St. John’s Wort and Acute Insomnia

“SJW must be as powerful a serotonergic as Prozac.”

 

I was so interested when I saw your web site, because from what everyone is saying, serotonin should be added to our drinking supply. Yet not enough is truly known about the brain.

Here is my story. It’s not entirely related to a drug per se, but to St. John’s Wort. I took SJW extract for three weeks in November, three droppers full a day, hoping to stave off winter depression before it hit. I then developed SEVERE insomnia that landed me in the ER twice, and then in the Psych unit. Had a sleep study to no avail. Since then I haven’t been able to sleep without ambien or halcion, despite having no prior history of insomnia. And they keep giving me more serotonergic drugs! I can’t see what it could be besides the St. John’s Wort! And I am only 22!

Zoloft was the worst drug they put me on, and gave me a dissociative panic attack for days on end. I don’t know exactly what my disorder is, but I had a deranged SPECT scan with massive overactivity. Serotonin is a double-edged sword. Watch out! All the research is definitely not in on this one. When I was younger and used to do LSD I had a lot of the same effects that SSRI’s give. They are not that dissimilar.

I would be highly interested if you ever run across anyone who had a severe disabling insomnia somehow induced by excess serotonin. I have talked to one person who had exactly the same thing happen, after a few Prozac, and it turned out they also had a carcinoid syndrome. Now, I know I don’t have this, but I don’t know how to explain any of what I have been through without mentioning the St. John’s Wort, because until that day I was 100% fine, and since then I have been unable to sleep and feeling restless. They had put me on tricyclic antidepressants and then several different SSRI’s which honestly haven’t improved things, and which I secretly discontinued. It’s not like I am depressed anyway, and in fact was in the Psych Hospital for sleep deprivation and released because they couldn’t find any evidence of a mental problem. They said maybe I was manic, but I wasn’t really hyper and had no response to Lithium or Depakote. Then they withdrew that diagnosis, only to say they didn’t know what was wrong with me.

But the thing about the SJW is this: I was on it for about three weeks of a black mood, when I honestly felt my mood lift… then I called everyone and said, “Gee this stuff really works!” Then within days the massive insomnia came. Now my mood is not so great, and I still can’t sleep. So I fail to see what induced it otherwise. All in all it’s weird. SJW must be as powerful a serotonergic as Prozac. I don’t think, if it’s so powerful, that it could really be free of side effects, even if it is natural. That is a rather grandiose claim, made by Howard (? Harold) Bloomfield, the doc who did all the SJW research. My three cents:)

Note from Ann Blake-Tracy:

Something to consider is that “Sleepless in California” had used a drug (LSD) in the past that produces high levels of serotonin. It may be that St. John’s Wort used by someone who has higher levels of serotonin already may find that they have adverse reactions to St. John’s Wort. This would also raise questions about those who have previously used an SSRI using St. John’s Wort. And to answer the question about higher levels of serotonin and insomnia, I refer you to the information in my book PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? which demonstrates that high levels of serotonin will lower the metabolism of serotonin and results in insomnia.

(Sleepless in California)

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 81.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Murder-Suicide: Mother Strangles her 2 Children: Kills Self

Paragraph 10 reads:  “Lo Wai-fan, a psychiatrist at East
Kowloon General Out-patient Clinic, said she met Lau in late October last
year
and prescribed her two-week’s worth of sleeping and
anti-depression drugs.
However, Lau turned up at the clinic on
November 6 – a week before her scheduled follow-up session – saying she was
suffering from insomnia and worrying about her son.”

Paragraphs three
through five read:  “But divorcee Lau Hoi-chu, 43, was released from Kwai
Chung Hospital on November 25 last year – two days before her mainland
friend Chen Shaozhen found Lau hanging in a bedroom
next to the body of

her son, Law Chung-yan, 16.

Her daughter, Law Yu-ching, 13, was
unconscious in another room in a flat in Lok On House, Tsz Lok Estate, Tsz Wan
Shan.

All three were certified dead by paramedics. The children were
apparently strangled.

