Tagged: Antidepressants

Peter C Gøtzsche : Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide, violence and homicide at all ages


http://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3697/rr-4
Feature Medicine and the Media

Antidepressants and murder: case not closed

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3697 (Published 02 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3697

Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide, violence and homicide at all ages

The FDA admitted in 2007 that SSRIs can cause madness at all ages and that the drugs are very dangerous; otherwise daily monitoring wouldn’t be needed: “Families and caregivers of patients should be advised to look for the emergence of such symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt” … “All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants” (1).

Such daily monitoring is, however, a fake fix. People cannot be monitored every minute and many have committed SSRI-induced suicide or homicide within a few hours after everyone thought they were perfectly okay.

As the published trial literature related to suicidality and aggression on antidepressants is unreliable, we looked at 64,381 pages of clinical study reports (70 trials) we got from the European Medicines Agency. We showed for the first time that SSRIs in comparison with placebo increase aggression in children and adolescents, odds ratio 2.79 (95% CI 1.62 to 4.81) (2). This is an important finding considering the many school shootings where the killers were on SSRIs.

In a systematic review of placebo-controlled trials in adult healthy volunteers, we showed that antidepressants double the occurrence of events that the FDA has defined as possible precursors to suicide and violence, odds ratio 1.85 (95% CI 1.11 to 3.08)(3). The number needed to treat to harm one healthy adult person was only 16 (95% CI 8 to 100).

Based on the clinical study reports, we showed that adverse effects that increase the risk of suicide and violence were 4-5 times more common with duloxetine than with placebo in trials in middle-aged women with stress urinary incontinence (4). There were also more women on duloxetine who experienced a core or potential psychotic event, relative risk RR 2.25 (95% CI 1.06 to 4.81). The number needed to harm was only seven. It would have been quite impossible to demonstrate how dangerous duloxetine is, if we had only had access to published research. In accordance with our findings, the FDA has previously announced that women who were treated with duloxetine for incontinence in the open-label extension phase of the clinical studies had 2.6 times more suicide attempts than other women of the same age (5).

Looking at precursor events to suicide and violence is just like looking at prognostic factors for heart disease. We say that increased cholesterol, smoking and inactivity increase the risk of heart attacks and heart deaths and therefore recommend people to do something about it. Psychiatric leaders, however, routinely try to get away with untenable arguments. Many say, for example, that antidepressants can be given safely to children arguing that there were no more suicides in the trials, only more suicidal events, as if there was no relation between the two, although we all know that a suicide starts with suicidal thoughts, followed by preparations and one or more attempts. The same can be said about homicide. It can no longer be doubted that antidepressants are dangerous and can cause suicide and homicide at any age (5-7). It is absurd to use drugs for depression that increase the risk of suicide and homicide when we know that cognitive behavioural therapy can halve the risk of suicide in patients who have been admitted after a suicide attempt (8) and when psychotherapy does not increase the risk of murder.

References

1. FDA. Antidepressant use in children, adolescents, and adults. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/informationbydrugclass/ucm096273.htm.
2. Sharma T, Guski LS, Freund N, Gøtzsche PC. Suicidality and aggression during antidepressant treatment: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports. BMJ 2016;352:i65.
3. Bielefeldt AØ, Danborg PB, Gøtzsche PC. Precursors to suicidality and violence on antidepressants: systematic review of trials in adult healthy volunteers. J R Soc Med 2016;109:381-392.
4. Maund E, Guski LS, Gøtzsche PC. Considering benefits and harms of duloxetine for treatment of stress urinary incontinence: a meta-analysis of clinical study reports. CMAJ 2017;189:E194-203.
5. Gøtzsche PC. Deadly psychiatry and organised denial. Copenhagen: People’s Press; 2015.
6. Healy D. Let them eat Prozac. New York: New York University Press; 2004.
7. Breggin P. Medication madness. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin; 2008.
8. Gøtzsche PC, Gøtzsche PK. Cognitive behavioural therapy halves the risk of repeated suicide attempts: systematic review. J R Soc Med 2017 (in press).

Competing interests: No competing interests

Advertisements

What Did They Prescribe Chester Bennington?


Petrusich-Chester-Bennington-1

 

http://www.eonline.com/news/868229/the-dark-side-of-linkin-park-s-chester-bennington-alcoholism-and-depression-inspired-and-plagued-singer-shadowing-his-massive-success

 

“…Meeting his second wife helped pull him out of a period of “absolute self-destruction,” he told Bullz-Eye.com in 2009 while promoting Out of Ashes. “I don’t know when to stop when I’m in that mode. I’ll go through a gallon of Jack Daniels and down some antidepressants in one night and keep on going. I just hated my life at one point. I loved my band, career and friends, but when I got home from tour, I couldn’t deal with stuff. I would just begin drinking.”

 

RIP Chester..

 

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jul/21/chester-bennington-obituary

Chester Bennington obituary

Vocalist with the band Linkin Park whose sound was emblematic of the nu-metal genre

Current Time 0:00
/
Duration Time 0:52
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
Mute

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington dies aged 41

The death of Chester Bennington, vocalist with the rap and nu-metal band Linkin Park, at the age of 41, curtails a brilliantly successful career that brought a string of awards and multimillion-selling albums and singles. Linkin Park enjoyed enormous and immediate acclaim with their debut album Hybrid Theory (2000), released on Warner Bros after the band had been rejected by several labels. The combination of Mike Shinoda’s rapping and Bennington’s soaring, impassioned singing became the band’s instant focal point, with the group’s metallic thunder enhanced by edgy electronic treatments. Their sound became emblematic of the nu-metal genre, alongside like-minded artists such as Korn and Limp Bizkit.

Hybrid Theory sold nearly 5m copies in its first year and to date has sold more than 20m, and reached No 2 on the US chart and No 4 in the UK. The singles Crawling, One Step Closer and In the End became radio favourites, receiving heavy airplay on MTV, and in 2002 Crawling won a Grammy for best hard rock performance. The album Reanimation (2002) comprised remixes of Hybrid Theory songs plus additional material, and was another international multimillion-seller.

When the band released Meteora in 2003, following intensive touring in the US, including dates with their own multi-artist Projekt Revolution tour, it shot to the top of the US and UK album charts and spawned a fresh batch of hit singles, including Somewhere I Belong, Breaking the Habit and Numb, the last of these an anthem of Bennington’s disconnection from the world. The album went on to sell more than 10m copies. In 2004, Linkin Park teamed up with Jay-Z on the EP Collision Course, mixing rap with metal; the track Numb/Encore, splicing together the band’s Numb with Jay-Z’s Encore, went to 20 on the US singles chart and 14 in the UK. In 2005 it won a Grammy for best rap/sung collaboration.

But while his music provided a cathartic outlet, Bennington had experienced an assortment of emotional and drug-related issues since childhood. He was a close friend of Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden, who killed himself in May, and wrote a heartfelt posthumous letter to Cornell. Bennington was found dead at his home in California on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.

Bennington was born in Phoenix, Arizona. His mother, Susan Elaine Johnson, was a nurse, and his father, Lee Russell Bennington, a police detective who often worked on child abuse cases. They divorced when he was 11, after which his father gained custody of Chester. He had two older sisters and an older half-brother, Brian. Since his father often worked double shifts, Chester frequently found himself at home alone. He fell into a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse, and, he once told Metal Hammer magazine, “dropped so much acid I’m surprised I can still speak. I’d smoke a bunch of crack, do a bit of meth and just sit there and freak out. Then I’d smoke opium to come down.”

