While medications help people with their mental health conditions and addiction, it is, however, not ideal in the long run. Many have found themselves suffering from withdrawal symptoms, stuck inside yet another loop. In this episode, Timothy J. Hayes Psy.D. sits down with Lyle Murphy to ask him about what he has found to help others free themselves from using medications and their effects right after. As the founder of Alternative to Meds Center, Lyle has created a program that helps individuals with medication withdrawal using alternative mental health, holistic psychiatry, and holistic addiction treatment. He shares those with us, along with his own experiences on medicating acute mental disorders. People are continuously trying to figure out a long-term and beneficial alternative without suffering from withdrawal symptoms from medications. Learn from Lyle’s experience and find some alternatives to antipsychotics in today’s conversation.
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Alternative To Medications: Overcoming Medication Withdrawal With Lyle Murphy
Lyle Murphy is the Founder of Alternative to Meds Center and has been with the center for several years. Lyle did his Pre-Med Scholastics at West Georgia University, receiving the only recommendation for advancement to medical school in his class. Though accepted to Emory Medical School, he instead chose to attend Life University school of Chiropractic because of their naturalistic approach.
How did you get into this work and what drives your passion?Do Antipsychotics Work Long-Term? Click To Tweet
Anyone who takes on a purpose like this has probably experienced their own pain. Tragically, I did. I was in chiropractic school. I had been accepted to Emory after my pre-med and I’ve read a study. I don’t know if it was a Harvard study, but it was a study that compared the top twenty disease processes and the top twenty drugs for those disease processes and showed that a placebo was more effective than all twenty cases. That ruined my perspective on being a prescriber. I didn’t know anything about chiropractic when I went into it. I just knew that it wasn’t being a prescriber. In hindsight, it would have been good for me to complete a medical education because then I could change the medications, but I didn’t have any idea of what was to come.
I got all the way through chiropractic school. I was a starving student. I didn’t have as much support as some of the other kids to be able to finance their education. In truth, I had a bit of a drug stent for nine months in there right at the end of my education that I had recovered from that had depleted my finances. I got right to the end of my education and went into hypoglycemic shock. I was in a coma for two weeks. When I came out of the coma, I had an IQ of about four. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t emulate if there were other things and cars moving around me because my proprioception was off. I couldn’t hold a conversation. Even after I recovered my articulation ability, I couldn’t hold thoughts in my head long enough to remember what we were talking about. If I was to tell a story like this story, I would forget what I was talking about in the middle of the story.
That persisted to some degree for ten years. Another icing on that cake was I had called for help because it was during the Christmas break for school. At that time, I was homeless because they would close down the dorms and everybody would leave. I would be trying to survive outside in Atlanta where I was. It was super cold. Anyway, I called a friend for help. A car showed up in front of the phone booth that I called from. I went and sat in it and it turned out to be the wrong car. When I woke up two weeks later, I was in a jail hospital. I’d been charged with a felony. I was tied down to a gurney. I had no idea what had happened.
I was in jail for another three weeks. By the time they propped me up in front of a judge, I’m on Haldol at that point. The judge was like, “Are you sure you want to accept a felony for this?” To me, he was saying, “Do you want to stay here?” or “Do you want to go home?” I wanted to go back home, but there was no going back to my life. At that point, I had a felony. I couldn’t be a doctor. They charged me with unoccupied burglary for sitting in a car, if you can imagine. I didn’t have the wherewithal to explain my situation.
