ANTIDEPRESSANT & ALCOHOL: Assault: Australia

Paragraph 10 reads:  “At the time Todd was suffering
anxiety and depression and could have suffered a blackout.”

Paragraph 13 reads:  “She said the incident had a huge impact on
her client’s marriage, his wife was left shaken and Todd had consumed alcohol while on medication and with an
empty stomach that night.

SSRI Stories Note:  The Physicians
Desk Reference states that antidepressants can
cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse.

Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol
simultaneously,  thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the
antidepressant
in the human body

http://www.standard.net.au/news/local/news/general/pilot-strikes-below-the-belt/1801972.aspx

Pilot strikes below the belt

ANDREW THOMSON
14
Apr, 2010 04:00 AM

A LONG-TIME RAAF officer has piloted his way into
trouble after grabbing another man’s testicles at the Port Fairy Folk Festival.

Jeff Todd, 51, of Ramsey Court, Lowood, pleaded guilty in the
Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week to unlawful assault.

He was not
convicted and fined $1000.

The court was told that on March 7 this year
Todd was at the festival between 6.30pm and 7.30pm when he became involved in a
verbal incident in a bar with a man not known to him.
Todd bumped into the
man several times in a bar and was asked to move away before the victim
requested security personnel to assist.

Todd moved away a few paces,
made some derogatory comments, then came up behind the victim and grabbed his
testicles with significant force.

“You’ve got no balls, mate,” Todd told
the victim and there was a short struggle before he released the victim’s
testicles.

Todd was kicked out of the venue and told not to come back.

He told police during an interview he had drunk a bottle of wine and had
little recollection of the incident.

At the time Todd was suffering
anxiety and depression and could have suffered a blackout.

The victim
suffered pain for about 12 hours and Todd wrote a letter of apology which was
passed on through police.

Defence counsel Danielle Svede said Todd had
no prior convictions, glowing references and had not drunk alcohol since the
incident.

She said the incident had a huge impact on her client’s
marriage, his wife was left shaken and Todd had consumed alcohol while on
medication and with an empty stomach that night.

Ms Svede said her client
was on 12 months leave from the air force, had undertaken anger management and
knew his behaviour was inappropriate.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said
there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the defendant’s actions were
appalling.

He said the folk festival was not a place to be confronted by
drunken, boorish behaviour and assaulted.

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LEXAPRO: Journalist Has Side-Effects: Not Sure Lexapro is Working: U.S…

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

From the last paragraph in the article below I quote the author: “I will say only this: I no longer count on Lexapro to make me well. Which is to say I no longer fret if I miss a day or two, I no longer rush to the drug store to get my refills, and I place far more importance on getting my life in order: regulating my alcohol consumption, getting a decent night’s sleep, exercising (I’m not the only depressive who’s become an amateur triathlete) and, corny as it sounds, pausing at intervals to ponder my blessings.”

Although there are some good ideas mentioned here that I have been recommending forever for depressives such as the great importance of sleep and exercise and counting one’s blessings, there are other things that could produce life-threatening consequences for both the author who is using an SSRI or those around him. Those areas of grave concern are the consumption of alcohol with an antidepressant and the lack of concern about skipping a pill or picking up a refill for his Lexapro – both all too common with antidepressant users.

Why are they common although dangerous? They are common because of two side effects produced by these drugs:

1, Antidepressants can produce overwhelming cravings for alcohol as well as a tolerance for alcohol and then when mixed can produce toxic effects leading to psychotic breaks.

2. Antidepressants produce what the patients call the “I don’t give a damn” attitude leading one to not care about missing a pill or refilling a prescription. The grave concern with this is the warning put in place by the FDA along with the Black Box warning of suicide. That FDA warning is that ANY ABRUPT CHANGE IN DOSE of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis. Skipping a pill is an abrupt change in dose as is starting or stopping the use of one of these drugs or switching the brand of antidepressant you are taking. If you survive a manic psychosis instead of being told what caused that psychotic break, you will likely be diagnosed as Bipolar and/or spend the rest of your life in prison for what you did while psychotic. The possibilities can be more than just frightening!

Paragraphs 18 through 22 read:

” ‘How’s the Lexapro working’?”

” ‘I don’t know’.”

