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  Antipsychotic withdrawal – mapping support mechanisms and outcome predictors through lived experiences

   Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School

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  Dr L Lindsey  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Prescribing antipsychotics has increased steadily in England over the last decade. For serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia, they are prescribed with the view of keeping the patient on them indefinitely. Antipsychotics are also prescribed off-label for conditions like anxiety or insomnia. Many people want to stop taking antipsychotics due to side effects or the medication no longer working however when people stop taking the medication they can experience severe withdrawal effects. Currently, there are no established guidelines on how to stop taking antipsychotics which may be the reason behind psychiatrist reluctance to support this. However there is emerging evidence that slow and cautious reductions will improve withdrawal outcomes for people with schizophrenia who want to come off or reduce their antipsychotic medication. Little is known of the wider factors like support from health care professionals or a network of friends and family on successful withdrawal outcomes.

Involving people with lived experience in the design of the study and also at analysis and designing implementation is a key part of the PhD. The lead supervisor has established links with local support groups to help with this. The project would also include a lived experience advisor as part of the supervisory team.

This PhD will focus on exploring the factors at the individual, organisational and systems level that impact the withdrawal outcomes for people attempting to withdraw. The aim is to develop a framework for supporting people undergoing withdrawal by focusing on the context, mechanisms, and outcomes. The proposed methods would be qualitative in-depth interviews, however, depending on the candidate's expertise, mixed methods could also be used. This project would be suitable for a student with a health, social science or humanities background such as sociology, psychology, pharmacy or nursing. 

Chemistry (6) Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have a suitable source of third-party funding. A bench fee may also apply to this project, in addition to the tuition fees. UK students may be able to apply for a Doctoral Loan from Student Finance for financial support.


Sara Rhiannon King, Mark Allan & Laura Lindsey (2022) “I found hundreds of other people…but I still wasn’t believed” – An exploratory study on lived experiences of antipsychotic withdrawal, Psychosis, DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2022.2141841