Psychiatric Medications and Recovery

April 2nd, 2012 @   - 

Welcome to the first discussion topic on SAPT Recovery.  Our hope is that in addition to being a resource for service providers, this site will provide a forum for consumers and service providers to share perspectives on approaches that are most helpful for supporting the process of recovery.

 Behavioral Healthcare Magazine published an interview with Robert Whitaker, author of the 2010 book about psychiatric medications entitled “Anatomy of An Epidemic”.  In both the interview and the book, Mr. Whitaker expresses concern about the rise in the number of people with disabilities related to mentally illness in recent years and about the long term effect of psychiatric medications.  The two part interview with the author entitled “Transforming Our Thinking About Psychiatric Medications” and rebuttals by William Glazer, M.D. can be viewed on-line at (View Issue Archives: July-August, September, October, and November-December 2011).  Mr. Whitaker’s response to the rebuttal can be viewed at his blog site in Mad in America, entitled “Answering the Critics: Let’s Roll the Tape (Again)” (11/30/11)  His work has stimulated some spirited discussions that have important implications for how we can best support the process of recovery from serious mental illnesses.

I thought we could start out with a question for consumers and later invite service providers to share perspectives. 

How have medications helped or hindered your process of recovery? 

Thank you for visiting and sharing experiences.

Jim Winarski

April 2, 2012

7 Comments → “Psychiatric Medications and Recovery”

  1. Terrence

    9 years ago

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  2. jwinarski

    9 years ago

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    9 years ago

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  6. lauren spiro

    8 years ago

    After being on psych drugs for many years there came a point when I could no longer tolerate the main effects of them. I dont diminish their impact by referring to “side effects”. Getting off the psych drugs allowed me to be in touch with my genuine feelings; i have learned that my emotions are important teachers. I have learned healthier ways to manage my emotions. More importantly I have learned about the damage of trauma, old hurts and humiliation that were the underlying cause of my “chronic schizohphrenia” or “manic-depression”. The more I free myself from anything that limits my thinking and being in the world, the more I live my dream. In hindsight – sleeping meds very short-term would have helped me get on the recovery process. How can one begin to recover if one cant sleep? Being told I needed psych drugs forever and thinking that I needed them was very damaging – emotionally, and otherwise. The evidence is clear – long-term use of psych drugs leads to decades of lost life/pre-mature death. Overall – my vote is that drugs hindered the recovery process by masking the underlying cause.

  7. jwinarski

    8 years ago

    Thank you Lauren for responding to the question about medications and recovery. As you may have noticed, the SAPT Recovery site was set up a few years ago to launch a process to support the implementation and evaluation of recovery oriented services in the state of Florida, applying the SAPT tool. Unfortunately, the state mental health authority withdrew support for this initiative. However, we (USF) have kept the web site up with the hope of reviving the project in the future.

    Your experience echoes that of so many who have been diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia. I took a peek at your blog and see that you have been doing incredible and inspiring work in support of the recovery movement and articulating that “authentic voice” for quite some time. I’ll be sure to be checking in for your posts. Thank you for all of your efforts and for taking the time to respond.

    As for the medication question, it was prompted by Robert Whitaker’s important analysis in Anatomy of an Epidemic. I think that it is vitally important for consumers/survivors and service providers to have an open dialogue about these findings. His latest book (in collaboration with Lisa Cosgrove) about the corrupt dynamics imbedded in our mental health system, lays bare the reasons behind the findings in “Anatomy”, and further highlights the need for fundamental changes in the “business” of providing care. Unfortunately, these are not the kind of findings that are published on the front page of the NY Times. I guess it is up to us!