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  1. There has been a bit of a storm in the UK media over the last couple of weeks. There is an ongoing review of the effects of prescribed drug dependence by the UK government ( All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence) after a request from Public Health England last year. PHE is an executive agency of the UK government to monitor and improve health and social care delivery in England. The committee working on this project consists of many people, ranging from psychiatrists, doctors and psychologists through to people who have recovered from medication withdrawal and now campaign for change. The details of the review are here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prescribed-medicines-an-evidence-review Last week a member of the review group was forced to resign due to his obvious connections to the pharma industry. Professor David Baldwin, a professor of psychiatry, has taken payments for his 'work' from at least 12 different pharma companies. He was put forward to participate on the review panel by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the main UK professional body for psychiatry. Not surprisingly, many people objected due to his industry connections and he received quite a lot of negative publicity, especially on social media, which he blamed for his resignation from the group. In fact a very reasoned and well worded complaint about Baldwins participation in the project was lodged with the Royal College of Psychiatrists by a group of 30 psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists and people in recovery from antidepressant withdrawal, which they chose to ignore. The complaint was then escalated to the Secretary of State for Health (the leading UK government health minister). Baldwins resignation made front page news in two national newspapers: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6203875/Government-drugs-advisor-QUITS-sustained-campaign-abuse.html https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/drugs-adviser-david-baldwin-quits-after-being-branded-worse-than-hitler-in-online-abuse-row-srtqltmfs https://www.madintheuk.com/2018/09/royal-college-of-psychiatry-representative-resigns-from-government-review-after-complaints-about-his-drug-company-involvement/ Today there has been coverage of research published by two other members of the Prescribed Drug Dependence Committee, James Davies and John Read. I haven't seen a copy of the paper published by these well respected authors (Dr James Davies wrote Cracked and Professor John Read is well know for his work on and support of non drug treatments for mental health). When I find a copy I will post it here. In the mean time these are the media articles that have been published today https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6228645/Now-doctors-wake-dangers-patients-hooked-depression-pills.html?ito=amp_twitter_share-top https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6229295/Millions-warned-severe-withdrawal-risk-coming-antidepressants.html Accompanying this, there has been quite a bit of coverage on social media: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1044581415686477/?multi_permalinks=1465564233588191&notif_id=1538434827319380&notif_t=group_activity https://fiddaman.blogspot.com/2018/10/breaking-antidepressants-cause-majority.html Most of the coverage has been positive for the cause and there are rumblings about the possibility this research will have a positive affect on the warnings regarding withdrawal from psychiatric drugs, given out by health agencies and organisations in the UK. It would be nice to think the coverage will go further than that, but we shall see. Thanks Caspur
  2. This is another interview. Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) is irreversible sexual dysfunction from antidepressants and antipsychotics that continues even though you stopped taking them. Robert was given Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction when he was only 15 years old, among other symptoms. Ali 23 years old and Kevin Goodreau 28 years old died from the severe suffering that Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction caused them. Ali: https://pssdblog.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-pssd-interview-with-johnny-from-usa.html Kevin: http://pssdblog.blogspot.com/2016/11/young-man-leaves-pssd-suicide-note.html http://psychvictims.com http://pssdblog.blogspot.com http://rxisk.org/prize http://pssdforum.com http://prescribedharm.org #antidepressants #mentalhealth #prescribedharm Please help share. Thank you.
