Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Declan Henry – Why Bipolar?

Why BipolarDeclan Henry – Why Bipolar?

I have just finished reading ‘Why Bipolar’, a book by Irish author Declan Henry. The purpose of the book is to demystify ‘Bipolar disorder’, the ‘condition’ formerly known as Manic Depression.

This is a great read; a collection of 26 individual stories of people who have had a Bipolar diagnosis. The fact that there are different stories make it a very easy read as it can be put down and read again at leisure. It was lovely to read about my hero Doctor Michael Corry who got a mention in one of the stories. Mary Maddock of MindFreedom Ireland, another hero of mine and a lovely lady, wrote the concluding section of ‘Why Bipolar’ quite beautifully.

Sometimes the stories were harrowing but equally, maybe unintentionally, some were very funny. Wouldn’t it be nice to be ‘mad’ for a day, go on a spending spree, say what you think to whoever you wish and  do exactly what takes your fancy? Going by these stories, not really. Reality will always break through and come crashing round your ankles. Not good!

As I suppose with life, the people were all shapes and sizes, ranging from annoying, sad, self-absorbed to kind, funny and enormously likeable. Most of the 26 people in the book gave account of their diagnosis and again most had been medicated with varying amounts of psychiatric drugs. The strange thing is, that with the exception of one person, the drugs made no difference or made the symptoms much worse.

The takeaway message here is that the pharmaceutical industry is making a mint out of drugs that don’t work, for a condition which may or may not exist. Even worse – the drugs can cause permanent debilitating adverse effects in an already vulnerable person. Anyway, it’s a great read and highly recommended. One last point I took away from this book – if anyone says ‘let me be nice to you‘- RUN!!

Newspaper and internet articles, Our story., Random

Wicklow Casper Conference

PresentationWell, I did it. I survived the conference with Maria, I didn’t run out the side door and she didn’t have to slap me; well not too hard anyway. Maria was fabulous and I couldn’t have asked for a more experienced ally.

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She was able to give people a real feel for her son Toran, along with an abundance of science behind drug-induced deaths. The stories we heard on Saturday were tragic and very avoidable, but hopefully we can inform the future generation and stop the madness that SSRIs are inducing. 

Maria is the CEO of Casper NZ. New statistics have shown that in the groups which Casper has helped, there has been a 20% reduction in deaths by suicide. For young people that is a stunning reversal, because in the previous year there had been a 45% increase in 15-19 year olds taking their own lives. That has never been done in Ireland and we need to take notice. Despite all the suicide awareness groups, pharma funded and otherwise, the suicide rate in this country is huge. Maria has been asked to speak in other countries including Dubai, The Cook Islands, Australia and the US. I have no doubt she is making a difference; can we possibly ignore these results or will we just keep over-prescribing the unhappy pills which double the risk of suicide and violence?

PS. Thank you so much to everyone who made a huge effort to attend, from all over the country and indeed from across the water. I am humbled! Video to follow once my son Jake gets his act together and posts to Youtube.

cipramil (celexa) stories,, lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles

When is a suicide not a suicide?

@AntiDepAware

This blog was written by Brian today. His blog ‘AntiDepAware‘ is such a revelation. His knowledge on prescription drug-induced deaths, coupled with brilliant investigational skills, surpasses no-one that I’m aware of.

It may come as no surprise that most of the victims in this particular blog were on Citalopram. Despite drug companies admitting that antidepressants (SSRIs in particular) can cause a person to commit suicide, Coroners seem to be lagging way behind in informing themselves. Have a read for yourselves:

When is a suicide not a suicide?

Robert Keywood was married and had two daughters, lived in Kent, and worked for Kimberley-Clark as director of human resources.

A few weeks before his death, he had travelled to Poland and America on business and was having trouble sleeping. He went to see his GP, and was prescribed sleeping tablets and antidepressants.

One Friday last November, Mr Keywood drove to the Pentagon shopping centre in Chatham, where he took his own life by jumping from the top of the multi-storey car park (right). A note left on the passenger seat of his car read: “You’re better off without me, love Bob.”Multi story

Ann, his wife of almost 30 years, told the inquest her husband had acted “agitated” and “out of character” on a number of occasions before he died.

CoronerDeputy assistant coroner Alison Summers (left) said, “One gleans some insight into a particular person’s life and it’s clear to me this was very out of character,” before recording a verdict of suicide.

To give a verdict of suicide, a coroner needs to be certain that the person intended to kill himself or herself. Often, the existence of a written note is regarded as evidence of intent. In this case, Mr Keywood had written just seven words on a piece of paper left in his car.