Fast forward ten years, I was volunteering at a drug rehab. They had a sauna program. They said, “Why don’t you do the sauna program?” It was a lot more than I had ever done in ten years. It was a lot of dedication. Somehow, I managed to dedicate myself to that. After 30 days, I woke up like I’d been asleep in a brownout for ten years. I had all my faculties about me. I couldn’t remember my medical education and decided there are probably other people that had been put in a situation like myself that had been mishandled.There is virtually no research demonstrating the long-term efficacy of antipsychotics. Click To Tweet
I got into the blood sugar thing at first trying to help people figure out if they had a blood sugar issue. By and large, about 74% of people entering into an acute psychiatric emergency room have at least a blood sugar component. It’s something called reactive hypoglycemia, where you eat sugar and then you over dump insulin. The over-dump of insulin causes you to drop below the baseline of fasting blood sugar. For a couple of three hours, you’re in this place where you’re unstable. Not that there aren’t other contributors to why people ended up in the hospital or there could be some emotional upset at their house, but it crescendos those situations to be more unmanageable when the blood sugar is unstable.
That was my first approach to helping people. I got hooked up with the orthomolecular crowd fellow by the name of Dr. Michael Lesser in Berkeley, this old Jewish fellow who looked like Moses. At the time, I was working largely with schizophrenics, people who hadn’t seen a bright moment for a decade or more. We started applying these orthomolecular principles, which were high-dose niacin, high-dose Vitamin C, things like lithium orotate and running neurotransmitter tests to see what people were deficient in. There was some efficacy to that. There were some big recoveries but the success rate was about 25%, which with that population was quite encouraging because they were throwaways, but it wasn’t enough to create a center and say, “We’re doing this thing.”
I got into Environmental Medicine because it seemed rational that people might be poisoned and maybe the poisons are intersecting with their ability to be able to synthesize brain chemistry. That took us a long way. There’s a natural process in the body called biotransformation, where you take maybe a neurotoxic compound and you have to transform it out of the body. We were accelerating those underlying physiological processes. We got into testing people’s genetics to see where some of the genetic vulnerabilities might have been and stair-stepping around some of those things. That’s where we hit the jackpot with people.
Since then, I’ve been into this for sixteen years. I have a staff of about 50 people. We’re licensed by the state. We’re able to take insurance. We’re completing JCAHO Certification, which is an accreditation for hospitals and residential facilities like ours. There’s a great structure around the spiritual aspects, psychological aspects and physiological aspects of the program. Even as an MD or as a therapist like yourself, there are certain limitations. You have an outpatient to navigate someone through the depths of what they’re going to go through in a psychiatric medication withdrawal.
There are other components. They need good counsel. They need someone who is a good strategist around how to do medication tapering. They need someone who has an understanding of the innate wisdom of the body and can work with that in a way like a naturopath king and to find that all in one person, especially in an outpatient setting where you don’t know what’s going on with the patient for the other 167 hours of any given week if you’re seeing them an hour a week to pull it off. The residential collaborative model that we have is effective by design. I have at times been lured into outpatient work, but I’ve never been truly successful there because there were too many variables to try to confront and understand in order to move a person. To hold the space for them that’s necessary to do this because there’s not a lot of understanding about discontinuation syndromes.
We talk about alcohol. When you go on a bender or you’ve been on a bender for a while, you’re going to have a headache. You’re going to have possibly seizures or deliriums. Your B vitamins are deficient. There’s a straightforward path on how to deal with that in the professional medical community. There is no conventional wisdom around psychiatric medication withdrawal discontinuation syndromes and how to mitigate those. There are pockets of people who know how to do things, but there’s nothing orchestrated in a way that the conventional medical paradigm can utilize.The rewards in life are not going to take you to a survival place. Click To Tweet
You’re talking about withdrawing from psychiatric medications. There are people who say, “You don’t need to withdraw. You just stay on this the rest of your life.” Those are predominantly medical people, psychiatrists and medical doctors. What you’re tapping into here is what Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic and Peter Breggin’s work would point us to. A lot of those medications, whatever short-term efficacy they might have, have a lot more negative long-term effects. It’s important to get people to withdraw from them and find different ways to get the body and the brain functioning. How often do you get people who are surprised that you want to get them off the medications?
