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Forest Road

Are you looking for resources about safely reducing or eliminating psychiatric medication? As someone who recovered from bipolar with psychotic features and successfully tapered off antipsychotics over eight years ago, I can help guide you through that process. Recovery without medication from the most severe mental disorders is possible. To learn more, please leave your contact information, or visit my TikTok channel in the upper right corner, and I will get back to you shortly!

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About

ABOUT

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Abnormal psychology is a complex interdisciplinary field. Unlike the hard sciences which rely on quantifiable data to make predictions, psychological researchers must consider countless variables affecting experimental outcomes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the study of psychotic disorders. In recent years, the medical model offered by psychiatry has become the dominant method of inquiry in this space. Its emphasis on neurochemical interactions and malfunctioning brain circuits has the unintended consequence of reducing the human experience to convoluted biochemistry. Full recovery from severe mental disorders is considered impossible as mental patients are relegated to suffering from chronic brain disorders beyond their control. Fundamentally, it offers an impoverished philosophy of being that strips one of agency by offering treatments that mask symptoms by means of chemical subjugation, causes greater damage than benefit, and violates the Hippocratic principle of first do no harm. A fundamental shift in our underlying assumptions and approach concerning the etiology and treatment of psychosis is necessary, which is why I founded the Psychiatric Survivors Network. 

 

BACKGROUND

​My name is Idan Gelbard, and I'm a survivor of psychiatric intervention and someone who recovered from bipolar with psychotic features. In April 2009, I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was admitted to a large psychiatric complex in northern Israel where I spent the next two and a half agonizing months. My stay included the use of four-point restraints, at times for sixteen hours or more, and having to urinate on myself. I was injected with brain-damaging neuroleptics against my will and experienced movement complications (e.g., rigidity and locking up). As the weeks turned into months, my daily routine consisted of roaming blank hallways, chain-smoking, and convincing the other residents of my messianic visions (folie à plusieurs). Unfortunately, so-called modern treatments for psychotic disorders amount to caging patients in cramped, unsanitary conditions with little to no emphasis on psychotherapy, pumping them with drugs, and hoping for the best. It relies on a worldview and set of practices that, ultimately, serve to entrench and reinforce sickness and would be enough to make anyone, let alone people struggling with life-altering existential crises in the form of psychosis, lose their mind. I should be grateful I wasn't institutionalized at the turn of the twentieth century and lobotomized or had my teeth pulled out. I eventually conceded that if I ever wanted to leave that facility that I needed to comply and stop resisting. My initial diagnosis for paranoid schizophrenia was later modified to an acute case of bipolar type 1. By the time I was released, I was defeated—a shell of my former self. It was the worst experience of my life.

RECOVERY

 

 Despite claims to the contrary, full and complete recovery from the most severe mental disorders, including bipolar and schizophrenia, without medication is possible. The first step in my recovery was getting sober, which I have been as of June 2014. I then modified my diet, lost over 50 lbs that I gained after suffering from severe weight gain after years on antipsychotics (a common side effect of neuroleptic medication is diabetes and weight gain due to metabolic syndrome), and even quit smoking cigarettes. But the most important and beneficial work in my recovery was working other other recovered peers in the psychiatric survivors movement, specifically Will Hall. For more information on Will and the psychiatric survivors movement, you can visit his website here at www.willhall.net. Today, after seven years on almost every category of psychiatric medication in my early twenties, which often included the maximum recommended doses, and after a careful and medically supervised medication taper regiment, I celebrated nine years of sobriety and eight years off all psychiatric medication in May of 2023. Prior to my diagnosis, I was a pre-medical student at the University of Michigan, and I was recently accepted to the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem after scoring in the 99th percentile on the ACT (a feat I accomplished in my early thirties after already having recovered from bipolar). However, I currently live and work in Tel Aviv, Israel as a professional day trader in addition to running the Psychiatric Survivors Network. 

 

*For more detailed information about my recovery and how I was able to successfully taper off psychiatric medication, please refer to my article under the "resources" tab. My hope is that my story can inspire others by illustrating that recovery from even the most severe mental illnesses without medication is possible. 

ONLINE CONSULTATIONS

 

A common saying in Alcoholics Anonymous is that there is no substitute for one alcoholic helping another alcoholic, and I believe the same to be true here. Therefore, In an effort to give back to the psychiatric survivors community, I offer consultations for families and individuals seeking alternatives to the prevailing psychopharmacological modes of treatment. I am not a licensed mental health professional, doctor, or psychotherapist, nor do I intend to become one. Instead, my work is based on years of lived experience navigating the mental health system. I charge the going rates for private consulting and coaching ($60 USD/hr) but offer a sliding scale for anyone who may be struggling financially. Consultation sessions are offered online through Zoom and can be scheduled under the "schedule" tab at the top of this page (all displayed times are automatically adjusted to your local timezone).

Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions or concerns you may have. 

Thank you, 

Idan Gelbard

Contact
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CONTACT

Idan Gelbard

Email: idan@psychiatricsurvivors.net

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