His emotional state was further affected by the fact that he suffered sexual abuse by an older friend between the ages of seven and 13. “It destroyed my self-confidence,” he told Kerrang! in 2008. “Like most people, I was too afraid to say anything. I didn’t want people to think that I was gay or that I was lying.” He was also bullied at school.

He found some respite in drawing and songwriting, and was a fan of Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots. At 17 he moved in with his mother, and worked at Burger King while attempting to become a musician. His first group, Sean Dowdell and His Friends?, made a three-track cassette in 1993, after which Bennington and Dowdell formed the alternative-rock band Grey Daze, who released three albums during the 1990s.

Bennington married Samantha Olit in 1996, quit Grey Daze in 1998 and moved to Los Angeles to further his musical career. He auditioned for a band called Xero, and when he was hired as vocalist he completed the original line-up of what then became Linkin Park (a pun on Lincoln Park in Santa Monica), alongside Shinoda, Brad Delson, Dave Farrell, Rob Bourdon and Joe Hahn.

In 2005 Bennington put together a side project, Dead By Sunrise, featuring musicians from Orgy and the Street Drum Corps and comprising songs he considered “darker and moodier than anything I’d come up with for the band”. In 2009 they released their only album, Out of Ashes, which scraped into the US Top 30.

Linkin Park returned in 2007 with the album Minutes to Midnight, co-produced with Rick Rubin and marking a deliberate step towards a more mainstream rock sound. This delivered the big hit singles What I’ve Done, Bleed It Out and Shadow of the Day, which all scored heavily in the American alt and rock charts. New Divide, from the soundtrack compilation album Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen (2009), gave them another major hit. Their subsequent albums, A Thousand Suns (2010) and Living Things (2012), saw sales falling way below their earlier peaks, but they still delivered big hit singles including The Catalyst, Waiting for the End and the anthemic Burn It Down.

In 2013 Bennington joined Stone Temple Pilots after they fired the vocalist Scott Weiland, and, after recording the EP High Rise, stayed with them until 2015. “I got to create and perform with one of the greatest rock bands of our generation, that had so much influence on me growing up,” he said afterwards. He was back with Linkin Park for The Hunting Party (2014), on which they tacked back towards a heavier rock sound. One More Light (2017) was, by comparison with the group’s original sound, virtually a pop record. “It’s a great record, we love it,” insisted Bennington to hostile critics, and the album shot to the top of the US Billboard chart.

Bennington had tackled his addiction issues with some success, admitting falling off the wagon in 2005 when he divorced, but getting clean again in 2006 when he married Talinda Bentley, a schoolteacher and former model. In the run-up to the release of One More Light, he seemed optimistic and positive, saying that he had shaken off the depression he had felt two years earlier. “I know exactly who I am, I know exactly what I’m made of and I’m totally happy with it,” he said.

He is survived by Talinda and their children, Tyler Lee, Lily and Lila; by a son, Draven Sebastian, from his first marriage; and by two sons, Jaime and Isaiah, from a relationship with Elka Brand.

Chester Charles Bennington, singer and songwriter, born 20 March 1976; died 20 July 2017

 

The BBC’s Explosive Documentary On SSRI (Antidepressant) Induced Violence Airs Tonight…


 

So BBC panorama are airing a Panorama investigation tonight into anti-depressant induced violence, and of course, even before the documentary has aired, we have all the pro-SSRI mouthpieces (most notably from the Royal college of Psychiatry UK) coming out en masse to condemn it before it has even been broadcast.

This is no surprise considering the Royal college of psychiatry and most of its members (not just UK psychiatrists but global psychiatrists) have long been in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry. Of course, most of the mainstream media outlets, fail to mention that very significant fact.

However, despite the melodrama, it was interesting to note the position of Mind (the UK’s biggest and most respected mental health charity) who said:

….”Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, said: “Millions of people take SSRIs and other antidepressants and many find them useful in managing their mental health problems. “Side effects from medication can be serious but it’s important to recognise that severe side effects such as those explored in this programme are incredibly rare. “Anyone prescribed medication for a mental health problem should be fully informed about the drug and its side effects so they can make an informed choice about whether it’s the right treatment for them.”…


Stephen Buckley, from Mind, is wise to err on the side of caution, and that is part of what his job entails, however isn’t it interesting that he does not disagree with the findings of the documentary? He says that “severe side effects such as those explored in this programme are incredibly rare“. I agree with him, somewhat, antidepressant induced violent acts are relatively rare, however, anti-depressant induced violent thoughts are perhaps more common than most people realize.

Many people have antidepressant induced violent thoughts and impulses, it’s just Russian Roulette that decides who will act on them, and who won’t..

Seroxat (GSK’s notorious SSRI) causes aggression, akathisia (a feeling of unbearable anxiety), and violent thoughts/dreams/impulses; the whole class of SSRI drugs can cause these reactions. Many tens of thousands of people have been saying this about them for decades. I have experienced these side effects myself, from Seroxat.

There is no disputing this.

Of course, the (owned by the Pharmaceutical industry) Royal College of Psychiatry, and the other organizations with vested interests, will dismiss my experiences, and those of others who were harmed by SSRI’s, as merely anecdotal, but in the same breath they will quote (anecdotally) that that ‘these medicines save lives’. They will then quote the vague and mysterious ‘evidence based medicine’ to back up their stance, but what they won’t tell you is that the ‘evidence base’ is entirely unreliable, and in most cases -utterly corrupted, and in the worse cases- outright lies. They won’t tell you that the pharmaceutical industry is among the most corrupt industries on the planet (see Whisleblower Greg Thorpe’s GSK felony complaint here), and that death from psychiatric drugs in particular is a staggeringly high outcome for many.

See SSRI Stories for many thousands of documented cases

Or QuitPaxil.org for more.

 


https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/4061091/a-prescription-for-murder-on-bbc-one-shelley-jofre-time-documentary/
CAN A PILL MAKE YOU KILL?

When is A Prescription For Murder? on BBC One, who is Shelley Jofre and what’s the documentary about?

Find out about this new show that looks at whether a pill can cause you to kill

A PRESCRIPTION For Murder? is a BBC documentary focusing on the potential effects of prescription antidepressants.

But what is it about? And when can you watch it? Here’s what we know…

A Prescription For Murder is a new BBC documentary fronted by Shelley Jofre

NOT KNOWN REFER TO COPYRIGHT HOLDER
2
A Prescription For Murder is a new BBC documentary fronted by Shelley Jofre

What is A Prescription For Murder?

This new Panorama documentary looks into whether prescription antidepressants can turn you into a killer.

Over 40 million prescriptions for SSRI antidepressants were handed out by doctors last year in the UK.

Panorama reveals the devastating side effects on a tiny minority that can lead to psychosis, violence, possibly even murder.

With exclusive access to psychiatric reports, court footage and drug company data, reporter Shelley Jofre investigates the mass killings at the 2012 midnight premiere of a Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado. Twenty-four-year-old PhD student James Holmes, who had no record of violence or gun ownership, murdered 12 and injured 70.

Did the SSRI antidepressant he had been prescribed play a part in the killings?

Panorama has uncovered other cases of murder and extreme violence which could be linked to psychosis developed after the taking of SSRIs – including a father who strangled his 11-year-old son.

Panorama asks if enough is known about this rare side effect, and if doctors are unwittingly prescribing what could be a prescription for murder.

When is A Prescription for Murder? on?

You can catch the show at 9pm on Wednesday July 26, 2017.

