Jump to content

Adolescents on psych drugs: how do they develop? An adult with such a history responds


GiaK
 Share

Recommended Posts

I couldn't find the thread now but we were talking about teenagers and being young on these drugs...this post might interest those of us who participated in that thread. I'd forgotten about this post...I think Danielle's story is very telling and not all that unusual....

 

Because I now schedule posts from the archives on a twitter account, I am delving into the archives like never before. In among those over 3,000 posts there are often things I find worth reposting. Here today is one of those pieces from about a year ago.

 

I got an email from Danielle, a reader who was moved to write me when she read my speculation about what might happen to young people who are on psychotropic drugs when they should be developing sexually. I wondered and made these comments:

What happens when the normal drive for sex and orgasm and romantic love is muted or altogether absent because the kids are on SSRI or SNRI antidepressants (and/or other psych drugs)? My friend talked with an adolescent counselor and she’s noticed that these kids are strangely uninterested in romantic love and sometimes even appear to be asexual.

and from the first time I posted these thoughts I said:

 

And then when you think about all the kids on these drugs who simply don’t develop normally. Teenage hormones are part of growing up. What happens when you skip that developmental stage? What happens if you never enter it at all due to a lifetime of being on drugs? We are stopping the human experience from happening. read this post here

So Danielle wrote to tell me what it was like for her as an adolescent who became an adult while on these drugs

 

Hello Gianna-

I was put on meds at 15 for “depression”, and was on a laundry list of antidepressants and benzos, and later mood stabilizers and antipsychotics for the next 15 years. So from 15-30 I was medicated. I eventually decided to come off, and took myself through the over 1 year process of weaning off meds. Your blog and your resources were so amazingly helpful – thank you.

I’ve been med free for almost 2 years now and dealing with the fallout of the hormonal suppression through adolescence. In a word – it’s chaos, and my marriage may very well not survive. Try having your body and mind telling you you’re 15 (because it’s trying desperately to heal itself and catch up developmentally), when you’re 32. The meds kept me from doing all the individuation and exploration and personal expansion that most people get to go through in their 20s. Now I’m struggling with an intense drive to be on my own to “find myself” as if I was in university…but, again, I’m 32 and married. (continued)

 

for the links from the above text and to finish the article go here: http://wp.me/p5nnb-7ck

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The evolutionary impact of this is mindboggling. I often read reports saying that 1 in 10 Americans are on psychiatric drugs (or "antidepressants"). In my life, the percentage is much higher and I wonder why that is. Am I part of a group that has greater access to healthcare and drugs (insurance)? Or, are physicians coding charts in a way that doesn't get counted (ie. Without diagnosis).

 

I've heard several people say they are not taking any psych meds and "just 10mg of Seroquel for sleep" or "just Xanax for anxiety". The blurring of the terms "antidepressant", "antipsychotic", "sleep med", etc. is terribly problematic, imho.

 

The most frightening by far is the use of SS/NRIs in most chronic pain patients. The fear of addiction with opiates is so exaggerated and physicians are being forced to use SS/NRIs and "membrane stabilizing agents" (Neurontin, etc.) because they are "non-addictive". My pain management physician is very high up in that world and is part of the steering committee writing these guidelines. He told me this a few days ago. (MTUS Guidelines - Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule).

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).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The evolutionary impact of this is mindboggling. I often read reports saying that 1 in 10 Americans are on psychiatric drugs (or "antidepressants"). In my life, the percentage is much higher and I wonder why that is. Am I part of a group that has greater access to healthcare and drugs (insurance)? Or, are physicians coding charts in a way that doesn't get counted (ie. Without diagnosis).

 

I don't think psych meds "subscriptions" are dependent on having insurance. My state just settled with JNJ over Risperdal and it was public health programs that paid for 85% of the Risperdal written. I guess the antipsychotics draw a different crowd than the antidepressants. One in 10 on ADs is staggering though. One in 10 Americans ir roughly 30 million people. Barack Obama got 65 million votes in 2008. 30 million is a huge number and were just talking ADs, I believe.

 

The most frightening by far is the use of SS/NRIs in most chronic pain patients. The fear of addiction with opiates is so exaggerated and physicians are being forced to use SS/NRIs and "membrane stabilizing agents" (Neurontin, etc.) because they are "non-addictive". My pain management physician is very high up in that world and is part of the steering committee writing these guidelines. He told me this a few days ago. (MTUS Guidelines - Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule).

 

I know that elavil and cymbals top the list of meds for chronic pelvic pain disorders, so says my physical therapist. I think you're right that the stink of opiates plays a part in the hesitation to write them. I think it comes from doctors liability. A person can kill himself (not the easiest thing to do though) with opiates. Addiction and other bad outcomes can happen with opiates. Bad outcomes happen with ADs of course but doctors aren't held accountable except in rare instances.

 

Whereas doc puts his behind on the line if he writes a pain pill or a stimulant or a barbituate (of course) and to a degree a benzo too.

 

It's always easier to get strattera than adderall...

