BBC is looking for people willing to appear in documentary on antidepressant withdrawal

The BBC is producing a documentary about the long-term side effects and withdrawal effects of antidepressant medication. They are looking to speak to individuals who have decided to come off their medication and would be open to allowing us to follow their journey throughout this process, alongside the reporter of the film who will be doing the same. By following a number of people on this journey, the film will illustrate the diversity of peoples’ experiences in coming off medication and the advice they are given on how to do so safely. Filming will mainly involve video blogs.

The BBC appreciates the very sensitive nature of making a decision like this and will ensure you are supported throughout. If you are someone who has decided off this medication and are open to finding out more about the programme, please reach out to: alex.gatenby@bbc.co.uk or bryony.hopkins@bbc.co.uk.

37 Responses to BBC is looking for people willing to appear in documentary on antidepressant withdrawal

  1. Physician 09/11/2019 at 10:58 am #

    Welcome intention to address this aspect of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) and adverse experience in those taking antidepressants.

    It is hoped that AKATHISIA, as a life-threatening withdrawal phenomenon, will be addressed in this program.

    It is vital that prescribers, and those for whom SSRIs/SNRIs and “atypical'” antidepressants are prescribed, are fully informed and aware of this neurotoxicity syndrome which occurs not only with antidepressant drug induction, change of dose, change of product, but also on drug withdrawal.

    Parents, partners, love-ones and flat shares also need AKATHISIA AWARENESS.

    AKATHISIA is strongly evidenced – over many years to be a precursor to violence against self and/or others.

    This condition is vulnerable to misdiagnosis.

    Of course, other classes of prescription drugs also induce AKATHISIA.

  2. Catherine Clarke 09/11/2019 at 4:01 pm #

    I agree with everything you have written and I think you must be a rare gem in your profession to acknowledge the dangers that befall some patients.

    Please see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31370036

    May be the BBC would like to address antipsychotic withdrawal next.

    • Debra 10/11/2019 at 4:13 am #

      Hi have withdrawal from antidepressant drug and benzo drug. Not pretty. Also had brother who committed suicide from antidepressant drug, so I know the dangers of being on them. Also how bad they are to get off and the difficulties afterwards. Still tapering off a benzo drug and it’s he’ll.

  3. John Herbert 09/11/2019 at 8:25 pm #

    I long for the day when the BBC will accompany people on neuroleptics coming off

  4. John Herbert 09/11/2019 at 9:35 pm #

    When oh when will the same attention be given to neuroleptics and the other nausive poisons dealt out by the ‘medical’ profession of psychiatry ? ‘

  5. Ingrid De bruyn 09/11/2019 at 9:36 pm #

    so glad the BBC is taking this on, many of us have been living in isolation and are not believed when going trough withdrawal, often leading to wrongly being diagnosed. Deeply craving recognition and bigger awareness, been long overdue! Thank you!

    • Catherine Clarke 11/11/2019 at 1:13 pm #

      When my relative had neuro withdrawal effects, I was told this was proof that the psyche drugs were essential……

  6. chris 10/11/2019 at 7:43 am #

    My view is that it is unlikely that someone with Akathisia/toxic psychosis would be able to make a video blog. They would be in a secure unit and their condition not diagnosed as caused by drug induced akathisia. I’ve never met a psychiatrist who admitted akathisia causes suicide, violence and homicide. The reason being obvious… it points the finger at them.

    • Catherine Clarke 11/11/2019 at 1:30 pm #

      There are folk who come off OK — but I reckon that these are the folk who are able to metabolise psychdrugs efficiently.
      Doctors only know what they are taught and the BMS do not incorporate genetic metabolism into thier cirriculum. If you have long standing doctors or even drug reps training students, these doctors are rigid to the training they were taught. And so the niave cycle is perpetuated. Other things to be considered are professional denial, loss of credibility with thier per group, the fact that the Royal Colllege Psychiatrists receives drug company and by perpetuating psyche prescriptions failitates a steady revenue incomefor the Gov.

