Schizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world’s poorest countries. Medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920's and 1930's gave way in the 1950's to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Robert Whitaker’s most damning revelation, he examines how drug companies in the 1980's and 1990's skewed their studies to prove that new anti-psychotic drugs were more effective than the old, while keeping patients in the dark about dangerous side effects.
Robert Whitaker raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, the meaning of “insanity,” and what we value most about the human mind.
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ANTIPSYCHOTICS AND ANTIDEPRESSANTS
I am searching for individuals in Canada who have experienced the same debilitating side effects and withdrawal effects from being prescribed antipsychotic mediations and other psychotropic medications with the intentions of approaching CBC to propose an investigation into the complacent prescribing of these medications and the destructive aftermath of taking these medications.
The text below is a "condensed" letter I wrote to the Canadian Association of Mental Health (and others) describing my disturbing, perpetual "journey" on psychotropic medications.
The complaint process was difficult in that I had not completely discontinued all psychotropic medications and was "scattered" missing an opportunity to address additional concerns regarding the prescribing psychiatrist. As psychiatric patients, we are often psychologically and physically vulnerable to the medications we are prescribed and the assumption is that we will be taking psychotropic medications for a lifetime and will never be "cured".
Respectfully, as a woman who works in health care, I know that there is a population of individuals that benefit from these medications and will have to take psychotropic medications for their lifetime. Please understand that I am not critical or judgemental of these healthcare scenarios.
The purpose in sharing the exhausting, and often consuming, chemical psychotropic medication cycle that affected my reality is to highlight the consequences of mechanically prescribing psychotropic medications, such as Risperidone, and the associated, and often disconcerting symptoms patients experience when these medications are changed or discontinued. Ill advised, I found myself running from one medication to another with the development of each new and troubling symptom contributing to increased physical and emotional discord. My quest for answers was “frantic” as my body and mind failed me. To my detriment, this “franticness” was witnessed by the prescribing psychiatrist and a host of other healthcare professionals leaving a permanent impression of madness that is not easily erased.
Listening to CBC radio and reviewing this conversation online provided links to numerous studies conducted and documented by reputable sources confirming my initial belief that many of the physical and psychological symptoms I endured over a 5 year period were primarily from psychotropic medication dosage changes, switching from one medication to another, discontinuing these medications completely and the painful emotions from having many of my concerns dismissed with condescension and evident irritability within a small healthcare community. I would find myself being labeled as a difficult patient and diagnosed with numerous psychiatric syndromes I had never been associated with in the past.
The prescribing psychiatrist has a private psychiatric practice with full privileges at the local hospital, staffs an outpatient rapid response clinic and is also a clinical assistant professor specializing in mood and anxiety disorders at a reputable university typicalling seeing approximately 700 patients per year since 1997. These credentials suggest a mental health care professional with significant knowledge of the vast and diverse psychotropic medications he prescribes to hundreds of his patients on day to day basis.
I was prescribed a different antidepressant in March 2004 that was later determined ineffective and replaced with the “familiar” Prozac in August 2004. I was then prescribed Risperidone in September 2004 to augment the Prozac for depression. I was not aware that benefits of Prozac required time to be achieved. I returned to this psychiatrist’s office requesting higher and higher doses of Risperidone on three separate occasions specifically for this medication’s sedating properties and I was never advised of the potential irreversible side effects of Risperidone and the difficulty discontinuing this medication when this medication was first initiated and with each subsequent requested dosage increase.
Literature reports that many patients will not experience the full benefit of antidepressants therapy immediately and the benefits may take as long as 8 weeks. Perhaps Risperidone would never have been prescribed had I waited the course till the full benefits of Prozac therapy were achieved; and, conceivably, I could still be taking Prozac today.