Several years ago, there was no buzz about this, but now there is. People recognize that there are limitations to these medications. They have an awareness that there are alternatives, but they don’t know where to find them. To touch into the argument around, “You need to be on medications for the rest of your life.” If my window of peripheral was seeing a patient once a month, to be more real about how often a psychiatrist sees a patient, that was my exposure to their life and the influence I had in their life and they weren’t making any other changes. I know the withdrawal manifestations they are going to go through if they stop these meds, it would be logical for me to believe that and not want to take responsibility for taking them off their meds if they’re not making other changes in order to accommodate that.
For most people who come to us, I don’t have people generally calling me saying, “The medications are working great, but I want to get off of it.” Sometimes a woman wants to get pregnant and she feels like the medications have been working to the degree that they’re satisfied with their quality of life, but they know that that particular drug has some consequences for the unborn. Most people are not satisfied with what’s going on with them. To look at it dichotomously, you’re either on-meds or off-meds. On-meds means you’ve controlled certain symptoms and you have certain side effects. Off-meds means that you have those symptoms without any buffer of support. That’s how most people see it. It’s either this or it’s this.
The strange thing is that the distance between those is a lot wider than people are aware if they insert certain things. It’s a very difficult path. It’s not even drug addiction or heroin addiction. These recreational chemicals are a lot cruder in the way that they manipulate neurochemistry. Some of these drugs are very prolific and the scrambling that they do, the neural adaptation that occurs in response to them and to navigate that without any wisdom. I can see how most people would think, “Yes, I need to stay in these medications for life.” I empathize with that. There are people that even with our lens that it may be true for. If a person doesn’t have the means either because of their cognitive abilities or support systems that they have in order to clean it up a bit, get their body moving, eat better food, use supplementation and have an environment that is free enough of emotional chaos, that they can have a better quality of life because of the medications.
One of my personal challenges is that our medical model is set up that if someone goes psychotic, they get taken to the hospital. Not in all states, but some states are more aggressive than others, titled in forced psychiatry. What’s the option? We don’t have an option in our society for someone to be in a manic or psychotic state and not get hurt, jump out in front of traffic or think they can fly or have someone who can attend to them for the amount of time it would take to naturally push through that.
Most people in a psychotic state, if they have intermittent psychosis, if they’re not organic brain damage and they have periods of lucidity and high-functioning mixed with being a train wreck, in those manic states, they would push through them, if they were given the right environment where they could not hurt themselves or anyone else during the process. Have someone be with them and have them eat when they can eat food that supports mental health, but there’s not that plan B crucible for people to jump into. There’s only this acute stabilization model. The biggest leap to pull those two bookends together between what can be done without drugs and what is done with drugs is, “How do you handle people in acute psychosis? Where a journey was at?”
I’m assuming that what you offer at Alternative To Meds is an answer to that question.
Not quite. We’re not licensed to take people who are in acute psychosis. Usually, when someone’s presenting unstable, it’s not the time to do large medication changes that may destabilize them further. There are certain people who are reacting to antipsychotics that are making them psychotic. There’s a certain presentation for that. They were drug-induced, not feeling themselves and disassociated. They went to the hospital and got an Abilify shot or something and then immediately went psychotic. Those people probably need to get ripped off of that and be in a place where they can stabilize. Most people who are acutely psychotic, we, at Alternative To Meds, don’t have a mechanism for that. They have to be in a stable place and then we do things gradually in a way that doesn’t destabilize them. There’s not an acute care lockdown situation that can put someone in a place where they can’t hurt themselves or others and work through it.
Is that another level of building a health system that you see needs to be done?
Yes, I am considering what that might look like. I don’t want to be the one who puts somebody on meds who’s never been on meds before. If someone were to get acutely stabilized with medications, I’d like to run a genetic test on them first and get some kind of an idea of what they can tolerate and what they can’t. These tests are available. They may not be perfect. The genetic tests give you an impression. They don’t give you a complete like, “This is the roadmap that you must follow,” but it’s something. You can see somebody who’s got genetic pathways that are not going to accommodate that drug. Don’t you think you’d want to know that before you force that on somebody?
