Are Antidepressants Causing a Worsening of Depression Symptoms?

Someone just shared this article with me and asked what my opinion of it was. The subject of the article is the possibility of antidepressants causing a worsening of depression and possible long term depression.

 

Now Antidepressant-Induced Chronic Depression Has a Name:

Tardive Dysphoria

robert whitaker

Robert Whitaker

June 30, 2011

Three recently published papers, along with a report by a Minnesota group on health outcomes in that state, provide new reason to mull over this question: Do antidepressants worsen the long-term course of depression? As I wrote in Anatomy of an Epidemic, I believe there is convincing evidence that the drugs do just that. These latest papers add to that evidence base.

Although this concern first surfaced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when a handful of psychiatrists expressed concern that antidepressants were causing a “chronification” of the disorder, it was in 1994 that Italian psychiatrist Giovanni Fava, editor of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, urged the field to directly confront this possibility. He wrote: “Within the field of psychopharmacology, practitioners have been cautious, if not fearful, of opening a debate on whether the treatment is more damaging [than helpful] . . . I wonder if the time has come for debating and initiating research into the likelihood that psychotropic drugs actually worsen, at least in some cases, the progression of the illness which they are supposed to treat.”

******My Response******

Now before I give you what I shared with her, let me say I greatly admire Robert Whitaker for the attention he has been able to bring to the issue of the dangers of and damage caused by antidepressants through his work.

That being said the following is my response to her:

“Well I did not have to read very far before giving you this answer….

“Who was it who wrote the first book on SSRIs in 1991 called “The Prozac Pandora?” with the second edition in 1994 called “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?” and the third edition in 2001 titled “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare”?

“Yep! That was me! And I refer to Giovanni Fava’s work extensively in my book.

prozac-bookcart-image

“And what was the main focus of my book from the very beginning? (I do believe you have a copy of the 2001 edition.) The main theme of the book is to show that the hypothesis behind antidepressants is completely backwards and that the existing research shows serotonin (5HT) itself is NOT low in depression, anxiety, etc., but instead is elevated. What is low is one’s ability to metabolize serototonin (5HIAA).

“Yet how do these drugs work? They increase serotonin by inhibiting the metabolism of serotonin even further than the initial problem the patient had with being able to metabolize the serotonin. They are, therefore, making the depression, anxiety, etc. worse, not better.

Has my opinion changed in the least? NO!!!!!! It has only grown stronger with research slowly backing up absolutely everything I said all along.

“Now do I think we need further research as suggested in this article?

“Absolutely not! The research was done decades ago. And all anyone has to do is READ IT! That is why I spent four years gathering it all to put it into one volume for anyone to read. It amazes me that so few in medicine read research! It makes you wonder why they ever even bother doing it!

To order Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare! click link below:

http://store.drugawareness.org/?wpsc-product=prozac-panacea-or-pandora

To order Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant! in either CD or MP3 click link below: 

http://store.drugawareness.org/?wpsc-product=help-i-cant-get-off-my-antidepressant

WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!

The FDA also now warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. And these reactions can either come on very rapidly or even be delayed for months depending upon the adverse effects upon sleep patterns when the withdrawal is rapid! You can find the CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: http://store.drugawareness.org/

 

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

Original article: http://www.madinamerica.com/2011/06/%EF%BB%BFnow-antidepressant-induced-chronic-depression-has-a-name-tardive-dysphoria/

1,019 total views, no views today

SSRIs: Sharp Drop in Brain Activity + Worsening Depression & Suicidality

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

Hopefully if you have followed my work or read my book, “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare,” you know that I have made the argument for a decade and a half that antidepressants are the most similar drugs we have ever seen to dissociative anesthetics like PCP or Ketamine. They just work in a little slower motion is all. This research would confirm that by showing adrop in brain activity within ONLY 48 hours of use! All one needs to do is go to the one color page inmy book with brain wave patterns of a 31 year old male on Prozac for six months. The brain waves show that the patient is in a total anesthetic sleep state and dreaming while talking with those doing the test on him!
_______________________________________
Paragraph five reads:  “Prior research, Hunter said, has shown that between 8 and 14 percent of depressed patients develop thoughts of suicide while taking the most common forms ofdepression drugs, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Although reports have suggested that SSRIs are to blame, no firm link between these drugs and thoughts of suicide has been established.”

