Antidepressant Withdrawal Welsh Senedd Debate

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May 24, 2019 | 35 Comments


  1. recovery&renewal Retweeted

    Michael P. Hengartner, PhD‏ @HengartnerMP 1h

    Some interesting thoughts on the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association and aggressive drug company marketing

    very funny…

    Being in a crowd of 15,000 psychiatrists is a weird experience. You realize that all psychiatrists look alike in an indefinable way. The men all look balding, yet dignified. The women all look maternal, yet stylish. Sometimes you will see a knot of foreign-looking people huddled together, their nametags announcing them as the delegation from the Nigerian Psychiatric Association or the Nepalese Psychiatric Association or somewhere else very far away. But however exotic, something about them remains ineffably psychiatrist.

    Michael P. Hengartner, PhD‏ @HengartnerMP 23m

    „Well, it turns out that having 15,000 psychiatrists in one building sparks a drug company feeding frenzy that makes piranhas look sedate by comparison.“ And they invest so much in marketing because it pays off! Ever wondered why health care spending is so high in the USA?

  2. What about Neuroleptic (wrongly described as “antipsychotic”) drug withdrawal?

    While a person consumes these drugs they can silently develop more serious problems which can “explode” to the surface on drug withdrawal; the problems often getting misdiagnosed as relapse.

    Successful Neuroleptic drug withdrawal can lead to complete recovery from “Schizophrenia”, and a return to long term productivity. This has actually been the case for many (non researched) people.

  3. Robert Whitaker has described the period of Neuroleptic Drug Withdrawal as one of “High Anxiety”. Its the way a person negotiates this period that determines the success or failure.

    It’s a lot easier to to come off Strong Psychiatric Drugs and remain well with genuine help, than to have to do the whole thing on your own.

    Psychologist and Expert Dr Rufus May has very good advice on coming off Neuroleptic Drugs and surviving. Medical Doctor, Dr Terry Lynch is also Expert on Neuroleptic Drug Withdrawal and Complete Recovery from “Schizophrenia” , with the help of Straightforward Psychotherapy.

  4. Prof. Peter Gøtzsche‏ @PGtzsche1 May 5

    Forced drugging with antipsychotics is against the law: decision in Norway  We need to fight against these serious violations of human rights. I have provided expert testimony for law suits in six countries and am willing to help. #psychiatry

    Forced Drugging with Antipsychotics is Against the Law: Decision in Norway

    Peter Gøtzsche, MD
    May 4, 2019

    “end of the road” …

  5. SUSANA Survey

    Marion Brown 1 min ago Reply

    Thank you for compiling this comment Peter – and for writing to Mental Elf and Andrea Cipriani. There are many people who have attempted this new SUSANA survey, disseminated widely on Twitter over the holiday weekend, and have been dismayed and concerned at its clearly apparent flaws..

    • Peter Gordon asks ‘Is it ethical? -Re SUSANA study -Peter Gordon has followed up his e mail of yesterday with another one today with copies published on his blog HOLE OUSIA

      To Cipriani and Tomlin;- ‘since I sent my open letter to you (of yesterday) that neither of you has acknowledged despite requesting a read receipt, the introduction explaining the basis, purpose and goals of the SUSANA study has been significantly changed.
      There seems to be no explanation to those invited to participate in the study why such significant changes have been made. There is also no explanation to those many hundreds who have already completed the survey. Is this ethical?……Can the scientific board inform all potential participants the evidence that validates this recently added statement/explanation – ‘of course there are important side effects that are rare or less common such as suicidality, withdrawal symptoms , numbness etc’.

  6. The Mental Elf‏ @Mental_Elf May 24

    Have YOU ever experienced side-effects from taking antidepressants? If the answer is “YES”, we really want your views in the #SUSANAsurvey

    Senator Stan Kutcher‏ @StanKutcher

    Replying to @Mental_Elf

    There are placebo and nociebo effects from all medications. Separating these from medication based effectiveness and from medication based adverse effects is complex and requires proper methods to do so @AllenFrancesMD @CoyneoftheRealm

    Andrea Cipriani‏ @And_Cipriani May 24

    Yes, exactly what we’re doing in our @officialNIHR research project: using all available high quality data + the best methodological approaches + patients & clinicians’ views to understand effects of antidepressants (efficacy/tolerability/acceptability) and personalise treatment

  7. James Moore‏ @jf_moore

    Academic psychiatry bemoans the fact that not enough research has been done to understand #antidepressant withdrawal, it then releases what it claims to be the ‘most comprehensive survey of AD side effects ever carried out’. Are withdrawal effects listed….nope. #MoreThan2Weeks

    James Moore‏ @jf_moore

    Replying to @ReadReadj

    Not only that John, credit to @benzosarebad who spotted that the survey introductory text was amended to add this….