‘Agnosticism, I’ve found, is a common refrain among my medicated friends. We’re feeling OK, thanks. Is it the pill? Natural cycles? A good week at work? The fact that the sun is shining? Not always apparent. The only thing we’re really clear on, honestly, is our side effects. Nausea, nightmares, hypomania, agitation, headaches, decreased sex drive, decreased sex performance … the list is exquisite in its variation. My first two nights on Lexapro, I lay for hours on the precipice of unconsciousness, unable to take the last plunge. To fall asleep, I had to get a prescription for Ambien, which I then spent another week weaning myself off. To this day, the prospect of sleep holds a mild terror for me that it never did before.’

‘Oddly enough, the side effects are often the pills’ best advocates. If we’re feeling that crappy, we figure something of great moment is happening inside us. What’s harder to accept is the alternative explanation — that, when it comes to depression, we’re still wandering in the dark. As Charles Barber, author of “Comfortably Numb,” argues, scientists don’t really know how antidepressants work. ‘They change the brain chemistry, but the infinite spiral of what they do from there is very unclear’.”

“So if you don’t know how something works, and you can no longer credibly claim it does work (even some industry spokesmen are beginning to qualify their claims), you’re not left with much of a fallback position. The placebo effect is real — the body actually does heal itself when it believes it is being healed — but it is founded on faith, and in the wake of the JAMA study, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that faith except through a rather larger act of denial.”

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/04/05/is_my_lexapro_working/

Monday, Apr 5, 2010 04:01 EDT

My antidepressant gets harder to swallow

As studies shed doubt on certain psychiatric drugs, I wonder: Do I really need my little white pill?

By Louis Bayard

Salon

I take it every morning, right after I brush my teeth. A single white pill, with the letters F and L stamped on one side, the number 10 on the other. It’s so small it nearly disappears into the folds of my palm. You could drop it in my orange juice or my breakfast cereal, and I’d swallow it without a hitch.

And, for the last three years, I have been swallowing my Lexapro — and everything that comes along with it. And, apparently, I’m not alone.

Between 1996 and 2005, the number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled. According to the Centers for Disease Control, antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. — ahead of drugs for cholesterol, blood pressure and asthma. Of the 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in 2005, 118 million were for depression. Whether the pills go by the name of Lexapro or Effexor or Prozac or Wellbutrin, we’re downing them, to the tune of $9.6 billion a year, and we’re doing it for a very good and simple reason. They’re supposed to be making us better.

Which leaves a quite massive shoe waiting to drop. What if these costly, widely marketed, bewitchingly commonplace drugs really aren’t fixing our brains?

The implications are troubling, and not just for the pharmaceutical industry. In a study published last January by the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists conducting a meta-analysis of existing research found that antidepressants were unquestionably “useful in cases of severe depression” but frankly not much help for the rest of us. “The magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo,” the study’s authors concluded, “may be minimal or nonexistent, on average, in patients with mild or moderate symptoms.”

In other words, antidepressants work, but only because we believe they’re working. If we’re not seriously depressed and we’re taking a tricyclic or a serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a norepinephrine booster, we’d fare about as well with a sugar pill. Which means that antidepressants are, to borrow the phraseology of Newsweek writer Martha Begley, “basically expensive Tic Tacs.”

And so, like millions of Americans, I’m left with the problem of it: that little white pill that travels down my gullet every morning. What is it really doing down there — up there? What if it’s not doing anything? Is there any good empirical unassailable reason that I should be swallowing it day after day after day? If I stop believing in it, will it stop working?

More than half a century has passed since the first antidepressants were prescribed, but it’s fair to say that the opposition to them coalesced in the 1990s, with the explosive sales growth of Prozac. As critics like David Healy and Ronald W. Dworkin warned that Big Pharma was medicalizing sadness for profit, the widespread usage of ironic terms like “happy pills” conjured up visions of smiling zombies wandering through sinister dreamscapes. Eric G. Wilson, in his overwrought “Against Happiness,” actually envisioned a day when antidepressants would “destroy dejection completely” and “eradicate depression forever.”

Looking back, we can see that both critics and advocates were working from the same premise: that these drugs change us in some fairly profound way. (Even pro-drug Peter Fisher [Kramer], in his bestselling “Listening to Prozac,” worried about the cost of making people “better than well.”) But as researchers like Irving Kirsch and Guy Sapirstein are increasingly finding, the truth may shade more toward the comic end of the spectrum. Far from transforming us, antidepressants are leaving us pretty much as they found us. Emperors in gleaming new clothes.