If you miss it, you can catch it again on the BBC iPlayer.

Who is Shelley Jofre?

Shelley is a journalist who was born in Irvine, Ayrshire.

She began her career back in 1995 and is now one of the top investigators for Panorama.

Shelley is married and has a daughter.

James Holmes was responsible for the Batman shootings

GETTY IMAGES
2
James Holmes was responsible for the Batman shootings

Who is James Homes and what was the Aurora massacre?

James Eagan Holmes was born December 13, 1987 and is an American convicted mass murder.

He was responsible for the Aurora cinema shooting that killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a Century movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012.

He walked into a midnight screening of Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises and threw two gas canisters into the audience.

Many in the audience thought it was a publicity stunt until he began spraying the crown with the shotgun, then the assault rifle and finally the pistol.

A witness said he went outside and and shot people as they ran.

Cops apprehended Holmes in his car behind the cinema within minutes of the shooting. He told them that he was “The Joker”.

On August 7 2015 Holmes was sentenced to life in prison without parole, avoiding the death penalty because the jury could not come to a unanimous decision.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/aurora_shooting

 

The Batman Killer –
a prescription for murder?

James Holmes, a young man with no record of violence, murdered 12 people watching Batman in a Colorado cinema in 2012.

Did an SSRI antidepressant, prescribed by a doctor, play a part in the killings?

He slumps wild-eyed across the desk from detectives, with a mess of badly dyed red hair, his clothes hanging off him.

James Holmes looks every inch the monster who coldly executed 12 innocent people and injured dozens more at a midnight screening of the Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes had carried out the killings with an arsenal of weaponry he had accumulated in the preceding weeks. He had planned the shootings down to the tiniest detail, even booby-trapping his own apartment with home-made bombs to divert police resources while he launched the attack.

Watching a recording of his interview at the police station, conducted just hours after he carried out one of the worst mass shootings in recent US history, who could feel anything but loathing for this callous 24-year-old graduate student? When asked how to spell his surname, Holmes cockily replies, “Like Sherlock”.

When left alone with paper bags on his hands to secure forensic evidence, he’s caught on camera using them to talk to one another, like sock puppets.

The only hint he may have some inkling of what he’s just done is when he asks a detective, “There wasn’t any children hurt?” In fact, six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan was the youngest of Holmes’s victims that night in July 2012 – killed as she watched the movie premiere with her mother at the packed cinema in Aurora, Colorado.

Americans have become wearily accustomed to mass shootings. Usually, in the days and weeks that follow, some kind of warped explanation emerges – be it terrorism, revenge or a predisposition to violence. It’s highly unusual for the perpetrator to be taken alive. Usually they are killed or kill themselves at the scene.

Holmes survived, and as the evidence stacked up it looked like another tragic collision of mental breakdown with America’s lax gun laws.

Holmes's Glock 22 Pistol photographed on the bonnet of his car

Holmes’s Glock 22 Pistol photographed on the bonnet of his car

Why else would a clever, shy guy with no history of violence, from a loving home, carry out such a heinous attack? Holmes had no enemies, no terrorist ideology to drive him on.

But the student had been seeing a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Denver and this was no barrier to him buying a handgun, tear gas, full body armour and a semi-automatic rifle.

 .223 M&P Assault Rifle photographed outside the cinema

 .223 M&P Assault Rifle photographed outside the cinema

Before he faced a court of law, Holmes was evaluated by a number of psychiatrists. No two doctors reached exactly the same conclusion. There were diagnoses of schizophrenia, schizoid personality disorder, schizotypal disorder – or no diagnosable disorder at all. Some thought Holmes couldn’t legally be held responsible for his crime, on grounds of insanity. Others disagreed, arguing he still knew right from wrong when he carried out the shootings.

When these questions came before a jury two years ago, the verdict was unanimous. Holmes was found guilty on all counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr said:

It is the court’s intention that the defendant never set foot in free society again. Get the defendant out of my courtroom please.”

He was led from the dock to jeers of “loser”, as his bewildered parents Bob and Arlene looked on, to begin one of the longest prison terms in US history – 12 life sentences plus 3,318 years in prison. He only narrowly escaped the death penalty.

Holmes is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum security prison in an undisclosed state, because the nature of his crimes make him a target for other prisoners. That’s how he will spend the rest of his days.

Like any other casual observer skimming over the court reporting online, I thought justice had been done, and that this was where Holmes’s story ended. Then I spoke to psycho-pharmacologist and long-time campaigner on the potential dangerous side effects of antidepressants, Prof David Healy.

Healy had been hired as an expert witness in the James Holmes case and had visited him in jail before the trial. The public defender appointed to represent Holmes wanted Healy to evaluate whether the antidepressant sertraline (also known as Lustral in the UK and Zoloft in the US), which Holmes had been prescribed, could have played a role in the mass murder.

Prof David Healy

Prof David Healy

I have worked with David Healy in the past on a number of investigative films for the BBC’s current affairs programme, Panorama.

These films revealed cases where people with no previous history of suicidal thoughts or violence went on to seriously harm themselves or others after being thrown into a state of mental turmoil by the newer generation of SSRI antidepressants, such as paroxetine and fluoxetine.

Before meeting Holmes, Healy doubted the pills had played a part. But by the end of his prison visit he had reached a controversial conclusion.

He was never called to give evidence at the trial of James Holmes, but he told me in August 2016 that he would have told the court:

These killings would never have happened had it not been for the medication James Holmes had been prescribed.”

David Healy

SSRIs are thought to work by boosting serotonin levels to the brain.

Stephen Buckley, from mental health charity Mind, says:

Millions of people take SSRIs and other antidepressants and many find them useful in managing their mental health problems. Side effects from medication can be serious but it’s important to recognise that severe side effects are incredibly rare.”

He adds that no-one should stop taking medication suddenly, without advice from a health professional.

“If anyone is concerned that they may be experiencing harmful side effects they should speak to their doctor or pharmacist about alternatives.”

Prof Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says: “In all treatments – from cancer to heart disease – medicines which do good can also do harm. This applies in psychiatry. Current evidence from large-scale studies continues to show that for antidepressants the benefits outweigh the risks.”

David Healy maintains that while antidepressants can be a lifesaver for some, for others they can cause more harm than the original problems they were prescribed to treat.

But what makes a young man plan over months a mass shooting, then carry it out with cold precision? Could antidepressants possibly do that?

‘He was too good’

Arlene and Bob Holmes sat through every day of their son’s trial but rejected all approaches to talk in public about their son out of respect for the victims and their families.

However, a book that Arlene wrote, When the Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes 2013-2014, gives an insight into her thoughts in the run-up to the trial in April 2015.

Arlene and Bob Holmes arrive at the court building

Arlene and Bob Holmes arrive at the court building

In one section, she describes the effects of taking the lowest dose of an SSRI antidepressant in March 2014:

I have become fatter, ‘flatter’, dumber, number. Less tearful, yes. Unfortunately, less of everything. The sunset and the beach no longer lift my spirits.”

She continues: “I sit through church service and sift through the Bible, uninspired. I’m fuzzy. Weird dreams. Crying used to be a release. Now I cannot cry, or laugh. I hate this feeling.”

Arlene Holmes, a nurse, wrote that she stopped taking the pills before the trial, telling her doctor she wanted to be able to feel things and to cry if she wanted to.

If she had a bad experience with an SSRI antidepressant, what would she make of David Healy’s view of her son’s case?

I contacted the couple’s lawyer explaining my own background in investigating antidepressants and suggesting that Arlene and Bob Holmes might hold information that could, ultimately, help prevent future tragedies.

