Psychiatric Medication Awareness Group: psychiatric medications, addiction, recovery, withdrawl, risks & side-effects

Our Publications

  1. What People Need to Know About Psychiatric Drugs (Revised 2022)
  2. Communicating Risks Associated with Psychiatric Drugs to the Public

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What People Need to Know About Psychiatric Drugs

by Dr. Janet C. Currie, M.S.W., PhD

booklet cover

This booklet provides information to consumers about the use and safety of the most commonly prescribed sleeping pills and drugs for mental health conditions in Canada.

It discusses why it is important to know about psychiatric drugs, the reasons why someone might be prescribed a psychiatric drug and the potential adverse effects of six classes of drugs used to treat mental health symptoms. These include medications for depression, anxiety, psychoses, bipolar disease, ADHD and insomnia.

Six of the most widely used SSRIs antidepressants were studied in clinical trials that only lasted six weeks. Yet SSRIs are commonly prescribed for months or years.

The booklet also discusses non-psychiatric medications that can cause mental health symptoms, the risks of a prescribing cascade, how to discuss prescription drugs with your doctor and guidelines for safe tapering and withdrawal, where this is possible.

Research indicates that the vast majority of drugs that are prescribed off-label in Canada lack strong evidence that they are effective for these uses.

Consumer Information Lacking

In Canada and elsewhere, much of the information available to consumers on prescription drugs comes directly or indirectly from the companies that manufacture them. Even the package insert that is included with some medications lists only a few potential side effects.

Our belief is that all Canadians have the right to have independent, objective and accurate information about prescription drugs so that they can have informed discussions with their healthcare providers and make the best decisions about their health.

This guide was originally developed by the Psychiatric Medication Awareness Group and was co-authored by E. Daisy Anderson, MSc and Janet Currie MSW, PhD (2009). This second edition was completed by Janet C. Currie, rev. 2022 ©.


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We have made access to this booklet free. However, we request that our work be acknowledged when it is referenced.

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Download the Booklet

You can download the booklet in PDF format (PDF–3.76 MB).

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Communicating Risks Associated with Psychiatric Drugs to the Public

by E Daisy Anderson

This publication was presented to Health Canada Expert Advisory Committee on the Vigilance of Health Products on December 9, 2008 for Psychiatric Medication Awareness Group.

From the Introduction

Our information and recommendations are based on research and what we have learned from those impacted by psychiatric drugs. Many of the issues surrounding psychotropics may also apply to other medications.

It is [e]stimated that adverse medication reactions kill 1800 Canadians a year. Canadians would not tolerate 12 airplanes crashing out of the sky, each time killing 150 people. So, why put up with so many deaths from adverse reactions? That is why this consultation is so important.

Download the Presentation in PDF Format

You can download the presentation in PDF format (PDF–24 KB).

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Our Disclaimer

PMAG does not provide individual advice or respond to individual requests for assistance. We encourage you to seek qualified medical support. More…


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Benzo Help Blog: Benzodiazepine and Sleeping Pill Addiction, Tapering & Recovery


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Updated: August 5, 2022