    Of course, there are important side effects that are rare or less common (such as suicidality, withdrawal symptoms, numbness, etc) and we will include all of these side effects in our analysis (we haven’t asked people to rank these as they are so important that we decided a priori to include them in the final list of side events).

    So please can the Scientific Board for the SUSANA study inform all potential participants the evidence that validates this recently added statement/explanation: “Of course, there are important side effects that are rare or less common (such as suicidality, withdrawal symptoms, numbness, etc)” – Peter Gordon

  8. Despite increased antidepressant prescriptions in recent years, reductions in suicides or all-cause mortality did not occur. [1][13]
    Recent evidence reveals that administered antidepressants actually increase suicide risks by 2-5 times. [2][3][4][5][6][9]
    A recent meta-analysis, level I evidence, clearly demonstrated that SSRIs double the risk of suicide and violence in adults. [4]

    NICE guidance on depression: 35 health organisations demand “full and proper” revision

    …after extensive criticism.

  9. Campaigning persuades Royal College of Psychiatrists to change its position on antidepressant withdrawal

    By admin on 30/05/2019 in News, Psychiatric drugs

    Following campaigning by CEP, the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence and numerous members of the #prescribedharm community, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has today changed its position on antidepressant withdrawal.  It has issued a revised policy statement updating its guidance to doctors, and calls upon NICE to update its guidelines as well.

    Anti-depressants CAN ruin lives: Major U-turn as psychiatrists say millions of patients MUST be warned over severe side effects

    For years side effects of withdrawing from antidepressants were branded ‘mild’
    But Royal College of Psychiatrists have now changed position to ‘severe’  
    UK prescribes more antidepressants than any other western country

    For years, health officials have played down the difficulty of withdrawing from antidepressants, insisting side-effects were ‘mild’ and last no more than a week or two. But in a new ‘position statement’ published today, the Royal College admits some patients experience ‘severe’ side effects which can last weeks or even months.

    Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘As psychiatrists, we are duty-bound to take on board the concerns of patients who’ve experienced more severe and long-lasting side effects of these medications.

    In a major U-turn …

  10. DR MAX PEMBERTON: Never again must victims of the over-prescribing of anti-depressants be silenced or ignored

    This was an insult to thousands of people who have, as one patient of mine described it, ‘been through hell and back’ in trying to wean themselves off the pills.

    I have seen patients jerking violently in front of me from the electric ‘zap’ sensations they are getting — a common withdrawal symptom — yet they told me their GPs dismissed it as ‘all in the mind’.

    That will now change as the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) — of which I am a member — finally accepts that withdrawal can be associated with ‘severe’ side-effects lasting weeks or ‘longer’.

    SARAH VINE: I’m STILL stuck on anti-depressants, which is why I know the U-turn on medical guidance hasn’t come a moment too soon

    With; The Pill That Steals Lives …

  11. recovery&renewal Retweeted

    Helen McArdle‏ @HMcArdleHT 27m

    U-turn as psychiatrists say patients should be warned of antidepressant withdrawal risk

    recovery&renewal Retweeted

    Royal College of Psychiatrists‏ @rcpsych 2h

    Call for patients to be warned over potential antidepressant withdrawal symptoms

    John Read‏ @ReadReadj 2h
    John Read Retweeted John Read

    RCP FINALLY ADOPTS AN EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACH. Their report contradicts the opinions (Times, Feb, 2018) of their President, Dr Burn, and the Chair of their Psychopharmacology Committee, Dr Baldwin (paid by numerous drug companies). This u-turn is a very important step forward.

    recovery&renewal Retweeted

    James Moore‏ @jf_moore 22m

    Replying to @rcpsych @DrAdrianJames @BBCr4today

    Dr. Adrian James said on Radio 4 that withdrawal was mild and self limiting and not the real story, but that the real story was that not enough people are getting antidepressant drugs. Seems at odds with the @CEP_UK Press Release.

