This post closes our series on akathisia. Along with posts on davidhealy.org, the other posts were:
In 500 drugs that cause depression and suicide, we mentioned building a new list of drugs that can cause depression and suicidality, and provided a draft version.
The list is now complete, and we’ve turned it into a new Guide about drugs that can cause depression, agitation and suicidality. The Guide gives the current list of drugs, which we expect to update at regular intervals. We would be grateful if you could share it as widely as possible.
Some of the Guide is reproduced below.
Life expectancy is falling or has stopped rising in Western and other developed countries. In some countries (USA) rising suicide rates have been highlighted as one possible factor in this fall.
In others (UK) the suicide rate doesn’t appear to be rising but it’s difficult to get a clear picture because unless people openly declare they are suiciding, coroners have been encouraged to return open verdicts, death by misadventure verdicts, or narrative verdicts.
Many people who have had a loved one made suicidal by a medication welcome verdicts like these as recognizing to some extent it was an external factor that caused the death rather than their child’s, parent’s or partner’s intention to take their own lives. The upshot however is we have no idea what the true rate of medication-induced suicide is. It is almost certainly rising in countries other than the United States as well.
Prescription medicines from antibiotics to contraceptives can increase your risk of suicide by triggering:
We have compiled a list of over 350 individual medicines that cause problems. Most of these drugs are marketed under many different trade names, sometimes hundreds of different trade names when language variations are taken into account. Many are marketed in combination with other medicines – sometimes with 3 or 4 or more medicines bundled into the same pill – with the result that you may not realize what drugs you are taking. The labeling of these drugs can differ across countries, with some labels revealing the risks in the very small print, and labels from other countries not revealing the risks from the same drug.
In total there are 40,000 or more different trade named drugs in North America and Europe that can make you depressed, agitated or suicidal. Roughly 20% of the named drugs on the market in any one country may pose risks to you. Roughly 33% of us are taking one of them.
The risk comes from the drug, not you. The difficulty in seeing this comes from the fact that we are all different. A drug that makes one person feel better, slows their heart rate or lowers their cholesterol, may make their friend suicidal, increase their heart rate or increase cholesterol levels. Companies trade on this – they sell the average headline effect of their drug as its only effect. If something else happens to you that’s an anecdote, or suggests you have another disease or even that you’ve fabricated things.
Astonishingly, companies get away with this. Even though the depression, anxiety, or suicidality that you are experiencing is written into the label of the drug you are on, your doctor may completely deny that this is a possibility when it seems obvious to you. Or just as bad, s/he may never point out to you that the symptoms you are having that you don’t connect to the drug, may in fact stem from this source. S/he will instead likely add in more drugs which will almost certainly make the problem worse.
As a recent article in JAMA showed, the more drugs you are on, the greater the risk you run. Taking three or more drugs that can cause a problem triples your risk of being dysphoric, akathisic, or suicidal.
Over 50% of us of all ages are on at least one drug and 50% over 45 are on at least three drugs, and 40% of over 65s are on five drugs or more.
There are variations in the risks these drugs pose. Being on a cocktail of drugs that includes a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for acid reflux dramatically increases your risks, as do some anti-infectives like Lariam or fluoroquinolone antibiotics, whereas while statins are highly likely to cause fatigue they are less likely to cause suidicality or homicidality.
It is increasingly common for anyone taking a psychotropic drug, especially in America, to be on three or more psychotropics. If you are on three or more psychotropics, it is more likely than not that a significant part of your nervous problems stem from your medication.
The worry with psychotropic drugs is that by the time you read this, you may be close to or past the point of no return – getting back to a point where your medication is not causing your problem may be difficult.
Read the full list of drugs and what do if this happens to you or someone you know at: Drugs That Can Cause Depression, Agitation & Suicidality
“…getting back to a point where your medication is not causing your problem may be difficult…” BUT hopefully, NOT impossible!
I’ve just spent five days in hospital in a kind of makeshift holding area set up as a temporary ward, devoid of windows, like a hobbit hideout deep in the bowels of the hospital. Around me, several patients came and stayed a few days and we’re shunted onto other wards. One lady had moved 11 times, with constant additions of new drugs, then new ailments, then new drugs, round and round like a not-so-Merry go Round.
With the knowledge I’ve acquired since I found RxISK, I listened to their stories of illness and their long searches for solutions. Some reeled off their long lists of medications, almost like a badge of pride. At the same time, we struggled to get water, there were no jugs, no lockers, no washing facilities except two loos with tiny handbasins. But the drugs are GODS. Everything revolves around the drugs – ‘this not working, we’ll try you on that then, or this, or that’ and the poor sick patient, weak from illness, lies back and swallows.
You have to stay on the ball and fight for yourself, but when you are laid low by pain, it’s much harder to do so. You could see them sinking and being brainwashed into trusting the drugs. Old style nursing, common sense in care, isn’t centre stage any more. There’s no time for that. It’s all about the drug. Gratitude is expressed for the growing list of drugs from each person as they anticipate the miraculous cure, coming at last, they hope. And yet, with the small amount of drugs knowledge I’ve gained from reading RxISK, it was likely that some peoples’ mushrooming different ailments fitted well with a particular drug side effect.
We gave out countless leaflets and RxISK information. We told them about the loss of our son Olly, (as it was that week, the sixth anniversary of his death), from RoAccutane and Seroxat induced AKATHISIA. We signposted them to the Facebook page of Olly’s Friendship Foundation where we keep explaining how vital it is to grasp the AKATHISIA knowledge. By the time I have to go back for further procedures, husband and I may have received our black RxISK AKATHISIA tee shirts. I’ve bought big ones so they can be worn like a tunic over under shirts and sweaters.
People who are ill are weakened and don’t have the energy to fight for their survival. We, who know about RxISK, must push on with raising awareness. Every doctor and nurse we explained Olly’s story to, describing AKATHISIA, showed genuine interest and took away our leaflets. I think many of them DO care, but they need to have access to unbiased truthful scientific information, because they have to lean on some source for what they are doing. RxISK gives them that. But they need to know it is there.
Isn’t she lovely.
Why did the ‘Bodyguard’ hero surrender to the therapists?
