How a Maine woman reclaimed her life after 30 years of drug therapy


How a Maine woman reclaimed her life after 30 years of drug therapy

Posted Feb. 06, 2017, at 1:46 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 07, 2017, at 12:39 p.m.

Jane Tholen is an angry woman on a mission. Living in low-income housing and getting by on her social security benefits, the 70-year-old former marketing professional says she lost three decades of her life, sacrificing her health, her happiness, her career and her personal relationships to a pharmaceutical nightmare.

About two years ago, bucking the skepticism of the doctors who were treating her, Tholen insisted on being weaned off a cocktail of antidepressants, sleeping pills and antianxiety drugs. What she discovered at the end of that arduous process was her authentic self — battered and exhausted, but mostly intact.

“I’m still here,” she told the Bangor Daily News, looking polished and put-together during a recent interview in her Falmouth home. “This waking-up process is excruciating … I am experiencing a clarity in the last few months that is remarkable, [but] that is also horrifying.”

Horrifying, she explained, as she comes to terms with all that she has lost, but exhilarating as she contemplates the mission ahead — to share her story and spread the word about the problems many people experience using psychoactive drugs.

After trauma, trying to ‘get back to normal’

Tholen was 39 years old, a successful marketing professional living in Boston, when she was mugged by two men in the stairwell of her apartment building. Just four months later, as she was beginning to recover from that trauma, she was attacked in her own living room by a robber who had climbed through the window of her second-floor apartment.

Deeply shaken by these attacks, Tholen sought professional help. She was swiftly prescribed a popular anti-anxiety drug to help her feel better in her life and function more productively in her high-powered career. That was in 1984.

“I thought it would be okay to take a drug to get back to normal,” she said during a recent interview in her rent-subsidized apartment. “But I never got back to normal.”

Instead, Tholen says she embarked on 30 years of pharmaceutical treatment with various combinations of anti-anxietals, antidepressants, sleeping medications, amphetamines and other drugs, prescribed by a series of psychiatrists and primary care providers, both in Massachusetts and in Maine.

Between 1984 and 2014, she used 16 of the 25 most commonly prescribed psychoactive drugs, including Xanax, Zoloft, Prozac, Ativan, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Valium, Concerta, Paxil and others.

Instead of relieving her symptoms, though, the drugs had the opposite effect, Tholen said. She experienced worsening anxiety and depression, as well as nightmares, suicidal thoughts, crushing fatigue, sleeplessness, hyperactivity and loss of ability to focus. Her performance at work suffered, as did her social relationships. She was no longer able to travel, to manage complex projects or enjoy personal activities, like gardening, that had always brought her pleasure.

She knew she was in trouble, Tholen said, but she didn’t know the cause.

“No psychiatrist or doctor ever suggested I get off [the drugs],” she said. Instead, they would tinker with her doses or layer on a new medication to address the side effects of an existing drug. They assured her that her problems were real, and that more medicine was the answer. No one ever suggested the drugs themselves might be the source of her troubles.

Worsening dysfunction, and a decision

By the mid 1990s, Tholen had left her job in desperation and moved to Maine to be closer to her aging parents. She found a position with a marketing agency in Portland, but couldn’t handle the complexity of it in her foggy and distractible frame of mind. She opened her own marketing office, but continued to have trouble following through on the needs of her clients.

In 2007, she filed for bankruptcy. She turned to the Town of Falmouth briefly for general assistance, closed her office and moved into Section 8 housing. In 2012, she was declared 100 percent disabled by her chronic depression and anxiety and started collecting disability payments. All the while, her doctors continued to prescribe the drugs that, she says now, were the cause of her problems.

“I didn’t know the extent of the effects [the drugs] were having on me until I stopped taking them,” she said.

In 2014, exhausted by her worsening symptoms and the grim changes in her life, Tholen started reading up on psychoactive medications and problems associated with them. She found books, websites and articles in professional journals that described her own experiences closely, and gradually, she determined to stop taking the drugs.

“I just got to the end of my rope,” she said, struggling against tears. “I knew I had to stop. I just had to. I knew I was still in here somewhere.”

It wasn’t easy to stop using the drugs her body had become so accustomed to. She experienced distressing side effects, which included hallucinations, pain, loss of muscle control and deep fluctuations in her anxiety and depression. Tholen says no one should ever try this approach without the support of a doctor and the watchful company of a close companion.

But for the last year and a half, Tholen said, she has been free of the pharmaceutical soup that for three decades disrupted her thoughts, clouded her perceptions, undermined her ability to function and, ultimately, deepened rather than alleviated her depression and anxiety.

“I can think again and I can get through a conversation without my brain hitching,” she said. “I’m still coping with some side effects, but I’m in the world again instead of being cut off from it.”