    Definitely got the media rolling …

  12. NIHS should be reviewing the funding application by Cipriani and co. surely? And stopping continuation of the study.

  13. Adrian James registrar and public relations man for the college of psychiatrists on R4 Today program (6am – on SOUNDS starts at 2.40 on the red line) -para phrased -‘doctors need an honest discussion with people who consult them ‘ Word honest used twice at least, Honestly it is time for the college to resign en masse preferably, all the secrets and lies won’t be ended after they are taking credit but are being forced being forced to ‘call for changes’ as they have disingenuously put it.
    re which gives the whole list – ‘The college of psychiatrists is specifically calling for the following changes….
    It would be hard to believe that having this petition in the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) and having it publicised on the blog for all to see their shame ,hasn’t rocked their boat –

    Song by Bob Dylan :- Times they are a-changin’ (parts left out just as it’s very long )
    Times they are a-changin
    Come gather round people wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept that soon You’ll be drenched to the bone If you’re time to you is worth savin Then you better start swimmin Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’………..For the wheels still in spin And there’s no tellin who that it’s namin’ For the loser now will be later to win
    For the times they are a- changin………..And the present now will later be past The order is rapidly fadin
    The times they are a-changin.

  14. The meat of the matter …

    Many of us have read today’s news articles published in several “mainstream” media outlets. Backslapping has ensued amongst those responsible for this apparent “U-turn”. Today’s media exposé isn’t really an exposé, not when adverse effects, which include suicidality and suicide have intentionally been omitted in today’s articles and in the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) new “position paper.”

    Those who died avoidable SSRI-induced akathisia deaths are also apparently invisible ghosts.

    ‘Trust me, there will be more …

  15. From Stevie Lewis

    Petitions Committee welcomes change in antidepressant prescription guidelines

    The National Assembly’s Petitions Committee has welcomed the announcement by the Royal College of Psychiatrists that it is updating its guidance on prescribing anti-depressants.

    Janet Finch-Saunders, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said:

    “The Committee welcomes the move by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is pleased our report on the issue of Prescription Drug dependency (PDD) had played a part in changing attitudes.

    “Antidepressants and other prescription medications can be a lifeline to many people. However, there is a growing body of opinion that it can be difficult to stop using some medications and that not enough advice is available to patients at the outset.

    “What is clear is that we need to do more to improve the support and information that is available to people who are prescribed these medications.

    “Today’s announcement by the Royal College of Psychiatrists is a positive step towards that and we are now looking for other organisations and health services to follow suit.”


    • This is all great news, but where is any mention about the devastating sexual side effects that can persist for years, decades and may be permanent?

      They always seem to miss out about the PSSD in these U turn acknowledgements about antidepressants.

  16. Wendy Burn   Retweeted

    Royal College of Psychiatrists Wales ‏ @RCPsychWales 10h
    . @RCPsychWales welcomes the position statement from @rcpsych on Antidepressants and Depression and has highlighted several recommendations specific to Wales'-additional-welsh-specific-recommendations-for-position-statement-(ps04-19)-antidepressants-and-depression

    RCPsych Wales’ additional, Welsh specific recommendations for Position Statement (PS04/19) Antidepressants and Depression

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists Wales welcomes the Position Statement on Antidepressants and Depression (PS04/19) issued by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and offers the following, additional Welsh specific recommendations:

    Welsh Government should invest further in alternatives to antidepressants for people with depression

    Welsh Government should offer updated, evidence based,  prescribing advice on antidepressant, withdrawal and tapering at the earliest opportunity to help people come of antidepressants with as few issues as possible.

    Welsh Government  should commission further research into the rates and behaviours of antidepressant prescribing to Children and Young people.

    Full “Position Statement”—antidepressants-and-depression.pdf?sfvrsn=ddea9473_5

    John Read‏ @ReadReadj 17h
    John Read Retweeted Lucy Johnstone #FBPE
    Nice one Lucy. I expect Simon W and his gang got half way through writing their usual ‘anti-psychiatry’ ‘pill-shaming’ diatribe before realising they were writing to the Royal College.

