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cinephile

My lunch with Bob Whitaker -- and my upcoming interview with him

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cinephile

Hey everyone. You may have read a few days ago that I was going to have lunch with Bob Whitaker. Well, I knew he was a man of his word and we indeed did have lunch. It was a great time, despite the serious matters we discussed. I might also add that he paid for lunch. We had some great burgers at a joint across the street called The Tavern. I'm proud to report Bob's a firm believer in a juicy burger (he said he grabs burgers there often whenever he's working late at the office). After our (big) lunch, Bob quipped he should go back to his office and take a nap to sleep off such a hearty meal :D But something tells me he didn't, as there's just too much important work to do...

 

During our lunch, Bob discussed my story on SSRIs as well as his opinions on psychiatry in general with equal enthusiasm and sensitivity. Bob's an interesting mix: a lot of (com)passion, intensity, intelligence, with a healthy splash of wiry energy thrown in. He says "yeah yeah yeah" a lot whenever we hit on a good topic -- he wasn't yessing me, he was just hungrily listening, ready to bite down deep on the emerging topic. When he's "in the zone" on a topic that piques his interest he seems unstoppable: statistics, studies, and shared stories from psychiatric professionals fly hard and fast. Indeed, this is no ordinary journalist, and yet he's a journalist through and through: never did he not show a deep interest in my story and my ideas, and he was an expert listener.

 

Because Bob was pressed for time (he gets something like 200 emails a day, not counting all the calls he gets as well as all his other work), our meeting was short and informal. We spoke about the tremendous waste associated with useless diagnostic tests psych med patients have had to explain their mysterious symptoms, only for everything to come back normal (Bob actually told me that he just recently had someone asking him for statistics on just this issue!), some choice statistics (15% of US babies are born to parents on psych meds), and Bob's plans for his foundation.

 

Speaking of the foundation, Bob has now posted a detailed and informative post on his blog about the foundation, its inception, its goals, and future plans. The link is below. This is must-reading, but you already knew that.

 

In addition to this post, I will be receiving more information from Bob not just about the foundation but about psychiatry in general and his research when I interview him this Monday (the 4th). I stressed to Bob the importance of direct patient involvement in the foundation and he fully agreed. I firmly believe that patients have been left out of the psychiatric research equation for too long, and I look forward to voicing many of the psychiatric patient community's concerns when I speak with him on Monday. I am currently firming up my questions, but so far some topics include: PSSD (this symptom has been a dirty, agonizing secret for too long, and that silence MUST stop), protracted withdrawal (I don't know if Bob quite understands yet that protracted withdrawal can lead to swelling disability rolls as much as being ON medications), the surviving antidepressants forum (of course), and suggestions for research studies in his foundation. I also want to remind him that one of the KEY tasks for psychiatry going forward won't just be to revise prescription protocols, but to CLEAN UP THE MESS that psychiatry has left, i.e.: healing those damaged by meds, such as those on this site. It simply isn't acceptable to reform psychiatry going forward and leave those deeply injured and wronged by meds behind to fend for themselves.

 

***I invite everyone on this board to submit any questions they want Bob to answer to this thread! I can't guarantee I'll get to them all, but I will try my best. Now is your chance to have your voice heard! Remember, we're all in this together! So far, I have one question, submitted by compsports, regarding psych meds worsening LD issues. I actually asked Bob this question during the lunch, but he was unable to answer it because he needed more details on this patient's medication background. So, if compsports could either post here their med history or PM me it, that would be much appreciated.

 

I will hopefully be recording this interview and then converting it to an mp3 file and uploading it to a file sharing site. I will post the link to the file in this forum, of course.

 

BLOG LINK: http://madinamerica.com/madinamerica.com/Whitaker.html

 

PS: Enclosed is a scan of the page of ANATOMY that Bob signed for me. I think his inscription speaks to all of us.

 

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compsports

Hey everyone. You may have read a few days ago that I was going to have lunch with Bob Whitaker. Well, I knew he was a man of his word and we indeed did have lunch. It was a great time, despite the serious matters we discussed. I might also add that he paid for lunch. We had some great burgers at a joint across the street called The Tavern. I'm proud to report Bob's a firm believer in a juicy burger (he said he grabs burgers there often whenever he's working late at the office).