Paragraphs seven and eight read:  “The researchers treated 72 people suffering from majordepressive disorder (MDD) with one of two SSRIs, fluoxetine or venlafaxine, or with a placebo. All were evaluated by a clinician using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, a standard instrument that assesses the severity of a wide range of depression symptoms. Of the 37 participants on medication,five (13.5 percent) had worsening thoughts of suicide.”

“All of the participants were also examined using QEEG, which evaluates brain function based on thebrain‘s electrical activity. Among the 13.5 percent of participants who got worse, the researchersfound a sharp drop in brain activity within 48 hours of the start of medication. The dropoccurred in the midline and right-frontal sections of the brain, areas known to control emotions.”

SSRI Stories note:  In regard to placebo & suicidality, it should be remembered that the majority of placebo patients are ‘wash-out’ patients from other antidepressants and thus are actually inantidepressant withdrawal which can be extremely dangerous.

http://www.physorg.com/news189972383.html

Simple test can detect signs of suicidal thoughts in people taking antidepressants

April 8, 2010 By Mark Wheeler

(PhysOrg.com) — UCLA researchers have developed a non-invasive biomarker that may serve as a type of early warning system for doctors and patients.

While antidepressant medications have proven to be beneficial in helping people overcome majordepression, it has long been known that a small subset of individuals taking these drugs can actually experience a worsening of mood, and even thoughts of suicide. No clinical test currently exists to make this determination, and only time  usually weeks  can tell before a psychiatrist knows whether a patient is getting better or worse.

Now, UCLA researchers have developed a non-invasive biomarker, or indicator, that may serve as a type of early warning system.

Reporting in the April edition of the peer-reviewed journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Aimee Hunter, an assistant research psychologist in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, and colleagues report that by using quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG), a non-invasive measurement of electrical activity in the brain, they were able to observe a sharp reduction of activity in a specific brainregion in individuals who proved susceptible to thoughts of suicide  within 48 hours of the start of treatment.

Prior research, Hunter said, has shown that between 8 and 14 percent of depressed patients develop thoughts of suicide while taking the most common forms of depression drugs, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Although reports have suggested that SSRIs are to blame, no firm link between these drugs and thoughts of suicide has been established.

This study suggests, for the first time, a link between worsening suicidality and specific changes inbrain function while on these medications.

The researchers treated 72 people suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) with one of twoSSRIs, fluoxetine or venlafaxine, or with a placebo. All were evaluated by a clinician using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, a standard instrument that assesses the severity of a wide range of depression symptoms. Of the 37 participants on medication, five (13.5 percent) had worseningthoughts of suicide.

All of the participants were also examined using QEEG, which evaluates brain function based on thebrain‘s electrical activity. Among the 13.5 percent of participants who got worse, the researchers found a sharp drop in brain activity within 48 hours of the start of medication. The drop occurred in the midline and right-frontal sections of the brain, areas known to control emotions.

Of note, eight of the 35 participants taking a placebo (22.9 percent) also had increased thoughts of suicide. However, the placebo participants did not show the precipitous drop in brain activity within the first 48 hours.

“This is the first study to show a change in brain function after the start of medication that appears to be linked to the subsequent development of worsening thoughts of suicide during antidepressant treatment,” Hunter said. “Importantly, changes in this biomarker did not predict worsening suicidal thoughts in the placebo-treated subjects, so the results suggest that the biomarker specifically detected medication-related worsening only.”

QEEG is a relatively inexpensive instrument that is non-invasive; measurements are obtained by placing electrodes on the scalp. As a result, Hunter said, further development of this biomarker could potentially lead to a tool that could be used by clinicians to predict, in the early stages of treatment, whether an individual suffering from depression will develop thoughts of suicide.

