He Never Said Good-Bye

If you have or know of teens or pre-teens struggling with depression or hopelessness, or if you know someone on anti-depressants, I hope this account will help you. I believe that if I had read a story like the one you will now read, it might very well have saved our son. My wife would still have her little boy. My daughter would still have her little brother. And I would still have my best companion and friend in the whole wide world.

 

Matthew Miller
2/16/84–7/28/97

It was unusually cool for the last day of July. The sun was bright, and there were only a few scattered clouds. The gentle winds that took the teenager’s balloons skyward also helped dry our tears as we said good-bye to Matt.

This moment, as hundreds of his family and friends gathered under the shade of a gentle oak which now shelters his grave, was by far the cruelest and hardest of our lives. For until these last few days, my wife Cheryl and I had been so very blessed. We had two wonderful children. Our daughter Jenny had just turned 15 only a couple weeks earlier. We were all healthy, safe and so untouched by any real understanding of pain and sorrow. Surely, our pastor in delivering those final words must have been talking about someone else. Not our Matt.

Matt was only 13. He had never gone on a real date. Never driven a car. And never been away from home for more than a few nights at a time with friends.

He weighed exactly one hundred pounds. I know, because he was so proud of that all-important milestone in any boy’s life, he bragged to me about it just a few days before.

Yet now he was gone. Forever. Without so much as a good-bye. A hug. Or even a note.

This is his story. And I summon the courage to tell it only because I know he would want me to. And because the good Lord who now holds our Matt so tightly in his arms has asked me to.
But, as I said, he was 13. And many changes were taking place in his life. Not the least of which was our move to a new neighborhood, and a new school.

So, like most parents, we felt that his periods of moodiness and sullen behavior were not all that unusual for a young teenager. He was trying to make new friends in a new situation. He was going through many physical changes. (We noticed only recently that his voice had dropped about an octave, and that he was working far too hard to keep it there.)

By the end of his first year in a new middle school, his teachers and counselors recommended that Matt find some professional help over the summer. They knew he was smart, yet they saw problems with his grades. And they were worried that his withdrawn demeanor might be more than just a passing “teenage” phase, and could have a more deep-seated cause.

Now let me be quick to add that Matt was never violent. Never disrespectful. Nor ever a real threat, to anyone. He had a warm sense of humor, a love of friendship and heart of solid gold that his friends who knew him well, loved in him. He had a special way with little children. He would have been a wonderful father.

But together, believing what we were doing was the right thing, we began a brief, but tragic journey with Matt into a world we didn’t understand–the world of professional psychiatry and legalized mind-altering medications. An unfamiliar world with its own rules. Its own accepted procedures. And its own arrogance.

“Here, let’s try these for a week. ”

I remembered thinking at the time, how wonderful. It was only our second visit to the psychiatrist, and already the good doctor knew exactly how to help our son. It was all so easy. There was a terrific new medication available that was already helping millions with depression. The fact that we had never heard of it, didn’t matter. We weren’t doctors. And we never had to deal with depression on such personal terms before.

The drug was one of the new breed of anti-depressants. They’ve only been on the market for a few years, and they’re the ones you read about now all the time. Prozac is one of the them. So is Paxil. But the sample bottle that we were handed had a blue label, contained only seven tiny 50-mg capsules and was called Zoloft.

What we have since learned about Zoloft and related medications fills volumes. But the top line is simply this–today, doctors and psychiatrists are increasingly willing to use powerful and dangerous pills that dramatically change chemical balances in the brain. We don’t know all the answers, but we do know what happened to our son. And, we know that when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong.

The Brain. Think about it. It’s the seat of everything that makes us human. It allows us to think and move and experience pain and joy and makes us who we are. The brain is not just any organ in the hierarchy of organs, it is the organ. The single most powerful and mysterious creation in God’s Universe. Its complexity in unfathomable, containing more than one hundred billion cells and over a trillion connections!

Now if your doctor ever tells he understands exactly what these drugs do in your brain, I will tell you this: He is lying. Because those who know the most, admit they don’t know. They experiment and they guess. But that’s about it.

And if your doctor offers what has become the standard line about depression having real physical causes, that chemical balances need to be brought back to within normal levels, or that you’re not generating enough serotonin to ever feel happy, stop him right there! Ask him these questions.

What is normal? And how do I know that my chemical balances aren’t normal? How do I know that this drug will make them normal? And what if, just maybe, I’m unhappy about real problems in my life?

Most likely, however, your doctor will tell you little or nothing. Ours didn’t. Because the truth is, they neither understand, nor are they willing to explain what these drugs can do and have done to countless of thousands, once they take control of the processes in the brain.

We like to think of our doctors as highly skilled technicians. I know that Cheryl and I did. We hope and pray that they can adjust our chemistry much like a skilled mechanic fine tunes a sports car. But Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist whom Time Magazine calls “Prozac’s Worst Enemy,” points out in his book, it is more like a “clumsy office colleague spilling coffee on your computer. Except that your brain is far more vulnerable and easily damaged.”

Our doctor simply said try these pills for a week.

We didn’t have a week.

Our Son Didn’t Want to Die

I can’t believe our son wanted to die. I never will.

Yet sometime during the night after taking his seventh capsule of Zoloft, he got out of bed, entered his closet and quietly left us. We never heard a sound even though our room shared an adjacent wall.

He did not leave a note. He had never threatened suicide. He never talked about it. He indicated in his doctor’s office just a week before, he would never consider suicide an option. He never gave us any indication that he had been thinking about it. I honestly don’t believe he had thought about it, until something happened inside his tortured mind that night.

There was no cry for help. No scream. Nothing…but that single, fateful, horrifying and irreversible act.
We were leaving on a long-anticipated family vacation the next morning. Matt, although he hated long drives, had been looking forwarding to jet skiing at the Wisconsin resort where we had reserved a room overlooking Lake Michigan. He had just purchased a new GameBoy and his all-time favorite Zelda game. He had just told his girl friend that very evening that he would call her from Wisconsin in a few days.

For a bright, healthy and loved young man, Matt had every reason to live. Yet under the power of this debilitating drug, he found a way to die. We know it was not our Matt who took his own life. This was a Matt “high” on a legalized pill. Reality and nightmares became indistinguishable for him. His world–the universe that was his chemically stimulated, serotonin-enriched, emotionally-tortured brain—came crashing down around him with such ferocity, he had no way out.