Use of psych drugs is widespread, not well understood

Current data on the use of antidepressant and antianxiety medications is hard to find. Most recent studies draw from 2008 data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those figures show that an estimated 11 percent of Americans age 12 and older take an antidepressant. The largest group is white women between 40 and 60 years old.

More than 60 percent of adults who take antidepressant medication have taken it for two years or longer, and 14 percent have taken it for 10 years or longer.

The use of drugs such as Xanax, Ativan and Valium, antianxiety medicines in the benzodiazepine family, is also widespread. Again, data from 2008 show that more than 5 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 80 had filled at least one prescription that year, many for long-term use. The prevalence of benzodiazepine use increased with age, with 9 percent of people 65 and older using the drugs. Over 30 percent of 65-to 80-year-olds who used a benzodiazepine had long-term prescriptions.

While there’s no doubt that psychoactive drugs are a great benefit to some individuals, there remain questions about the effects of their long term use, especially in combination with other medications. And for some people, the drugs may not be effective at all, or may actually do more harm than good.

Early psychoactive drugs developed in the 1950s included the anti anxiety drug Valium, still in wide use today, and Iproniazid, an early antidepressant no longer on the market in this country.

Hope in the psychiatric community ran high that such drugs, used in conjunction with traditional “talk therapy,” could help patients live symptom-free, according to psychiatrist Robert Croswell, medical director of mental health and substance abuse services at MaineGeneral Health in Waterville.

But, while drug developments in other fields of medicine have made significant progress in reducing illness and death, “That doesn’t seem to be the case in psychiatry,” Croswell said, “despite what the pharmaceutical companies would have you believe.”

In fact, he said, while drug companies have developed third- and fourth-generation antidepressants that claim to fine-tune the treatment of, for example, “sluggish depression” versus “anxious depression,” there’s little evidence the newer drugs offer a significant clinical benefit over the older ones.

“They may have fewer side effects, but they’re really no more effective at treating depression,” he said.

Croswell said doctors used to distinguish between “biological depression,” caused by a chronic chemical imbalance in the body, and “psycho-social depression,” caused by external events like Jane Tholen’s muggings. But current diagnostic guidelines classify all depression as biological, since even acute, one-time psychological trauma results in the release of cortisol and other chemicals in the brain.

The result, he said, is a tendency to prescribe long-term, even life-time, drug treatment, when in many cases, a shorter course of medication, in concert with counseling and lifestyle changes, can often set things right. Unfortunately, he said current changes in medical practice mean that doctors rarely interact on a personal level with their patients, and drug adjustments are often made by mid-level providers without the expertise to clearly understand a patient’s response and when a larger change is called for.

Generally, he said, if a psychoactive drug regimen isn’t effective against depression and anxiety after a few months, it’s time to re-evaluate the options, including the possibility that medication isn’t needed at all. And once a patient stabilizes, there’s no reason not to try cutting back the dose to see if medication is still needed.

Especially in older adults, he said, managing psychoactive drugs is a tricky business. Age-related changes in metabolism and the presence other medications in the body increase the risk of anxiety, confusion, memory loss and other cognitive side effects.

“It’s a shame she went as long as she did,” he said when told Tholen’s story, but he stressed that patients should never change or discontinue their medicines without the support of a physician. “They need to have an assertive conversation with their doctor,” he said. “Never give up your authority.”

Tholen says she’s lost 35 pounds since stopping her drugs. She has established a simple self-care routine that includes a healthy diet, daily exercise and regular social outings. She meditates to help with the lingering anxiety, headaches, anger and other troubles that she lives with. She has a new therapist she likes a lot.

Her interest in music and art is re-emerging, and she’s even toying with picking up some work recording voice-over tapes for commercials and public service announcements.

But her real mission, she said, is to get the word out that antidepressant and antianxiety drugs aren’t for everyone and that it’s essential to be an informed consumer and advocate for yourself, your friends and your family members. She’s hoping to polish her rusty public speaking skills and give talks to medical groups and others who need to hear her message. There may be a book in the works, too.

“I haven’t had any sense of self-worth for years,” Tholen said. “I have looked at the world with all the shades half-drawn.” But now, she said, the shades are wide open, and the world beckons.


This story has been corrected to clarify that Tholen did have the oversight of her physicians as she tapered off her drugs.


Stat: New rule on clinical trial reporting doesn’t go far enough

The clinical trial industry, which I work in, is in crisis.

Roughly half of clinical trials go unreported. Industry-sponsored trials are four times more likely to produce positive results than non-industry trials. And even when trials are reported, the investigators usually fail to share their study results: nearly 90 percent of trials on lack results.

Failure to report clinical trial results puts patients in danger. Here’s one example of that: GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of the antidepressant Paxil, recently paid $3 billion for failing to disclose trial data showing that Paxil was not only no more effective than placebo but was also linked to increased suicide attempts among teenagers. The effectiveness of statins, the Tamiflu anti-flu medicine, antipsychotics, and other drugs have come under question due to improperly reported data. Without complete disclosure of trial results, physicians can’t make informed decisions for their patients.

