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

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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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ZOLOFT: Man Fires Shots into Country Club: Goes Manic for First Time: MN

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): I am going to
comment on this one statement from this article because I become absolutely
furious when I hear this over and over and over again when AA is in a position
to help and will not. I quote, “He also has been through alcohol treatment
and is active in Alcoholics Anonymous,” So, WHY is AA not more helpful in
teaching those with a problem with alcohol that antidepressants CAUSE
OVERWHELMING CRAVINGS FOR ALCOHOL?!!! They would certainly not have near as much
business if they did! It just makes me sick to hear over and over again that
they encourage the use of antidepressants among those who already have problems
with alcohol. It makes no sense!!! They seem to be far more
susceptible to the manic effects of antidepressants.

Paragraph six reads:  “If the case had gone to trial,
Rice’s lawyer Andrew Birrell planned to use an “involuntary intoxication”
defense. The claim
: a switch in the fall of 2008
to the antidepressant Zoloft from Wellbutrin had caused Rice to become
manic-depressive for the first time in his life.”

http://www.startribune.com/local/81151627.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUnciaec8O7EyUsl

Man pleads guilty to firing shots at country club

The defendant said that friends had tried to get him help
before the incident at Minikahda Country Club in Minneapolis. Had the case gone
to trial, his attorney had planned to use an “involuntary intoxication”
defense.

By ROCHELLE OLSON,

Star Tribune

Last update: January 11, 2010 – 12:07 PM

A 64-year-old Minneapolis man pleaded guilty today to second-degree assault for
shooting at the Minikahda Country Club and said afterward that he hopes
something can be done to make it easier for adults with psychological problems
to get help.

For me to do anything harmful to the club, I had to be
crazy because I loved the club,” Joseph C. Rice said in an interview after his
plea in front of Hennepin County District Court Judge Beryl Nord. “When you’re
out of your mind, the worst thing is you don’t know you’re out of your
mind.”

According to the charges: Police received a call at 2 a.m. from an
employee at the club, 3205 Excelsior Blvd., reporting that he had spotted Rice
outside the building holding a gun, had heard multiple shots, and then had seen
Rice drive away in an older red Ferrari. Police tracked Rice to his nearby home.
In addition to assault, he was charged with drive-by shooting, reckless
discharge of a firearm and two drinking and driving offenses. All but the
assault charge were dropped.

Rice will have to serve about three months
in the county workhouse. He paid $3,091 to the club for the damage. He will pay
more than $100,000 to get his Ferrari back.

“I feel really sorry for what
I did. I really valued my membership in the club,” he said.

If the case
had gone to trial, Rice’s lawyer Andrew Birrell planned to use an “involuntary
intoxication” defense. The claim: a switch in the fall of 2008 to the
antidepressant Zoloft from Wellbutrin had caused Rice to become manic-depressive

for the first time in his life.

Birrell had filed notice with the court
of plans to call an expert witness, a physician, who would testify that drugs
such as Zoloft can cause mania in a small percentage of the population. He and
Rice acknowledge that the defense would have been complicated by Rice’s heavy
drinking at the time.

But Rice said in the weeks leading up to the
incident, friends were trying to get him into a hospital for help, but were
unsuccessful. “It’s almost like you have to do something bad, but then it’s too
late,” Rice said of his friends’ efforts to get him treatment.

After the
shooting, his 31-year-old son and his psychiatrist succeeded in getting him into

a 30-day in-patient program at Fairview Riverside Hospital. Rice said he was
immediately taken off Zoloft and put back on Wellbutrin. He also has been
through alcohol treatment and is active in Alcoholics Anonymous, he
said.

Rice said he will send the club an apology through Birrell. “The
way to say you’re sorry is to live a better life,” he said.

He is
expected to begin serving his workhouse sentence in February.

Rochelle
Olson • 612-673-1747

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Young Man Missing – Voices said “eat sugar”: Iowa

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

How bright of this prescribing physician! You have someone who
is disoriented so you give them a drug that
causes “disorientation”! So why would anyone wonder why this
young man got worse and then disappeared into the freezing weather with no
shoes or coat?
It does appear clear to me that the
antidepressant affected his blood sugar rapidly and strongly with the
heart palpitations and the cravings for sugar – both symptoms of a drop in blood

sugar levels. The brain cannot function without normal sugar levels and
immediately begins losing brain cells when the sugar level drops. And the body
pumps adrenalin – the fight or flight hormone – in an attempt to normalize the
sugar levels when they drop.

_______________________________________
Paragraphs three & four read:
Moncada’s mother, Ana Moncada, said he went to work on
Thanksgiving night; and, when he returned home on the morning of Nov. 27, he
seemed disoriented. She took him to see a doctor, who prescribed an
anti-depressant. He continued to feel disoriented and began to hear voices, she
said.”

“ ‘He was hearing voices that saideat sugar,

said Maria Stockton, a friend who served as translator for his mother.  ‘He
felt his heart was beating too hard and thought if he ate sugar, his heart
would not beat so hard’.”

http://www.southwestiowanews.com/articles/2009/12/09/council_bluffs/doc4b1fd2bc0a96e293364639.txt

Bluffs man reported missing

By TIM JOHNSON, Staff Writer
tjohnson@nonpareilonline.com
Published: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 10:59 AM CST
A young
Hispanic man from Council Bluffs has been reported missing.

Larry Ely
Murillo Moncada, 25, was last seen Saturday, Nov. 28, at 6:15 p.m. at his
residence at 719 N. 14th St., according to his family. He was wearing a Navy
blue hooded sweatshirt and light blue seat pants. He was described as 5-feet,
5-inches tall and 140 pounds, with brown eyes.

Moncada’s mother, Ana
Moncada, said he went to work on Thanksgiving night; and, when he returned home
on the morning of Nov. 27, he seemed disoriented. She took him to see a doctor,
who prescribed an anti-depressant. He continued to feel disoriented and began to
hear voices, she said.

“He was hearing voices that saideat sugar,’”

said Maria Stockton, a friend who served as translator for his mother. “He felt
his heart was beating too hard and thought if he ate sugar, his heart would not
beat so hard.”

He did not eat very much sugar, she said, but by Saturday,
he was hallucinating.

“He said somebody was following him, and he was
scared,” she said.

It was apparently this fear that led Murillo Moncada
to run out the door that evening without any shoes on, Stockton said.

The
family has checked with acquaintances and posted flyers at businesses they
frequent, but have heard nothing so far.

Anyone with information on his
whereabouts should contact Detective Shawn Landon of the Council Bluffs Police
Department at (712) 326-2508 or Crime Stoppers at (712)
328-STOP.

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My Alcohol Craving on Prozac

“I am feeling so angry and deceived by the medical profession.”

 

I was shocked to read the report on alcohol.html (Alcohol Cravings Induced via Increased Serotonin) I was on Prozac for 8 miserable years. During that time I gained a lot of weight but more importantly I constantly craved alcohol, like daily. The psychiatrist and psychologist lectured me about drinking yet I continued, always feeling guilty and ashamed. I am not now, nor have I ever been an alcoholic!
Last November I weaned myself off Prozac, I was concerned that my weight dropped so rapidly but not feeling ill, I was pleased. More importantly, at the same time I lost all desire to drink alcohol. I am feeling so angry and deceived by the medical profession. I was never told that Prozac was the reason for my huge weight gain never mind the alcohol craving. This is shocking information and I thank you.

Ann K.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 48.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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