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Ditch these psychiatry myths


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Now that the "chemical imbalance" theory has become an embarrassment, biological psychiatry is floundering for a rationale. Over the last few years, it's floated a few theories and gotten a lot of money to spend on research.

 

However, NOTHING has yet panned out as the biological basis of mood disorders or even schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or autism.

 

Still, you may find articles that appear to speak authoritatively about the biological basis of so-called mental illness. Beware of this.

 

References to these are red flags:

 

- "Chemical imbalance" theory of depression

- "Brain inflammation" theory of depression

- Measuring glutamate in the nervous system (it's perhaps the most common neurotransmitter)

- Depression causing brain shrinkage or a loss of neurons anywhere in the brain

- Antidepressants reverse brain shrinkage caused by depression

- Mood disorders are based in genetics

- Mood disorders are caused by "diseased brain circuits"

- Anything involving brain scans, fMRIs, or neuroimaging that finds a brain pattern parallel to thoughts or feelings

 

There is no evidence or highly questionable evidence for all of the above.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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The funny thing is that on the ground I wonder how often psychiatrists even have to reach into their grab bag of newer explanations. Maybe when the characters in Hunger Games explain how chemical imbalance is a silly, made-up nonexplanation then it will sink in. I'm not sure the average 'consumer' has yet gotten word.

 

In my life, I hear 'chemical imbalance' all the time from a handful of people I know who take meds (for OCD, depression and anxiety) and believe the meds allow them to pretty functional lives -- that they correct their chemical imbalance. I hear it because they complain about it. The complaint is of the burden on them, having to hide their diagnosis at work or from a spouse's family when it's a legitimate disease due to their legitimate chemical imbalance. They lament at the ignorance around them, that chemical imbalances are still not understood so they are stuck in the closet.

 

They think we're making progress though. Since they believe medication will be necessary for the rest of their lives, they are hopeful one day society will stop judging people like them as defective and realize it's just their chemical imbalance, like diabetes they so often say.

 

Yea, so these folks I know are like multiple levels behind. And they are not hopeless, illiterate, reality-TV-junkie cases. One of the people I'm referring to is an LPC and another is a nurse practioner at a nursing home.

 

Some magazine should just run a cover: You Don't Have a Chemical Imbalance

 

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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One more: This medicine is not addictive...

10 mg Paxil/Seroxat since 2002
several attempts to quit since 2004
Quit c/t again Oktober 2007, in protracted w/d since then
after 3.5 years slight improvement but still on the road

after 6 years pretty much recovered but still some nasty residual sypmtons
after 8.5 years working again on a 90% base and basically functioning normally again!

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

'chemical imbalance'

Alex

 

These approaches have as much scientific validity as phrenology.

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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meistersinger

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on April 9 th that espousing another of these myths.

History:

1995--Prozac--Quit CT by GP

1995--Effexor--Quit per my GP

1996--Amitriphene--Quit CT when changed GP

2005--Citalopram and BusPar. Prescribed when I decompensated in my GP's office. GP referred me to behavior health. Psychiatrist prescibed these drugs. Taken off citalopram in 2011 due to FDA warning. Quit Buspar during transition to viibryd.

Viibryd--2011 to present. Had a severe reaction in March 2012. Advised both GP and Psychiatrist I was trying to get off these drugs.

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  • Administrator

Yes, they're all over the Web and the media. There's a lot of misinformation out there.

 

Psychiatry goes through fads, right now there's a big fad for brain imaging.

 

If you have a chance, point out in comments on other articles that their evidence is, at best, questionable.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Claudius, I agree.