The biggest letdown of the BBC’s ‘Bodyguard’ was the fate of its supposed hero, David Budd. After standing his ground against a crooked Prime Minister, MI5, his own police colleagues and a bunch of Islamist suicide bombers, he meekly surrendered to the therapy industry.
And, within weeks of him agreeing to accept that he was a victim of ‘PTSD’, and being presumably stuffed up to the eyeballs with ‘antidepressants’, his broken marriage was restored to health and, smiling and relaxed, he was off on holiday with his happy children – presumably looking forward to a gentle new career investigating historic sex crimes, far from the perilous streets.
Not everybody actually accepts this version of how to be happy. People who have been in danger and combat do no doubt suffer. But is it an illness, or a natural reaction? And can it really be put right by therapy, let alone by dubious pills whose claims have never been properly tested, and whose side-effects can be worse than the problems they claim to treat?
Perhaps Jed Mercurio, and the BBC, might consider a drama about a big pharmaceutical firm trying to prevent the fact coming out about its products? Or is that too close to the truth?
Isn’t she lovely
Isn’t she lovely
Great ‘Bodyguard’ Heather ..
What we need is a healthcare revolution. The whole corrupt, deeply flawed, and downright dangerous healthcare system needs to go. It doesn’t need a few alterations. It needs to go.
The laws have to be changed so that the drug companies can’t exploit legal loop holes.
The power imbalance between doctors and patients needs to be overturned, so that patients are believed when they report adverse events (doctors need to be taught in medical school the value and importance of listening and believing patients).
Doctors also need to be regularly reminded to treat medicines as poisons, which when used under the right circumstances and at the right dose can sometimes bring about a benefit, but when used in the wrong circumstance can do more harm than good.
A new reporting system should be set up to replace the yellow card scheme, and doctors encouraged to regularly ask about adverse events, and to report them.
True transparency by law in regards to all drug trials (ALL data has to be shown, no ifs, no buts), and an end by law to any form of ghost writing.
Also the MHRA needs to be scrapped and exposed for the complete sham that it is, and should be used as a template for future regulators, on how not to do the job.
Ian Hudson and a number of other people within the MHRA should probably get prison sentances (let’s not forget they are complicit in aiding and abetting the cover up of serious adverse effects that have killed thousands of people).
I would vote for castration with a blunt spoon for Ian Hudson and certain people at the PHSO, followed by publically being hung, drawn, and quartered; but maybe that’s taking it a bit far.
Any form of conflict of interest should be banned from healthcare, but especially in regards to the regulators. No cosy relationship with drug companies, no stocks and shares, no gifts and payments. Period. This needs to be made by law.
The Parliamentary health ombudsman definitely needs to be scrapped, and replaced by an ombudsman that works quickly to believe and compensate people who have been genuinely harmed by prescription drugs.They should then advise and help the doctors and drug companies on how to avoid the same mistake happening again.
Doctors should be encouraged to admit and report mistakes without fear of being unduly punished or being made to feel ashamed, and should be made to accept that mistakes sometimes happen, and that from learning from mistakes healthcare can improve. This will help them to become better doctors, which will make healthcare safer for everyone.
Subtle and not so subtle bribery and marketing ploys to doctors by the drug companies has to stop by law, and doctors should be rewarded for reporting potential adverse events, rather than the amount of drugs they prescribe.
There needs to be teams of data analysts and medical professionals who work to identify and catch dangerous side effects as soon as possible, and changes should be made quickly to drug leaflets, and doctors surgeries should be made aware within months of emerging problems with new and old drugs, so we don’t get the situation where it takes many decades for dangerous side effects of medication to be acknowledged.
There should be an emphasis on healthy living, good diet, regular exercise, and strengthening of social relationships, and drugs should be used only when the benefit is carefully weighed up against the risks.
Drug companies should be rewarded for being transparent and should be made to invest much more in research and creating safer drugs, instead of spending twice or more on marketing compared to research.
Safety should be number one priority, and the rewards will be a safer health care system for everyone to enjoy, rather than the greed before safety situation we have at the moment, where it’s all about the money.
All of these things need to be implemented BY LAW, and only then can we move towards a society where the safety of its citizens are put before the greed of a few.
Spruce, this is marvellous.
Paragraph 4 ‘Doctors also need to be regularly reminded to treat medicines as poisons, which when used under the right circumstances and at the right dose can sometimes bring about a benefit, but when used in the wrong circumstances can do more harm than good.’
I think this is key. They just DO NOT GET IT. Neither do they understand that what is well tolerated by one, can be lethal to another. And when you report in as having a bad reaction, they don’t believe you, they only set their belief system at the level of Mr Average.
I had 2.5 mls morphine via a drip, in hospital, for gallbladder pain, and that was fine for me. The next day I had 5ml Aramorph (oral morphine) at night, and that was fine for me. But the next day, at night, I was given 10ml of the same drug but I was unaware of the doubled dose. Almost immediately I became restless, had tachycardia, and the most ghastly visions of my son being sliced up started to slide across my vision. I was shaking and nauseous. My head was full of terrible unconnected unreality-type thoughts. I didn’t dare drift into sleep because more horror visions kept appearing as I closed my eyes. I sat up, sipping water till 8am. I asked what the dose had been, and then realised that it was far too high for me.
As Spruce says, doctors need to be on the ball about the medicines they prescribe. Each one of these has potential for good. But can also be so dangerous.
Hope you are feeling better Mary R. Goodness knows how some of the others you mention are faring now. I had the sort of nightmares you describe on a drug for migraine years ago – stopped them and it stopped – the pain killers I had been prescribed were the cause of the migraine which i had never had before – stopped them, the migraine stopped, headaches took longer to stop – but no info leaflet or warning had been given- no repeat since
Susanne, this is Heather R, not Mary H, I think we two keep getting transposed in your psyche! 😊😊
I’m very interested in the ‘ nightmare syndrome’ you report after taking painkillers. I’m assuming it’s a problem with opioids that we have both experienced. This fits well with the AKATHISIA problem which DH explains can come from 350+ medications. My eyes were definitely out of focus, like with the onset of a migraine, all day following the 10ml dose of oral morphine. Another friend tells me today that she is listed as allergic to morphine because she experienced extreme breathing problems on it.