  7. chris 10/11/2019 at 8:23 am #

    Also think it is important to point out that many people are now on polypharmacy, so someone with significant anxiety would be on an SSRI and well as an antipsychotic. Worsening of the condition will lead to even more drugs, it is almost never the case that the drugs are seen as the cause. Plus I think psychiatry will fight any introduction of the CYP450 gene test before anyone is given these drugs because psychiatry uses the drugs to control people, what will it do without the drugs? Also the test wouldn’t just point a finger, it would pretty much prove the actions of a GP or psychiatrist caused a horrific situation. But I think the gene test has got to be pushed on a human rights basis. It all needs experts not only in the CYP450 test but human rights law and people who have directly suffered the horrors of toxicity induced akathisia/psychosis who are ignored and labeled as abusers/seriously mentally ill but who probably started with a bout of significant anxiety/insomnia. This area is massively important

    • Catherine Clarke 11/11/2019 at 1:40 pm #

      So, at Addenbrookes Hospital research is beng undertaken for psyche drugs in relation with metabolism. A spokesperson said there was a ‘high drive’ for genetic testing prior to prescribing psyche drugs. In cases of suicide/homicide, the only exact way of knowing whether the act was intentional (having an informed choice), or whether the acts were toxically induced is to have toxicology blood tests for all the prescribed drugs,that the person was prescribed. When alls said & done the prescriber is ultimately resonsible for the outcomes of medications.

      • chris 12/11/2019 at 8:47 am #

        The test has been around for more than twenty years…. more research to implement? Right now people are either locked up in a prison/psych hospital accused of violent crimes/self abuse/serious attempted suicide and the perpetrators maywell have been their doctors. The doctors may not ostensibly acknowledge their drug prescribing has caused the horror show abuse but they certainly know about the CYP450 gene test, especially psychiatrists. My experience is that they will only do this test if they plan to give someone a really high dose of an antipsychotic. When the true scale of drug toxicity abuse becomes clear… It’s a massive human rights issue.. especially via forced/coerced psych drugging.

        “When alls said & done the prescriber is ultimately resonsible for the outcomes of medications.”

        Responsible but when will they be held accountable ?

        • Catherine Clarke 12/11/2019 at 2:15 pm #

          In order to bring this issue to the fore, I think accountability would depend on the outcome of a postmortem. The combination of a person’s genetic profile and blood toxicology for all medications prescribed following a suicide or homicide could potentially highlight psyche meds toxicites in a postmortem. I do not know whether toxicology testing is routine & whether all meds are automatically screened at the coroners. What I do know is that the next of kin can ask for toxicology testing & can refuse for the body to be released until this testing is assured. At this point it is likely the coroners will then use coercion i.e. charge the next of kin for body storage in order to make you change your mind. There are independent labs ( not NHS) for testing which police use. It may be neccessary to engage a solicitor to get in writing confirmation re toxicology testing from the police.
          Again it is how to educate the public ???

        • Catherine Clarke 12/11/2019 at 2:21 pm #

          There is the choice of having your genetic profile taken privately. I understand that if a persons genetic profile is disregarded by NHS prescribers, then this is a serious situation. There is alo a choice of requesting a refferal to a NHS pharmacologist who are experts in metabolism and ADRS

  8. chris 11/11/2019 at 9:06 am #

    Another terrible perspective on all this is that patients who are experienced in MH know that they run the risk of being placed on a Community Treatment Order (CTO) and forced drugging if they inform their psychiatrist and or GP their intention to come off the medication(s) therefore they do not. So if a patient has a reaction to the drug(s) coming off, this is NOT accepted by the GP/psychiatrist as a drug reaction, but a return/worsening of the illness and instead of being more slowly taken off, the patient can be subject to a CTO anyway, which may result in a horrific downward spiral. Human rights lawyers need to be informed of this. Again a CYP450 test would hopefully stop this.

  9. Catherine Clarke 11/11/2019 at 1:43 pm #

    Who has the money to engage a Human Rights Lawyer?

  10. Rosemary Knowles 12/11/2019 at 9:53 am #

    Let me quote the fantastic Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic – Four Years Later Afterword. “In science, the past should help predict the future. If research over a fifty-year period told of medications that worsened long-term outcomes, then studies published since 2010 should corroborate that essential finding. That has been the case here. The updated research deepens what might be called the “case against psychiatric drugs.” And given that this is so, it would seem that psychiatry and our society now have more reason than ever to fundamentally rethink the use of these medications and our current drug-based paradigm of care. ”

    We did not need this Review – we needed to educate everyone, from psychiatrists to patients and GPs inbetween. Lawyers will not touch this issue no-matter how high and independently-minded they may be.

  11. Catherine Clarke 12/11/2019 at 1:53 pm #

    What Review are you reffering to ?

