Prof. Sami Timimi, child psychiatrist & visiting professor, University of Lincoln
CEP members respond to letter from prominent psychiatrists in The Times with challenge for public debate
Prof. Sami Timimi, child psychiatrist & visiting professor, University of Lincoln
I salute the work of Prof Timimi along with the growing number of psychiatric whistle-blowers who are calling into question not alone the philosophy, policy and practice of modern psychiatry, but by extension the conventional medical paradigm as a whole. A mindful approach to health and well-being increasingly posits that it’s effects on human homeostasis or healing are far from well-intentioned, but like a host of other institutions, motivated by greed and power and generally entertain an aversion to true embodied well-being.
Absolutely Dr Timimi, but shout LOUDER. My son suffered a psychotic episode at 17. Since then he has had a succession of 6 antipsychotics over 3 and a half years, during which time his initial positive symptoms have gradually worsened and been joined by new ones, he has developed significant negative symptoms where there were none, and his cognitive function has deteriorated so much that someone who was emotionally intelligent, socially adept and got eight A-grades at GCSE, now appears to be someone with learning difficulties.
18 months into this ‘treatment’ I became alarmed by the fact that no medication had provided an overall benefit, and that every dose increase was accompanied by a worsening of symptoms, the arrival of new ones, or intolerable adverse effects. It was clear to me that the cause was the antipsychotics.
But my observations and protestations had me hauled through court 3 times in attempts to remove me as Nearest Relative, and not once in that 3 and a half years has any NHS psychiatrist agreed to try and improve matters with a simple dose reduction. The scenario continues.
Please, please, please CEPUK, do all you can to stop this madness.
Dear Andry Dad, I really applaud your observations re: the effects of the neuroleptics that your son has been taking. I had my first psychotic episode when I was 18, and then every two years until I was 31. Each time, they tried a new neuroleptic on me, and each time I experienced very bad side effects – tardive dyskinesia (nearly all neuroleptics), psoriasis (lithium), and severe dulling of emotion and cognitive functions. I was lucky though – my first degree was in Medical Sciences, and my second degree was in Psychology. I argued each time with my psychiatrist that the brain damage could be minimised by limited use of the neuroleptics i.e. when acutely ill, I stayed on the medication for only 4-6 months and then withdrew slowly. Then after I had been well for a few years, I tried a very low dose prophylactically every spring, (which was my trigger – many people with psychotic symptoms experience a worsening when the daylight rapidly alters eg. in spring and autumn in more northern latitudes). The trick I found with ‘working’ with the system is to appear to be compliant, but then do a very controlled withdrawal, all the while being aware and monitoring any symptoms. Only once free of medication for 6 months or more, can you actually be frank with your psychiatrist, and then you have to be prepared for some fireworks… I have now been free of all medication for twelve years (with one blip caused by a GP who thought antidepressants might be a good idea for a mild bout of reactive depression – it wasn’t….). These medicines cause long term brain damage. All the people that I was first in hospital with when I was in my early 20s are now severely mentally disabled, and are on (usually) more than one neuroleptic still, with absolutely awful mental illness. The medicines have palpably not worked. At all. Get your son off these meds. Slowly, with support, and with plenty of understanding and awareness as to what the symptoms of mental health difficulties are often about (trauma in childhood, abandonment, adoption, sexual abuse, bullying, divorce, neglect etc etc – difficult as a parent, I am sure, but something you can actually address, rather than ‘medicine’ that just masks and obscures emotional pain, and causes long term mental damage. Good luck, and I hope your son gets rid of these awful, damaging drugs. It can be done. I have a wonderful life now, with my own family and daughter, and I know that this would not have been possible had I stayed on these useless ‘meds’. Keep fighting!
That is unbelievable. This system is SOOOOO BROKEN, when the family members who love their kin who is affected by these “illnesses” and want to get them off of drugs as a means of helping them are forced away from their kin by law!!!! That is criminal! What other illnesses would this ever happen with??!!! We need to join forces and speak out together!!! Go to madinamerica.com and mind freedom international….
Dear Sarah, thank you for your support. I’m so glad you managed to break free. Your advice is good and I agree with you on all points. Re withdrawal I know someone who is doing exactly that – pretending to be compliant but has quietly over the last 12 months reduced her meds to zero. She is now really well. But she dare not tell her psychiatrist as she suspects he will claim her non-compliance is proof that she is unwell !!
