The Politics of Withdrawal
In some ways the issue of coming off psychiatric drugs is deeply political. People of all economic and educational backgrounds successfully reduce or go off their psychiatric medication. However, sometimes economic privilege can determine who has access to information and education, who can afford alternative treatments, and who has the opportunity to make life changes. People without resources are often the most vulnerable to psychiatric abuse and injury from drugs. Health is a human right for all people: we need a complete overhaul of our failed “mental health system” in favor of truly effective and compassionate alternatives available to everyone regardless of income. Pushing risky, expensive drugs as the first and only line of treatment should end; priority should be on prevention, providing safe places of refuge, and treatments that do no harm.
Numerous studies, such as Soteria House in California and Open Dialogue in Finland, show that non- and low-drug treatments can be very effective and cost less than the current system. And a medical product regulatory establishment that was honest about drug risks, effectiveness, and alternatives would likely have never put most psychiatric drugs on the market to begin with. Instead of viewing the experiences of madness only as a “dis-ability,” which can be a stigmatizing put down, it is helpful to also view those of us who go through emotional extremes as having “diverseability.” Society must include the needs of sensitive, creative, emotionally wounded, and unusual people who make contributions to the community beyond the standards of competition, materialism, and individualism. To truly help people who are labeled mentally ill, we need to rethink what is “normal,” in the same way we are rethinking what it means to be unable to hear, without sight, or with limited physical mobility.
Universal design and accommodating those of us who are different ultimately benefit everyone. We need to challenge able-ism in all forms, and question the wisdom of adapting to an oppressive and unhealthy society, a society that is in many ways itself quite crazy. A social model of disability means accepting human differences, and no longer treating the impacts of poverty and oppression as medical problems. Our needs are intertwined with the broader needs for social justice and ecological sustainability.
Source: Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs (Second Edition)
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Tags: alternative treatments, creative, disability, diverseability, drug risks, ecological sustainability, economic, economic privilege, educational, emotionally wounded, Harm Reduction Guide, human differences, life changes, low-drug treatments, madness, medical problems, mental health system, mentally ill, psychiatric abuse, Psychiatric Drugs, psychiatric medication, sensitive, social justice, social model of disability, stigmatizing, The Politics of Withdrawal, unhealthy society