A recently passed final rule from the Department of Health and Human Services now requires that all NIH-sponsored clinical trials be reported on A complementary policy from the National Institutes of Health covers registering and submitting summary results information to for all NIH-funded trials, including those not covered by the final rule.

Unreported trials are subject to daily fines of $11,833. Researchers have 90 days after the rule is enacted on January 18, 2017 to comply with it. Excellent summaries of the rule have been published by the NIH and in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The final rule should help address some of the troubling trends in the clinical trial industry. It clears up ambiguous reporting requirements and explicitly requires investigators to submit clinical trial results, adverse events, and statistical methods. These are steps in the right direction that could limit the unscientific practices plaguing the trial industry.

But the final rule doesn’t go far enough, mainly because FDA lacks the staff and the political will to adequately enforce it. As STAT reported in December 2015, the FDA had never levied a single fine for clinical trial reporting violations. Representatives from the FDA cite legal complexities and lack of employees, yet critics have also pointed out the FDA is effectively on the pharmaceutical industry’s payroll. Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the FDA supplements its budget by charging pharmaceutical companies drug application fees that totaled $855 million in fiscal year 2015.

The current FDA commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, has said that the FDA will not be adding staff to enforce the final rule. That’s a mistake. How else can we expect the rule to be enforced? I work in a research group that conducts more than a dozen clinical trials and know firsthand that researchers don’t have the impetus to report their trials unless there are strong incentives to do so — like enforcement and the threat of fines.

In a perfect world, the FDA would receive more funding to hire employees so it could independently enforce this policy. In the meantime, researchers can check the reporting practices of their own institutions or sign a petition to support the Alltrials campaign. Another project called OpenTrials, a collaboration between Open Knowledge International and the University of Oxford Data Lab, aims to “locate, match, and share all publicly accessible data and documents, on all trials conducted, on all medicines and other treatments, globally.” It is seeking volunteers to contribute clinical trial data.

I know from personal experience that clinical trial reporting can be tedious and seemingly unrewarding work. But the transparent exchange of scientific data is integral to evidence-based medicine and public health. While the new final rule is a step in the right direction, the public and the research community also need to support efforts like AllTrials and OpenTrials.

Chris Cai is a clinical research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

BBC Journalist Seeking People Who Have Experienced Withdrawal From SSRI Anti-Depressants For A Documentary…

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Posted 04 October 2016 – 07:07 AM

I’m a British BBC TV reporter and I want to make a film about the problems of withdrawing from antidepressants. I’m keen to hear from people who’ve struggled with SSRIs, particularly if you like in the UK. Also what you think about the lack of support groups, or if you HAVE a support group, how do you help?

Please email me your stories, confidentially at first, of course, although ultimately I’m looking for people who will be willing to stand up and speak about what’s happened to them.  I think few people know or report this sort of problem and I know many of you are really really struggling for help.  My BBC2 programme wants to expose all this, so please get in touch.

Thank you very much.  This forum has been recommended to me by several long-term members, so forgive my intrusion.

“…We took him to the doctor and he was put on drugs…”

“…by the time he was 19, they dragged him to a psychiatrist, who prescribed an antipsychotic drug, a tranquilizer and an antidepressant…”

“He wasn’t someone who was living in the real world.”

“…He said the family had taken Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel to a doctor who prescribed medication to counter his depression, but described his son as “always alone, always depressed” and not wanting to talk..”

Mental illness (whatever that is) is not to blame for many of these violent acts. The common denominator in many cases like these is psychiatric drugs (known to cause dangerous, often violent side effects).

Check out the website- Antidepaware for hundreds of documented cases of psychiatric drug induced violence. And check out madinAmerica for brilliant articles from many highly respected and educated people (working in the mental health arena) willing to speak out about these dangerous psychiatric drugs…

What ‘medication’ was the Nice Attacker ( Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel) prescribed over the years? what psychiatric drugs was he on before or during the attack?

These are questions which the media needs to ask…

“…He’d get angry and shout and break everything around him. He was violent and very ill. We took him to the doctor and he was put on drugs…

..Whenever there was a crisis, we took him back again. He was always alone. Always silent, refusing to talk. Even in the street, he wouldn’t greet people.”..

-Father of the Nice Jihad Attacker

(Lahouaiej Bouhlel)

“…Desperate, by the time he was 19, they dragged him to a psychiatrist, who prescribed an antipsychotic drug, a tranquilizer and an antidepressant”..

