Sunday, June 29, 2008
Attention Deficit Disorder - Good Science or Good Marketing?
Join Date: Dec 2004
Default Attention Deficit Disorder - Good Science or Good Marketing?
I'm going to post an article written by the Dean of Student Affairs at my medical school. His name is Dr. Jonathan Leo and he's one of the MANY dissenters of the whole ADHD/Ritalin case. He also publishes regarding SSRIs.
Please forgive any typos and I've left the notations out for convenience.
The article was originally published in SKEPTIC, Vol.8, no. 1, 2000.
In the 1960s, Americans discovered illegal mind-altering drugs for themselves. In the 1990s, Americans discovered a legal mind-altering drug for their children. Although it is illegal drugs that draw the attention of the media and law enforcement agencies, over the past decade there has been a meteoric rise int he number of children, under the guidance of a physician, taking mind-altering drugs.
The drug? Ritalin. The most recent estimate is that somewhere between 3-5 million children in this country are taking Ritalin or a similar type of drug. Furthermore, American children consume 90% of all the Ritalin produced worldwide, making this a unique spect of American cultire. Ritaline is the drug of choice for children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. It has now become acceptable to give children a drug to alter their personality and behavioral patterns in a specific situation, usually school. The acceptance of this practice, however, has more to do with marketing than science. In the past 10 years, millions of dollars have been spent by scientists to investigate the biological basis of ADHD. Likewise, millions of dollars habe been spent by the marketing departments of pharmaceutical companies to promote the use of drugs such as Ritalin. ...
By comparing the success rate of the scientists on one hand and the marketing departments on the other, it is clear why medicating children has more to do with marketing than science. The scientific basis of ADHD is on shaky ground and very little progress has been made in the last decade. It is hard to pin down the ADHD experts on what they think is the most convincing scientific proof of this disorder. Instead of one very good study that proves their case, ther are numerous marginal studies that individually have little significance. However, when these little pieces are piled high it appearts to some that significant understanding is at hand. continues...
The worse of all is that the parents are physicians.
I'll talk to him latter and he'll tell me some of his stories. He uses to ask psychiatrist to low doses of some meds for he cannot work with a patient that is unresponsive because of drugs.
He is trying hard to give a good assistance and is even starting studying neurology in order to understand the drugs.
There has been a lot of articles on mags and newspapers about ADHD and, of course, millions of patients that should be taking meds are without care.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Sometimes it seems that life presents you nothing but glimpses. Someone talks to you but it’s not a conversation; you shake hands but the hand is weak; go to the movies but see different aspects from what your friend has noticed; look into someone’s eyes but there’s nobody there.
These are the daily glimpses, no harm done.
However there are things in life that are not meant to be given as glimpses:
a glimpse of real friendship; a glimpse of inner-peace; a glimpse of desire; of family; kindness; revolt; love; tenderness; smile; tears; God…
Some people after being exposed to so many glimpses of these really valuable stuffs give up and even stop questioning “when will my life really begin?” a common expression of hope.
Others stay in the lighthouse and there are those who pass a long time in towels.
Perhaps happiness and sadness are among the things that can be presented as glimpses.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Here you can find the summary off the case:
"On October 1, 1999, Albertina Ximenes placed her son, Damião Ximenes Lopes, in the care of the Casa de Repouso Guarapes, the only psychiatric clinic in the Sobral region. Three days later on October 4, Albertina returned to the clinic to visit Damião, who was suffering from a psychiatric disorder, but was informed that he "was not in a state to receive visits." Dissatisfied, Albertina entered the clinic shouting Damião's name. Damião came to meet her, but was in a deplorable state, bleeding, with various wounds, hematomas and his hands tied. She asked a staff person at the clinic to take him for a bath, and afterwards sought the doctor in charge, Dr. Francisco Ivo de Vasconcelos, Clinical Director of the Casa de Repouso Guararapes, and forensic medical examiner in Sobral. The doctor merely prescribed some medicines, without examining Damião.
When Albertina returned to look for her son again, a cleaner at the clinic told her that a fight had taken place between Damião and the nurses, and as a result of this Damião ended up badly hurt. Albertina found him beside a bed, completely naked with his hands tied. Unable to take Damião away, Albertina returned home. By the time she had returned home, the Casa de Repouso Guararapes had already rung informing her of the death of her son."After a long process under the OAS the sentence:
"During the 119 th Session of the IACHR in October 2003, the IACHR concluded that the Brazilian State was responsible for violating rights with respect to personal integrity, life, judicial protection and judicial guarantees, foreseen by articles 5, 4, 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. These violations resulted from the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of Damião and the torture and subsequent murder within the Casa de Repouso Guararapes. The violation of the obligation to investigate the crimes, of the right to appeal and judicial guarantees were linked to the investigation of the events and the Brazilian judicial system."
"Late last night, 17th August 2006, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, the highest tribunal within the OAS, condemned Brazil for the death of Damião Ximenes Lopes, which occurred on the 4th of October 1999 in the Clínica de Repouso Guararapes, in Sobral, in the state of Ceará."
"The Inter-American Court of Human Rights' sentence in the Damião Ximenes case is the first to deal with the cruel and discriminatory treatment of people suffering from psychological disorders. The acknowledgement by the Court of the vulnerable situation to which these people are subjected widens international jurisprudence, and strengthens the denunciations of organizations working against internment of psychiatric patients, particularly with respect to human rights violations perpetrated within psychiatric institutions."
The Damião Ximenes case should be a lesson for all of those families who want to find justice when there are human rights violations against psychiatric patients.
It's not only in Brazil that there are these violations.