    Welsh (verb), specific …

  17. re Position statement on antidepressants and depression May 19 by college of psychiatrists.
    There’s the usual blah stating the blindingly obvious in the 1st chapter designed to portray the college as benign and incredibly! being unaware of until now ,of the evidence they have been denying or sitting on – (but noisy whoopy cushions are catching them out ) –
    – if I was a GP I would be pretty angry about the many refrences to need for greater training and awareness for them but no mention of their own biased advice until now when the work of campaigners cannot be silenced any longer.
    They are still not being honest about the range of adverse symptoms – Akathisia gets no mention nor does loss of sexual feeling for women although erectile dysfunction is mentioned, nor do they mention the loss of emotional pleasure in life in general. There are masses of evidence available published by people which it would seem negligent not to have trawled through already.
    Worryingly after stating that ADs should not be used for youngsters (or very rarely) fluoxetine, sertralin and escitopram are recommended .Connection with suicide is denied, rather lack of help seeking is blamed.
    They quote Cipriani who has just been exposed re the SUSANA study (above) ‘The most recent analysis conducted by Cipriani et al and including 116,477 patients found that all 21 antidepressants were significantly efficatious than placebo in reducing depressive symptom severity (2018) .

    re The coalition of 35 health orgs demand full and proper revision of NICE guidelines – although they are promoting their own cause (led by psychotherapy researcher) who says NICE ‘engaged with us appropriately’ whatever that means ,they include a parliamentary group and say guidelines should include an emphasis on ‘patients’ experience. The next revision of guidelines is 2020 with consultation open from 2nd Oct – 13 Nov. So we shall have to see which piper calls the tune. The college has actually admitted that ‘it is worth noting that high no’s of industry sponsored research can effect the picture of AD efficacy – but no inclusion in their ‘call for change’ for obligations to publish their data. Or for a person without interests in pharmacology companies to be given the position of psychopharmacologist in the college of psychiatry.

  18. Royal College of Psychiatrists Changes Position on Antidepressant Withdrawal

    Thanks to campaigning efforts by the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has dramatically changed its position on antidepressant withdrawal. In a major U-turn, they call for changes to NICE guidelines and withdrawal support services. This development has gained much media coverage including pieces in The Times, Daily Mail and Guardian.

  19. Christopher Lane Ph.D.

    Antidepressant Guidelines to Tighten in the UK

    Welcome policy change also reveals scale of the problem.

    With all the evidence now amassed, the decades’ long delay in updating prescribing guidelines for such widely prescribed medication raises urgent questions about a profession-wide failure to recognize the scale of the problem.

    “More than 15 million Americans have taken the medications for at least five years,” notes Carey, “a rate that has almost more than tripled since 2000,” according to a New York Times analysis of federal data.

    Christopher Lane‏ @christophlane

    Prescribing guidelines for antidepressants are about to be tightened in the UK. Why the changes? And what took them so long?

  20. In the BBC Panorama segments below, which aired in Britain on October 3, 2004, David Healy says we may come to see GSK’s masking of data about these withdrawal symptoms as “one of the biggest medical scandals ever.”

    Senior pharmaceutical regulators in the UK acknowledge they were “disgusted” and “horrified” by the deliberate withholding of information.

    The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Mike Shooter, argues that the deception “has serious implications for the whole of psychiatry; it has serious implications for the whole of medicine.”

    An investigative body in Britain met to consider whether to indict the drug maker on criminal charges.

    Taken on Trust …

    • In their ‘call for change’ the college has admitted in writing in the published document that ‘it is worth noting that high numbers of industry sponsored research can effect the picture ADs efficacy’. Adrian James registrar, has made the college look very devious indeed by this incredible claim to ignorance of what the research-evidence they promote was/is based on.

  21. A tiny corner of the ‘antidepressant’ scandal has at last been uncovered, with the absurdly-delayed admission that these potent, poorly-understood, fantastically profitable drugs can cause hideous withdrawal symptoms.

    The problem is that many people, who have been prescribed them, fervently want to believe that they are effective. So they are the loudest defenders of them. This keeps us from discussing the growing evidence that they do not in fact work significantly better than dummy pills – as shown by the drug companies’ own research, which they have been forced to cough up by Freedom of Information requests.

    And it means I am pelted with insults when I point out the alarming numbers of people who take these drugs and inexplicably kill or harm themselves or others. I wish you’d listen to me now. But, as usual, I fear I shall have to wait years before everyone catches on. And in that time many will suffer needlessly.

  22. Saying that withdrawal symptoms can last months instead of weeks is a step in the right direction, but it is simply not enough!

    For a lot of people withdrawal symptoms last years, and often many years; not months! For a significant minority they last decades, and may never go away, i.e permanent.

    This “U turn” acknowledgement that the withdrawal from antidepressants can be longer and more severe than thought is still quite an underestimation of the what is actually happening. I know of enough people who have been severely damaged by these drugs, to know that it is often more than 3-6 months of suffering. It is often many years of suffering, and sometimes over a decade.

    I will never be happy until the full truth comes out, and it is acknowledged that withdrawal symptoms can often last years, sometimes decades, and occasionally they may be permanent.

