Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry

The dark side of depressants…oops I meant anti-depressants!

I received an e-mail this morning from a fellow blogger and a like minded friend with first hand experience of ssri’s and who said…”I think you might be interested in this, it’s from 2004.. Quite shocking that they have known for so long”.

It is quite shocking how the evidence has been around for so long and 7 years later we have actually gone backwards! In this article even Patricia Casey admits that some GPs are wrongly prescribing SSRIs, that the drugs don’t work for everyone and even more surprisingly did not deny the stated side-effects in this article! So what has happened in 7 years?  The evidence is still there, more compelling evidence is emerging connecting suicide and acts of violence with ssri antidepressants, and more experts and whistleblowers are telling the truth about Pharmaceutical company corruption. Yet, instead of more awareness, psychiatry in Ireland will still deny any problems, subsequently doctors will be unaware or unsure, and the Irish Medicines Board will not do their job properly and investigate! (And my lovely son will still be dead!)

Excerpts from an article published in the Irish Independent on Thursday June 03 2004

 The dark side to the ‘happy pills’

1. As a result of anxiety, stress, phobias and depression, 300,000 Irish people take anti-depressants. There are fears they can be a prescription for self-mutilation, suicide and even murder
.2.An estimated 80% of anti-depressants prescribed here are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors). They include drugs like Seroxat, Prozac and Cipramil.

3. But there’s a dark side to the so-called ‘happy pills’ that have taken Ireland by storm. As evidence of their dangers becomes increasingly compelling, there’s a huge groundswell of concern among medical experts that not only do SSRIs not work for many people, but they can be a prescription for suicide, self-mutilation and even murder.


4. Many medical experts say the most popular medical answer to the unhappiness caused by adversity is worse than the hellish state it’s prescribed to treat. They say the distressing and sometimes fatal side-effects and withdrawal symptoms of SSRIs are a chemical time-bomb ignored by doctors and flatly denied by pharmaceutical companies.

5. Irish doctors are in the firing line from their own colleagues for unwisely and dangerously over-prescribing SSRIs. The war of words is reaching fever pitch.The stakes are enormously high: Irish people’s health and lives are on the line. So are doctors’ reputations and the financial health of the multinational drugs companies whose billion-dollar earnings are boosted by the huge success of SSRIs.

6. The case against SSRIs has been building with relentless force. The US Food and Drug Administration says that from 1997 to 2002, the six most popular SSRIs were suspected of triggering 3,309 incidents of suicide, attempted suicide or hostile, violent behaviour in America. Suicidal or aggressive behaviour were reported in children who took the drug, more than twice as often as among adults who did.

7. Irishman David Healy is Visiting Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the North Wales Department of Psychiatry. He has written two books on SSRIs and is a leading international expert. Three years ago in Wyoming a 60-year-old doting grandfather went on a shooting spree, killing his wife, daughter and granddaughter, and then himself, after taking Paxil, the US brand name for Seroxat.

8. Two years ago BBC’s Panorama investigated Seroxat. The BBC was inundated with unprecedented feedback. The 68,400 calls and emails offered vivid stories about suicide, domestic violence, addiction, self-mutilation, paranoia, homicidal fantasies and attempted murder.

9. Tom O’Dowd is a GP and Professor at Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care. “The side-effect that frightens me most is the suicide element.

10. Psychotherapist Dr Terry Lynch, author of Beyond Prozac, says up to a third of Irish people who take SSRIs stop taking them because of their side-effects. A very worrying side-effect is akathisia (restlessness leading to tension and panic), which has driven people to kill themselves.”

11. Three years before Prozac got the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, the German government refused to approve the drug, based on studies showing that previously non-suicidal people who took Prozac had three times the rate of suicide and suicide attempts than those who didn’t take the drug.

12. Patricia Casey, consultant psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry at UCD, says some GPs are wrongly prescribing SSRIs. “SSRIs don’t work for negative life events, which resolve themselves with time. I’m as likely to take people off an anti-depressant as I am to put them on one. We’ve mistakenly assumed everybody with a depressed mood has a chemical depression. It’s not always the same thing.”

13. Dr Healy says SSRIs help about half the people who take them, but make many others more anxious, violent or suicidal and physically addicted.

14. Dr Michael Corry…”Depression is wrongly treated because of the notion of a chemical imbalance. Serotonin levels can’t be measured. “Depression is a normal emotional response to someone’s life experience,” says Dr Michael Corry. “Making someone realise they’ve good reason to feel depressed incredibly empowers them. Otherwise, we’re degrading what it is to be human. We need to be humanising, not chemicalising, life’s problems.”

15.”Irish doctors are in denial,” says Dr Lynch. “We’re letting our patients down by failing to educate ourselves about anti-depressants. Five or 10 years from now, the true story about SSRIs will have emerged. Questions will be asked why nothing was done to alert people about the dangers.”

 Full article here…

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