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Tapering or coming off medication is a demanding process. It is important to surround yourself with people who can support you in different ways. In addition to your doctor, who will have a specific role, you can call on other people such as: a pharmacist, a nurse, a counselor or therapist, friends, relatives, peers. These people can inform you, listen to you, support you, encourage you. We encourage you to discuss your needs with them to agree on the role that each of them could play in your approach to reducing or coming off psychiatric drugs.


In taking psychiatric medication, you develop a form of expertise. This experiential knowledge is complementary and different from that of health professionals, and just as important. In other words, you can receive support while taking your place and exercising your rights: to participate in treatment, to give your opinion, to obtain information from various reliable sources, to accept treatment or not, to be informed of alternatives or to be accompanied to medical appointments if you feel the need.  


The doctor or psychiatrist

The doctor plays an important role in your process since they are the prescriber of the medication. Many people report problematic or difficult relationships with their doctor. Lack of time, lack of listening, knowledge of tapering protocols, and prejudices are at the heart of these difficulties in communicating with the doctor. Establishing a collaborative relationship between you and your doctor around tapering medication requires some preparation and perseverance.

Alternative mental health resources and advocacy groups offer support in preparing for medical appointments, and even accompaniment. Also, to help you...

Here are some tools to foster a satisfying relationship with your healthcare professional

  • Pages 97-99 of the GAM Personal Guide  deal with the meeting with the doctor/psychiatrist in the perspective of a reduction in medication or withdrawal.  

The pharmacist

Pharmacists can be very helpful during a tapering process. They are drug specialists and can therefore provide additional information. This tool (in French) could help you prepare for your meeting with your pharmacist.​​ Know that it is possible to obtain custom doses, smaller or larger than those offered by the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the drug, in order to facilitate your withdrawal. These custom-made doses are called extemporaneous mixtures. Consult the Approches section to find out more about the pharmacies that offer this service.


“We need to be listened to, speak our stories and heal rather than be imposed various diagnoses, bureaucracy, judgements, and huge doses of medication. We want to participate in treatments and we advocate a relationship of equals with the health professional, including  the psychiatrist. We have tremendous experiential knowledge that is not yet recognized at its true value, in the health network or by health professionals. »  MB

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