    Nothing less than the full truth is good enough!

    • I totally agree with you Spruce – now we’ve got a foot in the door, let’s keep pushing until the door is wide open.

      • I hope that door can be pushed open Mary H, i really do.

        I don’t feel it is an exaggeration to say that what these drugs have done to so many people, is a crime against humanity.

  23. The benzodiazipine crisis was a dress rehearsal…. Campaigners, denial of the pills harms, denial of dependence and withdrawal. Behind closed doors there are hundreds of thousands seriously hurt, hurting, damaged, their voices now silence.

    If you Google Benzodiazipine Experts, the Internet too is silent… Apparently there are none… The benzo Crisis was buried….. In an age of Social Media when Professors and Peasants can connect…. ‘Let them eat Prozac, Effexor, Sertraline etc… Can well and truly be spat back at the ignorant purveyors of poison

  24. Two Years Tapering an Antidepressant – A Life-Changing Experience That I Didn’t Want


    James Moore


    We all know James.

    How I feel for his struggle.

    He has used his struggle wisely and courageously.
    Doing the MiA Podcasts and talking with so many, James is completely grounded, intelligent, compassionate, giving, and, it is a wonder he has done this, on his good days …

    On his bad days, well, we know the complete disablement that coming off psychotropic medications can bring.

    How is James to climb out of this?

    It was different for me when I experienced Seroxat withdrawal in 2002.
    I knew strange things were going on with doctors not accepting me and my struggle and I knew instinctively that my Seroxat withdrawal was callously dismissed.
    I knew that because I had a situation from which I could not look back from.

    However, instinctively, the following year, I was determined to get off it, the psychiatrist by then having doubled me up to 40 mg.
    How lucky to have a new young, instinctively, bright, psychiatrist who talked to the Hospital Pharmacist who then developed a year long plan of reduction by pill and liquid over one year.

    This really worked, it really did.
    Sadly, at the last ml., from Seroxat, all hell let loose again.

    If it wasn’t for my mother, aged 82, living with us, for over three months, whilst I was bed-bound and psychotic, I doubt I could have achieved the ultimate – off it …

    James is to all and extents and purposes, alone with this.
    He has his family, his friends, the support of all of us, but, he is the one, sometimes returning to bed because he can’t stand it any more.

    Its different for me because I knew what Seroxat was capable of and I was determined that Seroxat was gone gone, gone

    This position that James is in, could go on for years. Oscillating between good days and bad days.
    He has a wife, he has a child, he has responsibilities.

    He can’t do, what I did, and my mum did.

    All I can say to James, is, you know exactly where you are with this.
    You understand it completely.

    I wish I could wave the fairy wand and make it easier for James.

    But, that doesn’t help, does it?

    Ultimately, James wants off it.

    But, honestly, is this high-price of trying to get off it, worth it?

    Sometimes, I wonder.

    Caught in this trap, sometimes, even I, think was it worth it; if you function taking a pill-a-day, are your thoughts with the awful and dreadful chemicals coursing through your veins, are your thoughts with pharmaceutical companies making a profit out of you, are you worth less than you were before, it is really a struggle trying to answer all these questions …

  25. James Moore 43 mins ago

    Dr. Gordon is a man of the highest moral and ethical standards and has spent many years putting his patients first and listening to their needs. To read that psychiatry should single out one of its own for truth telling is alarming. Psychiatric drugs can help but they can also harm, so it is vital that we have an honest and unadulterated debate about benefit vs harm. This includes speaking out about withdrawal effects. Psychiatry needs many more like Peter Gordon and to spend less time defending guild interests.


    4 hrs ago

    Psychiatrist Peter Gordon claims Royal College ‘gaslighted’ him in antidepressant row

    Exclusive by Helen McArdle

    The married father-of-two had been originally prescribed the medication to alleviate anxiety and later spent more than a year very slowly reducing his dose.

    Despite this, stopping Seroxat triggered his only episode of depression and left him feeling suicidal.

    Dr Gordon, an NHS doctor for 26 years, resumed taking the antidepressant and said he is too scared to try stopping again.

    The Herald, Scotland …

  26. “This did not feel a comfortable thing to share in a national newspaper but I felt it was important to do this.”

    The Mental Elf‏ @Mental_Elf

    The general public fill evidence vacuums with bad science, says @WesselyS, or rather the journalists do, with controversial theories given by non-experts (Prof Malcolm Bellish) that sell newspapers #RCPsychIC


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