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KerryLynn

Can I share your story to help wake up other psychotherapists?

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KerryLynn

I am a psychotherapist who feels I am one of the very few around me who are aware of the dangers inherent in taking psychiatric medication. I finally, after a couple of attempts, have been approved to present on this topic at the annual LPC, Licensed Professional Counselors Association, conference this year in October in Charlotte, NC. I was wondering if any of you would be willing to share a brief account of the effects of psychiatric medication to you and your life. I have only been given 1 and a half hours to present, although I requested 3, and I have a lot of ground to cover. I was finally able to gain access as I have also offered to present on the impacts of diet, nutrition, lifestyle changes to improve mood and cognitive function. So I would need the story to be concise. If you are interested, please let me know. I would be grateful for any assistance with this effort. Kindly, Kerry

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Altostrata

What a great idea, Kerry! Thanks so much for doing this. These personal stories can be very powerful.

 

We have lots of stories where people are not getting the understanding they need from therapists. Do you want to hear about that in particular?

 

Would it be possible for you to report back here on how your presentation was received at the conference? We'd all be fascinated.

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ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

It may be helpful to read these submissions, and you could share the link during your presentation:

 

PE01651: Prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal

 

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed

 

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

 

There are submissions of both medical professionals as well as sufferers from around the world.  My submission was accepted.  Two weeks after reducing my 100mg Pristq to 50mg, I couldn't type (typist for 40+ years) and only about 4 hours after updosing I was able to type again.

 

There are about 300 public submissions available to read.  They are concise case studies of people who have suffered from withdrawal and adverse reactions from psychiatric drugs.

 

You are welcome to share my story.  I am now down to 2.75mg Pristiq (compounded).  This is what I submitted to the Scottish Parliament:

 

On 2/26/2018 at 10:07 AM, ChessieCat said:

My submission to the Scottish Parliament:

_______________________________

PE1651/TBC

Submission of 5 February 2018

 

I am a 60 year old female.  Antidepressants for approximately 25 years.

 

I now believe that if I had received appropriate counselling and support and been taught, and used, non drug coping techniques that I would never have needed to take a psychiatric drug.

 

My background, year and age:

 

1976 – 19 – father died, broken engagement

1977 – 20 – mother remarried

1980 – 23 – married

1982 – 25 – 31 year old husband had mild heart attack

1985 – 28 – unexpected emergency caesarean

1987 – 30 – husband open heart surgery for 4 by passes, ended up having 7

1988 – 30 – caesarean after trial labour

1992?  35 – first antidepressant use

1994 – 37 – husband home permanently – Wegners Granulomatosis

1999 – 41 – husband’s death

 

Originally prescribed Prozac which caused weak muscles.  I ended up having trouble walking because it affected my hips like when you are pregnant and your ligaments loosen.

 

Long term citalopram prior to current one.  Late 2010 to late 2011 I had about 5 major life stressors.  I had a major breakdown at my daughter’s wedding.  From what I now know about ADs I think that the citalopram may have reached tolerance.

 

During 2012 I decided to cold turkey citalopram.  I felt great for a few months but then became very sick, basically bed ridden, for about 2 and ½ weeks with what felt like the flu with aches and pains but was not the flu.  I had no appetite and had trouble eating and lost 8 kgs in weight.  From what I now know I believe that this was withdrawal from the cold turkey of citalopram.

 

Not long after this I was prescribed Pristiq 50mg.  I was told by the psychologist that I would be on an antidepressant for life because it was like a diabetic needs insulin.  I felt okay and had incredible focus but felt no pleasure in anything.  The Pristiq dose was increased to 100mg.  I started feeling more pleasure.

 

My diastolic blood pressure rose after increasing to 100mg Pristiq and my regular doctor did not make the association between the two and increased my BP medication.

 

Every now and then my heart would feel like it “flipped”, which other people may use the term miss a beat.

 

Almost every day I would have a 2 hour sleep and still sleep through the night.

It wasn’t until my dose got lower that I realised that I had been feeling constantly on edge and unsettled.

 

2015 I realised that I was sweating a lot in the middle of winter.  I also had aches and pains.  I began researching Pristiq side effects and realised that I was most likely suffering serotonin toxicity.  

 

October 2015 I reduced my dose from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq.  I experienced extreme cog/brain fog for 2 weeks and everything I did required my undivided attention, even walking.  I began researching antidepressant withdrawal.  That was when I discovered the website survivingantidepressants.org.  Several days later  I was unable to type.  Being a professional typist since the age of 16 I knew that something wasn’t right.  It had been suggested by the website moderators that I increase my dose of Pristiq.  When I couldn’t type I took extra Pristiq and after about 4 hours I was able to type again.  Because I had a benchmark I knew that it was because I had reduced my Pristiq too quickly. 

 

In Australia Pristiq is only available in doses of 50mg and 100mg and the advice by Pfizer is that tablets should be taken whole.  Thankfully other members on the Surviving Antidepressants forum had successfully cut Pristiq tablets and also had them compounded with slow release formula and experienced no problems.  I was fortunate enough to locate a compounding pharmacy which has been compounding my Pristiq for me since November 2015.  Surviving Antidepressants recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose every 4 weeks.  I have been using this recommendation as a guideline for my taper.

 

After I updosed I held at 75mg for 2 months.  I then attempted a 10% reduction.  By the 3rd day I had intense and painful ear pressure and a front of brain headache.  I realised that I could not continue to tolerate the pain and pressure and I updosed by 2.5 mg to 70 mg.  This made a big difference.  Again within a few hours I felt relief as the pressure subsided and I only had a very mild headache which lessened over the next few days.  After 3 more weeks I reduced by 2.5 mg to 67.5 mg and only suffered tolerable ear pressure for a few days.