Which bears out all DH has written here. We are all different, one man’s drug is quite literally another man’s poison.
The idea about doctors treating medicines as poisons, was origionally from one of Dr Healy’s speeches (Yale Symposium 2015 I think). I agree that medicines should be treated as poisons though, with as much potential to cause harm as good.
Sir William Osler. Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford. 1905 -1919 inspired many generations of medical students and doctors.
I was one of so very many, inspired for a medical lifetime.
Spruce’s demands for legally mandated medical integrity brought the following, long forgotten? – and widely rejected? – “Osler-Words” to mind:
” You are in this profession as a calling, not a business; a calling that exacts from you at every turn self sacrifice, devotion, love and tenderness to your fellow-men”.
“Once you get down to a purely business level, your influence is gone and the true light of your life is dimmed”.
“You must work in a missionary spirit, with a breadth of charity that raises you far above the petty jealousies of life”.
I have just listened to the recording of a professorial at lecture introduction at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Scotland winter meeting in 2016.
“You are either abstinent or promiscuous when it comes to industry. Well, you can see which side I am on”.
The audience then laughs.
Hardly “Unselfish Devotion to Others” as Osler advocated.
Why did they go to medical school?
“Let Wisdom Prevail”.
(The motto of The Royal College of Psychiatrists!)
If only it were Osler’s wisdom.
A Powerful Embrace – World Scandal
Stevie Lewis and Paroxetine..
Now doctors MUST wake-up to the dangers of patients hooked on depression pills
For 18 months the Daily Mail has been campaigning for patients addicted to pills
Now, a major report proves that millions of people are affected by the affliction
Here, Jonathan Gornall details the compelling stories of two typical sufferers
By Jonathan Gornall For The Daily Mail
Published: 22:15, 1 October 2018 | Updated: 22:15, 1 October 2018
A spokesman for NICE told Good Health that its updated guidance had not yet been finalised, and ‘our process for developing and reviewing guidelines includes a thorough search for relevant evidence’. Publication of the updated guidance was ‘not imminent’.
Change may be on its way, though. In comments on the new research Professor Wendy Burn, the RCP’s president, said ‘antidepressants are an effective, evidence-based treatment’ which were ‘a life-saver for many people’.
She adds: ‘But not enough research has been done into what happens when you stop taking them. As this review shows, for many people the withdrawal effects can be severe, particularly when antidepressants are stopped abruptly.
‘We are pleased that Public Health England is prioritising dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines as an area of review, and welcome NHS England’s referral to NICE asking that they do the same.’
The new research casts doubt on the official view that withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants are usually mild and short-lived, as set out in NICE guidelines and in a recent statement from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), which said: ‘In the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks’.
‘A thorough search for relevant evidence?
Seroxat – world scandal – Paul Flynn MP – Newport West
The Seroxat scandal has shaken faith in anti … A court in the USA agreed with David Healy that Seroxat was the cause of personality change that turned a loving …
A powerful embrace …
The Times seems to be just a little ‘mixed up’ with its journalism …
“Last week David Baldwin, a government adviser on the use of antidepressants, resigned after being called “worse than Hitler” and a “pharma-whore” over a letter he wrote to The Times in which he said that the vast majority of patients would be over withdrawal symptoms “within two weeks”. He blamed those who had complained about his letter for fuelling anger online.”
“Professor Read was among those who complained to the Royal College of Psychiatrists about Professor Baldwin’s letter to The Times.”
Millions face severe side‑effects when coming off antidepressants
Kat Lay, Health Correspondent
October 2 2018, 12:00pm, The Times
Millions of antidepressant users face severe withdrawal symptoms when coming off the drugs, according to a new review.
Researchers found that, on average, 56 per cent of patients who stopped or reduced their antidepressants experienced withdrawal symptoms, and 46 per cent of those said that their symptoms were severe.
They looked at 24 existing studies in the area, including one that said 40 per cent of patients experienced symptoms for at least six weeks and another that found 25 per cent experienced symptoms for at least three months.
Last week David Baldwin, a government adviser on the use of antidepressants, resigned after being called “worse than Hitler” and a “pharma-whore” over a letter he wrote to The Times in which he said that the vast majority of patients would be over withdrawal symptoms “within two weeks”. He blamed those who had complained about his letter for fuelling anger online.
The research is published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviours and was undertaken on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Prescribed Drug Dependence.
It calculated that, of seven million people taking antidepressants in England, four million risk withdrawal symptoms if they try to come off, and 1.8 million suffer severe symptoms.
Dr James Davies, one of the authors, said: “This new review of the research reveals what many patients have known for years — that withdrawal from antidepressants often causes severe, debilitating symptoms which can last for weeks, months or longer.
“Existing Nice [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] guidelines fail to acknowledge how common withdrawal is and wrongly suggest that it usually resolves within one week. This leads many doctors to misdiagnose withdrawal symptoms, often as relapse, resulting in much unnecessary and harmful long-term prescribing.”
Guidance from Nice states that antidepressant withdrawal symptoms “are usually mild and self-limiting over about one week, but can be severe”.
Dr Davies’s partner in the review was Professor John Read of the University of East London. Professor Read was among those who complained to the Royal College of Psychiatrists about Professor Baldwin’s letter to The Times.
Sir Oliver Letwin, the chairman of the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence, said: “This systematic review provides important new data on antidepressant withdrawal which will be considered by Public Health England as part of their current review into prescribed drug dependence.
“The data suggests that existing medical guidelines in this area should be urgently updated to reflect the fact that antidepressant withdrawal is much more common, severe and long-lasting than previously stated. Furthermore, we hope that other medical bodies will take note of this new research and update their own guidance accordingly.”
Professor Wendy Burn, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Antidepressants are an effective, evidence-based treatment for moderate to severe depression and are a lifesaver for many people. But not enough research has been done into what happens when you stop taking them. As this review shows, for many people the withdrawal effects can be severe, particularly when antidepressants are stopped abruptly.
“It’s good to see more of a focus on this. We are pleased that Public Health England are prioritising dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines as an area of review and welcome NHS England’s referral to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence asking that they do the same.
“Mental health currently receives less than 6 per cent of UK health research funding. The more we learn about the treatment of patients with mental illness, the better the outcome for our patients. That’s our priority.”