    • Rosemary Knowles 13/11/2019 at 10:37 am #

      Catherine Clarke -I was referring to the APPG/PDD or Public Health England, Review into drugs that cause dependence and withdrawal. The Review conducted by CEPUK – which was undertaken by James Davies and – sorry other name escapes me – which has been under way since end of January 2018. If you access the cep.uk website and look up “news” you can find all their posts on the progress of this research. There are hundreds of comments too – and pages of Patient Experiences, which are difficult or painful to read. The PDD stands for Prescription Drug Dependence. You have a lot of info to catch up on …… I recommended the book “Anatomy of An Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker, which was one of the first I read on this subject of psychoactive drugs – it is heart-breaking and should be read by everyone interested in this subject. Sorry to be bossy – I am a carer of a suicidal survivor of antidepressants who lost everything.

      • Catherine Clarke 13/11/2019 at 10:54 am #

        I have a similar story & have met Robert Whitaker. However I agree education is a way forward and my way was to spend some years compiling https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31370036 which has nearly 200 references and provided me with credibility.
        So for instance, last week on hearing dentists prescribe antidepressants, I sent the review to the UK General Dental Council alongside my added comment: ‘ Just whom would be willing to risk their career for trial and error prescribing ?

        Would love to hear in what ways you manange to educate?

        • chris 14/11/2019 at 9:37 am #

          Where can I read the whole of your paper please ? My view is that eduction alone will not work. Psychiatry needs to be made – by law and enforcement of the law.. human rights law – to change it’s ways. Have you been in a psych hospital ? They are prisons in all but name where abuse is rife and normalised. The people who run them will laugh in the face of anyone trying to educate them. They are of the view that ‘ill mental health’ equates to criminals or potential criminals who need to be drugged for the rest of their lives to control behaviour. To turn this on it’s head and show gene science..pharmacogenetics that directly proves otherwise….. well…

          • Catherine Clarke 14/11/2019 at 1:15 pm #

            You can email me – access email via CEPUK with my permission. As I have the full article to share around. Other wise there is a draft version: http://www.psychiatric-drug-effects.com//downloads/Treatment%20Emergent%20Violence%20to%20Self%20and%20Others..pdf
            Kelly Brogan’s name is missing from this version – otherwise the contents are more or less the same.

            I have attended psyche hospitals as a relative & have experienced professional psychological abuse first hand – as has my relative.

            The sad thing is that those professonals who invariably think their behaviour is exemplary are unaware exactly how they are behaving. So people who threaten, project blame onto others, use coercion, ambiguity, arrogance, deception, manipulation, put downs, fob offs, aggression, vindictiveness, rigidity and unknowing defensive behaviour, have ‘fragile’ personal boundaries and in my opinion are unfit psychologically to practice in the NHS.

            I also percieve my relative has & is physically abused because of the inevitable structural brain changes which occur with psych drugs. Which was not made transparent when these drugs were initially prescribed.

        • Rosemary Knowles 15/11/2019 at 9:39 am #

          Hi Catherine – wow, dentists part of this epidemic too – sounds very suitable focus for your education. My education was purely by writing letters to all and sundry specifically about my son’s experience, from the PM Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt, Matt Hancock, President Wendy Burn of rcpsych, Stephen Fry of MIND, MHRA, Judicial Conduct Investigtions Office, Lawyers, the medics who poisoned my son, and my local MP. I very rarely received even an acknowledgement, but things changed – like rcpsych’s attitude to these drugs, and subsequently the NHS’s response to that. Now that so much money is being promised by all the political parties during this electioneering phase – I am minded to write and demand that substantial funds be set aside to pay out compensation to all those who have been mentally disabled by these drugs. That is my son’s case – I thought he was in withdrawal, and suffering PTSD as a result of the wicked court case he was punished by for having an adverse reaction to badly prescribed drugs, which the Judge was wholly ignorant about. But over two years on from his last pill, I realise he is actually mentally disabled, with chronic anxiety and chronic suicidal feelings and inability to make simple decisions. I would love all people similarly harmed/destroyed by these ADs to write to Matt Hancock too to make him sit up and listen and compensate. Whitaker is brilliant, isn’t’ he – re-reading him for umpteenth time and will send copy to Matt Hancock. Education!