 

When I got to 50mg I held for 3 months.  I did a 7 week hold at 20mg.

 

As my dose got lower I started to feel more like my old self.  I started to realise how numbed my emotions had been over the many years on an antidepressant.  In May 2017 I bought a new car and felt some excitement (25mg Pristiq) but it wasn’t until September 2017 (19mg Pristiq) that I experienced real excitement and realised that back in May it had been a dulled excitement. 

 

As at the beginning of February 2018 I am down to 13mg.  Even though I have been tapering carefully I have still been experiencing withdrawal symptoms.  Thankfully they are mild but there are times when I am unable to do certain things.  It is mainly cognitive things which are affected but I do experience physical withdrawal symptoms as well.  Trouble concentrating and reading, mild anxiety, random thoughts, appetite changes, muscle cramps, occasional sleep issues.

 

I appreciate the opportunity of relating my experience.

_______________________________

 

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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Shep
On 7/12/2019 at 12:43 PM, KerryLynn said:

I am a psychotherapist who feels I am one of the very few around me who are aware of the dangers inherent in taking psychiatric medication.

 

Kerry, you may already be aware of the research that Dr. Giovanni Fava and his colleagues are doing to educate psychologists and therapists, but if not, here are a couple of links:

 

Fava, 2017 The Potential Role of Iatrogenic Comorbidity in the Interaction between Pharmacotherapy and Psychotherapy in Anxiety Disorders

 

Tomba, 2017 What psychologists need to know about psychotropic medications (only the abstract is available for free, but you may be able to get the full paper with your professional access for research). 

 

On 7/12/2019 at 12:43 PM, KerryLynn said:

I was finally able to gain access as I have also offered to present on the impacts of diet, nutrition, lifestyle changes to improve mood and cognitive function.

 

With 1 in 6 people in America taking a psychiatric drug, it's likely that the majority of their patients are on at least one of these drugs, so a lot of their problems may be iatrogenic.  So they need to be aware that their patients' behavior may be due to symptoms of withdrawal and / or side effects that cause neuro-emotions and autonomic dysfunction or autonomic neuropathy

 

Many people are going on these drugs and younger and younger ages, so learning how to cope with the usual stressors and triggers of life without a drug are part of the process of healing from this iatrogenic damage. But it's important that therapists not blame the individual for the iatrogenic symptoms, but rather, teach them how to cope until they are healed. 

 

Therapies that include mindfulness, breathing techniques, trauma sensitive yoga, music therapy, etc. can all be very beneficial for people going through withdrawal. However, it's important for therapists to understand that there will be times when the symptoms are so severe, simply having a caring and nonjudgemental person to talk to is what is needed most. 

 

As far as nutrition goes, many of us are no longer able to tolerate supplements during withdrawal, so we need to target our diet to give us what we need. You may be interested in the Beyond Meds website. This is written by a Surviving Antidepressants member, GiaK, and has some really great articles. 

 

Beyond Meds - Diet and Nutrition

 

 

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GiaK

Hi Kerry,

I'm in North Carolina and someone personally impacted by drug injury. I'm also an ex-social worker who worked in the mental health system and saw what was going on from both a professional and personal place. I have a website. If you're interested I'd love to be there and help you out...of course if that is totally outside the scope of what you had in mind that is not a problem.

 

This is my work. Even if we don't get to meet it might help as a resource:  

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

https://beyondmeds.com/

 

there are lots of stories on the site as well 

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catali

Yes very happy to. In UK. Just recovering from disastrous and badly advised discontinuation. Very little help here. Taken me 18 months to recover; have lost my job; nearly lost my family; have a lot of neurological problems as a result and still have to taper off 10mg paroxetine and 35mg amitriptyline.

 

Horrified by what has happened to me. I am nearly 60 now...I function less well than my 80 year old mother, both physically and mentally.

 

I was put on seroxat c25yrs ago when the drug was hailed as a new wonder drug...a better alternative to Prozac which was begining to get a bad name. I became suicidal (never ever happened before), and was sectioned.

 

Since then every attempt to come off the meds resulted in severe anxiety states which were diagnosed as a return to my depressive illness. I now know it was a result of discontinuation not my illness. I don't suffer from generalised anxiety disorder, I suffer from discontinuation syndrome. Neurologist diagnoses fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue both of which get gradually worse.

 

The side effects of discontinuation are so severe I remember thinking i would rather die than go through this again. I still think that. Everyone has described them quite clearly but briefly; intense anxiety, almost complete insomnia, severe and continuous sweating, neurological spasms (akathesia, brain zaps etc) and gut/digestion failure were some of the worst.

 

No one could explain or, I suspect, even believe what was happening to me until I found this and other websites and forums. First question from crisis team psychiatrist when I expressed the desire to get off seroxat was "well what are you going to do next time you get depressed?" There was absolutely nothing she could suggest to help other than putting me on 6-9month waiting lists for CBT or psychotherapy. I should have been in a detox unit.

 

I scared the life out of family and friends who did their utmost to care for me. I eventually found some support through a local charity, the council's Wellbeing service which is about to be closed down due to cuts, and a counselling charity.

 

Hope the above helps. Please use it if you can.

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kiki2015

Hello kerryLynn,

I would like to take part. I can help you by sharing my story but I'd like to keep it anonymous.

 

Kiki2015

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