What we now know to have happened, from published research, phone calls, and e-mail with leading authors in this field, is that our son suffered drug-induced “akathisia” which led to the mania which caused his death. Akathisia is simply an uncontrollable agitation or restlessness brought about by the stimulant nature of the drug. We all noticed that Matt had become especially hyperactive that last day. His sister complained that Matt was being loud and bothering her more than normal. His grandmother who was visiting remarked that Matt could hardly sit still through our Sunday brunch.

Mania is a well-documented side effect with SSRI use. And what we didn’t know is that in depressed people, this mania is often the trigger that leads to suicidal thoughts and actions. Depression in and of itself rarely accounts for suicide. Zoloft, in Matt’s case, was like throwing a match onto gasoline. It’s exactly this reaction that prompts many doctors to also prescribe a sedative along with anti-depressants in the initial stages of treatment. We were so ignorant.

Matt was a victim. And, as we soon found out, there have been many, many others before him. Yet few people are aware of just how troubled a past these drugs have had. Few parents are aware. Few patients are aware. And most frightening of all, few doctors are aware, including Matt’s psychiatrist.

A Short Course in SSRI’s

I didn’t know what these initials stood for until about a week after Matt’s death. Technically, this family of drugs is called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. I now have my own interpretation of this acronym–Stop. Scream. And Run Instead.
Dr. Ann Tracy, a Ph.D. in psychology and health sciences, National Director for the International Coalition of Drug Awareness and a tireless researcher into these drugs, compares them to many of the illegal psychotropic drugs being pushed on street corner–drugs like “speed,” cocaine or LSD. (She is also quick to add that at least these are sold without the pretense or hypocrisy of being good for you.) Dr. Peter Breggin, Director for the Center of the Study of Psychiatry simply says the new anti-depressants have a “dark side.”

The FDA keeps records on adverse drug reactions. It’s a purely voluntary system so it probably under-reports the magnitude of the real problem (some suggest it could miss as many as 90% of the cases!), but still the numbers are compelling.

Jane Heimlich, in Health and Healing, states, “Prozac has the distinction of having the most ADR’s [adverse drug reactions] in history.” And you need to realize that these drugs have only been around for less than a decade!

As of October, 1993, during only the first two years of Prozac’s marketing, over 28,000 complaints of adverse side effects had been filed with the FDA, including nearly 2,000 suicide attempts. 1,300 deaths were reported. As of last year (1996), the number of complaints has risen to 36,000. To put this in perspective, consider that Elavil, another anti-depressant has received only a tenth as many, with just 2,000 complaints in its entire 20 years on the market.

However, it’s the tragic stories behind these numbers that are the real eye-openers. Besides Matt’s, there are many, many more. And, in a way, we were lucky. These drugs are present in patients who have committed some of the most violent, unpredictable and disturbing crimes and suicides you could ever imagine.

“But if they weren’t safe, they couldn’t prescribe them.”

My wife made this observation. My friends have. We want to believe we are protected from these drugs.

But consider that LSD was once legal. In the 1950’s it was promoted by Eli Lilly as an aid to psychoanalysis, a cure for alcoholism and a way to clear up mental illness. PCP, now referred to as Angel Dust, was legal. It was marketed by Parke, Davis & Company as Serynl, an analgesic, or painkiller! Thalidomide, the horror drug of the 50’s that directly caused the tragic deformed births of over 5,000 newborns, many without limbs, was also a legal drug. It was marketed as a sleeping pill. And most recently, Redux and Fen-Phen were legal. Millions of people, mostly women, now face heart valve problems and a perilous withdrawal as these drugs are removed from shelves. Each of these drugs was tested in the marketplace before being recalled. Yet many remain in today’s drug counterculture as a gift to the world from the same manufacturers creating new pills today.

There is a long history of today’s pharmaceutical companies rushing drugs through testing and through FDA approval only to find out later that severe adverse reactions occur in the real world. (Did you know that drug companies test their own drugs for the FDA?) In the case of Prozac, it was approved on the basis of only seventeen studies over the course of just four to six weeks. Although they will tell that thousands of people were tested in this phase, it is fact that just fewer than 300 people were exposed to this drug in these trials!

And don’t believe for a moment this is an isolated incident of one drug slipping through the cracks. In 1990, the General Accounting Office, a congressional watchdog agency, reviewed all the drugs approved by FDA between 1976 and 1985. It found that 102 out of 198 drugs turned out to have “serious post approval risks.” The rate was even higher for psychiatric drugs. (Nine out of 15.)

And you need to understand that 80% of the drugs marketed in the United States today are not approved by the FDA for use by children under twelve. Studies simply have not been done to sufficiently document their safety and efficacy in this age group. And consequently, their use in treating children is solely up to the discretion of the physician. Appallingly, Eli Lilly is going ahead with plans to market Prozac in peppermint and other assorted flavors to make the drug more attractive as a children’s medication!

Today, over 17 million people now take some kind of SSRI medication. They’re taking it for everything from insomnia to acne to weight loss to alcohol addiction. And the two largest manufacturers, Eli Lilly (Prozac) and Pfizer (Zoloft) now have worldwide revenues of $2.6 billion and $1.6 billion respectively.

So how can a drug be so successful, and yet so dangerous? This is the question I set to out to answer for myself. And I believe the answer lies in our own willingness to believe that there’s a quick solution for everything.

We want to believe in miracles. We want something for nothing. And if you would believe the ads currently running for Prozac, it’s all yours for the taking. When a cloud hangs overhead, there’s sunshine in a bottle.

It’s so easy. It’s so deceiving.

What Can You Do?

Educate yourself. Ask questions about the drugs your doctor prescribes. Trust in yourself. Trust in God. But don’t believe in miracles.

Our veterinarian gave us five pages of information on medication prescribed for our dog’s stomach problems. We received nothing that would help us understand Zoloft. There was no discussion about alternative treatments, which should have included the most common-sense approach of preliminary counseling and therapy. The diagnosis was quick (we assume our doctor found “depression” although we were never informed what Matt was being treated for).

Please do not allow this to happen to yourself or a loved one. The primary role of these medications is to change the way your brain functions. It’s a drug that creates abnormalities. It doesn’t correct them.

So be aware. Learn from our pain. Please understand that depression is a potentially life-threatening illness. Be an alarmist. And don’t allow anyone in your family to take any prescription drug that you know little about.

Don’t be afraid to just say no.

We will sleep better knowing that Matt’s life which meant so much to those who knew him, could perhaps someday mean the difference between life and death for yourself or a loved one.