A few weeks later an email from Arlene dropped into my inbox. Short and to the point, it requested more information and asked me not to share her contact details with anyone.

“Some people bear my family ill will,” she wrote.

When we finally spoke on the phone, it became clear Arlene and Bob had never seriously considered the effect antidepressants might have had on their son’s behaviour. In fact, they hadn’t even known of David Healy’s involvement as a pre-trial expert witness.

Persuaded that exploring their son’s case in depth may ultimately help others, they reluctantly agreed to a filmed interview. It wouldn’t help their son – they know he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Approaching their low-rise detached home in a neat suburb of San Diego, what struck me was the sheer ordinariness – a man out washing his car, another mowing his lawn, kids playing baseball in the park. Inside, the Holmes’ house is modest, understated – just like Arlene and Bob.

“We are an introverted family,” says Arlene. “We are not showy but we like having people around. We care about the larger picture in society and we are Christians, we go to church.”

If you had told me this would happen to us I just wouldn’t have believed it.”

Arlene Holmes

The couple have struggled to understand how their boy could cause so much hurt and pain to others.

“Not in your wildest dreams would you think your son would shoot strangers,” says Arlene. “For someone who loved kids and dogs and always did his homework and his chores. You can’t believe it is possible for anyone to cause that much harm, let alone the man you raised.”

She says they never saw any signs of violence, and that her son had not shown any interest in drink or drugs.

“In retrospect, I think he was too good. Maybe I should have worried about the fact he was so good, but as a mother you can worry about just about anything.”

Bob Holmes, a retired statistician, is a man of few words.

“He was never interested in guns or really even a violent kid, that’s why it was surprising. It came out of nowhere. He seemed happy enough, just pretty much a normal everyday kid growing up, so…” Bob’s voice trails off as though he can’t bear to finish the thought.

They say there had been ups and downs along the way but little to mark them out from any other family.

They moved home when James was 13 and he found the transition hard. He was quiet but he had friends and took part in sports. He cruised through his academic work at school and, later, as an undergraduate.

Bob and Arlene speak about taking James to a counsellor:

The first real hump in the road was when Holmes applied to six top universities to study for a doctorate in neuroscience. Academically bright, his shyness in interviews appeared to work against him. He was rejected by all of them.

“He came home and he just kind of didn’t do much of anything for a while, and he just kind of hung out,” says Bob.

Arlene says her son was sleeping a lot and not going out much.

“So I got mad and I said, ‘You are done with college, you need to do something.’”

Holmes took his mother’s advice and found a job working night shifts in a pill factory while he applied to more universities.

In 2011, he accepted an offer to study neuroscience at University of Colorado Denver and started in the autumn. Not his first choice, says his mother, but it all seemed to be working out fine.

“He still was happy to be at Colorado, talked to us about eventually settling and he eventually borrowed money to buy a town house on the outskirts of Denver,” she says.

So when you hear something like that, the last thing in the world that you would ever think is that something as bad as a shooting could possibly happen. He was planning a future there.”

Very few of Holmes’s former friends are willing to talk, but one – a young man who knew him well as an undergraduate – spoke to me on condition of anonymity. The Holmes he knew and liked was just as Bob and Arlene described – shy, polite, frugal and smart.

They used to play video games together – strategy games, not the violent kind, he says. There was the occasional beer, but no drugs, parties or girls.

“We were pretty nerdy,” he says.

Discovering someone he was close to could commit mass murder had been “a profound experience”. When he heard what his friend had done, he knew something must have happened to him.

“I still don’t know how to make sense of it,” he says.

Hillary Allen

Hillary Allen

Someone who spent time with Holmes in the crucial months before the shootings was Hillary Allen, a fellow graduate student on the neuroscience programme at CU Denver.

In class he didn’t really take notes, so that was something that made me jealous because I was vigorously writing notes down… it seemed like he got a lot of work done in his lab and he seemed very successful. I remember thinking like, ‘Wow, James is very smart, he’s very intelligent’”

Sometimes the friendship was hard work.

“He was kind of quiet and kept to himself. He did have a kind of a quirky sense of humour,” says Allen.

“We were part of a group of scientists so I think everyone’s a bit odd. Maybe he was a little bit more odd than the rest of us, maybe more socially awkward.”

Socially awkward. It’s a phrase that comes up time and again to describe Holmes. It’s what led him to make contact with the university counselling department in the spring of 2012, just months before the shootings.

Cracks had started to appear in Holmes’s apparently effortless success. Over the Christmas break he was diagnosed with glandular fever. Tired and ill for the first couple of months of 2012, he kept going to classes, but his work was going downhill.

The shy and anxious Holmes found giving presentations in front of his classmates particularly hard.

His first proper relationship with fellow graduate student Gargi Datta had also come to an end. Datta didn’t want to speak to me, but according to Arlene Holmes the break-up hit her son hard.

I think he loved her. He did say that she wanted to still see him again, which he found difficult to understand since they were broken up

“It was a cordial break-up. That’s the word he used, ‘cordial’. They both parted as friends.”

It was Datta who suggested Holmes seek help at the campus student wellness centre. On 21 March 2012, James Holmes had his first appointment there with psychiatrist Dr Lynne Fenton.

Sifting through the mountain of court testimony and evidence, this date sticks out.

Does it – as the prosecution would argue – mark the point at which Holmes first acknowledges he’s struggling mentally in the perfect storm of his relationship breakdown, academic problems and long-standing social anxiety? A storm that explains why he decided he had nothing to lose and everything to gain from killing as many people as he could?

Or was that date significant – as David Healy would say – because it was the day Lynne Fenton prescribed to James Holmes the antidepressant, sertraline?

Mania

First page of Holmes’s notebook

In his first meeting with Lynne Fenton, Holmes was hard to engage but described his anxiety around people. And during that 45-minute session worrying details emerged that he’d never talked about with his family.

Holmes said he was having thoughts of killing people three or four times a day.

Although it sounds alarming, Fenton didn’t regard him as dangerous at that point. The thoughts were abstract, there was no plan or, it seemed, any real intent. She prescribed the antidepressant sertraline to ease his anxiety and obsessive thoughts.

Holmes in custody

Holmes in custody

In later prison interviews with court-appointed forensic psychiatrist Dr William Reid, Holmes said he’d had intrusive thoughts like this since his teens. Not of actually killing people, rather of wishing them dead to escape from awkward social situations.

According to Reid, these kinds of intrusive thoughts are not uncommon.

“He wasn’t talking about a vengeful hatred,” he says. “He was talking about an aversion to mankind. Being around much of mankind was uncomfortable to him and it wasn’t very rewarding to him so he wanted to avoid it.”

With hindsight, it provides a clear motive, according to Colorado District Attorney, George Brauchler, who successfully prosecuted the case. He says Holmes had a long-standing hatred of mankind – that’s why he killed so many people.

As he puts it, Holmes was “evil”.

District Attorney, George Brauchler

District Attorney, George Brauchler

Brauchler says Holmes kept his evil desires at bay until it became clear he wasn’t going to get what he wanted to be happy.

He’s not going to get that PhD, he’s not going to find that woman to love and have that house with those two kids and the dog. And that’s when he turns his sights on this lifelong passion that he’s had to kill other people and that’s when we see him start to set these things in motion.”

It’s a persuasive argument, and one some experts, and ultimately the jurors, had no trouble in accepting. But the timeline of what happened between Holmes’s first prescription of sertraline and the shootings wasn’t explored at trial.

