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.
Coping while coming off medication can be hard, but there are lots of things you can do that might help. This page suggests some things you could try while coming off:
For more tips that you could put in place before coming off your medication, see our page on planning for withdrawal.
It can be hard to reach out, but it's important to share what you're going through. If you don’t feel you can talk to the people around you, you could try contacting a helpline. For example, you can talk to Samaritans for free on 116 123 or [email protected].
For more options see our page on helplines and listening services.
Recording details of your medication and mood in a diary could help you remember helpful details. For example, when you started tapering your medication, what doses you've taken and when, and the effect of different doses on your mood. This may help you notice any patterns or early signs that things are becoming more difficult for you.
You could also try monitoring your mood using an online tool or app. The NHS apps library has a list of apps that you can use to support your mental health and track your mood.
Many people find that when they are feeling unwell their thinking can get confused and they struggle to make decisions or come up with ideas for what can help them feel better. For this reason it can be really helpful to put together a box of things when you are feeling ok that might help you when you are in a difficult patch. For example, you could include:
Other types of treatment could help you cope during withdrawal. For example, you may want to try talking therapy and counselling, arts or creative therapies, or complementary and alternative therapies.
See our page on alternatives to psychiatric medication for more information on these.
Coming off medication isn't something you can 'succeed' or 'fail' at, it's more about what is best for you at a particular moment in your life. For example, you might find you need to reduce more slowly, or stay at one dose for longer than you had planned. Try to remember that coming off medication can be a very slow process involving a number of steps and adjustments.
If withdrawing from medication isn't going as well as you'd hoped, this can feel really disappointing. But this doesn't mean you won't be able to come off in the future if this is still what you want.
It's also important to remember that you can change your mind about coming off. You don't have to keep withdrawing after you've started.
This information was published in April 2021. We will revise it in 2024.
Need more support with this issue? Our helplines are here for you.
Need the references and evidence sheet for this page? Contact our publishing team.
Want to reproduce content from this page? See our page on permissions and licensing.