IIPDW Network Meeting Brings Together Professional and Lived-Experience Expertise

Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is an issue which is rapidly gaining attention in many parts of the world, yet professional medical circles can sometimes be remote from the discussion. The International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (IIPDW) was created in 2017 to respond to the need to widen the debate and to develop ways to assist people withdrawing safely from psychiatric drugs.

To help progress this objective, the IPPDW is hosting a network meeting in September 2019 to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden. The meeting aims to share the best available knowledge, experience and expertise and attendees come from diverse backgrounds; peer support, clinical psychiatry and psychology and even technology entrepreneurs.

An important aspect of the network meeting will be to examine recent evidence and share skills gained while supporting people who wish to come off their psychiatric drugs. Included will be discussions on scientific studies that underpin the need to gradually withdraw and examples from vital peer support initiatives.

Over 40 attendees will represent many parts of the world and together embody many years of examination of and response to the issues raised by our increasing reliance on psychiatric drugs.

In bringing together such expertise, the IIPDW aims to promote practices that help families, friends, and practitioners support the safe reduction of and withdrawal from psychiatric drugs. The IIPDW believes that informed choice and consent in relation to psychiatric drugs is an often-ignored human right.

From this network meeting, we expect to be able to add significantly to the discussion about withdrawal from psychiatric drugs and to do so confident that both professional and lived-experience voices have played their part.

Amongst the attendees are:

Auður Axelsdóttir – Occupational Therapist from Reykjavík, Iceland and director of Hugarafl (e. Mindpower)

Mette Ellingsdalen – Human Rights activist, prior Chair of We Shall Overcome (WSO) Norway

Adele Framer – Under the pseudonym Altostrata, in 2011 founded Web site survivingantidepressants.org providing peer support for tapering off psychiatric drugs and PAWS

Fernando Freitas – Professor and Researcher at the National School of Public Health (ENSP/FIOCRUZ/RIO DE JANEIRO)

Peter Gøtzsche – IIPDW Board member, Director – Institute for Scientific Freedom

Peter Groot – Researcher and experiential expert connected with the User Research Center of Maastricht/Utrecht UMC

Carina Håkansson – IIPDW co-founder and Board member, founder of The Extended Therapy Room Foundation, PhD and psychotherapist

Shimon Katz – Clinical social worker (PhD) founder of the Israeli initiative for coming off medication

Marcello Macario – Psychiatrist, Chair of the Italian Hearing Voices Network

Fanny Marell – Social worker, licenced psychotherapist, teacher and supervisor in psychotherapy

Lasse Mattila – Social worker, publisher of Mad in Sweden and chairman of Föreningen Alternativ till Psykofarmaka (The Association of Alternatives to Psychotropics)

Anders Sørensen – PhD researcher at the Nordic Cochrane Centre

Sandra Steingard – Chief Medical Officer of Howard Center, Vermont, USA

Sami Timimi – Consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and director of medical education

Birgit Valla – Clinical psychologist, Director of mental health service, lecturer, writer

Scott Waterman – Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the University of Vermont College of Medicine

Robert Whitaker – Journalist, co-founder of IIPDW, founder of Mad in America

Kleonike Yannakopoulou – Clinical Psychologist, Founder and Manager of ANIMA nonprofit NGO for mental health and psychosocial support

Andrea Zwicknagl – Expert by experience and working as peer specialist with Open Dialogue. Founder of the trialoge on the withdrawal of neuroleptics in Switzerland