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=11&art_id=90995&sid=26191271&con_type=3

Tormented mom told carers `she was ready
to kill’ –

Diana Lee

Tuesday,
November 24, 2009

A mentally-disturbed mother who was found hanged in

her flat near the strangled bodies of her two children told a psychiatrist she
“wanted to take her son’s life and then her own” three weeks before they died, a
coroner’s inquest was told yesterday.

Concerned she might injure herself
and others, she was sent to hospital for compulsory observation.

But
divorcee Lau Hoi-chu, 43, was released from Kwai Chung Hospital on November 25
last year – two days before her mainland friend Chen Shaozhen found Lau hanging
in a bedroom next to the body of her son, Law Chung-yan, 16.

Her

daughter, Law Yu-ching, 13, was unconscious in another room in a flat in Lok On
House, Tsz Lok Estate, Tsz Wan Shan.

All three were certified dead by
paramedics. The children were apparently strangled.

Testifying before a
jury of five, Chen said she took care of the children when Lau was in hospital.

She had a meal with the family shortly before their deaths and Lau
appeared to be at peace with her children.

Among the exhibits presented
in court was a calendar on which was scribbled “afraid to be admitted to
hospital again.”

In a written statement, Lau’s sister-in-law, Chen
Jianqing, said she moved into the flat on November 23 to help look after the
children together with Chen Shaozhen but on November 26 Lau told her not to
spend the night in the flat.

Lo Wai-fan, a psychiatrist at East Kowloon
General Out-patient Clinic, said she met Lau in late October last year and
prescribed her two-week’s worth of sleeping and anti-depression drugs. However,
Lau turned up at the clinic on November 6 – a week before her scheduled
follow-up session – saying she was suffering from insomnia and worrying about

her son.

Lau’s son, a Secondary Four student, had just been put on
probation for shoplifting.

“Lau was emotional and believed there was no
hope for the future. She said she wanted to end her son’s life before she ended
hers,” Lo said.

Fearing she might hurt herself and others, Lo had her
admitted to Kwai Chung Hospital under the Mental Health Ordinance for compulsory
psychiatric observation of at least seven days.

Kwong Lap-kuen, a
medical social worker, observed Lau and agreed with Lo’s diagnosis.

Chan
Wai-ping, an assistant social worker in the Social Welfare Department, said she
talked with Lau for more than an hour on November 19, during which she was calm
though she did express concern about finding a secondary school for her
daughter.

“She said it was just out of impulse when she said she wanted
to hurt herself and her son. She regretted what she had said, as she couldn’t
take care of her children while she was in hospital,” Chan said.

Lau
also wrote notes to remind herself of a “better tomorrow” and that “issues
concerning the growing up of the children do not equate to failure on my part.”

Lau’s ex-husband, Law Chi-pun, said he had not contacted her since 2006,
nor given her alimony.

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Possible Suicide – Famous Singer Dies in Fall: Malaysia

Second paragraph from the end reads:  “‘It might also
be due to the effects of her medication,he said.
‘She is an optimistic iron lady and couldn’t have taken her own
life’.”

SSRI Stories note: There is a second article following this first
article which states that this beautiful, famous singer had been taking

medication for depression right before her death.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Showbiz/Story/A1Story20090908-166298.html

Dead Malaysian singer wanted to quit

BUKIT MERTAJAM,
MALAYSIA: Singer Loh Guik Hong, who was found dead at the foot of a condominium
block in Gurney Drive on Saturday, had planned to retire but put it off
following pleas from her fans.

A close friend of Loh told newsmen
yesterday that the singer was sick of the nightlife after being in the business
for over 10 years.

“One year ago, she had to undergo a knee operation
after consuming slimming pills and began thinking of retiring,” he said
yesterday at Loh’s family home in Kampung Berapit.

“However, her
diehard fans were strongly against it.”

Loh was cremated at the Berapit
Cremato-rium here at about noon yesterday after some 150 relatives and friends
paid their last respects. A Taoist priest conducted the final rites.

The
friend said Loh planned to start her own business. He also said Loh suffered
from insomnia, adding that she had been in depression for three years, but only
sought medical treatment a year ago.

At yesterday’s ceremony, the family
allowed reporters to take pictures but did not speak to them.