When you scrutinise that timeline, it raises serious questions about the role of the widely prescribed antidepressant.

Page from Holme’s notebook

Just before he carried out the shootings, Holmes posted to Fenton a notebook he had written in. At times rambling, it gives some contemporaneous insight into his troubled mind. Both William Reid and David Healy agree it’s a valuable piece of evidence.

Holmes wrote about the initial effects of going on sertraline.

No effect when needed. First appearance of mania occurs, not good mania. Anxiety and fear disappears. No more fear, no more fear of failure. Fear of failure drove determination to improve, better and succeed in life. No fear of consequences.”

The first evidence that his thoughts of killing were turning real came in an online conversation with Gargi Datta on 25 March, four days after starting on sertraline.

At Holmes’s trial, Datta testified that at first she thought he was joking.

But as she challenged him, the details of his delusional theory spilled out.

This theory about increasing his so-called “human capital” by actually killing people was quite different to the abstract thoughts he’d had up until then about wishing people dead to get out of uncomfortable social situations.

Psychiatrists I’ve spoken to agree it was delusional, a sign of psychosis.

Datta was asked in court if he’d ever said anything delusional before this chat. She confirmed he hadn’t.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Philip Resnick, from Ohio, was engaged as a prosecution expert. He was not called to give evidence at trial.

Dr Philip Resnick

Dr Philip Resnick

In his first interview on the subject, he told me the “human capital” conversation with Datta was a key moment.

“I don’t think we have evidence of a plan to do it [kill] with an intention to do it before the human capital theory,” he says.

Holmes went back to see psychiatrist Lynne Fenton two days after telling Datta about human capital but he didn’t mention it to her. He did tell Fenton the medication hadn’t helped his obsessive thoughts. She doubled the dose of sertraline from 50mg to 100mg.

David Healy believes this made Holmes’s mental state worse:

There’s every evidence that if the drugs are suiting a person that an increase in the dose might be helpful – and I use these drugs even though they can cause a problem.”

He adds: “But when they are causing a problem, increasing the dose is a recipe for disaster.”

Nearly a fortnight after the dose increase on 9 April, the previously shy and awkward Holmes made a move on his classmate, Hillary Allen. His texts to her became uncharacteristically bold. One hot day he messaged her about the clothes she was wearing in class.

“Oh Hillary, Why yuh gotta distract me with those short shorts…?”

“I remember receiving that and just like kind of blushing and being like, I don’t remember what I said, but kind of trying to laugh it off and just trying not to create an awkward situation,” she says.

For David Healy, this was further evidence of the effect sertraline was having on Holmes.

Aside from the fact that you have a guy who is now actively beginning to think and plan about harming others in a way that he just hadn’t been doing before, you have a change of personality. This is a totally different person.”

At his fourth appointment with Lynne Fenton on 17 April, Holmes told her his homicidal thoughts had increased, though he still didn’t tell her about his human capital delusion. Fenton’s notes of that meeting documented a decline in his mental state.

“Psychotic level thinking… Guarded, paranoid, hostile thoughts he won’t elaborate on,” she wrote.

Whatever effect the sertraline was having, it certainly wasn’t helping. Healy firmly believes the psychotic-level thinking Fenton noted was a consequence of the medication.

At this appointment, Fenton upped the dose to 150mg. At Holmes’s trial she told the court this was the dose she had always been aiming for.

“It isn’t on her radar that this drug could be causing the kinds of problems that he’s having,” Healy says.

Fenton declined to be interviewed, but a statement from the University of Colorado Denver says patient-doctor confidentiality laws forbid her from talking about Holmes’s care without his consent, which he has not given.

The ‘mission’

By May, Holmes’s “mission”, as he later described it, got real. He began spending large amounts of money accumulating
weapons. In the notebook he wrote:

Starts small. Buy stungun and folding knife. Research gun laws and mental illness. Buy handgun. Committed. Shotgun, AR-15, 2nd handgun…”

By this time, Holmes’s coursework had badly deteriorated. He gave a disastrous final presentation and then failed his exams. He was offered the chance to re-sit but on 11 June dropped out of university. Just before that, he had one last meeting with psychiatrist Lynne Fenton and her colleague.

Holmes's final presentation

Holmes’s final presentation

They were so concerned by his state of mind at this appointment they offered to keep treating him free of charge, but Holmes refused. Fenton had the power to detain Holmes under a mental health hold, but she told his trial she felt there were insufficient grounds.

She did contact the campus security team to ask for criminal-record and weapon-permit checks. Holmes was given the all clear. He never told Fenton about the weapons he’d bought or the plans he was making.

Fenton also called Holmes’s mother.

“She said, ‘Do you know that he is not going to continue in school?’” Arlene tells me. “I thought that was the purpose of her phone call, and I said, ‘Did he ask you to call me?’ And she said, ‘No he didn’t want me to call you and he didn’t want you to worry.’

I was reassured by her phone call, rather than alarmed. I said, ‘My husband and I both work, we can pay you out of pocket to keep seeing him, I’m glad he’s getting some help for social anxiety.’ I didn’t know that she would never see him again, which is what happened.”

Arlene Holmes

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


http://bangordailynews.com/2017/02/06/next/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.

CORRECTION:

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

Was George Michael Addicted To Anti-Depressants? (and trying to wean off them?)


One of George Michael’s lovers today reveals how the tormented singer confessed to him that he was desperately addicted to anti-depressants.

Carlos Arturo Ortiz believes the superstar may have killed himself after telling him he was deeply unhappy.


He said: “George’s death knocked me sideways, although it didn’t surprise me. I found him a lovely down-to-earth man, but also a very melancholic person who I feared might one day take his own life.

“He told me he was addicted to anti-depressant medicine and trying to wean himself off it and confessed he was unhappy.

“We talked about his superstar status and I told him I thought that with his fame and talent and money he had all he needed to be happy in life.

“But when he started talking about the anti-depressants he took I asked him outright if he was happy in life and he replied, ‘No, I’m not.’

http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/george-michaels-lover-says-singer-9624900

What Did They Prescribe George Michael?


“….Georgiou dismissed claims Michael was taking Class A drugs before his death, insisting he had ‘stopped all the naughty stuff’.

He told The Times: ‘He was on antidepressants but he wasn’t doing drugs any more. 

‘He had swapped drugs for drink but he was doing better. The craziest thing is that when we were 20, 21 he used to say he’d die young….”


As 2016 came to a close, the death of singer George Michael made headline news across the world. Post-mortem results have been- thus far- inconclusive. However similar to the other celebrity deaths in recent times, it seems a lot of these cases usually involve multiple uses of prescriptions drugs over long periods of time – something termed- Polypharmacy.

George Michael’s erratic behavior has been well documented over the years, as has his experiences of depression, and anti-depressants too…

“…Chawla said the singer – who had used prescription medication to deal with his anxiety, depression and insomnia over a long period – had attempted to wean himself off drugs in March this year. He had some success, but later found “the feelings of anxiety and insomnia appeared to have redoubled”…”

He told police after his arrest:

“I’m so ashamed of it. It is so ridiculously dangerous and that is why I have stayed away from them [the antidepressants], even though I still have insomnia and I had some anxiety.” He had only started taking the drug recently, he said, adding: “They are a recent thing, and it’s taken me a whole week to fuck up again.”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/sep/14/george-michael-sentenced-jail-drug-crash

“…He went on a diet of Prozac and cannabis. The Prozac made his head even worse, he says. “At first you’re flying about, snapping at people one minute, really happy the next, and I made some disastrous business decisions,” he said….

http://brosiacom.blogspot.ie/2005/12/george-michaels-depression-story.html

The Press and the public, still largely seem to think, that just because medication for depression is available for prescription that it must be safe. The fact that anti-depressants legally prescribed (by a doctor) gives these drugs an aura of legitimacy which illegal drugs don’t have.

