Tagged: Depression

What Did They Prescribe Lil Peep?

“…”I suffer from depression and some days I wake up and I’m like, ‘F***, I wish I didn’t wake up’. That was part of why I moved to California, trying to get away from the place that was doing that to me, and the people I was around.

“I realised it was just myself – it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain,” he added at the time.”



Lil Peep was an American rapper who overdosed on Wednesday night, November 15, at age 21. Prescription drugs such as Xanax were mentioned a lot in his lyrics and his songs contain numerous references to drugs, prescription drugs in particular. It’s sad to see a life cut short at 21, but Lil Peep is representative of the generation who psychiatry has overdosed and over-diagnosed. His death is one of many.

In one article- from Pitch-Fork- Lil Peep mentions that his ‘mental illness’ is all down to a ‘chemical imbalance’. It’s hard to believe that the drug company created- chemical imbalance theory- is still doing the rounds. A tech savvy millennial like Lil Peep would have only needed to do a quick google search to see that the chemical imbalance theory has long been debunked, and even psychiatrists are backing away from it now. Nevertheless, it seems that the the allure of this myth to those looking for a chemical cure to their despair is as potent as ever. This, of course, means tons of business for the drug companies and their psychiatric puppets… and much harm to patients.

It will be interesting to see what psychiatric drugs were prescribed to this talented young man, and in what way did they contribute to deleting his young life and potential.

RIP Lil Peep…



Based on information [police] were told and evidence that was found in the tour bus, they had evidence of a possible drug overdose, most likely from Xanax,” Sgt. Dugan says, adding that an official cause of death will be released by the medical examiner after toxicology reports. “Based on evidence, there was drug paraphernalia found inside the bus and some narcotics.”


Another Shooter… Another Mass Murder… What Did They Prescribe Stephen Paddock?…

Yer another mass murder with questions about the effects of psychiatric drugs written all over it…



Public records reveal Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug Valium.  He may have also been taking an antidepressant.

Valium, which is the trade name for Diazepam, is an anti-anxiety medication that is one of a number of drugs classified as a benzodiazepine, nicknamed “Benzo.” Others include Xanax, Klonopin and Ativan.

These drugs are linked to violent behavior in some patients.  Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, author of Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime is one of a growing number of health professionals who say these drugs can, in some people, cause such severe personality changes that they can trigger the rage and even insanity.

Breggin believes in Paddock’s case, his drug use could be the key to what led to his killing rampage.  Breggin said Valium “can cause impulsivity, disinhibition, or loss of self-control resulting in violence.”

Breggin said he recieved an unconfirmed reports that Paddock “was prescribed antidepressants, which are commonly given along with Benzos.”  If true, that likely exacerbated the situation, according to Breggin.  However that link might never be known because while physicians must report benzodiazepine presecriptions to the Prescription Monitoring Program, they are not required to do so when prescribing antidepressants, Breggin said.

Earlier, Breggin told CBN News he believes psychiatric drugs play a larger role in mass killings than most in the medical community are willing to admit.

Like Breggin, pharmacist Suzy Cohen thinks the link between Paddock’s Valium prescription and the mass killing is more significant than many within the medical community are willing to admit.  

“He was either on a benzo or had just gotten off one,” Cohen told CBN, referring to the danger of not only taking these drugs, but also of stopping their use too fast.

She said although we might never know why Paddock became a mass killer with little to no warning signs, she said taking a benzodiazepine is “the fastest way to go from a normal, good citizen to insane at the drop of a hat.”

She continued, “I’m certainly not blaming Valium for a gunman gone mad; millions of people take these types of drugs without becoming psychotic. But I will share this with you: in a 2015 World Psychiatry study, 960 Finnish adults and teens convicted of homicide proved that the odds of them killing someone were 45% higher during time frame they took benzodiazepines. And one year prior, researchers in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry concluded: ‘It appears that benzodiazepine use is moderately associated with subsequent aggressive behavior.'” 

Cohen said although Paddock’s drug use raises red flags, more must be known about it to understand the connection to the Las Vegas killings. “Did he stay on it? Did he take more than prescribed? Did he combine it with other psychoactive medications? Did he suddenly stop it after taking such a high dose?” she questioned, “Unfortunately, these are questions for which we might never find answers.”

What Does Professor Carmine Pariante Think Of Seroxat Making People Suicidal?…

Following on from the BBC’s recent Panorama documentary on SSRI’s causing violence in some people, a series of articles defending the use of SSRI’s appeared in the media. One of the commentators (who also appears frequently on twitter defending the use of SSRI’s) is Dr Carmine Pariante.
Pariante is a psychiatrist, from Kings College London, and judging by his tweets he seems to believe firmly in the bio-medical/brain disorder approach to depression and ‘mental illness’. He also seems to have no problem accepting funding linked to various pharmaceutical companies.
“...Dr Carmine Pariante has received Funds for a member of staff and funds for research. Professor Pariante’s research on depression and inflammation is supported by: the grants ‘Persistent Fatigue Induced by Interferon alpha: A New Immunological Model for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ (MR/J002739/1) and ‘Immuno – psychiatry: a consortium to test the opportunity for im munotherapeutics in psychiatry’ (MR/L014815/1; together with GSK), from the Medical Research Council (UK); the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre in Mental Health at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundati on Trust and King’s College London; by Johnson & Johnson as part of a programme of research on depression and inflammation; and by a Wellcome Trust -led consortium that also include Johnson & Johnson, GSK and Lundbeck….”
Psychiatrists linked to drug companies (or just taking money from drug companies) are nothing new; it’s the norm. This kind of intrinsic conflict of interest is widely accepted in psychiatry. Psychiatry is awash with pharmaceutical money and influence, and has been for a very long time. Conflicts of interest are important, but in relation to this post, they don’t interest me that much.
What interests me most about Pariante is his appearance in an article in the Standard. The article is relatively balanced, and includes Pariante’s views on SSRI’s and some counter view points from Dr David Healy and Robert Whitaker. It also includes a comment from a woman called Martha, who used Seroxat-
Martha said:

…‘As a teenager, Seroxat gave me auditory hallucinations, night sweats and made me suicidal,’ she says. ‘Coming off it was like coming off heroin…” (Evening Standard Article 2017)

I find it interesting that it is stories like Martha’s (above) that get completely ignored by mainstream psychiatrists like Carmine Pariante. Pariante would likely dismiss Martha’s experience as ‘anecdotal’. He would probably attempt to link her Seroxat side effects to her ‘mental illness’ as opposed to highlighting any real serious problems with SSRI’s themselves. Pariante has faced a backlash of commentary, about his pro-SSRI views on Twitter, yet in most instances he fails to even respond to views that don’t concur with his own. He seems unwavering to any opinion that does not tally with the consensus of the royal college of psychiatry, and incidentally- the drug companies.

Why is Pariante so unwilling to engage with people who have had serious adverse effects of SSRI’s? Why is he so fixed in his views, why is he also unwilling (and seemingly unable) to listen to our experiences of the drugs that he promotes? Why does he ignore different opinions?

Could this have anything to do with his declared interests with the drug companies who manufacture (and profit off) psychiatric drugs, or is it merely because his psychiatric reductionist world-view has become utterly blinkered from his total immersion in the ‘biological brain disease paradigm’ of depression and mental illness that maybe he can no longer see the wood for the trees?

Maybe he needs to listen to his patients more?

Pariante states, in the Standard article, that antidepressants stimulate the birth of new brain cells and that they ‘regulate’ stress hormones, he also says that the chemical imbalance theory is too simplistic….

See here-

“…Experts argue that the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory is simplistic. Professor Carmine Pariante of King’s College, London, tells me: ‘The action of antidepressants is more complex than that and involves stimulating the birth of new brain cells and regulating stress hormones.’ However, it’s a shorthand that makes sense to many.”..

Psychiatry and drug companies sold people millions of SSRI’s in the 90’s and 2000’s on the basis that SSRI’s (like Seroxat) fixed a ‘chemical imbalance’ in people’s brains, and it was this imbalance (so they claimed) that was causing the person’s depression. Now, it seems psychiatry is trying to distance itself from the theory- is this perhaps because the theory itself was little more than a pharmaceutical marketing ploy? a fraud? a fairy-tale sold to vulnerable people in order to get them to take mind-bending pills?

Who is going to tell all those millions of people who took SSRI’s, that psychiatry has now abandoned the chemical imbalance theory? Who will tell them that they were duped? Will Pariante do it?

Whilst dispelling one myth (the chemical imbalance theory) on the one hand, Pariante seems to have no problem planting outrageous new ones (such as SSRI’s regulating stress hormones and making new brain cells) into the discourse about SSRI’s, in the media. You’d have to wonder, with folks like Pariante (considered ‘experts’) as part of the ‘authority’ on mental health, are patients being harmed or helped by these kinds of glib pseudo-scientific statements?

Personally, I would like to see the evidence that SSRI’s regulate stress hormones, I’d also like to see hard evidence that SSRI’s creating brain cells is a good thing (where in the brain do these ‘new cells’ appear – for example).

It wasn’t long ago that psychiatry was telling us that homosexuality was a mental illness.

Psychiatry changes its theories like the weather, it depends on which way the ‘consensus’ is blowing. It also depends on who is feeding the ‘consensus builders’.

The consensus is now being altered by the internet, and patients voices (on twitter etc).

No amount of ignorance from people like Carmine Pariante can quell the tide of change that is now happening online.

Is it time for psychiatry to reform?

I think so..


Supermodel Cara Delevigne Doesn’t Agree With Anti-depressants…

Interesting article about super-model Cara Delevigne…

I wonder what ‘meds’ she was prescribed?…


Cara Delevingne ‘doesn’t agree’ with anti-depressants

4th Aug 16 | Entertainment News

Cara Delevingne stopped taking anti-depressants because she didn’t want to become dependent on medication.

Suicide Squad European Premiere

The model-turned-actress has been candid about her battle with depression, and how it left her feeling so low that she even contemplated suicide around the age of 16.

She was placed on a strong cocktail of medication but decided to come off the tablets when she was 18 because she never wanted to become reliant on them.

“I hate meds,” she told Britain’s Esquire magazine. “I don’t agree with them. It’s so easy to abuse them.”

She added that she immediately felt the difference once she came off her medication because her feelings returned and she had sex for the first time.

“That week (I stopped taking them), I lost my virginity, I got into fights, I cried, I laughed,” she admitted. “It was the best thing in the world to feel things again. And I get depressed still but I would rather learn to figure it out myself rather be dependent on meds, ever.”

During the interview, she spoke about having a mental breakdown as a teenager. Dealing with her hormones and the pressure of achieving good school grades sent her into a downwards spiral so severe that she even considered taking her own life.

“I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I realised how lucky and privileged I was, but all I wanted to do was die,” she explained. “I felt so guilty because of that and hated myself because of that, and then it’s a cycle. I didn’t want to exist anymore. I wanted for each molecule of my body to disintegrate. I wanted to die.”

During that time, Cara, 23, dropped out of boarding school and pursued a career in modelling, following in the footsteps of her older sister Poppy.

© WENN Newsdesk 2016

Amy Winehouse Was An Under-18 Seroxat (Paxil) Guinea Pig


” I used to do Seroxat… and it made me really loopy… really scatty…”

Amy Winehouse- ‘Amy‘ Film 2015 (22.oo mins)


“….Winehouse had been taking Seroxat, an anti-depressant, since age 14. After a messy breakup with a bad-influence boyfriend named Blake Fielder – coupled with the constant media frenzy – Winehouse stopped eating and started drinking heavily. One scene at the recording studio shows her nursing a whiskey in between takes. She is bulimic, disappearing mid-rehearsal, leaving the studio’s toilet bowl splattered with that day’s lunch, and returning with eye makeup smeared across her face. Over the course of the documentary, her full, round voluptuous body becomes withered and sickly. In the beginning, we see her dangling a bag of weed in front of the camera before performing a big concert. To get high and relax a little, presumably. But later in the movie, she and Fielder are doing cocaine, crack-cocaine and heroin regularly. She was 23…”


“…Often I don’t know what I do, then the next day the memory returns. And then I am engulfed in shame.’ The troubled star also discussed her battle with depression, which she had suffered since the age of 16. ‘I saw a picture of myself when I came out of the hospital. I didn’t recognise myself,’ admitted Winehouse. ‘Since I was 16, I’ve felt a black cloud hangs over me. Since then, I have taken pills for depression.”..