Among those
at the funeral was Loh’s godsister, Lim Hui Ting, 26, who lived with Loh at the
Gurney Drive condominium. She was seen holding Loh’s pet dog, Yuki.

Loh,
39, who was fondly known by her fans as Xue Liang (Snow Bright), is believed to
have fallen from the 12th floor of the condominium block at about 7.15am. A
post-mortem showed traces of alcohol in her stomach. Police ruled out foul play
and classified the case as sudden death.

Meanwhile, a relative said Loh
wore an eye mask to sleep, which could have been mistaken for a surgical mask as
reported in newspapers.

He also clarified that Loh was in a sleeping gown
when she fell but the gown had torn, adding that Loh used to stand at the
balcony and smoke. The family believed that she might have slipped and
fell.

“It might also be due to the effects of her medication,” he said.
“She is an optimistic iron lady and couldn’t have taken her own life.”

He
also described her as a filial daughter who visited her parents every week and
never forgot to call her family regularly.


———————————————————-
Paragraph
four reads:  “Loh’s godsister Lim Hui Ting, 26, who lives in the same unit,
said the singer returned home from work at 2am and headed straight to bed
after taking medication for depression.”

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/9/6/nation/4662622&sec=nation

Sunday September 6, 2009

Singer falls to her death – in panties and mask

By ANN TAN and M. SIVANANTHA SHARMA

GEORGE TOWN: A
singer was found dead at the foot of a condominium block in Gurney Drive here,
clad only in her panties, her pyjama top, which was lifted, and wearing a
surgical mask.

Loh Guik Hong, 39, who was popularly called Xue Liang
(Snow Bright) by her fans, was believed to have fallen from the 12th floor of
the building at about 7.15am Saturday.

It is learnt that she suffered
from depression and had previously attempted to commit suicide.

Loh’s
godsister Lim Hui Ting, 26, who lives in the same unit, said the singer returned
home from work at 2am and headed straight to bed after taking medication for
depression.

“I knocked on her room at 9am this morning (yesterday) but
there was no answer. When I opened the door I found the room empty,” she said,
adding that she only found out about Loh’s death when she went down to
check.

A post-mortem report showed Loh had serious head and body
injuries.

There were traces of alcohol in her stomach.

Loh, who
works in a coffee shop along Gurney Drive, was said to be good in belting out
Chinese and English songs and has been a singer for 15 years.

People who
knew her said that a group of die-hard fans would come to the coffee shop to
show their support every night.

A person in-charge at the coffee shop
said Loh had performed on Friday night and was supposed to sing again
yesterday.

Deputy state CID chief Supt Nashir Ya said the post-mortem
report said Loh had died from a fall.

“She was in her pyjama top and was
not wearing a bra,” he said, adding that he did not know why she was wearing a
face mask.

“We have ruled out foul play for the moment,” he
said.

Meanwhile, the casket bearing Loh’s body arrived at her family’s
home in Kampung Berapit, Bukit Mertajam at about 5.30pm.

Her father Loh
Chew Seng, 78, was heard telling some neighbours that anak saya sudah
mati
(my daughter had died).

The family members distributed “horse
race” calendars featuring photographs of Loh to reporters at the
scene.

It is learnt that the body will be cremated
tomorrow.

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Effexor: Insomnia & Night Sweats + Withdrawal & Brain Zaps: Peoples Pharmacy

Paragraph two reads:  “After cutting my dose in
half,
I have had brain zaps (impossible to explain) and
pressure in my ears.”

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/lifestyles/local_other/article/S-PHAR06_20090902-190006/290023/

Q:I have been taking Effexor XR for two
years. At first I was pleased that it relieved the anxiety, depression and
excessive worrying I had been suffering. Then I began experiencing insomnia and

night sweats and decided to taper off this antidepressant.

After cutting
my dose in half, I have had brain zaps (impossible to explain) and pressure in
my ears.

Answer: Many people find that antidepressants such as Effexor
(venlafaxine), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine)
and Zoloft (sertraline) are helpful for depression. But there can be a dark
side.

Stopping this type of drug can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as
dizziness, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, sweating, visual disturbances and
difficulty concentrating. Many people complain of shocklike sensations in their
head (brainzaps” or “shivers”).