Provided by University of California Los Angeles

620 total views, no views today

Nathan Gibb – hypo-manic over ten years – Wellbutrin

My name is Nathan Gibb. I was diagnosed hypo-manic over ten years ago which, as I understand it, is a tamer version of manic-depressive. I had been taking a medication called Wellbutrin to manage the low end of the mood swings where I spent most of the time. Within the last couple of years I took a position with a company who offered no health insurance and so from month to month it was often impossible to stay consistent with the meds.

My experience on Wellbutrin was that I was maintaining a quality of life that was about 75% of how I felt before I began experiencing depression symptoms in my 20’s. I began the Reliv products in Nov 2001 and immediately began sleeping better and experiencing more energy. At about six weeks the depression that I was mired in began to lift. I have steadily improved over the last year and feel that I am able to handle stress, avoid debilitating lows that used to negatively impact my work and home life, and I have hope and a quality of life I have missed since I was in my 20’s.

663 total views, 1 views today

Losing it on Prozac

“My brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane.”

Thank you very very much for providing this website and the services you have there.

It’s taken over 10 years for me to write this story. For years I was too ashamed to admit I suffered from depression & anxiety, so I told no one. And my brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane. My last experience of medicated depression left me completely ashamed regarding what happened to me. I thought I had truly gone crazy but instead I found out later, it was only my reaction to the new so-called wonder drug of the day: Prozac. Many people take this drug without experiencing what I did; however, there are enough of us so that I want to share my story so that anyone suffering the same way I did can recognize what the problem is (the drug) and find a way to get healthier with out it.

My first depression occurred when I was 17, the fall of 1977. I was prescribed an anti-depressant, most likely one of the tricyclics and recovered 6 months later. The next bout of clinical depression occurred when I was 26, again on a trycyclic for about 6 months. Then I succumbed again in 1990. I was given Prozac. My depression symptoms consisted of crying excessively and inappropriately, inability to find joy in anything, inability to get out of bed/off the sofa, my body preferred remaining motionless, I ached physically and hoped the earth would swallow me whole or that I wished I’d fall asleep and not wake up. I never truly contemplated suicide until the last 2 years, but that’s another story. Back in 1990, my psychiatrist had me on Prozac. The first week I noticed that my muscles became twitchy, I became short with people, my head ached, my depression remained the same. By the second week, my anger was boiling, I snapped at people, I made scenes in public, I yelled, screamed, threw things, pushed people in retail store lines, movie lines, post office line. Can you imagine standing in line with a customer yelling, screaming and pounding their fist on the counter? By the time the Post Office incident occurred, I had extreme violent thoughts against OTHER people. The lady behind that counter was lucky that the counter was so tall because it was all I could do to keep myself from jumping over it to strangle her. Her offence? She didn’t accept my return of my postage stamps. Somehow I found the strength to get out and sat in my car sobbing and sobbing – I couldn’t stop. This was so much worse than my original depression. On my drive home, I was pulled over my highway patrol for speeding. I still could not stop sobbing. A second patrol car pulled up. My sobbing became harder. I held onto my steering wheel for my life as there was a huge pull on me to jump out of the car in front of any oncoming vehicle so I could die. I then thought, maybe if I rushed the officers, they’d pull their guns and kill me. What little sanity I had left convinced myself that I did not want to burden either the car driver or officers with my death. I drove off, half expecting the officers to pursue, but the let me go. I figured they didn’t want to deal with a crying woman. I was scared they were going to haul me off and commit me.

At my next psych appt, the next day, I demanded to get off these crazy making pills, that I was better off them than on them. This doctor explained that it was better I was finally getting my anger out. I jumped up, slammed both hands on his desk, put my face as close to his as I could and screamed – YOU BETTER GET ME OFF THESE BEFORE I KILL SOMEONE. He relented. I was switched and weaned and I will never go back. From 1st pill to last pill took about 2 weeks. I thank God every time I remember these things that I didn’t kill anyone. You will never know how close I was to completely loosing it. It was as if part of me was watching myself do these behaviors and have thread-bare control over my actions. I remember feelings as if I were coming Unglued. That I was somehow disintegrating, being pulled about cell by cell.

