The Woman Who Was: Looking back from Prescription Cascade

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May 21, 2018 | 16 Comments


  1. It goes without saying that reading M’s story makes one feel so furious with her stupid GP and so desperate for this brave lady, who, even having gone through all she has, adds touches of humour as she recounts it.
    But, to comment on her question about having low Vitamin D, I can’t say my low level was sparked by SSRIs as I’ve never taken them, but I do know that a surprisingly large number of friends and acquaintances have told me they also have low Vitamin D, and the latest medical ‘craze’ seems to want to stick people on it in pill form. If a sunny holiday in The Cape Verde islands was prescribed, to top my levels up, that would interest me. One of my GPs, (not the listening variety) wanted to put me on a massive dose of Vitamin D, (normal dose one pill weekly, his insistence 2 pills daily) and this after I’d explained that I find I don’t tolerate any medication well, never have done. Needless to say, I didn’t take them but went back 4 weeks later (it takes that long to get an appointment) to see a lady GP with whom I’d previously been impressed, who gave me a normal weekly dose and excused her colleague by saying, “ oh, I expect he just wanted to flood your system and get it going…”. It may be that lots of us are low in Vitamin D due to a dull winter, but my test was done at the end of the relatively sunny summer. I just wonder if there is a Government push to fill us up with Vitamin D because they think it’ll stop us getting dementia and save them money in the long term.

    I’d love to know if there is a massive amount of Vitamin D prescribing going on right now. And whether we really need pills for it.

    M seems to have had pills for everything, and yet bravely kept smiling, till now. I am full of admiration for the sheer guts of this lady, but so sorry to read of the madness by all but her lady psychiatrist, that has messed up what should have been a wonderful retirement with her husband. The first thing I’d do would be to change to a listening and hopefully intelligent GP if she can. And then fix her sights on harnessing her obvious courage to regain as much joy in her life as she can. One wishes her story was unique, but the dreadful fact is, she is one amongst so many who have the same crazy regime of thoughtless prescribing, the same endless waterfall of damage and destruction by so-called medication.

  2. Hi M,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your ongoing ordeal. I do think that adverse events from medications have also been the worst thing I have ever gone through/continue to go through. From your story I relate to the neuropathy in the feet and the intersistial cystitis. I was surprised that you got an MD to say they believed you that the Prozac caused the neuropathy in your legs and feet. Haven’t gotten one to yet. The other thing that struck me about your how story is how we just aren’t as rare as the MD’s say. The very few who will humor me (they still don’t believe it) that the meds caused the damage then always go on to counter with how rare it is. That there is something wrong with me and my biology. I just don’t think we are rare. I think that’s what the MD’s tell themselves to sleep at night.

  3. A little more on Vitamin D – having spoken yesterday to a health care professional, she says the Vitamin D I’ve been taking could have caused gallstones and the subsequent gallbladder and liver problems I’ve recently suffered. I wonder whether others have experienced this? BioCare also have a kind of helpline which I idly scanned today, and there is news there that apparently a study shows Vitamin D assists weight loss. And somewhere else I read that weight loss, if too quick, can cause gallstones. In my long life I have never been aware of gallbladder problems before. Nor have I ever been prescribed or taken Vitamin D.
    I just add this in case M is being offered Vitamin D in addition to all her other drugs, maybe to counter osteoporosis (which I don’t have) but if it has side effects we are not made aware of, this needs considering. She already seems to have had enough side effects to cope with….

  4. Such a sad sorry – really wishing you better day by day soon and luck in finding a good GP.
    There are different reasons why people can’t do that but it can become a kind of dependency similar to the way victims get attached to abusers.(of course I am not referring to you M) even if a medic isn’t trusted to have good skills or knowledge of a condition or is known to create poor relationships it can still be an anxious decision to move on. A BBC1 prog 23 May was worth a viewing Series 2 Episode 1 The Doctor Who Gave Up the Drugs’ Chris Van Tullecken’ Concentrated on the massive over use of Calpon which is allowed to put misleading labels on the product and failed to get an interview with the drugs company. R evealed an 800%increase in medicated children diagnosed with ADHD , NICE rep from cttee which drew up the guidelines admitted there is no long term evidence to base their guidelines on The doctor put a lot of faith in Mindfulness which had a good outcome for some children but only with continued use with some medication . He should have mentioned that there is no long term evidence for mindfulness either but at least it is not causing the harms which are well known by now. One little boy beautifully described how he felt when off the drugs – he had got his own self – the one he was born with, back again. Another episode next week on adolescents and medications for depression.

  5. A naturopath will not try to kill you with chemicals. This is my take on our medical industry. After my own fiasco with psych drugs, I only go to my gp for required prescriptions to wean off and yearly blood test. Best of luck to you, see a naturopath instead.

  6. PS Have sent the doctor’s agent info re the Rxisk and David Healy blogs with a request that they consider doing a further programme . Had no response to a previous request but ….