Take a look at OAS 's work.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Acomplia the diet pill drug that Gives Weight Loss Patients Depression and have other side effects such as suicidal ideation and can promote the development of neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular problems has not yet been approved in US but it's on the market in UE as well as in Brazil.
Some people claim:
"There are known benefits to taking Acomplia, and this study does not address whether the benefits of taking Acomplia outweigh the risk. Plus it is still not proven whether or not Acomplia does actually cause mood disorders."
"The FDA has still not approved Acomplia for use in the US, but it is being prescribed across the EU. Presumably the FDA will be able to look at the European data to decide whether or not the benefits of taking Acomplia outweigh the risks, when deciding whether or not to approve Acomplia for the US market."
However US citizens and people from all over the world can buy it on numerous sites that sells the drug online. This is one of these sites.
Dieting and exercising seems to be the last resource for those who want to loose wait. Cocaine is known to suppress appetite and has the benefit of making you happy for a while.
Gee! How thin top models are.
The woman in the mirror is at US-Canada border.
It seems that Brazil is following US parameters to diagnose ADHD. According to this review -it's an English version - the Rio Grande do Sul Psychiatry Magazine:
"For the diagnosis of the adult, it is necessary to evaluate whether there are comorbidities that may justify the reported symptoms and impairment. The presence of psychiatric comorbidities is extremely common in ADHD, in children and adolescents and in adults as well, and significantly changes the clinical presentation of the prognosis.73 In the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication,71 the diagnosis of other psychiatric disorders in adults with ADHD was significantly higher than what is expected by the respective prevalence in the general population.74 In our country, a study with children and adolescents showed that the profile of comorbidities in the ADHD is similar even in different sociocultural contexts.75 Many symptoms of the DMS-IV listed for the ADHD are identical or similar to symptoms listed in the diagnosis of other disorders, and the differential diagnosis demands a specialized evaluation.65 Inattention, for example, is one of the symptoms listed for the diagnosis of mood disorder in the DSM-IV system.
65. Milberger S, Biederman J, Faraone SV, Chen L, Jones J. ADHD is associated with early initiation of cigarette smoking in children and adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1997;36(1):37-44. [ Links ]
71. Biederman J, Kwon A, Aleardi M, Chouinard VA, Marino T, Cole H, et al. Absence of gender effects on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: findings in nonreferred subjects Am J Psychiatry. 2005;162(6):1083-9. [ Links ]
72. Grevet EH, Bau CH, Salgado CAI, Fischer AG, Kalil K, Victor MV, et al. Lack of gender effects on subtype outcomes in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: support for the validity of subtypes. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. In press. [ Links ]
73. Biederman J. Impact of comorbidity in adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65 Suppl 3:3-7. [ Links ]
74. Biederman J, Faraone SV, Monuteaux MC, Bober M, Cadogen E. Gender effects on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults, revisited. Biol Psychiatry. 2004;55(7):692-700. [ Links ]
The review has the following footnote:
* Some authors are part of the consulting board, are lecturers or received research funds from the following laboratories: Biosintética, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, Glaxo, Janssen-Cilag, Lilly, Lundbeck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Wyeth.
"What Dick Cheney is to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, psychiatrist Joseph Biederman is to the explosion of psychiatric medications in American children."
Bruce Levine said.
I just hope that all criticism of Mr. Biederman's work in US is spread all over the world for the drugs that are used in these diseases are global.
I didn't know I was that angry about what happened to me. Wrong. I've remembered all my story...
Yesterday I felt happy and alive again for no reason. It was when I've realized that reading all your stories and felling empathy with you I felt understood and were among people who suffered the same as me and are conscious and quite aware of the origin of the harm that was inflicted by the bad medicine that is being practiced.
Yes Jane. You were right. It's therapeutic blogging because we get in touch with others.
I want to thank you all for telling your stories and letting me see that I'm not alone.
Thank you very very much.
PS I only regret not understanding what bipolar depression is by the time a very close person needed more help than I was giving.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
US Magazine - The News.
Issue: Feb 1, 2008.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
39. Many large-scale Phase II and III trials are currently being carried out in Eastern Europe and elsewhere as a result of high costs imposed here.36 Dr Malcolm Boyce, who runs a London-based Contract Research Organisation (CRO), stressed:
A strong pound sterling makes matters worse for overseas companies. For those reasons, companies are increasingly placing their Phase II and III trials outside the UK, in low cost areas such as Eastern Europe, Russia and India.37 p. 18
I'll write about it later.
When I read "My withdrawal hell" and withdrawal hell - 2 I don't believe that it's my story. I don't remember feeling all of these. It seems to be someone else's story.
After reaching the end of the withdrawal process I kept on feeling terrible in a way that life was impossible and I had to take Effexor again to stop all the strange feelings that were in my mind and my body.
No! I was not put on antidepressants or all the other drugs I took because I was depressed. I went to a psychiatrist to help me get off of clonazepam and he put me on Tofranil. All side effects promoted by this drug were seen as a mental disorder.
Now I'm fine although I'll have to be on Effexor and clonazepam and Seroquel for the rest of my life.
I could keep on with my life and forget about it all. Why am I so sad lately not because of me for I have crossed over all of that at a point that I read these stories not remembering I was there but because of so many people being on hell? For the last two months I've cried a lot visiting blogs.
Why on earth I'm concerned about it all? I'm fine, not depressed, not anything but broken because I've not worked due to withdrawal not only of Effexor but the huge amount of drugs I was put. So why, repeat, why am I writing on this subject instead of all the stuff I love to write or just keep on researching on mental health to finish my book?