  3. Hi everyone. In July I finished a 1-year slow taper of Cymbalta. I was prescribed it for depression and chronic pain. I decided after being on antidepressants for more than 25 years, and dealing with horrendous side effects, that I wanted to go off of them. I initially tapered per doctor’s orders, stepping down in 10-mg increments every 2 weeks from 60 mg to 30 mg, which was too rapid. Then I found advice to do no more than 10% reductions a minimum of 2 weeks at a time. That’s what I did for a year. I dealt with bad withdrawal during the taper. Brain zaps, anxiety, sweating, cognitive issues, etc. Now, more than 5 months have passed and I still suffer from depression and anxiety, and I’ve gotten back chronic neck pain. I’m going to counseling but it’s having minimal effect. I’m also seeing a functional medicine doctor and doing all I can to heal without drugs. However, I feel utterly hopeless and broken. Can I be relatively mentally healthy eventually? Or am I doomed to requiring antidepressants? Every day is so difficult. I’m barely able to take care of myself and do my job. Thank you, ”Hurting”
  4. Hi fellow victims, I have now been off Effexor (and all antidepressants) for 10 months, although I do OCCASIONALLY take Ativan to relieve me of my sheer panic and anxiety. Let me tell you my story: I have been taking antidepressants on and off for 21 years (since age 18). I went on it for debilitating depression and self hatred. The meds worked. I definitely felt better. However, over the years, each antidepressant would lose its effectiveness, sending me to the doctor to get a new one to try. The one I went on that worked the best was Effexor. I started at the lowest dose, 37.5 mg after suffering severe post partum depression. The Effexor was a life saver, or so I thought. I did not have the dark cloud handing over me, was not as anxious, and enjoyed life for a while. Fast forward five years. Now I felt withdrawn from my family, an outsider. I had extreme irritation, couldn't stand my kids touching me or sounds. I blew my lid around my family when the stress level got too high. It is at this point that I decided to eliminate antidepressants from my life. I tried and was off them for a couple months and could NOT deal with life. Back on again. Only this time, I started to do research, learning about withdrawal from Effexor from people who have experienced it, not doctors who prescribed it. I read some heart wrenching blogs and realized that this would be a commitment of at least a year. I armed myself with amino acids and vitamins, ate serotonin boosting foods, eliminated my beloved coffee, and got more exercise. I did EVERYTHING I could possibly do to succeed in withdrawal this time. Well it's been 10 months. Let me recap what it has been like. The physical withdrawal symptoms, although they seemed bad, were nothing compared to the emotional. I got the dizziness and uncontrollable crying for a few months. Then, I started realizing what the waves and windows were. Waves-bad times, windows, not so bad. My research told me that eventually the waves would be shorter, less intense, and less frequent. And so it seemed. I tracked my waves on a calendar and at one time they were coming every few days ( 4-5 days of wave, then two days of window), then they were every couple of weeks. I thought I had turned a corner. It was around month 5 off meds that I felt that maybe I could conquer this. However, I DID have a few angry moments when I totally scared my three children and felt like I went off the deep end during this time. Then January hit, the SADD months. I got my next "phase" of withdrawal: intrusive thoughts. Dark, awful, debilitating thoughts that made me want to crawl into a hole and die. I ALMOST went back on meds, but persevered thinking I only needed to get through the SADD months. During this time I also developed severe social anxiety, and I no longer hang out in groups and rarely hang out with anyone except my husband and children even now. Now I am in a new "phase" of extreme agitation, super low self esteem, and self hatred. I have begun cutting myself and punching myself when I am angry at myself for "losing it" with my family. My stomach currently looks like a bruised mess of red hash tags. My self esteem is zilch and I am paranoid that everyone hates me and/or is talking about me. I feel I keep encountering new phases of this debilitating withdrawal. I don't know if this will ever end. I am at the point where I sometimes think suicidal thoughts because it is too tough to live like this. I cry all the time and analyze every feeling I have. When I get mad at my kids and my blood is boiling, I retreat to the bathroom to self harm. My husband is supportive but even HE doesn't know what to do anymore. I DO NOT want to go back on medication. I truly feel it was the meds that made me this way in the first place. If anyone could offer some advice, some hope, I'd appreciate it. Thank you all for reading.
  5. I'm a British BBC TV reporter and I want to make a film about the problems of withdrawing from antidepressants. I'm keen to hear from people who've struggled with SSRIs, particularly if you like in the UK. Also what you think about the lack of support groups, or if you HAVE a support group, how do you help? Please email me your stories, confidentially at first, of course, although ultimately I'm looking for people who will be willing to stand up and speak about what's happened to them. I think few people know or report this sort of problem and I know many of you are really really struggling for help. My BBC2 programme wants to expose all this, so please get in touch. Lesley.ashmall@bbc.co.uk Thank you very much. This forum has been recommended to me by several long-term members, so forgive my intrusion.