[Matthew Miller was a student at Harmony Middle School in Overland Park, Kansas and had previously been a student at Mill Creek Elementary in Lenexa. If you wish to make a contribution to his memorial fund, please send it to Matthew Miller’s Memorial, care of his church, The Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe Avenue, Leawood, KS 66215.]

Mark and Cheryl Miller can be reached at mmiller18@kc.rr.com

 

11/1/1997

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 36.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

Xanax Facts and Whitney Houston

 Whitney-Houston-Drugs
I have to agree with Dr. Peter Breggin on this article & would encourage you to read it & educate yourself about this drug.

But what I would add that was not addressed here is how often Xanax is prescribed in antidepressant withdrawal thereby causing Xanax to take responsibility for what the antidepressant withdrawal actually caused or exacerbated the effects. If that is a possibility in Whitney Houston’s case we do not know because that information has not been shared & is rarely addressed or considered.

Another important issue not addressed here is that Ambien is in this same group of drugs & most are aware of the very serious problems with this Benzo.

Also when Xanax was introduced to the market ~ supposedly to replace its extremely addictive sister drug, Valium ~ it is amazing to see it made it to approval when you consider that 1/3 of those in the clinical trials for Xanax could not withdraw from this drug due to its extremely addictive properties!!!

www.huffingtonpost.com

Reports that Xanax and other benzos are not usually lethal when taken alone are vastly misleading. Xanax is rarely taken alone. Why? Because as much or more than any other prescribed drug, Xanax causes medication spellbinding.

STOP ANTIDEPRESSANT VIOLENCE from ESCALATING

Tonight I got a call from a close friend I have known for over 20 years. He called to let me know that his 32 year old niece committed suicide on antidepressants today leaving her husband & three children behind. Last week I got a call from another close friend whose son-in-law made several very impulsive serious suicide attempts after taking only one Zoloft. So why you ask do I do what I do in working so hard to educate others to the dangers of these drugs? Because … no matter who you are … antidepressants come through your back door when you are not looking & destroy lives of those you love!!!

This is the link to a site posted by an amazing young man who has been able to accomplish this much from inside a prison cell after he killed his father while on Prozac when he was just a teen: http://www.thesaveproject.com/ I do hope you click on Kurt’s site and watch the video that was a Primetime special we did a few years back. In the video you will see MANY of those I have worked with over the years that have come to be like family to me. I cry everytime I think of the precious lives that have been lost to us all because of these deadly drugs!!!!!

www.thesaveproject.com

TheSaveProject – S.A.V.E. – STOP ANTIDEPRESSANT VIOLENCE from ESCALATING

——

LEXAPRO: Judge Experience​s Antidepres​sant-Induc​ed Hypomania

A doctor who is telling the truth about the hypomanic episode this
judge experienced from his antidepressant?!!!!! How refreshing that
the patient is getting the truth rather than being told he had an
“underlying” Bipolar Disorder that was manifest by his antidepressant
use!!!!! Why can’t other doctors be as honest and come right out and
tell the patient that their Bipolar symptoms have been brought on by
their antidepressant?

BUT when a patient experiences mania or hypomania from an
antidepressant, it is ABSOLUTELY INSANE to think they will not
experience it again on a different antidepressant! He and his family
had better hold their breaths!

What a shame when this happened that he did not have a copy of my DVD,
“Bipolar, Shmypolar! Are You Really Bipolar or Misdiagnosed Due to the
Use of or Abrupt Discontinuation of an Antidepressant?” If he had, the
DVD would have served as a warning for him about this common reaction
to both antidepressant use and abrupt withdrawal from antidepressants.

Why are these “Bipolar” patients not told they are suffering
continuous mild seizure activity which is what Bipolar Disorder is – a
sleep/seizure disorder brought on by the drugs?! ANTI-depressants are
stimulants, stimulants over stimulate the brain producing seizures.
The one time of day we all are in seizure activity is during REM sleep
– the dream state. So antidepressants are basically chemically
inducing the dream state during wakefulness.

By the way, the names “Mania” and “Hypomania” should be changed to
“Shear Hell on Earth!!!!!!!”

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & www.ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin
Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of
Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World & Help! I
Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder. . .

Blanche [Downing’s physician], though, describes the episode as a case
of antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Find this article at:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/features/people/Handling-hypomania.html?showAll=y&c=y

Former Judge Bob Downing explains episode that led to his resignation

By ELLYN COUVILLION
Advocate staff writer
Published: Mar 13, 2011 – Page: 1D

Comments (3)

Bob Downing, former 1st Circuit Court of Appeal judge, whose sudden
resignation from the bench last summer was surrounded by confusion,
can sort  out the events on a kind of timeline.

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder.

During the episode that lasted approximately three months, Downing
spent money wildly, alienated family, friends and employees and
resigned from the judicial bench, about the time he was hospitalized
and treated.

“It was a short period. It seemed like an eternity,” Downing, 61, said
recently from an office at the law firm of Dué, Price, Guidry,
Piedrahita and Andrews, where he’s working in an “of counsel” status.

In that capacity, Downing said that attorneys with the firm will work
with him on cases he brings in, but he is not on salary at the firm.
Downing handles personal injury cases.

Now being treated with medication for what was likely a one-time event
and back to feeling like himself, Downing said he recently decided to
speak out about his experience for several reasons.

“For people who have open heart surgery or stents, watch out for
depression,” Downing said.

One in five people experience an episode of depression after having
heart surgery, according to the website,http://www.psychcentral.com,
an independent mental health and psychology network run by mental
health professionals.

Downing also advises people taking antidepressants to stay in touch
with their doctor.

And, he said, “If you start feeling really wonderful and start
spending a lot of money, you need to see a counselor,” Downing said.

Hypomania is “a condition similar to mania but less severe,” according
to MedicineNet.com, a physician-produced online health-care publishing
company.

“The symptoms are similar, with elevated mood, increased activity,
decreased need for sleep, grandiosity, racing thoughts and the like,”
the company reports at its medical dictionary
website,http://www.medterms.com.

“It is important to diagnose hypomania, because, as an expression of
bipolar disorder, it can cycle into depression and carry an increased
risk of suicide,” the site reports.

Bipolar disorder is marked by periods of elevated or irritable mood —
the mania — alternating with depression, according to the National
Institutes of Health.

The mood swings between mania and depression can be very abrupt, it reports.

“Whether it’s hypomania or mania is a matter of severity,” said local
psychiatrist Dr. Robert Blanche, who is Downing’s physician.

“In general, it’s an elevated or an irritable mood that’s not normal
for the person,” Blanche said.

