Caught in a Trap: Psychiatric Sabotage

by Liam Kirk: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Liam Kirk tells us what happened when he took part in the RADAR trial to try and come off anti-psychotic medication.

Regular readers of Asylum may have wondered how Dr Joanna’s Moncrieff’s RADAR trial fared, that is, Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation And Reduction. Well, for me dear reader, there was no fairy-tale ending. I wanted to show the public that it was possible to live a drug free life and create awareness of the harm of psychiatric drugs. Sadly, in my case, the same old problems keep on recurring, dealing with the same old issues again and again and again.

Dr Moncrieff is known for disliking the label ‘antipsychotic’ as it gives a misleading impression that these chemical compounds somehow specifically target psychosis in the brain, in the same way that antibiotics target the microorganisms responsible for bacterial infection. She represents hard truths that, maybe, psychiatry is not ready for.

In the consulting room at the start of the trial, I yearned to talk with my Responsible Clinician about ‘supersensitivity’ and the notion of brain plasticity. I wanted to ask, ‘Has years of antipsychotics consumption resulted in my brain rewiring? Do I now possess abnormal regulation of my dopamine system with my brain growing an unnatural proliferation of D₂ receptors?’ I really wanted to open up to my consultant, my future depended on it. But, catastrophically, I had entered territory that my consultant would not entertain, he is a conventional psychiatrist who does not believe in withdrawal syndrome. According to him, if an individual loses lucidity months after stopping an antipsychotic, or even a cocktail of psychiatric medications, the individual is unwell from an underlying psychiatric condition (not as a result of the drugs leaching from the body thereby holding in abeyance a withdrawal-induced psychosis that comes to the fore once the individual’s system is free from psychoactive substances).

As a willing subject for research, I was put into a group to have my drug regimen discontinued. I was under the impression that the drugs I was taking would be gradually reduced, slowly decreasing down to a microdose (that is, a specially prepared dose, smaller than the commercially available tablets), eventually tapering to zero, resulting in a drug-free patient. I thought all this would take around a year. Instead, my consultant psychiatrist made me go cold turkey with a sudden stopping of all drugs.

I had gambled on a meticulous process of medication reduction. Instead, my withdrawal syndrome denier consultant was not playing ball. An abdication of duty. I remained under the care of my Responsible Clinician, and Dr Moncrieff’s research relied on the goodwill of participating consultants. I contacted Dr Moncrieff expressing concerns over a lack of essential tapering. She was powerless. If my consultant wanted to exercise neglect by forcing me to go cold turkey, there was nothing anyone could do about it.

For four months I lived a life of fearful rumination. Then, as the last of the antipsychotic leached from my brain tissue, the chemicals in my brain went haywire and I suffered from psychosis rebound. I was quickly Sectioned and hospitalised, effectively losing my rights. An entirely predictable turn of events.

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