Is it worthwhile? Does anybody care if I blog or not? Will it prevent others from being prescribed wrongly? Does it make any difference?
Monday, June 16, 2008
From the review "The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry":
Professional and patients Education p.25
74. Education for patients is provided in a variety of ways, including disease awareness campaigns, which are discussed in detail in Part 8.Such campaigns are designed to increase awareness among the general public of particular conditions that may be under-reported or under-diagnosed and to encourage people to seek treatment. Often, such campaigns are sponsored by a drug company and may bear a company ’s logo they may be also endorsed by a charity or patient organization and/or supported by a celebrity. P. 27
The promotion of Drugs
77. Prescription-only medicines may be promoted only to healthcare professionals, except in very specific cases such as Government-endorsed vaccination programmes. Promotion to prescribers may take many forms:
a) Drug company representatives. Approximately 8,000 drug company representatives operate in the
79. A critical element of the work of medical communications companies is the recruitment and training of key opinion leaders (KOLs), who are usually ‘authoritative third parties ’ such as physicians at the top of their field. These individuals may be paid to speak and write on behalf of the sponsoring pharmaceutical company. They attend medical conferences, for example, and may present research papers, take part in panel debates or field questions in oral sessions. The ' development' of KOLs, we were told, is a well-worked process involving all types of doctors (hospital consultants, clinical academics and GPs). P. 29
84. The direct advertising of prescription drugs to patients is prohibited. Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription-only medicines is permitted only in the
248…Dr Spence was especially concerned about the ‘Defeat Depression Campaign ’ and its effect on prescribing patterns and the public ’s perception of depression: [That campaign ] led to us being told that a third of people were depressed, that we should screen for it, that we should start using antidepressants early, and we did. If I think back five or ten years ago, we were diagnosing large numbers of people with depression, and we were prescribing many antidepressants. As time has gone on, I have certainly begun to realize that in some ways yes, there are many people who do have depression, but lots of people are just unhappy and that is a part of life. So there is a whole generation of people coming up who almost feel that being unhappy is and abnormal state, which, of course, it is not.210 p. 71/72
249.The ‘Defeat Depression Campaign ’ ((1992 –1997),which was run through the RCGP and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and sponsored by the manufacturers of antidepressants (who provided approximately one-third of the funding)targeted doctors as well as patients, in particular to emphasize that these drugs did not cause addiction or dependence. These claims have since been disputed and a warning about withdrawal symptoms is now included in the SPC. The Royal College of Psychiatrists provided supplementary evidence emphasizing that the Defeat depression Campaign had been intended to make it clear “that antidepressant treatment was not appropriate for mild to moderate depression, but effective only for severe or clinical depression ”.211 This important message evidently got lost; indeed there remains much confusion on this point today.212
The concept of ‘genetic predisposition to disease’ is therefore one that has gained widespread acceptance in recent years. However, being genetically predisposed to a disease does not mean that it will actually develop – there is an environmental component that interacts with other biological factors, such as the presence of particular disease antibodies.
According to GeneWatch:
Increasingly, medication is now prescribed to reduce risk of future illness. Selling medication to treat risk factors rather than diseases is immensely profitable for the pharmaceutical industry: or example, statins (to lower cholesterol levels) are now the biggest selling prescription drugs in the world [and are also now available over the counter ]220 p. 75
It was written on July 29, 2005:
Just to give you an idea that there's an end after this long and winding road that leads to Our door.Today I'm feeling fine. Now I have to taper the last 3/4 of 75 mg last pill. I cannot believe.
After 1 year and four months tapering 225 mg I have overcome the hell I was. For the first time I can believe I'll reach the end of the process. If everything goes right I hope next week I'll be able to taper another tiny little bit. So, I will finally be tapering half the pill.
The funny thing is that ours lives became this fight against this drug. My parameters are totally different from other people at the moment. When someone says to me that is tired I feel like laughing. I remember the days while on Effexor and when the tiredness was not because I had worked a lot or played a lot or anything a lot.
I could not wake up from bed. When someone says that is sad I also want to laugh for after being on chemical sadness that let me in total despair, the chemical suicidal ideation and all the sorrow, pain and strange feelings I felt and perhaps will still feel, everything connected to feelings that has a reason, that is part off living became almost irrelevant. Of course I suffer from my own problems but the priority is side effects, withdrawal symptoms when will I have my mind and body back, how many time will I have to wait after the last day off Effexor and so on…
Guess I’m getting after all…. crazy. I feel like asking: “ – Do you really know what sadness is?”
“ – Do you really know what tiredness is?” “ – Do you really know what it means the world is falling apart?”
Let me give you an address where you will find out: www.socialaudit.org.uk . There are others but here you will have a large number off testimonies.
I believe that maybe we get traumatized by all these. I keep on wondering when my life will start again. As if we could divide before SSRIs/after SSRIs. Only those who are here or somewhere else trying to get help knows what I’m talking about.
Everybody think that we are doing nothing. They have no idea what kind of work we are doing to save ourselves. Searching the Internet, having to find a way to get out off the drug for most off us had no help from physicians. Suffering the hell under the drug and the hell off side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
I started to write a message of optimism but it turned out into something else. But I guess it is important to realize that this struggle made us a little bit apart from the world.
But I believe that human beings are at the same time very fragile and very strong.
Now I was watching the news and the financial market reported that GlaxosSmith shareholders can sleep in peace for they are selling a lot. And ironically it appears these pills, millions of pills being manufactured.