“In his (Downing’s) case, he was irritable and also, maybe the word is
‘expansive’ in his affects, (showing) euphoria, elation and
excitement,” Blanche said.

“He had never had a history of this before,” Blanche said.

Downing theorizes that his stopping his antidepressant too quickly, on
his own, led to the episode.

Blanche, though, describes the episode as a case of
antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Blanche said the only way to arrest the condition of hypomania is for
the person to go into the hospital so that their medications can be
adjusted.

During his own hospitalization, Downing was prescribed a mood
stabilizer, Depakote, classified as an anti-seizure medicine and the
medicine most commonly prescribed for mania by psychiatrists, Blanche
said.

The medicine acts to bind up what can be described as “excitatory”
chemicals in the brain, Blanche said.

Ultimately, though, that can result in a depletion of those chemicals
and a person can slide into a depression, Blanche said.

“If (a patient) is on a mood stabilizer, you can introduce an
antidepressant,” he said.

Downing said that his current antidepressant, Wellbutrin, is working
well for him.

After living through a hypomanic episode, some patients choose to stay
on the medicine, Blanche said.

“Some people will actually choose to stay on the medicine, just
because they don’t want it to ever happen again,” he said.

Fortunately, the condition “is one of the most treatable conditions in
psychiatry,” added Blanche, who serves as the psychiatrist at the East
Baton Rouge Parish jail and is the medical director of an emergency
psychiatric treatment center affiliated with the Earl K. Long Medical
Center.

Downing’s experiences this summer seem to have had all the markings of
manic episodes of bipolar disorder.

“Around the first of June 2010, I started feeling really good, started
talking a lot more, making big plans,” Downing said.

Around that time, he went to speak at a law conference in Carmel, Calif.

“I went to Yosemite, it was beautiful. I would wake up at 3 o’clock, 4
o’clock, 5 o’clock (thinking) ‘You need to retire, buy some foreclosed
properties, fix them up and make money to help people in India dig
wells,” Downing said.

“I was making grandiose plans,” he said.

Usually frugal, he started spending money, too, he said.

Before the episode was over, he had run up debts of almost $100,000,
buying such things as a 1971 Rolls Royce, three Harley-Davidson
motorcycles and a 1952 police car, he said.

He also bought a $1,000 commercial pressure washer, a large lawn
tractor and expensive new tools to help put a formerly homeless man
into business, he said.

“He just wasn’t himself,” said his wife, Pam Downing.

The couple will have been married 30 years on March 29.

“When the person is in that condition, you really can’t reason with
them,” Blanche said.

“The amazing thing about it is that it robs the person of their
insight,” he said.

In contrast, people are “painfully aware” of the other aspect of
bipolar disorder — depression, Blanche said.

Physicians and employers may miss a condition like hypomania, said
Townsend, because, like most people, “we like happy people, perky
people.”

“There’s a little more-rapid thinking, (rapid) speech, a decreased
need for sleep” in someone with mania, he said.

“When it becomes a condition is when it affects functioning,” Townsend said.

“It’s wonderful that the judge is willing to be an advocate for
bipolar disorder” awareness, Townsend said, referring to Downing.

“It’s very common, and people with it can be very productive members
of our society. It’s all around us,” he said.

Downing’s symptoms brought along misunderstandings among friends and
family members and conflicting ideas on the cause and solution of the
situation, he and family members said
Downing said he refused to seek treatment.

Finally, at one point, his eldest daughter, Kathryne Hart, 27, after
consulting with a physician, sought to have her father committed to a
hospital. Hart’s efforts came after Downing threatened suicide if
there was any more talk about his going to see a doctor.

“She was very brave,” Downing said.

But Downing wasn’t at home as expected when sheriff’s deputies arrived
to bring him to the hospital.

Pam Downing, who supported Hart in the decision, had taken the
couple’s son, Wes Downing, then 24, to visit a relative in Missouri
and to get away from the stressful situation at that time. The
Downings also have another daughter,  Kiera Downing, 26.

Shortly afterward, a group of Downing’s friends brought Downing to see
Blanche, who then admitted Downing into a psychiatric hospital, and
Downing began the recovery process, Kathryne Hart said.

Hart said that the threat of her father taking his life was something
she couldn’t ignore.

When she was in middle school, she said, two fellow students killed
themselves within a week of each other.

“I couldn’t take that chance,” she said. “I was going to do anything
to save him.”

The family said it took about a month after his hospitalization for
Downing to begin seeming like himself again and to understand what had
happened.

Downing said he has struggled with guilt over the debt he accrued
during the manic episode.

He’s taken heart, he said, from something he read in the book “Words
to Lift Your Spirit” by Dale Brown:

“When we do experience failure in our jobs or in our personal lives,
we must not shackle ourselves with guilt, because it can lead to the
silent suffocation of our spirit.”

Downing said that his speaking about his experience is a way to bring
something positive from it.

“He’s 100 percent better,” Hart said. “He’s completely back to normal.
He’s reconciled with all of us.”

“Something like this either tears a family apart or makes it
stronger,” Pam Downing said.

For them, the experience has made the family stronger, she said,
adding that they received a lot of support from the pastors of their
church, First Presbyterian.

Downing, who receives a pension for his years of public service,
served as a district judge for 15 years and as a 1st Circuit Court of
Appeal judge for 10 years.

Over the years, he also worked in various volunteer programs for
prison inmates, such as a Bible study and a program that prepared
inmates for getting jobs when they were released.

He also previously served on the boards of Cenikor, a treatment
community to help people end substance abuse, and the Baton Rouge
Marine Institute, now AMIkids Baton Rouge.

Looking back on the events of last summer, he said, “Twenty-five years
in public service and, then, at the end of my career, people are
going, ‘What’s happening? Something’s wrong.’”

Looking ahead to the future, Downing said, “I’ve been a positive
person most of my life. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Bipolar disorder, classified as a mood disorder, affects about 5.7
million Americans or approximately 2.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The disorder, which affects men and women equally, involves periods of
mania — elevated or irritable mood — alternating with periods of
depression. There are two types. Bipolar disorder type I involves
periods of major depression and was formerly called manic depression.
Bipolar disorder type II involves hypomania, with symptoms that aren’t
as extreme as the symptoms of mania.

In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause.

The following, though, may trigger a manic episode in people
vulnerable to the illness:

Life changes such as childbirth.
Medication such as antidepressants and steroids.
Periods of sleeplessness.
Recreational drug use.

Symptoms of the manic phase can last from days to months and include:

Agitation or irritation.
Inflated self-esteem.
Noticeably elevated mood.
Poor temper control.
Impaired judgment.
Spending sprees.