In a case where medication could well be the cause, however, it is surely relevant to ask the question: “Would the person have killed him/herself if he/she had not been taking medication?” In this case, like so many before it, Mr Keywood had no recorded history of depression, and only began to act agitated and out of character after having been prescribed medication. From the newspaper report, it would appear probable that an adverse reaction to antidepressants was responsible for Mr Keyword’s death. Therefore, unless there are circumstances that have gone unreported, suicide may not be the correct verdict in this case.

Like Mr Keywood, Trina Clinton, a 54-year-old housewife from Redditch, took her life by falling from a multi-storey car park in March 2005. Worcestershire Coroner Victor Round originally recorded a verdict of suicide but told the court that a blood test revealed the prescribed antidepressant Citalopram in Mrs Clinton’s blood.

After Mrs Clinton’s sister-in-law said that the antidepressant “must have been a contributory factor”, Mr Round changed the verdict to “suicide while under medication”. He then modified his verdict again to record an open verdict.

In the same month, Carwyn Lewisa 38-year-old air steward from Carmarthen, was found dead in a bath full of water with a travel case full of books on top of him. He had been suffering from depression for some time.

But the coroner said he could not record a verdict of suicide because of the possible side-effects of the antidepressant drugs that Mr Lewis had been taking. He recorded an open verdict.

Ian Fox, a 65-year-old retired postal worker from Edgware, died in July 2008 after throwing himself in front of a train at Finchley Road Tube station.

He had been prescribed the antidepressant Citalopram for just one month before taking his life and he had expressed a wish to come off it, complaining of confusion and anxiety.

At his inquest, Mr Fox’s wife blamed her husband’s sudden death on the medication, saying that her husband’s action was completely out of character. She described how, until he began taking Citalopram, he had only been suffering from mild depression, brought on by retirement from his job and a foot injury.

Coroner Dr Andrew Reid recorded a narrative verdict in which he accepted that Mr Fox had jumped in front of the train, but added: “I’m satisfied he did so while the balance of his mind was disturbed while suffering the adverse effects of Citalopram.”

Brian PalmerIn September 2011, self-employed electrician Brian Palmer (left), 63, from Littlehampton, visited his GP as a consequence of financial worries. He was prescribed Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Zopiclone. A few days later, Mr Palmer shot himself.

At the inquest, Mr Palmer’s widow Jennifer told the inquest that days after Mr Palmer began taking the drugs, his mental health deteriorated. She said: “I noticed a change in him almost straight after taking the pills. I asked to see the box in the days before but he said he couldn’t find it. I found it a few days after his death and it listed all the changes I had seen in him. My heart just stopped. I didn’t go down there with him, when he picked up the prescription – I wish I had. We have had to learn the hard way. I can’t bear to think of any other families going through this kind of trauma.”

Coroner Penelope Schofield recorded a narrative verdict, in which she concluded that Mr Palmer took his own life following the prescription of antidepressant pills.

In each of the four cases above, the deaths have been linked to the victims’ reactions to antidepressant medication. Yet two of the cases resulted in open verdicts, while in the other two, narrative verdicts were recorded.

My database also contains cases where coroners have turned a deaf ear to evidence pertaining to reaction to antidepressants. This was particularly noticeable in inquests into the Bridgend hangings.

At the inquest of Christopher Ward, for example, a police officer provided the information that 29 year-old Mr Ward “had been prescribed Citalopram for depression.” Even so, Coroner Peter Maddox declared that: “There was a lack of anything in the system that would have altered his judgement, you would expect him to understand what he was doing and the consequences,” said Mr Maddox. “I can’t ignore the circumstances in which he was found, the toxicology results which suggests he was in control of his faculties.” Mr Maddox recorded a verdict of suicide, thus completely ignoring the possibility that Citalopram may have “altered his judgement”.

Lana WilliamsIn the case of 20 year-old mother Lana Williams (right), her fiancé said she had seemed “in good spirits” when he had left the house for work on the morning of her death. A police officer reported that “although Miss Williams had suffered post-natal depression, for which she was still taking medication, there was no other history of mental health problems.” After hearing the evidence, “Coroner Peter Maddox said he thought an appropriate verdict was that Lana Williams took her own life.”

It has been proposed that there should be a separate verdict for those who have taken their lives while under the influence of prescribed medication. This would be a verdict of “Iatrogenic Suicide”, the word iatrogenesis being defined as an inadvertent adverse effect or complication resulting from medical treatment or advice. This would be supported by those who are concerned that suicide figures are underestimated due to the number of self-inflicted deaths registered as open or narrative verdicts.

On the other hand, Dr David Healy writes that: “If someone jumps to their death from a 10th floor balcony under the influence of LSD, unless there is clear evidence beforehand that this was what was planned, an open verdict would be more appropriate than a suicide verdict.”

SSRIs are capable of causing similarly tragic outcomes, and bereaved families who recognised that their loved one’s death was caused by a reaction to medication would be disappointed to receive a verdict of suicide in such cases.