I keep thinking of Inner Fire in Vermont, which is a residential program for people who want to have the option about how many meds to take and how much and whether or not to get off of them as they go through their mental health challenge. This residential center was begun by a woman who was an art therapist and was over in Europe. When she came back over here and realized not just a few people, but everybody was given meds. She said, “Over in Europe they don’t do that. They don’t load people up with meds and yet they aren’t losing people left and right over in Europe.” There are ways to do this to help people with their acute crises without loading them up with meds.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the Open Dialogue Project that’s been going on for 35 plus years over in Finland. I’m giving you secondhand information that I got from a fellow named Kermit Cole, one of the Open Dialogue therapists, who gave me more of the history of it. Essentially, my understanding is that rather than having to drag you off to the hospital, tie-you-down force injects you, the culture in that area of the world at the time was more geared around psychotherapy. They were like, “Let’s try to have an open system here, where we look at the individual as being collective of the influences around them. Let’s get everybody talking so that we can understand what their crisis is and work at it from a non-drug angle.” They ended up being the most successful model for schizophrenia in the world. I believe their country has about 1/10th of the number of diagnoses of schizophrenia compared to other parts of Europe because of that.
This is something I wanted to touch on because of my own psychosis. Those are the people I love the most. I love everyone, but I have a certain affinity with the people who have experienced psychosis. I get what’s going on in there to some degree. There are certain meds that are worse than others for the majority of people. One of them is antipsychotics. Strangely enough, we’ve crusaded against the opiate crisis. I say “we” and I mean the medical community has. There’s at least some awareness around the benzodiazepine problems that people have. There’s some legislation on how much to prescribe, what other drugs you can prescribe with benzos and how long you can prescribe them in certain states, but nobody is touching into these antipsychotics.We don't have an option in our society for someone to be in a manic or psychotic state and not get hurt. Click To Tweet
Getting somebody off benzos and I’ve seen people who have struggled for decades, is still not the same struggle with antipsychotics. The amount of neural adaptation that happens in response to antipsychotics is profound because one of our major gearings is to be alert and attentive, and to understand our position in space if our head is leveled to the horizon or if our spine is erect. Dopamine is involved in that along with norepinephrine, acetylcholine and other stimulatory chemicals. When you shut off the ability for your body to get stimulation from an antipsychotic, you’re shunting the amount of dopamine that’s available. Your body is very creative at surviving because you’re not being aware. It means you could step off the curb and hurt yourself. It means that the rewards in life are not going to take you to a survival place.
There’s this phenomenon called Antipsychotic-Induced Dopamine Receptor Supersensitivity. These researchers, Martin Harrow and his colleagues, followed schizophrenics for twenty years who had been either medicated or not medicated. They took out different confounding factors like severity of diagnosis because you would naturally think that people who were not medicated for that long period of time didn’t have severe symptoms. They equalized based upon that. They found that the people who had been taking antipsychotics long-term, for over 2 years and up to 20 years, were six times as likely to have a symptomatic relapse. In other words, about 13% of the people who were getting off the meds were getting re-hospitalized as opposed to how many of the others. It’s six times. It’s 600% more.
That would naturally lead anyone to think that the antipsychotics are creating the problem. We believe based on what I’ve seen that it’s based on the adaptation that happens in response to these meds. You essentially get dopamine receptors that have been starving for dopamine. I have a roommate who’s into iPhones. When the iPhones came out, everybody was like, “I’ve got to have them.” That’s how these receptors are like the people standing out in front of the phone store, waiting for the iPhone to come in. When that dopamine comes in and hits those hypersensitive receptors, then a person tips over into psychosis. That’s the withdrawal effect of that particular medication that is unique and distinct from alcohol, heroin or other drugs.