          • chris 15/11/2019 at 12:23 pm #

            Am really sorry to read that, what your son is going through is really appauling and sounds like tardive akathisia. There is no real help either, we hit a stone wall with the establishment…CQC, PHSO, GMC the lot… they all protect the doctors and their interests. Many in the medical world refuse point blank to admit the harms these drugs cause, and it must be galling to find out there was a gene test that could have flagged up a warning to the prescriber.

          • Rosemary Knowles 15/11/2019 at 8:39 pm #

            Chris – what is this gene test you mention, and can it be done retrospectively? My son had not even been given a blood test by his surgery, and when he was suffering psychosis and hypomania from Sertraline, Amitryptiline (overlapped) then Mirtazipine – I begged his GPs to give him one and to include a thyroid test as I had thyroid problem. Nothing untoward was found, but a gene test specifically for this purpose would be very helpful, even now with hindsight.

          • Catherine Clarke 16/11/2019 at 10:42 am #

            Hi Rosemary

            I too have sent various documentation around – can I ask you who actually repsonded? Three years ago the RCPsych told me he was too busy to communicate and latterly the RCGP and the DHSC have not acknowledged my data. Silence is thier biggest weapon & am told reliably that silence is autisitic trait. I would rather professionals swear at me, like Professor Tim Kendall as then at least its keeping communication going. Matt Hancock is Secretary State for DHSC – yes ? Did he get back to you ? I too handed in a book by Grace Jackson – Drug induced dementia ( psyche drugs induced) to the RCPsych. I got an acknowlegement but I guess now you cannot see the book in the library for the dust.

          • Rosemary Knowles 17/11/2019 at 3:24 pm #

            You asked about MATT Hancock – Yes, He is Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS. He seems to be a very effective Minister within his remit. I have asked him to set aside funds to compensate victims of psychoactive drugs prescribed by NHS GPs – I don’t know whether that would come under his remit!!!! Anyway, with an electiion brewing who will be the new Health Secretary?

          • Catherine Clarke 17/11/2019 at 3:54 pm #

            Yes
            I was wondering whether there would be a change of person for the position. I have never thought about compensation and for that to happen they would need to acknowledge the damage incurred with these drugs? Does anyone show accountability?

            I notice Sir Simon Stevens who tops up NHS England used to work for UHS in the States and seems as though he was trained by “Common Purpose” according to a twitter remark. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United Health_Group

            I too have approached charites, but there is talk about charities being funded by drug companies as is also the RCpsyche partially funded by drug companies.

          • Catherine Clarke 16/11/2019 at 11:05 am #

            The gene test which Chris has reffered to is the CYP 450 pathways; also there is testing for the serotonin receptor and serotonin transporter gene.
            My website : http://www.psychiatric-drug-effects.com/?Pharmacogenetics will explain more.
            My relative had these genetic tests done privately & retrospectively. Due to my initiative, the psychiatrist wrote a letter to what ever doctor my relative sees in the future i.e. A/E, Inpatient, so that what ever general drug is about to be prescribed has to go through a pharmacologist first. This action will prevent drug-drug interactons which in the past has contributed to neuro psychiatric reactions.
            I understand only recently these genetic tests are available at MH hospital pharmacies & come under the heading of phsyiological testing.

  12. Rosemary Knowles 16/11/2019 at 1:04 pm #

    Thanks Catherine – will access your website – but for the moment my son has very determinedly and bravely , I think – not stubbornly – refused to take any of the many psych drugs proffered by new GPs and psychiatrists as they so love doing. He says he could set up a pharmacy. He is therefore “non compliant” and therefore in their view does not have mental capacity!!!! It is all Catch 22-ish. All about power and control and abuse of the vulnerable. The worst of the worst. Only one assessor on his “case” said that he was probably suffering serotonin syndrome from the overlapping of 2 drugs. You asked who replied to me – Jeremy Hunt’s office did a few times, and informed me of the forthcoming Review. Theresa May’s office too expressed thanks and referred me to him. Wendy Burn did not reply, so I forwarded my letter to her on to Matt Hancock. Then the cepuk post “Campaigning etc … changed rcpsych’s attitude” was posted. Success! MHRA returned my 9 pages without comment and just added a Yellow Card number on the top. GPs excused themselves by playing the confidentiality card, to protect themselves. JCIO replied to my very long complaint about the Judge, by brief email saying they only dealt with complaints of whether the Judge had sworn in court , had been racist, or fell asleep at the bench. My MP was helpful by referring me on to JCIO. Stephen Fry’s MIND charity referred me to their website. All in all I have to give the most credit to MPs. The least to the judiciary, and the Health system operatives were the most frustrating. I shall keep fighting for recognition and compensation for victims of this epidemic.

