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My Sister, My Son and An Irish Coincidence.

Shane and his aunt... Pub quiz May 2009Ireland is a fairly small incestuous country, notoriously resistant to change and outside influence. Our leading ‘experts’ are given free rein to spout whatever gospel they wish, largely uncontested, much like the erroneous messages the catholic church spouted not so long ago. Look how that ended for our ‘land of saints and scholars’ (sorry mam!).

This week, despite saying in my last post that I was done arguing, I ended up doing just that. I spoke on Newstalk radio along with Prof Healy and a highly indignant Dr Moosajee Bhamjee (the same Dr Bhamjee who wanted to put Lithium in our water). Okay, maybe I’m biased here; you can make up your own mind by accessing the recording via the newstalk picture below:

The Right Hook

Getting back to the incestuous reference, it seems that being a small country, most of us will have come into contact with someone who happens to have worked with, be related to, was married to, divorced by, or was a neighbour to someone else that we both knew. Now how’s this for a coincidence….

The latter radio discussion came about after I sent an e-mail to the show expressing my concerns over the resident expert Dr Ciara Kelly and her portrayal that SSRI antidepressants were, and I quote “the drugs themselves are not dangerous, they’re not addictive, they’re not even dangerous at high levels of overdose.” She also said, regarding Niamh Drohan’s investigation into over-prescribing (see last 2 posts here and here), that the 7 doctors did the right thing in prescribing antidepressants for a first time patient with mild depression.

Dr Ciara Kelly

Referring to the toxicity of SSRIs, George asked Dr Kelly: “What would happen if I took 55 of them (antidepressants) with my cup of tea?” Doctor Kelly answeredOne of the reasons that the SSRI tablets are as popular as they are, is that compared to older type of antidepressants, is that they are safer in overdose. So there are not the same levels as Cardio Toxicity …”. OH GOD, seriously, was I supposed to ignore that?

Anyway back to the coincidence; in 2011 my sister, whom I wrote about before here, was very unhappy about going back to work. She had just had a new baby and was besotted by her, but as needs must, needed to return to her job in the bank. The thoughts of leaving her daughter filled her with dread and she was feeling terribly unhappy. She was also dealing with the recent horrific death of her much-loved nephew Shane. She dispatched herself off to the local doctor who promptly, after about 10 minutes, told her she needed to go on antidepressants. My sister refused, explaining what had happened to Shane, her nephew, and the terrible consequences because of these drugs. Alas, to no avail; the doctor seemed to ignore her protestations and insisted that she needed antidepressants. As she was leaving my sister asked the doctor if she thought she “would get better?” The doctor’s response was.. “Not without the tablets!” My sister who politely and tearfully refused, left without a prescription, feeling much worse than she had when she went in. For my sister, who is a big softie and nothing like me, and who would never argue with anyone (husband not included), making a stand such as this would have been a huge thing for her to do.

She duly went back to work and was back to her old cheery self soon afterwards. Did I say she lives in Greystones, where Dr Kelly practices? You can see where this is going? Absolutely! I discovered last night that Dr Kelly is the very same doctor who told my sister she wouldn’t get better without taking antidepressants. You were wrong AGAIN Dr Kelly. By the way, I’m not singling out Dr Kelly; she is doing what most other GPs are probably doing. It doesn’t follow though, that the practice of going against the recommended guidelines is good practice, even if they’re all doing it. It’s sad though that Dr Kelly, instead of listening to the testimony of her patient, Shane’s aunt, instead chose to believe the ‘Irish Psychiatry’ stance that antidepressants can ‘do no harm’.

Information for the concerned doctor:

Toxicology tests are widely under-reported mostly due to the cost factor. This is where Coroners and families need to step up to the plate, otherwise uninformed doctor’s will still think these drugs are safe. Here are some victims who have died by a safe ‘SSRI only’ overdose, courtesy of Brian at ‘AntiDepAware‘.

Citalopram/Cipramil/Celexa:  Karen Gloster (2005), Barbara BerryDeborah Owens (2006), Rhian Evans (2007), Rodney Harrop (2008), Philip Bromley (2009), Belinda KellyMichael MillerNatalie CashinSusan Mealing (2010), Patrick Carroll (2011), Malcolm AverissRobert Lennon (2012)

Fluoxetine/Prozac: Donna ChaseMark Cain (2003), Christine ByrneDianne Pickersgill (2008)

Sertraline/Zoloft: Dale Pashley (2007), Brian Elder (2010), Afsheen Khan (2011)

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