 

During our lunch, Bob discussed my story on SSRIs as well as his opinions on psychiatry in general with equal enthusiasm and sensitivity. Bob's an interesting mix: a lot of (com)passion, intensity, intelligence, with a healthy splash of wiry energy thrown in. He says "yeah yeah yeah" a lot whenever we hit on a good topic -- he wasn't yessing me, he was just hungrily listening, ready to bite down deep on the emerging topic. When he's "in the zone" on a topic that piques his interest he seems unstoppable: statistics, studies, and shared stories from psychiatric professionals fly hard and fast. Indeed, this is no ordinary journalist, and yet he's a journalist through and through: never did he not show a deep interest in my story and my ideas, and he was an expert listener.

 

Because Bob was pressed for time (he gets something like 200 emails a day, not counting all the calls he gets as well as all his other work), our meeting was short and informal. We spoke about the tremendous waste associated with useless diagnostic tests psych med patients have had to explain their mysterious symptoms, only for everything to come back normal (Bob actually told me that he just recently had someone asking him for statistics on just this issue!), some choice statistics (15% of US babies are born to parents on psych meds), and Bob's plans for his foundation.

 

Speaking of the foundation, Bob has now posted a detailed and informative post on his blog about the foundation, its inception, its goals, and future plans. The link is below. This is must-reading, but you already knew that.

 

In addition to this post, I will be receiving more information from Bob not just about the foundation but about psychiatry in general and his research when I interview him this Monday (the 4th). I stressed to Bob the importance of direct patient involvement in the foundation and he fully agreed. I firmly believe that patients have been left out of the psychiatric research equation for too long, and I look forward to voicing many of the psychiatric patient community's concerns when I speak with him on Monday. I am currently firming up my questions, but so far some topics include: PSSD (this symptom has been a dirty, agonizing secret for too long, and that silence MUST stop), protracted withdrawal (I don't know if Bob quite understands yet that protracted withdrawal can lead to swelling disability rolls as much as being ON medications), the surviving antidepressants forum (of course), and suggestions for research studies in his foundation. I also want to remind him that one of the KEY tasks for psychiatry going forward won't just be to revise prescription protocols, but to CLEAN UP THE MESS that psychiatry has left, i.e.: healing those damaged by meds, such as those on this site. It simply isn't acceptable to reform psychiatry going forward and leave those deeply injured and wronged by meds behind to fend for themselves.

 

***I invite everyone on this board to submit any questions they want Bob to answer to this thread! I can't guarantee I'll get to them all, but I will try my best. Now is your chance to have your voice heard! Remember, we're all in this together! So far, I have one question, submitted by compsports, regarding psych meds worsening LD issues. I actually asked Bob this question during the lunch, but he was unable to answer it because he needed more details on this patient's medication background. So, if compsports could either post here their med history or PM me it, that would be much appreciated.

 

I will hopefully be recording this interview and then converting it to an mp3 file and uploading it to a file sharing site. I will post the link to the file in this forum, of course.

 

BLOG LINK: http://madinamerica.com/madinamerica.com/Whitaker.html

 

Thank you so much Cinephile. Here is my medication history as best I remember it.

 

Diagnosed with LD in 1995 prior to being placed on psych meds

1995 to 1996 - Prozac and Ritalin

1996 - 1998 - After my Prozac and Ritalin doses were doubled, I became suicidal and then was cold turkeyed off of the meds. I was put on Serzone. When that wasn't effective, Remeron, Effexor, and Trazadone were added. It was a miracle I didn't get Serotonin Syndrome.

1998 -2001 - Med Combination changed to Zoloft, Adderall, and Remeron.

2002 - 2004 - After Zoloft caused agitation, tried Prozac and Luvox to no avail. Ended up on a combination of St. Johns Wort, Adderall, and Remeron

2004 to 2006 - Wellbutrin XL, Adderall, and Remeron. I thought St. Johns Wort wasn't working but I know realize the meds were pooping out

2006 - Doxepin added to Wellbutrin XL, Adderall, and Remeron because I wasn't sleeping

August 2006 - Started tapering the meds

June 2010 - Finished tapering everything

 

CS

 

Cinephile,

 

Thank you for updating us on what happened with your meeting with Bob. It sounded extremely exciting.