“…An influential study which claimed that an antidepressant drug was safe for children and adolescents failed to report the true numbers of young people who thought of killing themselves while on it, re-analysis of the trial has found

Study 329, into the effects of GlaxoSmithKline’s drug paroxetine on under-18s, was published in 2001 and later found to be flawed. In 2003, the UK drug regulator instructed doctors not to prescribe paroxetine – sold as Seroxat in the UK and Paxil in the US – to adolescents. ..”

I have just finished watching the recently released, brilliant documentary on Amy Winehouse ( simply called ‘Amy’). I really liked her music (particularly Back to Black), she was a true original, and she was a really interesting woman too. She was extremely smart, savvy, charismatic and a great lyricist. Musically she was always superb, but I liked the documentary as it revealed Amy’s personality and we get to see real footage of Amy behind the stage image and the media-constructed persona. The film is also interspersed with stories from her close friends over the years, and this adds to the authenticity of it. It’s very sad that she succumbed to addictions, and her demise was profoundly tragic: the kind that is symptomatic of hugely influential people who die in harrowing circumstances at the height of their talent and fame. The paparazzi also played their dark part in her life (as they did with Princess Diana) in hounding Amy to her grave.

I also found it interesting to learn that Amy was put on Seroxat when she was a teenager, and apparently she was prescribed it for depression. Having been prescribed Seroxat myself at a young age (21) I can’t help but wonder did Seroxat have any affect on Amy’s development? And also, could it be possible, that for some, Seroxat (and other SSRI’s) can become a kind of ‘gateway’ drug?

Seroxat is extremely powerful and potent, highly addictive, and in many ways resembles a narcotic (with ‘hypnotic’ type qualities). It changes your personality, and your behavior, and personally, I believe, that after experiencing such a dangerous psychotropic, this can alter a person’s psyche in many ways too. Seroxat does not cure depression, and in many cases it can exacerbate depression and anxiety, and Seroxat often prolongs the time it takes to recover from depression because it offers only a chemical distraction. Children who are prescribed drugs like Seroxat are given a signal by adults that its appropriate to deal with your emotional issues with potent drugs. This could arguably harm a child’s development, not to mention set them up for much more trouble down the line. It could also perhaps lead them to take other drugs, such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine etc because they would have been introduced to addiction, or dependence, through taking a drug which induces these effects early in their lives.

Addiction counselors often talk of cannabis being a ‘gateway drug’ in youth- it’s arguable then perhaps that extremely strong, addictive, mind-bending- drugs like Seroxat could also serve that function. I also believe that alcohol and nicotine could also play their part in wiring kids brains for other addictions later on, but a drug like Seroxat is perhaps an even bigger gateway drug for a young person, because it’s sanctioned, and legally prescribed, by an adult (doctor/professional/psychiatrist etc), in the guise of help and healing, therefore this would re-enforce the drug as a ‘gateway’ both psychologically as well as psychically.

“..In a 2007 interview followed her first highly publicized overdoses, she speaks candidly about her depression. “Since I was 16, I’ve felt a black cloud hangs over me,” she said. “Since then, I have taken pills for depression. I believe there are lots of people who have these mood changes.”

A reanalysis of a Seroxat (in children) study published in the BMJ in 2015 (study 329) confirmed what Seroxat users, and ex-users, have been saying for decades- this drug is highly dangerous and largely ineffective. Furthermore not only is a drug like Seroxat useless for depression, a possible gate-way drug, and also- most likely- delays recovery, but it also can cause suicide, self harm, violence etc. It’s simply lethal.

Amy Winehouse was (like many other kids)- a Seroxat guinea pig.

The adults, and young adults, who took it were too.

I was a Seroxat guinea pig too (thanks GSK!)

I don’t know how long Amy was prescribed Seroxat, but she says herself in this documentary that she was prescribed it and it made her ‘loopy'(crazy) so who knows what affect Seroxat had on her early development, or on her attitude to drugs later on? It’s  unclear if Amy took other SSRI’s or psychiatric drugs after Seroxat, or if she suffered withdrawals etc. It’s also unclear what age she was first prescribed anti-depressants, in some articles it says she was just 13 years old, in others 14, 15, or 16..

What is clear though is: Amy Winehouse deserved better ‘mental health’ treatment, I deserved better too, we all did..

Seroxat shouldn’t have been prescribed to anyone…

The irony of Amy’s death was that, despite almost killing herself with cocaine and heroin, and going through various detoxes, and rehab for those Class A drugs, it was alcohol (a legal drug) and Librium (a prescription drug-benzo) that killed her in the end..

SSRI’s often don’t show up on toxicology reports, and it can take repeated tests to find traces of anti-depressants. Amy could have been taking anti-depressants well into her 20’s and up until her death, she could have been experiencing cravings for alcohol to take the edge off the side effects.. she could have been going through various psych-drug withdrawal symptoms and side effects over the years.. the only way to know would be to see her medical records…

Drugs like Seroxat are notorious for causing alcohol cravings..


“…Mitch Winehouse has said that he believes his daughter died after a seizure, related to the drug Librium.

Amy Winehouse was prescribed the tranquilizer to ‘calm’ her withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, but it has been linked with the deaths of a number of people, including Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.”

Perhaps if she wasn’t prescribed Seroxat, and instead was given compassion, empathy, and a listening ear when she needed it as a teenager, things could have turned out a lot different? Who knows?..

RIP Amy..



Amy became disruptive in class and began to play truant, as had Kurt Cobain.

Amy came to dislike singing the songs that had made her famous

Amy came to dislike singing the songs that had made her famous

She pierced her upper lip and her mother was horrified when, aged 15, she had her first tattoo done.

Amy later said, ‘My parents pretty much realised (at that stage) that I would do whatever I wanted.’

But even before she had left school and entered the music business she had begun taking antidepressants, with Janis suggesting that she might be bipolar.

Later she would begin self-harming, cutting herself to get attention.

Success arrived quickly after that troubled childhood and, as with the six other principal members of the 27 Club, it proved overwhelming.

Her surgeon cousin Jonathan Winehouse became concerned early on after seeing her perform and meeting her backstage: ‘She was very distant… and really sort of out of it.’

He told her manager that she needed psychological support, but the manager simply said that Amy would go her own way.

After her first album, Frank, was released in 2003, when she was still only 20, Amy began to drink to excess. A nervous performer, she drank to calm down before a show, but then, like Janis Joplin, another troubled and insecure female singing star who lined up glasses of tequila during concerts, she began drinking during the show.

And when she wasn’t performing, Amy went to the pub, the Good Mixer in Camden becoming her second home.

She’d arrive shortly after it opened and usually drank doubles of Jack Daniel’s, sambuca, vodka or tequila. After a while, she was drinking everything mixed together in a pint glass.

Sinead O’Connor’s Past Psychiatric Drug Use

In this is an article from 2013 Irish singer, Sinead O’Connor talks about how psychiatric drugs (prescribed for bi-polar) and psychiatric misdiagnoses wrecked ten years of her life. She recently had a kind of mental breakdown on her facebook page, after threatening suicide twice, and it seems now her facebook account has been disabled.

I wonder was Sinead prescribed more psychiatric drugs (anti-depressants perhaps) in recent times, and maybe she is having more side effects? or withdrawals and that’s why her behavior is again spiraling?

Personally, I think Sinead is a very sensitive soul, and a great musician. It seems she has been treated very shoddily by the psychiatric system too and I hope she can get proper holistic help.

The singer said she was brought to the edge by her medication and is trying to wean herself off them

Ian West/PA Wire
Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor has revealed doctors have discovered she doesn’t have bipolar disorder and said: “I can now get my life back.”

The Nothing Compares 2 U singer was falsely diagnosed with the illness eight years ago.

And Sinead was left suicidal, suffering mental health breakdowns, and wanting to self harm because of the drugs she was prescribed.

She said: “They are extremely debilitating drugs. Tiring to the extreme. Ironically, extremely depressing. They can cause suicidal or self-harm type thinking. They can mess up your menstrual cycle very badly and cause you to be incapacitated for a week before.

“[They] f**k up your liver, your kidneys, your eyes, your appetite, your entire way of thinking and generally your entire life. “

Sinead, 46, said she was diagnosed after she gave birth eight years ago.

She said: “When my third child was 5 months old I became distressed over something extremely traumatic that happened. At the time I had not been working for some years and was taking care of the three children by myself. and doing a very good job of it too, even if I do say so myself.

“I could possibly have been somewhat post-natal but I was certainly distressed because of the aforementioned traumatic event.”

But the Bray star recently underwent three new diagnoses at hospitals around the country, and all found she definitely didn’t have biopolar disorder.

Sinead – who recently started a feud with Miley Cyrus – has to continue taking the drugs she was prescribed until she can slowly wean herself from them.

She said: “ It is dangerous to stop suddenly or over the course of a year at least.

“This is because of how these drugs affect receptors in your brain. They are the same drugs, some of them, that are used to treat epilepsy.”

And Sinead has revealed that when she cancelled her tour last year it wasn’t because of biopolar disorder as many believed but because she had tried to stop taking her medication cold turkey.

She said: “When I became ill and left the last tour it was because I stopped the drugs too quickly and without medical supervision.

“The illness was in fact what happens when you don’t go about coming off these meds properly.

“I’m delighted to be able to say that after ten years of poisoning myself with these drugs and having to live with the extremely difficult side-effects of them I can shortly begin the very, very slow indeed, process of getting them out of my system and my life and getting my life back.”


Medicating a non-existent disease.

Here’s a recent clip of Sinead O’Connor speaking on her treatment by an Irish Psychiatrist. Sinead says that she was misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and subsequently prescribed ‘toxic’ doses of Lamictal (400mgs) and Amitriptyline (200mgs). She describes her psychiatrist as a horrible ‘b’ who did not inform her of the side-effects while on the drugs, or while coming off them.

Dishing out the pills is always the first-line treatment for people that psychiatry see as ‘abnormal’. Sinead O’Connor is perfectly normal by the way, and fabulously outspoken; she didn’t need fixing! Strange that dangerous drugs can be given to a person for years for an ‘illness’ which didn’t exist. Never mind all that comes with that, not least the weight gain, depersonalization, worsening depression and huge expense; would any other profession get away with such sloppy work? Reported adverse effects of these drugs on the RxISK website: Lamictal and Amitriptyline.

The full video can be viewed here.


The Psychiatrist & the Rockstar: State of Mind interviews Sinead O’Connor

In my adolescent 90’s playlist there’s a Song (yes, song with a capital S) that wholly deserves it’s place of honor not only for the wonderful ballad (not surprising, seeing as the composer is a certain genius from Minneapolis formerly known as Prince) but above all for the singer’s performance that spears the listener straight in the heart, it pierces the left ventricle and bleeds five minutes and ten seconds of pure emotions.

The song’s called Nothing Compares 2 U and the singer is the Irish bad-girl with a shaved head called Sinead O’Conner.

The piece, which came out in 1990, was a worldwide phenomenon helped along by the minimalist video clip featuring only the singer’s angelic face moved to tears by the time she hits the final notes (Sinead was thinking to her mother, died in a car crash five years previously, while singing Nothing Compares 2 U).

The following years were characterized by even more excellent music and peppered with resoundingly blatant provocations (most famously when she ripped up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live) which earned her the label of activist and heretic; Rock’s answer to Joan of Ark.


In 2005 she surprised the masses by releasing her excellent reggae album “Throw Down Your Arms”, followed by the more intimate “Theology” in 2007, which dealt with her passionate relationship with spirituality.

At the start of 2012 her new album “How About I Be Me (and You Be You)?” was released.

This should have been followed by a tour which was cancelled due to a serious relapse into a depressive phase of the bipolar disorder that Sinead has suffered from, for 8 years. (Editor’s Note: According to DSM-IV criteria , it is most likely Bipolar II disorder). The deep depressive state was characterized by an attempt at self-harm by overdosing on prescription drugs having previously launched a desperate cry for help from her fans on twitter.

On hearing this news, I got the idea for an interview on Skype, each from their own home, me in Modena and her close to Dublin.