A few years later, I signed up at a diet place to loose some weight. I explicitly asked if the Fen-Phen products were anything like Prozac and the doctor assured me that they were not. He was wrong. Again, by the end of the first week, I was crying uncontrollably, tears pouring down my face – this time it was more odd as I had no feelings to go along with the tears. I went in to explain, they wanted to resist refunding my money, but all they had to do was look at my face.

I went along just fine, until I had to deal with infertility. This has been the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching life trauma I’ve ever gone through. If there was something safe and effective, I’d be on it. There is not enough money on the planet for me to ever go back to anti-depressants. So I white-knuckle it. I use natural products, essential oils, meditation tapes and I let myself cry. Honestly, the essential oils I use have been a lifesaver, same as described in the website I list below. I’ve come to grips that no matter how much I truly want to die, that dying is not the answer and suicide is a decision where I could never change my mind. I thank God that I’ve never had another homicidal thought ever since quitting the drugs. I do however have left over tremors that are probably going to be with me for the rest of my life.

If I had heard my story from a book or website or third hand, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. It seems surreal that a simple little pill that’s suppose to help could turn a quiet, shy, woman into a shrieking homicidal threat in 14 days but that’s what I lived. I’m glad it’s getting more out in the open. I’m still incredibly ashamed but now, not at my depression, but rather at my behavior I exhibited to completely innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place when I walked by.

 

237 total views, no views today

Addicted to Effexor

“(It)…was one of the most horrible things I have ever experienced in my life.”

I also have posted “my story” on another informational site about anti-depressants, but I believe my story needs to be heard on your site as well. It is quite a bit to read, but hopefully it will help some people…

My problems with depression first started when I was about 9-10 years old. I had “normal” depression symptoms: I slept a lot, and was doing poorly in classes at school. I had school counselors lecture me every week about it, but I was in the “gifted” program at school, so it wasn’t as if I didn’t understand the material. This went on until 7th grade, when I failed ALL of my classes. My parents met with the principal of the school, who was threatening to hold me back. My parents thought there was something wrong with me, so I had an IQ test done to check my “capacity”. After 6 hours of testing, they found my IQ was 186, so no problems there…

My parents refused to put me on antidepressants for a long time. They were in denial that there was anything actually “wrong” with me, especially my mother… which was odd, because depression runs on her side of the family. They kept having me tested for everything else that could be causing the tiredness (thyroid and iron levels are the two I can remember). They changed my diet and we joined a health club, but it did nothing for me.

The doctor I had at the time pressed my parents for so long to put me on an antidepressant. My first antidepressant I went on was Zoloft, when I was 15. At first, the feelings it gave me were nice – my energy level went way up, and my parents were pleased that I was doing things around the house instead of sleeping. However, I gained 20 pounds in one month of taking it, without changing my diet at all. And as the months went by, I gradually needed more and more Zoloft, so my doctor decided to switch me to Celexa.

I was on Celexa for 4 months, but it was like I was on nothing at all. I didn’t feel any different from taking it. I was then switched to Lexapro (which is made by the same manufacturer, and is very similar I’m told), but it also did nothing. I was then put on Paxil, which I was on for about 5 months. At this time I was a senior in high school.

Paxil was one of the most horrible things I have ever experienced in my life. Side story: I also started having acid reflux disease at the same time my depression began, which I ended up having surgery for, also when I was a senior in high school. I was taking the Paxil up until when I had the surgery. The side effects of Paxil were intense to begin with, but also didn’t agree with what else I had going on with my body – I had intense abdominal pain, freakish dreams at night, sweated constantly, was nauseated / vomited frequently (which I did not have before despite the acid reflux), was dizzy, anxious, and went between being overheated and incredibly chilled… not to mention I gained 30 pounds in two weeks. This was all without changing my diet! But still my doctor pressed me to stay on the Paxil, saying it would take time, that my weight would go back down, that the side effects would simply just “go away,” but they never did.