Newspaper and internet articles, Shanes story.

Ireland’s over-prescribing disaster.

Ali Bracken
Ali Bracken

In 2009 following Shane’s death, a ‘Tribune’ journalist ‘Ali Bracken’ decided to find out whether antidepressants were being over-prescribed in Ireland. She presented to 5 doctors with symptoms of mild-depression and was shocked when 4 out of 5 prescribed her an antidepressant. The article ‘A Pill For Every Ill’ can be viewed here. So what has happened in the last 4 years. Has the over-prescribing of potentially dangerous drugs been curtailed in any way? Nope, in fact it’s actually got much, much worse.

In the last few weeks, a young journalism student ‘Niamh Drohan’ posed as a mildly depressed student in Waterford. This time sheNiamh Drohan visited 7 GPs as part of her investigation; all near Waterford city. Sadly, all 7 prescribed her an antidepressant. Her article ‘Depressing Truth about Treating Depression In The Young’ can be viewed here. What is all the more shocking this time around, is that 3 prescriptions were issued for one month supply, 1 was for two months, 1 was for three months and 2 were for six months. Can you believe that? Two doctors prescribed a 6 months supply of a potentially fatal amount of drug, to a depressed person that they had only just met? Why not just give her a gun and play some Russian Roulette with a young girl’s life? Idiots!

So why are Irish doctor’s prescribing so recklessly? The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines  recommend that doctors “Do not use antidepressants routinely to treat mild depression because the risk–benefit ratio is poor…” Another NICE review stated that the benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo in mild to moderate depression may be minimal or nonexistent.

What about the Irish Human Rights Commission who recommended, among other things, that doctors/psychiatrists are to give an ‘oral explanation of risks/side-effects of SSRI’s in advance of prescription, together with relevant written information’ and that a ‘level of monitoring and ongoing supervision is required when SSRI’s are initially prescribed’. I don’t think that equates to ‘here’s a script, now have a nice day young lady and don’t take them all at once’.

Considering Shane had access to 6 weeks of poison Citalopram and had a toxic-to-fatal level of same in his system when he died, how many horses could a 6 month supply kill? This dangerous over-prescribing is heading for disaster. As Dr Phil would say; how’s that working for ya professor? Rising suicides and increased prescribing… sometimes 2+2 really does equal 4.

IHRC Recommendations.

NICE guidelines.

NICE Review Consultation Doc.

cipramil (celexa) stories,

Don’t mess with the mama’s.

Sometimes I wonder as i’m sure other people do, why I actually bother doing this and don’t just get on with my life and forget about what happened with Shane, as it’s something I can’t ever win. Maybe it’s the way I was brought up, to actually believe in right and wrong and the fact that good will always overcome evil and lies will always be uncovered.

We have had plenty of bad press, coming from Irish psychiatry (surprise, surprise), priests who say that “evil should never be blamed on depression” and a couple of journalists who implied that Shane was trying to get “in” with the upper classes!

I’ve been informed that this lovely “Christian priest” had a right ould Sallynoggin rollicking from a few of my mam’s neighbours. As I said to my mam “that priest has nothing to do with the same God I was brought up with” and the fact that Shane never lived in Sallynoggin didn’t really fit the picture, but never let a good story step in the way! 

Am I supposed to crawl under my working class rock? Am I supposed to apologise for bringing my children up to look after the people who are less fortunate than we are? Am I supposed to apologise for being brought up in Sallynoggin? NEVER! You won’t ever find nicer people than the people of Sallynoggin and I am so very proud to have been brought up there. ALWAYS! “Up the noggin!”

Shane would have thought it was hilarious because I have never known someone who was as comfortable in his own skin as Shane was. He was so very proud of his granny (and grandad) from Sallynoggin and often brought his friends over to meet them. He thought he was so lucky and it would never have occured to him that some people would have thought less of him because he came from a working class background, he actually thought he had it all!

Shane lived in Dalkey because it was on the dart line and was close to the college he was going to, and because his cousin, his uncle and his aunt had three of the 4 apartments in the house, and the one he was living in was vacated by his aunt and uncle when they moved to Greystones,(my sister and brother in law!)

I have been asked “how can you cope with the things that have been said about Shane?” and I didn’t really know how to answer that one. It took me a while to figure that one out and figure out why it didn’t upset me the way it did Shane’s friends and family, I thought about it for a while and wondered if I was going mad (well madder than I already was), before I figured it out, you can’t hurt a person with a broken heart because the worst thing that can happen has already happened!

I will always be aware that there are other people involved in this and can never reconcile the fact that Shane caused another families heartache, but I will never believe that Shane was capable of violence to himself or another, without the intervention of the antidepressant cipramil.

Leonie,

From Sallynoggin.