The death of Irish singer Dolores O’Riordain (from the Cranberries), is yet another celebrity demise that leaves us with more questions than answers. I’ve written about Dolores before (see here); in that post from 2014, I asked was Dolores on psychiatric drugs? As it turns out, according to the inquest into her death, she certainly was. She had four anti-depressants in her system at the time of her death (by drowning in a bath tub), and a high level of alcohol. Her death was recorded as accidental and alcohol was considered the culprit. She was also under the care of two psychiatrists; both quite well renowned.
“…Trinity College Dublin (TCD) psychiatrist, Dr Seamas O’Ceallaigh, and US psychiatrist Dr Robert Hirschfeld were treating Ms O’Riordan…”
If, as the article suggests, Dolores was receiving the best psychiatric mental health care available, then why did she die? Surely, if you could afford the best health care, your life should be extended not diminished? that’s usually the way it works right?
Not so, with psychiatric treatment.
Pulitzer prize nominated journalist- Robert Whitaker’s ‘anatomy of an epidemic‘ explains in detail why those who receive psychiatric care (mostly in the form of drug treatments) have shortened life spans and increased disability and disablement.
When someone gets diagnosed with a ‘mental illness’ – In Dolores’s case- Bi-Polar, it usually send them down a trajectory of psychiatric medication regimes, which can last for years, even decades. The multiple side effects from psychiatric drugs can end up being more of a problem than the original diagnosis. Often times the side effects can mimic psychiatric illnesses, leaving the person in a much worse state than if they weren’t on the drugs. It’s very hard to come off psychiatric drugs too, even if you want to, and due to their toxicity, many people are poor metabolizers of them anyhow, which means that the drugs build up in the liver, causing many physical and mental side effects to exacerbate over time.
It’s interesting to note also, that 4 anti-depressants were found in Dolores’s system at the time of her death. Why on earth would her psychiatrists prescribe her 4 different anti-depressants? This is a recipe for disaster. It’s this kind of poly-pharmacy that often kills, maims or disables psychiatric drug users because of the various interactions between the medications. I took Seroxat for a few years in my twenties, and it was a horrific experience, it changed my personality, made me unruly, aggressive, act out of character etc (these are all common well known side effects of Seroxat and other SSRI anti-depressants) so I can only imagine what it feels like to be prescribed multiple psychiatric drugs.
It seems Dolores’s story follows the same path as many of those who are prescribed psychiatric drugs over a long period of time. Usually the psychiatric diagnoses comes from a trauma. In Dolores’s case, she was sexually abused in childhood, and she became anorexic, it’s unclear when she was diagnosed with bi-polar, but it seems it was in young adult-hood or thereabouts. It’s safe to assume that she had been medicated for years because of this diagnosis. Once entered into this system of drugging it’s very difficult to get out of it, a lot of the time those who are prescribed psychiatric drugs over long periods of time, end up in a bad way.
This begs the question, who is responsible for her untimely death? Who is responsible for the prescriptions of multiple, mind-bending, personality changing, multiple-side effect psychiatric anti-depressant drugs that she was prescribed?
“…Dr Andrews conducted the toxicology tests and found Ms O’Riordan had a blood alcohol concentration of 330mg and urine alcohol concentration of 397mg.
Traces of four medications used to treat depressive disorders were found in her system but all bar one was within the low therapeutic range.
That fourth drug was found in only a slightly elevated range….”
What were the four medications used to treat depressive disorders that she was prescibed? and why were her psychiatrists not monitoring her and her prescriptions? why was she left alone in such a state with access to multiple psychiatric medications? were the psychiatrists tracking her reactions to the meds she was prescribed over the years?
One of Dolores’s psychiatrists was US psychiatrist Dr Robert Hirschfeld. When you google Hirschfeld, it’s interesting that the third link that comes up is from a blog from an ex-patient of his who seems not too happy with Hirschfeld’s apparent long links to psychiatric drug manufacturers.
See here –
“….Here’s a nice little tidbit. The questionnaire was “adapted with permission from Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, M.D.” So as an uninformed patient reading this (which I was at the time), I’m thinking, “Oh, this must be legit since they got permission from a doctor to use this checklist.”
There’s more than meets the eye here.
“….On the surface, Dr. Hirschfeld seems like an awesome doctor – and he very well may be. Dr Hirschfeld’s bio from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) extols the “Professor and Chair” of its psychiatry deparment. He has history of working with various national organizations such as the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). He’s written all kinds of articles and blah blah blah. He’s considered a leader in his research of bipolar disorder.
In fact, because Dr. Hirschfeld is so great, he’s a member of pharmaceutical boards and has acted as a consultant for pharmaceutical companies, according to ISI Highly Cited.com. Some of our favorite guys appear here: Pfizer, Wyeth, Abbott Labs., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Forest Labs, Janssen, and – lookee here! – GSK…..”
Most people don’t realize that bio-psychiatrists, like the ones who treated Dolores, are not concerned with helping their patients deal with trauma of personal problems. They are fixated on the brain of the ‘mentally ill’ person and not their emotions, or feelings. They treat the brain, not the person. I didn’t realize this myself, until I came off psychiatric drugs some years ago, and researched psychiatry and the drugs industry. I was absolutely shocked and appalled when I realized that psychiatrists were beholden to the drugs industry and saw no problem with selling themselves to the industry to make money. I was shocked to see that drug companies have been hiding side effects for years with many of their drugs, and that many tens of thousands of people’s lives were being destroyed due to the over-medicalization of human distress.
Ultimately, alcohol was deemed responsible for her untimely death, however it would seem to me that psychiatric drugs were a massive factor also. Anti-depressants don’t mix well with alcohol, I know this from personal experience, they also can make people crave alcohol sometimes, (to take the edge off). Of course- psychiatrists and the drug’s industry play down these side effects- they play down all side effects, because it’s in their interest to keep you, and everyone else, on these drugs. It’s not in your interest, it’s in theirs.
It seems to me that Dolores was just another victim of a psychiatric system that is completely corrupted by the pharmaceutical industry, and sees patients as mere fodder. It’s very easy to entrap vulnerable people in this system of continual over-diagnoses, mis-diagnosis and drugging, and it seems that Dolores fell foul of the all too usual trajectory of :
Trauma = Psych Diagnoses = Psychiatric drug regime= lifetime of side effects= personality changes= polypharmacy= death.
This system has to change, vulnerable people like Dolores deserve better.