Antidepressant withdrawal ‘hits millions’
The PLOT – THICKENS –
Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych
et al DID allow/encourage ‘personal abuse’ of Dr David Baldwin…therefore not fit to be on #PrescribedHarm review…James Davies &
will do a better job:
GSK resumes some doctor payments, backtracking on blanket ban
Have you lost the plot, yet …..
Wow annie, that is really good news that it has finally got some acknowledgement i.e the huge scale of people who are suffering withdrawal.
Let’s hope there are some proper changes to guidelines on how long withdrawal can last because of this. I am not holding my breath, but you never know.
To be honest I am going to be very unhappy if some changes aren’t made to prescribing guidelines because of the outcome of this Roehampton University study.
This better not get swept under the rug like all the other attempts to warn about the dangers of these drugs.
Although the report from the study was very good in highlighting the amount of people affected (millions), and the severity of withdrawal symptoms, I almost felt the report was slightly timid in respect to the duration withdrawal symptoms can last. “Can last week’s, months, or more”, doesn’t do justice to the thousands of people who suffer for often many years, and sometimes a decade plus from withdrawal.
I would consider you very lucky to get away with a few months of suffering, compared to the large amount of people I know who have been affected by these drugs for many years. The word “months or more” is too tame. The words “years or more” should have been used.
To think that about 4 million people are suffering from these drugs, and almost two million suffering very badly. I am sorry but that is COMPLETELY unnaceptable.
The absolute drivel about how these drugs are remarkably safe and effective, and how withdrawal only last a week or two at the most, from the Royal college of psychiatry comes to mind after reading this report. How can they continue to stand by this mantra of antidepressants being remarkably safe and effective. IT IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER JOKE!
1.8 million people suffering severely. It is government sponsored torture of its population. It is a severe breach of human rights that we are not warned in the leaflets about this. It is a serious crime, and millions of us are being damaged by our doctors and government.
Surely some strong changes must come about because of this.
“it’s so important to get these guidelines right”
Professor John Read on antidepressant withdrawal & rethinking mental “illness” on Vimeo. SKY NEWS 2.10.18
VERY WELL SAID, PROFESSOR JOHN READ
Listen up to Stevie Lewis followed by Professor John Read on Radio 5 live
Stevie Lewis and Professor John Read
interviewed today about antidepressant withdrawal by BBC Radio 5 Live #MoreThan2Weeks #antidepressants
“Waves of fear”
“It’s the honourable and correct thing to do”
16 years later … break with tradition
June Raine, who has responsibility at the MCA for the safety of licensed medicines, gave a clear indication that the agency may break with tradition and take into account complaints that come from patients as well as those from doctors and pharmacists.
Antidepressant Seroxat tops table of drug withdrawal symptoms
Sarah Boseley, health editor
Sat 27 Jul 2002 02.05 BST
Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms severe, says new report
Existing guidance that symptoms are minimal leads to misdiagnosis and ‘harmful long-term prescribing’
Sarah Boseley Health editor
Tue 2 Oct 2018 16.23 BST
“The review includes comments from some of the studies where antidepressant users were interviewed about their experiences of trying to wean themselves off the pills.”
Journalist, wife of Michael Gove, speaks up about withdrawal from antidepressants.
My agony hooked on anxiety pills: Like millions of women, SARAH VINE was given antidepressants to cope with her ‘black dog’. In this brave and raw account, she reveals the crippling hidden cost: the hell of withdrawal
the Professor John Read/James Davies Study, Katinka Blackford Newman, MISSD and quote from psychiatrist David Baldwin, writer of letter to The Times, co authored by President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn…
Here is the full review paper re antidperssants and withdrawal (Davies & Read) published online yesterday (with a few typos still to be corrected in time for the paper version) (link:
3:16 pm · 3 Oct 2018
We recommend that U.K. and U.S.A. guidelines on antidepressant withdrawal be urgently updated as they are clearly at variance with the evidence on the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal, and are probably leading to the widespread misdiagnosing of withdrawal, the consequent lengthening of antidepressant use, much unnecessary antidepressant prescribing and higher rates of antidepressant prescriptions overall. We also recommend that prescribers fully inform patients about the possibility of withdrawal effects.
Annie, thanks for all these useful links, especially John Read’s film. And Sarah Vine article. Hadn’t seen The Bodyguard but bought the DVD on your recommendation Annie and am halfway through.
Like Spruce says, I think we will all be absolutely livid if the momentum which is gathering, spearheaded by Dr John Read et al, is allowed to peter out and slide back. We must keep the ball rolling now, more than ever.
ALERT ALERT….I think 4 October was the final date for ordering Akathisia tee shirts. We are looking forward to the arrival of ours.
One final thing, on the subject of patient not being believed.
On my Notes, it’s clearly stated that I am allergic to the dyes used for surgery and investigation processes. I had an anaphylactic shock when I was 27 and having a kidney investigation. Dye was used, the operatives went off for 5 minutes leaving me on the table for dye to circulate, whilst they had a coffee! Within a minute or tow, my throat swelled and I couldn’t breathe, speak or raise the alarm. By lucky chance, one of them returned, just in time to save me with adrenaline etc. There have been other instances over the years. No one has ever listened enough to take me seriously until too late.
During my recent hospital visit, ERCP (endoscopy to push gallstones out of bile duct) was arranged. I asked every one of the doctors I was seen by during the week leading up to this, ‘do you use dyes, you do know I am allergic don’t you, it’s on the Notes.’ I was assured that they did not. At very last moment and by luck, the gastroenterologist came to see me as I was leaving, due to return a few days later for scheduled ERCP under sedation. He hadn’t intended so doing, he’d seen the MRI scans, they showed him enough, but something by chance caused him to pop in just as I was leaving, He admitted, worried, finally, that YES they do use dye for this procedure. I had to really press him to go off and investigate, telling him this was serious, telling him I was not fussing, that I had surgeons in my own family,that yes, this if ignored could be deadly serious. (And this at the time of the sesame seed incident on the aircraft where a 15 year old died).