However, often prescribed drugs (such as SSRI- anti-depressants, Benzos, etc) can induce horrific side effects and withdrawal symptoms, and they can also be just  as dangerous as any illegal drugs (if not more so- in some instances).

The polypharmacy induced deaths and shortened life-spans of celebrities highlights the generally dangerous and irresponsible prescribing habits of many doctors. Of course medication induced deaths, injury, disability and shortened lifespans/quality of life etc – has been happening to the general public, as well, for decades.

Robert Whitakers ‘Anatomy of an epidemic’ is essential reading in this regard.

In Whitakers award winning book- he describes how psychiatric patients’ lives are considerably blighted by the drugs they are prescribed…

It will be interesting to see what they have been prescribing George Michael all these years..

Unfortunately it’s likely his death is linked to the polypharmacy prescribing habits of many celebrity doctors nowadays..

Heath ledger

Amy Winehouse

Prince

Carrie Fisher

And the rest…

All had very poor health ‘care’ outcomes and treatment (in particular from the psychiatric profession)

Even though they were very wealthy and had access to the best orthodox ‘medicine’ , their deaths are still linked to the drugs they were prescribed…

Perhaps ‘orthodox’ medicine has been poisoning us all for far too long?

RIP George..

Letters From Generation RX (By Kevin P. Miller) -A Review


Note: A big thanks to Kevin for the advanced screening last year, I wrote this post to publish alongside the release. Great documentary Kevin- well done.


“..They (the SSRI drugs) make you do things you wouldn’t do normally..”

Rhonda Carlin

(Sarah Carlin’s mother)

I have just finished watching Kevin P. Miller’s latest documentary called Letters from Generation RX. Considering I have been blogging, researching and investigating SSRI’s, the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry for over a decade now, and also that I have direct experience of these issues, I thought that I had seen and heard it all but Kevin Miller’s documentary illuminated the SSRI (and psychiatric drug issues) in a very moving and insightful way.

Kevin’s documentary moved me to tears (and I don’t normally well up watching documentaries). This is a delicately and sensitively filmed piece; harrowing in parts, but evocatively and profoundly drawn in others. Narrated by the acclaimed, and multi- award winning, actress Tilda Swinton (Narnia, Michael Clayton), Letters From Generation RX is evocative, uncompromising, and profound in equal measure. The sheer scale of human suffering, damage and destruction these drugs have caused so many families and individuals (for over two decades now) is staggering. I am but one of many victims of the psych-pharma industrial complex, there are hundreds to thousands of others, many of them undocumented.

Almost four years on Seroxat (Paxil) in my early twenties, brought me, literally to my knees, spiritually, emotionally and physically. However, despite years of Seroxat hell, both on the drug and in withdrawal, ironically, I was one of the lucky ones. Obviously I didn’t make it through unscathed but many people didn’t make it through alive. In this moving film- Kevin focuses mostly on SSRI survivor stories and the devastation of SSRI deaths. These are the tales of friends, families and loved ones caught in the maelstrom of iarogenic (drug induced) suicides and homicides.

The many victims of the psych-pharma industrial complex are given a voice here.

An excellent- must watch- documentary.

You can access it on VIMEO

and check out the facebook page here

How antidepressants (and benzos) ruined my life: Luke Montagu


Luke Montagu’s story is every unsuspecting uninformed psych-drug addicts story…

Most of us might not have the means to sue our GP’s, but Luke’s story could inspire more people to take cases against their doctors for prescribing these poisons..

I think if more people did, then doctors would start to listen.

Anyhow..Well done Luke.

(and thanks to Kiwi for alerting me to the story!)


http://beyondmeds.com/2015/07/18/antidepressants-ruined-my-life/

How antidepressants (and benzos) ruined my life: Luke Montagu

The title of this article in the Times is How Antidepressants Ruined My Life. Luke is an old friend from the benzo boards and I know that benzodiazepines are at the very least equally problematic.

From Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry:

The UK Times Magazine today publishes a long article describing CEP founder Luke Montagu’s terrible experience with antidepressants and sleeping pills:

luke

When he was first prescribed these drugs at 19, Montagu was not depressed and had never been diagnosed with depression. He was a student at New York University, and had recently undergone a general anaesthetic for a sinus operation that left him with headaches and feeling, as he puts it, “not myself”. Without carrying out any tests, a British GP announced that he had a “chemical imbalance of the limbic system” and prescribed Prozac. Montagu, “impressionable and in awe of doctors”, swallowed them unquestioningly.

However, he didn’t feel any better and over the course of the next five years saw various doctors who, no less than nine times, switched him to different drugs. Montagu was given a variety of different diagnoses, with no two medics seemingly able to agree. “One doctor said it was anxiety, another suggested conversion disorder. None of them seemed to accept what I knew – and would point out quite heatedly – which was this was all a consequence of the sinus operation and the chopping and changing of the various drugs.”

On a couple of occasions, Montagu had tried to quit, but always felt so bad that he quickly resumed the drugs. “I thought it was because I needed the medication; now I understand that it was because I was going into withdrawal each time I tried to come off the drugs. But the doctors never spotted that,” he says.

“When I restarted the drugs, I would feel better, at least initially. At the time, I didn’t realise that I was just like a junkie who needed a fix – my body and brain had become dependent on these chemicals. My life was going well otherwise: I was living in Kensington with a girlfriend, extremely busy with my internet business. Eventually, I decided just to stay on the drugs and only went to the doctor for repeat prescriptions; I kept taking what was prescribed and managed to keep functioning even though I didn’t feel 100 per cent.”

At the end of 2008, however, Montagu, by then 38, resolved that enough was enough. He was on a new antidepressant, Effexor, that made him feel wired. To counteract this, he’d been prescribed sleeping pills, clonazepam, but they made him forgetful. He decided to start the new year clean.

At the time, he was seeing Dr Mark Collins, a psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital in southwest London, whose patients had included Princess Margaret, Ruby Wax and the Marquess of Blandford. “Dr Collins went to Eton; he was from a similar background. He seemed to be somebody I could trust,” Montagu says ruefully.

On Collins’s advice, Montagu checked himself in to the Priory, where his clonazepam was taken away (he stayed on Effexor). “I thought I wouldn’t sleep for two or three nights, then I’d be so tired I’d crash out. Instead, it felt like my brain was torn into pieces.”

Collins, he later learnt, had made a dreadful mistake – long-term users of sleeping pills need to taper off over months, or even years. Over the next few days, Montagu experienced a “tidal wave of horrific symptoms”.

Initially, he couldn’t walk. “I couldn’t coordinate my body or judge distances, I didn’t know how far things were away from me. There was this incredibly loud ringing in my ears. I couldn’t see – everything was blurry and I was having flashback after flashback of distant memories, things dredged up from years gone by. I was crying for no reason, sobbing hysterically.

“It was like the detox hell I’d seen in films like Trainspotting. I thought, I’m just going to have to ride this out and it will get better in the same way heroin withdrawal eventually loses its grip. But I had no idea that withdrawal from long-term use of sleeping pills can take months and sometimes years.”

