It’s important to NEVER stop taking any prescription medications without the advice and support of your Medical Doctor. The reasons are explained below:
Many times, patients come to me with the primary desire to stop taking their prescription medications or recreational drugs. Other times, patients see themselves getting healthier and more balanced after receiving holistic treatments, and they ask me if they can get off one of their prescription medications. Still other people, may have inadvertently become accustomed to taking a medication for the side effects of a surgery or an accident or trauma in their lives, and then they want to get off the medication after their life becomes more stable.
The medication could be an anti-depressant, hypertension medication, anti-histamine, pain medications, hyper-acidity medications, diet pill, prescription hormones, marijuana, alcohol, or any number of other prescription medications or self-medications, such as sugar, carbohydrate addiction, caffeine addiction or hard drugs.
I would like to quickly outline below the most common mistakes I see my patients making when they try to get themselves off their medications, independent of their doctor’s advice:
1. They do not first discuss their plan with their Medical Doctor. It’s really, really important to not only discuss your plan with your Medical Doctor first, but to also get his or her approval for your plan. This is because your Medical Doctor is in the best position to help you develop a rational plan for how to withdrawal off your medications. Your Doctor knows your medical history, and also the pharmaceutical effects of the medication you are taking. He or she is in the best position to help you develop a strategy for exactly how to stop the medication, and in exactly what increments it will be best to do it.
2. Going too fast. Many people start feeling really good after they start acupuncture or homeopathy and then they just stop their other medications, or stop them too fast. This usually leads to having to go back onto their medications. However, the best way is to actually go a lot slower then you might want to. Thus you can head off any negative effects and catch yourself before you start feeling bad or your symptoms come back. If you think you might want to stop over a period of three months, then extend it to six months. The longer you take to do this, the more success you will probably have in the end.
3. Not taking the right natural supplements as you taper off your prescription medications. The body acclimates or even becomes addicted to some prescription medications. When on a medication, your metabolism or hormones or neurotransmitters may have completely changed. So if you are going to stop taking that medication, or significantly reduce it, it’s important to feed your body and mind with the nutrients needed to begin to work correctly without the medication. Without taking natural supplements to replace your body’s dependance on the medications, it is much, much harder to go off any prescription medications. Obviously, it can be done, but it’s a lot more challenging.
Here is a list of some of some of the more common natural supplements I sometimes recommend my patients take during this most difficult time.
*Homeopathic Kali phos – to support the nerves
*Homeopathic Mag phos – for relaxation, stress and for spasms
*Homeopathic Bio-Plasma – for overall support to keep the system strong during the transition
*Rescue Remedy – for the anxiety and panic that might occur. Good to keep on hand
*Homeopathic Tobaccum – for tobacco withdrawal
*Homeopathic Arnica – if you feel “beat up” and achy all over
*Homeopathic Aconite – for panic in the middle of the night or extreme fear anytime
*Amino Acids: Theanine, Tryptophan, 5HTP, Taurine, Arginine, GABA, or a good mix of amino acids to support the system during withdrawl. These amino acids will help to relax the nervous system, and reduce anxiety and alleviate other symtpoms of withdrawl.
*High Potency B-Vitamins – overall support
*Multi-Mineral Formula including large amounts of Magnesium and Calcium – relaxation and to keep the nerves and muscles from creating pain or spasms
*Plenty of fluids. This should include electrolytes like Emergen-C, and detox tea such as Dandelion and Licorice (to balance the blood sugar). Detox and blood sugar stability is critical!
*Extra Chromium to balance the blood sugar
*Herbal Pain Relievers for Pain and Herbal Sleep Medications to help with sleep. – I have many in my office and there are many others on the market. Find what works for you and have it in your medicine cabinet for those times you need it.
*Rejuvamen HGH for energy
*Ponay Tea for energy, weight loss, and to assure assimilation of your proteins and fats
*Protein Powder made with Rice Protein for Detox and blood sugar. (May also be used as weight loss aid to replace one or two meals per day.)
*Carry Protein Bars with you throughout the day to stop a sudden drop in blood sugar before it occurs.
Exercise and breath are also key ingredients. Exercise, even just daily walking, really will help. And if you cannot get out and exercise daily, try and remember to do breathing exercises, or Tai Chi, or some other centering exercise with breathing.
One really relaxing exercise is called “Cupping” or “Palming”. Here is a web link for how to do it:
By relaxing your eyes, your brain will also stop repeating the same thoughts over and over again. The eyes are a window to how the mind works.
For women, it’s important to regulate the hormones. If you are menstruating, then regulating and balancing your periods is critical to success. There are many herbal formulas, and acupuncture, to aid in doing this. If you are in menopause, it’s critical to balance your hormones, as any additional stress might throw your hormones off and cause another layer of symptoms.
In my experience, the people who have the greatest success in withdrawing off prescription medications, stopping an addictive behavior or substance, or stopping recreational drugs have one quality in common: They don’t give up!
Time and time again, I see people stopping treatments or stopping their natural supplements, only to return 6 months latter, back on their medications, or addicted again to a drug or harmful behavior. They say “it didn’t work.” But actually it did work, but they didn’t stick to the natural program long enough to see the results really take root. The people who are really successful have follow-through.
In general, it’s a good idea to really think through your choice before getting off any prescription medication and to discuss it with your Medical Doctor before making any decisions. The worst thing you can do is to just go off it on your own without any support. Your Medical Doctor should be the lead doctor in this decision, and remember to do it very, very slowly, if you really want to succeed.
Lastly, anyone who has received acupuncture knows the relaxing effects. So if you are not phobic of needles, and it’s convenient to get into an acupuncturist’s office, then regular treatments will really help at this transition time. Even daily treatments for the first week are a good idea, or at least weekly or every other week. Health insurance usually covers a percentage of the acupuncture treatments as well.