I addressed my concerns about taking Risperidone with the prescribing psychiatrist in April 2008 when I discovered this medication was utilized as a chemical restraint in the elderly population with dementia often presenting with difficult behaviours. I did not want to take Risperidone after this discovery yet believed the prescribing psychiatrist--a paternal-like figure--”must know best”. I was both shy and timid when addressing my concerns about taking Risperidone only to end up being “in agreement” with current psychotropics or advised to trial another antipsychotic such as Invega. I opted not to trial Invega. I felt the onus of seeking alternatives to Risperidone fall upon my shoulders and my role in health care was insignificant when compared to the role of psychiatrist. I felt very unsupported.
A typical prescription would read Prozac 80-120mg and Risperdal 2-4mg or simply Prozac 120mg and Risperdal 4mg. The prescribing psychiatrist documented that I often reduced both medications and, at one time, reduced the Prozac dosage as low a 20mg documenting “relapse” without ever investigating the purpose of my non-compliance. In addition, my medical charts reveal that a pharmacy had contacted the prescribing psychiatrist asking if they should fill an expired prescription for Risperidone and Prozac as I had reported having accumulated a surplus of medication. The prescription was filled and the prescriber made no inquiry into the surplus or stockpile of medication I had acquired or the notion of noncompliance. This lack of inquiry hindered the development of a therapeutic relationship that was never really initiated.
The antipsychotic medications began to change in late 2012: from Risperidone to Quetiapine, back to Risperidone and Quetiapine, to Trazodone, to Trazodone and Quetiapine and this chemical psychotropic medication cycle would continue to negatively affect my physical and psychological wellness in such profound ways leading me to believe that other psychotropic medications were ineffective contributing to increased medication changes perpetuating physical harm and psychological chaos for several years to follow. Unbeknownst to me, I would begin an era fraught with somatic symptoms including increased body pain query fibromyalgia, fatigue, skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues query irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, numbness and tingling, cognitive decline, increased anxiety (GAD), ADHD, fatigue and insomnia coupled with numerous psychiatric labels that I can not seem to escape. The newly acquired psychiatric labels assigned to me based upon the symptoms I presented with were perhaps the most harmful and destructive eroding my self- esteem and self-confidence in tasks that I had become proficient in.
Insomnia developed when Quetiapine replaced Risperidone and I began to struggle with the demands of shift work where I was required to work within a team environment in a role to care for others. I would later return to the more “powerful” Risperidone. The prescribing psychiatrist documents in my medical charts that I “did not find the Seroquel as helpful as the Risperdal, and decided to go back on the Risperdal, in addition to continuing on the Seroquel. She was aware of the increased risk of TD [Tardive Dyskinesia] by making the decision to go back on the Risperdal, in comparison to remaining solely on Seroquel”. The irony in this statement is that I would not have found myself in that uncomfortable predicament of having to choose between one antipsychotic over another antipsychotic--Risperidone or Seroquel--had the prescribing psychiatrist obtained valid informed consent when the medication was initiated in September 2004. I propose this example of thorough documentation of informed consent is to avoid blame or responsibility for the prescribing psychiatrist’s failure to obtain informed consent when initially prescribing Risperidone and with subsequent dosage increases in the past.
Go off unless you can't function without them or if you're in a bad situation at the moment. You're so young and your brain is still developing until you're 25, you don't want your brain to get used to these drugs. Believe in yourself. Just keep doing normal things. I came off anti depressants and serokill when I was 23, was on them since i was 15 on and off, took many years to feel like myself again, never realized it was because of the meds. And if/when life gets overwhelming, take a break from everything. If you don't trust yourself and think that you need your meds you won't get better. There's no way to prove that mental illness is biological, so it's pretty risky to take drugs, they actually cause chemical imbalances. The reason people get better on them is because they supress bad emotions, thoughts etc.
There is a lack of scientific data to support the imchemical balancing hypothesis. The vast majority of "evidence" supporting it, comes from pharmaceutical research. Much of this research is bias and in a simulated environment to validate the hypothesis. It is not done under the normal scientific method.