A few days later, Montagu discharged himself. “I was in a state of absolute terror. I just wanted to get out of the hospital because I knew that something dreadful had been done to me. Somehow I made it home, but there I realised everything was different. I’d left the house as one person, but returned as another. In a quite literal way, I had lost my mind.”

Since then, Montagu has endured seven years of what can only be described as hell. A softly spoken man with a gentle demeanour, he is mainly calm as he describes his ordeal, but occasionally his voice wobbles.

Back home, he found himself unable to focus. “I could barely put a sentence together, remember who I was or what I was supposed to do. It was as if parts of my brain had been erased. For the first couple of years, I had to try to pretend to be the person that I was, while knowing inside that that person had gone.”

[His business] needed him, but he couldn’t function. “I’ve always been very good at getting things done and knowing what to say, but now I’d sit in a meeting without knowing what to do next.” At a board meeting he burst into tears in front of his fellow directors. “I had to say, ‘I just can’t do this. I’m really not well.’”

He realised he could no longer work. For the next three years, Montagu was stuck at home in agonising physical and mental pain. Horrified by the risk of additional drug harm, he decided to wean himself very slowly from the Effexor, leaving him with severe burning nerve pains, like pins and needles, all over his body, that continue to this day.

…As he slowly began to feel better, Montagu poured his energies into fighting back. Knowing his experiences would be dismissed as anecdote, together with various credible medics, he co-founded CEP, the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, which gathers evidence of the harm caused by psychiatric drugs in order to lobby politicians and medical bodies. To give others hope, he uploaded short films of recovery stories to the website. They have become a popular resource.

“It’s pretty shocking that there are virtually no NHS resources to help people get though the hell of withdrawal, particularly since the problem has largely been caused by NHS treatment,” says Montagu, still measured in his speech but his passion rising. “It’s getting worse – more than 57 million prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in England last year. That’s 7 per cent more than 2013 and 500 per cent more than 1992.”

CEP’s message upsets many, who retort that such drugs have saved countless people from suicide. Montagu shrugs. “Psychiatry is a corrupt and dishonest business: it treats so-called illnesses that don’t exist with drugs that don’t cure and can cause great harm. And once you have been harmed, it then diagnoses further illness and prescribes yet more drugs. I know they can help some people in the short term, but they’re just psychoactive like alcohol or cocaine – they can make you feel better initially, but over the long term they cause dependence and destroy your physical and mental health.”

Montagu eventually sued Dr Collins for the rapid withdrawal and long-term misprescribing of clonazepam, which led to a £1.35m out of court settlement, including legal fees.

The full article can be viewed at: How antidepressants ruined my life

See also from Beyond Meds: Antidepressant information   and  Benzodiazepine info, news, resources and recovery stories  and  Drug free healing from depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc…

We can heal and we do all the time. I’m deeply grateful to be drug free and clear. The healing process is a beautiful journey. See: Monica, healing documented

*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

Aine’s story: ‘I was unaware of potential adverse effects to my prescribed antidepressants’


http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/mental-health/aines-story-i-was-unaware-of-potential-adverse-effects-to-my-prescribed-antidepressants-31218347.html

Aine’s story: ‘I was unaware of potential adverse effects to my prescribed antidepressants’

Published 13/05/2015 | 08:51

Aine O'Beirne Open Gallery 1
Aine O’Beirne

“I’ve suffered from anxiety most of my life. About 10 years ago I started to get panic attacks. I was prescribed the antidepressant SSRI Citalopram and was on it for about three years. Initially it did seem to help. However, I was unaware of potential adverse effects.

In the summer of 2008, I went into mania psychosis while on the SSRI. Psychosis is a temporary loss of touch with reality. There was a spiritual aspect to my experience. I wasn’t violent. I live in a culture that lacks empathy and understanding of such experiences, even more so seven years ago.

I ended up admitted to a psychiatric hospital without being involved in that decision. I did have more insight into what was going on than people seemed to realise. I found the initial admission to hospital very traumatic, even more distressing than the symptoms I was experiencing.

Stigma

I was never told that antidepressants could cause these symptoms, despite the evidence that is out there. Knowing this would have helped immensely, especially with the social stigma.

I was quickly given the label “bipolar”, which should not happen when the drug can be causing the symptoms.

While some tranquilisers can offer relief to a person when used short-term, I was unnecessarily put on several strong and potentially damaging drugs long-term. These drugs were very sedating.

I slept half the day and had a poor quality of life.

A turning point was when I connected to the right doctors and went to see Prof Ivor Browne who listened to my human story and gave me a new perspective. Ivor worked in a methodical way. He told me I was not “mentally ill”, which was quite liberating.

It’s been a difficult seven years. My career ended, which created another set of problems.

The whole experience has affected some of my personal relationships. I use WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) in my recovery and benefit from self-awareness, rest, yoga, meditation, exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, journaling and talk therapy. Support from others is vital.

Relapse

Any changes to the drugs a person is on needs to be made slowly and under the supervision of a doctor.

I am now off most of the drugs nearly four years. In the first two years I was prone to relapse as my body readjusted to being off prescribed psychoactive drugs.

I no longer go into mania psychosis, which is a major step in my recovery journey.

I’m hoping others may learn from my story. I engage with the mental health system through a number of initiatives in the hope of bringing about change.

Certain changes such as an open dialogue approach can make such a difference to the person in emotional distress.”

Aine O’Beirne was prescribed an SSRI antidepressant 10 years ago. Three years later she went into psychosis and hasn’t been able to work since

In 1991, Jeffrey Lieberman (On The FDA Panel) Officially Cleared Paxil Of Any Link To Suicide (ABC News- 2003)


So Jeffrey, what do you think now then? Do you think Paxil (Seroxat) causes suicide? or not?

It says in this ABC News article from 2003 that you were part of the 1991 FDA panel that cleared Paxil of any links to suicide? Were you receiving any funding, or money from speaking engagements etc, from GSK at this time, Jeffrey? Would you care to enlighten us on this- and also what are your views on Paxil now? Do you still think it’s safe? and also are you still receiving money/payment from GSK or any other drug companies? Where can we find full disclosures pertaining to this?

It seems that also- according to a NY Times Article about dodgy Paxil CR drugs coming out of a GSK plant in Puerto Rico- in 2005,  you were – at least- aware that Paxil had a quick and severe withdrawal syndrome, maybe you could relay that information to people when you are on your next talk show, blithering about your new book? Wouldn’t that be in patients’ interests?

(GSK spokeswoman) “Ms. Pekarek said the problems with the pills were unlikely ever to hurt patients. Patients who took an inert half of Paxil CR would be no worse off than if they had simply skipped a day’s dose – something that happens often, she said.”

“But Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, said Paxil was the wrong drug to skip for a day. Paxil remains in the bloodstream far shorter than Prozac.”

You also said that: “In 1991, we said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support a link,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of North Carolina and a member of the panel. “Now there is evidence, at least in children, and I wouldn’t rule out that it’s in adults, too.”

So what is your opinion now Jeffrey? do you rule out (or in) the link between Paxil and suicide? And furthermore, why do you compare anti-depressants to Insulin when you know that these drugs cause severe withdrawals, and you also know they are definitely dangerous in kids, and say they might be in adults? (I can assure you they are just as dangerous in any age group Jeffrey).

Despite your earlier views that Paxil, and SSRI’s in general, might cause suicide in adults based on the evidence that they definitely can in children, in 2004 on an article about the effectiveness of antidepressant use in kids you said:

“Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, said he found the report persuasive. “What the report said is that the risks of not treating patients with severe depressive illness is outweighed by the risk of treating them with SSRIs,” Lieberman said.”

