ANTIDEPRESSANT, COCAINE, DEPAKOTE: Man Kills Mother, 2 Small Children, & Dog

On the morning of May 12, 2008,
Covington was admitted to University Community Hospital for a drug overdose. Tests showed he
had taken cocaine, acetaminophen and salicylate, another anti-inflammatory drug
used for mild to moderate pain, the defense filing states. Doctors also found
tricyclics, which is an antidepressant, and valproic acid, a drug used for
seizures and migraines.

The defense says a psychiatrist who
examined Covington for the case will testify that Covington’s bipolar disorder,
combined with the drugs in his system, rendered him mentally incapable of
forming the intent to commit first-degree murder.

Mental health defense pursued

By ELAINE
SILVESTRINI

esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

Published: February 2, 2010

TAMPA – A man charged with killing
and mutilating his girlfriend and her two children should not face the death
penalty because he was mentally incapable of intending to commit first-degree
murder, his attorneys say.

Lisa Freiberg and her children,
Heather Savannah, 2, and Zachary, 7, were found slain inside their Lutz mobile
home in 2008. The
family dog was also killed.

The deaths were so grisly that
investigators could not identify the bodies by looking at them.

Authorities say Edward Covington was
found huddled in a closet in the mobile home with blood on his hands, feet and
back.

The killings took place between 6
and 11 a.m. May 11, 2008, and it appeared Covington had stayed in the home
overnight, investigators say. He told detectives he killed Freiberg and her
children, according to court records.

Covington’s public
defenders
are asking a judge to allow them to
present evidence at trial about his mental condition at the time of the killings
and his mental health history, which they say dates to when he was
15.

A defense court filing says
Covington, 37, does not intend to use an insanity defense, which would be aimed
at seeking a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Rather, the defense
hopes to persuade jurors to convict Covington of the lesser offense of
second-degree murder, making him ineligible for the death penalty.

Covington, his attorneys say, has
been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; a therapist who examined Covington in
2005, when he was working as a state corrections officer, described “classic
symptoms of rage and anger, and episodes of severe depression.”

On the morning of May 12, 2008,
Covington was admitted to
University Community Hospital for a drug overdose. Tests showed he
had taken cocaine, acetaminophen and salicylate, another anti-inflammatory drug
used for mild to moderate pain, the defense filing states. Doctors also found
tricyclics, which is an antidepressant, and valproic acid, a drug used for
seizures and migraines.

The defense says a psychiatrist who
examined Covington for the case will testify that Covington’s bipolar disorder,
combined with the drugs in his system, rendered him mentally incapable of
forming the intent to commit first-degree murder.

The charges against Covington
include three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of abuse of a dead
human body and one count of felony animal cruelty. Prosecutors are seeking the
death penalty.

Covington is being held without
bail.

According to the defense filing,
Covington tried to shoot himself in the head and was hospitalized under the
state’s Baker Act when he was 16. The next year, he overdosed on
drugs

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Over 81% Took An Antidepressant or ADHD Med Before Being Diagnosed Bipolar

WOW!! This certainly makes the connection between the use of these drugs and Bipolar Disorder obvious! But is this suppose to be a big surprise?!

From my new DVD, Bipolar, Shmypolar, Are You Really Bipolar or Misdiagnosed Due to the Use of or Abrupt Discontinuation of an Antidepressant?, let me give you a quick synopsis.

An ANTI-depressant is the opposite of a depressant and is what?

That is correct. It is a stimulant.

What is bipolar? It is a continuous series of mild seizures.

What produces seizures? STIMULANTS, like antidepressants and amphetamines – Ritalin, etc.!

Chemically inducing Bipolar Disorder to create a whole new customer base for the new and high priced atypical antipsychotics is not the least bit difficult when you start patients out on stimulant medications, like Ritalin and antidepressants. That is especially true when given to a young patient with yet growing and developing, and therefore more vulnerable, brain!

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 and audio: Help! I Can’t
Get Off My Antidepressant ()

Sixth sentence reads: “During the year before the new diagnosis of bipolar disorder, youths were commonly diagnosed as having depressive disorder (46.5%) or disruptive behavior disorder (36.7%) and had often filled a prescription for an antidepressant (48.5%), stimulant (33.0%), mood stabilizer (31.8%), or antipsychotic (29.1%].”

http://psychservices.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/60/8/1098

Psychiatr Serv 60:1098-1106, August 2009
doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.60.8.1098
© 2009 American Psychiatric Association

Article

Mental Health Treatment Received by Youths in the Year Before and After a New Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., Stephen Crystal, Ph.D., Tobias Gerhard, Ph.D., Cecilia S. Huang, Ph.D. and Gabrielle A. Carlson, M.D.

Dr. Olfson is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10032 (e-mail: mo49@columbia.edu ). Dr. Crystal and Dr. Huang are with the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, and Dr. Gerhard is with the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, both at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Dr. Carlson is with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York.