And I keep on wondering when will it stop? Still naïve. But the question is still in my head: “All this suffering because others have to make profit?” Maybe the Pope could help. Perhaps he is also a shareholder. Surely he is.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Your day breaks, your mind aches
You find that all the words of kindness linger on
When she no longer needs you
She wakes up, she makes up
She takes her time and doesn't feel she has to hurry
She no longer needs you
And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years!............
I've just found one comment.
It was written on August 5, 2005 and it's a response for a journalist who asked why people were put on SSRIs. The journalist was from BBC and he was collecting data for the second Panorama on Paxil/Seroxat.
This is the only answer I've saved:
"The report "The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry" is something that should be recognized by all citizens in
At page 6 it's reported:
Inappropriate prescription of medicines by GPs is of particular concern. Some have prescribed SSRIs, for instance, on a grand scale.
But I defy you to go to a psychiatrist reporting anxiety or some problem and not to be put on any drug whether a benzodiazepine or a SSRI. It’s a problem that although, “About 650 million prescriptions are written each year by GPs alone.” is beyond specialization."
We, patients, should put it aside and focus on the side effects, withdrawal symptoms, permanent neurological problems.
Been a specialist does not mean that he or she is able to understand the problem. Psychiatrists, that were supposed to know everything that is at stake when they prescribe SSRIs, still do not know either how to cope with side effects or help patients to withdraw the drug. They say we have to stand side effects.
They do not rely on our reports, don't know how to recognize withdrawal symptoms, do not know that you can have withdrawal symptom after months out off the SSRI and prescribe these drugs that causes serious harm as if it was a painkiller.
Here is an issue very important (p. 7):
"The Government should, as a matter of urgency, fund research into the costs of drug-induced illness."
Sometimes I get a little afraid that the industry starts creating highly amount of drugs to treat the problems they created the iatrogenic diseases. Will we have to pay more expensive drugs?
This is terrifying:
“The drugs are produced by a very large and successful industry. It employs 83,000 people directly and many more indirectly, and makes a huge contribution to the balance of trade each year. Overall, the industry represents the country ’s third most profitable economic activity, after tourism and finance. It is of great importance to the UK economy.” p.9
And: p. 10
“7.The timing of this Inquiry coincided with an investigation by the medicines regulator into the safety of the newer ‘SSRI ’ antidepressant drugs, and we refer to these drugs to illustrate some concerns. Depression can be a severely disabling and life-threatening condition, when urgent treatment is needed, but only about 5% of all prescriptions are written for ‘severe ’ depression, and about two-thirds are for forms of depression classified as ‘mild depression"– i.e. mainly for people who are unhappy and distressed by difficult situations and circumstances. Although it is often suggested that antidepressant drugs will help these people, there is no good evidence that they will. Most people prescribed SSRIs in such circumstances can expect modest benefits, but are exposed to substantial risks of harm.”
I will keep on reading and believe that any person who is really concerned about this problem, especially physicians and patients, should read this report.
That’s why I say that everything is out in the open. The important is to have the courage to explain the truth.
If a report like this cannot make a difference, and surely will not, for as mentioned above “Overall, the industry represents the country’s third most profitable economic activity”.
Nobody, nothing can stop it.
But let’s wait that everything that is proposed in this important document such as in the part of what are the actions Government can take p.95:
325.Government has a number of areas of responsibility for medicines. It must act as sponsor for UK-based drug companies to encourage a thriving and competitive industry, it must maintain oversight of the regulatory system and ensure that mechanisms and incentives are in place so that the industry acts in a way that is consonant with the Government ’s public health aims.
“327.Government has been slow to see the importance of these areas, perhaps because the pharmaceutical industry funds such a great proportion of other medical research. The industry cannot be expected to fully fund areas of research that are not directly in its interest, however, and so it falls to Government to address areas of need such as non-drug treatments, combination studies and iatrogenic illness.” p. (95)
347. Although the case of Seroxat has been described in greater detail elsewhere in this report,it is worth noting here that,in additional information provided to the Committee on the basis of the EWG ’s report on SSRIs,it has been shown that suicidal thoughts and hostility are twice as common in patients receiving Seroxat in the month following drug withdrawal as in those receiving placebo. Data contained in the licence application itself cited studies in which withdrawal symptoms were common. Yet for years the MHRA maintained that withdrawal symptoms were rare, affecting of the order of 0.1 –0.2% of patients. The Agency now acknowledges that 20 –30%of patients might experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping SSRIs.
351. "The belief that every problem may be solved with medication seems particularly relevant in the context of antidepressants. While we readily accept that antidepressants can be effective medicines and have been successfully used by many patients, it is also clear that SSRIs, in particular, have been over-prescribed to individuals, often with mild forms of depression, who may be distressed by difficult life circumstances. Unhappiness is part of the spectrum of human experience, not a medical condition."
You all in UK have this powerful weapon on your hands.
Everyone who is concerned with the SSRIs problems should make an effort to remember your politicians and regulators to make it all work as soon as possible.
I would like to stress that Mr. Charles Medawar has a great deal of influence on this for as you can see at page 12:
14 .We are also very grateful for the expert guidance we received from our specialist advisers. They were: Professor John Abraham, Department of Sociology, University of Sussex; Professor Joe Collier of St George’s Medical School; Professor Gerard Hastings, University of Stirling; Charles Medawar, Executive Director of Social Audit Ltd; and Dr Harriet Scorer, an independent consultant to the pharmaceutical industry.
I do not know him, I live In Rio de Janeiro, knew all about him here in this site and became aware about this report here.