Critics pointed to some weaknesses in the latest report. The task force did not have access to some data that British drug regulators used to reach with opposite conclusions. And it did not undertake a sophisticated and difficult “meta-analysis” in which data from many studies are pooled for examination. Other researchers are conducting such an analysis.

In addition, critics of these medicines noted that nine of the 10 task force members have significant financial ties to the drug industry, although such ties are common among prominent researchers. The task force said no industry money financed the report.

So which is it Jeffrey, either these drugs are safe, effective, and efficacious or they are not? either they can cause suicide, in adults and kids, or they can’t? what is your opinion now Jeffrey, in light of all the evidence in 2015? Maybe you should read the hundreds of blog posts and links about Paxil (Seroxat) on my blog and you just might begin to see the stark reality of the dangers of these drugs you’ve been involved with these past decades…

One final thing, in your recent interview on ABC news, you down-played the fact that anti-depressants were over prescribed, and you made no mention of either your own links to drug companies, or the range of data now indicating that SSRI’s have been harming people for decades- yet in 2004, while commenting on the black box warnings on all antidepressants  you said

“Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of North Carolina, said that the agency’s action suggested that antidepressants had become too popular and physicians too casual about dispensing them.

“I think the effect of these warnings will be to have physicians become a bit more conservative in using these drugs,” Dr. Lieberman said. “They’ll start limiting their use of them just to patients who are clearly depressed with clinically significant symptoms as opposed to those who have very mild symptoms.”

So, 11 years ago, you thought that the drugs were possibly dangerous in adults, definitely dangerous in kids, and vastly over prescribed, yet you have been in the media recently claiming that SSRI’s are no different that taking insulin for diabetes, and that “Robert Whitaker is a menace to society” and furthermore you downplay the fact that anti-depressants are even more over-prescribed today than they ever were, by comparing them with the over-prescription of anti-biotics. Why do you have so many vastly opposing views? What do you really think? It seems to me- that similar to a politician- you sway your views with whichever way the tide of public opinion is swaying- on any given day in any given era… hardly expert or reliable is it?

It seems to me Dr. Lieberman, that your opinion is about as credible as a snake oil salesman.. but boy have you made a lot of money out of the ‘mental health industry’ haven’t you?… good luck with the new book… I’m sure you’ll sell stack loads… I have to say though, I’d rather invest in good quality toilet roll… suffice to say, I won’t be reading it..

ps.. you’re speech from 2014.

“Time to Re-Engage With Pharma?”

….is hypocritical, disturbing, ill-conceived and basically downright appalling…

It seems you have never stopped personally and professionally engaging with Pharma Jeffrey- perhaps that’s part of the reason why you are so utterly biased and conflicted?


(NaturalNews) In a recent message to subscribers, American Psychiatric Association President Jeffrey Lieberman urged members to support big pharma.

He did this while openly admitting that the pharmaceutical industry makes a practice of advertising unethically, paying off doctors, and suppressing critical scientific data as to the dangers of their drugs.

With calm and poise, President Lieberman reminded APA members that we need big pharma and they need us. In fact, he suggests we’d be lost without them.

What would we do without pharmaceuticals? Who would support scientific research? How would psychiatrists stay in business? Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman is asking these questions as if the answer obviously favors supporting and sustaining a criminal industry.

It would seem that, according to Lieberman, humanity would be lost and all medical advancement would come to a screeching halt if not for the scoundrels who run big pharma.

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2003/s920461.htm

Concerns over the prescription of anti-depressants to adolescents

PRINT FRIENDLY EMAIL STORY

The World Today – Friday, 8 August , 2003  12:30:24

Reporter: Tanya Nolan

ELEANOR HALL: Now to concerns about the prescription of anti-depressants to adolescents, with the American Food and Drug Administration considering whether tighter restrictions should be placed on their use.

After examining new evidence suggesting young people taking the anti-depressant Paxil have a higher risk of suicide, the FDA is due to decide next week whether the drug, should be prescribed to people under the age of 18.

And the prediction is that the Administration will follow the recent decision by British health authorities to declare that the drug in fact must not be prescribed to young people.

And in Australia, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration already cautions against the prescription of anti-depressants to children, but it has strengthened its position in the last two months, as Tanya Nolan reports.

TANYA NOLAN: It was the clinical trial conducted by GlaxoSmithKline into its own drug Paxil, or Aropax as it’s known here in Australia, that sparked huge public debate in the UK and recently prompted health authorities there to declare that the drug must not be prescribed to people aged under 18.

The company found that a higher risk of self-harm and suicidal thoughts, in at least two per cent of the study group and that there was a similar risk of dependency on the drug. The American Food and Drug Administration has been reviewing that evidence and is considering following Britain’s lead.

Professor Jeffrey Lieberman was on the original FDA panel, which formally cleared Paxil of any link to suicide, back in 1991.

JEFFREY LIEBERMAN: Uh, the view now is that this a signal that there may be the potential risk of activating such behaviours in people who are treated with this medication and particularly in young people – adolescents or children.

TANYA NOLAN: So, is that evidence in any way conclusive that there is a link or a causal effect of the prescription of those drugs.

JEFFREY LIEBERMAN: No, no. The evidence at this point is purely associational. Further evaluation needs to be done to determine whether it’s causal.

TANYA NOLAN: Although the evidence is in no way definitive and the FDA, in fact, cautions against young people stopping their medication without professional advice, Professor Lieberman believes there is every likelihood the adverse effects identified in Paxil could be found in other anti-depressants.

JEFFREY LIEBERMAN: It is known that Serotonin is a neurochemical, a neurotransmitter that is involved in regulating emotion and aggression and hostility. And it’s possible since these drugs act on serotonin that they could induce or somehow activate such behaviours.

However, if this is the case, it would not be specific to any single SRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor), but would be the case for all of the drugs that act by the same pharmacologic mechanism of action.

TANYA NOLAN: Up to 80 per cent of teenagers on anti-depressants are prescribed Arapax, here in Australia. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has long warned against the use of anti-depressants by young people, and in recent months, has toughened it stance to state that Arapax should not be prescribed to anyone under 18.

GlaxoSmithKline has changed the labelling of its product to include the new warning. However, makers of the other most commonly prescribed anti-depressants say there’s no evidence to suggest any similar risk of suicide amongst young people taking their products. And those prescribing the medicines tend to agree.

Doctor Louise Newman is Chair of the Faculty of Adolescent Psychiatry with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and she says the profession is becoming more adept at diagnosing depression in adolescents and the risks and benefits of medication are carefully weighed up.

LOUISE NEWMAN: There’s evidence that anti-depressants are actually very helpful for that type of depression, so we certainly don’t want to be withholding anti-depressants.

TANYA NOLAN: But Dr Newman says any decision by the FDA will be an important one for Australian psychiatrists.

LOUISE NEWMAN: I think that we obviously need to be guided by the FDA in terms of their monitoring of side effects of all sorts with these sorts of medications. We’re certainly very supportive of that and if there is a ruling that a particular drug shouldn’t be used, then obviously, that would be a very important finding.

I think it’s important to recognise that there is a whole range of these drugs. The evidence isn’t clearly there at the moment as to which ones are likely to be more effective. Currently, it’s probably fair to say they all seem to be equally effective in the treatment of depression.

But there needs to be an ongoing monitoring of side effect profiles and increasing research looking at the safe use of these drugs, particularly in younger populations.

ELEANOR HALL: Dr Louise Newman from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, with Tanya Nolan.