CEP survey report shows that antidepressant withdrawal can devastate lives

The following is taken from the conclusion of a CEP survey report published today on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence entitled: ‘Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Survey of Patients’ Experience’:

“The responses to this survey make clear the ruinous impact of antidepressant withdrawal on some individuals, as well as the failure of those responsible for their care to understand and to treat the problem. It also reveals that other government-funded sources of support are entirely inadequate, with individuals left to fend for themselves or rely on internet-based support groups.

Survey respondents describe the suffering caused by withdrawal in the most severe terms, with some claiming that the process had devastated or ruined their lives. For many the experience lasts more than one year, with some respondents describing incapacitating symptoms for longer than five years, which can lead to the breakdown of marriages, careers and – for over 25% of respondents – indefinite disability.

Respondents to this survey say that their doctors or psychiatrists mostly did not inform them about the risks of withdrawal, which could be considered a failure of informed consent. Many believe they were told to withdraw or taper too quickly, which they reported aggravated their symptoms. Furthermore, some say that doctors and psychiatrists subsequently denied that these symptoms were caused by withdrawal, and misdiagnosed withdrawal as relapse or as a new disorder, sometimes proposing new medication. It is not surprising that for some patients this leads to a profound distrust of the medical profession.

Respondents also make clear that other sources of support, such as NHS Choices, NHS 111 and traditional drug & alcohol treatment services, are similarly uniformed and unhelpful. This leads many to rely entirely on online peer support services, such as http://survivingantidepressants.org/.

This survey provides compelling evidence that antidepressant withdrawal can have devastating, life-changing consequences for some individuals. Doctors, psychiatrists and other medical professionals must urgently be provided with appropriate training in this area, both at medical school and as part of their continuing professional development. Clinical guidelines must also be updated to reflect the actual incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal, and to enable doctors, psychiatrists and other practitioners to provide appropriate care, including slow tapering protocols. Lastly, government must ensure that individuals affected by withdrawal have access to proper support services, which we recommend should include local support groups as well as a national 24 hour helpline and accompanying website.”

The full survey report can be found at http://prescribeddrug.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/APPG-PDD-Survey-of-antidepressant-withdrawal-experiences.pdf

28 Responses to CEP survey report shows that antidepressant withdrawal can devastate lives

  1. Liz Douglas 08/10/2018 at 4:46 pm #

    It’s not just withdrawal it’s the damage side effects and contraindications cause. For 20 years I was prescribed Amitriptyline not as an antidepressant but as a muscle relaxant and while recently in hospital to be assessed for stents the Cardiologist asked everyone in the theatre to leave ‘To save my embarrassment’ When they left he asked if I was a HEROIN addict’ I had to laugh because I couldn’t believe what he was asking. I asked why he thought that and he said ‘I’ve been a consultant for decades and have seen the damage to your heart in all heroin addicts’ I had no response to that and he proceeded to complete the process. When I arrived home I did some research into the medications I was taking and discovered that one of the main effects of this egregious drug is that it damages the heart and the manufacturers themselves say it shouldn’t be taken for more than 9 months at a time for that reason. I spoke to my GP and asked why in all the years he’d prescribed this drug he hadn’t told me of the dangers. He said ‘It didn’t occur to me till you mentioned it’ More recently and triple stents later I was at the GP and saw a different doctor who was discussing antidepressants with me I told her that there were some I couldn’t take because they’d made me ill and was quite specific that Amitriptyline had damaged my heart to the extent my cardiologist thought I was a heroin addict. The first drug she offered literally minutes later was Amitriptyline I said no I was in absolute shock. She proceeded to offer me another antidepressant that was marked on a sheet in front of her as a drug I’d used to try to kill myself with in the 80’s – She’s fully aware as are many GP’s that this (One of many, many antidepressants on the market) are dangerous in their own right and whenever they’re removed for any reason they’re then marketed to treat other conditions. It’s not just antidepressants either the truth about the dangers of Statins. Big pharma is not in the business of curing people there’s no money in it. All they want is more customers

  2. kiwi 08/10/2018 at 6:50 pm #

    Well what can i say…WOW!!
    I cant thank CEP enough for this.
    This is the best piece of ‘truth’ telling i have read on this subject.