I admire all the effort he is doing in creating Socialaudit, and above all, he was the one who gave us a place to share all these hideous problems we are facing and to exchange our experiences giving advices to each other in order to heal ourselves an effort physicians has failed and did not even pay any attention to our words. In doing that it is impossible to say that nothing is happening.
All the testimonies here are off inestimable value to assure that SSRIs are not what the Pharmaceutical Industry claim they are.
Because of all this testimonies it became impossible to keep on denying that these drugs are not harmful.
Now it is about time to help him making pressure in order the solutions that are proposed can get out of the paper.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
"It's another empowerment post from something that happened to me yesterday. but first, i must make a comment that you know your head is in too much mental health topic reading and thinking when you turn on your (as in mine) kitchen faucet you've used for 5 years, and see tiny fine print under the handle for the first time, yeah like ever and say out loud, "what?!" because you think it says "Pfizer". when in fact it says "price pfister". that was this morning."
This is from our muse Stephany. Since I've found our mentor I've met incredible people. Stephany is one of them. When I've read it I laughed because the same is happening to me. The obsession on mental health issues perhaps is or either contagious or can be spread in the air like the perfume.
By visiting her blog I've already experienced a roller-coater of emotions. I've laughed, cried, got angry, was empowered, moved in many different ways.
I would like to thank her and tell her how much I appreciate her. As a woman, as a mother, as a warrior, as a writer... I see her everywhere helping blog buddies. Always giving support, sharing her experiences even if it's painful for her having to reveal some sad moments of her life. I don't have to say anything else because I'm sure that everybody knows her much better and from much more time than I do and what I have to say is not enough to fully describe this wonderful woman.
Topamax Luvox Celexa Lexapro Stelazine Thorazine
Clozaril Nozinam Clopixol Depixol Abilify Xenazine Prolixin
What is in a name?
The x, y, z scientific appeal works. You can rely on this names.
X and Y are so linked with exact science! Don't you remember the equations you had to solve on high school? You were either glad you found the exact answer or anguished because you could not find the x of the question.
How can you doubt that Abilify will not gives you ability?
Toda essa gente se engana
Ou então finge que não vê que eu nasci
Pra ser o super-bacana
Eu nasci pra ser o super-bacana
Estilhaços sobre Copacabana
O mundo em Copacabana
Tudo em Copacabana Copacabana
While withdrawing Effexor I only had help from SocialAudit and my story of 19 months tapering off Efexor is there. Unfortunately the discussion board is not available for technical reasons. There are many stories of people who were withdrawing.
This is one of many comments I did on this discussion board. I used to write directly on the site. I've just wrote two in my own word processor and now I don't have access to the others I wrote online.
This one was saved on July 21, 2005:
"Today I'm feeling great. I want to report this for the last message I’ve posted is very pessimist.
What happened was: I took the last dose of Effexor in December 2004. After feeling the withdrawal symptoms I have begun to feel great. I’m still on the last 75 mg pill.
In April 2005 I had flu. I felt that it was not a real flu. I did not have this withdrawal symptom that is reported by many people. I felt terrible.
Things got worse. I felt terrible and went on anguish and despair. I felt cramps for three months. My menstruation was very painful. I felt constant headache. For some days I felt a total imbalance off my body temperature. I felt cold and hot at the same time.
Then I started to have suicidal ideation. Twice on June I spent two days thinking that the only exit was to take my life. Even wrote some letters to friends and wanted to find out the exact dose of the three medications I know that are used by physicians in Hospitals when they practice euthanasia.
I was out off my mind. I knew that but could not stop the anguish and the chemical suicide ideation.
This is very important. You MUST TRUST that this suicide ideation does not come from you. I’m sure it is caused by the Effexor. Quite, quite sure. I have no doubt about that.
Last week I was still feeling terrible, could not do anything and the suicide ideation was still there but not so strong.
I went to the psychiatrist I sometimes go and at the first time he said it was not usual but it could be withdrawal symptoms. The second time I went he said it was not. The anguish was mine. So I stopped going and I’m quite sure if I reported the suicidal ideation he would have put me in any drug that only would make me feel worse.
I do not trust any psychiatrist now. After my experience with 8 of them and reading the reports of many who had experience the same I’m tired. Cannot stand their coldness, their ignorance and the total lack of real interest on the patients.
This week thinks start to get better and today I’m feeling as if I had come out of a nightmare.
I’m feeling myself again.
Nothing changed in my life. What happened? I have no idea. The conclusion is that withdrawal symptoms really last for months or years as reported by David Healy.
Now I’m taking the last pill of this 75 mg. I’m cutting a tiny little piece of the pill and wait for 12 days. Then take ¼, wait 12 days. Then I will see what happens.
Take care of yourselves. Whatever your symptoms are they will stop. Keep in mind: EVERYTHING HAS AN END.
I’m writing this to you to convey that we are really facing problems that are very terrible but this is an affirmative message.
Even thought we have to face all this we must not be afraid of taking this poison out of our bodies. Otherwise we will have to face the terrible side effects. Off course I’m scared, very scared. But there’s no other way. At least I recovered my biological clock. I use to go to sleep at and wake up at Now, it started the last week, I go to bed at 11 or and wake up at It’s a clearly sign that my body is striving and there’s a great revolution in my mind and body going on. Our bodies will win at the end."
Friday, June 13, 2008
This picture is in Dr.Gustavo Teixeira's site. It's him that is smiling beside Dr. Biederman while in Boston during a course on Psychopharmacology in childhood and adolescence in Harvard Medical School, Division of Postgraduate Education on march, 2008.
In the site it's said that "Dr. Biederman develops works on children mental health and is considered one of the most influent researches all over the world".
