Re: DEPRESSION MED: Shoplifting: Woman: Wales

Paragraph 7 reads “He said: ;There was extensive calling at her door from reporters which caused her – and she was suffering from depression anyway – to suffer more’.”

Paragraph 9 reads: “The judge said: ‘The recurring theme every time you come before the court is this: ‘you are not responsible for your actions, it’s always somebody else’s fault, or ‘I’ve been taking medication, I’m the victim of abuse’.”

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/07/02/spain-getaway-mum-slammed-by-judge-91466-24061369/

Spain getaway mum slammed by judge
Jul 2 2009 WalesOnline

THE Spanish getaway mum escaped a jail sentence today for shoplifting – but was told to stop blaming everyone but herself for her troubles.

At Newport Crown Court, Judge Eleri Rees gave the woman a supervised community order but told her: “It’s your fault.”

The 38-year-old – who cannot be named to protect her children – first hit the headlines when she flew to Malaga to teach her moaning daughters aged 11 and 14 a lesson.

The jobless mother was then arrested for being 30 minutes late for court after underestimating the train travel time.

She pleaded guilty to two charges of stealing a total of £42 worth of clothing and accessories from stores in Pontypridd and Tonypandy.

Her lawyer Nicholas Gedge said his client had been in a state of turmoil at the time of the offences, as a result of being in an abusive relationship and her inability to cope with the media attention after her conviction for cruelty to her children.

He said: “There was extensive calling at her door from reporters which caused her – and she was suffering from depression anyway – to suffer more.”

But Judge Rees told the defendant she needed to start taking responsibility for her actions.

The judge said: “The recurring theme every time you come before the court is this: ‘you are not responsible for your actions, it’s always somebody else’s fault, or ‘I’ve been taking medication, I’m the victim of abuse.’

“It’s never your fault. It is truly shocking that you still think you did nothing wrong last year.

“You complain that the Press took an interest in your case but you were protected from having to face the true backlash in a community that knew who you were and what you had done.

“You chose your partners. You complain that they are abusive to you but you make that decision.

“I’m not condoning anyone being violent but it’s your choices that are wrong.

“You have one last opportunity.”

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Man Becomes Aggressive & Is Arrested: England

Second paragraph from the end reads: “He said: ‘That day he tried to commit suicide. He took a substantial overdose of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. He remembers hardly anything about the offence’.”

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4469801.Brighton_overdose_man_abusive_to_hospital_doctors/

Brighton overdose man abusive to hospital doctors
6:00pm Thursday 2nd July 2009
By Alison Cridland »

A man who had taken an overdose became aggressive after hospital doctors refused to give him a bed.

James Morley, 48, was escorted out of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton, but when he would not leave the grounds the police were called.

Morley admitted disorderly behaviour at a hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court .

The court was told he went to the hospital, in Eastern Road, twice on June 20.

During his second visit he asked doctors to give him a bed for the night but he became abusive when they refused.

Brian Noel, prosecuting, told the court: “The doctors told him to go away because he was being disruptive. His behaviour became abusive to nursing staff.”

Security staff also asked him to leave before escorting him from the accident and emergency department towards the edge of the hospital grounds.

Mr Noel said: “He turned towards them. He was looking extremely aggressive. He was shouting and making threats.”

Morley, of Marine Parade, Brighton, was restrained on the ground in the road until police arrived.

Ray Papp, defending, said Morley had a history of mental health problems and had made previous suicide attempts. On the evening of his arrest he had taken an overdose of his medication before going to the hospital.

He said: “That day he tried to commit suicide. He took a substantial overdose of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. He remembers hardly anything about the offence.”

Morley was given a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £43 costs.

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PROZAC: Man Kills Girlfriend: Stabs her Over 200 Times: New Zealand

Second paragraph from the end reads: “She knew he could be mean and nasty when he was under stress and that he had been seeing a psychotherapist for years. She also knew he was on the antidepressant drug known as prozac.”

SRI Stories note: A second article follows and states that the girl was stabbed over 200 times.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10582076

Tutor had ‘nasty, mean side’ ex-girlfriend tells court
11:31AM Thursday Jul 02, 2009

Sophie Elliott was stabbed to death. Photo / Supplied
Living with Clayton Weatherston could be “a bit like walking on eggshells”, a former girlfriend of the 33-year-old former University economics tutor told the Christchurch High Court this morning.

The trial was later adjourned until tomorrow after a juror collapsed.It will reconvene at 10am tomorrow.

The young woman whose identity is suppressed was in a relationship with Weatherston for two to three years until 2007 when he became involved with Sophie Elliott, a 22-year-old Honours student.

Weatherston stabbed Miss Elliott to death at her Ravensbourne home on January 9 last year and is on trial for murder.

He has admitted manslaughter but denies the killing was murder. The defense says he was provoked by the pain of the tumultuous relationship with Miss Elliott and because she attacked him with a pair of scissors.

The young woman was giving evidence on the seventh day of Weatherston’s trial.

To defense counsel Judith Ablett-Kerr QC, she said she learned she had to be “quite careful” with Weatherston. If she said something that set him off he would “really go off”.

But she agreed their relationship was generally loving and kind although she found it really stressful when he came under stress “He had two sides, a loving and generous side and a nasty, mean side which he seldom showed in public,” the woman said.

During their time together, she had never challenged Weatherston nor questioned his sexual performance. And she would not have compared his sexual organs to anyone else’s although she did once “reluctantly” when he asked her directly.