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Famous Singer Dies: Malaysia

Second paragraph from the end reads:  “‘It might also be due to the effects of her medication,he said.  ‘She is an optimistic iron lady and couldn’t have taken her own life’.”

SSRI Stories note: There is a second article following this first article which states that this beautiful, famous singerhad been taking medication for depression right before her death.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Showbiz/Story/A1Story20090908-166298.html

Dead Malaysian singer wanted to quit

BUKIT MERTAJAM, MALAYSIASinger Loh Guik Hong, who was found dead at the foot of a condominium block in Gurney Drive on Saturday, had planned to retire but put it off following pleas from her fans.

A close friend of Loh told newsmen yesterday that the singer was sick of the nightlife after being in the business for over 10 years.

“One year ago, she had to undergo a knee operation after consuming slimming pills and began thinking of retiring,” he said yesterday at Loh’s family home in Kampung Berapit.

“However, her diehard fans were strongly against it.”

Loh was cremated at the Berapit Cremato-rium here at about noon yesterday after some 150 relatives and friends paid their last respects. A Taoist priest conducted the final rites.

The friend said Loh planned to start her own business. He also said Loh suffered from insomnia, adding that she had been in depression for three years, but only sought medical treatment a year ago.

At yesterday’s ceremony, the family allowed reporters to take pictures but did not speak to them.

Among those at the funeral was Loh’s godsister, Lim Hui Ting, 26, who lived with Loh at the Gurney Drive condominium. She was seen holding Loh’s pet dog, Yuki.

Loh, 39, who was fondly known by her fans as Xue Liang (Snow Bright), is believed to have fallen from the 12th floor of the condominium block at about 7.15am. A post-mortem showed traces of alcohol in her stomach. Police ruled out foul play and classified the case as sudden death.

Meanwhile, a relative said Loh wore an eye mask to sleep, which could have been mistaken for a surgical mask as reported in newspapers.

He also clarified that Loh was in a sleeping gown when she fell but the gown had torn, adding that Loh used to stand at the balcony and smoke. The family believed that she might have slipped and fell.

“It might also be due to the effects of her medication,” he said. “She is an optimistic iron lady and couldn’t have taken her own life.”

He also described her as a filial daughter who visited her parents every week and never forgot to call her family regularly.
———————————————————-
Paragraph four reads:  “Loh’s godsister Lim Hui Ting, 26, who lives in the same unit, said the singer returned home from work at 2am and headed straight to bed after taking medication for depression.”

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/9/6/nation/4662622&sec=nation

Sunday September 6, 2009

Singer falls to her death – in panties and mask

By ANN TAN and M. SIVANANTHA SHARMA

GEORGE TOWN: A singer was found dead at the foot of a condominium block in Gurney Drive here, clad only in her panties, her pyjama top, which was lifted, and wearing a surgical mask.

Loh Guik Hong, 39, who was popularly called Xue Liang (Snow Bright) by her fans, was believed to have fallen from the 12th floor of the building at about 7.15am Saturday.

It is learnt that she suffered from depression and had previously attempted to commit suicide.

Loh’s godsister Lim Hui Ting, 26, who lives in the same unit, said the singer returned home from work at 2am and headed straight to bed after taking medication for depression.

“I knocked on her room at 9am this morning (yesterday) but there was no answer. When I opened the door I found the room empty,” she said, adding that she only found out about Loh’s death when she went down to check.

A post-mortem report showed Loh had serious head and body injuries.

There were traces of alcohol in her stomach.

Loh, who works in a coffee shop along Gurney Drive, was said to be good in belting out Chinese and English songs and has been a singer for 15 years.

People who knew her said that a group of die-hard fans would come to the coffee shop to show their support every night.

A person in-charge at the coffee shop said Loh had performed on Friday night and was supposed to sing again yesterday.

Deputy state CID chief Supt Nashir Ya said the post-mortem report said Loh had died from a fall.

“She was in her pyjama top and was not wearing a bra,” he said, adding that he did not know why she was wearing a face mask.

“We have ruled out foul play for the moment,” he said.

Meanwhile, the casket bearing Loh’s body arrived at her family’s home in Kampung Berapit, Bukit Mertajam at about 5.30pm.

