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Bob Whitaker responds to Peter Kramer's NYT article


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I'm sure at least some of you know about psychiatrist Peter Kramer's recent article in the New York Times which seeks to defend antidepressants. A lot of his argument centers on critiquing Irving Kirsch's analysis of the original industry-funded FDA drug trials of antidepressants.

 

Well, Robert Whitaker has just posted a detailed response to Kramer's article and critiqued Kramer's arguments. Whitaker basically argues that Kramer vastly misrepresented Kirsch's analyses and conclusions, among other things. Interesting reading to say the least!

 

Link to Kramer's original NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/opinion/sunday/10antidepressants.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

 

Link to Whitaker's Response: http://madinamerica.com/madinamerica.com/Whitaker.html

Been on SSRIs since 1998:

1998-2005: Paxil in varying doses

2005-present: Lexapro.

2006-early '08: Effexor AND Lexapro! Good thing I got off the Effexor rather quickly (within a year).

 

**PSYCHIATRY: TAKE YOUR CHEMICAL IMBALANCE AND CHOKE ON IT!

APA=FUBAR

FDA=SNAFU

NIMH=LMFAO

 

Currently tapering Lexapro ~10% every month:

 

STARTING: 15 mg

11/7/10: 13.5 mg

12/7/10: 12.2 mg

1/6/11: 10.9 mg

2/3/11: 9.8 mg

3/3/11: 8.8 mg

4/1/11: 7.8 mg

4/29/11: 7 mg

5/27/11: 6.4 mg

6/24/11: 5.7 mg

7/22/11: 5 mg

8/18/11: 4.5 mg

9/14/11: 4 mg

10/13/11: 3.6 mg

11/9/11: 3.2 mg

12/7/11: 2.6 mg

1/3/12: 2.1 mg

2/2/12: 1.8 mg

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I'm sure at least some of you know about psychiatrist Peter Kramer's recent article in the New York Times which seeks to defend antidepressants. A lot of his argument centers on critiquing Irving Kirsch's analysis of the original industry-funded FDA drug trials of antidepressants.

 

Well, Robert Whitaker has just posted a detailed response to Kramer's article and critiqued Kramer's arguments. Whitaker basically argues that Kramer vastly misrepresented Kirsch's analyses and conclusions, among other things. Interesting reading to say the least!

 

Link to Kramer's original NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/opinion/sunday/10antidepressants.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

 

Link to Whitaker's Response: http://madinamerica.com/madinamerica.com/Whitaker.html

 

He also posted this on his psychology today blog.

 

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mad-in-america/201107/the-new-york-times-defense-antidepressants-0

 

Interestingly, one of the commentators, pacific psych, says she never sees patients who responded well to antidepressants in her practice. That is so contrary to most of the psychiatrists who swear their patients aren't like the ones in the study.

 

Then again, she isn't the typical psychiatrist as you can tell by looking at her website:

 

http://www.pacificpsych.com/

 

Anyway, Whitaker is awesome.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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I am an admirer of Whitaker (As well of the others on our side, like Healy, Breggin and Glenmullen) and of course I am the last one to defend these pills.

But I do not share the opninion that they work no better than a placebo. When I developed panic attacks in 2002, I first tried Xanax which did not do a thing for me. EArlier in life, I tried Valium and Oxazapam which did not have any effect on me either. It apepars I am just insensitive to benzodiazepines.

When I was put on Paxil/Seroxat, I felt great relieve amnd my panix attacks were gone. Also my congitive power rose to the max, I was able to work all day and study in the night. And felt great on it!

If my WD was not such a hellish and almost deadly experience, I would say that Paxil is great stuff. It does work. It can effectively "cure" your anxiety and probably depression. All my nasty memories were suddenly a very vague thing and I enjoyed life to the max on Paxil.

But because I did not want to be on it for life, I wanted to get off and that was were the tale started to turn into a horror story... These meds are powerful and very dangerous. Even if you would like to be on it forever, the risk of poopout or being cut off your daily supply (for example while being on holiday in a non-Western country and losing or being robbed of your luggage) is way too big. Also there is no guarantee that the stuff will remain available in the next 50 years so for the remainder of your life so it is way too risky to be dependent of it.

But it is certainly not a placebo but a very powerful harddrug.

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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In the NYTimes comments on the Kramer article at http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/opinion/sunday/10antidepressants.html?sort=oldest&offset=4 ,

please "recommend" comment #95 about PSSD and #271 from moi -- the usual spiel:

 

The studies of antidepressant efficacy upon which Dr. Kramer has built his argument are all hopelessly flawed. Andrews et al in 2011 "Blue again: Perturbational effects of antidepressants" analyzed data from 46 antidepressant discontinuation studies with placebo arms, finding "The risk of relapse after ADM discontinuation was higher than the risk of relapse after remission on placebo."

 

But increased rate of "relapse" over placebo isn't the whole story either. Some portion of the "relapse" statistics are actually antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. While the literature on withdrawal syndrome puts incidence at 20%-80%, no antidepressant discontinuation study, not even the STAR*D study which switched thousands of people on and off antidepressants, reports even one case of withdrawal syndrome, while all report a rate of "relapse" after antidepressants are withdrawn.

 

It beggars belief that in the entire history of research into antidepressant efficacy, not a single case of withdrawal syndrome occurred after the medication was withdrawn. Rather, withdrawal syndrome was counted as "relapse," thereby adding statistical significance to antidepressant efficacy, when those cases should have been reported as adverse events contrary to efficacy.

 

The misdiagnosis of withdrawal syndrome as "relapse" not only permeates the literature of antidepressant efficacy, it pervades clinical practice, where withdrawal symptoms are taken as a sign that the patient has "relapsed" and therefore needs to be re-medicated, probably for life.

 

El-Mallakh, et al 2011 "Tardive dysphoria: The role of long term antidepressant use in inducing chronic depression" suggests this pattern of "relapse" and re-medication is leading to an epidemic of "treatment-resistant depression."

 

It is perhaps understandable the author of "Listening to Prozac" wants to believe the revolution he helped set in motion so long ago is a success, rather than the tragic tale of hubris, deception, and fraud that is emerging.

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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