You’ve got a situation where the antipsychotics are creating this part of psychosis, this latent psychosis in people, and perpetuating their diagnosis. I have not yet found anything substantial in all of my research to show that there’s a long-term efficacy for antipsychotics. I’ve found plenty of information to show that there’s a long-term detriment to antipsychotics. We know this. The challenge is, “How do you fix this problem?” When you take somebody off these meds, they’re going to escalate. How do you do it in a way that’s going to keep it in between the lines? The harsh reality of it is if you’re going to do it, it has to be done slow. You can’t yank people off this stuff. If they were to get yanked off of it, they eventually would probably stabilize, but they might not survive it because people in psychotic states do things that might get them hurt.
Unlike antidepressants and even to some degree, benzos, you’ve got to go for the long game on this. That’s where a program like ours or Inner Fire respects that, creates a container for people and helps them to understand. There are only certain candidates who are good candidates for this antipsychotic withdrawal path. There have got to be some agreements with that person. It’s like driving a logging truck down an icy road. You’ve got these switchbacks. If you know how to drive the truck and you do it slowly, you can get it down the mountain. When you’re taking off the antipsychotic, it’s like pushing on the accelerator. As long as you are a skilled driver and don’t have someone else grabbing the wheel while you’re trying to get down the mountain, you can get down the mountain.
One of the challenges is that when people start feeling better, these strikes have been holding back their access to dopamine. Dopamine is the neurochemical equivalent of reward. Not having a reward in your life and any aspirations towards a sexual partner, a job well done or some passion and purpose in the world are debilitating to your psyche. All of a sudden, that starts to come back because you’ve reduced the meds. The tendency is to like, “I don’t need those meds anymore to drive the truck off the mountain.” A clear understanding that that person has a person who they can contract safety with, whether it’s their therapist, pastor, wife or somebody, that if things are going too fast, they’ll take their direction and slow it down.
If a person could do that slowly, they can generally get through it, but if not, it could end up in another hospitalization or worse. As I’ve seen things over the years, people have intermittent psychosis. Strangely enough, people who stabilize on the medications are better candidates than people who don’t stabilize in the medications. If a person can function in the world some of the time, they’re not broken. There’s just something that’s flipping the switch. Whether it’s the way that they overconsume caffeine, they’re pot smoking or the medications themselves. There are factors that are creating the schizoaffective type of disposition. A person who hasn’t seen a bright moment in ten years and has been constantly symptomatic even on the medications, that’s going to be a lot tougher. There might be a place where there’s still going to be those symptoms, even after you pull the meds back.People’s genetics play a contributive role in identifying subtle genetical vulnerabilities. Click To Tweet
Do you know of Peter Breggin’s book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal?
The thing I like about it is it’s a guide for prescribers, therapists, patients and their families. What he talked about in there is exactly what you were saying with the caveat that it needs to be driven, not by some kind of formula, but by the constant feedback from the patient. There’s a tremendous variation from person to person as to how much bounce back there will be or rebound or ability to stabilize at different levels of the medication. It isn’t something that most classically trained medical doctors can make sense of because sometimes it’s almost down to the molecule that we decrease the meds. I’ve had patients who have been told by their psychiatrist, “That doesn’t mean it. If you’re taking so little, you just quit.” They can’t quit because when they do, all hell breaks loose.
I wouldn’t wish these antipsychotics on anyone, but a psychiatrist would be a better psychiatrist if they’ve experienced some of these drugs that they’re prescribing. Sometimes it is down to the molecule. There are things that do help. There are a junk of things. Peter doesn’t, as of the last time I spoke or was interviewed by him, do a lot with supplements or physiological components. My challenge to that is quite simple. There are genetic pathways for how we break down drugs. We all have them. Sometimes the drug is not even an active metabolite until we convert it with liver enzymes. These CYP enzymes drive how we metabolize the drug and clear it out of our system. His focus has been a lot on tardive dyskinesia. Those folks have genetic reasons why they’re not able to clear those antipsychotics. It builds up in their system to toxic levels and has no logical impact.