Her father Loh Chew Seng, 78, was heard telling some neighbours that anak saya sudah mati (my daughter had died).

The family members distributed “horse race” calendars featuring photographs of Loh to reporters at the scene.

It is learnt that the body will be cremated tomorrow.

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ICFDA Warning on Drug Discontinuation

Taper off very, very, very slowly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dropping “cold turkey” off any medication, most especially mind altering medications, can often be MORE DANGEROUS than staying on the drugs. With antidepressants the FDA has now warned that any abrupt change in dose, whether increasing or decreasing the dose, can produce suicide, hostility, or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis when you then get your diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder. Of course drug-induced Bipolar is temporary so you need to learn more about that if it has already happened to you. We have a DVD on explaining this and how to recover from it: “Bipolar? Are You Really Bipolar or Misdiagnosed Due to the Use of or Abrupt Discontinuation of an Antidepressant”: https://store.drugawareness.org/product/bipolar-disorder-streaming/

The most dangerous and yet the most common mistake someone coming off any antidepressant, atypical antipsychotic, or benzodiazaphine makes is coming off these drugs too rapidly. Tapering off VERY, VERY, VERY SLOWLY–OVER MONTHS OR YEARS (The general rule of thumb for those on antidepressants (ANY antidepressant, not just the current antidepressant – add up all time on any of them) for less than a year is to take half the amount of time on them to wean off and for long-term users for each 5 years on psychiatric drugs of any kind  the general rule of thumb is at least a year or more.), NOT JUST WEEKS OR MONTHS!—has proven the safest and most effective method of withdrawal from these types of medications. Thus the body is given the time it needs to readjust its own chemical levels. Patients must be warned to come very slowly off these drugs by shaving minuscule amounts off their pills each day, as opposed to cutting them.

WARNING: The practice of taking a pill every other day throws you into withdrawal every other day and can be very dangerous when you consider the FDA warnings on abrupt changes in dose.

This cannot be stressed strongly enough! This information on EXTREMELY gradual withdrawal is the most critical piece of information that someone facing withdrawal from these drugs needs to have.

A REMINDER: IT IS EASIER TO GET DOWN OFF A MOUNTAINTOP ONE GUARDED STEP AT A TIME THAN TO JUMP FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM.

No matter how few or how many side effects you have had on these antidepressants, withdrawal is a whole new world. The worst part of rapid withdrawal can be delayed for several months AFTER you quit. So even if you think you are doing okay you quickly find that it becomes much worse. If you do not come off correctly and rebuild your body as you do, you risk:

  • Creating bouts of overwhelming depression
  • Producing a MUCH longer withdrawal and recovery period than if you had come off slowly
  • Overwhelming fatigue causing you to be unable to continue daily tasks or costing your job
  • Having a psychotic break brought on by the terrible insomnia from the rapid withdrawal, and then being locked in a psychiatric ward and being told you are either schizophrenic or most likely that you are Bipolar.
  • Ending up going back on the drugs (each period on the drugs tends to be more dangerous and problematic than the previous time you were on the drugs) and having more drugs added to calm the withdrawal effects
  • Seizures and other life threatening physical reactions
  • Violent outbursts or rages
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder which has always been known as a drug withdrawal state and is known to include both suicide and homicide – both committed in a sleep state.

Although my book, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare!, contains massive amounts of information you can find nowhere else on these drugs, it does not have the extensive amount of information contained in the CD focusing mainly on withdrawal issues. The CD contains newer and updated information on safe withdrawal from these drugs. It details over an hour and a half the safest ways found over the past 30 years to withdraw from antidepressants and the drugs so often prescribed with them – the atypical antipsychotics and benzodiazapenes. And it explains why it is safest to withdraw tiny amounts from all of the medications at the same time rather than withdrawing only one at a time.

It also lists many safe alternative treatments that can assist you in getting though the withdrawal and lists other alternatives to avoid which are not safe after using antidepressants. And it contains information on how to rebuild your health after you have had it destroyed by these drugs so that you never end up feeling a need to be on these drugs again.

