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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Antidepressants: Coiuld Have Contributed to Stock Market Crash: U.S.A.

NOTE BY Ann Blake-Tracy:

EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE FEARED AND WARNED OF FOR YEARS NOW WITH THE WIDESPREAD USE OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS. THE MANIC REACTIONS OF THESE DRUGS PRODUCE WILD SPENDING AND WE ARE SEEING IT EVERYWHERE TO THE POINT THAT WE HAVE NOW REALIZED IT HAS AFFECTED US ALL.

Paragraphs 24 through 29 read “Even if readers could assume that the preceding section convincingly answers the question of “what is the source of funds?”, they are left with the more vexing question of “why?”, that is – why would investors accept higher risks in the stock markets at higher price-earnings (PE) multiples with greater economic uncertainty; combined with continuing bad news.”

“The answer could well be something that market commentators rarely think about: namely the mood swings
of the average investor. In other words, what is the role of specific drugs such as antidepressants in the current makeup of the market? Is it possible that the consumption of antidepressantshas pushed investors to takegreater (and growing) risks on the stock market?”

“Firstly, it must be acknowledged that I am on a well-trod rather than radical path here. Many years ago, a respected medical journal made the same point albeit about a different bubble. This was recounted by Michael Lewis, writing in Slate (article dated August 13, 2002) as follows:”
“When people talk about the mood in the financial marketsthey tend to assume that the market drives that mood. But of course it doesn’t, not entirely. A few years ago a piece in the University of Michigan medical journal argued that the reason the Internet bubble reached such ridiculous heights was that huge numbers of investors were now taking drugs that lowered their inhibitions.With a third of the US investing population on Prozac or some other mood-enhancing drug, the paper concluded, it was no wonder that so many people believed the market would simply keep rising.”

“Since he wrote that article, sales of antidepressants and related psychiatric-treatment drugs have increased dramatically in the US. Evidence suggests that the rapid increase in the sales of antidepressants could well have sown the seeds of the financial crisis in 2005-06 and later on. The following are excerpts from an excellent article in How Stuff Works titled ‘Why are antidepressants the most prescribed drug in the US?’:
“In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made an intriguing announcement. Antidepressants were the most frequently prescribed drug, overtaking the runner-up, high blood-pressure medications, by five million prescriptions. The study reported that doctors racked up 118 million prescriptionsfor antidepressants in 2005 (out of a total of 2.4 billion prescriptions). … Antidepressants have the power to change your moods, and they accomplish this by affecting the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Serotonin and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters, which travel through neurons in the brain. Scientists don’t know a great dealabout how these neurotransmitters affect your mood. But they do know that when antidepressants alter how neurotransmitters travel, it stabilizes your emotions. … So what’s the reason behind the rising number of antidepressant prescriptions? One reason is that, despite their name, antidepressants are not prescribed solely for depression anymore. They are also used to treat chronic pain, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and even eating disorders. … You can’t really address the reasons for antidepressant popularity without addressing the business of antidepressants.”

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/KF30Dj05.html

Jun 30, 2009

The Jackson factor

By Chan Akya

On the wild wild west that the Internet has now become, I pulled up over the weekend a video that had been sent to me recently with a slightly mysterious one-liner in the e-mail. The video starts off with a fairly generic premise: There are two teams each containing four people; one team wears black and the other white, and each team carries a basketball. They stand in a tight circle around the middle of a basketball court, and the announcer intones: “Here is a test: count the number of times that the team in white passes the ball.”

They duly start passing the ball, and of course the action becomes more intense. After about 20 seconds, the game stops. The announcer then comes across.

“The answer is 13. But did you notice the moonwalking bear?”

Then the video replays, and of course, now that one has been asked to look for the moonwalking bear, there it is, popping in
from the right of the screen towards the left, as it slowly moonwalks through the people passing the ball.

The point of the video is that when it comes to general awareness, the human brain can be easily fooled into overlooking the most obvious thing in front of it; much like the idea that a moonwalking bear in the middle of a basketball court could prove invisible, today’s stock market rallies are doing the same to sane investors globally.

The other reason the phrases “black and white” and “moonwalking bear” resonate in the mind is the untimely death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, last week in California. I have devoted the last part of this article to explaining what possible symmetry exists between the life of a flawed genius and the trajectory of today’s stock markets.

