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Chapter 6

General Pre -Taper And Taper Instructions

DESPITE APPARENT REDUNDANCY, what I am about to say cannot be said too many times, so bear with me.

As you start your road back, I want your journey to be as successful and as smooth as possible. Therefore, I repeat: you cannot simply quit your prescription medications cold turkey. The illegal use of prescription drugs are the most abused drugs by young adults and teens at this time, and that may present a little difficulty with tapering off of psychoactive medications slowly for you, if you are using the drug without a prescription. You still need to taper the drugs to help prevent the psychotic episodes associated with an abrupt withdrawal. Go to the chapter of this book that details how to reduce the medication and follow the instructions as closely as possible.

You must methodically taper off most drugs, giving your body all possible assistance to ensure you fully complete this program and are not driven back onto your drug.

Your program consists of a two-part process: First, the pre-taper, which is usually done in one week. If you need more time on the pre-taper go-ahead and spend the time, but the final relief may not come until you are reducing the drug or until you are completely off the drug.

This is a journey back to you through steady steps that become more and more certain over time.

Once finished with the pre-taper, you will start the actual taper. You will start to reduce the drug while continuing your supplements. The number of drugs you are currently taking, and your speed of progress each step along the way, will determine the length of the tapering process.

This chapter is an overview of the pre-tapering and tapering process, and what you will do no matter which drug or drugs you are taking.

These steps are vitally important to your success. Please study them carefully to ensure confidence when beginning your personal program.

The Purpose of the Pre-Taper

Just as in running a marathon, swimming a mile, buying a house, or having a baby, you have to build up to the ultimate goal. The same applies with The Road Back Program. You need to stretch your muscles, get some correct nutrients into your system and know how your daily schedule will change. The Pre Taper will set you up for a smooth reduction off your medications.

The Pre-Taper Goals

Elimination or a drastic reduction of all existing side effects caused by the drug.

Determining which supplements created the positive change.

When you know the exact supplement that eliminated the side effects, you will know how to eliminate that side effect, if it recurs during the drug reduction phase of your program.

The reasoning. If a withdrawal side effect begins during the taper, odds are high that it was one of the existing side effects you had before you started your pre-taper.

An example of the importance of the pre-taper is found in the Introduction to The Art of War by Sun Tzu, from Thomas Cleary’s translation.

“Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small. The most difficult things in the world must be done while they are still easy; the greatest things in the world must be done while they are still small.”

Nutritional Supplements

Review Chapter 3 “Nutritionals Used on The Road Back Program” and make sure you have the nutritional supplements on hand. The day before you start your pre-taper, review which supplements you will be taking the next day, and the times you will be taking them. If you will be carrying the supplements with you during the day, and need to put those quantities into smaller containers, do so. If you know that you have a busy schedule on the day that you will start, or any day following that, prepare by making a note of when you need to take your supplements and how you can arrange to do so. If you do not usually carry water with you, or have it available where you will be, take some with you.

Today, with this program a person can taper completely off their drug quickly. The changes to the program are fewer supplements used and a two third reduction in time that it takes to complete the entire program. The pre- taper has been able to change from taking twenty-two days to seven days.

Your Daily Journal:

Every day you will keep a written record of your progress in a journal.

You are free to copy the journal found in the next chapter and put together your own, or you can find pre-made journals at The Road Back website. In your Daily Journal you will note certain information over the course of a 24-hour period. These specific statistics are important because they will help you find your way back to center, if you falter at any point during the program. Before going to bed each night, or during the day as you take each step, write down the following:

  • The date.

  • The time of all medications you took that day and dosage amount.

  • All food and drinks, including coffee, water, alcohol, etc; times you ate or drank, and the amount.

  • Rate your own progress as to how you feel.

  • Rate your energy, appetite, mood and exercise.

  • Include anything that you added or deleted from your daily routine.

Keeping the journal allows you to review changes and determine which changes made positive improvements.  However, if a problem occurs, the journal allows you to look back and locate which change may have made a negative impact. Locating such change will enable you to quickly fix what happened and get yourself back on track.