She never implied he was “a retard” but Weatherston told her Sophie Elliott had called him that.

” I thought she was probably saying it in jest and I suggested that to him. I said I didn’t think it was directed to his intelligence or meant that way.

“But he took it differently, and referred to it several times,” the young woman said.

She knew he could be mean and nasty when he was under stress and that he had been seeing a psychotherapist for years. She also knew he was on the antidepressant drug known as prozac.

“You knew he was psychologically fragile?” Mrs Ablett-Kerr asked, and the witness agreed there was “an element of fragility” to his personality.

– OTAGO DAILY TIMES
——————————————————————————————————-
Second paragraph reads: “The university tutor is accused of killing Sophie Elliott by stabbing her more than 200 times.”

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/tears-flow-weatherston-trial-2824693

Tears flow at Weatherston trial
Published: 12:29PM Thursday July 02, 2009

Source: NZPA/ONE News

Emotions spilled over in the murder trial of Clayton Weatherston in Christchurch on Thursday as letters he wrote after his arrest were read to the court.

The university tutor is accused of killing Sophie Elliott by stabbing her more than 200 times.

A former girlfriend of the accused, who has name suppression, read a letter she sent him while he was in jail.

“This will be a rough ride, you’ll be ok,” she read.

As Weatherston’s ex-girlfriend began to cry, there were tears from Clayton Weatherston too. His lawyer had to take over reading a letter he had written back.

“I’m nervous about court on Thursday and I’m annoyed my side will not be made public,” the letter, from just days after he stabbed Elliott to death, read.

The woman, who had been Weatherston’s girlfriend for three years, said she had written to him before she knew the extent of Elliott’s injuries.

“When I found out what had gone on…I couldn’t believe it and I wouldn’t have written a letter,” she said.

She also told the defense about the night Weatherston attacked her and kicked her across a room.

“Just before he kicked me he said ‘you ungrateful bitch’.” t

She agreed he was stressed and on anti-depressants at the time.

Just after the court adjourned, one of the jurors collapsed in the jury room.

A doctor in the court’s public gallery gave the juror medical assistance before he was taken away by an ambulance.

“We will get a report from the hospital after they have been able to assess his condition,” Justice Potter said.

If he is too unwell to continue, the court will reconvene at 10am on Friday with a jury of just 11.

Here is the complete list of adverse reactions attributable to SSRI medications:

1. Insomnia

2. Vivid and violent dreams

3. Inability to detect dreams from reality (The world takes on an other-worldly aspect)

4. No emotions

5. Inability to feel guilt or cry

6. Nausea

7. Loss of appetite

8. Rash; Breathing or lung problems

9. Heart fluttering

10. Shaking – jitteriness

11. Unusual energy surges at times producing super human strength (adrenalin rushes)

12. Memory impairment

13. Hair loss

14. Blurred vision or pressure behind the eyes

15. Inability to discontinue use of drug and increasing own dose

16. Cravings for alcohol, sweets, and other substances or drinking large sums of alcohol, coffee or other caffeinated drinks, diet pop with NutraSweet, etc.

17. Headaches

18. Swelling and/or pain in joints

19. Burning or tingling in extremities

20. Muscle twitching or contractions

21. Tongue numbness and slurred speech

22. Sweating

23. Dizziness

24. Confusion

25. Chills or cold sweats

26. Muscle weakness

27. Extreme fatigue

28. Diabetes or hypoglycemia

29. Lowered immune system

30. Seizures or convulsions

31. Weight gain or weight loss

32. Mood swings

33. Altered personality

34. Symptoms of mania, ie., inability to sit still or restlessness, racing thoughts, acting silly or giddy (like a teenager again)

35. Sexual promiscuity leading to unwanted pregnancy or divorce

36. Irresponsibility, wild spending sprees, gambling, criminal behavior, shoplifting, embezzling, stealing, hostility, etc.

37. Deceitfulness

38. Blank staring

39. Inability to see any alternatives in situations

40. Hyperactivity

41. Aggressive or violent behavior

42. Wanting to ram other cars or driving irrationally

43. Impulsive behavior with no concern about consequences

44. Numbness in various body parts – legs go numb and right out from under patient

45. Sexual organs go numb making orgasm impossible

46. Pulling away from loved ones and others (isolating oneself)

47. Divorce

48. No desire to be touched

49. Paranoia

50. Falsely accusing others of abuse – family members or acquaintances

51. Loss of spirituality

52. Feeling “possessed” or that something evil is inside

53. Self destructive behavior and suicidal ideation

54. Suicide attempts

55. Muscle tremors

56. Loss of co-ordination

57. Mania

58. Psychosis

[SOURCE: PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA?, BY ANN BLAKE TRACY, PH.D.]

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Risk of Diabetes: Medscape

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/705051

Long-Term Use of Antidepressants For Depressive Disorders and the Risk of Diabetes Mellitus. Ranked “Changes Clinical Practice” by F1000
Leo Sher; Maria Oquendo

Authors and Disclosures

Published: 07/01/2009

Andersohn F, Schade R, Suissa S, Garbe E
Am J Psychiatry 2009 May 166(5):591-8

Commentary from Leo Sher and Maria Oquendo

Changes Clinical Practice: Patients receiving a moderate to high daily dose of antidepressants for greater than 12 months should be evaluated for impaired glucose tolerance/diabetes.

The authors of this study have shown that the long-term use of antidepressants in at least moderate daily doses was associated with an increased risk of diabetes. This finding indicates that blood glucose levels should be checked periodically in patients on long-term antidepressant therapy.