When I was scheduled to have acid reflux surgery, I had to quit the Paxil cold turkey. All I can say is it made me feel disgusting. The memory most prominent to me about it was my sense became very distorted, especially my vision and hearing. For a long time, everything sounded muffled, like I was underwater. When I would move my head, or even just my eyes, I would feel and almost hear these “electric zaps” in my head. I had to stop driving from the intense dizziness (and have yet to drive since then), and that my vision became very blurry. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and I was so paranoid of everything that I couldn’t be happy, or even FUNCTION… It took nearly half a year for the effects of this to go away.

Nine months after I had quit Paxil, things were too unbearable for me to live without help from an antidepressant. Despite what I had experienced in the past, I was stupid and desperate enough to try my luck again. I was prescribed Wellbutrin, which didn’t last for a week because I had an allergic reaction to it (my body broke out in a horrible rash and I looked like a lobster!). I had to wait 3 weeks for the rash to die down after stopping the medication to try a new one… this time Effexor.

Looking back on it now I wish I had NEVER, EVER started that drug. Some of the side effects I experienced at first were nausea, constant migraines, I was extremely tired but unable to fall asleep, dry mouth, nervousness, abnormal sweating, decreased appetite, vertigo, and irregular heartbeat, just to name a few. My doctor increased me to 300 mg within a month of starting – which I’m sure was far too much, because within the first few hours of taking it, I would feel almost manic and crazed… I developed social anxiety disorder, which I’ve never had in the past, and I become too scared, flustered, and embarrassed to speak in front of more than three or four people.

Well, I had been on Effexor for almost 7 months (which would have been almost a month ago, now), when I stopped taking it. The side effects were just too unbearable. Also I am having stomach problems again, this time with a hiatal hernia, so I’m unable to digest pills. My doctor tapered me off of the 300 mg of Effexor XR within a three week period – seems too fast for someone that was on that much … He tried putting me on liquid Prozac, but the medication tasted horrible and I threw up almost instantly after every time I took it, so the Prozac didn’t last longer than a week before I quit.

I am absolutely beside myself right now with my Effexor problems – nearly a month after I quit, and I am beside myself with frustration and agony. I feel like I am addicted to this drug. I threw away the bottle after I was told to stop taking it, and now I sadly regret it so much. My brain feels like it’s screaming at me to get more of these pills, the feelings I have without them are too unbearable. I literally feel like I’m going insane. My depression is more extreme right now than it has ever been in my life. I’m having borderline personality disorder symptoms. At first I was just very tired, depressed, and agitated with everything, but now I’m having the sensory disturbances again – my hearing sounds like someone is playing with a big volume knob in my head, as things are always almost too quiet for me to hear, or too loud to tolerate.

I’m too nauseated and have too much stomach/chest pain to want to eat anything, so I’ve stopped eating solid food and now just mostly consume Jell-O, broths, pudding, popsicles, and creamy soups. I take massive amounts of vitamins and protein shakes because my health has deteriorated so much from it… my coordination and vision have become so bad that I can’t drive now. I sleep 18+ hours a day, but usually wake up every 30 minutes during sleep because of intense, sick nightmares that I have, usually about me dying… I go between being incredibly depressed and almost manic, something else I’ve never experienced before. Everything feels like it’s tipped on a 45 degree angle; I’m very dizzy, and have intense vertigo. I go to art school, and had to take off the quarter it’s gotten so bad – not to mention I can’t draw now because the tremors in my hands are so bad.

When I go in for surgery for my hiatal hernia in a few weeks, I’m going to hospitalize myself because I need more help getting through this Effexor withdrawal. I honestly feel insane. I’m so depressed that I’ve started cutting my arms, and I’m not even sure why. Also I hallucinate every few hours and see things – just today I saw blood dripping down my wall, an alligator walk across my bedroom, and when I woke up from a nap this afternoon I honestly thought I saw a woman standing over my bed with a knife. I went back to see my psych for help, and all he told me was to “wait it out” and “there’s nothing I can do for you now.” Why the hell are people prescribed these drugs if the withdrawal symptoms are so HORRIBLE?!