Sinead kindly took some time out from her schedule as a busy mother of four to speak to me. Despite the impersonality of online conversation, I felt as though on the other side of the screen I was talking to someone authentic, who isn’t ashamed to share their own fragilities and is extremely precise when describing her own journey towards healing.


GP: Well Sinead, first of all I want to thank you for your kindness and willingness in giving this interview. I must confess, I was really surprised that you accepted. I don’t know how much you want to talk about yourself specifically, but I would like that our talk be of some help for people who struggle everyday against depression.

S: I am interested in the issue obviously…well the only reason I am qualified to speak is because I have direct experience.

GP: So…you have been diagnosed with bipolar depression, haven’t you?

S: Yes I was diagnosed 8 and half years ago, but it took 12 years to get the right diagnosis.

GP: Did your disorder start with a manic state or with a depressive state?

S: I don’t get the highs and the manic particularly, I get the lows. When I was younger though, I had a very bad temper, that’s my being a bit of a manic; not in a happy way, but I was like… fuck that!

GP: A young rebel…

S: I have always had a good functioning in my artistic life, but I had  problems mostly in my private life, I got very angry with my boyfriends and stuff…I would probably have good reasons to be angry but the volume would be too high, just getting to some level of wounding that perhaps was not appropriate to the actual offence committed.


GP: So you never had a proper manic episode?

S: I did have once where I was addicted to shopping, that’s unheard of for me because I fucking hate shopping, but I did actually about two years ago. That was as manic as I ever got. I bought a lot of clothes.

GP: Do you think that your experience of depression has been of some inspiration for your creative process at some point?

S: I think the other way round. I don’t agree with this romantic fantasy that people who suffer from depression are more likely to be artists. I find that I am more creative when I am happy actually.

I think that music has been a great help to me and this has been confirmed by every psychiatrist I have seen. I would probably be dead if not for music. They think that the reason that I have this depression is for what I went through growing up. I have also Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I wouldn’t have survived that if not for music. So I think for me, music was a soothing thing and it was also a place where you could say all the stuff that you couldn’t say anywhere else. When I grew up in Ireland in the seventies there was no such thing as therapy…I mean we didn’t even have cappuccinos until 1998! So for me music was therapy, it was also the place where one could speak about himself, where he was allowed to speak about his traumatic experiences. I grew up in a situation of extreme abuse, but there was no chance to talk about it, so music became the escape if  you like.

GP: In which way has music helped you? More in the creative process of song writing or more in the cathartic process of performing?

S: I think all of it. I think in the first place hearing the music inside of you is very soothing, very comforting. For me there always been, if you like, a spiritual connection between myself and music. What I like about  being a musician is that I find the thing soothing, but I also give the soothing to other people; I guess for some people particularly, I think people who come from abuse and/or people who have mental illnesses, have terrible self-esteem problems. And for me I have always found being a musician, a work and a place where I find a lot of self-esteem. I feel that I was a useful contributor to society, and that I couldn’t be a contributor to society in any other way.

I think when you have a mental illness you can feel very bad about yourself because you are always fucking up in life and making music perhaps makes you feel you are not such a dreadful person and there is something you can do that is not fucked up… because there is a terrible lack of self esteem that comes with mental illness, especially if you live, like I do, in a society such as Ireland, where having mental illness has a dreadful stigma.

And also I suppose is very cathartic to do a  show to the masses and you get to make magic in a manner that you can’t do in regular life, but I suppose that self esteem effect is one of the most powerful.

GP: I think that the problem of stigma in mental health is as important as the illnesses themselves. Can you tell me something more about the stigma situation in Ireland?

S: Well I suppose in some ways, all over the world “crazy” is a term of abuse and I think that is something that should be stopped. In Ireland “crazy” is a term of abuse and people are terrified of anything that they conceive to be crazy. And the people believed to be crazy won’t be treated compassionately, they will treat you horribly and use it as a reason to dismiss anything you would think, do, say or feel, so you’re rocking into a self esteem trap. I had a letter from a man back in January, an old man aged 73, he lives in Goolen (Ireland), I was thinking about him this morning, he has been taking antidepressants for 30 years and he has not told his wife and his adult children because of the stigma. That is Ireland, you know. We are very ignorant about the nature of mental illness. People assume all over the world for example that schizophrenia means you have a lot of personalities, like multiple personality disorder, but it is not. It is completely different.

When you have mental illness you don’t have a plaster or a cast or a crutch, that let everyone know that you have the illness, so people expect the same of you as from anyone else and when you are different they give you a hard time and they think you’re being difficult or they think you’re being a pain in the ass and they’re horrible to you. You spend your life in Ireland trying to hide that you have a mental illness. I’m always checking with my friends “Do I seem crazy?”, “Am I being crazy?”, and I shouldn’t have to keep checking, if I’m being crazy I should be left in fucking crazy peace! You have to hide what you are and it’s really stressful and very bad for your self esteem. Because it’s not obvious to people that you are ill, they treat you as if you’re a pain in the ass, then you beat yourself up and you are already beating yourself  up as a part of mental illness, you know.

I mean, I understand that we are actually complicated people but we are also dreadfully simple, but you know it’s a hard world where there is this gap between the supposedly sane  and the supposedly insane, the sane are not familiar with the insane, which in itself is insane. We are all stuffed behind these kind of, you know, the actual bars that don’t exist anymore, the metaphorical bars do exist.

GP: I know that you have always had a difficult relationship with the Catholic Church. What do you think about the attitude toward mental illness of the Catholic Church today? Is there acceptance and compassion for the mentally ill?

S: (laughs) If there was acceptance of the mentally ill in the Catholic Church, the entire Curia would resign! You need the best psychiatrist in Italy to take a little time in there! The very top guys are insane. They are more insane than the lot of us put together. If they investigate mental illness they have to start out by checking themselves into hospital. Anybody who can claim that paedophilia and the ordinance of women are equal has a mental problem. When one criticizes the Church, what we usually mean, especially in Ireland, are the top guys. We all know that 99.9% of priests and nuns are incredible people, that do a lot to help people of all kinds. But the regular priests down the road haven’t got the training to go around the country breaking statements, all the poor priest can do is mop up the mess, which is usually suicide, ‘cause stigma leads to suicide. Because of the stigma, people don’t stay in treatment and they don’t get the help they need, because they know they are gonna be treated like shit.


GP: The stigma again…

S: Yes…for example: I checked into hospital about 2 years ago because I wanted to make doubly sure that the diagnosis was right. While I was in the hospital (I was there for 2 weeks), there was a woman about my age who had been there for 6 months. She wasn’t that unwell, and I was talking to her one day about why she was there and she showed me her arms, they were all cut. Her mother had died of cancer and she’d nursed her. Nothing had happened to this woman before, but the night her mother died, she probably lost her mind and she sliced up her arms. But the reason she stayed in the hospital so long was that in the village that she came from, they wouldn’t have her back, she couldn’t have her job back, none of her friends wanted to talk to her, she was a pariah in the village because she had done this to her arms, everybody thought she was mad. So she couldn’t go back to her town and she was based in the hospital.

GP: How many times have you been admitted to the hospital?

S: I took myself to the hospital twice. The first to get a clear diagnosis. The second was last year when I was taken off medication very stupidly and I got very sick, I couldn’t eat or sleep.

GP: Why did you stop the medication, was it for the side effects?

S: I was getting a lot of pressure from people in show business about my being overweight because of medication, I was on 200 mg of amitriptiline.  When I said this to my doctor, for some reason she took me completely off medication and she didn’t really supervise properly. The mental health system here is really terrible. After I was taken off medications, I got sick, but I didn’t realize I was sick. Then I got carried away with loosing weight so I wanted to pretend I was not sick. It was not my choice to be off medication, but the psychiatrist took me off, so I thought it was ok. Unfortunately in my case, because of what I do for living, here in Ireland is very hard for me to find a doctor who can just deal with me as a person, that can get beyond Sinead O’Connor. I had to go to England to find a psychiatrist for my case.

GP: How long were you without medication?

S: I was off medication from August last year until April. I was told to come off by the doctor, so it took me a long time to know I was sick because when you stop those meds it takes a long time to get sick, so I didn’t know what the fuck was going on.

GP: Nine months without medication is really a long time…weren’t you warned by the psychiatrist about the possible risks of relapse?

S: Because of what I do for living, in Ireland all that the psychiatrist did was to complain about the stuff that was in the newspapers instead of talking about my sickness. The same psychiatrist was very involved in the Church’s public struggle in Ireland … on the opposite side to me.

At the same time as coming off meds, when I was going to her, she complained to me that she didn’t like what I was saying about the Church in the newspapers, so we fell out and I was left stranded. Then in Ireland the mental health system is so shit that you can’t get an appointment with the doctor for treatment for months, so I would wait for another doctor to tell me the same shit. One doctor sent me home with anti-histamines and told me to take 100 mg every night. So I said “ok!”. In Ireland people think doctors are God, they don’t question them. But this meant I was sick for three more fucking months! And the funny thing is that it was a private doctor, and the only alternative is to go to the fucking hospital. Nobody wants to go to the hospital, the worst thing that can happen if you are sick is to leave your family and your children, that’s the only thing that make you feel safe.

GP: It sounds strange…in Italy you can choose a private doctor and pay more, but you can see the doctor more often.

S: Here you have six weeks in agony, but unless you want to check into hospital, you are fucked. Moreover, here people don’t have money. I have, but the guy next door can’t pay for a private psychiatrist and can wait up to six months for a consultation. I’ll give you an idea about how bad our system is: a friend of mine works in a child drug counselling service, run by the National Health Service for children aged between 12 and 18, and there is a fridge in the toilet! That is the picture of the health system in Ireland.

GP: I can imagine you really had terrible times. Was it in the last months when you couldn’t finish the tour?

S: Yes, I almost died. It was in June this year that I was very sick, like never before. I was put on carbamazepine in April and I had a very unusual reaction that made the symptoms worse. Now I feel better taking 200 mg of lamotrigine and 100 mg of quetiapine. Now I also take very high dose of vitamin B12, prescribed by the psychiatrist. They have just discovered that it helps with the depressive phase of bipolar disorder.

GP: Have you ever tried psychotherapy?

S: Yes, fucking never stops, I still do. At the moment I have counselling every week. From July to August this year I also worked for 12 weeks with a therapist at a Suicide Prevention Centre in Dublin. They are fantastic. One of the main symptoms when I was very sick was the constant suicidal thinking and I found that many therapists are not specifically trained in the area of suicidal thinking, so you can go on for years and it is not fixed. Because I was not on medication the suicidal thinking got worse and worse and I actually made an attempt in January, and then there were three more attempts. The therapists in the Suicide Prevention Centre just work on suicidal thinking. They don’t just talk about killing yourself, they help to rebuild your life, they help you to focus on  what life do you want. I saw them once a week for individual sessions. While you do that you don’t do any other therapy.

GP: What do you mean by rebuilding your life?

S: They helped me identify a number of issues, the “off-switch” was one, learning how to fucking do nothing, just sit the fuck down and put energy out. Then you sit down and realize how tired you were, when you have  depressed or suicidal thinking you don’t know how tired you are.

Then they focused on the thing with me that I am too inclined to take on board other people’s negative opinions of me. If ten people stood in a room and nine said you are fucking great and one said you’re an asshole, that would be what I’d worry about and believe in, that person, getting depressed if someone says I’m an asshole. They were able to teach me, which I hadn’t learned before, how to really not give a fuck about them. And then another important thing is fun, I mean “What are you doing just for fun?”, “Are you doing anything just for fun?”. They made me put together a bucket list, so first of all you deserve better, to hang out all the people that make you feel like  shit, then you need to rest your body, to take time for yourself and they made me put together a list of the things I would like to do in my life, and that was great! They very quickly put you out of the misery part and start to build a fun life. It’s quite witchy how therapy works, it’s a kind of subconscious, you don’t know how the fuck they’ve done it but suddenly you start living differently and thinking differently. I’ve been able to build the life I want, do you know what I mean? When you have a mental illness I think it is important to work with prevention services when one of your symptoms is suicidal thinking.

GP: Did you struggle with interpersonal problems that drove you to think about suicide?

S: In that period I was not on medication, and in the same time a lot of awful stressful things were happening. If I had been on medication perhaps I would have responded differently. In my case it was purely the sickness that made me think suicide but it was a compulsion. I got to the point that the physical symptoms of bipolar disorder made me feel as if I was walking under water.