OBJECTIVE: Despite a marked increase in treatment for bipolar disorder among youths, little is known about their pattern of service use. This article describes mental health service use in the year before and after a new clinical diagnosis of bipolar disorder. METHODS: Claims were reviewed between April 1, 2004, and March 31, 2005, for 1,274,726 privately insured youths (17 years and younger) who were eligible for services at least one year before and after a service claim; 2,907 youths had new diagnosis of bipolar disorder during this period. Diagnoses of other mental disorders and prescriptions filled for psychotropic drugs were assessed in the year before and after the initial diagnosis of bipolar disorder. RESULTS: The one-year rate of a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder was .23%. During the year before the new diagnosis of bipolar disorder, youths were commonly diagnosed as having depressive disorder (46.5%) or disruptive behavior disorder (36.7%) and had often filled a prescription for an antidepressant (48.5%), stimulant (33.0%), mood stabilizer (31.8%), or antipsychotic (29.1%). Most youths with a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder had only one (28.8%) or two to four (28.7%) insurance claims for bipolar disorder in the year starting with the index diagnosis. The proportion starting mood stabilizers after the index diagnosis was highest for youths with five or more insurance claims for bipolar disorder (42.1%), intermediate for those with two to four claims (24.2%), and lowest for those with one claim (13.8%). CONCLUSIONS: Most youths with a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder had recently received treatment for depressive or disruptive behavior disorders, and many had no claims listing a diagnosis of bipolar disorder after the initial diagnosis. The service pattern suggests that a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is often given tentatively to youths treated for mental disorders with overlapping symptom profiles and is subsequently reconsidered.

Related Article:
August 2009: This Month’s Highlights Psychiatr Serv 2009 60: 1009. [Full Text] [PDF]

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Psychiatrist Goes Nuts: Diagnosed Bipolar as They All Are!

Paragraphs 6 through 9 read: “Munn lost his license to practice psychiatry in Montana in 2003, after having an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his patients. His marriage dissolved around the same time. Already being treated for depression, Munn’s condition was rediagnosed, and with the help of counseling and medicine, he rebuilt his life into one where he’s succeeding while living with a mental illness.”

“Anti-depressants didn’t help the manic side of Munn’s bipolar disorder. At times his thoughts raced. He didn’t sleep. He had grandiose ideas ­ like how to fix the entire mental health system in the state of Montana.”

“And he believed he could do anything he wanted.”

“’I felt rules didn’t apply to me. That would be grandiosity,’ he said. ‘But they do. And that’s accepting that you have a mental illness’.”

http://www.helenair.com/articles/2009/08/02/top/55lo_090802_mh2.txt

Psychiatrist brings himself back from the brink of suicide

By JOHN HARRINGTON – Independent Record – 08/02/09

Eliza Wiley Independent Record – Nathan Munn has fought back from some very low places. Rather than ending his life, the psychiatrist chose to seek treatment for his bipolar disorder and began a new career teaching psychology courses and developing a mental health direct care program at University of Montana-Helena.
In 2003, with his career and home in very public shambles, Nathan Munn nearly committed suicide.

But rather than end his life, the psychiatrist chose not to pull the trigger one fateful night. He subsequently got treatment, including psychotherapy and medications, for his bipolar mood disorder.

Now, Munn is an instructor at the University of Montana-Helena, teaching psychology courses and developing a mental health direct care program that trains students how to be direct caregivers, counselors and other types of mental health professionals.

“I’m really thankful for my job at UM-Helena,” said Munn, 49, in a candid interview last week. “And I hope that my story can be of some inspiration along with my teaching. It’s my intention that I’m still helping in the community, but now with education as opposed to direct providing of psychiatric care.”

Munn admits somewhat nervously that his past is still “hard to talk about.” He chooses his words carefully, often pausing between sentences. He’s told his humbling story before, and maybe it’s getting a little easier ­ but not much. Remorse hangs deep in his eyes.

Munn lost his license to practice psychiatry in Montana in 2003, after having an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his patients. His marriage dissolved around the same time. Already being treated for depression, Munn’s condition was rediagnosed, and with the help of counseling and medicine, he rebuilt his life into one where he’s succeeding while living with a mental illness.

Anti-depressants didn’t help the manic side of Munn’s bipolar disorder. At times his thoughts raced. He didn’t sleep. He had grandiose ideas ­ like how to fix the entire mental health system in the state of Montana.

And he believed he could do anything he wanted.

“I felt rules didn’t apply to me. That would be grandiosity,” he said. “But they do. And that’s accepting that you have a mental illness.”

Mental illnesses are by no means limited to those on the fringes of society. Millions of Americans of all walks of life ­ blue collar and white, laborers and professionals ­ live daily with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar mood disorder and other diagnosable and treatable conditions.

Mike Larson of Dillon is director of the State Bar of Montana’s Lawyer Assistance Program, which was created in 2006 after several attorneys committed suicide in Missoula.

“Lawyers, from the first call in the morning to the last e-mail at night, are busy dealing with everyone else’s problems,” Larson said. “So what do they do when their own problems kick in?”

Larson said that from a population of 2,800 members of the bar in Montana, he takes calls from eight to 10 new clients a month, around a third of which are related to mental illness, with another third dealing with chemical dependency. He said many lawyers are reticent to call the program, either out of fear that others will learn of their treatment and their careers will suffer, or from simple denial.

“There are a lot of stereotypes out there about what mental illness is, and there’s that whole component of not wanting to be under the stigma of mental illness,” Larson said.