Depression is a severe condition that frequently requires a long-term treatment. The authors examined the relationships between the use of antidepressants and a risk of diabetes mellitus in patients of at least 30 years of age and whether the risk is influenced by treatment duration or daily dose. The authors used data from the UK General Practice Research Database (GPRD), which contains medical records for several million patients from about 450 general practices in the UK. Criteria for inclusion in the study included but were not limited to the following: (1) patients had to be at least 30 years of age at the time of cohort entry (only patients 30 years of age were included in the cohort to ensure that incident cases of diabetes were most likely to be type 2 diabetes); (2) have had no diagnosis of diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance and no treatment with oral antidiabetics or insulin before cohort entry; and (3) have had a diagnosis of depression within 180 days before or 90 days after cohort entry. Antidepressants were classified into tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, and the heterogeneous group of mixed-action “other antidepressants.” Recent long-term use of antidepressants in moderate or high daily doses was associated with an increased risk of diabetes whereas recent use of shorter duration, use in lower daily doses, former use, and past use were not. This association was observed for both tricyclic antidepressants and SSRIs. In the analysis of individual antidepressants, increased risk estimates were observed for long-term use of amitriptyline, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and venlafaxine. The results of this study are consistent with a recent report published by the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group: the randomized Diabetes Prevention Program trial found an increased risk of diabetes in high-risk patients who used antidepressants.[1] A significant strength of this study is that all information was registered prospectively so that recall bias could be ruled out. An important limitation of this study is that weight gain during follow-up was not systematically recorded, and it was not included in the analysis. It is important to note that depression itself increases risk for diabetes. This may contribute to the results observed by the authors of the study. This study indicates that patients receiving antidepressants long-term should be evaluated for impaired glucose tolerance/diabetes. This study contributes to our knowledge of the use and possible adverse effects of antidepressants in the treatment of depression.

Faculty of 1000 Medicine Evaluations, Dissents and Author responses for: [Andersohn F, Schade R, Suissa S, Garbe E et al. Long-term use of antidepressants for depressive disorders and the risk of diabetes mellitus. Am J Psychiatry 2009 May 166(5):591-8 ]. 2009 May www.f1000medicine.com/article/id/1161024

Abstract

References

1. Rubin et al. Diabetes Care 2008, 31:420-6

Authors and Disclosures
The following article was selected and commented on by these Faculty Members of Faculty of 1000 Medicine:
Leo Sher and Maria Oquendo, Columbia University, United States of America Psychiatry

Disclosure: No potential interests relevant to this article were reported.

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PAXIL & ANTIDEPRESSANT: Grandmother Accidentally Smothers Infant Grandson: MN

SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states that antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously, thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human body.

http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_12737577

Lakeville woman suspected of accidentally smothering her infant grandson
Police: She was legally drunk, on antidepressants
By Frederick Melo and Jessica Fleming
Pioneer Press
Updated: 07/01/2009 11:39:43 PM CDT

Lakeville police say a woman who had been prescribed antidepressants fell asleep on top of her 6-week-old grandson after drinking martinis, killing him.

Police recently investigated the woman in connection with the May 9 death of Evan Michael Berney and referred the case to the Dakota County attorney’s office to be reviewed for possible charges.

No charges have been filed, but a search warrant application filed by Lakeville police Detective R.P. Helmueller indicates Tina Louise Miller-Steiner, 45, admitted she had been watching Evan and fell asleep while feeding him.

The warrant application, filed in the Dakota County Courthouse in Hastings, states Miller-Steiner takes Paxil and another antidepressant and had been advised by her doctor not to mix her medications with alcohol.

Reached Wednesday, Miller-Steiner called her grandson’s death a tragedy and said media reports have treated her unfairly.

“I haven’t been charged with anything, and I’m really appalled that I have people coming with cameras in our face when we’ve had this tragic accident,” she said. “To have people in my face, it’s no respect for me and no respect for our family. … It was a tragic accident.”

According to the warrant affidavit, police responded to the incident May 9 and interviewed Miller-Steiner at the Lakeville Police Department. Miller-Steiner allegedly said: “I think I killed him. I think I killed him!”

She told them she had been watching Evan at her house in Lakeville

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Soldier’s Condition Worsens: U.S.A.

Cravings for both alcohol and cigarettes in those who never used them before are reported regularly by those taking antidepressants.

Paragraphs 14 through 18 read: “Marcus, whose name has been changed for fear of reprisal from his former military leaders, sat in a worn easy chair in his Salem studio apartment sucking on his third Marlboro in less than 20 minutes and nervously twirling an ink pen from Salem Hospital. A tall bottle of a generic prescription antidepressant sat on the end table he crafted out of leftover two-by-fours from a fencing project he worked last year. The shades were pulled and the glimmer from his lamp highlighted beads of perspiration on his forehead in the warm room.”

“’Before I left, I never smoked, not once,’ he said, as he took another long drag, letting the smoke linger in his mouth before letting it loose with a slow exhale. ‘There were a lot of things I didn’t do, ‘ he said. ‘That tour f***ed me up. When I got back, they expected me to return to life like it was before. No s***, like nothing had ever changed’.”

“Things had changed for Marcus, who said he couldn’t manage to keep his job as a welder because he would get sudden flashbacks to that one day in the Afghan village.”

“Change had also occurred for his 26-year-old wife, whom he said left him shortly after he returned, adding additional stress for the veteran to overcome.”