    “Respondents to this survey say that their doctors or psychiatrists mostly did not inform them about the risks of withdrawal”

    Its not mostly did not inform its ‘totally’ did not inform of its nature and extent because doctors dont even have the word ‘withdrawal ‘ in their medical dictionary or vocab.

    The medical profession should be deeply ashamed at their tragic failure and harm induced on so many (millions).

    Once again thankyou CEP for the tremendous work you are doing.

    • G 09/10/2018 at 5:42 am #

      My thoughts too. I hope like nothing else this is made known all round the world to all these under the influence ass clowns who play down what these piece of shit drugs do to those who use it and who dismiss the grueling, relentlessness of the dark hole that is WITHDRAWAL (not that other rediculous term for it which i feel implies it’s our fault), and when they know the truth(if their grandeur allows their knob heads to accept it) i hope they.ll feel like the pieces of shit they are for dismissing the feedback of millions, preferring what.s given to them in convenient little handbooks. Watch them scurry to discredit a study based on real life experiences, real accounts and not a manipulated maximum profit study.

  3. kiwi 08/10/2018 at 7:04 pm #

    This is the sort of thing that should be on the front page of Britians newspapers.

    Not some selfish self conscience thin skinned guilt induced resignation from some low life toe rag impervious to the evidence drug pusher psychiatrist with mountainous undisclosed conflicts of interest and with much blood on his hands.

  4. kiwi 08/10/2018 at 7:22 pm #

    As i read this this morning i am reminded of the statement by David Healy which i totally agree with being
    “The ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine.”

    Personally i think its even worse and say it is THE biggest crime against humanity.

    GSK should be litigated so hard that the company is bankrupted and shut down for good. GSK should be held liable for the costs of setting up withdrawal and tapering (we are talking safe tapering that is for many years NOT 2-3 weeks) clinics across the country.

  5. kiwi 08/10/2018 at 9:06 pm #

    Why do we need specific withdrawal and tapering clinics set up across the country?
    Because ‘do not discontiunue your medications without consultation with a doctor’ is one of the most moronically stupid and stomach sickening dangerous things you can read.

    Asking a doctor for taper advise is like asking a fish for instructions to walk though a field full of landmines.

    As you can see i am very thrilled regarding this CEP posting. Especially at a time when i felt voices were not being heard maybe this time some traction will be made.

    I am filled with mixed emotions.
    By the way mixed emotions can be described as watching Wendy Burns, David Baldwin and Andrew Witty (counting their bottle tops they are accumulating in their bank accounts while) driving over a cliff in my brand new Holden.

    Im happy. Happy because there is some validation for the millions harmed and betrayed.

    Im angry. Angry because it has taken so long for the truth to come out and that the medical profession have continually done what they did when the thalidomide tragedy broke….and that is to deny deny deny. And we all thought that there couldnt possibly be another drug horror story. How wrong we were, the reality is frightening.

  6. kiwi 08/10/2018 at 10:50 pm #

    This is my last post…i promise.

    Its seems ironic this study comes out today for this very week in NZ (8-14 oct 18) is mental health week.

    Sadly this is all a hoodwinked and blind society can come up with as they try to understand the horror that is surfacing across the country. (i dont think NZ is the only country struggling to understand such problems). They think more money funnelled into MH and more recognition and doctor support of these people is what is needed. Even subjects at school are covering this unfortunate topic.

    Yet the real reason for this disabling cognitive implosion by society is being missed…..
    psychiatry and its rosey red apples are THE reason for this brain altering ruination of lives.

    Lets not forget psychiatry has a dreadful history of harm…beatings, purges, chemical-induced convulsions, ECT, frontal labotomies etc….they have pushed an unvalidated DSM (in other words total BS) on people forcing them to adopt a debilitating internal narrative but even worse that narrative demands they swallow a drug from the doctor…….so now with ssris and the like they have really topped themselves in the harm department!

