New study on wellbeing during and after antipsychotic withdrawal

It is well-known that attempting antipsychotic withdrawal can be a fraught process, with a high risk of relapse that often leads people to resume the medication. Nonetheless, there is a group of people who appear to be able to discontinue successfully.

Miriam Larsen-Barr and Fred Seymour have published a study in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology looking at the ways in which people who have successfully stopped taking antipsychotics maintained their wellbeing during and after withdrawal. Participants defined wellbeing in terms of their ability to manage the impact of any difficulties faced rather than their ability to prevent them entirely, and saw this as something that evolved over time.

This is a small, qualitative study and results should be interpreted with caution. Nonetheless, this sample shows it is possible for people who experience mania and psychosis to successfully discontinue antipsychotics and safely manage the impact of symptoms that emerge as a result of the withdrawal process or other life stressors that arise afterwards. Results expand on the current evidence to provide detailed descriptions of how people achieved this.

Service-user efforts to maintain their wellbeing during and after successful withdrawal from antipsychotic medication, Miriam Larsen-Barr & Fred Seymour, Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology 11, 31 Jan 2021.