Mental health survival kit and withdrawal from psychiatric drugs (2020)

Mental Health Survival Kit Cover
This book will help people with mental health issues survive and come back to a normal life. The general public believes that drugs against depression and psychosis and admission to a psychiatric ward are more often harmful than beneficial, and this is also what the science shows. Even so, most people continue taking psychiatric drugs for many years. This is mainly because they have developed drug dependence. The psychiatrists and other doctors have made hundreds of millions of people dependent on psychiatric drugs and yet have done virtually nothing to find out how to help them come off them safely again, which can be very difficult. The book explains in detail how harmful psychiatric drugs are and tells people how they can withdraw safely from them. It also advises about how people with mental health issues may avoid becoming psychiatric “career” patients and lose 10 or 15 years of their life to psychiatry.
Dr. Gøtzsche is a pre-eminent medical researcher who has published more than 75 papers in "the Big Five" (BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine,& New England Journal of Medicine) and his scientific works have been cited about 50,000 times.   Dr. Gøtzsche has incurred the wrath of the medical establishment because of his courageous stance to tell the truth.  He is willing to bluntly write about how fraudulent and harmful the practice of psychiatry is, arguing that it should just be eliminated as a medical specialty.  He also states that psychiatric coercion should be abolished.  All of his positions are amply supported by the research he cites.

Among the things Dr. Gøtzsche writes in the Mental Health Survival Kit are:


·         "If you have a mental health issue, don't see a psychiatrist.  It is too dangerous and might turn out to be the biggest error you made in your entire life."

·         "Don't believe what you are told about psychiatric disorders or psychiatric drugs.  It is very likely to be wrong."

·         "Neuroleptics do not have clinically relevant effects on psychosis."

·         "Only about half the suicides and other deaths that occur in psychiatric drug trials are published."

·         "For every 100 people treated for ten weeks, one patient was killed with a neuroleptic. . . .  We should therefore not use neuroleptics for anyone, also because an effect on psychosis has never been demonstrated in reliable trials."

·         "If doctors get in trouble, they often deny what happened, and they might even change the written records."

·         "Half of the patients who had a normal sex life before they started on a depression pill will have their sex life disturbed or made impossible.  The sexual disturbances can become permanent and when the patients find out that they will never again be able to have intercourse, e.g. because of impotence, some kill themselves."

·         "SSRIs kill one of 28 people above 65 years of age treated for one year, and . . . double suicides."

·         "Electroshock 'works' by causing brain damage."

·         "You should not take psychiatric drugs.  The only exception I can imagine is a seriously disturbed acute situation where you may need to get some rest."

·         "Many psychiatrists have told me that it is much easier to wean off a heroin addict than to get a patient off a benzodiazepine or a depression pill."

·         "The only thing that can be seen on a brain scan is the shrinkage of the brain that neuroleptics have caused."

·         "This extensive body of user knowledge, based on the work of those who have experienced withdrawal themselves, is far more reliable, relevant and useful than the little there is in terms of so-called professional knowledge."

·         "Your doctor is not likely to know how [withdrawal] should be done."

·         "Our citizens would be far better off  if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market"

·         "There is no hope for psychiatry, which has degenerated  so much, for so long, and is so harmful that it must be stopped."


Few researchers are willing to be so forthright about the trainwreck that is psychiatry. 


There is similarly straightforward and plain language advice on withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.


  • "[The] extensive body of user knowledge, based on the work of those who have experienced withdrawal themselves, is far more reliable, relevant and useful than the little there is in terms of so-called professional knowledge."

  • "Your doctor is not likely to know how [withdrawal] should be done."

  • "Self-education and contact with friends and with others who had stopped, or reduced medications were most frequently cited as helpful.  Only 45% rated doctors as helpful during withdrawal."

  • "It is of utmost importance that YOU are in charge of the withdrawal.  Don't go faster than you can muster."

  • "A health professional or recovery mentor will rarely be able to support you on a daily basis.  You therefore need one or two people who are willing to do this, as you might not be able to assess yourself during withdrawal."

  • "Avoid negative thoughts as much as you can.  They tend to entrap you in a downward spiral"

  • "[I]t can take many years before you brain has fully recuperated."

  • "Withdrawal could be the worst experience of your life.  You therefore need to be ready for it.  You shouldn't start if you are overworked or stressed, which could worsen the withdrawal symptoms."

  • "Always remember, particularly if it gets rough, that there is a drug-free life on the other side that is better, and which you deserve."

  • "Don't believe doctors who tell you that you feel miserable because your disease has come back.  This is very rarely the case.  If the symptoms come quickly and you feel better within hours of increasing the dose again, it is because you have abstinence symptoms, not because your disease has come back."

  • "You must be determined to come off your drugs, as it might not be easy."

  • "It is important you get a successful start.  It is therefore often best to remove the most recently started drug, as withdrawal gets harder the longer you have been on a drug.  It is also important to withdraw neuroleptics and lithium early on, as they cause so many harms.  Withdrawal can cause sleeping problems, which is a good reason to remove sleep aids last." 

  • "It is not advisable to withdraw more than one drug at a time, as it makes it difficult to find out which drug causes the withdrawal symptoms."

  • "It is rarely a good idea to substitute one [drug] for another"

  • "It is generally not advisable to introduce a new drug, e.g. a sleeping pill if the withdrawal symptoms make sleep difficult.  If the troubles become unendurable, it is better to increase the dose a little before trying to reduce again, this time by a smaller amount or with longer intervals, or both."

  • "Don't reduce again before you feel stabilized on the previous dose."

  • "The last small step can be the worst"

  • "One day, you might suddenly notice the birds are singing for the first time in years.  Then you know you are on the right track towards healing."

You can purchase the Kindle version of the Mental Health Survival Kit, here.   You can also purchase PDFs directly from Dr. Gøtzsche in various languages here.

Jim Gottstein

Author of the Zyprexa Papers.