    I loathe the words M.I. and M.H. wouldnt it be so much more empowering to call it psychological health week. And wouldnt it be far better to spend the week informing people of some of the most dangerous things they could ever do …like go and talk to a doctor regarding anything that an ssri could be prescribed for from a sore toe to a headache and anything inbetween.
    Im sure the Troy Skinners of this world would agree with me.

    Troy Skinner an iatrogenic victims …never been in trouble in his life, preparing to study law at university …now in jail!
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/105679948/Auckland-man-Troy-George-

    Skinner-released-from-hospital-transported-to-US-jail
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12079291

  7. Sonia Milsom 09/10/2018 at 3:34 am #

    I as a mother have been labeled ( in my sons notes) as having serious mental health issues. I have dared to stand up to drs, psychs and many other ‘health care professionals. All three of my adult children for very different reasons have been prescribed these toxins. One lost a three yr old with meningitis, the other for PND and finally one who HAD his own 4 bed house, new car and own business. At age 20 and only with a second opinion was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. The chemotherapy was a trial drug witch disagreed with him. He was sectioned given radiotherapy plus many other psychotropic including Citalopram 60mg. More recently he was sectioned again, many falls and wheelchair bound. Again the blame and accusations including safeguarding issues were directed at me….in light of his history I asked for scans. These were refused. I got a private referral for this myself. It is almost 3am I am still up with him and need to give this next piece of information

    My daughter managed to get him to a scan. One hour before the scan a senior registrar pointed at me in the ward he was on..” it’s you, you’re to blame putting it into his head he can’t walk!” This was reported to PALS immediately and is documented.

    The scan revealed a 3 cm tumour between C5 – C6 ..emergency surgery followed. Neurosurgeon informed us it was 29 – 30 byears old..

    There is so much more to this which I have fairly well documented…my sone needs care as do my other children…this is an incomplete story which must be told in full to help others.

    • Sonia Milsom 09/10/2018 at 5:22 am #

      The above incomplete comment ,should read after an 11 hour surgery which revealed a 20 -30 year tumour. K

  8. Marie Parker 09/10/2018 at 10:18 pm #

    Thank you to CEP and all the people who took time to give information regarding withdrawal and protracted withdrawal from these drugs. I took Escitalopram for 11 years after experiencing anxiety when going through the menopause. I tried to come off the drug a couple of times and had awful symptoms so I thought I needed the pills. I now know this was withdrawal. I tapered off quite slowly after having advice from a friend who had come off long term Benzodiazepines and had suffered terrible withdrawal. I started having symptoms just reducing the drug which were balance issues. I saw a Neurologist who said I had Sensory Ataxia and said my alcohol consumption was to blame. I was horrified as I hardly drank. Further into reducing the pills I started having mood swings and was very down. I couldn’t cope with things that previously hadn’t bothered me. After stopping the meds altogether I went downhill. I had gastric issues like diarrhoea and felt nauseous all the time. I lost over a stone in weight. I couldn’t get to sleep and if I did I would wake up with what I named the morning terrors. I felt weak and fatigued and couldn’t function. I couldn’t make decisions and every little issue was magnified 100 fold. I cried all the time and lost all interest in everything I’d previously loved. I couldn’t shop or cook and I was scared of everything. I couldn’t sit still and had an inner restlessness. I felt like I had no life and was even scared of being in my own home. It was so bad that I considered ending my life. I thought I was going mad. I had always been a worrier but I had never ever had anxiety and fear like this. My husband and family were very supportive but were at their wits end and all along all the Doctors I saw told me it couldn’t be withdrawal as it only last a few weeks. My IBS had gone haywire and I paid privately to see a Professor who was a Gastroenterologist. He confirmed it was coming off the tablets that was the cause and said it could last a couple of years. I was determined to stick it out but ended up seeing the Crisis Team when I became suicidal. I was seen by a Psychiatrist and told I was deluded about it being withdrawal and I had rebound depression. I was told you need the tablets like diabetics need insulin. You have a chemical imbalance. I ended up back on pills. I felt a failure. I had fought it tooth and nail but I couldn’t go on the way I was. Going back on the meds has taken some of the withdrawal away but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be the person I was. Things definitely need to change. I turned to the Internet for information and even rang Bristol and District Tranquilliser Project when I felt at my worst. There was nobody else to turn to and it felt awful not to be believed. Thank you again to CEP for all your hard work and for publishing these results.