Why oh why did none of those other doctors I’d earlier spoke to, take me seriously enough to investigate whether dyes would be used on me? I could have been dead from cardiac failure during that procedure and no one would probably twigged/admitted they’d used a dye. My Notes would probably have been changed, there would have been a cover up, maybe. Who knows? I was telephoned at home next day and told not to present myself for the ERCP and I have heard no more…secretary of gastroenterologist said if I hear nothing in 2 weeks, ring gallbladder surgeon’s Secretary. I am now in limbo. But alive….
I think the medics just assume that the patient knows nothing. They are busy, we are being pushed through like sausages in a machine. They haven’t the time to worry. Same goes for antidepressants, it’s quick, it may work (placebo like) and if there are problems later, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. No one will blame them….they will always get away with it, because they have the medical knowledge and they are regarded as saints anyway. If they mess up, it’s just because they were tired/have too many patients/communication between departments failed. They are blameless in the eyes of the world, bless them…
Very good Michael Moseley programme on tv yesterday on The Placebo Effect. My grandpa GP Dr George Briggs of Hull, routinely used placebos, pink or green sugar pills he made himself in his dispensary in the 1920s and 1930’s. Used with good judgement and his insightful knowledge of each patient, for whom his fervent wish was to help, cure, care, this got very good results. He didn’t think of this as groundbreaking treatment, it was just common sense and proven by so many successes. His patients respected and trusted him. Where did we go wrong, with supposed progress going in the other direction?
STOP SUICIDE -STOP SUICIDE -STOP SUICIDE – STOP SUICIDE
the words that head this post.
yes, please let’s stop Suicide. Coinciding with the reports and links to work being done on antidepressant withdrawal on this string, I had a meeting yesterday which saddened and horrified me beyond anything I’ve heard before.
I met some parents of a young man who died by suicide only a couple of months ago. His story was so similar to my son’s. And so so many others.
The stress of work leading to Seroxat prescribing, the withdrawal symptoms mistaken for mental illness, the endless hell of ups and downs of further drugs prescribed, the loss of completion of college courses in some cases, the loss of the normal opportunities of everyday life, the pitching of these, particularly young, people into mini psychosis after mini psychosis. The ending of the journeys with Olanzapine or Quietapine, the voids in rational thinking, driving them into suicidal ideation and in many cases, the act itself.
The careers/parents struggle to keep these loved ones alive. They wait in desperation for help from Mental Health teams, Crisis teams, ridiculously complacent and ineffective psychiatrists who spend a few moments with the patient, whose brain has been fucked by their medications, and who then wash their hands of them, throwing the responsibility of care 24/7 back to the exhausted and frantic relatives. And after the suicide, the shock of the reality of it, the initial disbelief, the expectation that the loved one will pop in for tea, whatever, watch their favourite TV programme together as they always did. How the hell does the carer’s Brain make sense of what’s happened?
The agony of wondering what the loved one was thinking just before they died. Could we have intervened had we known? Could we have saved them? Where are they now? How CAN the complacent health service personnel who were of little or no help at all, sleep easy in their beds.
No, we couldn’t have saved them. Because the medications did their evil work from the outset. We lost them but we watched their agony as they drifted away. We kept reaching out to find them, the old normal them, again. They were telling themselves they had to be resilient, that their illness was their fault, as their minds played horrific tricks with them.
Annie quotes The Bodyguard in this string. The story of a man who deals bravely and incredibly cleverly with stresses like you wouldn’t believe. Yes, he does have a bit of counselling at the end, I didn’t see antidepressants on the menu but there could have been, I guess. I felt he got better because he was exonerated and finally saw justice done. He felt pride in what he achieved. He had peace of mind. There is no such justice currently in place for our dead youngsters, they died because their minds were fucked and they were engulfed in shame. They were, in fact, the bravest of us all, killed by The System. And radiating out from the terrible shocking loss of each one of them, is a wave of unimaginable sadness felt by those left behind. One wonders if Wessley, Burn, NICE, et al, ever give all that a moment’s thought.
I am SO SO angry now. These endless deaths I’ve heard about are carbon copies of each other. Again and again and again. We are not going to STOP SUICIDE till we stop prescribing this lethal rubbish. If we need placebos, let’s make sugar pills and colour them up. But DO NO MORE HARM for heaven’s sake. And prosecute the bastards who have caused all this, every man jack of them.
STOP SUICIDE – STOP SUICIDE – STOP SUICIDE – STOP SUICIDE – NOW!!!!!
Heather I feel your pain. I have never had a loss quite as severe as yours, but I know personally the damage these drugs can do.
When I younger than 21 and had never taken these drugs, I lived in a state of ignorance to all of this. I never in my wildest dreams thought it could be this bad RE the thousands and even hundreds of thousands killed annually by prescription drugs.
If you had told me when I was say 20 before I took psychiatric drugs, that this was happening, I would have never believed it. But experiencing it for yourself is believing, and my eyes have also been opened by the suffering of others. I can never view doctors and the healthcare profession in the same light again.
I too am VERY VERY angry. In fact I am so angry I have somehow blocked a lot of the anger out, as if I was to feel all of the anger at once, I think it might be enough to trigger some kind of heart attack or stroke.
I remember when I received the letter from the ombudsman (PHSO) who completely exonerated my ex psychiatrist and declared that he and AWP had done nothing wrong, even though there was strong evidence to the contrary. I had spent years trying to get justice for wrongs I knew had been done to me, and it had all come to nothing. I sat on my bed looking at the wall for a long time, almost catatonic with rage.
I feel so badly for people, especially young people, being fed into the mental health system. Young people that often haven’t had a great start in life, maybe bullied or abused in some way, or brought up in care, and struggling to find their feet. Vulnerable people in need of empathy and love. They turn to their doctors and other health care professionals for help, and get entangled in a web of prescription drugs and diagnoses.
That’s how I would view the healthcare system. Especially the mental health system. It’s like a giant web. You ignorantly wander into it expecting help, but before you realise it you are trapped, and can’t prise yourself away from it easily. Then along comes the spider and gives you a dose of poison.
If you are lucky and the poison isn’t too strong, you can sometimes slowly untangle yourself from the web, but this can often take many years.
But people are often confused, and don’t understand what is going on when they get caught in the web, and they are still ignorant to the harms the web can cause, so they often thrash about in the web, when they react badly to the poisons, and visit more and more healthcare professionals.