  6. ChessieCat

    Email Campaign

    At the beginning of February I sent an email to Australian Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Counsellors and to NZ & UK (counsellors, if I remember correctly). Members are welcome to use any parts of the following Email & Business Card and refer to my website if they wish. The website is meant to be a "one stop spot" for ease of getting important information and as a pointer to SA's website. Please note that the website is not searchable in search engines. ________________________________________________ Email stats: 5,935 - successfully sent 2,029 - opened (but it is possible to read an email via preview without opening) Unique click stats: 35 - Surviving Antidepressants (link to Welcome to SA) 44 - Intro to AD WD Syndrome (link to SA's Intro to AD WD Syndrome) 21 - Founder of SA's Bio About Paxil Withdrawal (link to Alto's Bio on patientslikeme) 43 - adwithdrawal.weebly.com (my website created with info links to keep email brief but point interested people in right direction) Total: 143 ________________________________________________ PLEASE NOTE: I have tried to be careful regarding copyright etc but if there is anything I had done incorrectly please let me know. ________________________________________________ THE EMAIL I SENT: Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing in the hope that by sharing information I have recently discovered people will not have to suffer debilitating withdrawal symptoms when reducing or stopping antidepressant drugs. Of course a person’s original condition, for which they were prescribed an antidepressant, will still need to be addressed with non-drug methods of coping taught/learnt. My aim is to inform so people don’t suffer unnecessarily The brain changes when an antidepressant drug is taken and it becomes physiologically dependent on the drug. Because of this the process needs to be REVERSED SLOWLY to allow the brain to adapt to not receiving as much of the drug. Unfortunately, many people are advised to stop the drug cold turkey, reduce it too quickly, take it on alternate days or take different doses alternately. Any of these methods may, in many cases, result in the person suffering bad withdrawal symptoms. Although the person may feel okay for a while, symptoms can appear weeks or months later, with ongoing symptoms occurring for several years. When this occurs they may be told that their original condition has returned or may be diagnosed with a new condition. They may be put back on the same drug (possibly at an even higher dose), prescribed a different drug, or a combination of these. When researching my own antidepressant withdrawal issues I found that there is a way to minimise withdrawal symptoms. The Surviving Antidepressants support website recommends that a drug be tapered by 10% (of the previous dose) followed by a holding period of 4-6 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to receiving a little less of the drug. The analogy is given of it being like a plant growing on a trellis. If you take away the entire trellis the plant will collapse whereas if you take it away gradually the plant is able to adapt to the changes as parts of the trellis are removed. To gain an insight into what stopping antidepressant drugs can do I urge you to visit the following links: Introduction to Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome Founder of Surviving Antidepressent’s Bio About Paxil Withdrawal My website adwithdrawal.weebly.com (this is not searchable) has links to more withdrawal and various other related information. Thank you for taking the time to read my email and I hope I have provided you with some valuable information. If you have found it helpful I would appreciate you forwarding this email to anyone you think would benefit so that they too can become informed. I can be contacted via my website if you have any comments or questions. Regards, A Concerned Individual (I am not receiving any form of payment for my website or contacting you) ________________________________________________ I have also printed up Business Cards to hand out to pharmacies and people who I might chat with: Front: ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL Information Website: http://adwithdrawal.weebly.com Support & Information Website: http://survivingantidepressants.org Back: If antidepressants are stopped too quickly a person might feel okay at first but start feeling worse after a week or more. Doctor may say it's original condition back or diagnose new condition, not recognise it's caused from stopping the antidepressant. Please visit websites listed to get information about antidepressant withdrawal issues and safer, better ways to reduce antidepressants slowly to reduce withdrawal symptoms and their severity. I can be contacted via: http://adwithdrawal.weebly.com __________ Responses I received to my email: "I totally disagree with what you have written. It is ill-informed, technically incorrect, and a danger to patients who require the medication in the same way a diabetic requires insulin." _____ "This has been standard practice in medicine for decades." _____ "I understand you are well intentioned and wish to share your experience with others. The thing is that there are many types of antidepressant medication and what you describe applies to some, but not others. There are some that have less physiological habituation and thus need less gradual withdrawal than others. So really you probably need to work with someone who understands both the pharmacology of antidepressant medications and their use in psychiatry if you wish to issue some guidelines for people contemplating ceasing to take this medication. The doctors who understand psychotropic medications well are the