The more I ponder my experience, the less surprised I am. I turned to medication because I couldn’t stop crying in public places — Starbucks was a popular spot — or imagining my death. (Crucially, I never got around to planning it.) And because I realized that although I was meeting life’s core requirements, I was not always exceeding them. And because, after a couple of years of sessions with an empathetic therapist, I came to believe that my wiring really had shorted out, that some form of grayer matter had fastened itself to my brain and was hard at work, siphoning away my joy.

I remember watching the camcorder footage of my son’s first birthday party and being shocked by the sight of myself, staring back at the camera with sad eyes. Depression had always been a sporadic companion, but in my 43rd year, it began to take up permanent residence. I felt like I was walking around on rotting floorboards. I cried. I lost my temper on the flimsiest of pretexts. I saw myself dead.

At which point medication seemed like a reasonable alternative. Before another week had passed, I had secured a low-dosage prescription for Lexapro, prescribed not by my therapist but by my primary-care physician. (Even that’s not quite true. It was the doctor who was taking my doctor’s patients while she was on vacation.)

“Who’s going to monitor this drug?” my partner asked.

“Um … you? Me?”

When it came to Lexapro, all my responses had the same interrogative lilt. If someone asked me how I was feeling, I’d say, “Better, I guess?” When asked if I would recommend Lexapro to others, I’d say: “Maybe kind of?”

This was the most surprising part of the whole experience: that the transformation or malformation I had expected to feel never quite arrived, that in the course of ramping up my serotonin levels, I should remain so freakishly myself.

It is, in fact, one of the amusing side effects of living in the age of pharmaceuticals that you can always compare your lack of progress with those nearest and dearest to you in this case, my mother. Not a lunch goes by that one of us doesn’t say to the other:

“How’s the Lexapro working?”

“I don’t know.”

Agnosticism, I’ve found, is a common refrain among my medicated friends. We’re feeling OK, thanks. Is it the pill? Natural cycles? A good week at work? The fact that the sun is shining? Not always apparent. The only thing we’re really clear on, honestly, is our side effects. Nausea, nightmares, hypomania, agitation, headaches, decreased sex drive, decreased sex performance … the list is exquisite in its variation. My first two nights on Lexapro, I lay for hours on the precipice of unconsciousness, unable to take the last plunge. To fall asleep, I had to get a prescription for Ambien, which I then spent another week weaning myself off. To this day, the prospect of sleep holds a mild terror for me that it never did before.

Oddly enough, the side effects are often the pills’ best advocates. If we’re feeling that crappy, we figure something of great moment is happening inside us. What’s harder to accept is the alternative explanation — that, when it comes to depression, we’re still wandering in the dark. As Charles Barber, author of “Comfortably Numb,” argues, scientists don’t really know how antidepressants work. “They change the brain chemistry, but the infinite spiral of what they do from there is very unclear.”

So if you don’t know how something works, and you can no longer credibly claim it does work (even some industry spokesmen are beginning to qualify their claims), you’re not left with much of a fallback position. The placebo effect is real — the body actually does heal itself when it believes it is being healed — but it is founded on faith, and in the wake of the JAMA study, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that faith except through a rather larger act of denial.

Of course, even the most ardent critics of antidepressants caution strongly against sudden withdrawal. (Those side effects suck, too.) And few scientists will deny that drugs help people with severe unipolar depression. But what of the rest of us? Should we find some way to make ourselves believe in our little white pills again? Or should we find other things to believe in? Should we, in fact, begin to rethink our relationships with our brains?

I don’t bring much in the way of ideology to these questions. I’ve always felt that the rise of Prozac and its ilk at least had the salutary effect of removing the stigma attached to depression. Reconfigured as a chemical condition, it could now be owned and acknowledged and treated. But by translating it from the personal to the pharmacological, we may have left people even less empowered to combat it.

It’s bracing to see how depression is treated in other countries, where the relationship between drug manufacturers and physicians isn’t quite so hand-in-glove. Great Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, for example, recommends that, before taking antidepressants, people with mild or moderate depression should undergo nine to 12 weeks of guided self-help, nine to 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, and 10 to 14 weeks of exercise classes. They should, in short, work on themselves before they can be worked upon.

Unfortunately, as Barber notes, that’s work, and not always pleasant. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we should admit that the drug companies aren’t the only ones who want that pill. We want it, too. If every last antidepressant were to vanish from the market today and a new one were to appear tomorrow, promising greater benefits than before, which of us would not line up? There is, after all, a strength in numbers, whereas grappling with yourself — your self — is a lonely business.