  9. anne 11/10/2018 at 3:28 am #

    Thank you so much for these reports and everything you do to expose the dangers of these evil drugs. Absolutely ruined my life. I’ve never known anything so horrific and mindbending as seroxat withdrawal. They should never have been released.

    • Rosemary Knowles 15/10/2018 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you cepuk for this absolutely essential and long-overdue research and all you lovely people above for sharing. I hope that kiwi will not stop commenting – her anger is shared by me, and I am just the mother of a sufferer from poisoning by his GPs, with SSRIs, overlapped with Amitryptiline, then finally Mirtazipine to counter the psychotic episode and hypomania that resulted. While I was begging the Health Minister to stop these dangerous drugs being prescribed to stressed people, to set up NHS ashrams in their stead, and appealing to his GP to return our stolen son, and advising MHRA, who just returned my complaint attached to a Yelloow Card number – my son lost his home, his family, his work – and most of all – his brilliant mind. 2 years on he is still struggling in withdrawal and possibly PTSD from the awful court case he was put through – never having harmed anyone, but treated as a dangerous criminal. Wherever he has turned to for help, the outcome has been prescriptions for more and more medications. He may be brain-damaged, but he is not stupid and does not take these poisons pushed by the medical profession – ignorant and corrupt the majority of them. We have a minister for suicide prevention now – so any drugs that include suicide ideation on the PIL leaflet should be banned immediately.

  10. Catherine 16/10/2018 at 10:56 pm #

    Thank goodness for this report……at last. It describes the worst 10 months of my life withdrawing from 25 years of SSRIs and the experience has been life changing. Unbelievably, my GP still insists there is a “psychological element” to my symptoms. We need to shout loud and long about this. I am appalled that I was so ignorant about the medication I was taking for so long, but it is unforgivable that it is taking so long to reliably inform health professionals and treatment protocols.

  11. Rosemary Knowles 17/10/2018 at 10:24 pm #

    In reply to G, above – banning of all NEW prescriptions of SSRI’s would not be a problem, would it. Those already taking them might be helped by the NHS adopting tapering strips, as promoted by James Moore. Google jfmoore.co.uk for his petition and his “Let’s Talk Withdrawal” podcast on the Mad in America website. There is no time to waste on saving ever more patients from becoming hooked on psychoactive drugs. Even the pharmacist at my local Boots told me they were worried by the increase in these prescriptions. IT IS AN EPIDEMIC after all. Time is of the essence.

    • G 17/10/2018 at 10:31 pm #

      Can.t argue with that.

  12. kiwi 18/10/2018 at 9:20 am #

    I agree with Rosemary.
    We need to ban all new prescriptions. Of course those who are currently taking them need to be able to renew prescriptions they will have years of tapering ahead of them in order to get off the drug so they need access to the poisons else they will all end up in a body bag.

  13. kiwi 19/10/2018 at 9:25 am #

    A further comment from me about the devastation of lives these drugs cause.

    The medical profession are in total denial about the lives they are ruining and the horrific effect of these drugs on peoples minds.

    I believe these drugs mess people up sexually. It used to be unheard of to hear of a woman teacher sexually involved with a student. Yet it is becoming more and more common. Every time i read of one i think what was that woman swallowing from the doctor. Then like a lot of these shooter stories it slowly comes out.

    I mentioned the iatrogenically harmed Troy Skinners of this world but there are also the iatrogenically harmed Stephanie Petersons of this world also now going to do jail time.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12145280
    There is always a line that reveals all and sure enough it was there for all to see…
    “She also told Zambrano that she was taking “psychotropic medication” as prescribed”.

