Nicole is a withdrawal coach living in Virginia. She brings to the profession a rare combination of medical training as a physician assistant*, extensive self-education, and personal experience of protracted psychotropic drug withdrawal, along with 12 years of helping some hundreds of others through the withdrawal process.
After obtaining a BS at James Madison University in 2000 and completing the Master of Physician Assistant program at Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2004, Nicole was working as a newly minted PA when her personal experience with psychotropic polypharmacy began. Adverse effects from a Xanax prescription (caused by tolerance and interdose withdrawal) were misdiagnosed, leading to a prescribing cascade that resulted in years of unnecessary polypharmacy (ultimately, two benzodiazepines prescribed simultaneously, a Z-drug, antidepressants, a stimulant, and an antipsychotic). In 2010, Nicole was negligently advised to undergo a rapid withdrawal in a medical detox center, resulting in a severe and protracted withdrawal syndrome.
When help for her intolerable symptoms was not available through normal medical channels, Nicole researched tirelessly on her own, immersing herself in the “withdrawal communities” that had been growing online. In 2013, she founded and administrated a Facebook group, where she supported countless individuals through withdrawal from psychotropic drugs of all classes (and some coming off prescribed opioids, too).
Since then, she has brought her hard-won knowledge and dedication to a number of initiatives and organizations. She co-founded The Withdrawal Project, a “living library” of wisdom about the most responsible, risk-reducing ways of tapering off and healing from the effects of psychiatric drugs. She serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Benzodiazepine Information Coalition, is a founding member of the Benzodiazepine Action Work Group of the Colorado Consortium, and is an associate at the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. Nicole is also the head of marketing, distribution, and outreach for the documentary Medicating Normal (as seen on PBS), where as the host of the Facebook Live series, she has gained extensive knowledge from interviewing dozens of experts and survivors. Nicole currently serves on the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s patient panel that is advising on the development of a clinical practice guideline on the safe tapering of benzodiazepines for the FDA. In addition to participating in research (some ongoing), she writes and appears on podcasts and other outlets to share her story and educate about these critical issues. Nicole is also interested in the primal lifestyle for healing.
Sessions with Nicole are for withdrawal coaching only. She cannot and will not serve as your medical provider. Upon booking, you will sign a “Coaching Agreement” where you must acknowledge that in working with you, Nicole serves solely as a coach, and in no other capacity.