Explaining the surge
Before doing that though, a quick recap of where we recently left off on the markets. Global stock markets have rebounded sharply from their lows in the beginning of March, even as macroeconomic data have lagged or, indeed, in most cases contradicted the evidence being expected by stock markets.
1.In the epicenter of the crisis – the US economy – consumer demand continues to decline even as business capital investments have declined in most cases; bankruptcies of companies (including of very large ones such as Chrysler and General Motors) have added to the pall of gloom.
2.Other developed countries like the UK, Germany and Japan all continue to show significant amounts of pain with their economies contracting – due to the housing collapse in the UK and thanks to plummeting export demand for the other two – which has further led to demand shrinkage for consumers globally.
3.While Asian nations have rebounded nicely from the bottom of last year, their ability to forge an independent path from US and European consumers still remains a matter of debate; data indicate that countries with strong government stimulus programs (for example China) have done better than those without (such as South Korea).
4.The spread of the financial crisis into Eastern Europe has pulled countries ranging from Kazakhstan to Latvia into a sharp downward spiral; further contagion to countries such as Bulgaria and Hungary (which are members of the European Union) will mean in effect the opening of a new front in the march of the global financial crisis.

To be sure not everything is gloom and doom as on the other side of the equation, we have some bits of good news.

The precipitous decline in US jobs (and those in Europe) appears to have tapered off, with the numbers for May coming a good 200,000 better than expectations (a loss of 350,000 jobs rather than the Wall Street survey of 550,000 jobs lost). Still there is much unresolved here, in particular the role of the birth-death model that appears to have contributed more than a million jobs to the economy over the course of this year, even as overall jobless claims and the ranks of those on the dole has skyrocketed.
The decline of supply as well as the stockpiling of commodities by countries such as China have helped to generate price rises for producers of such commodities, albeit into a similar rally as last year when prices galloped in the second quarter. This has helped resource-rich economies such as Brazil, the countries of the Middle East and others.

All of which leaves many market observers flummoxed as to the origins of the current bout of exuberance in global stock markets. There are two important questions that appear unresolved:
1.What is the source of the funds that are pouring into the stock markets globally?
2.Why are investors willing to accept much higher price risks now compared with last year?

The “what” question is only partially answered by the overall increase in America’s savings rate, which has reversed from its negative position until last year into a positive one this year. Much of that rise though is explained by the rise in allocations to government bond holdings – that is, more Americans are buying bonds than ever before, or to put it more precisely, more bonds are being bought in America than ever before. There is the question of declining leverage as banks cut the overall borrowing limits of millions of Americans after house price and equity market declines last year. The rise in the US personal savings rate is thus not likely to have been sufficient to generate a NET increase in stock market allocations this year. At least, not by itself.

A family of thought has quietly emerged that the mythical “Plunge Protection Team” in the United States may actually not be so mythical after all, even if it is ever so unlikely to be an actual team taking orders from an actual boss. In other words, what if there are a number of people whose raison d’etre is carrying out the wishes of the US government in regards to the stock markets?

After all, a government that has so openly intervened in the nationalization of companies (GM, Chrysler), allocated plum mandates without any bidding (managing US Troubled Asset Relief Program assets), reversed priority preferential rights of various claimholders (stockholders vs labor unions), injected capital and received it back on an arbitrary basis (US banks), and on and on, can prove to be both fertile and lucrative for some kinds of businessmen.

Other commentators have skipped this step entirely and gone to the actual source of the market rally being US government funds. Indeed, the well respected Alan Abelson writes in the most recent (June 29) issue of Barron’s:
We have had a hunch for a while now that a quantum gob of the stimulus bucks, under whatever guise and through whatever channel, was finding its way into the stock market. Which would explain a lot of things. Like the size and speed of the surge since the dark days of early March. The more than passing strange upward bursts of prices toward the end of so many sessions. And the overall racy character of so much of the market.

I have noticed precisely the same things in US trading, the kind of stuff that makes technical models bleep red (mixing my metaphors) because the volume vs price comparisons go wonky quite quickly. It is thus possible that coordinated action of some sort is increasingly palpable, if not quite visible, in the trajectory of the US stock market.

Much like the video experience I described in the first section, it is highly possible that investors watching the stock markets on a regular basis (“the Dow is up 100 … wait, it’s down a 100 now … ah it’s back up again by 50 now … “) could actually miss the presence of anomalies or indeed quietly become a part of such anomalies over a period of time.

More vexing question of ‘why?’
Even if readers could assume that the preceding section convincingly answers the question of “what is the source of funds?”, they are left with the more vexing question of “why?”, that is – why would investors accept higher risks in the stock markets at higher price-earnings (PE) multiples with greater economic uncertainty; combined with continuing bad news.