The Brazilian psychiatrist Dr Gustavo Teixeira is member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
I hope that Dr. Gustavo Teixeira is not following Dr. Biederman steps and has real concern with children and adolescent's mental health.
He is very concerned with street-drugs addiction and wrote a book: "Drugs - A Guide for parents and teachers".
I'm sad and angry because of what I'm reading on my friends blogs and also the comments. I'm witnessing and feeling empathic with many people whose lives have been changed not only because of diseases but especially by harms caused by medicaments.
Life is already hard enough and the extra problems caused by side effects, withdrawal symptoms, long-term lasting side effects of people who are out of drugs after being on the hell of withdrawal...
There are those who need help and are switching from drug to drug.
The list is long and I'm feeling so sad and angry that I cannot write now.
That's the way I'm feeling:
Thursday, June 12, 2008
That was the word Vanessa Redgrave did answer James Lipton for the question "What is your least favorite word?" on the famous "Inside Actor's Studio".
I admire this woman immensely. Julia is one of my favorites movies and she told how she came up producing and acting. She was on a theater and a cinema usher showed Lillian Hellman's book. As she didn't had read he lend it to her.
She did read it in one night and decided to make the movie. I saw an interview where Lillian said she hated the scene when Jane Fonda throw away the typewriter through the window for she loved her machine and would never consider doing something like that.
And Vanessa is right. Xenophobia comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning "someone with whom you are not acquainted", and φόβος (phobos), meaning "fear".
In the beginning of this century while the word globalization conveys a sympathetic image but covers the worst face of the capitalistic system, whose sole aim seems to be producing money and it's values are spreading all over the world, xenophobia hears it's ugly head in many different ways.
I would think twice spending one year in Paris while on the eighties I was received with great hospitality. Perhaps because I was around people linked to arts but I'm not sure. I was treated well by French people everywhere I went. I speak the language and it helps.
But I'm not sure if it would be the same.
I've received a six month visa in UK although I was just spending a week before returning home.
But from the news I've been reading it seems that things would be very different.
Some Americans uses a backpack with a Canadian flag while abroad. Neo-nazists are on Germany and in other countries denying holocaust and beating people.
In South-Africa another kind of racism is going on.
I will not raise the whole faces of xenophobia for I would have to make a long list.
What does it has to do with mental health?
A silly association that was planted in my brain.
(xenos), meaning "someone with whom you are not acquainted"
I don't know the Greek word for "something with which you are not acquainted". However it seems to me that the stigma crazy people suffer has something to do with lack of knowledge of what are the feelings of a depressed person and all others conditions that are not under the normal umbrella.
It's about time people acquainted themselves with other people's feelings.
We don't fear what we know although some people choose to hate what they know.
But we were told that SSRIs are not addictive over and over again. Why on earth there are private clinics in UK to help people tapering these drugs?
There are plenty data here and all over the Web claiming that not only these drugs are highly addictive but that they are the hell to withdraw. Bob Fiddaman found out this insightful paragraph:
Treating addiction to antidepressants is therefore among the most difficult of all addictions to treat, precisely because its true nature is so poorly understood and because doctors may inadvertently work against the best clinical interests of their patients. Faced with the prospect of a suicide, doctors often reach for a prescription pad so that they can be seen to be "doing" something. However, when a successful suicide has used antidepressants the doctor is not blamed but thought to have done his or her best to "help" the patient. Nothing could be further from the truth. Prescribing a mood-altering drug makes it less likely that the patient will find a solution to internal as well as external problems because the sense of equanimity is artificially induced. - Dr Robert Lefever
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
But they are here again. Get the Kleenex.
This is Survivor Story number 24.
Total number of stories in current database is 276
The Effexor Nightmare
The drug company should have let us known that this could happen to us.
Six years ago I had became very depressed. Little did I know that depression ran in our family, starting with my grandmother, my mother and then myself.
I tried for three long agonizing years to beat the beast in my life. Finally, I decided to go and talk to my doctor about my depression and she put me on Paxil. I don't even remember half of what I did for about a month. All I could do was cry and sleep. She then decided to put me on Effexor, which has been just as bad. I have gained so much weight that I find myself still depressed.
In all I have gained 53 pounds. I also have other side effects that I had no idea the Effexor was causing until I starting researching the drug. I have muscle tremors that my doctor put me on seizure medicine for. I also have headaches, and I cannot sleep. An example is that I am writing this and it is almost three in the morning and I get up at five to get my children ready for school. This is another problem. I do not feel like doing anything because I feel numb almost all the time and if I forget to take my medicine I become very aggressive and outspoken in a very ugly manner and this is not the person I am nor do I want to continue to be this way.
I don't feel like cooking, cleaning, washing, or doing everyday activities and I also have problems with my memory and that is a bad thing when you have children to do things for everyday, and it takes a toll not only on me but my family. I am only 33 and I want to be able to live a normal life and that will never be until I get this medicine out of my system. I want to be a good wife and mother, and not have my family suffer with me through this hell. If I had known what this crap would do to me I would have never swallowed that first pill. I will continue to pray for all those that are taking the drug Effexor and I hope that you will do the same for me.
Maybe, just maybe we can beat this addiction to a drug that was suppose to help us overcome depression. And the drug company should have let us known that this could happen to us. What if it was their wife, their child, or their relative that had to live the Effexor nightmare? Would it make a difference to them then or would it be just another dollar in their pockets?
This is Survivor Story number 199.