The more you thrash, the more the spider wants to subdue you, and the more poison you get in the form of more drugs, and more diagnoses. Over the years the poisons also have their more indirect affects. You can lose your job, your relationships suffer when people don’t understand what is happening, your family can turn on you, you often lose your friends, your hobbies fall by the wayside, and of course your physical and mental health often suffer in many different ways.
Over the years if you don’t escape the web, the poison can wear you down and lead to a shorter life expectancy, and an often greatly reduced quality of life.
Then there are those that are killed a lot faster by the poison, when they get too big a dose, or it more strongly doesn’t agree with them.
That is the best analogy I can give for the mental health services. A web with lots of spiders waiting for you to trigger their sticky web lines, so they can come and poison you. If you are lucky and become self aware to what is happening you might only get poisoned once, or occasionally avoid it completely. Then you can slowly prise yourself away from the web.
But if you react to the poison (through no fault of your own), and thrash about, you get further doses of poisons, and more diagnoses, and your chance of escape gets less and less.
I was lucky and managed to eventually escape the web, but it took me almost a decade, and cost me very dearly. I lost almost my entire prime of life in the web and lost many different things in life because of it. I am still affected by the poisons I was dosed with while in the web. I still have PSSD and numb emotions. But I am much wiser now, and I am in a much better position to avoid the web.
But over the years I see a lot of people blindly walking into the mental health web. I have tried to warn a lot of them, and a few have listened (I have managed to convince a few people to avoid psychiatric drugs), but the majority just walk blindly into the web.
There was two young women I used to know, who I tried to warn many years ago about the dangers of psychiatric drugs. One has now put on a large amount of weight since going on an antipsychotic, has developed type 2 diabetes, and isn’t doing too well.
The other developed a movement disorder since also going on an antipsychotic, and can’t stop taking it because of withdrawal symptoms.
There was another young man in his early 20’s who I tried to warn about 5 years ago not to take benzodiazepines prescribed by his psychiatrist. He didn’t listen and is now hopelessly addicted to clonazepam, and on a high dose as well. It would take him years to get off safely.
All caught in the mental health web
Spruce, this is a wonderful analogy you have described. The mental health web, the stickiness, the spiders injecting their poison. It sums the whole thing up to perfection. You write SO well and with such insight.
Like you I try not to let myself think too deeply, because these things we have witnessed or experienced, are too awful to take on board. Sometimes I just can’t function if I try to get my brain to make sense of it. I think, meeting the bereaved family last week, so raw in their grief, and hearing about the APPALLING arms length uninterested ineffectual ‘care’ they received, has really touched a part of me that I’d blocked off, to avoid pain. I’ve got it, all barrels blazing now.
Maybe we are at a turning point now. Maybe the NICE guidelines really will get altered now. Maybe with the furrore of the prescription-drug taking public, the dam will burst. DH has stated somewhere I think that this antidepressant and antipsychotic multi drug taking system will turn out to be, on reflection in years to come, the greatest mistake of our age. I’m messing up the words, sorry.
A friend told me he’d recently visited Basel in Switzerland, where ROCHE, who make Accutane/RoAccutane, the original author of our son’s downfall into the spiders’ web, have completed a new 30-storey inappropriate towerwhich looms over the beautiful city of Basel, blighting all that it overlooks. An outward and visible sign of ROCHEs massive power. They pretty much own Switzerland anyway, as one can read in Stanley Adams’ book, ‘Roche v Adams’. Their power is far reaching across the entire world. . Even we have suffered from tthe effects of causing them annoyance. We, who are only little harmless but determined people who will not shut up about what their drugs are doing.
Thank you Spruce for this magnificent summing up of the system we all find ourselves in. You have written a lot of excellent incisive comments over the many months past but I think this is your best ever. I shall print and frame it. Maybe illustrate it with some evil spiders. It’s brilliant.
General Medical Council. Duties of a Doctor. Good Medical Practice.
Page 16. ” YOU MUST TELL PATIENTS IF AN INVESTIGATION OR TREATMENT MIGHT RESULT IN A SERIOUS ADVERSE OUTCOME”.
The GMC specifically states that “MUST” is used for an OVERRIDING DUTY or
Why were we not warned about AKATHISIA. PSSD. Risk of SSRI/SNRI Adverse Drug Reactions being misdiagnosed as Severe Mental Illness – – – et al???
THE FDA Highlights of Prescribing Information : Fluoxetine. Ref. 2927282
Page 24 -17.2
CLINICAL WORSENING AND SUICIDE RISK.
“PATIENTS, THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR CARE GIVERS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO BE ALERT TO EMERGENCE OF
ANXIETY, AGITATION. PANIC ATTACKS, INSOMNIA, IRRITABILITY, HOSTILITY, AGGRESSIVENESS, IMPULSIVITY,
AKATHISIA (Psychomotor Restlessness) HYPOMANIA, MANIA.
OTHER UNUSUAL CHANGES IN BEHAVIOUR.
WORSENING OF DEPRESSION AND SUICIDAL IDEATION –
ESPECIALLY EARLY DURNG ANTIDEPRESSANT TREATMENT AND WHEN THE DOSE IS ADJUSTED UP OR DOWN”.
“FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS SHOULD BE ADVISED TO LOOK FOR THE EMERGENCE OF SUCH SYMPTOMS ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS, SINCE SUCH CHANGES MAY BE ABRUPT”.
“SUCH SYMPTOMS SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE PATIENT’S PRESCRIBER OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE SEVERE, ABRUPT IN ONSET, OR NOT PART OF THE PATIENT’S PRESENTING SYMPTOMS”.
“SYMPTOMS SUCH AS THESE MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASE RISK IN SUICIDAL THINKING AND BEHAVIOUR” – – –
The GMC also refers to:
THE EFFECT OF COERCION/PRESSURE ON PATIENT CONSENT.
“A patient’s consent to a certain treatment may not be valid if it is given under pressure or duress exerted by another person”.
WOULD ANY OF US, OR THOSE WE HAVE LOVED AND LOST, CONSENTED TO SSRIS/SNRIs IF THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN THIS VITAL INFORMATION?
THE GMC Demands that Doctors honour their DUTY OF CANDOUR.