Medicines called mood stabilizers are the first line of treatment.
Antidepressant medications can be added to mood-stabilizing drugs.
Other medications used to treat bipolar disorder are anti-psychotic
drugs and anti-anxiety drugs.

Source: The National Institutes of Health

Capitol news bureau writer Michelle Millhollon contributed to this story.

LEXAPRO: Judge Experiences Antidepressant-Induced Hypomania

A doctor who is telling the truth about the hypomanic episode this
judge experienced from his antidepressant?!!!!! How refreshing that
the patient is getting the truth rather than being told he had an
“underlying” Bipolar Disorder that was manifest by his antidepressant
use!!!!! Why can’t other doctors be as honest and come right out and
tell the patient that their Bipolar symptoms have been brought on by
their antidepressant?

BUT when a patient experiences mania or hypomania from an
antidepressant, it is ABSOLUTELY INSANE to think they will not
experience it again on a different antidepressant! He and his family
had better hold their breaths!

What a shame when this happened that he did not have a copy of my DVD,
“Bipolar, Shmypolar! Are You Really Bipolar or Misdiagnosed Due to the
Use of or Abrupt Discontinuation of an Antidepressant?” If he had, the
DVD would have served as a warning for him about this common reaction
to both antidepressant use and abrupt withdrawal from antidepressants.

Why are these “Bipolar” patients not told they are suffering
continuous mild seizure activity which is what Bipolar Disorder is – a
sleep/seizure disorder brought on by the drugs?! ANTI-depressants are
stimulants, stimulants over stimulate the brain producing seizures.
The one time of day we all are in seizure activity is during REM sleep
– the dream state. So antidepressants are basically chemically
inducing the dream state during wakefulness.

By the way, the names “Mania” and “Hypomania” should be changed to
“Shear Hell on Earth!!!!!!!”

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & www.ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin
Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of
Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World & Help! I
Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder. . .

Blanche [Downing’s physician], though, describes the episode as a case
of antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Find this article at:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/features/people/Handling-hypomania.html?showAll=y&c=y

Former Judge Bob Downing explains episode that led to his resignation

By ELLYN COUVILLION
Advocate staff writer
Published: Mar 13, 2011 – Page: 1D

Comments (3)

Bob Downing, former 1st Circuit Court of Appeal judge, whose sudden
resignation from the bench last summer was surrounded by confusion,
can sort  out the events on a kind of timeline.

First, there was his heart stent surgery in the spring of 2009.

Following surgery, he found himself feeling depressed, a scenario
experienced by some heart patients, he later learned. The depression
was compounded by the death of a good friend, he said.

Next, came a period of his taking an antidepressant, Lexapro,  that he
found helpful. But, he said, he stopped the medicine, on his own, too
quickly.

What happened next, he said, was later diagnosed as an episode of
hypomania, an expression of bipolar disorder.

During the episode that lasted approximately three months, Downing
spent money wildly, alienated family, friends and employees and
resigned from the judicial bench, about the time he was hospitalized
and treated.

“It was a short period. It seemed like an eternity,” Downing, 61, said
recently from an office at the law firm of Dué, Price, Guidry,
Piedrahita and Andrews, where he’s working in an “of counsel” status.

In that capacity, Downing said that attorneys with the firm will work
with him on cases he brings in, but he is not on salary at the firm.
Downing handles personal injury cases.

Now being treated with medication for what was likely a one-time event
and back to feeling like himself, Downing said he recently decided to
speak out about his experience for several reasons.

“For people who have open heart surgery or stents, watch out for
depression,” Downing said.

One in five people experience an episode of depression after having
heart surgery, according to the website,http://www.psychcentral.com,
an independent mental health and psychology network run by mental
health professionals.

Downing also advises people taking antidepressants to stay in touch
with their doctor.

And, he said, “If you start feeling really wonderful and start
spending a lot of money, you need to see a counselor,” Downing said.

Hypomania is “a condition similar to mania but less severe,” according
to MedicineNet.com, a physician-produced online health-care publishing
company.

“The symptoms are similar, with elevated mood, increased activity,
decreased need for sleep, grandiosity, racing thoughts and the like,”
the company reports at its medical dictionary
website,http://www.medterms.com.

“It is important to diagnose hypomania, because, as an expression of
bipolar disorder, it can cycle into depression and carry an increased
risk of suicide,” the site reports.

Bipolar disorder is marked by periods of elevated or irritable mood —
the mania — alternating with depression, according to the National
Institutes of Health.

The mood swings between mania and depression can be very abrupt, it reports.

“Whether it’s hypomania or mania is a matter of severity,” said local
psychiatrist Dr. Robert Blanche, who is Downing’s physician.

“In general, it’s an elevated or an irritable mood that’s not normal
for the person,” Blanche said.

“In his (Downing’s) case, he was irritable and also, maybe the word is
‘expansive’ in his affects, (showing) euphoria, elation and
excitement,” Blanche said.

“He had never had a history of this before,” Blanche said.

Downing theorizes that his stopping his antidepressant too quickly, on
his own, led to the episode.

Blanche, though, describes the episode as a case of
antidepressant-induced hypomania, attributing it to a second
antidepressant that Downing was later prescribed by another physician.

“Medications can commonly cause hypomania, and it’s not really
understood why,” said Dr. Mark Townsend, a professor of psychiatry at
the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Antidepressants can bring on hypomania, as can steroids, he said.

“There’s really not a diagnostic category for antidepressant-induced
hypomania” in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Blanche said, but he predicted there will be one in the
manual’s next edition.

Blanche said the only way to arrest the condition of hypomania is for
the person to go into the hospital so that their medications can be
adjusted.

During his own hospitalization, Downing was prescribed a mood
stabilizer, Depakote, classified as an anti-seizure medicine and the
medicine most commonly prescribed for mania by psychiatrists, Blanche
said.

The medicine acts to bind up what can be described as “excitatory”
chemicals in the brain, Blanche said.

Ultimately, though, that can result in a depletion of those chemicals
and a person can slide into a depression, Blanche said.

“If (a patient) is on a mood stabilizer, you can introduce an
antidepressant,” he said.

Downing said that his current antidepressant, Wellbutrin, is working
well for him.

After living through a hypomanic episode, some patients choose to stay
on the medicine, Blanche said.

“Some people will actually choose to stay on the medicine, just
because they don’t want it to ever happen again,” he said.