GP: Walking under water…really gives the idea of how you could have felt…well Sinead, I think you were really exhaustive and brave in telling your difficult story, and I want to thank you on behalf of State of Mind and of all the people who have to face mental illness every day. 
Per saperne di più: http://www.stateofmind.it/2012/10/sinead-oconnor-interview/

Unbelievably Misleading Article On SSRI’s On Vox By Elizabeth King (Online Content Writer)


‘Most researchers have long since moved on from the old serotonin model”..

Prof Simon Wessely (President of the royal college of psychiatrists UK)


An influential study which claimed that an antidepressant drug was safe for children and adolescents failed to report the true numbers of young people who thought of killing themselves while on it, re-analysis of the trial has found

Study 329, into the effects of GlaxoSmithKline’s drug paroxetine on under-18s, was published in 2001 and later found to be flawed. In 2003, the UK drug regulator instructed doctors not to prescribe paroxetine – sold as Seroxat in the UK and Paxil in the US – to adolescents.

(The Guardian UK 2015)

I was on Seroxat (Paxil) for almost 4 years in the late 90’s/Early 2000’s. Back then, SSRI’s were relatively new to the market, doctors didn’t know a lot about side effects, and if drug companies knew, they certainly kept most of their knowledge of side effects suppressed from public view. I was told by my doctor that I would need to take Seroxat for life as I had a chemical imbalance in my brain which caused my depression. He didn’t seem to correlate the fact that that my parents marriage breaking down, my father’s alcoholism, or our family home being sold or the stress of a pending eviction from our rented house, would have had anything to do with my mental health as a vulnerable and distressed 21 year old. He didn’t even want to know how I came to be depressed, or about the traumas which led to it, and neither did the psychiatrists who pushed the SSRI on me. This approach was common practice, and apparently still is.

A lot of the bad effects  of SSRI’s (such as increase in suicide, aggression, akathisia, severe withdrawal effects etc) were not disclosed to the public until relatively recent years. This is bog standard behavior for drug companies, they market the disease first, blitz the public with advertising, play down the side effects until they have made a profit, and when the inevitable law suits come, the drug companies have a legal war chest with which to fight them with. They always profit off their drugs, even if these drugs kill and maim people. I’ve been blogging about this stuff for nearly 10 years, and my research on drug companies and their behavior would make your hair stand on end. They are callous and sociopathic, and most drug pushing psychiatrists are not much better.

In the case of Seroxat (Paxil), a steady stream of information has dripped out about it for two decades. First we had the BBC Panorama exposing Seroxat as a very dangerous drug in the early 2000’s, then we had the NY attorney general forcing GSK (the manufacturer) to disclose information on the drug harming kids. After that came warnings about birth defects, and if you look at the gradual changes to the patient information leaflet over the years you will notice that side effects have increased exponentially. Just this year the BMJ published a study which indicates that Seroxat has likely caused many more suicides, and much harm, to thousands of young people, and children, who should never have been prescribed it.

The SSRI’s can cause extremely distressing side effects, but there is no doubt that they work- in the sense that you feel drugged, but of course you would feel different, and of course you would feel drugged, or that the drug works, because you’re on drugs! But they are not somehow defeating your ‘depression’, the effects of the drugs, like the effects of all drugs, affect your perception and feelings about yourself, but this is a dangerous game to play with your own mind. It’s essentially drug induced self deception. You are feeling the effects of a drug, but nothing is being cured. The drugs make you drowsy, sleepy, less interested in your problems, and less interested in most things generally. So do they work? yes they do work in that way because they are psycho-active and psycho-tropic, they make you feel different, just like MDMA or E would release dopamine, serotonin etc. These are drugs that work on similar chemicals, and in similar pathways, in the brain. Just the same as if you drank 8 beers, you might not think about your depression because you’re drunk, or if you smoked some weed, you would be stoned and it might alleviate your mood. You might be too drunk to care about your problems, or to stoned to obsess over your negative thoughts, but that doesn’t mean it’s helpful to chemically alter our minds in order to deal (or not to deal) with our psychological traumas and problems. The root cause of our malaise will always fester, and often drug treatment can exacerbate the conditions they supposedly treat, and sometimes, for some people, SSRI’s can be deadly.

SSRI’s are no different to street drugs, they are chemicals which drug you into a different state of being, however they are not curing anything. If drugging away our problems is considered the most acceptable first line treatment for people with emotional and psychological problems, then we need to seriously re-consider how we approach the human condition, and in particular, the human condition in distress. Medicating with dubious drugs is not the answer for most people suffering emotional or psychological distress, however it’s often the first thing that a doctor will suggest. A depressed person would walk on fire if they were told by a doctor that it helped depression. When you’re depressed you’re vulnerable, and all you want is the pain to end. That’s why is has been so easy for the drug companies, and psychiatrists, to exploit the ‘mentally ill’.

It’s much easier to drug someone, and spin them some yarn about a defective brain, when the patient is desperate for a cure. When you’re desperate you’ll take, or do, anything your doctors tells you to.

I am not anti-medication, I understand that some people might need a drug to give them a chemical lift out of a severe depression, however, the so called ‘science’ behind the prescribing of these drugs has largely been discredited, in particular the myth of the ‘chemical imbalance’ cause of depression. This theory was widely touted in SSRI drug advertisements for at least a decade, and even though you can’t measure Serotonin levels in anyone’s brain, and even though low Serotonin levels have never been proven scientifically to cause depression, that didn’t stop psychiatry and the drug companies from spreading these theories as if they were provable scientific facts. These are potent drugs so they affect your brain- of course (and your gut and other parts of your body)- but they are not fixing any kind of chemical imbalance, serotonin or otherwise. Even if these drugs were more sophisticated than they are, they would still be only addressing the symptoms of depression, not the cause. The causes are usually psycho-social, or emotional, in nature. With depression, there is almost always a trauma, life event, or stressor, preceding it. Depression without an external cause is rare (however it can come as a result of physical illness, poor diet, etc etc).

In recent years, psychiatry has backed away from this ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of depression, but conveniently it has never thought to inform the general public that it no longer fully endorses it. However, you will notice, that they have gradually tried to make it seem that they really never promoted the theory much anyway (this is untrue though- psychiatrists were the main promoters of this theory to the public).

Many doctors, and critical psychiatrists (and even- it seems- the head of the UK college of psychiatry), now  acknowledge that the ‘serotonin theory’ for depression was little more than a marketing myth which was heavily promoted in order to sell, drugs, and the the ‘disease’ model of depression to the general public.

“…. The disease-model, however, is ultimately not helpful, as well as being unfounded. For all its attempts to incorporate social factors, the disease-model renders depression meaningless, because biology effectively trumps other influences. It conveys the message that we are powerless to change ourselves or our situations. When things go wrong, it persuades us we need a pill to put them right. This approach may appeal to some people, and I am in no way disparaging those who chose to follow it. But it is important that everyone knows how little evidence there is to support it….”

(Dr Joanna Moncreiff 2014)

Although the Serotonin theory, and ‘chemical imbalance myth’ has been largely debunked in the scientific community, and many professionals are now moving away from it in droves, the ‘disease model’ and anti-depressant ‘chemical cure’ still profoundly permeates mental health discourse. Many people still mistakenly think that SSRI drugs fix a chemical imbalance in their brain, and some doctors are still promoting this myth to patients.

In a recent article on Vox.com by Elizabeth King (an online content writer) illustrates this perfectly. The misinformation in this article, and the general premise of it, is extremely dangerous. Her article on her experiences with SSRI’s exemplifies what I have just talked about: the depressed and misinformed patient goes to their doctor- their doctor spews some nonsense about a chemical imbalance, the patient – desperate and vulnerable- swallows the ‘depression as disease’ myth hook line and sinker, along with month after month’s supply of SSRI pills. Drugged and chemically altered, the patient now goes about telling everyone about how wonderful SSRI’s are. I don’t blame Elizabeth for wanting to believe that her depression will go away with a simple little pill, and I don’t blame her for wanting to believe that she can keep taking her little pill forever. I wanted to believe that too. Most people who end up on SSRI’s are willingly deluded, that’s how they get you on the pills. However, writing online content which potentially thousands of misinformed, vulnerable and desperate people will read, and further misinforming them, based on your own willful naivety, is highly irresponsible.

SSRI’s are seductive- all drugs are. All addictions are too. The psychological and physical dependence that SSRI’s induce is incredibly powerful, that’s why it is so difficult to come off them. That’s why the withdrawal effects are crippling, particularly in cold turkey or if you’re on them long term, and try to come off them. That’s also why the SSRI’s are a multi-billion dollar industry. They keep people in a chemical cloud of denial all the time they are on them, and who wouldn’t want that? Being on psychiatric drugs, even with the horrible side effects, makes you think that you’re treating your ‘illness’ right? and that’s validating isn’t it? It’s strangely comforting to think that you’re helping yourself by taking a treatment isn’t it? – even if that treatment involves reliance on a pill to do all the deep psychological work that you don’t want to face. You really want to believe that the drugs will keep your depression in check. And who would want the depression boogeyman to come knocking again? Much easier to have faith in the pills, and believe that you need them than actually going through the pain of soul crippling depression isn’t it? That would take actual work!

Getting off them though…now that’s another story…

A horror story..

Here are some quotes from the article:


“…I wanted to feel what I thought of as “normal,” my default state neutral instead of panicked. My therapist suggested SSRIs —selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, common antidepressants that work by balancing the levels of serotonin in the brain. He told me they had been very beneficial for other clients with similar backgrounds. But I stubbornly resisted. I didn’t want to take SSRIs, I told myself, because I was determined to conquer my mental health issues “on my own.”...

Eventually I didn’t care how much I didn’t want to explore medication; I was willing to do whatever it took to feel better. I relented. I got a recommendation for a psychiatrist from a friend, made an appointment, and tried to keep an open mind

I left my psychiatrist’s office with a prescription for Lexapro and filled it at the pharmacy the same day. I swallowed my first dose the minute I got home.

I sat there for a second, tilting my head and focusing my hearing as if I’d be able to sense the medicine’s effects right away. Nothing happened, of course: It can take as long as six weeks to know if an SSRI is working. Eventually, mine did.

Today I’ve reached nearly a year of treatment on two antidepressants, Lexapro and Wellbutrin, and the results I’ve experienced were unimaginable to me before I started taking medication.

I was resistant to medication for so long because I didn’t understand what taking medication meant. I had bad information and bad assumptions. Here’s what I wish everybody understood about SSRIs: the good, the bad, and the anorgasmic.

I was cautiously hopeful when I started the meds. I wanted them to work more than anything in the world, and each day when I woke up, I wondered if this would be the day that I started feeling something different. For days, I thought it might be happening: My daily mood felt better, but it was hard to tell — what if I was just unusually hopeful, or experiencing some kind of placebo effect?

My troubles weren’t over, of course. My psychiatrist warned me during my first appointment that it can take as long as a year for some patients to find the right mix of SSRIs. Antidepressant medication is not like antibiotics: The same pills won’t cure the same disease in nearly everyone. We tinkered with my dosage of Lexapro and with combining Wellbutrin over the course of several months. But I was improving, and after seeing what one medication could do for me, I was eager to discover what was possible as my doctor and I fine-tuned my treatment.

While not everyone benefits from SSRIs, the zombie effect just isn’t universal, or even particularly common. It certainly wasn’t true for me. When they work, SSRIs do for your brain what a healthy brain would be able to do on its own: regulate healthy levels of serotonin in the brain so that you aren’t depressed or anxious by default.

I embraced SSRIs in part when I accepted that not all of my emotional troubles were the result of situational stress. Yes, having an uncertain love life, financial worries, and concerns about the future exacerbated my mental health issues. But they weren’t the root trouble. The “real cause” of unhappiness in depression and anxiety is often a chemical imbalance in the brain, something that can’t be talked out of existence any more than a headache.

With time, the anorgasmia faded and I was able to get off again, but by that point, my sex drive was down the drain. I could have an orgasm, but I didn’t really care if I did or didn’t. This was the first and biggest downside to my treatment, and one I wasn’t content to put up with for any great length of time.

I made another appointment with my psychiatrist. I told him that it wasn’t acceptable for me not to have a sex drive while on meds. I was a little nervous to bring it up: I didn’t want him to dismiss my concerns as frivolous or, worse, dirty.