Those same CYP enzymes drive normal metabolism as well. They drive, “How much Vitamin C does this person need? How much folate does this person need?” Understanding that and utilizing a person’s own genetic hand and leveraging it to their advantage can make the process a lot more successful. For instance, one of the helpful bridges in antipsychotic withdrawal is lithium. The real problem with lithium carbonate is the range between its neuroprotective effects and its neurotoxic effects is very narrow. They have to do lab tests in order to take that to a range, but you don’t have to use lithium carbonate. In fact, lithium is not equally distributed in the Earth’s crust. There are places in the world where there’s a lot more of that in the water.
Strangely enough, in those places where there’s more trace, we’re talking minute molecules parts per million, more in the water, there are less incidences of schizophrenia, suicide and homicidality. You can use supplementation for this like lithium orotate. Not at a toxic level, but that gives a person enough of a buffer to be able to help with the withdrawal. Some of the orthomolecular stuff that I dove into early in my career panned out and some of it didn’t. Some of the things that do help people who are in psychosis are high-dose niacin and high-dose vitamin C. Those three nutri-developments alone, the lithium orotate, vitamin C and niacin are approachable enough to where most people can do it. On our website, I have an antipsychotic tapering and an antipsychotic alternative page that gets into ways to help with a good, pragmatic, slow withdrawal.
I see people, especially in our more technical world, isolating on their phones, video games, Facebook or social media. It’s not the best thing when you’re in a psychotic withdrawal, especially repetitive music because repetitive music is stimulating dopamine. When a text comes into your phone, it’s a little dopamine hit. It’s better to get outside. If a person can build up a cardio program, the things that help metabolize dopamine are vitamin C, oxygen and lithium. If you can get out running and getting your cardiovascular going, that’s going to help purge some of that excess dopamine that’s hitting those hyper-volatile receptors in the process.
That’s one of the things that I like about whether it’s an Inner Fire program or your Alternative To Meds Center program, is that you’re looking at the whole person and a variety of factors that can mitigate problems if you’re coming off medication and help a person. As you said, if you don’t have a focus in life, pleasure, companionship, sense of community or purpose, it makes it hard to have a happy and rewarding life. I like the way Dr. Mark Hyman talks about it, “It’s not rocket science. What we need to have for healthy human beings is a balance of food, water, nutrients and sleep, but also love and a sense of purpose and connection to the community.” Most of the allopathic medical, psychiatric approach is just that one factor, “Look at your behavior. You’re missing some meds.” It doesn’t work that well for most people.
It is not rocket science, but then again, it is rocket science because we’ve been conditioned so strongly away from the basics that it seems too simple. Move your body, eat healthy food and surround yourself with good people who support your being this. A lot of times, that means somebody who understands the innate wisdom of the body like a naturopath or someone like yourself who’s a therapist who can help give good counsel, but you get these, “Before you diagnose yourself as being depressed, make sure you’re not surrounded by a-holes.” The people around us have a lot of influence on us.
There are all kinds of people that I deal with who have been so conditioned to believe that they are the problem, where in essence, they’re involved in a verbally and emotionally abusive pattern they can’t extract from. With little outside support and identification, some good books that describe that pattern and people wake up and say, “Did this person have cameras in my house? How did they know that?” We fall into patterns as people. We are creatures of habit.
The mind of a psychotic is very fascinating. When we don’t have those other relationships, we don’t have people who support these spiritual insights that we’re having. The natural tendency to move towards the internal dialogue is there because there, God has a place for us. The spiritual unfolding of the planet might be happening through our brainstem and that we are part of this grand design that’s all happening in our heads. When we don’t have those other mirrors that are able to reflect back to us like, “You are wonderful. Being your friend and being around you is great.” I don’t think that everyone could possibly be following you on the planet because, “Looking at mom over there, she’s got a job. She has to take care of her kid. She’s worried about her own survival. She can’t be part of this government cloud to follow you around. You’re important, but you’re not that important.” Give some proper reflection in places to have some wisdom come out of it.