For Munn, day-to-day life means a regimen of a mood-stabilizing drug and an anti-depressant, acknowledgement of and taking responsibility for the mistakes he made and a resolve to move forward knowing the illness will likely be with him for the rest of his life.

“It’s not like there’s one day that you no longer have a mental illness,” he said. “On appropriate treatment, it can be in remission. And you stay on your meds and you do the psychological work necessary, and you move forward.

“I hate to say it because it sounds like it’s bragging, but it takes courage. You have to face this, you face what you did, you face having a mental illness, and you accept other aspects of your life.”

Munn doesn’t hide from his condition, and hopes that sharing his story will comfort others who find themselves in similar positions.

“One of the main things I want to say is when you have a mental illness, you have to acknowledge that that’s there, and that you have it,” he said. “I have a bipolar disorder, I am not bipolar. It is something that I have, it is not something that I am. A lot of people say, ‘I am bipolar.’ Well, what does that mean? You don’t say, ‘I am congestive heart failure. I am sinusitis.’ It’s not who you are, it’s what you have.”

Just as there are ways to characterize people living with mental illness, there are productive ways to discuss the illnesses themselves, Munn said.

“(People) talked about the dark recesses of the mind. That’s not the way to talk about it,” he said. “The term ‘dark recess’ has such a negative connotation, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that’s not it. They’re not dark recesses. It’s neuropathology. It’s limbic system disregulation. And it’s the cognitions, the thinking that goes along with it.

“That’s a tough thing for people to get, but I think it’s crucial for people to get that as they’re recovering from a mental illness, that our brains and our minds are the same thing. So when I have negative cognitions, when I’m thinking that people would be better off without me, that’s the psychological part.

“And that’s a key point for people, is that what you’re thinking psychologically and what your brain is doing physically, we don’t know how it’s the same function, but it is the same function. The subjective psychology that you’re feeling as a person with a mental illness, is the psychological aspect of the biological process, and yes, it is a real illness. The idea that a psychological illness is somehow not real is just absurd. That’s crazy.”

Many mental illnesses can be directly traced to chemical imbalances or other physical abnormalities in the brain. But having a mental illness can’t by itself be an excuse for any actions, good bad or otherwise.

“You don’t want to use it as an excuse to justify behaviors. You have to take accountability. Personal accountability is necessary for recovery, it just is,” he said. “It takes humility, it takes a lot of work, it takes compliance.

“I made huge mistakes. My choices were horrible. Despicable, really, is the term to use. I hurt a lot of people. I hurt patients that I had, the person herself and her family, and of course my family. I feel sorry and apologetic about that every day. Especially for my children, I feel horrible and always will.

“One of the points I would like to make is, yes, I have this bipolar disorder. To deny I do would be to deny I have a mental illness. But I also completely accept responsibility and accountability for my actions. And that’s a very important point: recovery requires personal accountability. Yes, I have a major mental illness, and yes, I am responsible for my actions. Those aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Treating a mental illness isn’t a guarantee of happiness. Life still presents challenges, and treatment gives those suffering from mental illness a better chance at facing those challenges head-on and coming out ahead.

“Life has struggles, with or without a mental illness,” Munn said. “Having your mental illness treated doesn’t mean your life is wonderful. You’re still going to have the struggles that everyone has. But you’ll also have wonderful things. I’m a grandfather. And that’s wonderful. If I had killed myself, I wouldn’t have known this joy of having a granddaughter.

“You have to accept mental health care of various types, and you need to know that it’s worth it, that treatments are available, the science is there, people do recover, illnesses do go into remission. Of all chronic illnesses to have, having a mental illness is not bad. Treatments are available, and you can live a long, good life having your mental illness treated.”

Larson of the Lawyer Assistance Program acknowledged that people need to want to treat their illnesses.

“There are a lot of people out there that still need the help that haven’t come forward or recognized they need the help,” Larson said. “Not only are they in denial that they have a problem, they’re in denial that everyone knows they have a problem.”

And even if the disease goes into remission or becomes manageable, a person must be diligent, even when things are going well.

“It’s not something you mess around with. And that’s OK,” Munn said. “Mental illnesses are chronic illnesses. People have the idea that, ‘Oh no, I’m going to be on medications for life.’ Well yeah, you are. And that’s all right, you have a chronic illness. There are a lot of chronic illnesses, not just psychiatric ones. And people who have those, like type 1 diabetes, will be on insulin. It’s accepted. So it’s a chronic illness, you accept that.”

And the more acceptance there is, across a broader swath of Montana at large, the easier it will be for people to summon the strength to get the help they need, to confront the illness, and to assume the places so many of them deserve as productive members of society.

To view the complete series on mental health care services in Montana, click here.

John Harrington: 447-4080 or john.harrington@helenair.com.

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My Experience with Zoloft

“While on theses meds, I drove off the highway from the effects of Seroquel.“

Hi,

My name if Regina Jones. I am a 55 year old white female.

I started taking Zoloft in 1995 when my husband got ill. He was diagnosed with Major Depression, which had affected me.

My Psychiatrist first prescribed Prozac. I was on it for about 4-5 months, with no side effects. My doctor took me off the drug because of the fear of the side effects of
Prozac that hit the news. He started me on Paxil, a fairly new drug. I started to have blood sugar problems. I went to the pharmacy and asked for the information sheet on Paxil. The Pharmacist was hesitant. He thought I would not be able to understand the information. He didn’t know that I had worked in a hospital for 15 years and understood medical terminology quite well.