That is, they are honest and open, and apologise when things go wrong.
As the “Republican Guard” of the Royal College of Psychiatrists hold hands in the Lancet to express their condemnation of Peter Gotzsche’s “Popular Polemic”,
might it not be more compatible with their caring for, and safely serving their patients were they to disseminate and reflect on the statements made above?
The ‘evidence’ which NICE has been using to draw up the latest draft guidelines on depression is now admitted by them to be out of date , After further consultation work is to begin in December 2018 and to be published December 2019. Presumably by the same disgracefully incompetent group. GPs are advised to ‘protect themselves’ in the meantime by recording discussions; respecting individuals choice and clinical appraisals. This is the sad state of the relationship with people in distress and GPs is all too often experienced. ‘to protect’ against ….There is obviously concern growing about the possibility of ‘complaints’ and legal actions – the answer is not to carry on becoming even more defensive or to give advice which causes medics to become more anxious about treatments but advice which encourages them to be totally honest so that individuals can better ‘protect themselves’ from harm, together as much as they find helpful with a qualified person who doesn’t always need to be a medic or any of the organisations which are funded by ‘outcomes’
‘WOULD ANY OF US OR THOSE WE HAVE LOVED AND LOST, HAVE CONSENTED TO SSRIS/SNRIs IF THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN THIS VITAL INFORMATION?’
No, absolutely not.
Worse than that, those very astute ones of us kept querying these effects, trying to remind the arrogant medical so-called doctors and staff that the patient was ok before they got dosed up with this stuff became overcome with disbelief and frustration. For daring to raise such queries, some of us were rubbished, excluded from hospital visiting, and had our own Notes peppered with observations, later revealed, like ‘fussy parent’ or worse. Some of us were forcibly ejected. Leaving us to watch in horror whilst the spiders rolled up their unsuspecting prey into the sticky web. From which, some emerged in black zipped up body bags. We could do nothing.
We need a good feature film on this. As soon as possible. I wonder who would dare to make it, and whether it could be done low budget. I think it could be a blockbuster. Win awards. Because it’s the story of SO so many. And what was a gentle background complaining buzz, is now becoming a shout of deafening anger, everywhere……
My Favourite ‘Druggie’ Films:
Who Cares in Sweden?
Letters from Generation Rx
A Prescription for Murder?
These 4 Panorama Programmes are available to watch, here, plus, The Famous Grouse
The Secrets of Seroxat
Emails from the Edge
Taken on Trust
Secrets of the Drug Trials
The Famous Grouse review of the history of Study 329 (September 2014).
Marie’s Silje Marie Strandberg
This is a lot of watching for those who missed these essential films but well worth the time
Wales This Week: Hooked on Pills, on ITV Cymru Wales
8th October at 8.00pm
More than half of patients coming off antidepressants ‘suffer withdrawal symptoms’
Includes Stevie Lewis and her experiences with Paroxetine ‘waves of fear’ and with David Healy.
What is the capital of Brazil?
“Conflict of Interest, I am married to Simon.
Second Conflict of Interest, I used to be Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners.
If we were having this debate about statins, there would not be this sort of uproar.
What we’re actually doing is reinforcing the stigma about mental illness.
Antidepressants work, Antidepressants save lives.
Gps are NOT, absolutely NOT pushing antidepressants, we do not get performance managed for prescribing them, so I just wanted to say that…
Psychiatrists and the pharma industry are to blame for the current ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders
This is a really good thing to watch.
Simon Wessely with Ex Pfizer Executive, Declan Doogan
Will Self with Darian Leader
Will Self swallowed Seroxat and tried to kill himself.
‘Wife/Spouse/Married to’ stood up to stand her ground
Says it all really …
The Roundheads and the Cavaliers …
Annie, thanks for the link for this debate.
One wonders how many medics were in the audience.
Why was the subject of difficulties in drug withdrawal never mentioned?
I was struck by the Wessley ‘slight of hand’, the little ploys, ‘is this mike working?’
Little jokes as he went along, little diversions, chumminess, ‘I’m a nice guy, I agree with this that and the other you’ve said, Yes, we psychiatrists don’t get it right all the time. Letters from grateful patient, bingo card of drugs, confusion and smiles. All so disarming and jolly, but I keep thinking of Stephanie Lynch’s brilliant expression, ‘always watch for the slight of hand.’ He gave a clever performance for the uninitiated, but to those of us who have the knowledge gathered over years of listening to him and his missus, it doesn’t beguile and it doesn’t cut the mustard. A jolly fluffy exterior hiding an inner cynical core, speaking from a stance of unassailable power – trust me I’m a doctor – you’ve got to be kidding, old boy.
MISSD is pleased to now offer Akathisia 101. The free, online one-hour continuing education course is open to all who want to better understand, identify and respond to akathisia. Akathisia 101 is approved by the National Association of Social Workers for 1 continuing education contact hour. Healthcare and crisis teams, patients, therapists, caregivers, doctors, first-responders, drug safety advocates and educators — everyone can benefit from akathisia awareness. Let’s make Akathisia a household word.
October 12, 2018 at 6:46 pm
MISSD New Akathisia Video
Yesterday at the MISSD annual gala we debuted our new akathisia video. Thank you for all the continued support, which allows MISSD to spread the word about akathisia.
In the News
Akathisia … Take the Course
PHENOMENAL article in The Herald – Scotland – which covers just about everthing …
3 hrs ago
Scotland’s secret addicts?: the patients hooked on antidepressants – and harmed by withdrawal
“I was tried on various medications and eventually I was put back on Seroxat and, quite frankly, I’m scared shitless to try and come off it now.”
Wow, thanks Annie. This article simply blows the mind. All these terribly damaged people, not believed. The hell of what these drugs are doing. Is there no way we can yet show what’s going on in the brain, what physically causes the zaps, burning, terror (? Massive cortisol surges). Would SPECT scans show anything? Can we see neurotransmitters firing? With heart problems you can wear a monitor for a few days, could one wear a brain cap/electrodes monitor, to measure heat, vibration, anything…. what would be the effect of cooling the brain like they do sometimes to coma patients, could this help. One feels desperate to ease the agony of these horrifically suffering people.