  7. How The Light Gets In …

    Debates & Talks

    Sex, Lies and Pharmacology

    David Healy

    From antidepressants to acne treatment, are prescription drugs destroying our sex lives? Radical psychiatrist David Healy exposes the hidden side-effects of psychiatric drugs.

    “Important and thought-provoking” Independent

    Your Life in the Balance

    Pharmageddon author David Healy, Cambridge philosopher and author Medical Nihilism Jacob Stegenga, and Policy Lead at the Medical Protection Society Pallavi Bradshaw rethink medical authority.

    Pallavi Bradshaw, David Healy, Jacob Stegenga. Philip Ball hosts.

    Clinical error in the UK is responsible for six times as many deaths as road accidents. Some claim there is a risk it will become the UK’s primary killer. Are we wrong to trust in medical authority? Should we assume that doctor knows best, despite the mistakes? Or is doctors power dangerous and we should look elsewhere, perhaps intelligent technology, to regain control?

    • This debate was very well attended and appreciated. They had a very good host who really moved the debate forward.He seemed to take a great interest in particular, I felt, to what David had to say. I’m not sure that they took to your idea of artificial intelligence being the future ‘doctor’ for many of us though! – they seemed rather stuck on ‘robots’ didn’t they, missing out the possibility of an ‘intelligent, listening, learning from its mistakes’ kind of A I.
      We should all await this debate on IAI with interest. Pity that they’re rather slow in getting these things out for all to enjoy.

  8. some @DrDavidHealy-esque docs: ..

    John Read‏ @ReadReadj

    Great study, in PSYCHOSIS journal, showing that almost all (97%) people who try to get off antidepressants experience withdrawal effects

    Fiona French‏ @benzosarebad May 27

    Sounds a bit like the letter to the Times by @wendyburn and Prof David Baldwin stating that antidepressant withdrawal only lasts about two weeks for the vast majority of patients .

    Wendy Burn‏ @wendyburn May 27

    Replying to @benzosarebad

    I agree with you that benzodiazepines are addictive.

    Esque docs … ?

  9. And, the point of this interview………………………..was?

    Did you remember what Michelle said …

    Did you remember what Roland said

    Dr Roland Zahn, a consultant psychiatrist, argues that a shortage of GPs combined with an increasing workload meant doctors struggled to dedicate the appropriate time to discuss medication with patients.

    Did you remember what Stoke-Lampard said

    Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, told ITV News: “We can assure our patients that GPs will always prescribe in the best interests of the individual patient in front of us, taking into account the physical, psychological and social factors that might be impacting on their health.”

    Dogmatic Stokes-Lampard using verbal licence WILL ALWAYS flies in the face of anything resembling what patients are experiencing in the life of, Rxisk, hard knocks ..

  10. Catch up on – Dr. Peter Gordon and 10/10 for ‘curt’ – attracting members …

    Kristina K. Gehrki‏ @AkathisiaRx 4h

    Replying to @benzosarebad @rcpsych

    RCP seems to care more about its party line than healthcare. “An effective team is one where the team members…communicate with each other, as well as merging their observations, expertise and decision-making responsibilities to optimize patients’ care.”

    Hole Ousia

    The President’s Medal Winners ..

  11. Time is running out to sign up for MIA Continuing Education’s important upcoming webinar series on: “Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Part II: The Psychiatrist’s Perspective on Challenges, Opportunities, and Shared Decision Making.”

    The course is composed of eight webinar presentations by an international roster of presenters. All seminars will be recorded and may be viewed at a time of your choosing.


    September 18, 2018: David Healy, MD and Johanna Ryan

    1:30-3pm Eastern, 10:30-noon Pacific

    SSRIs and sexual dysfunction: A look at this adverse effect during SSRI use, and PSSD: sexual dysfunction that persists after withdrawal, and what this may signal regarding renormalization of serotonergic function.

    Johanna Ryan is a workers’ comp paralegal and a union and healthcare activist in Chicago. She may or may not have a biological brain disease, but she is definitely allergic to capitalism and addicted to asking questions.

    Laurie Oakley is a person with lived experience who was prescribed SSRI’s for her depression in the 1990’s, which caused cognitive difficulties, suicidal ideation, and panic attacks. She was then prescribed Klonopin for the panic attacks, which left her with chronic, untreatable insomnia. Her memoir, Crazy and It Was, interweaves journal entries on her experiences with psychiatric drugs with research studies on psychiatric medication and information about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. Now she leads a withdrawal group in her community, a vital resource for people coming off psychiatric drugs.

    • Thank you to the people who responded to my feature blog.

      Annie and Mary – is it possible that your personal dialogue here could take place in a different blog thread / forum?

      Your comments are meaningless to me – and possibly to other respondents.

      Thank you


      • I am so sorry that you missed the point of Annie’s comment and my reply to it Maureen. The debate in question was ‘Should we trust doctors’ which I felt fitted well in the context of your feature blog.

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