad Münstereifel/Nordrhein-Westfalen, works self-employed as judicially appointed guide and advices stationary institutions as advisor for organizations in the management of quality. Since 2009, also nutritionist and organisor of cooking classes for people with severe chronic illnesses. Since 2010, seminars and workshops for coping with stress (holistic systemic approach).

Marc Rufer (Switzerland), M.D. Long-standing critic of psychiatric diagnostic systems, psychopharmacology and the use of force in psychiatry. Good contacts and exchange with independent (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry. Book publications: Irrsinn Psychiatrie (Insane Psychiatry), 1988; 4th edition 2009; Wer ist irr? (Who's Crazy?), 1991; Glückspillen. Ecstasy, Prozac und das Comeback der Psychopharmaka (Happy Pills: Ecstasy, Prozac and the Comeback of Psychotropic Drugs), 1995; Neue Antidepressiva, atypische Neuroleptika – Risiken, Placebo-Effekte, Niedrigdosierung und Alternativen. Mit einem Exkurs zur Wiederkehr des Elektroschocks (New Antidepressants, Atypical Neuroleptics: Risks, placebo effects, low doses and alternatives. With a digression to the return of the electroshock (2017, together with Volkmar Aderhold, Peter Lehmann and Josef Zehentbauer; e-book in 2023). Co-author of Withdrawal from Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs (2023).

Jasna Russo

Lynne Setter, country of origin New Zealand, born 1963, no children, divorced. Occupation – International Marketing Consultant. First suicide attempt aged 9, hospitalized a number of times from early teenage years. Lived in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. After ten years abroad, now living in New Zealand.

Martin Urban (FRG), born 1939, psychologist and psychotherapist, worked for seven years in a psychiatric and for six years in a hospital for psychosomatic medicine, 1989-2009, working in his own office near Stuttgart. He founded a halfway-house and, after 12 years of leading, he changed it into a user-controlled institution. As a member of the association of German psychologists, he was for longtime the head of the section Clinical psychologists in psychiatry. As well, in the German Society for Social Psychiatry, he was the speaker of the committee Psychotherapy. In 2008, he founded the  Maison d'Espérance (The House of Hope in the Hérault Valley) in the South of France, which he led until 2014. In 2016, set up the Haus der Hoffnung (House of Hope) in Thuringia, Germany. Publications include, Psychotherapie der Psychosen-Konzentrische Annäherungen an den Weg der Heilung (Psychotherapy of Psychoses: Concentric Approaches to the Way of Healing, editing, 2000), and Bindungstheorie in der Psychiatrie (The Importance of the Attachment Theory in Psychiatry, co-editing, 2005). Martin Urban sadly passed away on January 10, 2023.

Wolfgang Voelzke (FRG). Academically qualified economist, employed since 1975 by the town administration in Bielefeld. Beginning 2000, he works as co-ordinator for psychiatry and addiction. He co-founded the Bundesverband Psychiatrie-Erfahrener (BPE; Federal Association of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) in Germany and the local organization of users and survivors of psychiatry in Bielefeld.

David Webb, born in 1955, has completed a PhD on suicide as a crisis of the self at Victoria University in 2005 in Melbourne, Australia. This research, motivated by David's personal history of suicide attempts, shows that first-person knowledge of suicidality is necessary to understand suicide, but that the first-person voice is systematically excluded from current suicide research. During his research, he has embraced Mad Culture as a liberating community of people fighting for greater depth, sensitivity, compassion and justice for those struggling for mental, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. Prior to his years of madness, David worked in the computer software industry as a programmer, designer and analyst, and as a university lecturer. He has lived in New York, Delhi and London and now he lives in Castlemaine, an old goldrush town near Melbourne. Book publication: Thinking about suicide: Contemplating and comprehending the urge to die (2010). Co-author of Coming off Psychiatric Drugs – Successful withdrawal from neuroleptics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, Ritalin and tranquilizers (2004; e-book in 2022).
Contributor to Jenseits der Psychiatrie – Stimmen und Visionen des Wahnsinns im Madness Radio (2023). David Webb sadly passed away on July 26, 2023.

Gerda Wozart (pseudonym), post-war child, grown up in the North, South, East and West of Germany. For some time she has been living in England and France. Left family worlds, new paths in the world of literature – author, translator, recitator. Europe-wide together with a musician (literature meets music). Since 2009, living in France.

Josef Zehentbauer, born in 1945 in FRG. Four children. Doctor, psychotherapist and author. Several years' work in neurology (University of Würzburg), different psychiatric clinics and the emergency ward of a mental hospital. Worked as a doctor in Nigeria and India. Initiated projects with Franco Basaglia and other exponents of Italian "Critical Psychiatry." Publications include, Chemie für die Seele. Psyche, Psychopharmaka und alternative Heilmethoden (Chemistry for the Soul: Psyche, Psychotropic Drugs and Alternative Methods of Cure, 1986; 13th edition 2023); Körpereigene Drogen. Garantiert ohne Nebenwirkungen (The Body's Own Drugs: Guaranteed no Side-effects, 10th edition 2020); Abenteuer Seele. Psychische Krisen als Chance nutzen (Adventure Soul: To Use Psychic Crises as a Chance, 2000, new edition 2008); Melancholie – Die traurige Leichtigkeit des Seins (Melancholy: The Sad Lightness of Being, 2000, 4th edition 2014; e-book in 2022); Neue Antidepressiva, atypische Neuroleptika – Risiken, Placebo-Effekte, Niedrigdosierung und Alternativen. Mit einem Exkurs zur Wiederkehr des Elektroschocks (New Antidepressants, Atypical Neuroleptics: Risks, placebo effects, low doses and alternatives. With a digression to the return of the electroshock (2017, together with Volkmar Aderhold, Peter Lehmann and Marc Rufer; e-book in 2023). Co-author of Withdrawal from Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs (2023).

Katherine Zurcher. Born in Michigan, USA, has been living in Switzerland for over 40 years. After working for many years as a secretary in international organizations, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1999. Stopping benzodiazepines with no help remains one of the achievements she is most proud of.

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