The CD is very inexpensive and will save you thousands in medical bills which far too many end up spending trying to do it on your own without this information. (One woman who decided she was okay coming down twice as fast as recommended paid a terrible price. After withdrawing she suffered the REM Sleep Disorder early one morning and attacked her husband with a baseball bat (for which she has no memory) and which ended their lifelong courtship and marriage. And cost her $30,000 to be in a psychiatric facility where they put her on five more drugs plus the antidepressant she had just withdrawn from! You can see why many have lamented that they wished they would have had the information on this CD before attempting withdrawal.

To order Ann Blake-Tracy’s book go to: https://store.drugawareness.org/product/prozac-panacea-or-pandora-our-serotonin-nightmare-2014-ebook-download/

To order the CD, “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!” go to: http://store.drugawareness.org/product/help-i-cant-get-off-my-antidepressant-mp3-download/

This is a CD doctors can also benefit from when attempting to withdraw their patients from these drugs which the World Health Organization has now told us are addictive and produce withdrawal. And doctors have begun to recommend the CD to their patients.

The Aftermath of Antidepressants

In 2005 the FDA issued strong warnings about changes in dose for antidepressants. They warned that ANY abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant, whether increasing or decreasing the dose….so that would include switching antidepressants, starting or stopping antidepressants, forgetting to take a pill, skipping doses, taking a pill one day & not the next, etc…. can cause suicide, hostility, and/or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis which is why so many are given a diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder after this withdrawal reaction that can so severely impair sleep leading to a psychotic break.

Clearly coming down too rapidly can be very, very dangerous. We encourage you to arm yourself with knowledge by downloading our CD on safe withdrawal.

http://www.drugawareness.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/product_images/thumbnails/helpicant.jpgclick here. order a CD download.

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!”

 

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ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: Suicide: Recent Withdrawal: Michigan

Often there is the terrible withdrawal associated with the SSRIs. Unless patients are warned to come very slowly off these drugs by shaving minuscule amounts off their pills each day, as opposed to cutting them in half or taking a pill every other day, they can go into terrible withdrawal which is generally delayed several months. This withdrawal includes bouts of overwhelming depression, terrible insomnia and fatigue, and can include life-threatening physical effects, psychosis, or violent outbursts.

Paragraph 7 reads: “Fessenden disputes reports that his son was taking multiple prescription drugs. He said his son recently went off anti-depressants.”

Relatives remember Oceana man as generous person

by Chad D. Lerch | The Muskegon Chronicle
Friday July 03, 2009, 6:41 AM

Roger Fessenden

OCEANA COUNTY — Dale Fessenden says his son, who was found dead June 25 in an Oceana County pond, will be remembered as a caring person who always put others first.

His son, Roger Dale Fessenden, 40, of Rothbury suffered a back injury at work earlier this year when he fell 20 feet while cleaning a storage tank. He underwent back surgery in February, family members said.

Roger Fessenden was reported missing June 23 and was found dead two days later in a pond known by locals as Oceana Lake in Grant Township.

Dale Fessenden said his son often had a difficult time sleeping because of back pain. He said Roger would take prescription sleeping pills and then go for drives in his car. He suspects the sleeping pills affected his son’s judgment.

On the night he went missing, Roger Fessenden likely took sleeping pills before venturing out, his father said.

“He didn’t know what he was doing and just took off,” he said. “I’m convinced that’s what happened to him.”

Fessenden disputes reports that his son was taking multiple prescription drugs. He said his son recently went off anti-depressants.

Family members said they want Roger Fessenden to be remembered as someone with a generous heart.

Dale Fessenden said his son once went shopping for a stranger in the hospital — just because he wanted to help.

“That’s the kind of person my son was,” he said. “He was the most polite person in my life.”

Oceana County Sheriff Bob Farber said a toxicology report is pending in the investigation into Roger Fessenden’s death. The report could return from the lab in the next two weeks.

But in the meantime, the county coroner has ruled the cause of death as drowning. It remains unclear how Fessenden ended up in the pond.

Fessenden, a longtime resident of Ferry, is survived by his wife, Blanco Suarez, two stepchildren and his parents.

E-mail Chad D. Lerch at clerch@muskegonchronicle.com

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Grief Recovery without Drugs

“Is there really an alternative to anti-depressant drugs? YES, YES, YES!”