But it is, finally, a necessary one. The little white pill sits in my palm. In the glare of the bathroom light, I give it a good hard searching look. And then once more I clap it in my mouth and swallow it down.

Maybe, as one team of researchers has suggested, it’s the triumph of marketing over science. Maybe, as Samuel Johnson once said of second marriages, it’s the triumph of hope over experience. Maybe I’m just weak.

I will say only this: I no longer count on Lexapro to make me well. Which is to say I no longer fret if I miss a day or two, I no longer rush to the drug store to get my refills, and I place far more importance on getting my life in order: regulating my alcohol consumption, getting a decent night’s sleep, exercising (I’m not the only depressive who’s become an amateur triathlete) and, corny as it sounds, pausing at intervals to ponder my blessings. And also appreciating the ways in which my brain and body regulate their own climate through such time-honored techniques as the crying jag. Which is no less effective for happening in the middle of a busy Starbucks.

Three years and however many dollars later, can I honestly say Lexapro has made me a happier person? No. Has it usefully complicated my thinking? Maybe. In my pre-pill days, I regarded happiness as a form of grace, descending upon me whether or not I was worthy of it. Now I think of it as something that, however elusive, is there to be sought. Swallowing a pill every morning is not, in my mind, an act of obedience but a tiny spark of volition, a sign that I’m willing to find the light wherever it’s hiding. My Lexapro may be no better than a Tic Tac, but it’s a daily reminder that I won’t take depression’s shit lying down.

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Understanding Paxil Birth Defects

Ann Blake-Tracy says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

After two decades of tracking mothers and babies exposed to SSRI
antidepressants during pregnancy I shutter to ever see a mother take one of
these drugs. If those adverse effects listed in this article are not bad enough
to consider exposing a baby to, we have yet to witness the full effects of these
drugs upon offspring. These babies brains will not be fully developed until they
are in their 20’s. The full negative effects upon that developing brain will not
be known until then. Knowing what I know after 20 years of researching these
drugs and tracking patients who have taken them, I DO NOT WANT TO SEE WHAT IS
COMING!!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug
Awareness
http://www.drugawareness.org & http://www.ssristories.drugawareness.org

Understanding Paxil Birth Defects

In December 2005, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) posted its Paxil findings on its
website regarding pregnant women taking antidepressants. In this announcement,
GSK noted that it was revising its pregnancy precaution category from C to D.
This revision was based on recent studies that indicated positive evidence of
human fetal risk. In addition, GSK was placing this information in the WARNINGS
section of the Paxil label.
The FDA then advised pregnant women to switch from Paxil to another SSRI
drug, such as Prozac or Zoloft. This warning was based on the results of an
analysis of Sweden’s birth registry that showed women who took Paxil were 1.5 to
2 times more likely to give birth to a baby with heart defects than women who
took other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or no antidepressant
at all.
Studies also showed that complications were reported for babies born to
mothers who had taken antidepressants such as Paxil in the third month of
pregnancy. Such complications included breathing difficulties, turning blue,
seizures, changing body temperature, feeding problems, vomiting, low blood
sugar, stiffness, tremor, irritability or constant crying. In other words, just
like adults, newborn babies of mothers who have taken Paxil while pregnant,
experience similar withdrawal symptoms. Because of this, tube feeding, help with
breathing and longer hospitalization may be needed. Premature births in pregnant
women exposed to SSRIs such as Paxil have also been reported.
Based on such reports obstetricians went so far as to recommend that
women avoid Paxil and reconsider using any SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy.
Still, other physicians maintain that the benefits of mothers getting treatment
for their depression outweigh the risks to the fetus.
The most common birth defects caused by antidepressants have been found
to be holes or other malformations in the chambers of the heart. Often the

defects heal on their own, but more severe cases need surgical procedures. GSK
is investigating how Paxil could be causing such defects.
In addition, antidepressant drugs are known to imbalance blood sugar
metabolism thereby worsening gestational diabetes. However, it is doubtful that
this is explained to expectant mothers who are given such drugs.
Medical professionals in women’s mental health point out that it is
important to aptly gauge the timing of medications prescribed for women who are
pregnant. Paxil is currently one of the most popular antidepressants in the
world, and roughly 25 percent of its users are women of childbearing age —
between 18 and 45.

Nick Johnson serves as lead counsel with Johnson Law Group, with principal
offices located in Houston, Texas. Johnson represents plaintiffs with injury
cases involving Defective Drugs. Contact Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit
http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com

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