We did an experiment. One of the trends that we saw was people would go through treatment. They do great, go home and there was fitness. We said, “Let’s try bypassing the entire residential stay. Let’s go to their home. Let’s send a team out to their home and get them set up in their own area.” The things that we found the most successful were helping them shop and understand good food principles, getting them to the gym, Pilates, yoga, horseback riding or something physically active and helping them rewrite some of the characters in their life. Get hooked up with a good naturopath and a good therapist. Those three things alone were almost as successful as the inpatient treatment. It was in many ways that simple.
Her name is Catherine Adams. We interviewed her and she was talking about the importance of the early intervention for psychotic episodes, wraparound approach and tremendous success. When people go back into their home environment, it can fall apart. They were working on, “How do we do what you’re talking about? How do we get them set up with the resources within their home environment or their native community so that the very things we’re doing don’t stop as soon as they leave our program or our residential treatment and they’re flying untethered?
We’ve affectionately called it the in-home health invasions. We went in their house and took everything out of their kitchen, all the toxic hygiene products out of their medicine cabinet. Of course, it’s not the actual medicines, but the toxic creams and the toxic hygiene products. If we’re putting it on our skin, we might as well be eating it. The fat-soluble compounds that are in those, the hormone mimickers and the endocrine disruptors are going to pass right through the skin and into our brain, nervous system and organs.
Our skin is not a barrier for fat-soluble compounds. That’s why hormone creams work. You put a hormone on it. Doing that and helping them understand the things that you’re putting in the home to replace it and then getting out to the gym. It’s getting them on a routine where they’re moving their body and then lining them up with somebody in their area who you can hear that they understand enough how to do this. We have resources all across the country. Some places are better than others, but somebody who will work with them. That’s a good game plan.
Having an app where people check in, take your supplements, lets you eat or go to the gym so you can keep following that they’re doing it. If you’ve seen 4 or 5 days that they haven’t been checking in, you can call them and say, “I see you haven’t been logging in. What’s going on?” We have a great residential reboot program, the scientific savvy that we’ve achieved in 10, 16 years where what we can do to tune people up is phenomenal. The real playground is their home when they go home. If they’re not set up there, they’re not set up there. As we evolve this thing, you, me, Journey’s Dream and other points of light out there, it’s having health coaches who can go to people’s house and helping them get lined up. Getting them up on a forum or a weekly meeting where they can be in a Zoom meeting and talk, raise their hand and give each other guidance, support, comradery, peer interactions and all that is the next frontier.
It’s wonderful to know that you and Alternative To Meds Center are out there. You’re in Sedona if I understand?
Yes. In religion, we’ve noticed that aesthetics is a very high form of healing, which is the inspiration behind out of art. We chose the most artful place we could find in the country to help people heal. When I’m looking at it and you can’t see, it’s abstract. People don’t need a gym here. They just go out there. Their spirit has plenty of room to take up as much space as it needs to.
What is the capacity of your facility?
We’re at seventeen. I do have some influence in the recovery world. There are people who want to take what we’re doing and make it a lot bigger. We did put an offer on a 26-acre property that holds 64 beds. We’ll see where that goes. I have a room that I could turn into a double and make it eighteen. We’re licensed for eighteen.If a person can function in the world some of the time, they're not broken. There's just something that's flipping the switch. Click To Tweet
You said you’ve got about 50 people on staff?
Yes, it’s a Bohemian staff. It’s licensed as a mental health center. It’s probably the most complex mental health center in the country. It’s an Environmental Medicine, which deals with people’s genetics, what poisons are out there, how those poisons interfere with natural physiology based upon genetic expressions and how to clean that up in a mental health center. It was designed like that from the beginning and then it was later licensed. The licensing board was like, “We don’t know if we can license you.” We said, “If we’re holding on to people’s meds, you have to license us. You have to give us a license to be able to do medication management.” They did and never seen anything like us before. They were like, “Okay.”