Near the end of the information, in very small print, it said that a rare side effect was Diabetes. I told my doctor and he took me off Paxil and started me on Zoloft.

My husband’s depression lasted over two years. I remained on Zoloft.

He was forced into retirement at age 47, with 30 years with the telephone company. The same year his mother died.

He retired, and we moved. In those 2 1/2 years, my husband was on 18 different meds.
Within a month after moving, I noticed that something was very wrong with him, but his therapist and Psychiatrist did not believe me.

Nine months later after a numerous list of events regarding my husband, he became Psychotic. Our family doctor recognized Bipolar Disorder in my husband, as he said, “it took me 30 seconds.”

He has been on Depakote since 1999. His whole nature has changed. The doctors still don’t believe me. My husband is a stranger to me and it has broken our 26 year marriage apart.

I truly believe that my husband has become a totally different, non-functioning man, because of all the drugs he has been on.

Me, on the other hand, remained on Zoloft since 1995. After the breakup of our marriage in 2002, I collapsed. I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, PTSD, Hyperglycemic, Major Depression and Suicidal. My therapist had me committed to the hospital. I was seeing a Psychiatrist. I told him that I am very sensitive to all drugs and to please start me slowly on any new drugs. The doctors always know best! They want you at a “therapeutic level” almost immediately!

He started me on Effexor and Seroquel. While on theses meds, I drove off the highway from the effects of Seroquel. I don’t remember anything until I woke up in the hospital ER. I called my doctor and told him that I was not going to take Seroquel any longer. This upset him. As my body was adjusting to the higher levels of Effexor, I grew more agitated and irritable each day. One night I felt that I was going out of my mind, that I was losing control of my thought processes, which scared me, and I felt like pulling my hair out of my head. I called my doctor, screaming at him about this drug. He said to go off the drug. I did, but a week later, my therapist suggested that I go back in the hospital voluntarily. I did. My doctor in the hospital put me back on Zoloft and Xanax, because the two drugs agreed with my body. I was clearly depressed, but they didn’t want to wait for me to grieve all my losses for the previous 7 years. So one doctor was telling me that I needed ECT. He used intimidation to force me to sign the papers. Only because I was not on the previous drugs, I was not a zombie and able to discern what was best for me. I did not sign. My roommate did. She ended up in ICU and another patient stopped breathing and had to go to another hospital.

1) I was finally discharged. I reported the doctor and hospital to Patient’s Advocacy Rights. They have had an investigation going on since 10/02. I called that hospital an “ECT” farm because the patients end up there for ECT.

2) I went back to my Psychiatrist for follow-up, back on Zoloft and Xanax. He dismissed me as his patient. He told me that I was an abusive and dangerous patient. I did not report him, but I wrote him a letter of my thoughts about him and drugs.

3) My concern for my husband and myself is important now. My husband is so drug induced, he has become comfortable, following Dr.’s orders. I am aware that my long-term use of Zoloft and Xanax is frightening. My body is so dependent. I take 1 Zoloft (100 mg) in the AM and 1 Xanax (1 mg) at night. I now have Diabetes and take Glucophage 500 mg/2 at night and Starlix 120 mg/1 three times a day.

My sister and I believe in Alternative Medicine. We currently both work for Enzymatic Therapy, PhytoPharmica, and Integrative Therapeutics as Sales Reps.

She doesn’t take any prescription drugs. She uses herbal supplements.

I use herbal supplements carefully, and still trying to reduce slowly my prescription drugs. Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to take herbal supplements in place of prescription drugs.
Our boss is Bipolar. She is strictly on herbal supplements and functions quite well, no like my husband who gave up at age 50.

I also joined NAMI – Sacramento, CA for two years. I am a certified teacher and facilitator. The subject that I had trouble teaching was the lecture on drugs. We always tell the family to follow up with their doctors with any questions. We are not allowed to give any opinions. We are allowed to share our experiences. But I have not been able to teach anymore. I can’t teach anything that I don’t believe in.

I believe that there is a place for drugs for a short period only. If the MDs would join with the NDs, there could be a balance that is very beneficial to everyone. Our company has two NMDs, so our formulas are at a professional level.

Any questions, anytime, I am willing to share my experiences.

Go after the drug manufacturers!
My healthy 10 yr old dog died taking “Revolution.” I reported this incident also.

Regina Jones
13712 Endicot Circle
Magalia, CA 95954
530-873-3411 (phone and fax)
reggiej@infostations.com

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A Concerned Parent Story

“Video Used to Justify Putting my Daughter on Five Different Drugs”

 

As a concerned parent, I would like to share my story.

Last year my daughter was having a rough time coping–she lost her three-year-old cousin in a house fire on New Year’s Day and her voice listen teacher passed away suddenly one month later. She turned 18 in February and graduated in June. The same week she graduated, she admitted herself to a psych unit at a local hospital while I was out-of-town for a work conference.

As she was 18, I felt completely helpless in her treatment.