Total number of stories in current database is 276
Unprepared for the Horrendous Withdrawal from Effexor (with an update 4 months later)
"Sometimes it felt as if my brain was shuddering in my skull…"
I realize that this is what most would consider a long letter. However, it is only a brief summation of my own personal experience. Please, especially those of you who are parents or grandparents, teachers or counselors, just take the two minutes it takes to read it, then just put it in the back of your mind. Or pass it on.
Anti-depressants are quite often being cavalierly dispensed to the population in general. Also, they are prescribed to help kids who've been on Ritalin for years get through the difficult process of the cessation of that drug. And now the manufacturers of these drugs are planning to produce it in smaller doses for their next target population: pre and elementary school aged children! These drugs have a very high percentage rate of undesirable and sometimes dangerous side effects.
Several years ago I broke my wrist, which caused me to develop a rare condition known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. One of the medications I was given to try to control the pain was Effexor. Effexor is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or an SSRI. These drugs are commonly known as anti-depressants. Prozac is probably the most commonly known drug in this class. I was on this drug for less than 6 months when, for reasons of my own, I decided I wanted to get off. That's when my nightmare began.
One cannot just stop taking these drugs. There is a tapering off process which must be followed. This is because there are very often serious and debilitating withdrawal symptoms. However, I was not told of these symptoms, and I now know that the doctor did not know about them, either. He told me only that nightmares were a common occurrence during this process, and that I might also experience "mild, flu-like" symptoms and "slight confusion." During this initial, original prescribed tapering off process, which was supposed to take about 2 weeks, I experienced vivid and terrifying nightmares. I could not shake these off for hours after I had wakened. Since I was extremely tired, I napped a lot. Each time I napped, there would be a nightmare, and the process would repeat itself several times daily. I really was unprepared for their intensity and lasting after-images.
Then came the day I was to stop taking it. To make a long story short, these were some of my symptoms: A weird visual thing would happen for about a second, about 4 times a minute. I can only compare it to what it feels like to try to track the arrow of the mouse across the page. But I knew it was not my eyes that were doing this, I could feel it was my brain. (October, 2000: I've just found out that the term for this is "staccato vision"). I also experienced what people who have this call a sensation "like electric shocks" or "jolts" to my whole body which also occurred for a split second every 15 seconds or so. When these occurred at night, in the dark, they were accompanied by a flash of white light. It's as if I were "whiting out" (instead of "blacking out") for just a split second every 15 seconds or so. These incidents began to increase in intensity and began to be accompanied by panic and/or paranoia flashes. Eventually, just moving caused such dizziness and disorientation that I had to hold onto whatever was around me to walk. Sometimes it felt as if there were a magnet to one side of me, pulling me that way. The "slight confusion" I experienced is something I can only imagine is what beginning Alzheimer's patients must feel like during the initial stages of their eventually terminal mental decline during the time when they are still aware that something is really going wrong. Sometimes it felt as if my brain was shuddering in my skull a sensation that has come to be called "Brain Shivers" or "Brain Flips" by many. Numerous other things were happening as well, but I don't want to get too long-winded here. I just want to give you all some idea of some of the kinds of things that were happening.
So, I made an appointment with the prescribing doctor, and a friend was kind enough to take me there. But the doctor did not believe me! He said that it couldn't be the Effexor, that I probably had some neurological problems and that if the symptoms persisted, I should see a neurologist. But I KNEW it was the Effexor, so I went home, took another pill, and felt fine within the hour. Then I got on the 'net. What I found there was astounding! Tons of people, all with the same things happening to them, reaching out to anonymous others and saying, "Help! What is happening to me?" These I found on bulletin boards, NOT on product information sites put up by the people who are selling the stuff.
I tried calling the Drug Company to find out what was happening to me and how to stop it. I never did reach them. Fortunately for me, my primary care physician had heard of these symptoms and knew how to deal with them. She advised a long, slow tapering off process, telling me that it could take one to two months for me to be able to get off. Also fortunately for me, she told me to take as long as I needed.
It took me 10 MONTHS! During that time, the symptoms mentioned above continued, although diminished enough for me to be able to function almost normally. But other things began to happen. I saw things out of the corners of my eyes, which were not there. We all do that, but this was pretty constant. One thing I saw which I never told anyone about until it had stopped was a big, hairy rat about 1 foot long, scurrying around corners. Keep in mind that I was not on this drug because I was in any way mentally unbalanced, it was merely to help with the pain. I saw, and still see occasionally, a pinpoint of violet shimmering light. Also, things would seem to be moving out of the corners of my eyes. A spot on the wall, for example, I would think was a spider crawling until I looked directly at it, when I would realize it was just a spot on the wall. These things did not scare me, but they were frequent and startling and bothersome.
I took my last little crumbs of Effexor in September of 1999. End of story?
Unfortunately, no. It is now the end of July, 2000, and I still experience some of the same symptoms, although they are manageable. I also have experienced monstrous headaches. The first one, back in September, lasted 4 days. I thought I was going to die. I even told my son that I might die. I debated about that for a while, but did not want him to wake up and find me dead one morning. Fortunately, I'm still here. My headaches began to decrease in length, and now they seem to last only 2 hours or so. They go away within one minute. Sometimes I'm just achy all over. I guess that experience is the "mild, flu-like" symptoms I'd been warned about. I still have days I call "my stupid days", and they usually signal the beginning of episodes lasting several days, involving vertigo, dizziness, short anxiety attacks, some euphoria occasionally, the "brain shivers", and numerous other weird symptoms, and culminating in a headache. Then I'm fine for however long it lasts. Sometimes I feel whole body tremors, not enough to make me twitch, and they are not unpleasant, but they're there and they shouldn't be.