“’I’m the one who drove her away,’ Marcus admitted, wiping away several tears. ‘I would yell at her constantly. I hit her. I was never, never like this before I went to Afghanistan, never’.”

http://willamettelive.com/story/Soldiers_return_from_the_frontlines_to_face_war_with_VA121.html

Soldiers return from the frontlines to face war with VA
By Sheldon Traver
from WillametteLive, Section News

Posted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 08:45:07 PM PDT

This year marks a milestone for the Oregon Army National Guard.

More than 3,000 soldiers have already left or are preparing for deployment to Iraq in 2009. It will be the largest deployment for the Oregon Army National Guard since World War II.

However, questions have recently been raised about the care veterans receive upon their return from war. Some Oregon weekend warriors are finding a Department of Veterans Affairs that is unwilling or unable to care for the long-term physical and mental disabilities they are now facing.

With little outside help, some have given up the fight and others continue to struggle for the benefits they say they deserve.

The Veterans Affairs office in Portland disputes these claims, saying it is doing more for veterans now than any time in the past, and points to increased services and a new processing facility in Hillsboro that has prepared the federal agency to aid all returning veterans.

Todd Marcus

In November 2006, then-23-year-old Army specialist Todd Marcus was on patrol in a small Afghan village outside of Kabul.

He carried his M-16 barrel down with his finger just inside the trigger housing. He sweltered under more than 50 pounds of combat gear, including body armor and a Kevlar helmet. Beads of perspiration trickled down to the palms of his gloved hands. Even with the fingertips cut off, the salty runoff made the cuts in his hands sting and itch.

Approximately 100 meters to his left, Marcus saw an Afghan police officer walking a few meters behind another police officer in patrol formation. The officer looked nervous as he scanned the rooftops, looking for those who might intend to kill him. Each little boy, each expectant mother could have been a suicide bomber, paid or extorted by insurgents to end their lives in a desperate bid to feed their families.

Suddenly, a bright flash of light filled Marcus’ peripheral vision, followed by a percussion of hot wind that knocked him aside. His sunglasses flew off and the smell of cordite wafted through the air with a cloud of concrete and dust. He looked toward the ground where the blast originated. The Afghan police officer that was walking just yards from him lay in a pool of blood along with two other officers. An improvised explosive device planted inside the corner of a bullet-riddled concrete home had taken their lives.

Once the carnage and chaos was over, all Marcus could do was cry.

Although it was the only combat action he saw, Marcus said he was severely wounded, not medically, but mentally. However, the same government that agreed to send hundreds of thousands to war is failing to provide veterans like Marcus with proper care upon their return.

Lack of funding, personnel, and an overtaxed veterans administrative system has left many without the care they were promised, according to a 2006 report by the General Accounting Office.

“(The) VA does not know the number of veterans it now treats for PTSD,” and more significantly, the “VA will be unable to estimate its capacity for treating additional veterans… and therefore, unable to plan for an increase in demand for these services,” it said in the report. Additionally, outdated procedures and processes have slowed ability to process veterans’ benefits significantly, said Troy Spurlock, a veteran who has dealt with the Veterans Benefits Administration for himself and others.

Marcus, whose name has been changed for fear of reprisal from his former military leaders, sat in a worn easy chair in his Salem studio apartment sucking on his third Marlboro in less than 20 minutes and nervously twirling an ink pen from Salem Hospital. A tall bottle of a generic prescription antidepressant sat on the end table he crafted out of leftover two-by-fours from a fencing project he worked last year. The shades were pulled and the glimmer from his lamp highlighted beads of perspiration on his forehead in the warm room.

“Before I left, I never smoked, not once,” he said, as he took another long drag, letting the smoke linger in his mouth before letting it loose with a slow exhale. “There were a lot of things I didn’t do,” he said. “That tour f***ed me up. When I got back, they expected me to return to life like it was before. No s***, like nothing had ever changed.”

Things had changed for Marcus, who said he couldn’t manage to keep his job as a welder because he would get sudden flashbacks to that one day in the Afghan village.

Change had also occurred for his 26-year-old wife, whom he said left him shortly after he returned, adding additional stress for the veteran to overcome.

“I’m the one who drove her away,” Marcus admitted, wiping away several tears. “I would yell at her constantly. I hit her. I was never, never like this before I went to Afghanistan, never.”

In 2008, Marcus called and made his first appointment with a Veterans Affairs specialist. It took months to get the initial appointment with the compensation and pension specialists and months more for the VBA to make a decision on his claim. His claim for benefits and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder was denied.

“They said I was faking it,” he said. “Wel,l f*** them. If they can’t look me in the eye and see that I’m f***ed up, I don’t know what to do.”

Troy Spurlock

Spurlock, a Newberg resident and employee with the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office knows the struggles veterans face as they attempt to get the care to which they believe they are entitled. As a military police officer and a private during the first Gulf War, he was exposed to unidentified chemicals that caused fibromyalgia.

He also has a host of other ailments, injuries and post-traumatic stress requiring ongoing care. Additionally, he was systematically harassed and threatened by soldiers in his own unit.

However, unlike Marcus, he fought the system and has seen some, though not total, success serving as his own advocate.

“As soon as I got out I started the process,” Spurlock said. “I immediately realized that it’s a typical government bureaucratic process that acts much like an insurance company does. When you do finally get to see someone, you get a quick five-minute ‘Hi, how are you, what’s your claim and thank you I’ll read your file.’ You really have to jump through hoops to substantiate your claim.

“It’s not an adequate medical exam and doesn’t even touch the complexities of issues soldiers go through,” he added.

Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs is divided into three unique parts: the National Cemetery Division, the Veterans Hospital Administration (VHA) and the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).

Portland VHA spokesman Mike McAleer works with Oregon’s returning soldiers who return from deployments overseas. He said more is being done now to help soldiers reintegrate and get the benefits they need than any time in the past.

“We send folks to where the soldiers are,” McAleer said. “We provide them with information for enrollment and try to get them into the medical system. We also try to get them information about the services we provide. We want them to be successful when they enter the civilian-warrior portion of their lives.”

There are currently more than 330,000 vets eligible for medical benefits in Oregon, although McAleer said only one-third are taking advantage of them. Oregon Guard men and women returning from active duty are entitled to full medical coverage for five years, including mental health services.

Returning veterans need to sign up, even if they aren’t ready to file a claim,” McAleer said. “They can even do it online. It will streamline the process when they are ready to file a claim.”

To file a claim, there are many hands in the process. Veterans can file medical disability claims themselves or with the help of a specialist. The claim is filed through the VBA. If accepted, a new compensation and pension processing center in Hillsboro conducts medical and psychiatric exams. More than 1,000 requests for examination from the VBA are processed at the Hillsboro facility.

“This is where we compile information and send it to the VBA for processing,” McAleer said. “I think we’re doing a good job of reaching out to veterans and want to do more to help them.”

Once exams are complete, the files return to the Veterans Benefits Administration for further processing.

“Our organization has established a strategic goal of completing a claim in 125 days,” said Lisa Pozzebon, Assistant Director of the VA Regional Office in Portland. “Currently we have an average of 146 days.”

Claims that require a highly specialized exam or ones in the appeals process take longer, she said.

Tim Wehr

Spurlock spends part of his off time trying to reach veterans and help them navigate the stormy VA paperwork waters. His MySpace web site, www.myspace.com/support4veterans, has links to nonprofits working to help vets. Additionally, he has made it his mission to help his colleague, Tim Wehr of Sheridan, receive benefits he initially applied for in 1970 after returning from Vietnam with a purple heart, bronze star and many other decorations and awards.

Wehr currently receives a small amount of money as disability payments for an injury to his ear and PTSD. The Yamhill County Sheriff’s deputy said he still has flashbacks, especially when he hears a helicopter. He said he used to compulsively drop and roll any time he heard a helicopter, but recently was able to overcome this behavior.

Most of his military and medical records were lost in a 1972 fire that destroyed a federal records building and left many vets unable to prove their service and disabilities. He reapplied for benefits in the early 1980s, this time for skin conditions, which later included skin cancer related to exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide used extensively during the Vietnam War. While his claim for PTSD and hearing problems was accepted, it was denied for his chloracne (Agent Orange-related skin condition) and a knee injury. He gave up trying – until he met Spurlock through a mutual friend.

In 2007, Spurlock was given the power of attorney for Wehr’s VA claims. Spurlock has managed to pull together many of Wehr’s old records to justify claims; however, both men feel the VBA is impeding their efforts. Several of the letters to and from the VBA regarding Wehr’s claims are available at www.WillametteLive.com.

Veterans Service Center manager Kevin Kalama said claims for conditions related to Agent Orange exposure don’t require the same level of documentation as other service-related disabilities.

“We will presume he was exposed to Agent Orange because of where he was in Vietnam during that time,” he said. “If we can find a record that he stepped foot in Vietnam during that time period, it is presumed he had exposure.” Wehr said this has not been true with his case.

The most recent denial came when the VA claimed that Spurlock’s power of attorney privileges had ended, despite no paperwork showing a POA is appointed for a limited time.

“The VA is continuing to stonewall my claims any and every chance it gets without clear and legal justification,” Wehr said in a letter to the Veterans Affairs office in Portland dated June 15, 2009. “Meanwhile, I will be preparing to submit my entire file to Senator Wyden’s office and request a congressional investigation into this utter lack of professionalism and lack of attention to detail in this matter.”

Protecting Yourself

With the current deployments, Spurlock said troops need to take steps while in Iraq to reduce problems later.

“Keep a copy of all of your medical records,” he advised. “Any time you see a doctor for anything, you need to keep that. Don’t wait too long… and don’t be dismayed by any instant denial. That is just routine.”

Veterans should also research their own medical conditions and have the information on hand when talking to the VA.

“The biggest thing is not to give up,” Spurlock emphasized. “They will try to wear you down, but don’t let them.”

Making sure all medical records are available is crucial to avoid delays, McAleer acknowledged. Currently the VA is working with the Department of Defense for access to medical and personnel records. He said this will help veterans and the VBA to process claims more efficiently.

Although he couldn’t speak about any individual cases, he said Marcus must make every effort to go to a clinic and get screened for PTSD and any other ailments.

“We have a clinic in Salem,” he said. “We are trying to make it as easy as possible for our veterans to get the help and services they need.”

One of the biggest pieces of advice that was offered by McAleer is to file all the known claims at one time.

“The process can be really frustrating if you are doing it in bits and pieces,” he said.

He added that veterans should keep a call list of people they served with to verify claims if needed.

Despite efforts to treat returning troops, one thing is certain: many of these complexities are leading to tragic endings.

In 2008, the Army reported nearly 150 suicides within its ranks. Every military branch except the Coast Guard has seen an increase in suicide rates. However, steps are being taken to curb the rise.