psychiatrists. Many general practitioners prescribe this kind of medication without really knowing a lot about it. It is possible you were in this kind of situation where the prescribing doctor was not much help to you in dealing with ceasing to take an antidepressant. I am sorry you had this experience. It does happen but it is not a universal one." _____ "Thank you. I will pass it on. I like the metaphor of the trellis." _____ "Good on you for getting this together." _____ "I agree with the main points in your letter! My view is as follows; In my practice I have always told people if are taking SSRI antidepressants and decide they want to stop after talking with their doctor, the process must be slow! The drug company recommendation is almost always too fast. Rapid reduction in the medication can in my experience produce dissociative effects which can be disconcerting or even frightening to the patient. This can cause the person to conclude that they must keep taking the medication. (going cold turkey is of course at the high end of rapid reduction of the medication) My experience of nearly 29yrs as a psychologist is to (after discussing with their doctor) suggest they come off slowly over a period of 2-3 months and keep in contact with their doctor during this time. Obviously post antidepressant medication the patient needs to find other ways of dealing with their depression. My efforts are directed at giving the patient new skills showing them ways of reducing stress and dealing with anxiety and depression." _____ "thank you, This has been a big concern for me. It is very hard to advise clients about antidepressant use, usually conflicting the advice of their GP or Psychiatrist, and their own subjective experience. At the very least antidepressant complicate issues, especially regarding reactive depression." _____ "Thank you very much for this email, and for sending out (I assume to psychiatrists and others Australia wide) your very reasonable and well-founded concerns regarding effectively withdrawing from SSRI/SNRI medications." _____ "Thank you very much for this information - it segues well into a presentation I made to my peers about antidepressant medication." __________ CC
  7. Hi all, I have been lurking around this forum for some time now I am presently attempting my 5th withdrawal from psychiatric drugs in 3.5 years. In March of 2012 I was taken by my friend/housemate (who coincidentally is a doctor who was doing a placement in a psych ward at the time), to the emergency room as I was presenting with symptoms of mania. I had been up for days drinking, barely sleeping or eating. Not surprisingly, I was pacing and chain smoking. By 2012, I had been drinking alcoholically for 5 years getting progressively worse, to the point that in 2013 I would binge drink for a month on and one off, drinking up to 3 bottles of wine throughout the day. I had already attended AA meetings at the time and my family, close friends, and I, were well aware that I had a drinking problem. However, my friend, who meant well, must have been very concerned and wanted to help me in the best way she knew how, by taking me to see her colleagues where I was tentatively diagnosed as Bipolar II, mixed state, rapid cycling, and put onto 10mg of Zyprexa. After this first hospitalisation, my drinking got worse and worse and I was hospitalised 12 more times (about once a month) that year. In May 2012, I entered my first open ward psych hospital and stayed for two weeks (still working as an actor and a theatre critic during the two weeks as I was able to leave the facility). I became more involved with AA but was too unstable to really engage with the program. I was drunk more than I was sober and by then, I was on Lithium as well, with a solid diagnosis of bipolar and alcohol dependence. I was put on Naltrexone to help me stop drinking too. In December of that year I emerged from a drinking binge on Christmas day and had to go to hospital to detox on Valium. After 2 days, I snuck out, got drunk and was luckily found by my family across the street in blackout, taken back to emergency, where I fell into a coma and had to be resuscitated. I was put into a locked ward for 5 days to detox and to protect me from my drinking that was about to kill me. Heavily sedated on Valium. Within 2 weeks I was in rehab. I spent 3 months in rehab sober from alcohol. I was taken of Zyprexa which gave me an odd obsession and fear of my own death and my family’s death, as well as made me slow to recall words and 10 kilos heavier. When the doc told me I would put on weight, I scoffed. I have always been weedy and struggled to put weight on. I wasn't laughing 2 months later when I couldn't button up any of my trousers anymore. Before I was taken off Zyprexa I was put on 5mg of Lexapro to deal with the morbid thoughts caused by Zyprexa. Great idea, thanks for that random state psychiatrist who kept missing my appointments as she was so busy. So, I was on 450mg slow release Lithium and eventually moved up to 10mg Lexapro, this became my "regular” dose. I am lucky, this is a relatively low amount of meds for someone as "sick" as me to have been put on. Nonetheless, a killer to get off. In May of 2013, 1 month out of rehab, I relapsed on alcohol, and had my last hurrah. 