Be extremely careful what you wish for – one unintended consequence for me of raising awareness amongst the medical profession of the dangers of psych drugs has been the sudden withdrawal of my repeat prescriptions for the benzo (clonazepam) and z-drug (zopiclone) on which I am dependent. I know I’m dependent – I wish to hell I wasn’t. I’ve had several goes at getting off the zopiclone (disastrous) and the clonazepam feeds my benzo receptors and avoids the beyond horrid withdrawal I experienced getting off diazepam over five years ago. After ticking over comfortably with two monthly prescriptions for over four years, from now on I am permitted one month’s supply at a time, with a view to undergoing a (forced?) withdrawal program in the New Year.
The very thought turns my bowels to water – especially when I was shown the schedule – swap to diazepam (a drug which made me profoundly depressed and withdrawn) then taper down, half a milligram at a time. Should all be done and dusted in a month, according to the current Nice ‘Withdrawal from benzodiazepines and Z drugs’ Guide, which the extremely pleasant prescription person showed me.
Why the sudden panic? Apparently, I was told, benzos and Z drugs are highly lipophilic and ‘recent studies’ show – no idea which ones, I’d be pleased to be enlightened about the source -people who’ve been taking them for years have an unfortunate tendency to drop dead. When autopsies on their brains are performed, their (our) brains are so sodden with the drugs it’s a miracle we ever survived for as long as we did. No one of course ever died as a result of an AD.
I know I can print off the Rxisk taper information and show her but right now I am consumed with a) fear that I will be forcibly withdrawn from ghastly toxic chemicals with even more ghastly consequences for me b) utter despair at having to get anxious about further prescriptions.
I cannot stress enough – banging on about the particular and apparently unique dangers of benzos feeds directly into Big Pharma’s diversionary tactics. Demonise benzos and no one will take any notice about the EQUALLY HORRIFIC DANGERS OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS AND ANTIPSYCHOTICS. They are ALL VERY BAD FOR MOST PEOPLE LONG TERM.
Those vigorously campaigning to get all these drugs banned/no longer prescribed need to stop and think about where this leaves anyone dependent on them. (Council for Evidence Based Nonsense, I’m looking at you).
I’ve written before about the danger of promoting withdrawal at all costs – and the more than faint possibility that some people will never be able to get off completely without being consigned to a misery of multiple unbearable physical tortures. And, in my view, the best some people (like me) will achieve is the lowest possible dose that enables a decent life.
Yes, in an ideal world, we would have other ways of helping people in mental distress, no child or pregnant woman would ever be prescribed a psychiatric drug and the medical profession would wake up to the immense harms caused by indiscriminate prescribing. But we don’t. And being wholly selfish – one unintended consequence of the ‘no drugs at any cost’ theme is to condemn me to an anxious and probably hideous time. Let alone being cast as an addict – I don’t mind that, but I DO mind the not very well concealed approach that I am engaged in semi-criminal misuse (the current word for abuse) of a drug which I had no intention of ever taking for the rest of my life, back when this house of horrors story began, 20 years ago.
Benzos probably saved my life in the short term – I pumped them back like there was no tomorrow because, I now realise, they were countering the unbearable akathisia engendered by the other shit. Get the other shit properly and cautiously under control and benzo use would probably eventually die away of its own accord.
Don’t offer me advice, I don’t need it, however well-meaning.
PS just calmed down enough to read Annie’s Herald link – which is extremely relevant to what I’ve just bashed out above. Rxisk and the Rxisk community really need to think about how to tackle the serious problem of how all us ol’ addicts are going to cope, if our supplies are suddenly cut off at source.
Suicide suicide suicide this rings so many bells to me now . I am in protracted withdrawal and have been for many years I am 21 months of all medication now and have developed akathisia this far out it has ruined me I am suicidel and this is a daily thing that has gone on for months it like a shadow that won’t leave me alone and follows me everywhere I am in a wave of severe depression that fuels the akathisia my life from morning to night is just that of survival fighting of the thoughts of death every minute swinging from a inner turmoil that you just wish to die just for some peace to a crying emotional mood of complete and utter desperation and sadness all the while your mind is telling you that death is so much easier
I have been poly drugged to this desperate state having none of this prior to medication no for warning of what could happen in fact the complete opposite to how the medication would make me feel better and they are not addictive these lies have gone on long enough it’s time for them to stop . I am a member of support groups that are going through what I am and it’s the only place you can get listened to by people who understand why is it that no medical profession will take it serious and help .Sadly this year alone I have seen 12 or more members of these groups sadly take their own lives mostly from akathisia young people many women who just couldn’t take the suffering any longer and that were not believed or given the support from the medical profession this is the biggest crime to humanity many of those that have taken their lives had family’s dreams were good innocent people who were harmed and left to die alone suffering .
Now is the time for research and help to be found to stop this suffering to give these people their lives back we need to be looking at help there is so much talk going on but very little action I see so many doctors claiming to be experts but they are not experts when it comes to helping the harm . This problem will only get worse as millions are starting to feel the effects of long term medications that affect the brain and it’s cns our children are now being given antidepressants and antphycotics what happens when they get akathisia what treatment do we have for them , I hope that some one soon comes up with a answer or the hospitals will be full of very sick and untreatable people for me I don’t think that I will see it in my life time I think this intolerable suffering from the akathisia and depression will take me in the near future the suicidel thoughts get stronger every day and they seem my only hope of peace
I’ve got it as well. I’m hopeless. I don’t want to kill myself, it’s something that is very hard to do. I don’t have an exit. No hope. My life is ruined.
NZ suicide rate continues to rise..unfortunatley everything is blamed except the drugs (ssris) from the doctor…..Whats just so scary is they want ‘more people to access the services’ …ie they want more people drugged! and on ssris!
we now have a situation in nz where almost 25% of woman over 65 are on an ad! Thats a national tragedy! What a shameful disgrace!
They think they are going to bring suicide rates down. Im doubling down on the fact that suicide rates in this country are going to continue to rise especially in light of all the increasing hundreds of thousands who are drugged by doctors (its up to 1 in 8 adults at the momenton an ad).
The Akathisia Alliance is a nonprofit organization run by professionals who’ve experienced it. We are working together to raise awareness, educate, and advance research to help end medication-induced suicides.