For example, you may have increased your supplements too quickly or too much, and now you need to reduce them to the quantity you were taking when you last felt good. Or possibly you felt so good from the pre-taper that you added exercise into your day, which created a negative change. Whatever the case, it could be a small and seemingly insignificant change, or it could be a major change that you did not realize you had made. Using your Daily Journal, you will be able to find your way back. The Daily Journal will act like a positive voice sitting on your shoulder reminding you of what works for you, and what does not.

By noting the exact quantity of each supplement you have taken daily, you will know the positive changes are a direct result of the exact amounts and times you took your supplements.

Graph Your Success

Along the way it will also help if you were to keep a daily graph. Sometimes it can be easy to lose track of where you actually started from, but with a daily graph, it is easy to look back and see where you have been and more importantly, to look at the current trend you are having. The example graphs on the following page are quite common:

 

Figure 1 shows a person starting the pre-taper with an anxiety rating of 9 on day 1. At the end of day 3 of the pre-taper the anxiety drops to an 8 and at the end of day 4 the anxiety level is now down to a 6 rating.

Your individual graph may even look like the chart of Figure 2.

Your individual graph may even look like the chart of Figure 2

Figure 2 is not a constant and steady decline of anxiety, but while you study the graph you will be able to see the overall trend changing and the anxiety level decreasing.  As you leave the world of drug induced anxiety, you enter back into what is normal or the all too common levels of anxiety. The common is; none of us have a continual steady line without any anxiety or anxiousness. As we cope with daily events of life our anxiety may go up and down several times each day. The Road Back Program will be offering an anxiety solution program in the near future to help individuals learn how to handle the daily common and normal anxiety.

You could place fatigue, depression or any other condition in the Figure 1 and Figure 2 graphs. Please do that. If depression is your main symptom and not anxiety, graph the depression, if it is fatigue, graph fatigue etc.

Take your graphs in to your physician and show your physician the changes you are now experiencing. This will help your physician see an objective piece instead of a purely subjective of “how you feel”.

Deviation from The Road Back Program

You might think deviating from the program would be obvious and easy to detect. Not always.

The Road Back Program usually works quickly, with the person experiencing a vast improvement within the first few days. This blessing can also be a curse. In the first years of the program, a person would typically feel a major positive change about halfway through the tapering portion and start doing things they have put off for years, such as exercise or dieting. Now they frequently experience major positive change after a few days on the pre-taper and have the urge to introduce new things to their daily life. The creation of the supplements and the time of day each is taken have greatly sped up the program. Imagine feeling as though you had never taken a drug only one week after starting the pre-taper part of The Road Back Program.

However, when this major positive change occurs, a person can feel so good that he or she begins doing things they have wanted to do for years, such as quitting smoking, giving up coffee or starting a major exercise program.

Then they suddenly crash and wonder why

I first experienced this curse in 1999 when a woman called who was tapering off her medication. After first doing well, suddenly she was not. She had tried to taper off an antidepressant medication several times over the years before starting The Road Back Program, never reducing the drug without extreme withdrawal and always returning to her original dosage. This time she had been halfway off her medication and feeling great.

It took two weeks to figure out what changed. I asked every question I could think of; there was something she was doing differently. I finally found out that typically, every six months, she went onto an all-protein diet. This was so “normal” for her she never thought to mention, or view it, as a major change in her lifestyle.  However, this diet change hugely impacted her progress, and was the major deviation from the program. Once the change was discovered, she re-started her tapering program from square one and successfully completed tapering off the antidepressant.

I cannot over stress looking for and finding obvious as well as subtle changes if you experience a negative change during this program.

Another major deviation from the program can occur – you feel so good, you forget to take your medication(s).  This is a no-no, but happens. Lower the medication only at specific amounts and make that gradual reduction. Numerous people over the years have begun a pre-taper while suffering from widely varying side effects. Taking psychoactive medications for years, they had tried to get off the drugs countless times. After beginning the pre-taper and finally sleeping through the night for the first time in months, their daytime anxiety vanished. Three days later, they forgot to take their medication at bedtime. The next day, they went into full withdrawal and began to question whether The Road Back Program was right for them. The only problem was forgetting to take their medication.