The answer could well be something that market commentators rarely think about: namely the mood swingsof the average investor. In other words, what is the role of specific drugs such as antidepressants in the current makeup of the market? Is it possible that the consumption of antidepressants has pushed investors to take greater (and growing) risks on the stock market?

Firstly, it must be acknowledged that I am a well-trod rather than radical path here. Many years ago, a respected medical journal made the same point albeit about a different bubble. This was recounted by Michael Lewis, writing in Slate (article dated August 13, 2002) as follows:
When people talk about the mood in the financial marketsthey tend to assume that the market drives that mood. But of course it doesn’t, not entirely. A few years ago a piece in the University of Michigan medical journal argued that the reason the Internet bubble reached such ridiculous heights was that huge numbers of investors were now taking drugs that lowered their inhibitions. With a third of the US investing population on Prozac or some other mood-enhancing drug, the paper concluded, it was no wonder that so many people believed the market would simply keep rising.

Since he wrote that article, sales of antidepressants and related psychiatric-treatment drugs have increased dramatically in the US. Evidence suggests that the rapid increase in the sales of antidepressants could well have sown the seeds of the financial crisis in 2005-06 and later on. The following are excerpts from an excellent article in How Stuff Works titled “Why are antidepressants the most prescribed drug in the US?”:
In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made an intriguing announcement. Antidepressants were the most frequently prescribed drug, overtaking the runner-up, high blood-pressure medications, by five million prescriptions. The study reported that doctors racked up 118 million prescriptionsfor antidepressants in 2005 (out of a total of 2.4 billion prescriptions). … Antidepressants have the power to change your moods, and they accomplish this by affecting the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Serotonin and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters, which travel through neurons in the brain. Scientists don’t know a great dealabout how these neurotransmitters affect your mood. But they do know that when antidepressants alter how neurotransmitters travel, it stabilizes your emotions. … So what’s the reason behind the rising number of antidepressant prescriptions? One reason is that, despite their name, antidepressants are not prescribed solely for depression anymore. They are also used to treat chronic pain, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and even eating disorders. … You can’t really address the reasons for antidepressant popularity without addressing the business of antidepressants.

In 2004, brand-name antidepressant companies made more than $14 billion. … These sales mean big business, and direct-to-consumer advertising (such as television commercials) has helped fuel it. Studies indicate that this kind of advertising has contributed to the growth in prescriptions. … When patients see commercials for antidepressants, such as Zoloft, and think that it can help them, they go to their doctors and request it. Doctors are more likely to prescribe an antidepressant when a patient specifically asks for it. … Some believe doctors are usually too anxious to diagnose someone with depression.
The symptoms for depression from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) include: depressed mood; taking less pleasure in life; changes in appetite; changes in sleeping pattern; restless habits; lack of energy; feeling worthless or guilty; inability to concentrate; suicidal thoughts. … But even with these parameters, distinguishing severe depression from natural periods of feeling ‘down’ can be a murky call. Professor Gordon Parker thinks doctors interpret the common blues as clinical depression all too often. … In a long-term study he conducted, he found that a great majority of people could be diagnosed as depressed on the criteria that doctors use. He took this to mean the criteria for depression is too loose.

Given that little refresher, it remains to establish what the trends for actual antidepressant sales are in the US (and similar markets such as the UK). In this respect, without the benefit of sales figures for the first half of this year, the points of reference remain anecdotal. However, even that offers powerful evidence:
…[In] the US there were 164.2 million prescriptions dispensed for antidepressants in 2008, compared to 143 million in 2004, according to IMS Health, a healthcareinformation company. [These figures do not agree with the previous reference cited, presumably due to separate classifications of drugs as well as the rising availability of non-brand generic drugs to treat depression. Another article cites the figure at 200 million prescriptions; and a 15% increase in sales value in 2008 over the previous year – Chan Akya.]
… Much is at stake. Antipsychotics, which had $14.6 billion in sales last year, were the top-selling class of US medicines; antidepressants brought in $9.6 billion, says IMS HEALTH. USA Today, June 3, 2009

In the UK, The Guardian reported on June 21, 2009:
… Last year [2008] in England there were 2.1 million more prescriptions of antidepressants than in 2007, leading to concerns that doctors are increasingly supplying the drugs as a “quick fix” without attempting to address the underlying cause of the problems. In total, 36 million prescriptions were given out, an increase of 24% over the past five years.

