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Psychiatric medication

Explains what psychiatric drugs are, what to know before taking them, and information on side effects and coming off medication.

Avoid stopping medication suddenly

It's best to reduce your dose gradually. Stopping medications suddenly (going cold turkey) can make withdrawal symptoms worse, and for some medications can be dangerous. It's important to get more medication in advance so that you don't have to stop suddenly.

If you're running out of medication and need an urgent prescription:


See the NHS website for more information about getting an urgent prescription.

My experience coming off medication

"What I really needed was a doctor to look at my history and help me through a gradual withdrawal."

Could I be forced to stay on medication?

Generally it’s your right to choose whether you come off medication, but there are some situations where your right to choose may be affected. For example, if:

  • you are sectioned (detained) under some sections of the Mental Health Act
  • you don't have capacity to decide whether to have treatment
  • it's emergency life-saving treatment.


See our page on consent to treatment for more information, including advice on how to get help making your voice heard.

This information was published in March 2021. We will revise it in 2024.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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