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

13 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!


  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.

      • G 15/10/2018 at 12:46 pm #

        I hear you on the banning but there is a problem with it too. Taking it away from millions will cause millions to be in wd from very quick tapers. Will have grim consequences for them. Don.t get me wrong though i know the pain all too well.

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