New Study Examines Successful Discontinuation of Antipsychotics

A new study to be published in the next issue of Schizophrenia Research examines patients suffering from a first-episode of psychosis who stop taking any antipsychotic drugs. The researchers attempt to identify variables that may predict the successful discontinuation of antipsychotics. They find, for example, that those who discontinue the drugs have, on average, the same outcomes as those who stay on them, and that those who have better social integration are more likely to discontinue without relapse.

My interpretation of this- bad prognosis cases that stay on medication do as well as good prognosis cases that come off medication. That sounds like a plus point for medication for those that need it. The problem is defining who is a good or bad prognosis case.


The News is insane…

If that’s true it’s great news, but it wouldn’t work for me. I’ve also seen a pretty fair number of people get off their med’s at the assisted living center where I live, and most of them didn’t fair well either. Of course, my sample is skewed. It consists of people who live at an assisted living center for the mentally ill.

I was told in my psychoeducation group that patients should be on APs for at least two years following the first psychotic episode and at least five years following subsequent episodes. I don’t know if that is the standard everywhere or not.

That seems like a potentially very significant factor. I don’t know of very many people with MI from personal life over the years, who were given any help in terms of getting back on their feet and getting back into society. I sure as hell was never given any such help. Seems more like people just get meds thrown at them, and that’s it. So I wouldn’t be surprised if there are major benefits to social integration help that have yet to be fully understood by most.

These days the only person in my life who ever tries to help me get back out there normally is my brother, but he is very very busy, new marriage, recently moved, finishing a college degree, working full time, etc. But he still tries to take me out once a month for a few hours to a day, even if just to walk around town, get fresh air and talk.

My mother on the other hand never takes me anywhere or includes me in anything, she acts more like I am an unwanted poltergeist occupying the upper floor of her house. I bet this happens to many people with MI, like relatives for various possible reasons not only don’t help them socially recover, but actually include them even less.

my pdoc said in five years we can try going off aps … I don’t know if he’s taking my lesser psychotic episodes into account, or if he thinks my psychotic break is the first.

My psychotic episodes weren’t that dramatic, but I do not want to go off meds until I’ve been on them for at least 5 years because I had multiple episodes.

That’s reasonable.

I’ve been thinking that I would never go off aps, in the chance I start hallucinating people saying stuff again, or seeing the black shadows, but I’m considering it now with this study

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It is the dream of us all to be the lucky ones who can go off AP’s and be OK or find another reason than mental illness for our symptoms. It is easy for others to say “If they just stay on the meds they’ll do OK” because they don’t have to take them themselves. However I’m not one of the lucky ones.

I’ve gone from being a ‘bad prognosis’ to a ‘good prognosis’ because of my extremely high functioning level (according to psychiatrists and psychologists). That functioning level drops if I stop meds. Problem is, I start to lose insight and think I’m doing just awesome.


I really don’t know whether I need them or not. A situation complicated by the " I am mentally ill, oh no you’re not you’re just socially dysfunctional" dance that goes on in my mind.
My own observation is that they have reduced some positive symptoms but not the symptoms
that really impact on functioning things like drive,motivation,initiative,social anxiety and social interaction difficulties.
When I saw the pdoc a while back(because the NP was off sick) he commented I was doing better However I sense this is because conflict levels between me and the psychiatric team are now non existent. Mainly because I keep things to myself as much as possible and don’t
actively seek help . It was the seeking help that provoked an abusive response and anger and frustration from me.
Nowadays I don’t fancy going back to that abuse so just docilely turn up for my injections, and for the most part give a blasé response when questioned how I am.

The thing is the meds help a bit and it’s the only treatment I get. It’s far from perfect but it’s better than nothing.

After my first episode after receiving treatment for two years I went without treatment for 4 years. What got me (the relapse) was being well for so long that I thought I was fine like everyone else and got back into drugs. I didn’t realise how serious the first episode was also because a full recovery just seemed to happen for me so easily.

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A while back, i was weaning off meds. You guys were right in,that it is a bad plan.

Mad in America is an anti-psychiatry website and this is their interpretation of the study. The study is about first-episode psychosis which does not always turn out to be the beginnning of sz.

I am not pro- or anti- med, just 100% for whatever helps each person with MI.

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Im off meds since december and doing well

I just hope I can resist the temptation of smoking weed again

I had very florid psychosis twice

Which drugs did u use and how many times to get bad?

Im not asking to know “how much i can get”, im not planning going back to them, im just afraid of being weak and smoking weed once and getting psychotic