Both the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act, increasing mental-health assessments, and the Wounded Warriors Act, designed to help soldiers transitioning from active-duty to veteran status, are intended to aid active duty and returning soldiers. Studies are under way at the Madigan Army Medical Center near Fort Lewis, Wash., to assist in this effort.

This is little consolation for veterans who don’t have a desire to kill themselves, but simply want care for physical and mental injuries and benefits they were promised upon enlistment.

Marcus said his experience with the VA has left him soured and he doesn’t have any immediate plans to return. He admits he occasionally daydreams about refilling his antidepressants and taking them in a one-night alcohol-induced party for one.

He said he won’t do it, because “God doesn’t accept cowards who take the easy way out.”

In the back of his mind, he believes he’ll get help one day, or simply be cured by a miracle.

“I don’t know what may change, tomorrow or next year,” he said. “F*** the VA. I don’t need ’em. One of these days I’ll get my head straight and have a family. It’ll all be good.”

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DEPRESSION MED: Suicide: Former Member of Saskatchewan Parliament: Can…

Paragraph 7 reads: “In September, Batters said he would not seek re-election in the riding of Palliser, which encompasses Regina and Moose Jaw. He cited anxiety, depression and a dependency on prescription drugs.”

Paragraph 3 reads: ““Last fall, Dave courageously made public his battle with depression and anxiety when he chose not to run for re-election as the member of Parliament for Palliser,” read a statement issued Tuesday.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2009/06/30/9982351-cp.html

Former MP commits suicide: family
By Jennifer Graham – THE CANADIAN PRESS

REGINA ­ A former Saskatchewan member of Parliament who resigned last year as he struggled with mental health issues is dead.

His family says Dave Batters took his own life in his home in Regina on Monday. He was 39.

“Last fall, Dave courageously made public his battle with depression and anxiety when he chose not to run for re-election as the member of Parliament for Palliser,” read a statement issued Tuesday.

“He entered treatment and his family and friends hoped he would overcome his illness. Tragically, this was not to be.”

Regina police received a call Monday that someone at a residence in the city was threatening to harm himself. Spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said officers went to the house and negotiators made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to contact a man inside. They later found a man dead in the house. Popowich would not comment on the cause of death.

Batters’s battle with mental health issues became public last July when he announced he was taking medical leave for an undisclosed health issue. In a statement at that time, he said he was being treated in a Regina hospital and was looking forward to a full recovery.

In September, Batters said he would not seek re-election in the riding of Palliser, which encompasses Regina and Moose Jaw. He cited anxiety, depression and a dependency on prescription drugs.

Batters first won the riding in 2004 as a member of the Conservative party.

Fellow Tory Andrew Scheer said Batters “got involved in politics for all the right reasons.”

A family friend had been murdered by her estranged husband, who at the time was out on bail after being charged with assaulting the woman. Batters put forward a private member’s bill in the House of Commons that would have made it tougher for people charged with serious personal injury offences to get bail.

Scheer said Batters was outgoing and passionate about his work. “It was really, really evident to me early on that he had a tremendous amount of energy,” said Scheer, who represents Regina-Qu’Appelle and roomed with Batters when the two were in Ottawa.

“He had a very strong work ethic, so I think it’s a loss that someone like that couldn’t keep that energy focused on positive things. Maybe being so high energy, maybe it contributed to a sense of … burning out or getting anxious about certain things. I don’t know,” he said

“But it’s a real loss on a professional level and a political level to have someone like that, who is really motivated by altruistic purposes, not be part of the political process.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was saddened to hear the news.

“Those of us who knew and worked with Dave will remember him as a friend and colleague who worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents in Palliser,” Harper said in a statement.

“Dave ultimately lost his struggle with severe depression, but we should use his loss as a reminder that mental health illnesses affect Canadians in every walk of life. Too often Canadians, such as Dave, suffer in silence out of fear of being stigmatized for their illness.”

Batters is survived by his wife Denise, who is chief of staff for the Saskatchewan Party’s Justice Minister Don Morgan.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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ANTIDEPESSANTS: Suicide: England

Paragraph 5 reads: “Mr Lee was first prescribed anti-depressants in April 2004 and had been prescribed various forms of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets ever since, the Coroner was told.”

http://www.naffertontoday.co.uk/736/Body-in-the-Beck-at.5413763.jp

Body in the Beck at Driffield – Alverston, Warwickshire man took his own life, inquest told
Published Date: 30 June 2009
A MAN battling depression, financial difficulties and problems with alcohol took his own life in Driffield’s West Beck, an inquest was told.

The body of Clive Arthur Runciman Lee, 55, was recovered by police from the water at Bell Mills on Skerne Road on the afternoon of Sunday March 1.

An inquest at Hull Coroner’s court yesterday heard that Mr Lee died as a result of drowning and that he had intended to take his own life.

The court was told that Mr Lee had been battling with depression following the breakdown of his 12-year marriage in 2005, despite having unlimited access to their daughter.

Mr Lee was first prescribed anti-depressants in April 2004 and had been prescribed various forms of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets ever since, the Coroner was told.

Ms Amanda Victoria Taylor said that she had been increasingly concerned about her former husband’s health in the weeks leading up to his death, describing him as a heavy drinker and stating that his appearance had started to deteriorate. “He was very quiet and not quite with it,” she said.

Mr Lee’s brother, Michael James Lee, of Beverley Road, Driffield, said that he had also become increasingly concerned for Mr Lee’s health.

Two days before Mr Lee’s death, Michael had visited his brother at his home in Poplar Terrace, Alverston, Warwickshire. After failing to get a response by knocking on the door and throwing stones at the window, Michael had called the police, who forced entry to the property and found Mr Lee in bed surrounded by empty containers of alcohol.