A psychiatrist, who certainly did not know my daughter, put her on five different medications–three of which were Depakote, Serzone, and Zoloft. (They would not tell me what all she was on and she hid most of them from me.) The hospital and psychiatrist brainwashed her to believe that she was Manic-Depressive–she may have been depressed, but I have never once seen her in a manic phase in her life. They showed her a video, which was obviously produced by a pharmaceutical company, telling her she would need to live on these drugs for the rest of her life.

As a nutritionist, I turned to the social worker and asked, ” Not once in this video did it say anything about nutrition–the number one reason why so many are depressed–lacking in some very important vitamins and minerals.” My daughter smoked, was on birth control, was a vegetarian, and did not eat right– of which the smoking and birth control deplete the B vitamins and folic acid. I asked the hospital, ” If you are a state-of -the-art facility, why don’t you ultimately order a multivitamin with minerals and teach patients how to improve their diets to reduce depression naturally?” No, their first course of action is all the drugs–my daughter walked around like a zombie. Within two weeks of going home, my daughter tried to commit suicide–so I took her off the Zoloft and called her psychiatrist, who never returned my calls or spoke to me about my daughter because she was 18.

I lived with my daughter for 18 years, I certainly know her better than some psychiatrist who has only dealt with her for maybe 1-2 hours max. I did not care about what my daughter said to her in confidence, but why wouldn’t this psychiatrist at least talk with me to get a whole picture of what was going on to better treat her. The psychiatrist also did not do any follow-ups on my daughter to see how she was doing on all these meds.

My daughter moved out on her own two months later, which really scared me, as she was still on all these medications. She started classes at the local university the end of August and while we were camping Labor Day Weekend, she admitted herself in the psych unit again, as she nearly passed out at work. I was never contacted. On Labor Day, we received a call from her work, “We have not seen your daughter since Thursday evening and she has not called us. Do you know where she is?” Immediately, we went to her apartment fearing for the worst–that perhaps she had committed suicide as she did not answer the phone. The maintenance opened her apartment, she was not there. We found out later that she was taken to the local hospital by a friend. I called the hospital and they stated no such patient is here. I called the psych unit–no such patient here.

Why couldn’t they at least tell a parent that their 18 yr-old child is safe? I paged her psychiatrist, who again never called me back. My daughter finally called me to let me know she was safe. I don’t know why she was admitted to the psych unit when she nearly passed out at work–why wasn’t she put on a general floor for testing–it was found that she was hypoglycemic. Because their was an issue with her health insurance and no further psych treatments would be covered, I told her if she wanted to continue any kind of treatment and she wanted me to pay for it, she would have to change to a psychiatrist that I found who does not believe in medication as a first response. I am happy to say, this new psychiatrist took her off all medications and she is doing better. She is taking multivitamins.

P.S. My husband and I have been doing Young Living oils for the past five years. I would like my daughter to use them, but she believes we are “witch doctors” and very rarely will use them. I would diffuse ‘Joy’ oil in the air when she was a little moody and she would turn happy, but then she caught on to what I was doing.

I strongly believe a parent should have a right to know and have a say in their child’s treatment when they are 21 years-old or less–especially when they are so doped up on all the anti-depressive drugs. They certainly are not in their right mind!

Diane Miller, Michigan
hw4all@buckeye-express.com

 

12/31/2002

This is Survivor Story number 1.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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A Professional Dancer’s Ordeal With SSRI’s

“…a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy,

Fortunately, for me, someone recently referred me to your tape, “Help, I can’t get off my Anti-Depressants.” I would like to tell you my story.

Back in 1989, after years suffering from depression and anxiety, I was prescribed, for the first time, an antidepressant. I had been a dancer, previously, with American Ballet Theatre, in New York, and the National Ballet of Canada. Although I was no longer dancing, I had always been very aware of my body, and did not realize how sensitive my body chemistry was. I have suffered from depression since I was about 12 years old. I immersed myself into the dance world, and became a professional dancer.

At this time, which was already several years after stopping dancing, I was prescribed Prozac, which I took for six months (I do not recall the dosage). I was living in Tempe, Arizona, at the time, and became “wired like a bunny, going 90 miles an hour, sleeping about four hours a night.” I began commuting back and forth to Los Angeles, where I fell into the movie business, doing set decoration. I was happy and high. After six months, I went off the medication.

About six months later, someone broke into my truck, in LA. I, for lack of any other description, “freaked out,” beyond the normal reaction. I panicked, felt violated, and really overreacted. I decided to try to take the Prozac again, and began what was to become a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.

I guess my body chemistry being so sensitive, when I tried to take the Prozac again, I reacted badly, becoming even more anxious and agitated. The doctors would increase my dose, and it would get worse. Over the next 10 or so years, I went on and off different medications, different doses, always on the low side. I was given Paxil (made me severely agitated and very drowsy), Wellbutrin, Depakote, Serzone, Zoloft, and I even tried St. John’s Wort, Kava, and nothing. My cycles of depression were severe at times. And whenever I got to the point where I was finally off the medication I was taking, as I tried to get off so many times, I would have a major depressive episode, and it would take from six to nine months to get back to normal. It was even more difficult getting back on the drugs and becoming stable, after I had weaned off. I must say, I always did this against my doctor’s advice; she did not want me off my medications, I wanted off.

For a few years I did well on a low dose of Zoloft. Then I tried to wean off, and had a serious re-occurrence of the depression, waking up extremely anxious every day, not wanting to live. It was almost harder getting back on the drugs after I had weaned off. It took about nine months to recover and feel “normal” again.