    These kinds of stories are all too common. And the cause is obvious.
    prediction: while we have ssris and similar psychoactive drugs being prescribed by doctors we are going to have many more Skinners and Petersons. It is beyond tragic.

  14. kiwi 24/10/2018 at 9:50 am #

    Just been reading this:

    Asystematicreviewintotheincidence,severityanddurationof antidepressantwithdrawaleffects:Areguidelinesevidence-based?

    “It is not uncommon for the withdrawal effects to last for several weeks or months.”

    Im so appreciative of the truth telling work that James and John are doing.

    For me though withdrawal effects didnt last for several weeks or months they lasted for years !! Im now 8 years drug free and feel i am still recovering.
    And here is the thing ….i know i am not alone.

    Online support groups know without a doubt that tapering and withdrawal recovery for many is a project that goes on for many years. Many cant cope with it and end up redrugged in order to numb/relieve and cope with the withdrawal horror/trauma.

    So when i read of withdrawal lasting ‘weeks or even months’ i feel very much that this is still significantly down playing reality.

    “As this study excluded any withdrawal commencing 3days after discontinuation”
    Then such studies like this are useless.

    There are serious methodological problems with these studies. It is well known that withdrawal symptoms can be delayed …3-4 plus months is very common. yet many study followups only go for a few weeks at most after discontinuation. So many people are being missed. The truth is still being hidden.

    .”A recent international survey found tha tof the 580 people who hadexperiencedADwithdrawaland who answered thequestion ‘How long haveyouexperiencedwithdrawalsymptoms?’86.7%respondedat least 2months, 58.6% at least one year, and 16.2% more than three years.”

    This 16.2 % may be significantly understated also. But here we see it being revealed for many withdrawal goes on for years.

    What is it …7 million? UK-ers on ads well 16.2 % of that is over 1.1 million people!! left nonfunctioning and out of work for years at some future time is a national. tragedy.

    Anyway little by little the truth is coming out.

    Thankyou CEP for the tremendous work you are doing.

  15. Rosemary Knowles 27/10/2018 at 3:05 pm #

    .the duration of withdrawal symptoms cannot be quantified really, as everyone’s use of these psychoactive drugs varies in the type, the strength of dosage, and the length of time used. So I asked the Bristol Tranquillizer Project helpline how long it took for the brain to heal itself after damage by these drugs – which of course also varied. But I was told 18 months to 2 years, some people 3 years – after withdrawing cold turkey. If true, that is helpful when you are a carer. Is there any evidence-based research on this question, and how does one diagnose a “healed brain” – scanning, or full function. My son’s psychiatrist told NHS England that he had mental capacity as he was complying with treatment, the same day that he paced continually all day in my presence, and was not taking the drugs she prescribed, one of which is Pregabalin – known to cause dependence and withdrawal. She is a criminal drug pusher clearly.

  16. Rosemary Knowles 30/10/2018 at 10:18 am #

    No feedback comments re Pregabalin? It is listed on the Review into drugs causing dependence and withdrawal by PHE. P.C. Gotzsche, my hero, recorded in his book “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime” that Lyrica (pregabalin, an epilepsy drug) was one of 4 drugs by Pfizer for which they had to pay a settlement for fraud in 2005. $1 billion was levied to resolve allegations that Pfizer paid bribes and offered lavish hospitality to healthcare providers to encourage them to prescribe the 4 drugs, and 6 whistleblowers would receive $102 million. Despite signing a Corporate Integrity Agreement with US Dept. of Health and Human Services – Pfizer continued its fraud.
    Worse – it is now a Class C drug in Britain, (imprisonment for posession and pushing if not prescribed) and causing increasing deaths by users each year. It is used for numerous ailments, although it is minimally effective, and very expensive. An osteopath I know tells me many of her patients are on it, but still seeking out relief through manipulation, for which they have to pay. God knows what harm they are causing themselves. Yet, it is being prescribed to my poor son who is trying so hard to withdraw from ADs. The corruption throughout psychiatry is as Gotzsche put it, like dealing with the Mafia.