Thankfully, he completely understood and prescribed me a second antidepressant — Wellbutrin — to help alleviate the sexual side effects. I was lucky: The combination worked well for me, and today my sex drive is more or less back to its pre-medication state.

When I began taking SSRIs, my psychiatrist told me that while some patients require medication for only a few months or a few years, others are in it for “the long haul.” He told me there isn’t a good way to predict how long a patient will need SSRIs, so I have no idea how long I may need to take mine. That worries me: What if I need to take my meds every single day until the day I die?

According to a recent Consumer Report on antidepressants, some antidepressants cost as little as $25 for a month’s supply, but others can cost more than $500 (certain dosages of Prozac can be very costly, for example). Unfortunately, the medicine that works best for a particular patient might not line up with what works best for her bank account.

Despite my newfound enthusiasm for SSRIs, I know that covering the costs of care could present a greater challenge in the future than it does now, and that scares me

When you’re in the worst throes of depression, it’s easy to believe that you have no chance of feeling better. Hopelessness, extreme nervousness, and feelings of shame are all classic symptoms of depression and anxiety. Before giving up on the idea of SSRIs, consider whether the very fears holding you back might be allayed by the treatment itself.

For many of us with chronic mental illness, taking the plunge and trying medication is the best single step we’ve taken for ourselves. It was for me.

If you even suspect that medication might help you live a fuller and healthier life, discuss it with a doctor. There’s no shame in trying. Even if the medication doesn’t work at first, or never works at all, you owe it to yourself to fight for your happiness in any way you can, and that’s the best chance any of us has to make it through.

Elizabeth King is a writer, feminist, and pop culture fiend living in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @ekingc.

I have already had a spat with Elizabeth on twitter, and I have tried to explain to her that her article is full of misinformation and unprovable, discredited- psycho-babble- about SSRI’s, but she is having none of it. Apparently , according to Elizabeth, I am a ‘troll’ who has ‘poor and minimal evidence for my beliefs’. Oh well, what can I say? good luck on your SSRI journey Elizabeth, don’t stay on them too long. Two to three years on SSRI’s and you’ll be coming close to the end of the honeymoon period. Soon your liver will start to get toxic, the sweats will get worse, and the bowel movements will become more than a drag. You’ll be functioning, but in a manic way, you’ll want to be on the drugs, even though deep down you know that you’re just running away from yourself. The nightmares, and muscle spasms will start to become more noticeable than the serotonin haze, but you’ll kinda not really care about that. If you do want to come off them, be sure to wean, that way you can take the edge off the homicidal and suicidal thoughts that they induce. I wasn’t told about these side effects and withdrawals when I was on them, some years ago, but there’s plenty on the net about them now.

I wish you the best..

And oh…

Here’s a link to Dr Terry Lynch’s ground breaking work on SSRI’s and depression. I know you think that it’s just me and Terry Lynch quacking on about this bogus theory Elizabeth, but I assure you, Terry’s research won’t fail to impress. We’re not the only ones, that’s for sure.


It’s called ‘Depression Delusion – the myth of the brain chemical imbalance” and it has been endorsed globally by many of the top progressive mental health professionals in their field. Perhaps that’s not NEMJ or Harvard standard peer review enough for you, but hey! Can’t say I haven’t tried to warn ya!

Here’s a review by Phil Hickey (from the excellent Mad In America Site)


Book Review: Depression Delusion by Terry Lynch, MD, MA

In this truly remarkable — and meticulously researched — volume, Dr. Lynch annihilates psychiatry’s cherished chemical imbalance theory of depression.  Every facet of this theory, which the author correctly calls a delusion, is critically analyzed and found wanting.  Example after example is provided of psychiatrists promoting this fiction, the factual and logical errors of which are clearly exposed in Dr. Lynch’s lucid, seamless, and highly readable prose.

The book runs to 343 pages, and is laden with factual details, case studies, alternative perspectives, and hard-hitting commentary.  Dr. Lynch does not sit on the sidelines, nor does he seek any kind of collegial compromise with the chemical imbalance theory, which he unambiguously denounces as a groundless and destructive falsehood.  Here are some quotes that I think will convey something of the content, style, and cogency of this vitally important work.

“The world is engulfed in a mass delusion regarding depression.  The widespread belief that brain chemical imbalances are present in depression has no scientific basis.  In fact, this is a fixed belief that meets all the criteria of a mass delusion.  If you are one of the millions of people who believe that biochemical brain imbalances are known to occur in depression, then you too have become seriously misinformed.” (p 1)

“Despite the obvious complexity of the brain, some psychiatrists and GPs profess an understanding of this organ that is highly inconsistent with current scientific knowledge.  Their comments smack of a level of arrogance that in my opinion is downright dangerous.” (p 65)

“The brain chemical imbalance delusion has dominated medical, psychological and public thinking about depression for the past fifty years.  Parties with a vested interest see nothing wrong with this.  Nor do the vast majority of the general public, for whom the depression brain chemical imbalance idea feels as familiar and logical as raised blood sugar in diabetes.  There are two main reasons why psychiatrists and GPs have embraced the biochemical imbalance delusion with such enthusiasm.  This notion portrays doctors and their drug treatment in a positive light, as real doctors treating biological abnormalities consistent with the treatment of diseases generally in medicine.  Secondly, having observed for thirty years how my medical colleagues in psychiatry and general practice work, I do not believe they know any other way of understanding or responding to depression other than as an assumed biological abnormality.  I remain unconvinced that there is sufficient breadth of vision within mainstream psychiatry or medicine to see or to move beyond the rigidly held belief that depression is primarily a biological disorder.  Yet, the majority of the experiences categorized as depression are primarily emotional and psychological or have a significant emotional input.” (p 77)

“It is misleading to state that the brain chemistry of depression is not fully understood, when in truth it is really not understood at all.  It is also misleading to state that ‘research suggests’ that ‘depression is caused by an imbalance’ of brain chemicals.  It is drug companies, doctors and researchers who suggest this, not the research itself. As outlined in detail earlier the research itself does not suggest this at all and indeed contradicts this notion.” (p 149)

“In twenty years as a medical doctor, I have never, ever heard of a patient anywhere having their serotonin levels checked.”(p 153)

“Low serotonin cannot ever be identified since brain serotonin cannot be measured and we do not know what serotonin levels should or should not be.” (p 165)

“Providing societies with an apparently trustworthy rationale for avoiding the reality of human distress has resulted in increasingly costly mental health services within which recovery is a far rarer outcome than it should be.  Since the core issues are repeatedly side-stepped, they are not addressed or recognized within these mental health systems.  It is not surprising that the costs of such systems keep increasing with little hard evidence that these systems are providing value for money in terms of recovery.” (p 237)

“The most beneficial position for psychiatry is therefore the one that currently pertains.  By nailing its colours to the biological mast, psychiatry has successfully set itself apart from talk therapies.  As long as no biological abnormalities are reliably identified, there is no threat that their bread and butter will be removed from them to other medical specialties.  Maintaining the myth that biological solutions are just around the corner satisfies the public and maintains psychiatry’s position quite satisfactorily from psychiatry’s perspective, albeit between a rock and a hard place.  This position has no solid scientific foundation, but as long as the public do not realize this and psychiatry does not attempt to encroach on the territory of other medical specialties such as neurology, psychiatry’s position is secure.”  (p 277)

“When basic principles of correct reasoning and science are applied to the brain chemical imbalance idea, the flaws and inconsistencies of this belief become obvious.  When the depression brain chemical imbalance idea is rigorously examined, we find that like the emperor, it has no clothes.  These flaws and inconsistencies were known prior to Prozac coming on stream in 1988.  They were dismissed because they risked ruining a great story, from which many groups could profit enormously.” (p 342)

For those who wish to pursue topics further, there is a reference list at the end of each chapter.  There is also a comprehensive index and table of contents which make it easy to find specific sub-topics.

Pharma-psychiatry’s chemical imbalance theory of depression is one of the biggest and most destructive hoaxes in human history.  Dr. Lynch’s Depression Delusion might well be the work that finally lays this hoax to rest, and exposes the self-serving deceptiveness that has become a routine part of psychiatry’s endeavors.

Please read this book, keep it close to hand for reference, and encourage others to read it also.  Ask your library to buy a copy.  The spurious chemical imbalance theory is now so widely accepted that it will take enormous efforts to dislodge it.  In any debate on this matter, Dr. Lynch’s book will, quite literally, put the facts at your fingertips.

Jim Carey’s Irish Girlfriend, Cathriona White, In Suspected Suicide (Pills Found At Scene)

Carrey said he used antidepressants to manage his depression, but now relies on natural supplements. “I think Prozac and things like that are very valuable to people for short periods of time,” said Jim. “But I believe if you’re on them for an extended period of time, you never get to the problem.”


Although White’s official cause of death cannot be determined until an autopsy is conducted, Winter said there were indications at the scene of a suicide.

“It was reported as a possible suicide. There evidently was a note found. There were pills located near her,” said the spokesman, who added that the “final cause of death won’t be released until we get full toxicology and tests back.”

According to the Irish Independent, White – a native of the Tipperary region of Ireland – and Carrey, 53, first met on a film set in 2012. They reportedly dated for most of 2013 before reuniting earlier this year.


Psychiatrists Now Trying To Back Track On Their Promotion Of The (Fraudulent) Chemical Imbalance Theory


“..In December 2003, O’Mahony’s husband died from suicide, following a bout of mild depression. After her husband was prescribed the SSRI, Seroxat, O’Mahony claims that his symptoms became progressively worse, culminating in his suicide 13 days later.

“I am not saying that Seroxat caused my husband’s suicide, but I do think that it had a significant role to play in the deterioration of his condition, which eventually ended in his death,” says O’Mahony.

“Which is why I am calling for access to full and impartial information about the potential risks and adverse effects of prescription medication…”

(Irish Times 2005)

“It was a letter from a member of the public, Nuria O’Mahony, which in part prompted last week’s report from an Oireachtas health subcommittee on adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in pharmaceuticals.
Convinced that her husband had taken his own life because of side effects from antidepressants, she wanted answers. “….

…” On the broader issues raised in the report, he (Dr John Hillery) says the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and practitioners is “a constant issue for debate within the profession”.

“The first thing I find reassuring is that everywhere I go, doctors are aware of this as an issue . . . people are aware of it and are questioning how to deal with it,” he says. “Secondly, the regulatory body has set out certain guidance and is continually reviewing that.”

(Irish Times 2007)


  • Note: Dr John Hillery, is a psychiatrist and a high ranking member of Fianna Fail (the hated government party which brought Ireland into an economic collapse and subsequent economic depression, IMF Bail out, and crippling austerity cuts). Ironic? ..indeed, and definitely creepy- considering there have been hundreds of suicides because of the economic crisis in Ireland also.
  • Hillery ran as a candidate for Fianna Fail in an election and he is also the son of a former president of Ireland. I’m sure he was probably cushioned from most of the harsh affects of Ireland’s national economic depression and societal collapse (there’s good money in politics and psychiatry you know!).

“…Some call themselves anti-psychiatry, some are part of the critical psychiatry movement, or promote the theory of “post psychiatry”. Others just know there has to be a better way…”

(Jennifer Haugh Irish Examiner Sept 2015)

“…Less than a third of people with common mental health problems get any treatment at all – a situation the nation would not tolerate if they had cancer, according to the incoming president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.”..


“...Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘That antidepressants are helpful in depression, together with psychological treatments, is established. How they do this is not.

‘Most researchers have long since moved on from the old serotonin model…”


“…With the advent of the chemical imbalance theory, the companies were no longer just providing soothing tonics, they were now providing medications to treat diseases, as exemplified by an early SSRI advertisement stating: “When serotonin is in short supply, you may suffer from depression.” The wording here is all-important. The advertisement takes a correlation between serotonin shortage and psychological stress-and even this is highly questionable and unverifiable in any individual case-and makes a leap of faith to the conclusion that depression is caused by a serotonin imbalance, not that psychological stress impacts the serotonin system. And the marketing did not stop with depression; eventually we were told that whatever our problems might be, whether anxiety, excessive shyness, depression, or the inability to pay attention, the underlying cause was a faulty transmitter level which could be rectified with a pill…”

Up until recently (or at least the past 5 years or so) many psychiatrists, doctors, patient groups, and pharmaceutical companies continually promoted the mantra that mental illnesses (depression in particular) were caused by a mere chemical imbalances in people’s brains. The public (patients, doctors, carers, parents etc) all swallowed this mantra, hook line, and sinker- for decades. Many millions of people, world-wide for the past 30 years at least, have been medicated with anti-depressants solely based on this theory alone. I remember my doctor telling me in 1998, that I had a chemical imbalance and that I would need to take Seroxat (Paxil) for life in order to treat this ‘imbalance’ (luckily I got off it- wasn’t easy but I haven’t taken a pill for depression since so effectively my doctor was wrong).