In 1999, I ended up at a treatment center for depression and anxiety. By this point I was taking only Luvox, as I had a lot of obsessive thinking (not OCD, though). I don’t know what happened, but I went through a period that was bad, and the doctor’s upped my dosage from 25 mg to 75 mg a day, and I really freaked out and ended up going to this treatment center. When I dropped the dosage back to 25, the anxiety was greatly reduced. The doctor would always tell me to take a Xanax when it got that bad…I would rarely do that, and if I did, I would take 1/2 of the .25 mg pill, just one time, and that would jump start me back to normal, after a day of feeling totally out of it, for the next six months or nine months, when I might end up taking another 1/2 a Xanax again.

Anyway, today I have stabilized on 12.5 mg. of Luvox, EVERY OTHER DAY!! I have been trying to wean off for years, unsuccessfully. I practice kundalini yoga, with Gurmukh, at Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles and am taking the teacher’s training program. This form of yoga works on the nervous system. A lot of time I shake in class, because I know my nervous system is still so out of whack. I try to each healthy, I don’t eat red meat, and not much chicken or fish, either. I am attracted to sugar, and always have been. I have a very lean, muscular, athletic body, and obviously a VERY sensitive body chemistry. The kundalini yoga has been amazing, BUT, I still haven’t been able to get past the 12.5 mg every other day dosage.

WHAT CAN I DO???????? If I pull out just one pill, meaning, if I skip one day, hoping to proceed further in the weaning process, I find myself dip right into the depression. I can also become very angry and agitated.

Earlier this year, not knowing the severity of quick withdrawal, I went from 12.5 mg Luvox every day to every other day for one week. I felt like I was in bliss, like someone lifted the cloud off my head. The second week I cut back to 12.5 mg every third day. On day 10 I suffered a severe crash, and it took me 6 weeks to get back to normal. I had to resume my dosage to 12.5 every day, and eventually got it back to 12.5 mg every other day. But every day, for six weeks, I woke up agitated, and crying and not wanting to live.

I am 43 years old. I am tired of being on medications, even if it is only a small dosage. I have taken something or other since the end of 1989, on and off. I want so much to be drug-free. I am also single, and tired of being alone. No one wants to deal with this kind of mood disorder, although I was married, and my husband was supportive, most relationships cannot endure “my problem.”

Despite my depressions, I have always been a functioning depressive. I will cry and be alone and in pain in the quiet of my own home, or often when I am on the streets driving, and I will go to work and complete my job. I work on the TV show “Malcolm in the Middle.” I shop for the set decorations, so I am often out by myself. I have time to be in pain and depression and not show anyone, then put on a smile when I get around the set. But it’s not good enough for me anymore.

I want to get past this dosage of 12.5 every other day, and get to NOTHING!! I practice the kundalini yoga 2-3 times a week. I’ve tried some herbs at various times to support my weaning, but I honestly haven’t been consistent with any one program. I get 32 acupuncture visits a year, free as part of my insurance, and I have utilized them for emotional balancing. I always come of there “spaced out,” much like how I feel after a yoga class.

I don’t know how long I’ve been on Luvox, probably almost four years now, if not more. Like I said, I don’t even know if it’s doing anything for me, but I have managed to get down to the 12.5 every other day, and I want so much to be off completely. Last week, I actually managed to cut the 25 mg tablet that I cut in half to make 12.5, in half again, to make it 6.25 (approx) mg, and I took that one day. I may have imagined this, but I suffered a relapse after that, too.

I follow a spiritual path. I’ve read all the self-help books. My whole life has been devoted to wanting to heal. It’s time for this to end now.

Please, can you tell me how I can finally kick that last little bit of the medication?? I don’t even know if even the 12.5 mg every other day is doing much for me, because I still have my cycles of mood swings.

Can I hope to be off of them completely? Where should I go from here??

I hope you will write back to me.

Thank you so much for your time.

 

12/29/2002

This is Survivor Story number 2.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Study Links Older Bipolar Drug to Fewer Suicides

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/17/health/17SUIC.html

Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, senior author of the study and director of the psychopharmacology research center at George Washington University Medical Center

Journal of the American Medical Association

The new study, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that patients taking Depakote were 2.7 times as likely to kill themselves as those taking lithium. Earlier studies by others had also found that lithium could prevent suicide, but today’s report is the first to compare suicide and attempted suicide rates in lithium and Depakote users. The study was based on medical records of 20,638 patients aged 14 and older in Washington State and California who were treated from 1994 to 2001.

Lithium, an old and inexpensive drug that has fallen out of favor with many psychiatrists, is better than the most commonly prescribed drug, Depakote, at preventing suicide in people who have manic-depressive illness, researchers are reporting.

People with the illness, also called bipolar disorder, swing back and forth between bleak spells of depression and periods of high excitability that may run the gamut from euphoria to rage. From 1.3 percent to 1.5 percent of people in the United States suffer from bipolar disorder, and their risk of committing suicide is estimated to be 10 to 20 times that of the rest of the population.

Perhaps because patients are more likely to seek medical help when they are depressed than when they are manic, the disorder is often misdiagnosed at first as depression alone, but antidepressants are not the correct treatment for bipolar disorder and may in fact make it worse.