 

Good luck with your interview. You will do great and I know we all look forward to hearing the recording.

 

CS

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cinephile

Got it. Thanks compsports. I'll pass this info onto Bob on Monday.

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Healing

Cinephile -- Thank you so much for having this meeting and then scheduling the interview. You and R.W. sound like thrilling revolutionaries. Thank you for telling us about it. You write so well that I feel like I was there. Thank you for sharing the book dedication -- so sweet! Will ponder whether I have any questions to add.

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Neuroplastic

What Healing says! Thank you once more!

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Altostrata

Thanks so much, cine.

 

That inscription made me cry.

 

About the foundation -- I'm confused. It sounds like Bob resigned from one research foundation, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, because of conflict of interest. I'll call that foundation FEMHC.

 

FEMHC sponsored the Oregon Symposium, at which plans for FEMHC research areas were laid out. (One is medication withdrawal -- this is where we can participate.)

 

Don and Lisbeth Cooper of CooperRiis Healing Community are planning to donate $2 million to FEMHC to implement its plan. CooperRiis is a holistic mental health facility that helps patients recover from mental illness without drugs.

 

Does Bob plan to start yet another research institute? Perhaps one more "radical" than FEMHC?

 

Also, I know Bob considers withdrawal syndrome to be a side issue, so getting it on his agenda is going to be difficult. Also, his focus is the more serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia rather than depression, because medicine's offenses against those people are more obvious (and undeniably horrific).

 

In your next conversation with him, please point out to him the numbers: of the 30 million or so people over the age of 6 on psychiatric drugs in the US, 90 percent are on antidepressants. This can be extrapolated to the entire developed world. It means that millions and millions of people are at risk for withdrawal syndrome and, indeed, the epidemic might be hidden among the walking wounded.

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cinephile

Thanks so much for all the replies everyone!

 

Also, I know Bob considers withdrawal syndrome to be a side issue, so getting it on his agenda is going to be difficult. Also, his focus is the more serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia rather than depression, because medicine's offenses against those people are more obvious (and undeniably horrific).

 

In your next conversation with him, please point out to him the numbers: of the 30 million or so people over the age of 6 on psychiatric drugs in the US, 90 percent are on antidepressants. This can be extrapolated to the entire developed world. It means that millions and millions of people are at risk for withdrawal syndrome and, indeed, the epidemic might be hidden among the walking wounded.

Yes, everything you said. I don't think Bob yet realizes that there are plenty of people who only became disabled by meds once they went OFF the medication. And, of course, SSRIs are the most prevalent psych meds (although it appears atypicals are racing to catch up, which is of course terrifying as those things are, if anything, perhaps WORSE than SSRIs!). If we want as many people as possible to return to work and live happy, productive lives, then Bob and the rest of the psych reform movement MUST include those OFF meds in the group of those disabled by meds. I will of course mention all this to him in my interview.

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Healing

In your next conversation with him, please point out to him the numbers: of the 30 million or so people over the age of 6 on psychiatric drugs in the US, 90 percent are on antidepressants. This can be extrapolated to the entire developed world. It means that millions and millions of people are at risk for withdrawal syndrome and, indeed, the epidemic might be hidden among the walking wounded.

 

Unfortunately, I think we can extrapolate this to the developing world, too. Big Pharma is on the defensive now in the West -- facing litigation and regulation, scaling back R&D -- so, what are they doing? Peddling their wares in Africa.

 

Cinephile and Sur -- If you reflect on it, do you have any sense of why RW hasn't grokked the importance of post-med neuro damage and recovery? He's plenty smart! And it can't be accounted for just by the relative severity of anti-psychotics over SSRIs, because anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers give persistent damage to recover from, too.

 

I don't mean to put you on the spot in any way. I just haven't thought about RW as much as you have, and I'm trying to brainstorm ways of raising his consciousness about w/d. It seems to me that a first step in doing that is to understand better why he doesn't see *this* part of the system's iatrogenesis as easily as he sees other parts.