Dual lands There is no subjective definition of normal. There is normal then there is abnormal like you. Further the studies that claim psychiatric drugs are effective were done by the psychiatric industry and pharmaceutical companies who BENEFIT to lie. The real studies show they are no more effective than placebos but highly toxic. There is no such thing as a "psychiatric disorder" mental/emotional problems are not medical problems that need drugs to treat. Psychiatry is a scam and the drugs DESTROY LIVES just like they have DESTROYED the lives of millions.
There are safe alternatives that work effectively for mental/emotional problems that do not have the risks and dangers of psychiatric drugs. But you will never hear this from a retarded psychiatrist. I have seen how psychiatric drugs destroy lives. These drugs should never be used and psychiatry should be abolished period.
Are you claiming what Mr. Whitaker is saying in the video is a lie?. These drugs damage the brain and cause disability, a shortened life span and death but you claim they are beneficial?. You are an ignorant fool by the way you reason.
+Tromsat I don't want you to fit in any subjective definition of 'normal' whatsoever, fucktard. But unlike you, that seems to have proven all the studies showing that psychiatric drugs are effective in a number of different disorders WRONG, by calling it all a "scam", I can recognize that antidepressants (and drugs in other classes) SAVE LIVES.
They are obviously far from being the "cure", and I'm not saying they don't have some negative consequences in the brain, but i've been around enough people that suffer from mental illness to know their positive impact.
You have to find out why you are acting the way you are acting. What do you mean crazy? Many behaviors are classified as crazy, despite them being normal. Many are a reaction to a situation, versus a psychiatric issue.
You must ask yourself these questions:
1. What philosophical worldview do you maintain? How does that maintain your stability? Is it an existential crisis?
2. Do you have a proper balance in your life? Are you working too much while not having free time? Do you have meaningful relationships with others?
3. Have you been taught a victimization complex, or do you feel powerless of your situation? Many psychologists and psychiatric people teach clients they are powerless over the situation. At best one is top you can manage only. In reality many conditions can be over came.
4. What type of spiritual perspective do you have on life? Do you feel like life is meaningless and has no purpose?
5. Do you have a mean to strive self-actualization?
6. Do you waste a lot of time and resources on activities and services which do not help you?
7. Do you have the right diet to maintain Mental Health?
8. What condition do you have? Is it biological or psychological? Only biological require medication. Many psychiatric conditions are psychological.
9. is your life focused on a false sense of identity? do you believe unless you can have something which society says you should have to be happy, that you cannot be happy without it?
10. Are you talking up on too many responsibilities to function properly?
11. Do you use harmful substances to mask the issue?
you're body grows new cells based on the present environment, use poison and you get sick new cell growth... true in every category, NEW CELL GROWTH doesn't happen well in a sick environment. but what is called "Permanent Damage" is reversed if you clean the metabolic environment and grow new cells..
I don’t care, before ssri i was dead, after I feel normal... all of this is pseudo-science lot of crap.... I take the drugs for years now and feel normal, I will never stop taking them You don’t scare me.. We are all dead anyway i don’t care about the side effects that will appear after 20 years of use....
"It’s not an authority or professionally written – and I am NOT a medical professional. I do however have a lot of first-hand experience ingesting pharmaceutical (psychiatric) medications and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology." - https://mentalhealthdaily.com/about/
I'd take this acknowledgement (of the author of the article) regarding his professional background very seriously. Basically, he is a guy like me with a tremendous interest in science and quite thorough critical thinking skills.
However, lack of a thorough knowledge about the subject is really dangerous and makes him open to serious blunders in conclusions.
"In the past it was long assumed that schizophrenia was a neurodegenerative condition..." - well it is. Just look at the UNTREATED schizophrenics and you will see HOW degenerative the illness ITSELF is. It is NOT the antipsychotic medications. Even if it was a bit adversary, the benefits from treating schizophrenia with AP far outhweight the negative effects it has. I can not stress enough what a difference is between a treated and untreated patient.
To sum it up: IF you need an AP medication you should take it no questions asked. In some cases like personality disorder you MIGHT not need it or it MIGHT even be counterproductive. In these cases you might ask for another MEDICAL opinion from a professional you trust.