Psychiatric drugs (such as SSRI’s like Seroxat) can turn some people aggressive, violent, hostile, and even murderous and suicidal…

Psychiatrists won’t tell you that, and neither will your doctor, and the drug companies will warn in the small print on the PIL’s (to cover their asses from lawsuits)…

But the ones who will tell you the truth about these dangerous drugs are those of us who have been prescribed them… those of us who experienced these hideous and disturbing side effects…

The psychiatric SSRI drug Seroxat made me aggressive, volatile and suicidal, it did the same to many others too…

Seroxat has been devastating lives since at least the mid 90’s…

Maker of ‘happy pill’ Seroxat is sued by man who killed wife while on drug


Last updated at 22:43 19 January 2008

Dorey, a chef, was jailed for life in August 2002 for murdering his wife Christine, 37, at their home in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, while their three young children slept upstairs.

At his trial Dorey, who will be eligible for parole in 2011, admitted manslaughter and told police he had “just flipped” because he believed his wife was having an affair.

She was hit at least ten times with a club hammer.

When Dorey was found in his car shortly afterwards, he had a packet of Seroxat tablets with him.

He had dialled 999 to tell police what he had done.

Since it was first prescribed in 1990, Seroxat has been linked to at least

50 suicides.

GSK, which makes up to £1billion a year from the drug, has been accused of failing to act on warnings that it could have serious side-effects, including personality changes.

In 2003 it was banned for under-18s amid concerns it contributed to suicide among adolescents with depression.

The same year a man arrested for armed robbery had charges dropped after medical reports concluded his behaviour could have been altered by Seroxat withdrawal symptoms.





2013: FDA Approved Paroxetine (Brisdelle) For Hot Flashes Despite Being Advised Against It


TUESDAY, JULY 2ND, 2013 / Robin Karr

OK, here we go again. Antidepressants are being touted as a treatment for menopausal hot flashes. This is nothing new because antidepressants have been prescribed for treatment of hot flashes for quite some time. A 2003 study reported in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) showed a slight improvement in hot flashes for women using paroxetine (the active ingredient in antidepressants and the new hot flash treatment – Brisdelle) versus placebo. Other studies, show similar results and antidepressants for hot flashes have been prescribed off-label for about a decade. What’s new is that an antidepressant has now been ‘officially approved and recommended’ by the FDA.

So much about this FDA approval just didn’t set right with me. Perhaps, I am just tired of so many procedures, surgeries and drugs being recommended and approved for women, when in reality, most are not remotely helpful and can actually be quite harmful in the long run. So, I did some research and I uncovered a number of things that are very interesting, concerning and even somewhat alarming about Brisdelle and paroxetine.

What is Brisdelle?

Brisdelle is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that contains the active ingredientparoxetineParoxetine is the SSRI used in common antidepressants such as Paxil, Aropax,Pexeva, Seroxat, Sereupin.

Side Effects of Paroxetine

The most common side effects associated with Brisdelle and other SSRIs include headache, fatigue and nausea or vomiting. As a paroxetine-based SSRI, Brisdelle may have side effects such as reduced sex drive and an elevated risk of osteoporotic fractures – both already risk factors for many menopausal women. Although the dosage of paroxetine in Brisdelle, approved for hot flashes, is lower than that typically prescribed for depression, the medication will still carry a black-box warning regarding paroxetine’s link to suicide (a known side-effect of paroxetine-based antidepressants is an increased risk of suicide). The black-box warning is the most serious warning that can be placed on the label of any prescription drug. Additional warnings will include an increased risk of bleeding and a risk of developing the rare, but increasingly more common adverse event ‘Serotonin Syndrome’.Serotonin Syndrome is a condition where there’s too much serotonin – leading to excessive nerve cell activity and causing a deadly collection of symptoms including confusion, changes in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, seizures and unconsciousness.

Brisdelle Background

Noven Pharmaceuticals makes Brisdelle and funded the studies on the use of Brisdelle to treat hot flashes. Dr. James A. Simon, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington DC, led the study. Dr. Simon openly reports having a financial relationship with Noven. The fact that Noven supported the study and provided the drug for the study, along with the fact that the lead doctor overseeing the study has financial ties with Noven, is troubling in my opinion, but standard fair in pharmaceutical research.

The FDA Approval of Brisdelle

The media is correctly reporting that the FDA approved Brisdelle. What seems to be missing from the headlines and discussion is the fact that the FDA’s advisory panel on reproductive health drugs voted against approval by a very large margin.  Indeed, the advisory panel voted 10 to 4 against Noven’s request for Paroxetine Mesylate, formulated as low-dose Mesylate salt of Paroxetine (7.5 mg/day), saying the drug’s minimal benefit didn’t outweigh its risks.

Panel members who voted against the drug pointed to the fact that women who experienced an average of 10 hot flashes per day experienced as few as 4 after 12 weeks of being on Brisdelle while women on the placebo went from having 10 a day to around 5. “I voted against recommending approval when I looked at the magnitude of the treatment effect relative to the magnitude of the placebo effect where there is no risk involved,” said Daniel L. Gillen, PhD, from the University of California, Irvine.