The new study, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that patients taking Depakote were 2.7 times as likely to kill themselves as those taking lithium. Earlier studies by others had also found that lithium could prevent suicide, but today’s report is the first to compare suicide and attempted suicide rates in lithium and Depakote users. The study was based on medical records of 20,638 patients aged 14 and older in Washington State and California who were treated from 1994 to 2001.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals, a maker of lithium, paid for the study, but did not influence the findings or the way they were reported, the authors said.

The study included 53 actual suicides and 383 attempted suicides that led to hospitalization. But the researchers, as well as Depakote’s manufacturer, cautioned that because this study was based only on patients’ records, it was not conclusive.

Precisely how lithium might prevent suicide is not known, although it is believed to help regulate levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences mood.

“Lithium is clearly being underutilized,” said Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, the senior author of the study and director of the psychopharmacology research center at George Washington University Medical Center. The drug can save lives, he said, adding, “The real tragedy is that a lot of young psychiatrists have never learned to use lithium.”

Lithium, which can smooth out the highs and the lows of bipolar disorder, was first used in the 1950’s, and in the 1970’s was the first drug to be designated a “mood stabilizer” by the Food and Drug Administration. But the drug has been around for so long that its patent has expired and generic versions exist, meaning that lithium cannot generate substantial earnings for industry, Dr. Goodwin said. Drug companies promote newer, more profitable drugs like Depakote.

Some difficult cases referred to Dr. Goodwin turn out to be people who have never taken lithium because their psychiatrists, often under 40, never thought of prescribing it. But Dr. Goodwin also emphasized that lithium did not work for everyone and that other drugs like Depakote were also needed.

Dr. John Leonard, a spokesman for Abbott Laboratories, the maker of Depakote, questioned the findings. Dr. Leonard said that studies looking back at patients’ records were inherently flawed and not as reliable as studies in which patients were randomly assigned by researchers to take one drug or the other. He said conclusions could not be drawn from the data, and doctors should not base treatment decisions on it.


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After 3 months on Paxil, my hell started.

“Anybody who is thinking about taking medication for depression should think again.”

 

Everything started about 8 – 9 years ago.

I was going trough menopause and was feeling horrible. My doctor prescribed me Paxil. I took it for 6 months. I was not feeling very good on it because my underling problem was menopause. I got off the drug very slowly. I was not feeling very bad by slowly discontinuing the medication. About 3 months lather my hell started. I was having electric shocks (my doctor said that I had pinched nerve), flue like symptoms, I was vomiting and could not sleep.

I was suicidal. All I wanted to do is die. My therapist sent me to psychiatrist. He put me on Depakote for manic depression. I was going trough hell on Depakote. I was having horrible depression. I do not know why or how I went to gynecologist. I was put on natural estrogen and progesterone prescribed by doctor (from companding pharmacy). Suddenly I got better. I decided to get off Depakote. But because I was afraid to get off the drug knowing what Paxil did to me I stayed on it for maybe 7 years.

After I decided to get off Depakote I went through another hell.

I believe that I got dependent on the drug because every single time I was getting off I had to go back on medication. I remember when I was asking my psychiatrist whether I would have to be able to get off the medication that he told me that 90% people have to stay on it for rest of their life’s. Now I know why. By that time I was reading a book from Peter Breggin “Your drug may be your problem.” I was determined to get off the medication no matter what.

I was able, by increasing my hormones. For 6 months I was feeling wonderful. After 6 months I was feeling miserable again. I could not increase my hormones because I was on relatively high dose, so I was prescribed Remeron. I have been on it only for 2 months 15 mg and I am trying to get off it again.

I am going trough hell again. It feels like somebody is cutting my whole body. The physical withdrawal symptoms are worst then mental. By using this relatively “safe” drugs I am going trough hell and I am suicidal. I developed chronic insomnia. I cannot eat or sleep. My only solution is suicide. Anybody who is thinking about taking medication for depression should think again

Viera

 

1995

Years 2000 and Prior

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

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Klonopin, Paxil and Depakote prescribed for Stress and Anxiety

“…there seemed to be some kind of psychological wall in my mind, and I couldn’t get any words past it.”

 

After 2-1/2 years of severe long-term overwork, I passed out at work one day in late Fall 1993. My doctor ran tests on me and determined that I was not ill in any way, I was simply suffering from stress and overwork. I began seeing an MFCC, who in March advised that my doctor prescribe Klonopin for anxiety. I was started out at 1.5 mg per day. Despite specifically asking about side effects etc, my doctor failed to inform me either that it was addictive, or that it would interfere with my memory and attention span. I would never have gone on it if I had known. Those effects, of course, impaired my ability to do my job and made things worse instead of better.

Over the next four months, as my condition deteriorated, the dosage was increased, I deteriorated faster, and so on until I suffered a total breakdown in mid-July, by which time I was on 3.5 mg per day. At or about this time, my therapist suggested I should go on Paxil. I declined, insisting I wasn’t depressed, I was exhausted and over stressed. A week or two later she tried a different tack, and persuaded me to try it by telling me it would give me more energy. I was so utterly drained and exhausted that I was willing to try anything. The initial dosage was 20mg per day. The Klonopin dosage was maintained.