This fraudulent theory has permeated mental health discourse, and many people were duped into taking medications which they did not need- and many have also been damaged from the meds too.

Who is responsible for this fraud?

GSK, the manufacturer of Seroxat (the drug which was pushed on me) said in their PIL in 2003- that :

“Seroxat is one of a group of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and works by bringing the levels of serotonin back to normal.”


“….by mid 2006 GSK was starting to get closer to admitting the truth in its PIL “It is not fully understood how Seroxat and other SSRIs work…”

This (fraudulent) theory was even promoted by so called ‘mental health support groups’ such as Aware  ( an Irish group- who from my experiences with them seemed merely just a front for St Patrick’s biological psychiatry agenda) and others in the UK, and elsewhere.

In the 90’s and the 2000’s you couldn’t read anything about depression anywhere, without seeing some kind of reference to the biological basis (or chemical imbalance theory) of depression, and other psychiatric disorders. The ‘chemical imbalance’ bogus lie was told everywhere.

By the mid 2000’s the fact that there was no way to test for low serotonin levels, and that there was no medical test for any psychiatric disorders, began to weave its way into the discourse about mental health (particularly online and as online discourse began to take over). It was around this time (under criticism, and attack from ex-patients and critical psychiatrists and psychologists during the mid 2000’s) that psychiatry began to back track on their promotion of the chemical imbalance theory.

They began to try and appear like they never really promoted it at all, and they now want us to believe that:

Dr John Hillery, director of communications of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, says Lynch’s charges are “at odds” with what the college believes.

I don’t believe the chemical imbalance theory is still widely believed in Ireland,” he says. “It’s not something that I would have told patients, I would have told people about the theories… and that there is a lot of evidence to show they [medications] help people. But they are not going to help everyone and should be part of a treatment package that includes talking therapies and other forms of support.”

Hillery says the college does not have an “official position” on the chemical imbalance theory.

Dr Terry Lynch has documented this chemical imbalance fraud in his ground breaking book “Depression Delusion (volume one the myth of the brain chemical imbalance), and there are countless articles and websites online which show how this fraud has been (and still is) perpetuated.

Psychiatry is now in denial mode (or even worse- ‘re-write the historical record mode’). The psychiatric profession is pretending now that it had no real part in this fraud at all, however at the same time, despite back tracking on the chemical imbalance fraud (which it has effectively instilled into psychiatric treatments, and the public mind, for the past few decades) psychiatrists are still trying to push medications as first line treatments for depression.

Hillery of the College of (Irish) Psychiatrists says the college is pushing the “bio/psycho/social model” and the recovery concept, and teaches trainee psychiatrists to look beyond the medical model. “I would hope people are being told they can recover, and can eventually get off medications… some can get off them, but others will need to remain on them.

“One of biggest frustrations we have is a lack of access to other therapies for people who can’t pay…”

It’s interesting how Dr John Hillery of The College of Irish psychiatry (and most other schools such as the royal UK one) are now claiming that they are telling people that they can recover from mental illness, and that some, at least – can get off the medications. It is also interesting to see people like Hillery say that the theory of a chemical imbalance is not widely believed in Ireland anymore. This is an outstanding reversal of belief, it’s also not true, because the chemical imbalance explanation of depression is still very much widely believed in Ireland (and indeed it is globally too). It is because of psychiatry pushing this theory relentlessly (on behalf of drug companies) that we had such widespread prescribing off the back of it. The theory is a myth, but psychiatry haven’t even begun to tell the truth about the myth.

This is also a stark difference in approach by Irish psychiatry ( or at least it appears that way) compared to 1998 when I was prescribed Seroxat. Furthermore, although psychiatry is now shying away from its responsibility in promoting the chemical imbalance theory (which it endorsed and sold to us for decades), it’s also admitting that there is a severe lack of availability of talk therapy, therefore what use is their new claim that anti-depressants are useful in conjunction with talk therapy?

If there is a severe lack of talk therapy, then people aren’t getting adequate treatment or effective treatment at all are they? and what does depression treatment entail nowadays? It entails drugs without talk therapy, it’s still just drugs, it always has been just drugs in psychiatry, and it continues to be because psychiatry believes in the drugs as first line treatments, so when they say get ‘treatment’ for depression, invariably most people will still end up on chemicals like Seroxat because that’s all psychiatry has to offer (and it intends to keep it that way despite trying to make it appear that there are ‘options’ other than meds).

Biological psychiatrists don’t value (or really believe in) talk therapies as solutions to mental health problems therefore they don’t lobby their respective governments for it. They try and make the public believe that they value them but it’s clear that they don’t. They try to claim there is a lack of funding too, however, if you research psychiatry you will find it’s a very lucrative and wealthy profession, so the lack of funds for talk therapies really doesn’t wash with me. Their ideology is drug based, and it always has been (the pharmaceutical industry owns psychiatry nowadays). Their promotion of the chemical imbalance theory was a fraud which damaged an entire generation of people, they just can’t avoid that fact and they cannot shirk away from the major part they played in it by attempting to pretend it never really happened. How arrogant of psychiatry to think it can erase, delete, and re-write its own history! (not content with fiddling with patients’ personal histories, it now wants to fiddle its own).

Thankfully, which I have already mentioned- Dr Terry Lynch has documented the chemical imbalance fraud in his new book, Depression Delusion, so when the psychiatrists start coming out with more nonsense about not really promoting this fraud in the first place then at least we have a published book which documents it in its entirety.

So the next time a doctor tries to push a drug on you for a chemical imbalance, get Terry’s book, read it, then make your doctor read it, push it on him/her in the same manner that he/she would push a drug on you- and for anyone else interested in these things generally (psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry, depression etc), it’s well worth checking out- here are some reviews:

Here is a link to the first public announcement of the book http://www.recoveryourmentalhealth.com/my-next-book-depression-delusion-volume-one-the-myth-of-the-brain-chemical-imbalance-publication-date-02-sept-2015/

Here are nine endorsements of the book by prominent figures in mental health internationally:

“Terry Lynch is a courageous voice of scientific and moral truth in a field too long obscured by psychiatric and drug company propaganda. In debunking the myth of  ‘biochemical imbalances’, he provides an inestimable service to the health professions and to humanity by liberating them from a dogma that inhibits real psychological and spiritual growth.”

(Dr. Peter R. Breggin, American psychiatrist, author of Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal; Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions,  and Toxic Psychiatry; founder of the Center for Empathic Therapy, Education and Living, Ithaca, New York, USA.)

“Terry Lynch has given one of the most pervasive and harmful myths of modern times a thorough debunking. Exposing the truth that there is no scientific grounding to the idea that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance is essential if we are to develop a more constructive response to psychological distress and suffering.”

(Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, psychiatrist, Senior Lecturer at University College, London, England, in the Division of Psychiatry, honorary consultant psychiatrist,author of The Myth of the Chemical Cure).


“This will be a very helpful book. I spend a lot of time talking with patients and their families about the limitations of psychiatric knowledge. I try hard to be transparent about the pros and cons of psychotropic drugs. One of the great myths that many people have bought into is the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of depression. Now I can happily point them to Terry’s book for a comprehensive account of how that myth was developed and how it is sustained. Thank you!”

(Dr. Pat Bracken, psychiatrist and Clinical Director, West Cork Mental Health Service, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland).

“In this book the courageous Irish physician Terry Lynch has taken on the fiction of ‘chemical imbalances’. With no scientific evidence for this nonsense whatsoever, the psychiatric establishment, and the drug companies who own them, have been perpetrating an enormous fraud on the public. Doctor Lynch lays bare that this theory has no factual basis at all. I urge everyone concerned about the issue to read this important book.”

(Ted Chabasinski, J.D., USA attorney, psychiatric survivor, anti-psychiatry activist).

Dr. Terry Lynch in his book Beyond Prozac showed that he wasn’t frightened to throw down the gauntlet and challenge the status quo within mainstream mental health care. In Depression Delusion, Dr. Lynch has surpassed this and thrown himself into the lion’s den with gusto! Many mental health professionals, medical doctors, drug companies, members of the public and the mass media continue to propagate the ‘chemical         imbalance’ theory of depression. Through extensive and valid research Terry takes the reader on an epic journey revealing why this myth needs to be eradicated. When this delusion is destroyed we will all need to decide how we view and deal with depression in the future. Terry continues to address these very important questions in detail. If you still hold to the belief that the world is flat, then Depression Delusion will rock your very foundations!”

(Julie Leonovs, MSc in Psychological Research Methods, mental health activist,,Gateshead, United Kingdom).

“It was the delusion that a chemical brain imbalance could cause the problems I experienced for over two decades that actually caused me and my family severe distress.  It was meeting and hearing Terry Lynch that helped me to find out the truth. It is the myth of the chemical brain imbalance theory that continues to give deceptive, coercive psychiatry the power to force psychotropic drugs and electroshock on vulnerable people. Terry Lynch’s new book Depression Delusion will hopefully educate many, many others so that finally this myth will be exposed and eliminated.  Everyone who wants to know the true facts will want to read this book.”

(Mary Maddock, Cork, Ireland. co-founder MindFreedom Ireland, co-author of Soul Survivor: A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry).


“I am a big fan of Terry’s first book Beyond Prozac, and Depression Delusion does not disappoint. A thorough, forensic examination of Western psychiatry’s  (mis)treatment of depression, and how doctors and mental health professionals are all too often misinformed about the facts concerning antidepressant treatment. When Terry describes his work with people suffering from depression, it is clear that what is required instead is compassion, empathy and gaining a real understanding about someone’s story. Terry’s insights into the reasons why we become depressed should form an integral part of all mental health training.”

(Nick Redman, Survivor/Activist, Member of Bristol Hearing Voices Network, United Kingdom).

“It is widely accepted by professionals, the media, ordinary people and psychiatric     service users themselves that mental distress is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance in the brain.’ There is no evidence that this is the case. In fact, there never has been any evidence for such a statement. Moreover, senior psychiatrists and drug companies have known they were making false claims for the 50 years or so that this myth has been circulating. How and why did this massive deception occur, and in whose interests does it operate? Terry Lynch’s remarkable detective work traces the horrifying story back to its roots in the drive for drug company profits and the complicity of a profession trying to establish its medical credentials. Meanwhile, millions of psychiatric service users have been told damaging falsehoods which have directly supported an equally unevidenced biomedical model of intervention. Psychiatrists are rapidly backpedalling—but Lynch is not about to let them off the hook. He has written a thorough and principled expose of the ‘chemical imbalance’ rhetoric and its devastating consequences. Read it for essential enlightenment about one of the most damaging myths of our time.”

(Dr. Lucy Johnstone, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Cwm Taf Health Board, South Wales, author of A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis and Users and Abusers of Psychiatry).

“In challenging the very dangerous pseudo-scientific explanations of depression, Dr. Terry Lynch brings his medical background and his scientific integrity to bear on the issue.  It was this powerful combination first seen in Beyond Prozac that attracted the interest and support of Dr. William Glasser, the creator of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory psychology, a long-time challenger of the chemical imbalance hypothesis.  The Depression Delusion is essential reading for those who experience or deal with depression, one of the most painful of human conditions”.

Brian Lennon, Dublin, Ireland, Founder of William Glasser International, psychologist, guidance counsellor.

Defending The Indefensible: Seroxat Study 329 And Psychiatrist Mina K Dulcan

Mina+Dulkan+MDShelley Jofre - Jimmy Savile - Paramora (19)

The following transcript is an interview of Child and Adolescent psychiatrist, author, and journal editor, Mina K Dulcan, by BBC reporter Shelley Jofre (in the early 2000’s).