 

Just thinking out loud. And curious....

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Altostrata

...Cinephile and Sur -- If you reflect on it, do you have any sense of why RW hasn't grokked the importance of post-med neuro damage and recovery? He's plenty smart! And it can't be accounted for just by the relative severity of anti-psychotics over SSRIs, because anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers give persistent damage to recover from, too...

 

He started out looking at psychiatric institutionalization. By the time a poor unfortunate is institutionalized, he or she has a psychosis-type diagnosis, even if it's iatrogenic.

 

Bob saw a lot of serious disability in people on medications, maybe he thinks post-drug dysfunction is a continuation of that rather than withdrawal syndrome per se?

 

What's different about antidepressant withdrawal syndrome is it makes people who were mostly functional on the drug (and before the drug) non-functional.

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cinephile

He started out looking at psychiatric institutionalization. By the time a poor unfortunate is institutionalized, he or she has a psychosis-type diagnosis, even if it's iatrogenic.

 

Bob saw a lot of serious disability in people on medications, maybe he thinks post-drug dysfunction is a continuation of that rather than withdrawal syndrome per se?

 

What's different about antidepressant withdrawal syndrome is it makes people who were mostly functional on the drug (and before the drug) non-functional.

Again, what Sur said. I will be bringing up this issue to Bob on Monday as it is a huge one, equally as important as raising awareness about people's disability ON drugs.

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Healing

OK, that was helpful. Thanks! Now, what I'm about to say is wildly speculative -- I don't know this guy at all -- but it's so important that he grasp AD / benzo w/d, that I'm going to mention one hypothesis for you to keep in mind when you meet with him.

 

Even though he has had a great awakening in coming to see the iatrogenesis of antipsychotic meds, it might still be overwhelming to see that the problem is even more widespread than he realized and affects high-functioning, reasonably well-adjusted people like him and his friends.

 

There is still a distance between him and people dealing with schizophrenia. But, it strikes closer to home when you realize that someone just like you could be devastated for a long time by a *really* commonly prescribed drug.

 

So, it might be helpful to keep ths possibility in mind as you talk to him. That even revolutionaries sometimes have trouble facing yet another layer of the matrix. And, it might help him to swallow this if you really emphasize a few times that everyone still gets well from this long-lasting iatrogenesis.

 

Yes, it's even worse than he thought, but it still ends well, and we can do more to make it go even better for more people. That, just as he feels he can do something about the first set of problems, something *can* be done about this new set of problems he is being introduced to. Furthermore, *he* doesn't have to do it -- he's already doing plenty. But, just his being aware of it and occasionally lending his name to the cause would be a lot.

 

Thank you, Cinephile!

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cinephile

Even though he has had a great awakening in coming to see the iatrogenesis of antipsychotic meds, it might still be overwhelming to see that the problem is even more widespread than he realized and affects high-functioning, reasonably well-adjusted people like him and his friends.

 

There is still a distance between him and people dealing with schizophrenia. But, it strikes closer to home when you realize that someone just like you could be devastated for a long time by a *really* commonly prescribed drug.

Excellent point healing. I'll bring this up to him.

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Altostrata

Also, H., he may know how big the problem is but is picking his spots. He may believe that treatment of schizophrenia, etc. and its aftermath most clearly illustrates his theses.

 

He surely has read everything by Giovanni Fava, who has warned about the risks of withdrawal syndrome and been involved in the few studies that have been done on it.

 

Prolonged withdrawal syndrome is a very tough sell, which is why we need those case reports. Having a lot of evidence in one place is the only way we're going to support our arguments.

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Hopeful

Even though he has had a great awakening in coming to see the iatrogenesis of antipsychotic meds, it might still be overwhelming to see that the problem is even more widespread than he realized and affects high-functioning, reasonably well-adjusted people like him and his friends.

 

...But, it strikes closer to home when you realize that someone just like you could be devastated for a long time by a *really* commonly prescribed drug.

 

 

 

Very important point!

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Neuroplastic

yet another layer of the matrix.

And so it is, and in an invisible pandemic kind of way. The Lie so big that the lie it isn't.

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