Going back into the starting question, it is clear that the “why” question may well have much to do with mood-altering drugs. Put crudely, give a bunch of people who have lost their life savings on their houses and pension plans (previously known as 401Ks and now dubbed 104Ks) a lot of antidepressants and you could well see a startling increase in risk taking; such as what we see in the markets today.

Much like the risks of taking on a drugs-addled street fighter, the simple course of action for outside investors is to stay away.

So what does this have to do with Michael Jackson?

Given the title of this article pulled in the name of Michael Jackson, the obvious question probably occurs to many readers at this stage; namely what is the connection with the American stock markets of today with the death of one of the most revered pop stars of all time?

The man who was the very embodiment of a flawed genius in every sense of the phrase was also widely reported to have incurred debt far in excess of even his own fabulous wealth. In that respect, the trajectory of his leverage probably mirrored that of America itself, after the Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago, ushering in a period of grand excess.

The second aspect of this article, namely the soaring sales of drugs to Americans, was also being cited as a principal cause of his death. Working hard to regain physical fitness to start off his London tour next month, Michael Jackson is alleged to have consumed vast cocktails of drugs that were designed to keep his particular demons at bay. In the end, they may well have contributed to his fatal cardiac arrest and coma.

Looking at the US (and global) stock markets today, I rather fear that a similar cocktail of drugs and debt has been masked, like the moonwalking bear, in all the ups and downs. And much like the deadly cocktail helped to end the life of one of the greatest musical talents of our time; something dark and ugly could well await global stock investors around the next corner. Or the one after that.

Health warning: I am here repeating my usual warning for readers not to take the words of a pseudonymous writer such as myself when it comes to market direction or their personal investment choices. You must consult the right professional for such advice, and where such a professional cannot be found (presumably all across the US and Europe now), use your common sense.

(Copyright 2009 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Famous Singer Kills Self: Sweden

This article states: “On Tuesday 23 June Yasmine was in the hospital because she had poor response to antidepressants that her doctor, along with mandatory sick leave, had prescribed.

Two days later, June 25, she visited her sister, Inge, in Kontich. While her sister was away, Yasmine disappeared without atrace Around noon, she went to buy a pack of cigarettes in a newsagent, but nobody has seen her.. Soon the police were worrying about her disappearance Around 14:00 pmy Yasmine was found dead in a barn in the Doopput, a dead-end street near the home of her sister. Official cause of death is suffocation after hanging herself with an iron wire from a branch of a tree.

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebruiker:Markfan/Testpagina&ei=GzJJSqbQOJWOMfXL3bMK&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DYasmine,%2Bantidepressiva%2Bbelgium%2Bhilde%2Brens%2Bwikipedia%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

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DEPRESSION MED: Man Makes Bomb Threat Against Elementary School: Austra…

Paragraph six reads: “Ling’s defence counsel told Justice Shan Tennent his client had suffered serious injury to his back and was now on a disability pension and dealing with depression.”

Paragraph eleven reads: “Your grievance with the school was a relatively minor matter but your health problems and the medication you take can largely explain why you acted in a disproportionate manner.

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2009/06/29/81571_indepth-scalesofjustice.html

No jail for bomb threat
HELEN KEMPTON

June 29, 2009 12:12pm

A MAN who threatened to blow up his daughter’s school has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Ryan David Ling, 34, of Devonport, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false threat of danger in relation to a phone call he made to the Education Department in March.

The court heard Ling had made the threat after an argument over school starting times had got out of hand.

Nixon St Primary School, in Devonport, was put into lockdown after the threat was made.

Ling was arrested 30 minutes after he made the phone call.

Ling’s defence counsel told Justice Shan Tennent his client had suffered serious injury to his back and was now on a disability pension and dealing with depression.

“The threat was at odds with his past level of involvement with the school,” Ling’s defence counsel said.

“It was said on impulse and was an empty, idle threat.”

Justice Tennent said Ling’s behaviour was completely unacceptable.

“Teachers and other staff were concerned with not only their own safety but the safety of children at the school,” she said.

“Your grievance with the school was a relatively minor matter but your health problems and the medication you take can largely explain why you acted in a disproportionate manner.

“There is no suggestion you had the means to carry out the threat and you have consented to the terms of a 12-month restraint order with the school.”

Ling was sentenced to five months’ jail, supsended on the condition he be of good behaviour for two years.

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