Explains why you might decide to come off psychiatric medication, how to do this safely and where you can go for support. Also includes tips for friends and family wanting to support someone who is coming off medication.
You may feel nervous or worried if someone you care about is thinking of coming off their medication. It may feel difficult to know how to talk to them about it, or what support to offer. There are a few helpful things you can do though:
Ask what help they would find useful. This might include helping with everyday things like shopping or housework, taking them to appointments or reminding them to take a different dose of their medication.
You could also help them make a support plan, which would help you to know how you can support them if they become unwell again.
Supporting your friend or loved one to get the support they need can make a big difference.
See our page on helping someone else seek help for more suggestions.
Coming off medication can be a slow process that often involves a number of stages and adjustments. Some people will need more time than others, and some medications take longer to taper safely.
While tapering is sometimes possible over a few weeks, it can take months or even years for some people to reach their medication goal, whether this be stopping completely or reducing to a particular dosage that feels better for them.
How long it takes will depend on the individual, their circumstances and the medication they are taking. It's important to be patient.
It could help if you:
It can be really challenging to support someone, and it's common to feel overwhelmed at times. It's important to remember to look after your own mental health too, so you have the energy, time and distance you need to be able to help your friend or family member.
See our pages on how to cope when supporting someone else for more suggestions on what you can do, and where you can go for support.
This information was published in April 2021. We will revise it in 2024.
References and bibliography available on request.
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