The FDA did not say why it ignored the advisory panel’s recommendation and approved the drug. Technically, it doesn’t have to follow the recommendation of its panel, but it is highly unusual that it didn’t in this case, since the vote was overwhelmingly negative. Where is the outrage? Where is the investigative reporting to determine why the FDA overrode its own advisory panel?

Why Approve Brisdelle?

What are we to make of this new drug that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of menopausal hot flashes?  In my opinion, I don’t believe the FDA really needed to bother approving it because doctors routinely prescribe antidepressants off-label for women – for everything from heavy periods to insomnia and sometimes for no reason at all. Perhaps that is why they approved Brisdelle in the first place, it’s already being prescribed widely to women in this age group. A recent reportsuggests that 25% of women aged 44-59 are using antidepressants and overall there has been a 400% increase in antidepressant use from 2005-2008. Since women are already using antidepressants and there are currently no effective treatments for menopausal hot flashes, why not capitalize on this?  According to the New York Times:

Women “are begging for alternatives,” Dr. Andrew London, an obstetrician and gynecologist in the Baltimore area, told the committee, which met in Silver Spring, Md. If there were no approved drugs, he added, “They will get help on their own without us.”  

Brisdelle looks like just one more way to entice women to spend money on antidepressants and it could very well be dangerous.

The Dangers of Prescription Medications

According to Melody Petersen, author of “Our Daily Meds”, approximately 100,000 Americans die every year from their prescription drugs that they took just as the doctor directed. “This isn’t when a doctor or a pharmacist made a mistake or the patient accidentally took too much. This is when everything went right” she said.

My Take on Brisdelle and other Antidepressants for Hot Flashes

I am personally very leery of using paroxetine (no matter how small the dosage) to combat hot flashes. Simply stated, paroxetine is one of the most potent and selective of the SSRI-type drugs and the dangerous side-effects associated with it are well documented. With all of the evidence against Brisdelle or paroxetine and very little for it, I certainly don’t trust that it is a safe and effective treatment for menopausal hot flashes. Even if it has some small potential to help, I am not sure it would be worth the risks. I am very suspect of the FDA’s approval on this one. I don’t think I’ll be taking paroxetine anytime soon for any reason – least of all for relief of hot flashes.

The Guardian (Peter Gøtzsche) : ‘Psychiatric Drugs Are Doing Us More Harm Than Good’

Psychiatric drugs are doing us more harm than good

As with benzodiazepines in the 1980s, the UK is prescribing SSRI antidepressants at a staggering rate – and to no good effect
'More than 53m prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in 2013 in England alone.'

‘More than 53m prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in 2013 in England alone.’ Photograph: travel-and-more/Alamy

We appear to be in the midst of a psychiatric drug epidemic, just as we were when benzodiazepines (tranquilisers) were at their height in the late 1980s. The decline in their use after warnings about addiction led to a big increase in the use of the newer antidepressants, the SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors).

Figures released by the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, which was set up to challenge many of the assumptions commonly made about modern psychiatry, show that more than 53m prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in 2013 in England alone. This is almost the equivalent of one for every man, woman and child and constitutes a 92% increase since 2003.

Sales of antidepressants have skyrocketed everywhere and are now so high in my own country, Denmark, that – if the prescriptions were equally distributed – every citizen could be in treatment for six years of their life. The situation is even worse in the US, where direct advertising of prescription drugs to the public is permitted and where more psychiatrists were “educated” with industry hospitality than any other medical discipline.

I began to realise the scale of the problem when I was persuaded seven years ago to become a tutor for a PhD thesis on whether history was repeating itself, by comparing benzodiazepines (“mother’s little helper”) with SSRIs. This research has established that people get as hooked on SSRIs as they did on benzodiazepines, and 37 of 42 withdrawal symptoms were the same for SSRIs as for benzodiazepines.

It is hard to believe that so many people have become mentally disturbed and that these prescription increases reflect a genuine need, so we need to look for other explanations. There seem to be three main reasons for the huge growth.

First, the definitions of psychiatric disorders are so vague that many healthy people can be diagnosed inappropriately. Second, some of the psychiatrists who wrote the diagnostic manuals were on the industry’s payroll, and this may have also led to significant diagnostic inflation. Third, the companies’ behaviour has been worse in psychiatry than in any other area of medicine, with billion-dollar fines paid for the illegal marketing of psychiatric drugs for non-approved uses. The rise in sales reflects patient dependency on these SSRIs: they may have great difficulty stopping even when they taper off the drugs slowly. Withdrawal symptoms are often misdiagnosed as a return of the disease or the start of a new one, for which drugs are then prescribed. Over time, this leads to an increase in the number of drug-dependent, long-term users.