These variations or deviations from the program can also be extremely troubling for a doctor. He or she can only help guide you through the steps with all the information on hand. Again, it is imperative  that: a) you write everything down in your Daily Journal, including things you might think have no bearing whatsoever, and b) bring your Daily Journal to your doctor visits, so that together you can chart your progress and get back to square one if needed.

Major Improvement

A major improvement is what you are going for with the pre-taper.

If you have extreme daytime anxiety and are able to reduce it to a point where you have to stop and look for anxiety to even see or feel any, you have had a major improvement.

If you could not sleep more than two hours a night and are now able to sleep four to five hours,  wake up and then go back to sleep, that is a major improvement.

If every joint in your body ached, and now you have only a little ache in the morning when you awake that goes away within the first few minutes, you have experienced a major improvement.

If you felt a major depression every day and now you feel a little depressed occasionally, you have had a major improvement.

If you feel like you are not even taking a medication now, you have had a major improvement.

Major changes are what you are going for during the pre-taper. The goal is to alleviate major complaints or reduce them to the point of being very acceptable and not in the way of day-to-day life, so that you can fully taper off the medication and “live life.”

Steady State: The term “steady state” has special definitions in biochemistry, chemistry, electronics and even macroeconomics.

In The Road Back Program “steady state” is defined as: A constant level or a level of action that allows a balance between two or more substances.

A constant level would be maintaining a level of a supplement in the body to a degree where it never drops below a certain point. Much like the half- life of medication, keeping enough of a substance in the body at a specific strength  gives a result. If you skip a dosage of medication, withdrawal begins. If you skip a serving of a supplement, withdrawal does not take place, but you do lose the steady or constant state of the supplement.

A level of action  that allows a balance between two or more substances is different from a constant level. Psychoactive medications  alter hormones and the adrenals. When a “steady state” occurs with the nutritionals at a constant level,  the cells  will use the nutrients to begin working with each other, balancing each other, allowing the cells to receive energy and exchange back to other cells desired substances for optimum survival.

During the pre-taper, one goal is  finding the “steady state”  of each nutritional for your body. Age, height, weight, gender, how long you have been using a medication or the type of medication you might be using cannot be used to predict the correct amount of a nutritional in this program. This takes trial and success.

If You Have Anxiety, Insomnia, Fatigue, What to Expect

You can and should expect a rapid reduction in anxiety, insomnia or fatigue. The JNK Capsules, Adrenalpin, and Neuro Endure Mini work fast with these conditions.  With the addition of the Body Calm Daytime Relief and Body Calm Supreme, the anxiety and insomnia should now be a thing of the past.

Calcium-Induced Side Effects

If you have anxiety or insomnia and are taking a calcium supplement, please read this section carefully. In 2005, we found one common factor of anxiety with people taking anti-anxiety drugs and that common factor was the use of calcium. Once they stopped the calcium supplement their anxiety and insomnia improved greatly. This was later found to be the case for people taking all types of medication, not just antianxiety medication. In time we also found the calcium/anxiety problem to exist for those not even taking a psychoactive medication.

Calcium Solution Breakthrough

After 6 years of research we have found a person can take calcium, however it needs to be calcium citrate with the right ratio and type of magnesium along with a combination of vitamin C, vitamin D and another supplement called NAC.  You will read a bit in this book about the gene called JNK and the calcium formula we recommend also works on stopping the over activation of one part of the JNK gene.

Calcium stimulates electrical discharge of the nerves. The stimulation of nerve impulses  is one problem associated with the incorrect calcium. If you need to take calcium daily or if you have agitation, daytime anxiety or insomnia, use the calcium citrate.

Calcium-induced  side effects can include:

  • Hyperkinesia: an abnormal increase in muscular activity, hyperactivity, especially in children.

  • Hyperthermia: unusually high body temperature. Hyper aggression.

  • Audiogenic seizures: Seizures caused by loud sounds and noises.

  • Reaction to bright light or a reaction to a sudden increase of light. Increased anxiety.

  • Psychosis.

  • Numbness around the mouth. Tingling in the extremities. Shortness of breath.

Your Next Step – Make a copy of the Daily Journal found in the next chapter and then make yourself some graphs found in the following chapter, then proceed to the chapter matching the drug/s you wish to taper. If you are tapering from more than one drug, make sure to read all of the drug chapters that relate to your situation.