Fortunately, the condition “is one of the most treatable conditions in
psychiatry,” added Blanche, who serves as the psychiatrist at the East
Baton Rouge Parish jail and is the medical director of an emergency
psychiatric treatment center affiliated with the Earl K. Long Medical
Center.

Downing’s experiences this summer seem to have had all the markings of
manic episodes of bipolar disorder.

“Around the first of June 2010, I started feeling really good, started
talking a lot more, making big plans,” Downing said.

Around that time, he went to speak at a law conference in Carmel, Calif.

“I went to Yosemite, it was beautiful. I would wake up at 3 o’clock, 4
o’clock, 5 o’clock (thinking) ‘You need to retire, buy some foreclosed
properties, fix them up and make money to help people in India dig
wells,” Downing said.

“I was making grandiose plans,” he said.

Usually frugal, he started spending money, too, he said.

Before the episode was over, he had run up debts of almost $100,000,
buying such things as a 1971 Rolls Royce, three Harley-Davidson
motorcycles and a 1952 police car, he said.

He also bought a $1,000 commercial pressure washer, a large lawn
tractor and expensive new tools to help put a formerly homeless man
into business, he said.

“He just wasn’t himself,” said his wife, Pam Downing.

The couple will have been married 30 years on March 29.

“When the person is in that condition, you really can’t reason with
them,” Blanche said.

“The amazing thing about it is that it robs the person of their
insight,” he said.

In contrast, people are “painfully aware” of the other aspect of
bipolar disorder — depression, Blanche said.

Physicians and employers may miss a condition like hypomania, said
Townsend, because, like most people, “we like happy people, perky
people.”

“There’s a little more-rapid thinking, (rapid) speech, a decreased
need for sleep” in someone with mania, he said.

“When it becomes a condition is when it affects functioning,” Townsend said.

“It’s wonderful that the judge is willing to be an advocate for
bipolar disorder” awareness, Townsend said, referring to Downing.

“It’s very common, and people with it can be very productive members
of our society. It’s all around us,” he said.

Downing’s symptoms brought along misunderstandings among friends and
family members and conflicting ideas on the cause and solution of the
situation, he and family members said
Downing said he refused to seek treatment.

Finally, at one point, his eldest daughter, Kathryne Hart, 27, after
consulting with a physician, sought to have her father committed to a
hospital. Hart’s efforts came after Downing threatened suicide if
there was any more talk about his going to see a doctor.

“She was very brave,” Downing said.

But Downing wasn’t at home as expected when sheriff’s deputies arrived
to bring him to the hospital.

Pam Downing, who supported Hart in the decision, had taken the
couple’s son, Wes Downing, then 24, to visit a relative in Missouri
and to get away from the stressful situation at that time. The
Downings also have another daughter,  Kiera Downing, 26.

Shortly afterward, a group of Downing’s friends brought Downing to see
Blanche, who then admitted Downing into a psychiatric hospital, and
Downing began the recovery process, Kathryne Hart said.

Hart said that the threat of her father taking his life was something
she couldn’t ignore.

When she was in middle school, she said, two fellow students killed
themselves within a week of each other.

“I couldn’t take that chance,” she said. “I was going to do anything
to save him.”

The family said it took about a month after his hospitalization for
Downing to begin seeming like himself again and to understand what had
happened.

Downing said he has struggled with guilt over the debt he accrued
during the manic episode.

He’s taken heart, he said, from something he read in the book “Words
to Lift Your Spirit” by Dale Brown:

“When we do experience failure in our jobs or in our personal lives,
we must not shackle ourselves with guilt, because it can lead to the
silent suffocation of our spirit.”

Downing said that his speaking about his experience is a way to bring
something positive from it.

“He’s 100 percent better,” Hart said. “He’s completely back to normal.
He’s reconciled with all of us.”

“Something like this either tears a family apart or makes it
stronger,” Pam Downing said.

For them, the experience has made the family stronger, she said,
adding that they received a lot of support from the pastors of their
church, First Presbyterian.

Downing, who receives a pension for his years of public service,
served as a district judge for 15 years and as a 1st Circuit Court of
Appeal judge for 10 years.

Over the years, he also worked in various volunteer programs for
prison inmates, such as a Bible study and a program that prepared
inmates for getting jobs when they were released.

He also previously served on the boards of Cenikor, a treatment
community to help people end substance abuse, and the Baton Rouge
Marine Institute, now AMIkids Baton Rouge.

Looking back on the events of last summer, he said, “Twenty-five years
in public service and, then, at the end of my career, people are
going, ‘What’s happening? Something’s wrong.’”

Looking ahead to the future, Downing said, “I’ve been a positive
person most of my life. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Bipolar disorder, classified as a mood disorder, affects about 5.7
million Americans or approximately 2.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The disorder, which affects men and women equally, involves periods of
mania — elevated or irritable mood — alternating with periods of
depression. There are two types. Bipolar disorder type I involves
periods of major depression and was formerly called manic depression.
Bipolar disorder type II involves hypomania, with symptoms that aren’t
as extreme as the symptoms of mania.

In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause.

The following, though, may trigger a manic episode in people
vulnerable to the illness:

Life changes such as childbirth.
Medication such as antidepressants and steroids.
Periods of sleeplessness.
Recreational drug use.

Symptoms of the manic phase can last from days to months and include:

Agitation or irritation.
Inflated self-esteem.
Noticeably elevated mood.
Poor temper control.
Impaired judgment.
Spending sprees.

Medicines called mood stabilizers are the first line of treatment.
Antidepressant medications can be added to mood-stabilizing drugs.
Other medications used to treat bipolar disorder are anti-psychotic
drugs and anti-anxiety drugs.

Source: The National Institutes of Health

Capitol news bureau writer Michelle Millhollon contributed to this story.

ANTIDEPRESSANT & ALCOHOL: Assault: Man Attacks Kidney Transplant Patient: UK

Paragraph nine reads: “Steve Collins, defending, said his client had
expressed “considerable remorse” and added: “He accepts it was completely out
of order. Alcohol played its part and, perhaps, anti-depressants.”

SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states that
antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and can cause 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.newburytoday.co.uk/News/Article.aspx?articleID=13103

Man banned from Thatcham for attacking kidney transplant patient
Sun, April 25 2010

By John Garvey, Reporter
Email: newburytoday@newburynews.co.uk
Phone: 01635 564632

A MAN who savagely attacked a frail, Thatcham kidney transplant patient
has been handed a jail term and banned from the town.

Forty-one-year-old Anthony Coles battered his terrified girlfriend Donna
Morrison as she cowered in the bedroom of her Thatcham home, demanding
hundreds of pounds in cash and threatening to stab her pet dog, Newbury
magistrates heard.