Another major problem with psychiatric drugs is that they can cause the symptoms they are supposed to alleviate. Unfortunately, psychiatrists tend to increase the dose or add another drug when a patient reports negative effects.

The problem is that many of these drugs simply do not work as people suppose. The main effect of antidepressants is not the reduction of depressive symptoms. They are no better than placebo for mild depression, only slightly better for moderate depression, and benefit only one out of 10 with severe depression. In around half of all patients, they cause sexual disturbances. The symptoms include decreased libido, delayed orgasm or ejaculation, no orgasm or ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Studies in both humans and animals suggest that these effects may persist long after the drug has been discontinued.

The US Food and Drug Administration has shown that antidepressants increase suicidal behaviour up to the age of 40, and many suicides have been reported even in healthy people who took the drugs for other reasons (for example, for stress or pain). Another report also said that, among people over 65, antidepressants are believed to kill one out of every 28 people treated for one year, because they lead to falls and hip fractures. Indeed, it is not clear whether antidepressants are safe at any age.

My studies of the research literature in this whole area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion: the way we currently use psychiatric drugs is causing more harm than good. We should therefore use them much less, for shorter periods of time, and always with a plan for tapering off, to prevent people from being medicated for the rest of their lives.

Trinity College Dublin Car Rampager, ‘Mental Health Issues May Have Been A Factor”…

Trinity College Dublin Car Rampager, ‘Mental Health Issues May Have Been A Factor”…

Should that not read :
"Mental Health Treatment May Have Been A Factor?
 Or "Medication May Have Been A Factor"?. 
The facts have yet to be released,
 but we should be asking the question,
 if this man was being treated for 'mental health issues'
 and mental health treatment usually consists
 of doping the person up on meds, 
like SSRI's, what was he prescribed and why? 
SSRI's and psychiatric drugs in general
 have been linked to school shootings, violence, aggression, 
'out of character behavior' and a host of other problems 
for decades now, it will be interesting to see 
if the facts emerge in this case...

Man held over TCD gate ramming is released

Gardaí arrested 68-year-old after he smashed his way out onto College Green

A 68-year-old man has been arrested after he drove into Trinity College and badly damaged the historic gates at College Green and hit a number of cars on campus.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 09:15

A 68-year-old man who was arrested after he rammed his car through the front gates of Trinity College yesterday morning has been released without charge.

The motorist caused extensive damage to the wooden gates at the college’s front arch when he repeatedly drove his vehicle at them in an attempt to get out onto College Green.

The man, believed to be from Cabra, was first noticed driving erratically by cleaning staff in the college at about 6.30am. Security staff called the gardaí and closed the gates in an attempt to stop him from leaving the college’s Front Square.

Motorist rammed Trinity College gates repeatedly until car broke through

He used the car to smash his way out onto College Green where he is believed to have crashed into or rammed several other vehicles before turning on to Nassau Street.

He was pursued by a Garda car up Dawson Street and was arrested after colliding with a van.

The man was initially suspected of drink driving but was later released and rearrested after being seen by a doctor.

He was subsequently questioned on suspicion of criminal damage before being released late last night.

Gardaí were last night working on the theory that mental health issues may have been a factor.

Investigations are continuing.


Driver (68) released without charge in Trinity ram probe

The damaged gates at Trinity College. Photo: Collins, Gareth Chaney

THE driver of a car that rammed through Trinity College’s 200-year-old gates has been released without charge.

The 68-year-old man was arrested following the incident that occurred early on Wednesday morning.

He was released from nearby Pearse Street Garda Station last night and gardai said their investigations are ongoing.

The university is still assessing the full cost of reinstating the solid oak gates, which were badly damaged.

Cleaning staff at the university took refuge as the car sped towards them.


The man had managed to get in through the gates by tailgating a cleaning vehicle and drove around the campus like a “lunatic”, according to eyewitness Veronica Cadwell.

When the driver arrived at the front gates, he rolled down the window and shouted at a security guard to open them before he rammed the barriers.

Ms Cadwell had arrived at the university at about 6.20am to begin her daily cleaning shift.

About 10 minutes later, she and one of her colleagues were ushered into the security office beside the main entrance to avoid the speeding car.

“He (the driver) opened the window and he was roaring at the security fella ‘open the gates’. He was a lunatic. I’m in shock.”

Ms Cadwell said “mad, blaring music” was coming from the vehicle. “He kept reversing back and hitting the front doors. It was frightening. Nothing ever happened like that before,” she told the Herald.

After ramming his way through, the man proceeded on to College Green, and then Nassau Street before turning the wrong way up Dawson Street. A number of cars were damaged along the way. A source said it was a “miracle” no one was injured, with the car almost colliding head-on with a delivery van on Dawson Street.