It was at this point that Michael, after talking to the police and his brother’s doctor, decided to take Mr Lee home to Driffield, where he hoped he would get the necessary help.

On March 1, Mr Lee left his brother’s house saying he was going to church. But he never returned home.

Michael told the court he went out to look for his brother, calling at local churches and pubs.

Later that afternoon, a friend telephoned Michael to tell him there was a lot of police activity down by the beck. After arriving on the scene, Michael identified a body as that of his brother.
The inquest was told that Mr Lee had formerly been a successful entrepreneur in the Coventry area and had worked for a merchant bank in London and a Mercedes dealership in the Midlands before becoming self-employed and buying a franchise selling chemicals to commercial companies.

But, when this franchise collapsed, Michael said that his brother fell on lean times with his work.

It was only after his death that Mr Lee’s family discovered the true extent of his financial difficulties.

The Coroner was told that Mr Lee was on the verge of being evicted from his Warwickshire home.

A police search of the Driffield property where Mr Lee had been staying revealed that a note had been left under his pillow.

The court heard that it was unclear at which location Mr Lee had entered the beck.
But a second note written on kitchen paper containing his brother’s contact details was also found on the bank of the beck within the grounds of Driffield Showground at Kelleythorpe, together with a neatly folded green tweed coat, a Bible and a packet of cigars.

Sgt David Jenkins, of the Driffield Neighbourhood Policing team, attended the scene at Bell Mills with colleagues shortly before 1pm. “On my arrival, trapped by surging currents, I could see the body of a man.”

Sgt Jenkins said that he thought it too dangerous to enter the water and decided to wait for the underwater search and rescue team to arrive.
“While waiting for the underwater police search unit to attend, we were approached by a couple who said that their brother was missing, he had not returned home and that he was depressed.”

Sgt Jenkins said that shortly before 3pm the body moved off down the beck at which time the search unit arrived. The body was later recovered.
In conclusion, the Coroner for Hull and East Riding, Geoffrey Saul, said: “I am satisfied that he did intend to take his own life.”

The full article contains 713 words and appears in n/a newspaper.
Page 1 of 1

Last Updated: 30 June 2009 4:44 PM
Source: n/a
Location: Driffield

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Suicide: Attorney in Des Moines, Iowa

Ann Blake-Tracy’S COMMENT:

Reading this article is like stepping back in time two decades!! I thought society might have learned something by now about the deception of antidepressant treatment with all of the FDA warnings that link the drugs to suicide and violence.

HOW SAD! How many more must die before we wake up to this nightmare? Matt survived over a decade of these drugs?!!! He deserves a medal for being able to -fight off the chemically-induced suicidal tendencies for so long. It has been my experience that most don’t.

Antidepressants CAUSE depression, they do not cure it. They also produce overwhelming cravings for alcohol, mania (which is why every third person you meet any more is Bipolar!)

Not sure what type of law Matt’s father practices, but it is time to specialize in Pharmaceutical Drug Litigation and file a wrongful death suit in Matt’s behalf. A good place to begin would be Andy Vickery’s firm who has specialized in this for years: http://justiceseekers.com/default.aspx?menuitemID=76

Paragraph 18 reads: “Matt took antidepressantsthat increased the level of serotonin in the brain. He received counseling. When the depression hit particularly hard, he checked into the hospital for a few days.”

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090630/NEWS03/906300359/1056/NEWS09

Hansen: Matt Duncan suicide puts light on clinical depression
MARC HANSEN • mahansen@dmreg.com • June 30, 2009

Matt Duncan was big, strong, smart, compassionate and clinically depressed.

He was 46 and married without kids when he took his life June 11. It’s hard to think of many people who seemed, on the surface, to have more going for him.

After turning 40, he decided he’d train for a Toughman competition. Why not? He had a blue belt in tae kwon do. At 6 feet, 3 inches and 225 pounds, he was in great shape.

But that’s clinical depression. It sometimes wears a mask. There’s no pool of blood, no broken bones, no scar tissue.

When people asked Duncan how he was doing, he’d say, good, great, couldn’t be better, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Matt was Randy Duncan’s kid, which has its perks but can’t be easy when you play football, too, and people compare you with your dad. Randy Duncan helped Iowa win two Rose Bowls and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

Still, Matt followed Randy’s lead in so many ways. He was a star football player at Des Moines Roosevelt High School, graduating in the top 3 percent of his class.

Like his father, he was recruited to play football for the Hawkeyes, along with Missouri and Iowa State, and earned a trip to Pasadena, Calif.

But he got hurt and wasn’t really big enough to play the line and it didn’t work out, which was OK. Matt Duncan had other strengths and attributes.

“He was more of a student than a jock anyway,” his father says.

After graduating cum laude, Matt went to law school at Drake University (like his father), became managing editor of the Drake Law Review and began practice in Des Moines.

People of all ages suffer from clinical depression, but Duncan’s problems would appear later.

“Growing up, he was a normal, great, happy kid,” Randy Duncan says. “There were no signs at all.”

But then Matt took a high-pressure job with a big law firm in Washington, D.C. All he did was work. He had no social life.

“It kind of started then,” Randy Duncan says. “He became more of a recluse. He wasn’t going out with friends or answering phone calls. We got him to a psychiatrist. Doctors made the diagnosis in 1998.”

Matt moved home and took a job with his father’s firm and tried to stay on top of it.