Seroxat (Paxil) study 329 the re-write is just about to be published (this week) in the BMJ therefore I thought it might be interesting to see what the attitude of the journal editor (at the time) – Mina K Dulcan- was in regards to the promotion of this fraudulent study.

Bear in mind that Seroxat is known to cause an increase in suicide and self harm in kids and teenagers, however GSK (with the help of their pharma-whore doctors and psychiatrists on their pay roll) thought it would be good business sense to market it to this demographic despite these known risks.

I’d call that simply sociopathic, wouldn’t you?

(keep an eye on this website – http://study329.org/ – for further details)

For an example of Mina’s (not too friendly) attitude see here


 1 Clinical Trials Shelly Jofre Interview with Mina Dulcan Tape No – 10 INTERVIEWER (INT) is Shelly Jofre MD is Mina Dulcan

INT: Maybe you can just set the scene for me first. What kind of people read the journal?
MD: It’s the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and it is read, it’s a professional Journal so it’s not meant for lay people although lay people could certainly access it, particularly now that things are on the internet. It is the Journal that belongs to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry which is the national organisation for Child Psychiatrist so all the members get it, but then we have quite a lot of other subscribers who are adult Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Neurologists, people who treat child mental health.
INT: So basically anybody who is interested in childrens mental health would read this?
MD: We hope so.
INT: Is it quite influential?
MD: Yes, there is a measure called impact factor which I don’t know if you are familiar with. It has to do with how often the average article in a journal is sited in other journals and we rank, and this is a worldwide ranking, we rank number 1 in child mental health and number 2 in paediatrics.

INT: So, it’s read around the world by Doctors.
MD: Yes, very much and we have manuscripts, papers from around the world and its read around the world.
INT: Most medicines that children are given haven’t actually been licenced specifically for children so does a lot of research in your journal refer to off label use?
MD: Well, yes in terms of the FDA most medicines. They are actually used in all paediatrics and not just child psychiatry, don’t have indications for children or maybe for children or not for young children so to the extent that there are drug trials in the journal and of course we cover a whole lot of topics. Many of them are indications that are not yet approved.

INT: So when something appears in a journal for an indication that hasn’t been approved do you think Doctors pay quite a lot of attention to it?
MD: I think Doctors are always looking for research. The problem is we have sick children who come to us and in many instances there are no approved medications and there are no evidence based other treatments and so you have a suffering child and family and a Physician is duty bound to try to do something and so yes, to the extent that there is research people are very interested in the research.

INT: Now study 329 was the first properly controlled trial of Seroxate in adolescent depression. Do you think Doctors would have been influenced to prescribe Seroxate once they read the positive results?
MD: Actually, my sense is probably not. What you have to remember is because we had children in adolescence with depression already people were already doing something and although Fluoxatine, Prozac had data, many people would have side-effects and the older anti-depressants were also not approved and were much more dangerous so the fact is and if you look at the statistics on prescribing patterns actually people were already prescribing the medicine and my sense, although obviously I don’t have direct information on this, is probably after that article if anything prescriptions went down.
INT: Why do you say that?

MD: Well, because it was an article that said, you know, not better than Placebo on some things, a little bit better than Placebo on others things, some side-effects, none that we didn’t anticipate, those were all known side-effects and we all know that any medicine that’s strong enough to work is strong enough to have side-effects so with Clinicians most of the time that doesn’t surprise us that there would be side-effects, unless it is something unusual, you know that’s quite rare and that nobody has seen before.
So it was not actually a thrillingly positive study.
INT: Well, the conclusion was that Seroxate was generally well tolerated and effective in the treatment of adolescent depression. That sounds quite positive.

MD: Well, if you were a lay person, yes, it would, but if you are one of us reading that you don’t read that sentence. You read on this measure it was better, on this measure it wasn’t better, on this measure it was a little better, on this measure they looked they same, so I think the kinds of clinicians who read a scholarly journal don’t just take the headline or the last sentence.
INT: Do you think Doctors always read the detail?
MD: I think Doctors read the abstracts.
INT: And the abstracts say generally well tolerated and effective.
MD: Yes, that’s true, but if you look at the rest of the abstract it says on this and this measure not better than Placebo and on this measure it was so even in the abstract its more ? and in our journal we require a section called limitations because in fact many Doctors don’t read every detail of the methodology or every number in a table, but we require that every paper have a section called limitations and that talks about, you know what might have been a problem with the study.

So, my sense of people who read our journal, and I can’t speak for other journals, is they read the abstract and then they often go to the limitations because that helps them understand because no study is perfect. Every study has some things you would of rather done one way or rather done another way and either you couldn’t afford it or it wasn’t feasible or you didn’t know when you started the study what you knew at the end of the study. Virtually, every study, if you knew at the beginning what you learn at the end you would have done it differently and that’s just how science is.

So, I think people, I think when people read newspapers perhaps they read just one line or even really if you look at sort of the popular professional news magazines that report on whats on a journal, even those talk more specifically about things so I don’t think certainly the kinds of people who read our journal are that simplistic.
INT: You don’t think the actual study as it was published overstated the effectiveness and underplayed the side-effects?
MD: Well, all of that is a matter of opinion to some extent how much is over and how much is under. Certainly. 4 Clinical Trials Shelly Jofre Interview with Mina Dulcan Tape No – 10 INTERVIEWER (INT) is Shelly Jofre MD is Mina Dulcan

INT: But, whats your opinion?
MD: I mean it certainly listed the side-effects.
INT: It didn’t list them very clearly did it?
MD: It depends on what you mean by clearly. It was clearly enough that a Clinician who is familiar with these kind of cases and familiar with these medicines could perfectly well understand it. If you were say a General Practitioner you might not.

INT: Hang on a minute. It took the Medicines Regulator in this country about 3 years to work out exactly what was contained within the data. When they did their own line by line analysis of the data they discovered that the adolescents on Seroxat were 6 times more likely to suffer a suicide-related event than the kids on Placebo. That wasn’t in the published study.

MD: That was a whole different kind of analysis. In other words a lot of that whole reanalysis was done as a result of the concerns when people looked at the study, so there was obviously enough of a signal in the study for somebody to say, gosh.
INT: Isn’t that why you compare a drug to Placebo? Why weren’t the authors saying at the time, gosh, there is something really odd happening to the kids who are taking Seroxat. This is a drug that is meant to prevent suicide and in fact it looks like a lot more of the kids on the drug are feeling suicidal than the kids on Placebo. Why didn’t they notice that?
MD: Well, it was reported. I think what you are talking about is why didn’t they make a big banner about it. It was in the study that’s how people found it. It was in the report.
INT: The Regulations reanalysis found a few extra cases.
MD: Well, they looked at it in a different way, but what you have to remember is.

INT: Well, perhaps the authors were looking at it in a far too optimistic way.
MD: Well, I suppose human beings are generally pretty optimistic. In my experience.
INT: Here is what one of your own peer reviewers said about the study?
MD: You couldn’t have one of my own peer reviewers, what do you mean by that?
INT: I have got the peer reviewers comments on study 329.
MD: From the journal?

NT: It says the relatively high rate of serious adverse effects of the drug was not addressed in the discussion. Given the high Placebo response rate are these drugs an acceptable first line therapy for depressed teenagers. The results do not clearly indicate efficacy for the drug. I mean, these are pretty damning comments aren’t they?
MD: First of all I don’t know how you would have gotten that and second we often have several series of reviews and on virtually any paper if you read the reviews that came in on the first version they might have very little to do with the actual published version so I really can’t comment on that.
INT: Don’t you think they sound pretty damning?
MD: I am not going to comment on how they sound because they could easily be out of context. In other words what I am telling you is the reviews that come in on the first version of a paper, which those could have been, may have very little resemblance to what is actually said in the actual published version because there are major changes as papers go through the process. So I cant really comment on that.
INT: This whole point about the high rate of serious adverse effects I mean it is not clearly laid out in the published article what exactly happened to these kids.
MD: No one actually committed suicide. Well, in any of the studies.

INT: Would you expect that to happen when they are getting such intensive support? We do know that lots of children have committed suicide out there in the real world shortly after taking this drug, but this is why you compare the drug with Placebo, that’s science isn’t it?
MD: Science isn’t that simple. Of course you always want to compare with Placebo. That’s the gold standard, the randomized controlled trial, but it doesn’t mean that you know everything there is to know and the fact is we all know that there are children who commit suicide in hospitals so the fact that they are in the study will of course they wouldn’t have done it then that’s not the case, there are children who are in hospital.
INT: You don’t want to believe this information, whats the point in going to all the trouble of comparing the drug to Placebo and then sort of ignoring the results?
MD: I think that I would say people are not ignoring it. I think.

INT: This study was finished in 1997. We didn’t find out the problems with this drug for another 6 years and 2 years after it was published in the journal. Your journal didn’t help expose what the problems with this drug were. This is a drug that children are now not allowed to take because it is so harmful.

MD: In the UK. Its not true in this country although we are not using it by and large because there are other medicines that appear to be safer. The job of a scientific journal is not to be the same a public health. In other words that’s, first of all we can’t do anything until it is submitted to us, so the fact that it was finished many years before is irrelevant. But, the job of a journal is to present as best as possible based on of course what the author sends you because you have no idea whats really there, the data, so then people can and to the extent that you can in an article present, you cant present every single thing. I think child Psychiatrists always worry about suicidality when treating depressed children so that’s not big news.

INT: Well you say its not big news, why would you not notice a signal? If you are carrying out a study in a very controlled condition and it seems that the kids on the drug that you are looking at have 6 times, that’s pretty high, 6 times more likelihood of suffering suicide related events.

MD: Six times is a statistic.
INT: From the Medicines Regulator.
MD: Yes, I understand that, but let me give you an example which is not this example here, but you can use statistics in ways that sound better or worse. If one in 1,000 gets something and 6 times more get it that’s only 5 people, that’s not a huge thing. Actually, my reading of the data on the suicidality was more like twice.

INT: The Medicines Regulator said it was 6 times, in fact more than 6 times more likely that the children on Placebo to suffer the suicide related.
MD: The Regulator came after the paper and that continues to be a great deal of discussion among reasonable scientific people about the data that the Regulators presented, how the analysed the study, how they, this is again not like reading a newspaper where its all right there and you could see it. These are very complicated questions.
Even the question of how you code what was called a suicidal event, most of us were not actually. If you say event what do you think of.
INT: The same code was applied to the drug as was applied to Placebo and by whatever definition you use 6 times more kids on the drug were having problems in that respect than on Placebo now that surely should have rung alarm bells.
MD: Well, the data is there. The alarm bells are a relative question. I am no defender of either drug companies or this particular drug, but I think what you have to consider is the context. One of the thing the child Psychiatrist has known since I was in training, quite some time ago, is that when you have children who are depressed, they often don’t talk very much, they don’t say they are depressed if they don’t talk very much. As they start to get better, however, they are getting better, whether its on their own or however it is, they often start talking and what they start talking about before they are completely better is, oh gosh, I am really depressed, I am really thinking about killing myself. Does that mean that that’s a new thought or does that mean that you are just not hearing whats been going on all along? That’s why I am saying that these phenomena are ones that are familiar to us.

INT: Surely the whole point of randomised control trials is to try and work out quite clearly what the drug is doing and what the drug is not doing.
MD: That is the concept, but it’s not that simple.
INT: Not trying to complicate things, but what is quite clear is that the kids on the drug were having more psychiatric side-effects than the kids who weren’t taking the drug.

MD: That was reported.
INT: It wasn’t clearly reported and it wasn’t accurately reported and the conclusion was that this was a drug that was generally well tolerated. It looks like 10% of the children who took Seroxate self harmed; started to feel suicidal.
MD: They didn’t self harm, not that many self harmed. That includes verbalising suicidal thoughts, being agitated, a lot of things that really are not directly what most people think of when they think of suicide. It was a very broad ?.

INT: The kids were suffering on sugar pills, that is the point surely that you have to keep coming back to whatever it was they were suffering the kids on Placebo weren’t suffering as much.
MD: I think unless you understand the clinical condition sometimes as people are getting better they appear to be suffering more. That’s how the phenomenon works.
INT: That’s an argument that certainly the drug companies have put forward for a very long time.
MD: I am not making any argument for the drug company I am speaking to the clinical experience which is that often happens, that things appear to be worse before they are better. Often true if you do surgery on someone, they feel a lot worse before they feel better. It has nothing to do with the drug companies, they can say whatever they want to say.