  13. chris 18/11/2019 at 10:43 am #

    “What I do know is that the next of kin can ask for toxicology testing & can refuse for the body to be released until this testing is assured. At this point it is likely the coroners will then use coercion i.e. charge the next of kin for body storage in order to make you change your mind.”

    Yeah, what you find at all levels is pretty much a cover-up… they protect the doctors.

    With regards education,it seems to me people only take note when they are involved… the patient, family and friends. It’s so overwhelming and shocking people such us pretty much spend the rest of our lives in and out of focusing on this terrible issue. But many others just can not do this and do not wish to look at it. We need simplification and for me, a visual method to get across what is happening.

    Luke Montagu talking about his experience to Peter Breggin:

    https://drpeterbregginshow.podbean.com/e/the-dr-peter-breggin-hour-%E2%80%93-061417/

    To explain Akathisia/Toxic Psychosis going off in the head I use a scene in Antonioni’s Zebriskie Point, ofcourse people do not just walk away get in their car drive off they harm/kill themselves/others:

    • Rosemary Knowles 18/11/2019 at 12:14 pm #

      Chris – your responses are very bleak, and maybe that is your sole experience. I find my son’s experience is fluctuating, as he himself negotiates his way through recovery without any “professional help” – just two devoted parents who themselves do not agree about everything and have much to learn themselves. Fortunately I have a deep faith in the Christian God, and a Church which seems to be a little island of hope and love in a hideous world. But most of all he has a deep love and devotion to his two sons from whom he was separated by his wife and the court case she drove him to. They were USED as WEAPONS against him, but he has turned those weapons around by staying an exemplary loving father within his capabilities. They save him from suicide – he knows how harmed they would be by that – he meets people who have contended with that and whose lives were blighted by it. It is almost 3 years to the day since he began this abominable journey of injustice and mental abuse, medical negligence and our injustice system. He still cannot talk to people who seek him out to enquire what happened to him, why he suddenly disappeared from the large international community he worked in. But i believe little by little he will improve – like Luke Montagu you mentioned. I spend much time myself with the Samaritans – I weep in church – I write letters. I have to keep loving – it is the only way, believing in an afterlife where love and justice will triumph. It is MY WAY. But I am not smug about it, it is all I have.

      • chris 18/11/2019 at 1:48 pm #

        In the interview with Luke Montagu, Peter Breggin comes in at 18.53 – after Luke details with very good description –

        ‘Folks this is happening to tens of millions of people, this is no exaggeration. There are tens of millions of people who have no idea of what is happening to them. They don’t have access to the information, they don’t live in the UK or US. This is a catastrophe of proportions that are hard to find words for.’

  14. chris 19/11/2019 at 9:51 am #

    To understand why trying to make drug prescribing safe by education isn’t going to be supported by psychiatry, you need to understand that psychiatry isn’t really about being a medical discipline, on the surface it is now, but the evidential history of psychiatry is clear on this… psychiatry has mass murdered hundreds of thousands without being under the boot of Hitlers Nazi Germany… look at the research work of Prof Michael von Cranach, plus the ‘conditions’ they voted into existance do not constitute science. Today, just under the surface, it’s far more about social control, they work with the police, indeed you will find police cells/’interview’ rooms in psychiatric hospitals right now. The psychology.. so called talking therapy that goes on in these places is more about getting confessions/information on suspected crimes and the drugs… neuroleptic drugs are used to ‘augment’ this in the guise of treatment/prevention of crime. Refuse treatment brings sectioning and forced treatment. They will also use other patients to gain information by setting suspect patients against each other. This goes on in UK psych hospitals and innocent people who’s behaviour has been affected by psych drugs are in there being treated in this manor.

  15. chris 21/11/2019 at 2:15 pm #

    I’m sorry but seeing the BBC News today 21/11/2019 on MH issues re sectioning, BBC are still not prepared to deal with the truth spoken in these posts of iatrogenic causation of suicide ideation, suicide, homicide ideation and actual homicide caused by almost all psychiatric and some other drugs. It’s not just a question of where people are treated but RECOGNISING that this epidemic called AKATHISIA/TOXIC PSYCHOSIS is being caused by an almost blind faith, by doctors, in these drugs.

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