I am concerned about this. I want to know why, after not taking this drug for so long, I am experiencing this "discontinuation syndrome", and when will it stop? I have not yet found the answer.
I finally did get in touch with the Drug Company to ask them these questions and they took down all my information. They have never explained why, and they have never followed up. They would not talk to me about my symptoms, they would only talk with my doctor. And this was not OK because the doctor did not believe me! (This was not the prescribing doctor who hadn't believed me when I first tried to get off, this was the doctor who'd prescribed the tapering off process.) But I told her to call them and talk to them, and it was pretty easy for them to shine her on, since she didn't believe me anyway. And they sent her a letter advising a slow tapering off of the drug, which I'd already done, of course, AND a "report" from a closed symposium on SSRIs sponsored by the a drug company 'way back in 1996! (Which, of course, did not address the issue.)
The more research I've done on these things, the angrier I become. Because the drug companies have known about these things for years. Many people and their families have gone through much, much worse than I have. Some people have never been able to get off the drugs.
Now, what would YOU do if you were manufacturing these things? You'd probably say' "Whoa! We need to stop selling these things until we can find out what's causing this. We'd better get in touch with each and every one of those people who are having these extreme reactions, do whatever we can to help them, and to identify what it IS about them that makes them react differently than those who have no problems with the medication." Well, not only are these companies not doing this, they are manufacturing the drugs in smaller doses so that CHILDREN can take them! Yes, Prozac is currently being tested on pre-school aged children! And although these drugs have not YET been approved for use in children, the numbers of children aged 6-12 being prescribed Prozac has risen from 41,000 in 1995 to 203,000 in 1996. Currently, in 2000, 2.3 million children in the U.S. are on anti-depressants. The official literature on these drugs says that they are safe for pregnant women to take! And there are documented cases of newborns being born with the more evident withdrawal symptoms (which the drug companies are ignoring because nobody can prove it. Isn't that horrible?!). The companies that manufacture these things are re-naming Prozac "Seraphim" or something and doctors are prescribing it for PMS!
Are these drugs harmful to absolutely anyone who takes them? Of course not. And for many, these drugs have proven to be beneficial. However, they are NOT only being prescribed for major, long-term depressions, but for such things as the Holiday Blues and teenage angst! But the percentage risk for horrible and even deadly side effects is extremely high. (See the 3rd link below.)
Please, unless you are chronically depressed or have something really, really severe, stay away from this class of drugs. And please, NEVER EVER put a child on these things! I am an intelligent, articulate, resourceful middle-aged woman. When a wave of panic starts to wash over me, or any other of these weird things start to happen, I can tell myself to just hold on, it's just the after-effects of the drug, it will go away, I should take a deep breath and relax, etc. Do you think a child or a newborn could do the same? I can't imagine what it would be like to be a child in school and to suffer the kind of confusion I've been through and manage to learn anything, let alone be involved in a physical activity or sport! This has been going on for nearly 2 years with me, and I don't know when it will end!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. This has been a BRIEF synopsis of what my life has been like for the past two years. And it's nothing compared to what others have been through.
Update, October, 2000:
In the few months since I wrote this, I found that these continued withdrawal effects after not haven taken the drug for a long time is a phenomena which has not one but two names: PANES (Persistent Adverse Neurological Effects) and "Intractable Withdrawal". This phenomenon was noted as early as 1996, before I began taking Effexor. How can the pharmaceutical companies deny the existence of something that has occurred enough to even have a name?
Several months ago I was driving with my son on the freeway at night and I felt fine. Out of the blue, a wave of disorientation and that peculiar form of dizziness I associate with my "Effexor Episodes" came upon me. I found myself in the middle of two lanes with no remembrance of which one I had come from. I was too scared to look in the rear view mirror to see what was behind me. I heard my son yell, "What are you doing?" A car was breaking to the left of me. I asked my son which lane I should go into and he told me to go right. Fortunately the freeway was not crowded. I was dizzy and scared and felt as if I was going to pass out. Soon there was an exit and I took that off the freeway and my son continued the drive home. I have not driven at night since.
I am a 50 year old woman with an excellent driving record. I made it. I feel sure that if there had been more cars on the freeway there would've been a terrible accident. Children from the ages of 6 up are being prescribed these drugs. They are getting their learners permits and at age 16 are given driver's licenses after passing very easy tests. Maybe you or a loved one will be in a car next to one someday. Maybe you'll be in an airplane piloted by a pilot who's missed a dose, directed by an air traffic controller who's trying to get off this stuff. Maybe you'll be next to a taxicab driver or a bus driver or a commuter who is suddenly euphoric or has a momentary panic attack. I won't drive at night, and am careful about where and when I drive in the daytime. But I really don't think that many can afford to do that. I think they'll just drive and hope for the best. And that is really, really scary to me.
I've already blogged on my language, Portuguese, and about subjects that are easier for me to approach. Perhaps I'll put some of those posts here. For now I don't know what to say. So I'll leave this comment I've left on Stan's blog:
Thank you for the first comment.
I was filling homeless in blogosphere and was annoying Philip putting the wonderful and important data I found on the WWW kingdom.
So I decided to open this blog.
Now all those brilliant remarks I had in mind that would certainly change forever the psychiatry history have disappeared.LOL
Now reading the beginning of your profile I've laughed a lot!
I also want the coffee and donut and leave!
After seeing that you've put my incredible blog on your links I'm laughing and laughing.
I admire you immensely for your work with mental health.
Thank you for the incentive.
As soon as the stage panic gets better I'll scribble something assassinating English language. Of course I'll blame the crime on tapering any SSRI.
And you must write about what you want.