    • Liz Douglas 01/11/2018 at 2:34 pm #

      Saw this in The Times today children 12 and under being prescribed antidepressants – It must be time to follow the money Big pharma aren’t in the business of curing people it’s not cost effective all they’re interested in is creating new customers and one has to ask – Who would allow them to do that ..
      “Children with emotional problems risk being unduly medicalised, the head of Scotland’s health service said”.
      https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/health-chief-paul-gray-raises-fears-over-drugs-for-children-29r6bxpsv

    • Liz Douglas 01/11/2018 at 2:58 pm #

      Just found this article ‘Lena Dunham Shares Her Experience Withdrawing From Benzos’

      Her conversation with Shepard had a lot of quotes you might relate to if you take (or have stopped taking) anxiety medication. We’ve listed a few that stuck out to us below. Head here to listen to the full episode.
      https://themighty.com/2018/10/lena-dunham-anxiety-klonopin-benzo-dax-shepard-armchair-expert/?utm_source=newsletter_mental_health&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_mental_health_2018-11-01

    • Liz Douglas 01/11/2018 at 11:22 pm #

      There’s more than enough proof that antidepressants are dangerous and patently obvious big pharma are not interested in doing anything about it otherwise we wouldn’t have to fight them and their political supporters to get them to stop the harm they do It’s worth noting that in the DSM-IV from the early ’90’s, there is a reference that suggests that antidepressants are included among the psychiatric drugs which may lead to substance abuse issues, but it took nearly 25 years for this information to enter into the conversation about antidepressants.

      “Well, it’s a deeply held secret. There’s almost no research on the withdrawal syndrome. There’s absolutely no interest on the part of the pharmaceutical companies in advertising the fact that getting on an antidepressant may trap you for years and maybe for life. So they’ve discouraged research, they don’t report adverse findings. The pharmaceutical industry is only marginally less ruthless than the drug cartels, and it’s not in their interest to advertise this, so there’s been very little research, and we really don’t know how the long-term use of these medications may affect the brain. We’re doing a kind of public health experiment on hundreds of millions of people around the world without really understanding the long-term effects.”
      https://www.wakingtimes.com/2018/10/31/prominent-psychiatrist-tells-cnn-why-antidepressants-are-so-dangerous/

  17. kiwi 04/11/2018 at 12:37 am #

    Thanks for posting that link Liz.

    ‘There’s almost no research on the withdrawal syndrome.’
    This is what is so tragic about this, millions of people in withdrawal demanding answers and being hoodwinked with diagnonsense, with withdrawal being totally denied by doctors and pharma.

    Not too sure what to make of Francis at times.
    Allen Frances was one of the so called experts writing the expert consensus guidline pushing risperdal for J&J as a first line treatment also was involved in marketing and getting the guidelines adopted. If anyone knows about subverting scientific integrity its Mr Francis.

  18. kiwi 04/11/2018 at 12:41 am #

    “On the other hand, stopping the medicine can take years.” ~ Dr. Francis Allen

    This is the truth.

    I am happy though that Allen Francis is acknowledging one of pharmas dirty little secrets.

  19. kiwi 04/11/2018 at 12:55 am #

    When asked by Amanpour how difficult it is for a normal person to get a prescription for antidepressants, Allen replies:

    “There’s nothing easier in the world than starting an antidepressant. Primary care doctors are given far too little time with their patients, and the only way they can get a patient out of the office satisfied, after a seven minute visit is to write a prescription. Eighty percent of the antidepressants are prescribed by primary care doctors, usually after seven minutes, under heavy pressure from both the patient and from the drug company… On the other hand, stopping the medicine can take years.” ~ Dr. Francis Allen

    I must say i have been very critical of Francis over the years but this statement is an admission from the medical profession that is very rare and that we have all known for a long time. ie easy to start and a most difficult and dangerous to stop.

    Francis is right when he says they are very easy to get …
    You dont even need a clinical assessment.

    Not only that ssris are pushed off label so you can get them for pain, for headache, for menopause, for shyness for sweating, for crying in a doctors presence for…..well you name it and a doctor will give an ssri for it. Thanks i guess to prescribing kickbacks.

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