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

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What People Need to Know | Recent News
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About This Site

This site is dedicated to providing accurate information about psychiatric medications including their addictive nature and how to get help.

These pages are a good starting place:

Please read our disclaimer.

What People Need to Know About Psychiatric Drugs

booklet cover

What People Need to Know About Psychiatric Drugs
by Dr. Janet C. Currie, M.S.W., PhD. (revised 2022)

COVID Increased Use

The COVID pandemic has led to an increased use of sleeping pills and drugs for depression and anxiety.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Learn how to obtain the booklet…

Recent News

April 17/23 — ‘I stopped sleeping’: the sometimes difficult path off antidepressants.

Historically, psychiatric bodies believed antidepressant withdrawal was mild and short and research into withdrawal was relatively limited. A 2021 Cochrane systematic review found more than 1,000 studies looking at safely starting antidepressants, but just 33 randomised control trials on stopping them.

March 19/23 — ‘Thirty years on, I still have symptoms from taking benzodiazepines.’

In the 1970s and 1980s, vast numbers of people in the UK began taking benzodiazepines, a group of drugs more commonly known as tranquillisers, for stress, anxiety and insomnia.


Haslam is just one of many people all over the world who reached out to The Telegraph describing their experiences of cognitive problems after taking benzodiazepines for years or even decades.

March 1/23 — Drug-Induced Insomnia.

Having trouble sleeping?

Remember, sleeping pills are risky to take. If taken for more than a few days they can cause tolerance, rebound insomnia and are hard to get off. Check the medications you are taking first! Many common drugs cause insomnia.

[A] new study shows that physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than counseling or the leading medications.


Higher intensity exercise had greater improvements for depression and anxiety, while longer durations had smaller effects when compared to short and mid-duration bursts.

February 25/23 — Exercise more effective than medicines to manage mental health, says study.

[A] new study shows that physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than counseling or the leading medications.


Higher intensity exercise had greater improvements for depression and anxiety, while longer durations had smaller effects when compared to short and mid-duration bursts.

February 22/23 — GPs' insights about discontinuing long-term antidepressant use in British Journal of General Practice (PDF).

There is considerable concern about increasing antidepressant use….


Evidence suggests this is driven by patients on long-term rather than new prescriptions.


Most antidepressant prescriptions are generated in general practice and it is likely that attempts to discontinue are either not occurring or are proving unsuccessful.

February 22/23 — “You need this drug,” and other things clinicians should stop saying.

Millions of older Americans are at risk from medication overload — harm caused by too many medications. And with the aging of the population, this problem is likely to get worse.


Fortunately, there is a lot we can learn from clinicians like Dr. Tom Perry, who have made it their life's work to recognize the signs of medication overload and educate others on how to avoid it.

February 21/23 — “A call to reform involuntary care. With personal roots” in The Tyee is an interview with Rob Wipond about his father's torment, state power, anti-psychotic drugs, and more.

B.C. has the most draconian, aggressive mental health laws in North America.


[T]here's no requirement under the B.C. Mental Health Act to formally test anyone for their level of competency or insight.

February 21/23 — Rob Wipond's Your Consent Is Not Required video series is based upon the research for his book.

The main problem is that definitions of mental disorders have become so broad and mental health laws have expanded so much that these days practically anyone can get locked up.
  1. How Psychiatric Fraud Drives Forced Hospitalizations
  2. Psychiatric bed “shortage” or forced detention overload?
  3. The dangers of calling 988 (and many other mental health hotlines)
  4. Dramatically rising rates of psychiatric detentions

January 18/23 — Your Consent Is Not Required is a new book by Rob Wipond is now included on our books resource page.

Your Consent Is Not Required
Thoroughly researched, with alarming true stories and hard data from the US and Canada, Rob Wipond's Your Consent Is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships builds an unassailable case for greater transparency, vigilance, and change.

October 18/22 — For one year, I desperately chased sleep. Once I stopped trying, it found me.

September 14/22 — More than 1 in 5 residents in long-term care given antipsychotics without a diagnosis, data shows.

The medication is intended to sedate, and is used off-label to combat a variety of behaviours, from wandering to insomnia.


While there are questions about when and where these medications are appropriate, there is little disagreement that the current levels of use are higher than they should be.

Archived News

Older stories are archived on the Older Stories page.


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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Dr. Ashton

Dr. Ashton photo
Dr. Heather Ashton on YouTube

Marcia Angell Series

The New York Review of Books:

  1. The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?
  2. The Illusions of Psychiatry

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Updated: April 17, 2023