It’s a lot to manage that’s why you need 50 people. We’re doing IVs. People are doing a physiological detox at least two hours a day that involves breathing through glutathione, taking supplements to help biotransform out certain toxins, exercising and being in a sauna to sweat out these. Once you make the toxins water-soluble, if you can open up the skin to be another elimination pathway, that helps them ring people out a bit. It’s not just sitting in a sauna. There’s a whole application process for what you’re doing.
It’s a pleasure to be able to interview you. I appreciate it. I’m looking forward to following you if you get an extension and expand to 60-some beds. I enjoyed skimming through the website. As you say, you’ve got articles there about how to get off of benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety agents, antipsychotics and antidepressants. It’s a wonderful resource at AlternativeToMeds.com. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. I look forward to following your work.
If there’s any future overlap, one of the things in several years I’ve gotten particularly good at is the actual medication withdrawal piece, which meds to withdraw when with the polypharmacy, which medications to go after first and which ones to go after last. I have a high interest in teaching others that. It is truly uncommon knowledge. They can bring patient examples. They can hit me with anything. I figured if I’m helping the people who are then helping others, I can get a lot deeper than just the one patient at a time thing.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. It’s been a pleasure. I look forward to following your work.
Thank you, Dr. Hayes.
Lyle Murphy is the Founder of Alternative To Meds Center and has been with the center for sixteen years. Lyle did his Pre-Med Scholastics at West Georgia University, receiving the only recommendation for advancement to medical school in his class. Though accepted to Emory Medical School, he instead chose to attend Life University school of Chiropractic because of their naturalistic approach. Immediately after completion of chiropractic school, Lyle suffered a low blood sugar event that resulted in a crisis. Hallucinating for no known reason, Lyle was justifiably concerned and went to the emergency room. While at the hospital and trying to differentially diagnose himself, Lyle insisted on a blood sugar test as it seemed the only logical conclusion. The result was deathly low blood sugar levels.
Instead of the hospital appropriately treating an obvious medical situation, he was instead given a Haldol injection and soon after dropped into a low blood sugar coma for two weeks. He suffered stroke-like residuals and had to relearn how to talk, walk and communicate all over again without any professional help or hope. Still highly impaired after ten years and looking forward to at best living a disabled life, he made a full recovery after engaging in some of the modalities similar to those offered at Alternative To Meds Center. This gave him a potent exposure to how inadequate the mental health system truly is. Lyle has now dedicated his life to holistic mental health and furthered his education to receive a postdoctoral certificate from SpiritMed in Environmental Medicine. He trains doctors in medication reduction techniques and has authored much of the philosophy of Alternative To Meds Center.
- Dr. Michael Lesser
- Anatomy of an Epidemic
- Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal
- Catherine Adams – Past Episode
About Lyle Murphy
Lyle Murphy is the founder of Alternative to Meds Center and has been with the center for 16 years. Lyle did his pre-med scholastics at West Georgia University receiving the only recommendation for advancement to medical school in his class. Though accepted to Emory Medical School, he instead chose to attend Life University school of Chiropractic because of their naturalistic approach.
Immediately after completion of chiropractic school, Lyle suffered a low blood sugar event that resulted in a crisis. Hallucinating for no known reason, Lyle was justifiably concerned and went to the emergency room. While at the hospital and trying to differentially diagnose himself, Lyle insisted on a blood sugar test as it seemed the only logical conclusion. The result was 39 mg/dL, which is deathly low, yet instead of the hospital appropriately treating an obvious medical situation, he was instead given a Haldol injection and soon after dropped into a low blood sugar coma for 2 weeks. He suffered stroke-like residuals and had to re-learn how to talk, walk, and communicate all over again without any professional help or hope.
Still highly impaired after ten years and looking forward to at best living a disabled life, he made a full recovery after engaging in some of the modalities similar to those offered at Alternative to Meds Center. This gave him a potent exposure to how inadequate the mental health system truly is.
He has now dedicated his life to holistic mental health and furthered his education to receive a post-doctoral certificate from SpiritMed in environmental medicine. He trains doctors in medication reduction techniques and has authored much of the philosophy of Alternative to Meds.
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