But they suspended the prison sentence last Thursday, April 22, ruling
that Mr Coles would not get the help he needed in jail.

Lauren Murphy, prosecuting, said: “The victim, who was subsequently rated
as being a high risk domestic violence victim, is a petite lady who has
health problems and has had two kidney transplants.

“The pair had been in a six-year relationship and he had recently moved
into her home. One evening he came in and had been drinking. She made his tea
but he didn’t want any. He became insulting, saying she wasn’t really ill
and that he didn’t want to be in the relationship any more.

“He asked for £10, which she gave him and she went to bed at 7.30pm, not
wanting to have an argument.”

Mr Coles went out and, upon his return, the court heard, began making
increasing demands for cash until he wanted £500.

Miss Murphy went on: “When she said she wouldn’t be able to get the money
he knocked her to the floor, grabbed her hair and dragged her along the
bedroom floor saying that, if she didn’t get him the money he would take her
dog Barney to the woods and stab him.

“She was petrified and afraid that if she called out she would suffer
serious harm. She told him she would get his money and he warned that if she
called the police he would kill her sister and make her life a misery.”

Miss Morrison made a show of going to the Thatcham Co-Op with her bank
card but then called police, the court heard.

Miss Murphy said: “Officers found her tearful and trembling and she kept
repeating: ‘He is going to kill me.’ She showed officers a large clump of
hair that had ben torn out by being dragged. Mr Coles told officers that he
had just flipped.”

Mr Coles, who now lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, admitted assault
causing actual bodily harm on March 4 this year.

Steve Collins, defending, said his client had expressed “considerable
remorse” and added: “He accepts it was completely out of order. Alcohol played
its part and, perhaps, anti-depressants.

“He had no money because his money was paid into her bank account – hence,
he wanted money to get away.”

Mr Collins asked magistrates to read pre-sentence reports and alluded to
on-going problems his client had with regard to relationships, adding: “He
knows you may send him to prison today and he has no problem with that. But
one day he is going to have to address these problems and he won’t be able
to do that in jail.”

Magistrates imposed a four-month jail term, but agreed to suspend it for
two years and ordered Mr Coles to undertake a domestic violence programme.

He was also banned from entering Thatcham for two years and ordered to pay
Miss Morrison £100 compensation.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS & ALCOHOL: Murder Attempt: Man Stabs Police Officer: Malta

Paragraph seven reads: “Supt Martin Sammut, who was an inspector at the
time, testified that in his statement to the police, Mr Attard acknowledged
stabbing the officer and expressed regret. Mr Attard also said that he was
drunk – even though he was not supposed to drink because he was on
anti-depressants – and that he had no intention of hurting the constable. At the
time, Mr Attard said that he was very nervous, as his underage daughter was
pregnant.”

SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states that
antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and can cause alcohol abuse. Also, the
liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol

http://www.di-ve.com/Default.aspx?ID=72&Action=1&NewsId=71642&newscategory=3
4

by John Paul Cordina – editorial@di-ve.com

Court — 19 April 2010 — 12:45CEST

A man charged with the attempted murder of a policeman told police that he
was drunk and on medication when the incident occurred, and did not intend
to hurt the officer, a jury heard on Monday.

Kevin Attard, a 39-year-old Kalkara resident, started undergoing trial by
jury after being charged with the attempted murder of PC Jonathan Farrugia
in the small hours of April 26, 2003, at the St Julians police station.

According to the prosecution, Mr Attard reacted violently when he was
refused entry at the Fuego nightclub in Paceville at around 0320h. Security
guards called the police for assistance, but Mr Attard punched PC Andrew St
John when he intervened, leading to his arrest.

He was taken to the police station, where PC Farrugia was on his own since
his colleagues were out on assignment.

Mr Attard asked for permission to smoke, permission that was granted on
condition that he remained at the station, but he nevertheless attempted to
leave twice. On the second attempt, PC Farrugia ordered Mr Attard to get
back inside, leading to an altercation in which the accused brought out a
3-inch pen knife and stabbed the police officer in the belly.

Two police officers entered the station soon after, and apprehended Mr
Attard. Mr Farrugia was taken to St Luke’s Hospital, where his injury was
certified not to be life-threatening, and was released on the following day.

Supt Martin Sammut, who was an inspector at the time, testified that in
his statement to the police, Mr Attard acknowledged stabbing the officer and
expressed regret. Mr Attard also said that he was drunk – even though he
was not supposed to drink because he was on anti-depressants – and that he
had no intention of hurting the constable. At the time, Mr Attard said that
he was very nervous, as his underage daughter was pregnant.

The accused insisted that PC Farrugia was not alone in the station at the
time, and said that he had just purchased the knife in his home town.

Mr Farrugia testified that when the accused arrived at the station, he
appeared calm, but suddenly attacked him. He said that he was not aware that
he had been stabbed, and thought the accused had grabbed a set of keys and
punched him.

He said that he started shouting for help, and a police officer soon
arrived to help him escort Mr Attard to the station cell. It was this police
officer who informed him that he had been attacked with a knife, the constable
said in Court.

Mr Attard was also charged with slightly injuring PC St John, damaging PC
Farrugia’s uniform, the unlawful possession of a knife and with assaulting
police officers with the aim of preventing them from carrying out their
duty.

The uniform and the knife were presented as evidence to the jury, as was a
blood-stained shirt.

Lawyer Lara Lanfranco is prosecuting on behalf of the Attorney General’s
Office, while lawyers José Herrera and Veronique Dalli are representing Mr
Attard.

The trial is being presided over by Judge Joseph Galea Debono.