AntiDepAware: Incredible Resource For Anti-Depressant Related Suicides In The UK

Started just a year ago, AntiDepAware is a website which aims to research and document cases of suicide, homicide, and murder-suicides (where anti-depressants are a possible contributing factor) in the UK and Wales. By collecting newspaper reports and coroners reports this website paints a startling picture of the dire state of mental health treatment in the UK. 

Brian has done a great job here and no doubt this site will be a great resource for further study into anti-depressant induced suicides and related issues. The evidence that Brian has collected here really speaks for itself. Brilliant website and great resource. Well done Brian.

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Welcome to AntiDepAware

Latest news:“Tablets driving me mad,” texted retired police inspector before shooting his ex-girlfriend and himself 


The objective of this site is to promote awareness of the dangers of antidepressants.

There is no wish to ban these drugs which give support to a large number of people with depression. However, it is clear that antidepressants are being prescribed to those who are not depressed, to whom they are likely to do more harm than good.

In 2009 my son, who had never been depressed in his life, went to see a doctor over insomnia caused by temporary work-related stress. He was prescribed Citalopram, and within less than a week he had taken his life.

As a consequence I learned of the suicide risk of antidepressants, particularly in the early weeks of uptake or if the dosage is changed up or down, or withdrawn.

Drug companies will say that an adverse reaction which induces suicidal thoughts will affect only about 1% of users. But there are at present over 4 million users of antidepressants in the UK, which means that there are 40 thousand people who may be at risk at one time or another.

The centrepiece of this site is a link to inquest reports, found mostly in the online archives of local newspapers, in which antidepressants are a factor in self-inflicted deaths. The reports cover England and Wales over the past 10 years.

It must be noted that this list is far from exhaustive but, even so, contains exactly 1650 reports, including 263 (or an average of 5 a week) from 2012 alone.

My motivation in embarking on this research has been to offer some understanding to the grieving families who are invariably left a legacy of unanswered questions, along with the memory of horrific loss. Perhaps this site will help answer some of those questions.


WARNING: People who have been prescribed antidepressants should never suddenly stop taking their medication. Gradual tapering is advisable. Anyone considering altering the dosage of their medication, or withdrawing from it, needs to take medical advice first.

Kate Barry (Jane Birkin’s Daughter) Dead: ‘Anti-depressant’s found at scene’

If anti-depressants were so effective then why is it that almost every person who commits suicide has been on them?…

Details have yet to emerge about Kate Barry’s death.. but it’s looking like a typical anti-depressant induced suicide

Jane Birkin’s daughter Kate Barry dies after fall from Paris flat

Body of British-born photographer, 46, found on pavement outside her home in French capital on Wednesday evening
British-born photographer Kate Barry, daughter of the actor and singer Jane Birkin, has died after falling from the window of her fourth-floor Paris flat.

Her body was found around 6.30pm on Wednesday on the pavement outside her home in the 16th arrondissement.

Barry, 46, was Birkin’s eldest daughter and was born in London. Her father was the British composer John Barry, best known for his film music including the James Bond theme and Out of Africa. He died in 2011.

Her parents separated shortly after she was born in 1967, and Birkin moved to France where she brought up her daughter with the French singer Serge Gainsbourg, and later the film director Jacques Doillon.

Barry carved out a name for herself as a fashion photographer, but in France remained less famous than her actor half-sisters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon. Barry once said she preferred to remain behind the scenes.

“At first, I was better known because of my family: my mother, my stepfather, my father, my sisters … now I hope I’m known a bit more for my own work,” Barry said.

She was thought to have been alone in the flat, where antidepressants were reportedly found by police, who have launched an inquiry into her death. The door to her flat was locked from the inside.

“The matter is under investigation, but we can confirm the death,” a police spokesperson said on Thursday.

Birkin has often spoken about her closeness to her daughters, saying not a week passed when she did not talk to all three.

“My eldest daughter, Kate, looks most like me. She’s a photographer. She had a Polaroid camera in her hand from a young age and photographed her sisters all the time,” Birkin, 66, said in an interview.

Barry spent many years battling drug and alcohol addiction and in 1994 set up a free centre for addicts in France.

Two years later she began her photography career, which took off with a major exhibition in Japan. Afterwards her images were published in several major publications, including British Vogue and Paris Match.

As well as her mother and half-sisters, she leaves a 26-year-old son, Roman de Kermadec.

Jane Birkin and John Barry’s daughter Kate Barry dies after falling from apartment in apparent suicide

  • DECEMBER 13, 2013 1:27AM


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Kate Barry apartment Paris

The building where British photographer Kate Barry was found dead after jumping from her Paris flat. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Jane Birkin with Kate Barry

British actor and singer Jane Birkin with 7-month-old Kate Barry, her daughter by composer John Barry, on November 9, 1967. Picture: Getty Source: Getty Images

PHOTOGRAPHER Kate Barry, daughter of singer-actress Jane Birkin and famed Bond film composer John Barry, has died after falling from her fourth floor Paris flat in an apparent suicide.