“He did everything you’re supposed to do,” his father says. “It was a chemical imbalance.”

Matt took antidepressants that increased the level of serotonin in the brain. He received counseling. When the depression hit particularly hard, he checked into the hospital for a few days.

“Matt was a Renaissance man interested in all kinds of intellectual endeavors, but he never looked upon himself as others did,” Randy Duncan says.

After the funeral, Randy Duncan was stunned by the response.

“I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said their spouses or sons or daughters have depression. It’s one of those things people should be talking about.”

Millions of Americans suffer from clinical depression. But how do you know whether you’re suffering from a serious condition or just on a temporary downer?

According to guidelines set forth by the American Psychiatric Association, depression is diagnosed when at least five symptoms are present for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks:

Constant sadness, irritability, hopelessness, trouble sleeping, low energy or fatigue, feeling worthless or guilty for no reason, significant weight change, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in favorite activities.

At least one of the symptoms must be persistent sad or empty feelings or loss of interest in activities.

Raymond Crowe, a University of Iowa psychiatry professor, answers the question at uihealthcare.com.

“I think the difference between just having the blues and depression lies in the symptoms,” he says. “If ‘the blues’ persist for more than a couple of weeks and are accompanied by trouble eating, difficulty sleeping, or suicidal thoughts, you should see someone.”

Immediately, if not sooner.

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FDA requires Black Box Warnings on Chantix & Zyban

Keep in mind that Zyban is Wellbutrin and Chantix is almost identical to Zoloft.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/01/fda-chantix-zyban-business-healthcare-chantix.html

Chantix Gets Boxed In
Matthew Herper, 07.01.09, 05:20 PM EDT
The FDA says patients taking Chantix or Zyban need to be watched for suicide and other psychiatric problems.

The Food and Drug Administration will require a “black box” warning–the agency’s most urgent–that patients taking Chantix, the anti-smoking drug made by Pfizer, should be watched for suicide attempts and other side effects.
In a surprise move, the FDA will require the same prominent warning for Zyban, for GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK – news -people ), the other non-nicotine pill approved to help patients stop smoking. Nicotine-releasing patches and gums will not carry this warning.
The warning will appear in a black box atop the package inserts for both products and must be included in any advertisements. The FDA emphasized that it is not saying that the drugs should not be used, but that doctors and patients should take care to look for changes in behavior when they are prescribed.
“We don’t think people should stop using smoking cessation [products],” said Robert Temple, director of the FDA’s office of drug evaluation on a conference call with reporters. “Smoking is really bad for you. What you want is that people don’t [use the drugs] casually.”
The more prominent warnings are a blow to Pfizer ( PFE -news – people ), which has struggled to invent enough new drugs to replace aging blockbusters like Lipitor and Viagra, and for which Chantix was a rare hit. It is much less of a problem for GlaxoSmithKline, which makes little profit from Zyban, which is available as a generic.
Designed to hug the nicotine receptor so patients don’t get either cravings or pleasure from cigarettes, Chantix generated $700 million in U.S. sales in 2007, its first full year on the market. Wall Street analysts expected sales of $1 billion. But then stories started to emerge about the drug causing strange behavior and even suicide. The FDA has changed the warnings on the product’s labeling four times. U.S. sales dropped 30% to $489 million in 2008, and analysts at J.P. Morgan forecast U.S. sales of only $383 million this year.
Issues with Zyban emerged as a surprise when the FDA started looking into the alleged problems with Chantix, FDA officials said. Zyban, a re-branded version of the antidepressant Wellbutrin, was approved as a stop-smoking aid in 1997. The drug already has a boxed warning about suicidal thinking, as do other antidepressants.
Over the lifetimes of the products, the FDA received 98 reports of suicide with Chantix, along with 188 suicide attempts. For Zyban, there were 14 suicides and 17 attempts. FDA officials say that the reason for the big disparity in how many suicides were reported might be partly the result of all the bad publicity Chantix has received, as well as the fact that Zyban is used less often.
Such reports are notoriously inexact and don’t give researchers an idea of how often a problem occurs. Analysis of other types of reports, as well as a look at the specifics of some of the cases, led the agency to believe that patients needed to be warned loudly.
Temple said “it almost doesn’t matter” whether Chantix and Zyban are causing psychiatric issues or the problems are the result of nicotine withdrawal. What is important, he said, is that patients need to be watched for changes in behavior.
The FDA is also requiring Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline to conduct new clinical trials of Chantix and Zyban to help figure out what the risks from the products are. The design of these studies has yet to be ironed out. Although Glaxo won’t benefit financially from clearing Zyban’s name, the FDA has powers under a recent law to compel the company to conduct a study. “We intend to work with the FDA to learn more about their requirements for a clinical trial that is in the best interest of patients and prescribers,” says Kevin Colgan, a GlaxoSmithKline spokesman.
When Chantix was approved, no large studies of the drug in mentally ill patients had been conducted, even though patients with psychiatric illnesses not only smoke, they smoke a lot. Eight of 10 schizophrenics smoke, and patients with mental illness consume 40% of all cigarettes. Pfizer is now conducting a 120-patient study of Chantix in schizophrenics. But Pfizer executives and the FDA indicated that larger studies might be needed to define what risks Chantix has. Pfizer says it stands behind the safety and efficacy of its drug.
Many prescription drugs have been implicated in rare increases in suicidality, including anti-epilepsy drugs, some antibiotics and the acne drug Accutane. Exactly why this would be so is not clear, the FDA said.

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