Oliver Hare, shown above, was a 22-year-old linguist, working in Shanghai. In February of this year he spent a week with his mum in Dubai before returning to his family home in England. Feeling a little lost and unsure of what his goals were, he was anxious about returning to China. His dad told him not to worry, that nobody would force him to go back, but Oliver was worried about the consequences if he didn’t return. The Daily Mail reported that he had previously visited his GP, who diagnosed him with depression and prescribed Citalopram (marketed as Celexa and Cipramil). Oliver started taking the drug this February. Four days later, on Valentine’s Day 2017, Oliver hanged himself from a window in his family home. The Coroner recorded a suicide verdict, stating “In light of the mood of the deceased that has been described and the manner by which his body was found I am satisfied that he intended to take his own life.”
However, what the Coroner did not mention (or perhaps did not know), was that all SSRI antidepressants, including Citalopram, increase the risk of suicide. There was no mention of the black-box suicide warning that is attached to this drug in the U.S., for young people up to the age of 24. Nor of the European Medicines Agency suicidality warning for under 25s. Perhaps the Coroner was not aware that Citalopram is associated with more self-inflicted deaths than any other antidepressant in the U.K. It seems pointless that SSRI suicide warnings are provided by the various medicines regulators, yet doctors, psychiatrists and Coroners seem oblivious to the risk – and have rarely attributed a person’s self-inflicted death to these widely-prescribed drugs.
As Wendy’s case shows (see previous post), there is little doubt that age is irrelevant when suffering an adverse-reaction to an SSRI, including Citalopram – see here and here. My son Shane, like Oliver, was 22 when he died of a Citalopram-induced death in 2009 – he lasted 17 days on the drug. Incidentally, my friend who runs the AntiDepAware website also wrote about Oliver (here). His son wasn’t much older than Oliver and Shane when he was prescribed Citalopram. Within days of starting the drug, he also died unexpectedly, from SIBSID (a self-inflicted but SSRI-induced death).
At one stage I asked many like-minded experts for some SSRI quotes, which, for anyone who’s interested, can be viewed here. However, the last word goes to Mr. Dainius Pūras of The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose talk for World Health Day was published last month – titled ‘Depression: Let’s talk about how we address mental health’. The talk concerned the current paradigm of excessive medicalization within mental health and the overuse of biomedical interventions (aka drugs). Among other things, he stated:
“The use of psychotropic medications as the first line treatment for depression and other conditions is, quite simply, unsupported by the evidence. The excessive use of medications and other biomedical interventions, based on a reductive neurobiological paradigm causes more harm than good, undermines the right to health, and must be abandoned.”