INT: Looking at the study that was carried out and the data that was generated. The drug really didn’t do much better than Placebo.
MD: A small amount, not much.
INT: One of the things that happened was that the children were given intensive weekly therapy and support.
MD: Which is why it is not really a sugar pill, its sort of non specific treatment.

INT: Exactly, but surely then when 50% of the kids on Placebo get better too wouldn’t an objective conclusion be that maybe this intensive weekly support worked for kids?
MD: Well, I think that’s what everybody who understands the scientific literature would understand. When we say Placebo.
INT: That’s not what the published study says.
MD: They described the support. When we say Placebo.
INT: Why did the abstract did not say instead of saying the drug was generally well tolerated and effective why did it not say the drug really wasn’t very useful, but what was useful was this weekly therapy? Isn’t it because it was a drug company sponsored study and nobody wanted that to be the conclusion?
MD: Well, I think what the drug company wanted is really not relevant to what anybody else thinks. The fact of the matter is human beings when they do a study get very involved with it and I have to tell you that virtually every paper that comes to me, whether it’s a medicine that’s sponsored by a drug company, whether it’s a medicine that’s sponsored by an IMH, whether it’s a psychotherapy study, which I actually have a great deal more difficulty with in this way, or whether its a risk factor study.

When they first come in nearly always the authors are more convinced of whatever it is than the reviewers that I subsequently think is the case. That’s just how people are when they write things whether there is a drug company involved or not. To be honest with you if I look at all the papers where I have to moderate 10 Clinical Trials Shelly Jofre Interview with Mina Dulcan Tape No – 10 INTERVIEWER (INT) is Shelly Jofre MD is Mina Dulcan

conclusions it is actually much more of a problem with the psychotherapy papers that go beyond their data in terms of claiming that something is effective than I do with the drug company stuff.
INT: That’s why you have peer review and that’s why what your peer reviewers said was so interesting because the criticisms they made of the manuscript they read could easily be applied to the finished article because they were saying the effects were overstated and that seems to be the case from the article and that the adverse effects were underplayed. That’s certainly how the Regulator sees it.

MD: Well except that the paper doesn’t get published until the Reviewers are satisfied. So, they may have said that the first go round, but then the papers in our journal always go through one revision and often more. I have no way of knowing how many, remembering how many in this one, but the early reviews as I said may not be relevant to what comes out. The paper doesn’t get published until the Reviewers are satisfied.
INT: It was rejected from another publication for exactly the same sort of reasons.
MD: We don’t have a little chip in them to tell where they have been before.

INT: The interesting thing is that Glaxo Smith Kline actually acknowledged internally 3 years before you even published study 329 that it had failed to show that Seroxat was better than Placebo. They took a marketing decision effectively pick out the best bits of the study and see if they could get it published.

MD: That may be. That’s not something that journals have any access to, that information.
INT: How do you feel about that? A very deliberate decision. They said the study hadn’t shown anything useful about this drug, but we will try and repackage it.
MD: It could be true. I mean I have no way to evaluate that. It could be true.
INT: Do you have no regrets about publishing the study? 11 Clinical Trials Shelly Jofre Interview with Mina Dulcan Tape No – 10 INTERVIEWER (INT) is Shelly Jofre MD is Mina Dulcan

MD: I don’t have any regrets about publishing at all. It generated all sorts of useful discussion which is the purpose of a scholarly journal. The purpose of a scholarly journal is not to tell people what to do. The purpose of a scholarly journal is to put out the data. Now you could argue it should be here this way or should be that way, almost any paper you argue it should be one way or another.
INT: It was misleading and it would have had an effect on the way people prescribe. It was saying the drug was safe and effective, but in fact it wasn’t true.
MD: Said well tolerated and in fact the majority of the children did tolerate it well although I am no particular advocate for this drug. Well tolerated. You have to remember that they were also talking about Imipramine and Imipramine which were the older anti-depressants, large numbers of children had to be actually taken off the medicine because of serious problems. So you have to consider.

INT: There was a whole other set of problems about how they compared it to Imipramine. I am sure. I wasn’t going to go into that.
MD: You can always. Even among the investigators on a study there are also disagreements about how to present the data. Its not simple. Its not simple.
There will always be disagreements, but I think you have to remember that people were already prescribing this medicine. I don’t think there is any reason to think that more people prescribed it as a result of this article. People were already prescribing it, were hoping that there would be research to support what they were doing and I haven’t talked to anybody who thought, oh golly gee, this is great support for this.

INT: I can tell you that Glaxo Smith Klein though it was fantastic and their sales rep were saying you know using your journal’s name and influence to then say to Doctors, here look, theres a published study, it works.

MD: Well, I think we all see salesmen of a whole variety of kinds, whether they are drug company salesmen or insurance salesmen and we certainly have no control over how they use something.

INT: But, given what you know now about this drug and what it can do to children don’t you have any regrets that that published article was able to use your
 journal’s good name to basically, as a cloak of respectability to say look, I have been in this journal. It must be true look at the authors.

MD: I can’t control the authors. No, I don’t have regrets because it presented. I mean you are settling on one sentence, but if you read even the abstract and that is part of what the letters that came in said, well what about this measure, what about that measure, we think this one was more important, we think that one is less important, that’s the purpose of a scientific journal. If someone misuses our journal we really have very little control over that.
INT: In the published article I know myself it was not very clear exactly what happened to the children who we later discovered either became suicidal or self harmed. It was written up in a way that was almost deliberately confusing and certainly wasn’t accurate because it didn’t include the full number of children who suffered those side-effects.

MD: That was because, if you read all of this material and its not just about this paper, but the whole thing around the FDA in this country and all of these kinds of medicines there is a great deal of disagreement about how these events are solicited. Are they asked for, are they spontaneous, how do you code them? They put together after the fact a whole coding system, but that was not implemented before.

INT: Isn’t it the truth that the authors really weren’t looking for this. They didn’t want to know about this?
MD: I can’t really speak to their motivation. I know many of them. I know many of them are extremely dedicated Clinicians who are taking care of sick children and would, could you say someone might hope that a medicine could work. That’s how human beings work.
INT: That’s where you are meant to cut through all that and its meant to be pure science isn’t it?
MD: Well, we would love to have pure science, but you know what there is no such thing it turns out. I don’t know how much you follow research and a whole variety of specialties, not just child psychiatry, but you know there is a study that will show one thing and then the study the next time shows something else. Does

that mean somebody lied, somebody made up things. Science is not that clear, its not that simple.
INT: It seems that one of the problems in this was about who actually takes full responsibility for the data at the end of the day because you had the people who were named as the authors, then you had a kind of ghost writing medical PR agency who actually was responsible for writing it up, not the person who is listed as the author.
MD: That’s possible. We are not the FBI. We know what people send us. There are rules that journals have about ghost authorship and what not, but you cant go into someones study and see who is sitting at the computer. We have to base on what they tell us.

INT: Are you aware that 329 was ghost written?
MD: I have no way of knowing that. It doesn’t surprise me to know it happens, but we have no way of having that information.

INT: Does it worry you, do you think it matters?
MD: Well, certainly if I were an author I would not put my name on anything that I didn’t feel was accurate. I can’t speak to what those authors, to the extent, how much they saw the data. Someone can write something and you may or may not agree with it. The fact that someone puts the words together may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what the words are. I cant really speak to what was in their heads.
INT: But, ultimately the person who listed it as the principal investigator really ought to have seen all the data don’t you agree?
MD: Well, again science is complicated. They certainly should have seen the data. The way science is conducted is they had seen every single rating scale, every single paper one, probably not, but they probably should have seen the data as it came out of the computer. I have no reason, I mean I have no information to know whether they did or they didn’t. 14 Clinical Trials Shelly Jofre Interview with Mina Dulcan Tape No – 10 INTERVIEWER (INT) is Shelly Jofre MD is Mina Dulcan

INT: What I find hard to understand is how it could take another 3 years after this study was published that the so called authors of the paper found out about the extra suicidal cases in the study that they supposedly conducted.
MD: I really cant comment on that.
INT: It suggests to me that they probably did have access to the data. It is obviously a challenge for medical.
MD: It wasn’t coded that way. It wasn’t coded that way until later until all of the issues arose.
INT: But suicide and SSRI’s has been an issue for you know 10 years, 15 years.
MD: There have been questions raised about it, yes.
INT: It wasn’t a surprise, it wasn’t something that cropped up, but you should have been alert to it.

MD: But, remember most of the events that were so called events that were coded that way were not suicides. Nobody committed suicide. So you are changing the definition after the fact and wondering why somebody did see it in the first place. Now, gosh, if I talked to the authors what would they say, would they now wish, I mean who knows. You always have afterthoughts. After you do nearly anything, almost after any paper you have written if you go back 3 years later knowing what you know now you think oh I wish I had said it differently or looked for something differently because science is advancing, that’s inevitable. You are always knowing more later than you knew at the time.
INT: This was a failed study. The drug company admitted in the nineties it was a failed study and it was given a cloak of respectability by actually being published in your journal. Doesn’t that worry you?
MD: We, a scientific journal, takes what is sent to them and cannot investigate what the drug company thought, what they didn’t send you. If you look at the history of research fraud in science there is recurrent research fraud, most of it not drug company sponsored, most of the large research frauds are actually NIH sponsored studies and there is no way that a journal can find that out because you don’t have 15 Clinical Trials Shelly Jofre Interview with Mina Dulcan Tape No – 10 INTERVIEWER (INT) is Shelly Jofre MD is Mina Dulcan

the original data. What happens with science is people try to replicate it, people combine it with other studies, people ask additional questions and then something more informative comes out later, that’s how it works.
INT: Well, now that you know that there were more serious psychiatric effects for the children who were taking Seroxate compared to Placebo it means that the study published wasn’t accurate. Have you got any plans to publish a correction or even pull it, because it’s in your archives?
MD: Well, there were, no, we certainly have no plans to either pull it, you can’t actually pull it. You could issue a retraction, but once it’s there its always there, you cant, there is no way to pull something because its out there.
INT: But, why not issue a retraction because it’s not accurate? What is reported in that study is not accurate.
MD: I think if we found something that was fraudulent, that data were invented for example, that would be something. This is a difference in interpretation and of all of the data available how it was coded.
INT: It was an attempt to try and make a drug look a) that it was more effective than it actually was and much more worryingly that it was safer than it was, but much more worryingly that it was safer than it was. There are a lot of bereaved families out there whose children killed themselves after a short time on this drug and that is what, if you look at the data, the data shows it was producing an effect on the kids.
MD: There was not a single completed suicide in any single trial. We feel terrible when there are bereaved families, but you mentioned before about anecdotes, that’s about as anecdotal as can get. We had in a journal comment on someone elses motivation. We have no way of knowing someones motivation when a paper is submitted to us.
INT: But, you point out that nobody actually killed themselves thank goodness in any of these studies.
MD: Right. 16 Clinical Trials Shelly Jofre Interview with Mina Dulcan Tape No – 10 INTERVIEWER (INT) is Shelly Jofre MD is Mina Dulcan

INT: Buts, its quite clear that the children on Seroxate were having suicidal thoughts, some of them were self harming, that the whole effect of the drug was quite clear from the data, they just chose not to write it up that way and that is fraudulent.
MD: It actually wasn’t that clear and what you don’t know, and I would have to have a great deal more data then I have, its entirely possible that someone on the way to feeling better has these episodes, but no one is saying that these were persistent or continued throughout. If you had one time.
INT: Why are you trying to put an optimistic gloss on this? The facts are and the Medicines Regulator has established that kids were 6 times more likely to have these.
MD: I am not actually interested in being either optimistic or as you actually, quite pessimistic.
INT: The results are pretty negative. That’s the point isn’t it and they weren’t really presented in an accurate way in your journal?
MD: Well, I think there is always room for interpretation and it really feels to me as though this discussion has reached a point at which it is not going anywhere. You are really badgering me to try to get me to say something that you believe and really it is not consistent with the way a scientific journal operates.
INT: So you don’t have any regrets at all?
MD: I don’t, no, because it does what science does, which is it puts something out there, people ask questions, more analysis is there, the Regulators look at all the data, they open things up, that’s how science works. The purpose of a scientific journal is not to tell people what to do.