Elaine AteOate I say yes. I took Paxil and Wellbutrin for about 4 years. Stopped years ago. Most days i literally feel happy and sad at the same tyme. I have moments when I care about life but most days I'm indifferent. Some people think I'm bipolar at tymes. I will admit that I am Moody at tymes. The sad part is I have to live with it or eventually try a new drug. But at least not having as many emotions has kept me here.
I'm in this process right now and am starting to feel so much better, especially after adding in a few minerals because the prozac can FUCK UP your thyroid levels by depleting trace elements (hence the weight gain)
Yeah, but no. This may send you off the scales - to do it faster than your body normally would upregulate results in all kinds of crazy (and I mean crazy) symptoms. Same deal as L-tryptophan, SAM-e, and 5HtP. PLUS - if you are sensitive, St. John's Wort can be just as bad (for some) as an SSRI, depending on liver enzyme genetic profile. Better to just use Omega-3 and Magnesium, meditate, take it slow and easy.
Moon7 TriangleEpe Your body is always looking for ways to return to homeostasis. If a medication knocked you out of homeostasis by creating a dopigineric surplus then I'd pay more focus on ways to regenerate the brain &/or speaking with a naturopathic practitioner. just my two cents
People drink sugar by the sack, and take recreational drugs left and right and your sweating over an SSRI? Nothing is good in the long term, we can agree on that--- but I think you are overexaggerating.
These drugs do help people, and I'm fucking proof of that. ! I've taken 7 different SSRIs and 2 SNRIS and I've actually felt the clinical benefits. I've come on and off them after taking them for about a year or so.
This isn't a perfect science no, some people are clinically depressed from drugs and we use drugs to solve the problem. Some people take these drugs who aren't clinically depressed looking for a "boost" but instead they get some nasty side effects and then go on a crusade to demonize it.
That you would end this video without mentioning the benefits of the SSRIs just shows you have an agenda. If they caused irreversible harm we would have seen it by now! It's been what 60 years since they started with SSRIs and antipsychotics? (although I kind of agree with you on antipsychotics, they seem and feel very unnatural)
KevZen2000 can you please stop talking to me like I'm a fucking 5 year old, I know more about this fucking fake industry, dartboard diagnosis, bullshit pseudo science and the pleb low life scum bottom feeders that reside in this field calling themselves doctors than you have had hot dinners.........
Totally! I have helped people who were put on these drugs for: addiction, chronic pain, menopause, grief, "the blues." If you look on YouTube, most vids and peeps say "it helps!" Until it doesn't. Or until you get very very sick. But you can still go crazy trying to come off, even if you were never crazy.
Look to see a lot more people on them to "resolve" the "opioid crisis" - only - they are harder to come off of than opioids, and do more damage (except for that overdose thing - but people aren't paying attention to the role of benzos and polydrugs in those overdoses)
I did never had depression and I told my doctor 100 times... He just forced them on me like it was the most important thing to his life... All they seek is cash bro, they give no fucks for the people, whether they are crazy or not
Sorry. Quick is the only option that I can't support. You can support the re-regulation with Omega-3, exercise, Magnesium - but if you re-regulate too fast (like using "quick fixes"), you will go crazier than you ever were before. www.survivingantidepressants.org
Antidepressants are medications that can help relieve symptoms of depression, social anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and dysthymia, or mild chronic depression, as well as other conditions.
They aim to correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain that are believed to be responsible for changes in mood and behavior.
Depression Medications (Antidepressants)
These are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant.
Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are used to treat major depression, mood disorders, and possibly but less commonly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, menopausal symptoms, fibromyalgia, and chronic neuropathic pain.
SNRIs raise levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters in the brain that play a key role in stabilizing mood.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. They are effective in treating depression, and they have fewer side effects than the other antidepressants.
SSRIs block the reuptake, or absorption, of serotonin in the brain. This makes it easier for the brain cells to receive and send messages, resulting in better and more stable moods.
They are called "selective" because they mainly seem to affect serotonin, and not the other neurotransmitters.