The Founder

Chaim Durst's photo

Chaim Durst

Dear Friend,

Thank you for visiting the Holistic Mental Health Institute homepage. I wanted to share a little about my struggle with psychiatric medication because it now informs so much of my life and work, including the formation of this institute.

I started experiencing intense migraines at the age of age 17. I visited various neurologists in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Tokyo, and Seoul to determine the cause of the pain and get relief from it. One after another, these doctors prescribed “anti-migraine” medications, which were, in fact, psych meds prescribed for off-label purposes.

Over the course of 27 years, I allowed myself to become a guinea pig for neurologists to experiment on; I’ve used over  70 medications in sundry classes of drugs – opiates, benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, SSRIs, SNRIs, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety meds, bi-polar meds, and antidepressants – to name just a few.

As my medication intake increased, so did my psychotic symptoms. Before I knew it, I was diagnosed bi-polar I and institutionalized for six months. When I finally decided to get help, I was taking nine psych meds: Klonopin, Ativan, Trazodone, Depakote, Cymbalta, Lithium, Propranolol, Buspar, and Ambien. Most of these I was taking at the highest dose legally prescribable.

Needless to say, my life was an unmanageable living hell; I overdosed multiple times and was rushed to the ER on numerous occasions because of complications arising from the side effects of these drugs.

I reached a point where I knew my life was at risk. Perhaps I was being overly dramatic, but one evening I told my wife and kids that I had two weeks left to live; certainly, I didn’t want to continue living under those circumstances.

I knew I needed to get off my meds and get off them fast.

I found an in-patient facility that uses an environmental, orthomolecular, and integrative approach to address mental health and addiction problems. Through months of chelation, re-mineralization, and supplementation I tapered off of each of the nine drugs. And through psychological counseling, group therapy, yoga, Qi Kong, Reiki, art therapy, and music therapy I developed skills to manage the emotions that the drugs had so effectively masked for so long.

It wasn’t easy work and it is an ongoing process, but I am physically and mentally asymptomatic. I have begun to lecture and write again for the first time in as long as I can remember.

Having found safe, effective alternatives to the psychiatric medications that threatened my physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing for so long, I have decided to dedicate my life to help others do the same.

The primarily goals of this instate are to research safe, effective alternatives to psych meds, educate people about them, help people suffering from psych meds get treatment, and empower those individuals who wish to fight back against the makers and marketers of these medications.

We welcome your input and participation to whatever extent you choose.

My dearest hope is that together we can help the tens of millions of people worldwide who suffer daily from the scourge of psychiatric medication find safe, effective solutions to their mental health needs.


Chaim Durst


Medical Disclaimer

Nothing on this website is intended to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision. Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems. In short, it may not only be dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs, it can also be dangerous to stop them. Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.