Email to a friend

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Violence: Man demands bus refund at knifepoint: New Zealand

Paragraph 12 reads: “Mr Henderson said Te Iwimate had mental health
issues, was on anti-depressants and an anti-psychotic injection which he
received on Tuesday. ”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/3583817/Man-demands-bus-refu
nd-at-knifepoint

By FELICITY ROSS – Taranaki Daily News
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2010

ROBERT CHARLES/Taranaki Daily News

Police arrested a man about 30 minutes after he allegedly robbed a woman
at knifepoint in the centre of New Plymouth yesterday.
Mohi Te Kupu Te Iwimate, 38, unemployed, of Palmerston North, was charged
with aggravated robbery and appeared in the New Plymouth District Court
yesterday afternoon.
Te Iwimate allegedly entered the bus station on Ariki St just after 8am
yesterday morning and asked the victim for a refund on a bus ticket.
When she refused to give him the refund Te Iwimate allegedly pulled out a
knife and robbed her of $25.
The scene at the Ariki St bus station was cordoned off as police began
forensic tests.
The victim, who has been offered victim support, declined to speak to the
Taranaki Daily News about the ordeal.
She works for Dalroy Tours at the bus station, which is guarded by two
surveillance cameras.
Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward said the knife and money had been
recovered by police.
“The gentleman was disputing a refund of a bus ticket and when he was
declined, pulled out a knife and started brandishing it around. He threatened
the attendant and demanded his money.”
During Te Iwimate’s appearance in court, lawyer Barry Henderson said his
client had given a full and frank admission to police.
He was remanded in custody by consent.
Mr Henderson said Te Iwimate had mental health issues, was on
anti-depressants and an anti-psychotic injection which he received on Tuesday.
He asked for a psychiatric evaluation to be done on the man.
Te Iwimate was remanded in custody without plea and will reappear in court
on May 6.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS & ALCOHOL: Death: Ireland

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

Death by misadventure!” What is that? “Death by medicine” is
far more accurate! When antidepressants CAUSE overwhelming cravings for alcohol

or Dipsomania (an uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol) why was this case not
determined to be murder by medicine? That is what it was. When the drug causes
you to mix a deadly combo that takes your life then it is murder by medicine in
my book!

______________________________________
First three paragraphs read:  “AN A&E consultant has
warned of the “lethal” consequences of combining alcohol and prescription
medication
following the death of Bertie Ahern’s
nephew from a mixture of drink and anti-depressants.”

“Dr Chris
Luke said people were admitted every day suffering from the effects of legal
drug and alcohol cocktails. Dr Luke, a consultant at Cork University Hospital,
said legal drugs were as dangerous as illegal drugs
and the public needed to be made aware of the dangers”.

“He was
commenting after an inquest found that Dylan Ahern, the son of former Dublin
City Councillor Maurice Ahern, had been killed by a combination of
anti-depressant medication and alcohol.
A jury returned a verdict of

death by misadventure.”

http://www.herald.ie/national-news/booze-and-pills-alert-after-bertie-tragedy-2139007.html

Booze and pills alert after Bertie tragedy

Thursday April 15 2010

AN A&E consultant has warned
of the “lethal” consequences of combining alcohol and prescription medication
following the death of Bertie Ahern’s nephew from a mixture of drink and
anti-depressants.

Dr Chris Luke said people were admitted every day
suffering from the effects of legal drug and alcohol cocktails. Dr Luke, a
consultant at Cork University Hospital, said legal drugs were as dangerous as
illegal drugs and the public needed to be made aware of the dangers.

He
was commenting after an inquest found that Dylan Ahern, the son of former Dublin
City Councillor Maurice Ahern, had been killed by a combination of
anti-depressant medication and alcohol. A jury returned a verdict of death by
misadventure.

Toxic

“Every week on our observation ward at CUH, we
have several cases of people who have poisoned themselves with booze and
whatever was in the medicine cabinet,” Dr Luke said.

“When giving talks
to parents, teenagers and colleagues, I always start by saying the first drug is

alcohol and it’s always the first chapter in any story of substance abuse.

“Nine out of 10 times when people poison themselves, it involves
alcohol. We would rarely get a case of an overdose of anti-depressants or other
drugs without alcohol being consumed first.

Alcohol also sensitises
parts of the body like the heart, brain and stomach lining, making them more
susceptible to being affected by other drugs.

“It amplifies the toxic
effect of each compound so the synergy they have is greater than the sum of
their parts in their effect on the body.”

Dr Luke said the effect could
be either a more intense tranquilising effect, or a paradoxical stimulation,
leaving people either almost comatose, or “off their heads”.

He said a
large number of people who self-harmed with alcohol and drugs did so either
accidentally or impulsively.

They can become aggressive, violent and
paranoid and can suffer from a rapid heart rate, high blood pressure or
“electrical chaos” in the brain, leading to seizures or even heart attacks and
fatal strokes. “Booze and drugs are always a dangerous combination,” he
added.

hnews@herald.ie

– Andrew
Phelan

ANTIDEPRESSANTS & PAIN KILLERS: Suicide: Woman: England

Paragraph 11 reads:  “A post-mortem examination also
found a mixture of other painkillers and anti-depressants
in therapeutic rather than fatal amounts, but they could have worked
to enhance the effect of the pills.”

http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2065818_grieving_nurse_had_spoken_of_suicide

Grieving nurse had spoken of suicide

February 15,
2010

A nurse who was found dead on her sofa had taken an overdose of her
daughter’s painkillers, an inquest heard.

Lindsay Davies, 50, was
discovered by her 22-year-old daughter at the family home in Southcote on August
26.

She had just finished a 10-day stint of night shifts at the Duchess
of Kent House in West Reading and the inquest heard it was thought she decided
to have a few drinks and fall asleep on the sofa.

Her husband Ian, known
as Terry, woke to the sound of her falling off the sofa at 2am and went
downstairs to pick her up and put her back on the settee at their home in
Worcester Close.

Giving evidence at the inquest on Tuesday, Mr Davies
said that he had left for work at around 6.30am and his wife was still snoring
soundly on the sofa. He said: “She had just finished night shifts and was
exhausted. It was not unusual for her to have a few drinks and relax when she
knew she didn’t have to go to work the next day.

“She had mentioned a few
things about taking her life but it was soon after her mother died and I just
thought it was normal to talk like that. I didn’t think she would actually do
anything, especially not where her family would find her.”

Mrs Davies,
who had a history of depression, had discussed taking her life with her daughter
but had said she would walk into the sea until she drowned and take her beloved
dog Charlie with her.

Her husband found a number of empty pill packets in
the house and some food bags of ham that had been laced with pills. But the dog,
who had been sleeping next to her, showed no signs of
poisoning.

Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford said that Mrs Davies had pills
in her stomach containing a painkiller that was prescribed to her daughter who
also suffered depression.

The pills were a potentially fatal
dose.

A post-mortem examination also found a mixture of other painkillers
and anti-depressants in therapeutic rather than fatal amounts, but they could
have worked to enhance the effect of the pills.

Recording an open
verdict, Mr Bedford said: “There is not enough evidence to allow me to reach a
clear conclusion.

“There is no suicide note, there is only one drug that
she overdosed in her body when you expect someone to try and take all the pills
you could get your hands on, and the fact she had said she would not do it at
home where her daughter would find her.

“There is doubt for me
there.”