"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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers, has written on the impact of SSRIs on intimate relationships, love, mating, etc. It's somewhat speculative but highly plausible, in my view. She basically argues that the damping down of emotion and the complacency (my term) that the drugs cause short-circuits the drive for close, intimate relationship. And of course sexual dysfunction contributes greatly, as well. She suggests that this is both an individual and social-level problem. I think it is partly why I'm single at the age of fifty (having taken sertraline from 33-49).

 

I'm not sure if she speaks directly to the effects on adolescents, which I would assume are of particular importance because the drugs at that age can affect not just normal functioning but the development of all this stuff.

 

There's an overview article from the L.A. Times at: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jul/30/health/he-antidepressants30

 

There's also a Youtube video of a lecture she gave, should be easy to find.

 

And alonger, more technical chapter at: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:1endfXo88K8J:www.helenfisher.com/downloads/articles/18ecn.pdf+helen+fisher+ssri+mit&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiN5tIpEzlzEoFYtEBwGOD6eWNMEOjIkcVVZ4WO4-G8Cb1_uZwXZT7X--dRdP90Ls8eupFQFtmVWIC6J__ka7ynXqcIaXApJMNKvIQuEkDYMtOGTAmc6piuucSSLV9j0Au0KJSd&sig=AHIEtbTolcpM1E9f7b1UuuxRa_ct6c_Wfg

1994-2009 50-100 mg Zoloft (plus tried Effexor, Lexapro, Wellbutrin at times)
5/'09-7/'09 taper off Zoloft
7/'09-12/'09 no zoloft, rough times after ~ 2 mos.
1/'10-6/'10 50 mg zoloft
6/'10-1/'11 slow taper
2/'11-7/'11 off entirely, ok for 2-3 mos., then rough
7/'11-9/'11 50 mg
9/15/'11 - 11/15/'11 taper off
11/15/'11 - 2/'11 clean, doing well but with some PSSD
2/'11 - 6/'11 depression creeps back, fairly significant by May.

6/'14 (long time...!)  life is good, full recovery, at least in terms of SSRI addiction.  Still digging out from the social and professional hole that it all left me in, but despite the loss of far too many years to this business I'm basically doing pretty well.  Still some depression at times, even severe on occasion, but clearly related to past trauma and current circumstances, all things that I am continuing to work through and work on.  I'd say it took at least six months and perhaps a year to fully get back to normal (neuro-psychologically and sexually) after the last dose in 2011.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers, has written on the impact of SSRIs on intimate relationships, love, mating, etc. It's somewhat speculative but highly plausible, in my view. She basically argues that the damping down of emotion and the complacency (my term) that the drugs cause short-circuits the drive for close, intimate relationship. And of course sexual dysfunction contributes greatly, as well. She suggests that this is both an individual and social-level problem. I think it is partly why I'm single at the age of fifty (having taken sertraline from 33-49).

 

I'm not sure if she speaks directly to the effects on adolescents, which I would assume are of particular importance because the drugs at that age can affect not just normal functioning but the development of all this stuff.

yes, the article that I shared was a response to Helen Fisher's work that I'd featured in the post the previous day...a reader saw the post I wrote that included Fisher's work and felt moved to share. I agree her work is very important :

 

What happens to sexual development in adolescents who’ve grown up on psych meds? (and how these drugs impede normal bonding in ALL people) http://beyondmeds.com/2012/06/05/psychmedbonding/

 

I had speculated in the article about what this means for adolescents (and thus all of society)...

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With due respect the topic and a researcher I am not familiar with, Helen Fisher, I lately struggle to take findings from anthropologists with more than a grain of salt since their collective body disavowed the scientific method of other concerns. It's great to stand up for what you think is right (and maybe not as great to exclude anything you find tasteful a priori)...

 

Since I don't have specialized knowledge to validate the assumptions, I need to believe the researcher is representing the data in good faith. This is ever harder for me to believe, in all disciplines. But in anthropology, the American Anthropological Association seems to be letting me know in advance to not mistakenly assume an objective presentation. The other disciplines at least pretend to respect empiricism.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/science/10anthropology.html?_r=2&src=me&ref=general

"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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think of anthropology as a science...just like I don't consider psychology or psychiatry scientific either...

 

that doesn't mean one doesn't think about these issues...they're very important to think about IMO.

 

there is much about human nature that will never fit neatly into a scientific model...I'm okay with that...I try not to ever attach to beliefs in any case...and stay flexible.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there is much about human nature that will never fit neatly into a scientific model...I'm okay with that...I try not to ever attach to beliefs in any case...and stay flexible.

 

You bring a very good perspective. I really agree with not attaching to beliefs. Certain things come and go and I hope not to ever get swept up in the coming/going, like I was with Drugs, ever again.

"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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Have there been any studies or analyses about college completion or career in people treated with SS/NRIs and neuroleptics?

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).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know...it would be interesting to see the results of such an analysis

 

Considering the numbers of young people on psych disability (Whitaker) and worsened by drugs, it seems plausible that completion of education and interference of career would follow.

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).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah...I was in the midst of being psychiatrized in college too...it took me 9 years to graduate...

"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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy