Patients, academics and psychiatrists formally complain that the president of Royal College of Psychiatrists has misled the public over antidepressant safety

A formal complaint of misleading the public on a matter of public safety has today been lodged with the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) against its President, Professor Wendy Burn, and the Chair of its Psychopharmacology Committee, Professor David Baldwin.

Burn and Baldwin stated, in a letter to The Times on 24 February, that: ‘[for] the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment’.

A formal complaint disputing this claim has been signed by 30 people, including 10 psychiatrists and 10 people who have experienced withdrawal effects from antidepressants for between eleven months and ten years.

It states: ‘To mislead the public on this issue has grave consequences. People may be misled by the false statement into thinking that it is easy to withdraw and may therefore try to do so too quickly or without support from the prescriber, other professionals or loved ones… Such irresponsible statements bring the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the profession of psychiatry (to which some of us belong), and – vicariously – all mental health professionals, into disrepute.’

The complaint cites several research papers documenting that withdrawal effects often last far longer than two weeks.  These include a survey of more than 800 antidepressant users conducted by the RCP itself, which found that withdrawal symptoms were experienced by the majority (63%), generally lasted for up to 6 weeks and that a quarter reported anxiety lasting more than 12 weeks.  These survey results contradict Burn’s and Baldwin’s letter yet were removed from the RCP website within 48 hours of the misleading statement being made in The Times.

Professor Sami Timimi, professor of psychiatry and member of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry commented: ‘It is shameful that the official body that represents my profession throws about dangerous and misleading statements like this that lack a credible evidence base. We should be warning people about the terrible experiences of withdrawal that patients may experience, not giving false reassurance.’

Professor John Read of the University of East London said: ‘It is unethical to minimise how very difficult many people find it to come off these drugs. Furthermore the RCP cannot rely on pharmaceutical industry-funded research when addressing the public on matters of drug safety, as we know it is susceptible to bias. In addition, the chair of the Psychopharmacology Committee should not be in receipt of pharmaceutical industry funds if they are to restore public trust.’

Another signatory to the complaint, James Moore, from Monmouthshire, added: ‘I have experienced antidepressant withdrawal effects for the better part of a year now.  I had no prior warning of the difficulties I would endure and it has been shocking to find how little support there is for people who have taken their drugs as prescribed but ended up in difficulty.  Sadly, I know from the many messages I receive that I am not alone in this struggle.’

An interview with Professor Read discussing the formal complaint can be heard here: http://cepuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Professor-John-Read.mp3

 

40 Responses to Patients, academics and psychiatrists formally complain that the president of Royal College of Psychiatrists has misled the public over antidepressant safety

  1. Gillman 09/03/2018 at 9:53 am #

    As a retired Psycho-pharmacologist and psychiatrist I am pleased to see that at least some members of the ‘profession’ are speaking up about the various, and extensive, problems with this Lancet Cipriani et al 21 antidepressants meta-analysis.

    I have posted an extensive criticism of the science, or lack of it, behind this work myself.
    https://psychotropical.info/lancet-21-antidepressants-meta-analysis/

    • Steve M 10/03/2018 at 4:51 am #

      Thank you for taking on this issue, Gillman!

  2. MammaP 09/03/2018 at 10:10 am #

    If anyone is in any doubt that trying to stop antidepressants causes devastating withdrawal that can last for YEARS, go to survivingantidepressants.com and read the experiences there. The introduction forum has thousands of people’s experiences struggling to come off them or are in withdrawal. It is heartbreaking to see the state many of them are in. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many many forums with members ALL SAYING THE SAME THINGS, there are many facebook groups, yahoo groups, drugs.com, to name but a few places where people go for advice and in distress because they can’t get help from doctors who are clueless because they are educated by the pharmaceutical companies.

  3. Joy 09/03/2018 at 10:15 am #

    Well done cepuk! . Much power to your elbow for continuing to push against the paradigm.
    I am a psychologist working with clients and I use a truly bio-psycho-social model
    of intervention, The Human Givens Approach. http://www.hgi.org.uk
    Evidence is paramount!

  4. Sarah 09/03/2018 at 10:29 am #

    I completely agree with this action. I have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms of Paroxetine for 8 months so far, which have completely disrupted my life and almost left me housebound. There is NO medical support available for this as GPs and staff do not have any knowledge of the issues withdrawal can cause, which can leave patients in a vicious cycle of drugs to control the withdrawal symptoms.

    Yes, anti-depressants can make a difference to people’s lives – my life improved somewhat while taking the drug. BUT I should never have been left to take it for 14 years. I should never have been given incorrect advice by 3 different healthcare professionals about how to stop taking it during that time, to the point I had to work out a tapering process that I thought would work for me, ON MY OWN.

    GPs have NO knowledge of the withdrawal process and how it differs for individuals. And there is NO help for patients, except in online forums and groups run by patients themselves offering and sharing their advice.

    I am DISGUSTED by the way this was portrayed in the press by an authoritative body that I would have turned to for help with withdrawal but who clearly now demonstrates they have no understanding of the issues caused. Where does that leave patients suffering anxiety 100% worse than before they took the drug? Patients whose partners have left them because of the continual health problems since they STOPPED taking the drugs. Patients who can no longer work because of the health problems they have suffered since they STOPPED taking the drugs. And there are thousands in this situation that we know about in online groups – how many more people are taking different drugs and having medical tests since they STOPPED taking an anti-depressants, because they are experiencing withdrawal and no-one in the medical profession knows how to deal with it or doesn’t recognise what the problem is? How many people have committed suicide since they got such severe withdrawal when they STOPPED taking an anti-depressant that they bodies, and then their minds could take no more?

    I hope the Bodies in charge take heed, because the NHS and the benefits system will be, and are, the ones that have to pick up the costs of this failure to research and then to educate the healthcare profession.

    • Joy 09/03/2018 at 10:44 am #

      Well said sarah! Your voice and thousands of others ARE evidence

  5. ConcernedCarer 09/03/2018 at 11:11 am #

    There are certain euphemisms I am now used to from psychiatrists. “For the vast majority of patients” is in the the same category as “all the evidence suggests”, and actually means “we haven’t got a clue but trust us”.

    • Hannah Walker 12/03/2018 at 5:29 pm #

      How true, ConcernedCarer. Is it me, or do those standardised and actually extremely patronising responses from psychiatrists bear a strange similarity to “the cheque is in the post”?

  6. Mary David 09/03/2018 at 12:02 pm #

    Finally! The absolute truth is coming out! People have suffered more than the original diagnoses, just trying to stop the medication. Withdrawal is hell!
    Thank you for shinning the light on this.

  7. Vicki 09/03/2018 at 1:27 pm #

    Is this advertising at its finest? does this ultimately come down to how the conclusions were written in each paper “results show they don’t work” vs “results show they work”
    The Lancet “antidepressants work!” study actually found a smaller effect size than the “antidepressants don’t work!” Kirsch et al. paper from 10 years ago
    two estimates were very similar, Kirsch smd=0.32 and Cipriani 0.30. Kirsch was slightly higher
    blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2…

  8. J. Hill 09/03/2018 at 5:20 pm #

    I wonder how much time will elapse before those in charge dismiss those so grievously harmed as “addicted” or “just addicts. Is there no end to outrageous reassignment of responsibility?

    One prescriber told me, as I shook violently, that the most that could happen would be three days of “rebound”. Rebound? These results have nothing to do with the symptoms for which the drug was prescribed.
    j.hill

  9. Yans N 09/03/2018 at 6:20 pm #

    True ! Doctors don’t recognized or are not aware of withdrawal severity.

    I was a sportive and healthy person before I was given effexor : teaching chemistry full time, violonist in an amateur ochestra, went to fitness 4 times a week. That’s a breakdown after a very problematic divorce and homelessness that drove me to be hospitalized. I was forced to take paroxetine and amilsupride without being told what it was (they refused to tell me). 9 months after the psychiatrists decided to stop the antidepressants and the amilsupride. Amilsupride : stopped directly. Antidepressant : half of the dose during a week then 0 mg the week after. I’ve been left with severe anxiety and panic attacks I didn’t had prior the drug AND muscle twiching and pain that drove to 1 year disability. So they gave me Effexor instead.

    When on effexor, I developped insomnia and light anxiety. I had a 1 month burnout after 3 years on the drug. Another psychiatrist concluded that I was depressed and I needed more effexor. So dosis was double.

    After 3 years on 150 mg, I felt very good and productive, my insomnia went worse and I did systematic burnout (at least 3 months every year). I then began to have problem at works : the head of my college did not trust me anymore because of my recurrent disabilities. I found another psychiatrist who decided to add mirtazapine to help me sleep. It helped during 15 days but after than I gained a lot of weight and developped muscle rigidity and joint pain : I was obliged to stop playing violin (my hand and arm were so rigid that it was a pain playing 5 minutes) and fitness. The drug have never been questionned but the psychiatrist told me to stop it because of the disconfort. As it was a low dose I was told to simply stop it. I developped morbid thoughts and felt very depressed to a point I had to stop working. This lead me to the psych ward.

    Once there, the psychiatrist decided to change my medication. So effexor was replaced by bupropion every morning + 30 mg mirtazapine at night. I developped intense migraine, nausea, tachycardia, balance issues (could no more walk without leaning on a wall… I told them it was effexor withdrawal. They did not listen. I began to loose my temper after 10 days of suffering, broke my meal tray and cried for several hours… They then accepted to stop bupropion and give me back my effexor : all symptoms disappears within 4 hours ! This was withdrawal. They tried to convince me I was bipolar. I told them that it was just bullshit and refuse to take an antipsychotic. I was released after 1 month…and back to work.

    … stable but with eyefloatters than never went away since that episode, a weight gain of 6 kg, and pre-diabetes (glycemia on empty stomach 1.4 g/L). My GP sent me to another psychiatrist to stop mirtazapine because of the diabetes issue. We did over a month without problem. Then I wanted to stop effexor because of insomnia and asked a tapering plan. I was given a 9 months tapering plan (150 mg effexor -> 0 mg). It went quite well the first months. My sleep became better but I developped hypersensitivity to sounds, light and mild anxiety. However this was manageable. I went from 5 mg to 0mg 1st of July 2015.

    First problem during July : grippal symptoms (I was told it would go away and it did over 2 weeks) and anger burst (they also went away within a month, sport helped a lot)…I thought I was on a good way, felt happy, could feel positive emotions again… but I didn’t know the worst was to come…

    October 2015 : I began to feel strange “tonus drop” in my face… that was occasional and had to stop sport because of strange “malaise” followed by scintillating scotoma. I was told this could be a sign of hypoglycemia.

    December 2015 : I caught a bad throat infection and had to take amoxycilin. I developped gastroeosophagian reflux and a strange fatigue…

    January 2016 : a bunch of strange symptoms began to appear : muscle twitching, heavy fatigue, heart arrythmia, gasping for breath…

    February 2016 : all the above but exacerbate form + heavy fatigue after each meal, nausea, diarrhea then constipation, shivering, stomach full of air, slown breathing, tingling in arms and aroung my mouth…I was put on disability by my GP. I began to google my symptoms because I needed to understand what was happening. That’s when I learned about acute withdrawal, protracted withdrawal, post acute withdrawal, delayed withdrawal from antidepressant… and that I realized that pychiatrists are usually not knowledgeable about all this mess ! I was really frightened by some patient testimonies !

    March 2016 : was diagnozed with gastroparesis (lost 10 kg within a month), panic attacks that could last for 1 hour or more, low blood then high blood pressure…went several times to the ER, I thought I was dying. They put me again in the psychiatric ward. I was terrified about what they would do to me but my anxiety was so unbearable that I tried to hang myself….

    April 2016 : was given lysanxia -> paradoxical reaction ! Then temesta -> paradoxical reaction ! Then xanax -> paradoxical reaction ! They increased the dose -> paradoxical reaction first followed by sleeping. They add paroxetine 20 mg then increased to 30 mg 2 weeks later. I developped strange symptoms that were due, I think, to the drug : jolting arms and legs (I was told it’s restless leg syndrom), severe insomnia (I was told it’s because of anxiety), feeling sleepy during the day, burning sensation on the skin (I was told it was anxiety). During my hospital stay I tried to tell doctors about all I had read (severe withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants), I even show them peer reviews and publications from medline/Pubmed. They did not give a shit and concluded I suffered from hypocondria. I find amazing I had myself to require a cardiologists opinion about the interaction between paroxetine (a strong CYP2D6 inhibitor) and my anti-arrythmic (a CYP2D6 substrate). They were two risks : prolonged QT and anti-arrythmic overdose. They did not know that and did not wanted to check. I refuse to take paroxetine unless having a electrocardiogram done. I finally got it and was followed during 1 week by the cardiologist.

    I was trained to yoga and relaxation by a psychologist. I did my best to control anxiety but it’s only after 2 months that I began to work. I was realease from the psy ward in june 2016. All the previous symptoms had disappeared.

    July 2016 : began to developp hypotension (i was told to eat more salt and drink a lot). I had also developped bradycardia and ankle swelling. Strange sensation after meal came back : like tingling around the mouth and fatigue but it was manageable and I though it was maybe remaining anxiety.

    September 2016 : back to work, half time, and happy to be there.

    October 2016 : I began to have difficulty to focus my attention, fatigue every morning followed by better in the afternoon.

    November 2016 : I began to loose a lot of hair and have intense fatigue in the morning. I became quite apatic and asthenic. The fatigue was worse after meal. I went to an internist that found nothing. He said : maybe it’s your drug. I developped irregular and shorter period at this time.

    December 2016 : cognitive deterioration and short term memory issues. Long term memory is unaffected. I felt blunted with no more interest in my daily activities. I complain about it to the psychiatrist who said : otherwise it’s depression, otherwise it’s paroxetine side effects. Let’s try to taper.

    January 2017 : I began to taper very slowly, with the 10% rule I learned online. He wanted me to go faster but I did not listen to him and tapered 10% per month. I began to feel better around march 2017 but not for a long time…bradycardia, hypotension were still there and I still lost hairs but at lower rate.

    July 2017 : after eating a lot of bread during a city trip, I became extremelly fatigue to the point I had to stay 5 days in my bed. I thought maybe I became intolerant to gluten and I decided to ban it. My fatigue dramatically improved within an month ! I was so happy.

    September 2017 : paroxetine taper went on and I drop under 20 mg. From there, I had a lot of issues emerging within a few months : cog fog every morning, lost my planification capacity. I devlopped postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrom and became intolerant to exercice (I did gentle biking at home) it went away in december 2017 and I could exercice again. However my period stopped…

    January 2017 : I dropped from 19 mg paroxetine to 18 mg. I did not stabilized since : headaches, POTS is back but worse. Severe cog fog than don’t go away before 8:00 PM… I struggle to keep my job. Saw the psychiatrist and told him my issues : he said it’s anxiety. I’m scared tapering and the symptoms are psychosomatics….He wanted me to stop paroxetine and start prozac. I’m terrified and did change nothing. I can no more trust psychiatrists…. Psychosomatic ? Is he kidding me ?? On my bed : heart rythm = 50 bpm. Standing : hearth rythm = 145 bpm… it goes down to 80 after 2 or 3 hours… Is it psychosomatic ? What a joke ! I also have glycemia issues. Can be 0.80 g/L 2 hours after a meal. Mornings it’s no more than 0.62 when I had 0.9 in the past… This sounds not to me like psychosomatic issue neither ! That’s pure dysautonomia ! The “dropping face” symptom came back… however not anxiety. This make me think it’s not anxiety related…. Could it be facial nerve issue (like Bell pasly but not so worse) ?…

    I met another psychiatrist and tried to explain the whole problem from the begining, but again, he tried to convince me that’s all in my head…that such withdrawal symptoms don’t exist, that antidepressant don’t lead to physical dependency… another fail…

    So I’m left damaged, with NO HELP and ZERO ANSWER as well as ZERO SOLUTION. I’m about to throw in the towel. I feel ALONE and DESPAIRED. Who can I trust now ?

    There’s really something wrong in psychiatry. These needs to change. How many patients are left broken by the system ? How much worthless suffering ? What about social consequences of withdrawal ? What about familial consequence ? What about psychological consequence ? What about professional consequence ? Is this really all what the modern medecine has to offer ? This is no medecine, I’m sorry, and this is not acceptable at all !

    Thanks to CEP to bring all this mess to awareness ! Thanks to the psychiatrists and other health professionals who really cares for their patients health and support CEP.

  10. TerryRamplingUK 09/03/2018 at 9:19 pm #

    Just watch this it explains everything: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gRVxNNkThcI

  11. Fiona French 09/03/2018 at 11:42 pm #

    Thank you for pursuing this matter with determination. It is completely unacceptable that leading psychiatrists should attempt to mislead the pubic in this way. I hope that something positive will result from this action. Patients have been wholly misled not only by the Times letter but also by the media hype surrounding the Lancet meta-analysis. It is no wonder patients are confused and prescribing doctors seem ignorant. The horrendous experiences of withdrawal are evidence every day in the online support groups and most patients cannot find any appropriate help or support from the NHS.

  12. DrugFreeProf 10/03/2018 at 2:24 am #

    If I had not seen with my own eyes the horror show that happened to my formerly healthy, happy, and totally sane daughter starting four or so months after she tapered off (relatively slowly) the Lexapro she’d been taking nine years, I might not believe it myself. But the failure of psychiatrists and other prescribers to acknowledge the stark reality of antidepressant withdrawal is outright criminal. What gives prescribers the right to devastate if not outright kill people through their negligent over-prescribing and failure to monitor their patients upon withdrawal?
    We will one day view current SSRI prescribing practices the way we now view trephining and blood-letting–except what is happening now is far worse: the evidence that these drugs are not “safe, effective, non-addictive” is right under these professional’s noses. Why aren’t they looking

  13. keith Geraghty 10/03/2018 at 3:47 pm #

    Is it just me or have the researchers forgotten the basics of epidemiology – which state that an Odds Ratio of 3 or higher would be deemed a strong indicator of possible benefit. In the Oxford study review, ORs range from 1.3 lowest, to 2.1. highest. Mid-range is about 1.6. This is low and if these drugs are being compared against do-nothing ie not compared against other treatments, psychotherapy, counselling and so on, I think these results are poor/weak.

    This doesn’t even address adverse outcomes possible. Take for example the highest rated drug, amitriptyline – this is a modified antipsychotic, just by chance found to have some antidepressive and pain relief benefits. It’s a partial serotonin receptor agonist who’s true impact on brain neurotransmission is not fully known – is this the same for the other classes of drugs – I don’t know, I suspect possible.

    I’m no expert is this area and have no clinical insight, just talking from a purely research point of view only. Please do not stop talking antidepressants based on my view or anyone else’s views expressed here – always consult your doctor and get expert advice and help.

    I think a lot more work needs to be done on possible adverse outcomes versus benefits in this area of medicine.

  14. Altostrata 11/03/2018 at 8:25 pm #

    Hello —

    You may all know me, I run SurvivingAntidepressants.org, a Web site distributing information about and offering peer support for gradual tapering and withdrawal syndrome.

    Since 2011, my site has accumulated 10,000 registrations. (The tapering information is viewed hundreds of thousands of times a week.) We have close to 5,000 case histories from individuals who have had difficulty going off various psychiatric drugs or who have developed long-term withdrawal syndrome after going off.

    The myth that antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are mild and transient, lasting only a couple of weeks, was promulgated in a pair of supplements to the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1997 and 2006 arising from “expert” symposia sponsored by Lilly and Wyeth, respectively, and led by the notorious Alan Schatzberg.

    The conclusions of the “consensus panel” were based only on the opinions of the participants. There was no data or real evidence involved.

    To his credit, one of the experts from Schatzberg’s “consensus panel,” the UK’s Dr. Peter Haddad, has made an effort to remedy this misinformation for the rest of his career, authoring many papers about withdrawal syndrome and warning about misdiagnosis of same.

    As he stated in Drug Safety 2001; 24 (3): 183-197: “Discontinuation symptoms have received little systematic study with the result that most of the recommendations made here are based on anecdotal data or expert opinion.”

    Perhaps Dr. Haddad would elaborate further on the deliberation process leading to the conclusions of the two “expert panels” on antidepressant discontinuation. That would be a worthwhile interview.

    I have also had personal correspondence in 2006 with another member of the expert panel, Dr. Richard Shelton, who admitted to me that some individuals can suffer severe and prolonged withdrawal syndrome. (Like Dr. Schatzberg, Dr. Shelton went on to a lucrative career as a pharmaceutical company consultant.)

    Obviously, the “experts” who have formed medicine’s assumptions about psychiatric drug withdrawal are well aware they have not disclosed all the risks. Consequently, physicians everywhere have a false sense of safety about these drugs and are blind to the adverse effects.

    However, given the extremely high rate of psychiatric their expedient gloss over the potential of injury has caused damage to millions of people,

    The dishonesty of well-paid “experts” cannot stand as an excuse for Professors Wendy Burn and David Baldwinor any other psychiatrist to continue to bury the risks of going off psychiatric drugs. They must admit their ignorance and start reviewing case histories today. Common knowledge must be rewritten — symptoms from going off psychiatric drugs are not invariably mild and transient. Physicians everywhere must be educated about risks and gradual tapering techniques to avoid injury.

    • Gillman 11/03/2018 at 9:47 pm #

      Welldone ‘me’, whoever you are. A lot of work, and a fine well-written response. Sadly, there are few experts whose ‘moral compass’ has not deviated towards the the heap of gold. Have you contacted Peter Haddad? I contributed a chapter to his book on side effects of drugs. In my writing about pharmacology in my retirement I have found it is absolutely necessary to repeatedly mention that much of the evidence is dishonest, biased etc. in order to come to a reasonable scientific review.

      I have largely stopped publishing in scientific journals because I think it is a waste of time: what little good material there is becomes lost in a snowstorm of drug company orchestrated spin-doctoring.

      Change will only come through people like you organising patients and using all the tools at your disposal, possibly including legal action. I wonder what would happen if people like this were arraigned in court on some charge? I have certainly suggested this before, for instance some of the appallingly biased information in textbooks, even these are ghostwritten for the industry nowadays, can some kind of charge be brought against authors of guidelines and authors of books?

      We indeed somebody of the stature of Geoffrey Robertson to take up the cause from a legal point of view. That would be fun!

      • Altostrata 11/03/2018 at 10:13 pm #

        I have contacted Peter Haddad. He said to gather case histories, which I’ve done.

        SurvivingAntidepressants.org is well-known among patients concerned about withdrawal.

  15. Hannah Walker 12/03/2018 at 10:35 am #

    It is about time that psychiatry was forced to examine itself – many thousands of patients damaged by psychiatric drugs have been demanding that for years. Uniquely, the odds have been stacked against psychiatric patients, unlike sufferers of ANY other illness or condition. When cancer patients complain about intolerable “invisible” side effects of their drugs, or withdrawal from them, oncologists have no hesitation in believing them. If at all possible, something is then done to try and mitigate the patients’ distress. The same is true for any other patient group – their consultants and specialists make every effort to alleviate the suffering caused by medication for their particular condition.

    Why, then, does this NOT happen for psychiatric patients? Complaints have been made by psychiatric patients for years and years about the intolerable and extremely distressing effects of withdrawal from psychiatric drugs. These complaints have been summarily dismissed by psychiatrists, presumably because……………………because what??

    WHY have very serious and frequently life threatening symptoms been simply ignored by the very professionals who are supposedly trying to make lives BETTER for their patients? What is it about psychiatric patients that makes THEIR reports of dreadful withdrawal effects SO DIFFERENT from similar reports by every other patient group??………………. Are all those psychiatric patients who have, for all those years, been reporting terrible withdrawal effects……………LYING? And if so, WHY would they lie? How is it, if they are lying, that every one of the reports over all those years is so similar?

    We are left with only two possible answers, each in its own way as dreadful as the other:

    EITHER many thousands of real people coming off psychiatric drugs, who had real lives, suddenly decided, independently and with no consultation, to fabricate a long list of terrible physical and psychological symptoms – all strikingly similar to each other. Psychiatrists would then, having consulted widely with other medical specialities, be able to legitimately conclude that all such reports from all such patients were another – previously unknown – aspect of each and every type of mental illness.

    OR – and this is actually quite difficult for me to write – many thousands of real people coming off psychiatric drugs, who had real lives, have suffered horribly and terribly. Thousands of lives have been ruined. Many hundreds have taken their own lives because the withdrawal effects have been too appalling for them to live with. And what makes this all truly impossible to bear is that WE HAVE NOT BEEN BELIEVED. For whatever reason, psychiatrists have told us that the living hell we are enduring daily DOES NOT EXIST.

    I don’t quite know why, but writing that has reduced me to tears. Perhaps it’s becuse it’s happened to me and is still happening. Or maybe it’s the injustice of it all. Or it could be the thought of all those lives discarded by a profession which should have helped people, but instead chose to condemn us as not worthy of a normal life.

    • Fiona Ftench 12/03/2018 at 10:55 am #

      We share your immense anger. I follow closely the campaign by the ME community and the appalling treatment at the hands of psychiatrists here in the UK. All because it was thought to be psychological. Psychiatrists wedded to beliefs in the face of all scientific evidence to the contrary. These people are truly dangerous. They work with theories. They most often do not have scientific fact to support their theories. They turn a blind eye to immense suffering, it is totally unacceptable.

  16. Onwardmarcher 13/03/2018 at 5:23 pm #

    Here is a question. The brain is the most complicated chemical, electrical structure we are aware of, it is the ultimate multitasker, it may even be proof of a god. Every time we discover something new the complexity of what we don’t know multiplys. So why is it thought we can add a few chemicals, block some receptors and hey Presto we have the answers with our magic bullets and it won’t affect this wonderful piece of kit over the long term of their tinkering. Harry Potter and the book of arrogance. Pharma can be summed up by Aesop. The Frog and the Scorpion. The medical profession will never allow trust to be threatened. Government is always about the shout term and the cheapest soloution, the revenue stream must be phenomenal. We are chemical vassels (sic). To all of you who have had the balls to get into this fight at the risk of your careers, I think your starting to make a noise, Thank you. For us human beings at the sharp end with nothing to lose, it’s time to organise and get our hands dirty. Other opinions are available😁

  17. Pauline Thomas 16/03/2018 at 12:49 am #

    Hannah, not being believed and being ridiculed because psychiatrists will not accept that the way they are prescribing their poisonous drugs are wrong or dangerous is the hardest to bear.

    The arrogance of the doctor prescribing drugs to my son who has a learning disability is shocking. Does not believe in withdrawal symptoms. Does not believe that my son is experiencing withdrawal from his epilepsy medicine, or from Amisulpride, or from Pregabalin. My son cannot reliably tell him how However my views are scorned upon. he is suffering and it is only by my observations of him that any diagnoses can be made. He only sees him for 15 mins every couple of months and I live with him 24/7.

    He has tried lots of different drugs since 2014. He has had Prozac, Lorazepam, Haloperidol, Citalopram, Clobozam, Amisulpride, and Pregabalin. Tegretol and Lamotrigine and now Eslicarbazepine for his epilepsy. I feel like my son his treated like a guinea pig.

    My sweet loving and gentle son has turned into a man with no interest in doing anything. Sleeps most of his life away. He is aggressive towards people and is now like a pariah to his peers. He has no quality of life whatsoever and neither do we, his elderly parents. Shame on the doctors that do this to families.

    • Mo Hannah 16/03/2018 at 1:36 pm #

      Indeed, Pauline, when my daughter was experiencing agitation and akathisia from withdrawal from nine years’ worth of Lexapro–prescribed by her pediatrician–the mental health establishment dragged her into their hospital, forced her to remain for five days, and drugged her with intravenous meds plus Risperdal– And for WHAT? It did her absolutely no good, and it gave her yet another to withdraw from. Treating withdrawal
      from unsafe drugs with yet more unsafe drugs: that’s standard practice in psychiatry!

  18. milibromagico 16/03/2018 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks for the kind words Geoff!

  19. Fnulan 18/03/2018 at 11:24 am #

    Thanks, Jessica 3

  20. Melissa Costin 18/03/2018 at 11:39 pm #

    I’m a forced adoptee (childhood trauma), with medical degree, who was both a pusher and consumer (believer), but my time in ED say more psyche drug effected people than any other drug I was taught to fear, and then the alcohol related violence. Having been on the roller coaster ride of uppers and downers especially after a drug co release of Zoloft made it seem so safe, effective indeed essential..I lost my practice and mind with panic attacks etc. Effexor sent me suicidal and I ended up on DSP 2001, the only way I cope is with cannabis and face huge pressure from shrinks to go from herb to chemical until I tell them I ve sufferred all the adverse effects direct and indirect..being bullied /DV as mental then denied support as the aggressor played the victim turning all my support from me hoping I’d suicide was not a fun journey, but surving it strengthened my resolve to out the poisonous parasites who label and drug vulnerable people as their life decays while chemically they are absent..may the suffer the social stigma for their greedy ways as those they labelled mental as a way of making them a social outcast and disbelived when any complaints from victms are made..

  21. Rachel 02/04/2018 at 4:15 pm #

    Trazodone is an anti depressant which belongs neither to the SSRI or Teicyclic category. Trazodone has been around for over 60 years and is considered safe. Hearing that the Hief Medical Officers for both the UK and Scotland knew about the fact that antidepressants shorten life but were not telling patients this, myself and a friend decided to quit Trazodone at the same time. Decision made, by chance we did not communicate for several weeks. A few days after reducing my dose by half I lost the use of my legs for four days. I could stand briefly and walk two or three steps, then my quads would give way completely. This was terrifying. Medical staff offered me no help at all, they thought I was pretending. When I recounted this appalling and permanently traumatising experience to my friend a few weeks later she said she too had found herself unable to walk for a few days. Like me she could stand briefly and maybe pull herself around by clutching at furniture, but her quads, like mine, just gave way after a few steps.. I have to believe we were both suffering non advertised effects of Trazodone Withdrawal Syndrome. Trazodone, allegedly has no,withdrawal,syndrome but if you look on some of the websites above, there is no shortage of complaints of adverse experiences in stopping it, We are lucky it was nothing more serious, like some of the poor people here who have been harmed for life because doctors believe big pharma over their patients actual experiences.

  22. ChessieCat 07/04/2018 at 2:17 am #

    I would will tell you of my own experience of withdrawal.

    At the end of October 2015 I attempted to reduce my Pristiq from 100mg to 50mg due to mild serotonin toxicity.

    I experienced 3 weeks of extreme cog fog. Even the act of walking took my entire concentration. AT THE END OF 3 WEEKS I COULDN’T TYPE. I have been a professional typist for 40+ years so I knew that something was wrong. Thankfully I had joined Surviving Antidepressants a few days before I couldn’t type and they had suggested that I increase my dose. When I couldn’t type I took extra Pristiq and about 4 HOURS later I was able to type again and my brain fog was lifting.

    Since then I have been tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose with a hold of about 4 weeks. I have done 2 longer holds, 3 months at 50mg and 7 weeks at 20mg. I am now down to 10mg. Even though I am tapering carefully I am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Thankfully they are usually mild and/or don’t last for very long. Because I know what they are and understand why I have them I am able to stay calm and not panic.

    When I saw my doctor recently I made the comment that I realise that there a people who don’t have any difficulty getting off psychiatric drugs. He shook his head and replied “not many”.

    In May 2017 I purchased a new car and thought I was excited (25mg). It wasn’t until I got genuinely excited in November 2017 (19mg) that I realised that in May it had been a dulled excitement. I will not be off Pristiq until about the last half of 2020. Even though I am disappointed that I still need to be on it, I know that it is best to taper slowly and get off with minimal discomfort.

    • Liz Douglas 15/10/2018 at 11:56 am #

      I want to share this with you finally something may change

      BIG FOOD, BIG PHARMA KILLING FOR PROFIT? YES, SAY TOP UK DOCTORS!
      POSTED IN FOOD FOR THOUGHT
      By Marika Sboros
      Are Big Food and Big Pharma really killing people for profit globally? Yes, say some of the biggest names in European medicine. They’re joining forces on a panel discussion at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 12

      The doctors say they will “blow the cover” on the dark world of Big Food and Big Pharma lobbying to influence dietary and medical guidelines.
      http://foodmed.net/2018/04/big-food-big-pharma-killing-profit-yes-european-doctors/

      • Liz Douglas 15/10/2018 at 4:18 pm #

        It’s not just medications that are harmful I stopped using supplements after discovering I was hypersensitive to prescribed meds and chemicals till I found out supplements are not naturally sourced or organic even when they say they are and have dangerous inclusions

        This article says some have antidepressants in them – If it’s happening in the US then it’s happening here. They can’t even leave our bread alone they’ve approved putting folic acid in bread with no way of knowing what dose people are getting from other sources or giving information on overdose symptoms This was the first link I found when searching for info on overdose Symptoms of Folic Acid Overdose
        As discussed earlier, folic acid overdose is rare, but in cases where it develops due to excessive intake of the supplement, the following symptoms may be experienced:

        1. Hypersensitivity Reactions
        Allergic reactions are common symptoms of folic acid overdose. Patients may experience swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth, itching, and development of hives on the skin.

        2. Gastrointestinal disturbances
        People suffering from folic acid overdose may also experience nausea, flatulence, distention of the abdomen, loss of appetite, and metallic taste in the mouth as signs of high levels of folic acid in the GIT.

        3. Insomnia
        Insomnia may also be experienced in folic acid overdose. People usually have difficulty sleeping with feelings of hyperactivity, excitability, irritability and inability to concentrate as emotional symptoms of folic acid overdose.

        4. Cognitive disturbances
        People may also experience psychotic behaviors and depression; however, it tends to be rare and occur in individuals with history of the conditions.

        5. Masking of vitamin B12 deficiency
        Taking too much folic acid usually corrects the anemia that is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency without correcting the deficiency of vitamin B12. Because of this, health care providers may not be able to detect the presence of vitamin B12 deficiency because of being asymptomatic.

        6. Decreases the action of anticonvulsant drugs in those taking it
        There may also be indirect effects of folic acid overdose. Those taking anticonvulsant medications may suffer from seizures, despite the medication because folic acid reduces the action of the anticonvulsant drugs.

        7. Zinc deficiency
        Folic acid overdose may also lead to problems in the absorption of zinc in the gut.

        https://overdoseinfo.com/folic-acid-overdose/

        “Researchers from the California Department of Public Health found that, from 2007 to 2016, 776 products marketed as dietary supplements contained hidden ingredients that are unsafe or unstudied.

        Among them were dapoxetine, an antidepressant that is not approved in the US, and sibutramine, an appetite suppressant that was banned from the US market in 2010 because of cardiovascular risks.

        The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not enforce recalls of supplements that knowingly contained potentially dangerous ingredients. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/dietary-supplement-dangerous-ingredients-fda-weight-loss-bodybuilding-a8584146.html

  23. Erin 04/05/2018 at 2:47 pm #

    Hi,

    I’m an living a waking nightmare trying
    To get off venlafaxine and feel I’ve been shamed by both my gp and psychiatrist.
    Originally presricbed tbis medication by my neurologist for migraine and mood. It’s stolen 18 months of my life already and I’m suffering acute symptoms having
    Swapped
    From liquid
    To taper as this is only available in quick as opposed to extended release. I am so so ill right
    Now and it is purely the venlafaxine that’s doing it and I have no clear way forward. I’m terrified.

  24. Liz Douglas 08/05/2018 at 4:55 pm #

    I was prescribed Amitriptyline for nearly 30 years to help with the pain of M.E – A few years ago I was in theatre and my cardiologist sent everyone out of the theatre where he was looking at how many stents I would need to save my embarrassment he said. He asked ‘Are you a heroin addict’ I was absolutely gobsmacked I actually laughed I couldn’t believe what he was asking. I asked why he said you heart looks very similar to a heroin addicts. When I did the research I discovered that it shouldn’t have been prescribed for more than 9 months – I approached my GP after I’d had 3 stents fitted and asked him why he didn’t warn me he said ‘It didn’t occur to me till you mentioned it’ – I’m certain he didn’t report it. When I looked at the paperwork it states clearly that it causes heart damage

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