B

2005 St John's Wort / 2006-2012 Lexapro 20mg, 2 failed attempts to stop, tapered over 4.5 months in early 2012

January 2013 started Sertraline, over time worked up to 100mg

July 2014 Sertraline dropped from 100mg to 75mg, held for six months, slower tapering until 2019 22 Dec 3.2mg

2020 Sertraline 19 Jan 3.1mg, 26 Jan 3.0mg; 1 Mar 2.9, 7 Mar 2.8, May (some drops here) 24 May 2.5, May 29 2.4, June 21 2.3, June 28 2.2mg,  July 4 2.1mg, July 24 (or maybe a bit before) 2mg, early Nov switched to home made suspension; 29 Nov 1.8mg; approx 25 Dec 1.6mg)

2021 Some time in about Jan/Feb realised my dosing was off and as probably on more like 1.8mg and possible mixing error in making suspension; doses after 10 Feb accurate; 10 Feb 1.6mg; 7 Mar 1.4

 

My thread here at SA: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/1775-bubbles/page/17/

CurrentSertraline: 7 Mar 1.4mg / Armour Thyroid / endless allergy meds, erg

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

These approaches have as much scientific validity as phrenology.

 

WHAT??? You mean these bumps on my head don't mean anything? Oh, NO!!! :D:D:D

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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meistersinger

And here is the latest salvo in this disinformation campaign from the Wall Street Journal

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304587704577333941351135910.html?fb_ref=wsj_share_FB&fb_source=home_multiline

History:

1995--Prozac--Quit CT by GP

1995--Effexor--Quit per my GP

1996--Amitriphene--Quit CT when changed GP

2005--Citalopram and BusPar. Prescribed when I decompensated in my GP's office. GP referred me to behavior health. Psychiatrist prescibed these drugs. Taken off citalopram in 2011 due to FDA warning. Quit Buspar during transition to viibryd.

Viibryd--2011 to present. Had a severe reaction in March 2012. Advised both GP and Psychiatrist I was trying to get off these drugs.

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  • Administrator

Note the article refers to brain scans.

 

These studies linking "stress" or "depression" to physical illness have these weaknesses:

 

1) Definitions of "stress" and "depression" are vague

2) Illness, even subclinical, can cause feelings of unease that might be called "depression"

 

By the way, I participated in one of the telomere studies at UCSF. My telomeres were average.

 

Telomeres can also change in length. You can make them longer by lifestyle changes -- healthy habits.

 

Psychiatry is trying very, very hard to find a biological basis for mood disorders, this pursuit of mood as a disease is one of the tracks it's taking.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I keep learning toward a chemical cause, but an externally imposed one such as pollution or exposure to toxic substances, contaminated or otherwise unhealthy food, or non-psychiatric prescription drugs. I get severly depressed from taking tetracycline, for instance, a very rare side effect.

 

Attitude has something to do with it as well, but I'm convinced (gut feeling, no evidence) that it isn't "all in our heads".

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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I keep leaning toward depression being a symptom, rather than a disease.

 

Initially my depression was, I believe, a symptom of thyroid disease. I may have learned to be depressed in that time, if that makes sense, and it may have been learned behaviour afer that. Or, I'd just had a baby, maybe it was a post-baby hormonal thing (that also triggered my first issue with hypothyroidism). I was treated with thyroxine for a few years and then we added T3 when I was severely depressed. (A number of years ago I found a study online that talked about "adequately" treated thyroid patients being statistically more likely to be (a) depressed and (B) 5kg/10lb?? heavier than the average population. Wish I could find that again, but I can't...)

 

Doc at the time also said I was sensitive to gluten, but my numbers were too low to consider it celiac disease, and it is *so* hard to give up gluten without a seriously good reason. He'd have liked me to give it up, though.

 

Interesting stuff.

Bubbles

2005 St John's Wort / 2006-2012 Lexapro 20mg, 2 failed attempts to stop, tapered over 4.5 months in early 2012

January 2013 started Sertraline, over time worked up to 100mg

July 2014 Sertraline dropped from 100mg to 75mg, held for six months, slower tapering until 2019 22 Dec 3.2mg

2020 Sertraline 19 Jan 3.1mg, 26 Jan 3.0mg; 1 Mar 2.9, 7 Mar 2.8, May (some drops here) 24 May 2.5, May 29 2.4, June 21 2.3, June 28 2.2mg,  July 4 2.1mg, July 24 (or maybe a bit before) 2mg, early Nov switched to home made suspension; 29 Nov 1.8mg; approx 25 Dec 1.6mg)

2021 Some time in about Jan/Feb realised my dosing was off and as probably on more like 1.8mg and possible mixing error in making suspension; doses after 10 Feb accurate; 10 Feb 1.6mg; 7 Mar 1.4

 

My thread here at SA: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/1775-bubbles/page/17/

CurrentSertraline: 7 Mar 1.4mg / Armour Thyroid / endless allergy meds, erg

 

 

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The smiley face - cute though it is - was meant to be a b in brackets...