The 46-year-old was found beneath her flat in the city’s wealthy 16th district on Wednesday evening.

Barry lived alone and anti-depressants were discovered inside her flat, which was locked from the inside, police said.

She was the daughter of British-born Birkin, best known as the muse and partner of late French singer Serge Gainsbourg, and British composer John Barry, famous for writing 11 James Bond movie themes includingGoldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever.

Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti paid rich tribute to Kate Barry, saying that her “loving and heartfelt thoughts” were with a “family we all love”.

Barry had studied fashion but turned to photography later. She had drug and alcohol problems which prompted her to open a centre for addicts near Paris.

“Her fragility touched us,” Mr Filippetti said, adding that Barry was an outstanding photographer whose “sense of light and composition was very pictorial”.

Kate Barry had said in an interview that she was fascinated by photography as a child, starting out with Gainsbourg’s Polaroid.

“For me it was something miraculous, the image appeared almost immediately,” she said.

Birkin and John Barry, who died in 2011, separated in 1967, the year of Kate Barry’s birth, and she was brought up until her teenage years by Birkin and Gainsbourg.

At the time, they were the most famous couple in France, as much for their bohemian and hedonistic lifestyle as for their work. Gainsbourg, a chronic alcoholic, died, aged 62, in 1991.

Kate Barry was also the half-sister of actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon.

Her photographs had appeared in leading French magazines such as Paris MatchElle andLe Figaro and she had recently held an exhibition of her works entitled Point of View. Portraits. Still Life in Paris.

She had one son, Roman, who was born in 1987.

Readers in need of emotional support with depression can contact Beyond Blue or callLifeline‘s 24-hour crisis support line on 13 11 14.

Take The Guardian Survey on Antidepressant Efficacy and Effects

Do antidepressants work?

The prescription of antidepressants is growing faster than for almost any other drug – in the UK and around the world – but the debate over their effectiveness rages on. Have you ever taken or prescribed antidepressants? Share your experiences anonymously in our online survey

Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft antidepressant tablets.
Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft antidepressant tablets. Photograph: Jonathan Nourok/Getty Images

Proponents say they save lives and help millions of people. Critics say the science is questionable. What’s unquestionable is that the use of antidepressants is surging around the world. In some countries, prescriptions have more than doubled in a decade. Around one in 10 European adults are estimated to take the pills. In the UK, The Health and Social Care Information Centrefound that more than 50 million prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in England alone last year, the highest ever number and a 7.5% rise on the year before.

The Guardian and its partners in Europe – Le Monde, El País, La Stampa, Gazeta Wyborcza and Süddeutsche Zeitung – want to hear from patients and doctors around the world about their experiences of taking and prescribing antidepressants. Responses to the form below will feed into a special report by our six newspapers planned for later this year.

To take part fill in the form anonymously below. Please only take part in the survey if you are over 16.

For further information about depression, or talk to someone about it, please visit Mind’s website, or Mindfull for 11-17 year olds.

Are you over 16?
We can not accept submissions from people under the age of 16
  •  Yes, I am over 16
  •  No
Are you a doctor or a patient or both?
  •  I am a patient. Please go to question 1
  •  I am a doctor. Please go to question 13
  •  I am both. Please answer all questions
1. Name
You do not need to give your real name
2. Where do you live (town/country)?
3. Date medication first prescribed:
4. Brand and dosage:
5. Length of time taking antidepressants:
6. Describe how you came to be prescribed antidepressants:
7. Were you offered an alternative to medication?
8. Did you stick with the prescription:
9. How did you feel three months after you took the medication:
10. Describe the process of coming off the medication: was it easy? Were there side-effects?
11. Would you say antidepressants helped you?
12. How are antidepressants viewed in your country?
Can we use your answer for publication?
  •  Yes, entirely
  •  Yes, but do not use my name
  •  No
Contact details – will be treated as strictly confidential
You do not need to supply contact details. If you supply your contact details a Guardian journalist may contact you for more information
13. Doctors: Name
Please supply your real name. We will keep you anonymous but it will help us in confirming your status as a registered doctor.
14. Which country did you train in and which country do you now practice in?
15. Can you describe the process involved in deciding whether to prescribe antidepressants?
16. Can you describe the process in deciding which antidepressant to prescribe?
17. Do you have any formal training in psychiatry?
18. Do you ever feel under pressure to prescribe antidepressants? If so, why?
19. Do you offer patients alternative therapies ?
20. Do you believe there is a ‘prescribing culture’ in general practice in your country?
21. What support is available for people suffering from depression in your country and do you think it adequate?
22. How are antidepressants viewed in your country?
23. Contact details
Please supply contact details so we can confirm your status as a registered doctor