5 days of hell. Suicide attempt, rented hotel room, drinking into oblivion, became a missing person, arrested for assaulting a police office (charges dropped as they felt sorry for me thankfully), strapped to a stretcher 2 nights in a row, lying to my father's face etc. All the good stuff. Obviously my meds routine was not on the ball at this point, or at all during these benders. I was on and off. After this binge, I had attended my 2nd outpatient psych ward for 2 weeks. I got a sponsor at AA, started doing 90 meetings in 90 days, doing the steps. I got 3 months of sobriety up, slipped on August 11, 2013 and had 5 glasses of wine. These were my last 5. I have been sober from alcohol since August 12, 2013. Now, I'm just going to stop right here and tell you a bit about myself. My description paints me as very erratic, which I was in those last few years, however, that was not always the case. I was a happy child, always top of my class. I had a problem with authority in high school but I managed it in my final year and I managed to graduate well and get into the university course of my choice. I had achieved a BA Hons degree in English literature and then an MA in Journalism by 2011, with a whole lotta binging and partying in between. I travelled the world, starting in Tokyo in 2002, Canada and London in the mid-2000s, all across south-east Asia and Europe. In 2006, I volunteered in Nepal, went back in 2007 and established an NGO. I held down jobs, relationships etc. But amidst it all there were ups and downs, “tragic” break-ups, an inability to relate well with family, friends and partners, regular alcohol and recreational drug use and abuse from age 14 to 30. It's just that is got harder to keep up the charade of being normal by 2011. I just gave into the drink and drank. Thing is, I had very rarely taken prescription drugs until 2012. My family are militantly into natural therapies, yoga, meditation, and I'd always felt similarly and been very suspicious of docs and prescription meds. By 2012 I was defeated by alcohol and I felt I didn't have much choice. 3 years since I was first put on them and I often feel I have very little choice in my decision to come off them. It is my 5th attempt, each ending badly regardless of tapering or not. The only thing that is different this time is that 2 weeks ago I was told by my new psychiatrist in London (I moved here from Australia in May of this year) that after months of us talking and getting to know each other, she thinks that my initial diagnosis was wrong, that I was exhibiting signs of bipolar because of excessive alcohol use, and that she will taper me off my psychiatric meds to be sure once and for all that I am not bipolar. I think I have known for some time. While I was able to accept that I am an alcoholic (this is a genetic thing), I could never fully accept the bipolar. Not because I am in denial or any of that tripe that people like to put on us - I have been through the 12 steps, and I have tried to be as damn well honest with myself as possible, and, I was still left with this lingering doubt, hence why I have continued to try and live without the meds. I am over 2 years sober from alcohol now. I am stable in so many ways that I wasn’t in the past. I have a loving and supportive partner (my highschool sweetheart), attend regular AA meetings, have a GP, and attend regular therapy, plus I have the help of a supportive psychiatrist. I am healthy. I eat a balanced diet, do moderate exercise each day. I am attentive to my sleep patterns. It is my time to get off this stuff. It has made me slow in the head and unable to continue my job as a journalist. I worked as a legal journalist here is London but had to resign because of a lack of concentration, sleepiness etc. All side effects I NEVER had before I was on psych meds. The most I have been able to do for work over the last few years is freelance journalism and part-time nannying and tutoring. Today I had to resign from my casual nannying role as at day 3 off the withdrawal, anxiety and agoraphobia has set in and I’m becoming too manic to responsibly care for children. There is no point dragging this poor family through my sh*tty withdrawal. It is irresponsible and the kids deserve better. I will not let this get me down. I still have my online work and my meetings and that is about all I imagine I will be taking on over the next month or so, but I am not disillusioned into thinking this will only take 1 month. I know now. And, I know that this is NOT a return of my bipolar "symptoms", particularly since I never had symptoms like this before I was medicated. This is discontinuation, this is withdrawal, and it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. It has already marred years of my life and I will not allow it to drag on any further. Lol, ok, just convincing myself there. Thanks for reading, if you even made it this far. Rant over.
  8. I've been on anti-depressants for 10 years. Most recently 200mg of Zoloft, trazodone, klonopin. I've been experiencing mood swings the last 9 months that keep getting worse. Assuming it was a side effect of my medication I asked my doctor if it was a good idea to taper off. I did as he directed and ended up barely sleeping for three weeks which culminated with a serious episode where I was violent threw my husband out of the house and barricaded myself in my bedroom which ended in self-mutilation (cutting). I'm 32 years old. I thought cutting was something teenagers did. I've never had mood swings before. I called my doctor and all he told me was to go back on zoloft. Needless to say I'm looking for a better doctor. I'm very confused. Did I not taper off correctly? Will I have to be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life? Was I in withdrawal? I'm back on my meds but I'm feeling all the reasons I wanted to come off them: I'm sleepy all the time, I have trouble with my memory, I have muscle spasms to name a few. I have felt clear headed maybe 8 times this year. This is no way to live! But I'm very afraid of what coming off my meds might do now. It was terrifying. I don't know what to do next. I have mild depression and insomnia. I shouldn't have gotten so wildly out of character.
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