I felt even more lethargic on Paxil, and stopped taking it after a week. My therapist told me that I hadn’t given it time to start working, and persuaded me to go back on. I began to experience personality changes, and became withdrawn and verbally aggressive. At the beginning of September, I suffered my first severe dissociative episode. I took a 10-mile late-night stroll across the Santa Clara Valley, barefoot, wearing only cotton slacks and a T-shirt. After apparently walking several miles up the middle of US 101, I eventually wandered into a hotel lobby in Milpitas, where I collapsed from exposure. The hotel called paramedics, who took me to hospital, where I was sedated, treated for hypothermia, and discharged.

My therapist, in response to this, doubled my dosage to 40mg. On the higher dosage I began to display severe personality changes, and began to suffer acute paranoia, uncontrollable mood swings, severe agitation and akathisia, intermittent hysteria, asthenia, continuous tremors, and frequent agonizing “ice-pick” headaches (my former wife’s term). I began to spend more and more of my time in dissociated, depersonalized states, and had great difficulty sleeping. When I finally did get to sleep, it took me hours to muster the strength to get out of bed when I woke up. I moved into a separate room from my wife. After some rather alarming behavior on my part, we agreed to remove all of our firearms from the house and leave them with a friend for safe keeping, and we also agreed that I would not know which friend. (I was still rational some of the time.)

My mood swings continued to become more rapid, more erratic, more powerful, and more uncontrollable. I was aware at some level inside that I was on a roller-coaster ride through Hell that I didn’t have any desire to be on, but I didn’t seem able to communicate that fact or do anything to try to escape it. I also didn’t yet know that it was the drugs doing it. In mid-October I suffered a catatonic episode that lasted about eight hours; I was unable to speak for about three or four days afterward. I am sure the physiological equipment worked, but there seemed to be some kind of psychological wall in my mind, and I couldn’t get any words past it. I had to communicate by hand signs and written notes.

My therapist’s response was to conclude that I had spontaneously developed bipolar disorder. She called in a psychiatrist from Walnut Creek, who – on the basis of a 20-minute interview with me and 20 minutes with my wife – decided that she was right, and prescribed Depakote IN ADDITION to all the other medications. I don’t remember the dosage. I spent the next three weeks in a kind of haze; I can remember almost nothing about it. The mood swings didn’t stop, but now I was kind of disconnected from them. Disconnected from pretty much everything, as a matter of fact. I think if anything, things were still getting worse, only now I didn’t seem to care, because it wasn’t happening to me, it was happening to some nebulous other person who lived in my body.

On November 11, some time in the early hours of the morning, I took a massive overdose of everything I had on hand at the time, which was around 30 tablets of Depakote, 60 of Paxil, and close to 100 Klonopin. I also made several cuts in my left arm with a Samurai sword. Alerted by our cats, my wife found me and took me to O’Connor Hospital, where I was detoxed and confined for California’s mandatory 72-hour hold after any apparent suicide attempt. I was then transferred to the inpatient therapeutic community at Good Samaritan Hospital. I was given no medications at all for the first week or so, except for a sleeping pill (Dolman, I think) after I was unable to sleep for the first 3 consecutive nights and was experiencing severe symptoms of sleep deprivation. After about a week, the consulting psychiatrist in charge of my treatment recommended I resume a low dosage of Klonopin. I did so, but at this time I was beginning to finally find out some substantive information about the drugs I had been on, and at Thanksgiving I discontinued the Klonopin altogether. I was transferred to the outpatient program around the beginning of December, and discharged altogether on December 15. My behavior was still frequently irrational, and apparently emotionally abusive, though I was mostly unaware that I was acting irrationally. My wife and I sought marital counseling in January, in April, we separated, and my wife asked me to move out. I remained living in a separate room until I was able to move out of the house in July.

In the intervening 19 months, I have avoided any medications at all, except for the past few months. About two months ago I came down with a bad cold, in treatment for which I used a cough syrup and a nasal decongestant (generic Sudafed). I experienced an overdose-like reaction to the Sudafed, and immediately stopped using both the Sudafed and the cough syrup. I still experience occasional tremors, occasional brief anxiety attacks, brief attacks of akathisia, and difficulty sleeping. My circadian clock appears to be completely out of whack. My memory is very unreliable, though slowly improving. It seems that most of the actual information is still there, but many of the pointers are hopelessly scrambled, making me unable to get at the memories. I have a lot of trouble with what I call “dyslexic fingers” – my typing has slowed down considerably, because I make large numbers of errors in which my fingers type all the right letters, but in the wrong order, and occasionally I look at the screen to find I’ve typed complete gibberish and have no idea how I managed to do it. (I catch and correct almost all of my errors, but I never used to make those kinds of errors at all.) My co-ordination does not seem to be affected otherwise. I also still suffer from occasional (though thankfully, less frequent) flashbacks, which can still reduce me more or less instantly to complete hysteria. I am being treated (by a DIFFERENT therapist) for post traumatic stress disorder, though we seem to have made comparatively little, if any, progress lately. I have an agreement with both my new doctor and my new therapist that any kind of medication is out of the question.

Well, that’s the history, to date. (And I’m feeling proud of myself, because for once I managed to tell the whole story without getting hysterical.)

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 83.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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