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11 considerations
for diminishing medication while reducing the risks


Go slowly!

It is never advisable to suddenly stop medication as it can cause serious repercussions on physical and psychological health.  

Preparation, preparation, preparation

Diminishing medication is a delicate and demanding process that requires physical, mental and social preparation. The majority of people who have successfully reduced or withdrawn from psychiatric drugs insist on the fact that being informed and preparing well beforehand are imperative.  See the Thinking About Different Factors That Affect My Quality of Life section  of the GAM guide (p. 41) and the Alternatives section of this site to learn more about wellness strategies and consolidating them, before undertaking any modification to medication.


Get informed

It is essential to be well informed in order to make a decision that is right for you regarding psychiatric drugs, including their reduction or withdrawal. Better knowledge of the language associated with medication can help you to discuss these issues on a more equal footing with health professionals as well as inform those around you about your needs.  

Choose the right time

Withdrawal effects can be destabilizing and intense. Stress can increase the intensity of these effects. It is therefore crucial to choose a relatively stable and uneventful period in your life to taper medication.  


It is highly encouraged to undertake a tapering process with the support of your doctor. Participation in a peer-support group and getting psychosocial support are also very valuable assets. See the Support section for more details.

Gradually, to respect the rhythm of your body

All psychiatric drugs create dependancy. It is therefore important to gradually reduce the doses to lessen withdrawal effects. See the next page, Tapering Approaches for more details.


One drug at a time

If you're taking more than one psychiatric drug, it is a good idea to taper one at a time. Check with your doctor and pharmacist about which one to start with. 


Adaptation period at each stage

It is important to take the time to adapt to each new dose and take the pulse of the situation before determining if another change is necessary.  


Listen to yourself! 

Listening to yourself and paying attention to your body is of utmost importance during a withdrawal process. This is what allows you to distinguish the effects felt and to decide the subsequent rate of reduction. A tapering diary can be a helpful tool.


Unique like you

Each medication reduction process is unique. It can depend on many factors such as: your living situation, the number of psychiatric drugs you are taking, how long you have been taking them, their dosage, your metabolism, your age, your sex, your health problems, etc.   

Be kind to yourself

It's important to be kind to yourself throughout the tapering and withdrawal process. This involves, among other things, acknowledging the efforts you are making and accepting that it may not go as you thought or expected. Going back to a previous dose is definitely not a failure! Keep in mind that each stage of reduction is a learning process to better understand and support the subsequent stages of your withdrawal.

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