Kelly Brogan, MD – Holistic Psychiatry
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SUMMARY: The following case study provides an in-depth analysis of patients who experienced psychiatric medication withdrawal and were treated with an effective lifestyle medicine protocol. These holistic methods present a sustainable alternative to long-term treatment of mood symptoms and chronic illnesses.
The diet and detox protocols prescribed by Dr. Brogan and showcased in this study, can be accessed through her online program, Vital Mind Reset. Click here to find out more.
Holistic Approaches: A Proven Treatment for Psychotropic Drug Withdrawal
If you’re feeling tired all the time and struggling with negative thoughts, your doctor may tell you that you’re depressed and offer help in the form of an antidepressant. The dominant medical orthodoxy regards antidepressants as safe and effective for the treatment of major depressive symptoms, under the default assumption that these medications rebalance the serotonin levels in the brain.1 Combine suffering with the promise of a quick fix, and we have an epidemic of prescription-dependent individuals identified with their mental illness labels.
Antidepressants are notoriously habit-forming. If you reach a point of minimal return, or significant side effects, you may want to part ways with your medication, only to encounter weeks of withdrawal symptoms including flu-like symptoms, brain fog, increased agitation, panic attacks, palpitations, and/or hair loss.4 This is when some doctors might tell you that your withdrawal symptoms are proof you must stay on your meds, rather than acknowledge the physiologic dependency these medications induce. Withdrawal can sometimes be a years-long struggle.5
But what do we really know about the withdrawal process? Most of the literature focuses on the indications and benefits of psychotropic drugs, to the neglect of exploration of the process of medication discontinuation. With withdrawal symptoms so understudied, how can we effectively support individuals through medication cessation? Could there even be clinical goals beyond medication initiation or cessation…perhaps inclusive of the reclamation of vitality?
Twelve patients move beyond psychiatry
Published in peer-reviewed journal Advances in Mind Body Medicine, a recent publication by Dr. Brogan and her coauthors is the first case series of its kind to document the methodology employed in the successful discontinuation of a range of psychotropic medications.6 The objective was to gain a better understanding of psychotropic drug withdrawal and the use holistic support interventions to provide long-term mood support.
These 12 patients were split into two groups: A, in which patients came to Dr. Brogan for psychotropic medication tapering and B, in which patients were seeking mood support for protracted withdrawal symptoms.
But both groups were treated with individualized regimens over several months, with those in group A slowly reducing weekly psychotropic drug dosages under Dr. Brogan’s supervision and both groups being treated with holistic approaches.These treatments focused on three several critical concepts:
- Neuroinflammation, mood, and the gut-brain axis
Proof there is another wayOne of this study’s most interesting features is that it focuses not just on weaning patients off the psychotropic drugs, but also on how to sustain remission. Without resolving the root cause of initial symptoms, weaning off medications would be unsustainable. By treating both mood symptoms and comorbid chronic illnesses, the treatments used in this case series demonstrate the benefits of integrating holistic and conventional medicine in psychotropic drug tapering. It’s studies like these that remind us that symptoms can be a meaningful opportunity to attune to lifestyle changes that lead to optimal health through the resolution of evolutionary mismatch. The protocol outlined in this study represents a self-implemented treatment approach with the capacity to resolve medication dependency, psychiatric labels, and an experience of oneself as “sick” for life, disrupting the allopathic perspective that mental illness is a genetic pathology that results in life-long chronic disease. With this publication, the medical literature now reflects that radical healing from medication-treated symptoms of mental illness is, indeed, possible. The PDF of the case series publication can be found here and the protocol implemented is available in the book Own Your Self and the online program, Vital Mind Reset. Read the Case Study
Interested in a comprehensive, drug-free approach to healing anxiety, depression or chronic stress?
The Vital Mind Reset program walks you through my 44-day healing protocol, which combines diet, detox, and meditation practices for long-term resolution of chronic symptoms. The tools implemented also help to establish a readiness for psychiatric medication tapers. Click below to learn more.References
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Case Report: Successful Discontinuation of Psychotropic Drugs
SUMMARY: A 38-year old woman with a history of generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, anorexia nervosa, and PTSD, successfully discontinues all medication, and mitigates withdrawal symptoms, though lifestyle intervention (including diet, meditation, and detox protocols). The diet and detox protocols prescribed by Dr. Brogan and showcased in this study, can be accessed through her...Continue Reading