B

2005 St John's Wort / 2006-2012 Lexapro 20mg, 2 failed attempts to stop, tapered over 4.5 months in early 2012

January 2013 started Sertraline, over time worked up to 100mg

July 2014 Sertraline dropped from 100mg to 75mg, held for six months, slower tapering until 2019 22 Dec 3.2mg

2020 Sertraline 19 Jan 3.1mg, 26 Jan 3.0mg; 1 Mar 2.9, 7 Mar 2.8, May (some drops here) 24 May 2.5, May 29 2.4, June 21 2.3, June 28 2.2mg,  July 4 2.1mg, July 24 (or maybe a bit before) 2mg, early Nov switched to home made suspension; 29 Nov 1.8mg; approx 25 Dec 1.6mg)

2021 Some time in about Jan/Feb realised my dosing was off and as probably on more like 1.8mg and possible mixing error in making suspension; doses after 10 Feb accurate; 10 Feb 1.6mg; 7 Mar 1.4

 

My thread here at SA: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/1775-bubbles/page/17/

CurrentSertraline: 7 Mar 1.4mg / Armour Thyroid / endless allergy meds, erg

 

 

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Every time I need help, I find it on this site from all of you.

Two nights ago I had a "meltdown" out to dinner with some people; I got quite upset and literally got up and walked out after telling them I was very upset about the discussion. Maybe not the most mature thing to do but nevertheless...

I got an email from one of them suggesting, among other things "to cut the s..t" and to "go back on antidepressants". Needless to say, I considered the latter and decided no way.

These feelings/reactions are real and I will have to deal with them. Medicating them will not help me live my life day by day.

I don't know if this makes any sense to you who are reading it but I know in my heart that the best antidepressant I can go on is to learn to live my way and it is not too late to learn that.

Yes, I cry a lot and feel lonely at times and also have a few good friends I can talk with and who understand and, of course, I have all of you.

Going back on antidepressants is not my answer.

Thanks again.

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Fefe, hugs...

B

2005 St John's Wort / 2006-2012 Lexapro 20mg, 2 failed attempts to stop, tapered over 4.5 months in early 2012

January 2013 started Sertraline, over time worked up to 100mg

July 2014 Sertraline dropped from 100mg to 75mg, held for six months, slower tapering until 2019 22 Dec 3.2mg

2020 Sertraline 19 Jan 3.1mg, 26 Jan 3.0mg; 1 Mar 2.9, 7 Mar 2.8, May (some drops here) 24 May 2.5, May 29 2.4, June 21 2.3, June 28 2.2mg,  July 4 2.1mg, July 24 (or maybe a bit before) 2mg, early Nov switched to home made suspension; 29 Nov 1.8mg; approx 25 Dec 1.6mg)

2021 Some time in about Jan/Feb realised my dosing was off and as probably on more like 1.8mg and possible mixing error in making suspension; doses after 10 Feb accurate; 10 Feb 1.6mg; 7 Mar 1.4

 

My thread here at SA: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/1775-bubbles/page/17/

CurrentSertraline: 7 Mar 1.4mg / Armour Thyroid / endless allergy meds, erg

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Psychiatry is trying very, very hard to find a biological basis for mood disorders, this pursuit of mood as a disease is one of the tracks it's taking.

 

I wonder what drug they will come up with to treat euthymia.

 

Schuyler

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Doc at the time also said I was sensitive to gluten, but my numbers were too low to consider it celiac disease, and it is *so* hard to give up gluten without a seriously good reason. He'd have liked me to give it up, though.

 

Interesting stuff.