Reivena

510 total views, 1 views today

All Hell Broke Loose When I Quit Cold Turkey

‘I began thinking and doing things that I normally would abhor. I became unable to feel spiritual feelings.’

Dear Ann,

I just bought your book the other day and I will have to tell you that I am impressed. There aren’t that many people out there who have the guts to go out and defy popular thinking and to research and speak out against these legalized drug pushers. I know your book is true and the personal experiences by your patients and colleagues is true because I have been there. I just can’t understand how people who are supposed to be helping us get healed are thrusting these poisons upon us the way they do.

Let me briefly summarize what has happened to me—
I am active duty Air Force. Around July of ’97 I went into the clinic because I just hadn’t been “feeling well” for a long time. (By the way, I have learned just recently that I have severe allergies, which can mock depression symptoms.) I am not one to just run to the doctor’s office every time I have a symptom, but I just couldn’t cope anymore on my own.

When I went there, within a few minutes the PA who I was visiting had written me out a prescription for Zoloft. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he thought he would run a few blood tests and put me on Zoloft as a clinical experiment to see if it was depression.

Well I was on Zoloft for 7 weeks and every time I went back I dreaded talking to him because he just wouldn’t listen to my symptoms – which according to their handout, didn’t fit depression.
I took the drug blindly, not knowing what it was or what it did. I guess I just thought that if I had an adverse reaction, I could just quit taking it and it would subside.

Zoloft didn’t work, in fact it actually caused me to become depressed. That’s when I was referred to Mental Health, where the psychiatrist prescribed me Prozac the very first visit. He didn’t think it was depression I was dealing with, however he prescribed it anyway saying, “this drug works wonders for a lot of people!” I was off Zoloft and on Prozac that very day.

At first I felt like it might be working — for a few days. Then I felt my personality vanish. Before I knew what happened I had become the type of bland person that I despised. I began thinking and doing things that I normally would abhor. Although I am very religious and active in my church, I became unable to feel spiritual feelings.
Within a couple of weeks I started having tremors, mild at first, but then more pronounced. The psychiatrist first denied that Prozac could cause those and dismissed it as “psychosomatic” and told me to stop shaking like that.

I went to another doctor for the pains in my neck and I told him about the tremors and he said that Prozac causes them and recommended that I quit the drug.

I ended up in the emergency room for major tremors before I could get back to my psychiatrist. I had a phone consultation with him and he said he had done some research and found that it was an adverse reaction and he told me to quit taking it because it was a failed attempt anyway.
So I quit — cold turkey, just like he said. That’s when all hell broke loose. I went into what they called “pseudo-seizures”(because the EEG was “normal” and I didn’t lose full consciousness) and I had major cognitive dysfunction.

At work I was forced to take an evaluation and was decertified from my job and put on permanent “training” status (they couldn’t come up with anything better than “training deficiency”).

Well, to make a long story short, it’s been about a year of hell for me and my family (and we have a big one). Things have not significantly improved. I don’t have anymore “pseudo-seizures” now and I can drive sometimes and I am slowly picking up some of the things I used to do before Prozac or Zoloft, but I still have tremors and slowed cognitive functioning and difficulty learning.

The major problem is that these doctors here on base have been bought and paid for by the big drug companies and they are denying all along that Prozac or Zoloft had any lasting effects upon me. I went to the Inspector General about the mishandling of my medical case and they allowed me to go off-base for treatment, but it’s still slow in coming.
Thanks to your book and information at your website I was able to amass the tangible evidence needed to prove my case. Just knowing that there are other people out there who had almost the same exact reactions is evidence enough, but you really brought a lot of other important things to light.

D.D.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 41.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 

541 total views, no views today