Hello Ann B Tracy,

Fourteen months ago I was struck down with any parent’s worst nightmare. My beloved 33-year-old son committed suicide. He had been taking anti-depressants for about 4 years, and I may never be sure if these influenced his actions.

My story is about my recovery from this horrendous event. One thing that every survivor of suicide is aware of is that one ‘recovers’ from suicide in the same manner that one ‘recovers’ from alcoholism. There may never be a time when a sudden reminder of the loved one does not bring anguished tears.

When I began to suffer nightmares and insomnia I consulted my local physician. She’s a wonderful lady, newly out of medical school, open-minded, frank and conscientious. AND she prescribed Prozac! Having had a brief negative experience with both Valium and Prozac, I took the prescription home–and threw it in the trash. Shortly thereafter my husband bought me two milk goats. (We live on a ranch where this is possible, but it is also possible in many suburban settings.) These animals need attention twice a day–they need to be milked and fed in the morning, and fed in the evening. One cannot stay in bed waiting for them to milk and feed themselves–so I had to get up! And I had to be up to take care of them in the evening, also. This may sound like a small thing, but prior to their arrival I stayed in bed half the day and consequently couldn’t sleep at night.

This spring they blessed us with three adorable kids, which also need, and give, love and attention! I was able to experience the joy of witnessing new birth, new life, new love coming into my life. Of course, these wonderful animals are not my only interest in life, but they did awaken in me a renewed sense of the continuation of life.

I was fascinated with a friend’s response recently when I shared this story with her. “Did they really help you? Is there really an alternative to anti-depressant drugs?” And my answer is an unequivocal, resounding “YES, YES, YES”!

Blessings on your wonderful work,

RaEl BaKan
raelbakan1@bacavalley.com

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Prozac Made Me Want to Kill Myself

“Prozac is the scariest thing that ever happened to me.”

I am a 19 year old female. I struggled with depression for as long as I can remember, it peaking at the age of 14. When I turned 16, I couldn’t take it anymore and begged my mother to get me help. After seeking help from a psychologist and it being unsuccessful I finally agreed to try out Anti-Depressants.

I can’t remember all the kinds of A.D.’s I tried but I do remember that it took a while before I could find one that worked for me. One of the med’s my doc had me try was Prozac. Prozac is the scariest thing that ever happened to me. While before I would sleep all the time to “get away from the world” Prozac gave me insomnia. At night I would curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out uncontrollably. Thoughts of suicide emerged that were so intense that the only thing that kept me alive is that I was sobbing too hard to do anything. I had suicide thoughts before but it was more of a passive feeling, like “I hate life and want to die, but if it doesn’t happen now oh well.” The suicide feelings brought on my Prozac were so intense that I felt I needed to do it NOW; I couldn’t put off killing myself.

I remember being so scared of these feelings that one night while I cried my eyes out I walked to my mom’s room and woke her up, told her all the feelings. She told me to quit taking them and called my doc first thing in the morning. I waited to say something because 1) I thought Prozac just took a little while longer to take effect or that I didn’t wait long enough from the kind of A.D. I tried before and 2) I thought no one would believe me because it makes no sense for a medication that’s supposed to treat suicidal tendencies to be causing them, especially not a medication that has been around for so many years!

I like to add that I found Buspar to be effective in easing my depression but after I took it for a while I began to get extremely mean. Finally I found Effexor XR to be the best for me. I never had problems with it and I have been off for almost 2 years and am still fine.

Hayley Adams
cajundreamer@hotmail.com

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Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Mass. group sues Paxil drugmaker

By Ellen Barry
Globe Staff

A group of Massachusetts plaintiffs filed a class-action suit earlier this month against the maker of the blockbuster antidepressant Paxil, alleging that withdrawal from the drug brought on such ill effects as nausea, sweating, agitation, tremors, insomnia, dizziness, and the sensation of electric ”zaps” in the brain.

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

10/26/2002

Mass. group sues Paxil drugmaker

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/299/nation/Mass_group_sues_Paxil_drugmaker+.shtml

By Ellen Barry
Globe Staff

To learn more, go to http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com.