Bubbles

 

Please don't ignore gluten intolerance. Continuing to eat gluten containing foods leads to damage of the digestive tract which results in nutritial deficiencies, and that can lead to a whole host of illnesses. There are nutritional deficiencies that manifest as depression and even psychosis. Here's a good, easy-to-read description of what gluten intolerance is and the risks of ignoring it:

 

http://glutenfreenetwork.com/faqs/symptoms-treatments/gluten-intolerance-symptoms-how-do-you-know-if-gluten-is-making-you-sick/

 

If you can cook and bake, there's no need to give up anything. There are gluten-free flours and pastas and more recipes than you'll live long enough to try. I've been eating gluten-free for years and it didn't take long to get used to it. There are lots of supermarket foods that contain gluten that you wouldn't suspect though, so there's a lot of label-reading involved.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Administrator

Low omega-3 fatty acids, low vitamin B12, low magnesium, not enough exercise, and eating too much sugar, fat, and artificial flavorings all affect neurological functioning and can contribute to "depression" or just feeling like cr*p.

 

The psychiatry establishment addresses none of this.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Administrator

OMG, I forgot to add one HUGE myth --

 

- The symptoms you get when you go off an antidepressant are relapse and prove you need the medication.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Barbarannamated

OMG, I forgot to add one HUGE myth --

 

- The symptoms you get when you go off an antidepressant are relapse and prove you need the medication.

 

HUGE *&%$

And different - I never had such mood swings and emotional eruptions as in the last year - the volatility is scary at times -

I think that one of Akiskal's 'bipolar subtypes' is due to w/d of antidepressant - he had 'identified' 6 subtypes the last I knew - more to medicate of course -he made an appearance in that obnoxious Stahl video - Pure B*****T -

Also paranoia (due to perceptual disturbances I think)-

And then there's the anger at the system and my blindness to it - Arggghhh :o

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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meistersinger

Note the article refers to brain scans.

 

These studies linking "stress" or "depression" to physical illness have these weaknesses:

 

1) Definitions of "stress" and "depression" are vague

2) Illness, even subclinical, can cause feelings of unease that might be called "depression"

 

By the way, I participated in one of the telomere studies at UCSF. My telomeres were average.

 

Telomeres can also change in length. You can make them longer by lifestyle changes -- healthy habits.

 

Psychiatry is trying very, very hard to find a biological basis for mood disorders, this pursuit of mood as a disease is one of the tracks it's taking.

 

Of course, this being the Wall Street Journal, they are definitly going to spout the company line.

History:

1995--Prozac--Quit CT by GP

1995--Effexor--Quit per my GP

1996--Amitriphene--Quit CT when changed GP

2005--Citalopram and BusPar. Prescribed when I decompensated in my GP's office. GP referred me to behavior health. Psychiatrist prescibed these drugs. Taken off citalopram in 2011 due to FDA warning. Quit Buspar during transition to viibryd.

Viibryd--2011 to present. Had a severe reaction in March 2012. Advised both GP and Psychiatrist I was trying to get off these drugs.

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Barbarannamated

There is very little that is not controlled or at least influenced by the power of pharma -advertising being the most obvious - TV/magazines/most medical journals and continuing ed/newspapers etc -

I think back to being a kid - I don't recall the term 'depression' being used - I again find myself trying to recall when the emotions of everyday life -sadness/grief/fear/anger/boredom/loneliness/apathy - came to be so accepted as 'THE DISORDER KNOWN TO BE DEPRESSION' that we automatically diagnose ourselves in day to day conversation and with doctors -

The lexicon has woven its way so deeply into how we think and react - I hear newscasters 'diagnosing' people in crime reports - s/he 'must be bipolar' or 'went off their meds' (I admit to doing the same from a different perspective and thinking different drugs) -

There is growing recognition that hallucinations and voices are not necessarily pathological and yet we are continuing to medicalize human emotions when we speak of 'rebound or relapse depression' -

*This is not to minimize anyone's suffering- it is REAL and I know that*

There must be guidelines to rule out measureable physiological causes first and use therapies long before resorting to psychoactive chemicals whose mechanisms are theoretical at best and unmeasureable -

Hormone fluctuations should NEVER be treated with chemicals that disrupt hormone and endocrine function in unknown ways -

This molding of our thinking is Orwellian -

 

Zager and Evans overshot by several years:

 

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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