Unfortunately I was not bright enough and too trusting of the psychiatric profession to be deceitful and slink away quietly. In my outrage I squared up to them and the consequence is my son is on a fortnightly depot under a CTO, precisely to stop me doing what you suggest.
On my first attempt to stop this ludicracy in court, the judge made it clear to me that although he was sympathetic, he could not possibly favour my evidence over the statements of the ‘medical professionals’, (despite most of it being rubbish.)
God help anyone who has been traumatised and thinks NHS psychiatry may be the answer. Their answer is to compound the trauma and render the hapless victim incapable of the clarity of thought required to address the original cause. I believe some of Dr Timimi’s work is within the NHS but he is not the norm.
Why can we not charge with bodily harm, and prosecute ??
Thank you for this very dignified and clear short exposition! Very well done! I will send out to people coming to IMHU.org to learn about integrative mental health options…keep up the good work!
So in retrospect, did my medication worsen or relieve my panic anxiety diagnosed in 1998?
Experts aren’t sure, but they are willing to let me Believe I am the one to blame for 16 years of agony.
My 16 years are allready lost, who else is willing to lose 16 years of their Lifes in a haze of ssri-drugs that to this day is debated upon as uncertain to work?
The amount of anger I feel when I read about others who have similar stories to tell is gutwrenching.
I know there are millions who say they benefitted from these drugs, I didn’t, so stop ignoring me.
Side effects from modern medicine is scarce, wether it is a rash from penicillin or if it’s ssri-induced violence.
Don’t deny one of them just because it’s a more serious sideeffect.
A certain percentage of people on penicillin gets a itching rash, and a certain number of people on ssri become violent.
Denial leads to more people with itchy rashes, and unfortunately, more people traumatized by violence.
End of story.
Your’s is yet another shocking story, and yes, because you are the patient, you are the one to blame. Here’s why:
Should ‘treatment’ (a drug) prove ineffective, the blame does not lie with the treatment, but with the patient: the patient is ‘treatment resistant’. If the negative effects of a drug are intolerable, it is not the drug that has failed but the patient: the patient is ‘non-compliant’. A drug is never simply useless and harmful, instead a spurious shift of blame is alleged to explain it’s uselessness and harmfulness: the patient must be a co-morbid drug user or be doing something else so bizarre it interferes with the action of the marvellous medication. Should the patient’s symptoms worsen on the drug or the patient develops new symptoms it is not the fault of the drug, but the fault of the patient’s underlying pathology.
Perhaps worst of all is the claim that the ‘illness’ is likely to lead to aggression or violence in a patient with no record of either. On which basis the patient often loses their personal liberty and is forcibly medicated against their wishes and the wishes of their family. If that doesn’t succeed in making the previously placid patient violent then continuation on a high dose of neuroleptic or SSRIs eventually will, wrongly validating the original false allegation and outrageous course of action.
I hope you are now free of the cause of your itchy rash.
Dear mister concerned parent.
The cause of my rash is roughly halfed in doseage, supervised by my psychiatrist, but all plotted and planned by me
(and help from forums on tapering from ssri, my psychiatrist offered 2 months tapering or substitute pill wich I refused)
You described very well how I’m treated, and how easily they overthrow my belief that the drug is to blame.
My rhetoric skills are not what they used to be, and I talk slower than I type.
Like your son I was once both Sharp and Quick, intelligent with a broad understanding, now I’m a sluggish
caricature of my younger self.
I really hope you keep fighting alongside your son, he really needs all the support he can get.
Even if he, as I was, is totally unaware of how different we have become.
Your view from “outside” is Worth alot, you see Changes he cannot.
I didn’t see mine until I read about others who shared my strange behaviours, never once Before that did I blame the drug.
And frankly I wish you had more support too, my humble guess is just that you probably have no experience from such
problems you are now facing. So where is the “neutral” support?
Where are those, hands on and on location, there with you and your son?
Perhaps Britain has ways, I know Sweden has nothing of sorts, even the Church here will not help in such specific matters such as mine.
I hope you shout loud too