A group of Massachusetts plaintiffs filed a class-action suit earlier this month against the maker of the blockbuster antidepressant Paxil, alleging that withdrawal from the drug brought on such ill effects as nausea, sweating, agitation, tremors, insomnia, dizziness, and the sensation of electric ”zaps” in the brain.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 9 in Suffolk Superior Court, is part of a multipronged legal challenge to Paxil, taken by millions of people in the United States alone. It joins a nationwide class-action suit and nine other statewide lawsuits in asserting that GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures Paxil, intentionally misled physicians and consumers about the drug’s ”addictive” qualities – an allegation that was denied yesterday by the company and the physicians who recommend it.

Paxil is one of a multibillion-dollar class of drugs – including Prozac and Zoloft – that relieve depression by building up levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin around nerve endings in the brain. Called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, the drugs have succeeded in large part because they lack the serious side effects of earlier treatments for depression and anxiety, including habituation. And although previous lawsuits have alleged that SSRIs can spur violence, they have had little effect on the drugs’ enormous popularity.

Sales of Paxil, which received FDA approval in 1992, lagged for years behind competitors Prozac and Zoloft, but have benefited from the expiration of Prozac’s patent and by its increasing use for anxiety disorders. Last year it was GlaxoSmithKline’s top-selling drug, netting the company $2.7 billion, a spokesman said.

The company acknowledges that there are side effects to the ”discontinuation” of Paxil, including dizziness and occasionally abnormal dreaming and the sensation of electric shocks, but most last no longer than two weeks, said spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne. Rhyne added that ”any claims that Paxil is addictive are without foundation.”

But Janelle Leonard, a Bradford schoolteacher, said neither she nor her doctor were prepared for what happened when she decided to stop taking Paxil. Only when she accessed Internet chatrooms – where dozens of people compared their experiences upon going off Paxil – did she realize where her disabling symptoms were coming from.

”Nobody had told me it was habit-forming,” said Leonard, who is 30. ”I ended up really ill … I was bedridden, sick. I had insomnia. I was paranoid, and I was still sick to my stomach. I had diarrhea. I couldn’t leave the house.”
So far, 6,000 would-be plaintiffs have contacted the Los Angeles law firm that filed the nationwide lawsuit, and 1,000 have been confirmed as plaintiffs, said Karen Barth, lead counsel for Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo. The nationwide lawsuit will reach the certification phase on Nov. 18, and attorneys plan to file lawsuits in all 50 states in case the nationwide suit does not go forward, she said.

The suit had resulted in an injuction against GlaxoSmithKline not to advertise Paxil as ”nonhabit-forming.” The judge rescinded her order Oct. 11, after the Food and Drug Adminsitration determined that the ads were not misleading.
Barth’s law firm has brought previous class-action suits on behalf of the families of patients who committed suicide while taking Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft – but the suicides have been so rare that they have had little ripple effect on the public, she said.

A lawsuit based on the effects of withdrawal may have more traction, because the experience is far more widespread, said Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard University psychiatrist and author of ”Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective Alternatives. ”

”You have countless individuals who have terrible experiences. Too many doctors have seen this, it’s too undeniable. Too many patients are very, very upset by it,” Glenmullen said.

But several psychopharmacologists interviewed said they rejected offhand the idea that SSRIs are addictive. Although the brain does adapt to SSRIs, the term ”addiction” suggests craving, intoxication, or an increased tolerance that requires ever-higher doses, none of which have been documented with Paxil, said Dr. Alexander Bodkin, a research psychiatrist at McLean Hospital.

”Insulin is habit-forming. Digitalis is habit-forming,” said Dr. William Appleton of Harvard University. ”Exercise is habit-forming, but no one ever brings a class-action suit against that.”

But perhaps, Appleton said, the lawsuit is just part of a predictable backlash against SSRIs, which were greeted as wonder drugs a decade ago.
”One of the interesting things about drugs is they’re a little bit like shopping centers,” said Appleton, author of ”Prozac and the New Antidepressants. ” ”They come in clean and brand-new and full of hope,” he said. ”They go out old and tired and dirty.”

This story ran on page A3 of the Boston Globe on 10/26/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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