SSRIs: Emotional Detachment: Personality Changes & Reduction in Positive…

Paragraph two reads:  “A recent study published in the
British Journal of Psychiatry found that the majority of
patients taking SSRIs experienced emotional detachment, feelings of
indifference, personality changes,
and a reduction in

positive and negative emotions.[1]”

Physicians Are Talking About: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and
the Choice to Numb Out

Nancy R. Terry

Authors and

Posted: 02/18/2010

Selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors (SSRIs), mainstays of psychopharmacology, effectively eliminate
suicidal ideation — not to mention feelings of exhilaration, caring, and

A recent study published in the British Journal of
found that the majority of patients taking SSRIs experienced

emotional detachment, feelings of indifference, personality changes, and a
reduction in positive and negative emotions.[1]

tens of millions of patients in the United States take SSRIs daily. However,
evidence pertaining to the long-term effects of these drugs is scant. “In a few
decades, as many as 15% of the world’s population might be on SSRIs,” comments a
psychiatrist. “Although the suicide rate might decrease, I wonder what the
long-term effect will be.”

The conjecture posited on Medscape’s Physician
Connect (MPC), an all-physician discussion board, launches a discussion about
the apparent choice in SSRI use — to be crippled by depression or functional
and emotionally numb.

MPC contributors commented that their anecdotal
experience aligns with that of the British study.

In several patients on
long-term SSRIs, I have noticed some subtle personality changes,” says a
psychiatrist. “Of course, there’s no way of ascertaining cause and effect
without a good, long-term study, but this is what I’ve observed: (1) SSRIs

decrease pain (irritability, depression) but also seem to increase the threshold
for what constitutes an exciting event (a person needs more novelty than
previously for the same effect); and (2) SSRIs increase apathy and have the
potential to decrease empathy.”

“It would be unrealistic,” adds another
psychiatrist, “to think that taking a medication which significantly impacts a
major neurotransmitter would not have, in some cases if not many, a significant
effect on a person’s personality, either short- or long-term.” The psychiatrist
comments that case studies documented in Peter Kramer’s book Listening to
indicate that SSRIs strongly impact a patient’s feeling of “caring,”
which can affect the patient’s relationships with friends and family.

endocrinologist suggests that his colleagues view the film Numb, which
documents filmmaker Phil Lawrence’s struggle to stop taking the popular SSRI
Paxil. In the trailer for the film, Lawrence says, “I’m flatlined. This isn’t
me. This is me on Paxil®.”[2]

“These are the
wonder drugs of psychiatry,” argues a psychiatrist. “They continue to benefit
people over the long term, even at low doses. They help with anxiety, much more
robustly than with depression, but they help in depression too. If I had my way
Prozac®, Zoloft®, and Celexa® would be sold
over the counter.” The psychiatrist comments that the life-time prevalence of
depression is between 15% and 30%,[3] and most people remain
untreated for fear of persecution and judgment formation about their need to
take antidepressant drugs. Over-the-counter distribution, he reasons, would make

SSRIs more readily available to people who need them.

“I disagree about
the OTC [over-the-counter] issue,” replies Stephen Grcevich, MD, a child and
adolescent psychiatrist. “I think there are untoward effects of SSRIs that are
still poorly understood, such as the very small but statistically significant
risk of suicidal behavior in persons aged 25 and under. We also saw a subgroup
of kids who displayed significant disinhibition and indifference to academics in
a large, open-label, federally funded study looking at SSRI safety.” He comments
that he hopes to present the study data at the 2010 annual meeting of the
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).

An internist
who frequently prescribes SSRIs, reports that she repeatedly experienced
suicidal thoughts while taking an SSRI for depression. “I have been placed by my
physician on Lexapro® 3 times. In each instance, my mood lifted and
crying decreased. I could sleep. In 3 days’ time, I started having thoughts that
came out of the blue, such as ‘I want to drive off this bridge.’ Stopping the
medication stopped the thoughts.” She says that she tells her patients about
this potential side effect, but no patient has related having a similar

SSRIs and then SNRIs [serotonin noradrenaline reuptake
inhibitors] nearly killed me,” says an obstetrician/gynecologist. “They caused
narcolepsy, and I fell asleep and drove off the road.” He comments that his
level of apathy while taking the drugs was so extreme as to appear parkinsonian.
In my opinion as a patient, mild to moderate depression should be treated by
cognitive behavioral therapy, not meds.”

A surgeon comments that, in many
cases, SSRIs are given to patients who are only mildly depressed. “The drugs are
given as mood elevators,” he says. “We essentially are giving out the drug for
the same reason people self-medicate or abuse alcohol.”

“I do agree we
are pushed to start meds too early on mild cases sometimes,” says a family
medicine physician. “We must ask the tough questions of patients about suicidal
thoughts to determine the severity of their illness. Then start a multipronged
approach to treatment and not just write a script and send them out the

A neurosurgeon comments that clearly there are a number of
questions about SSRIs that need to be addressed:

  • Should we treat mild depression knowing the risks?
  • Are we educating patients about the possibility that they will experience
  • Are we increasing the risk for substance abuse in patients who attempt to
    counterbalance induced conditions of apathy and boredom?
  • Are the artificially high levels of serotonin caused by the use of SSRIs
    chronically changing the brain and making it impossible to withdraw from these

“I agree that higher doses and long-term use does blunt
emotions,” says a pediatrician. “I used Effexor® for about 7 years
and tried to wean off during that time, but at very low doses would redevelop
extreme sadness that resolved when I upped the dose.” He says that working with
his psychiatrist, he switched to Wellbutrin® and now experiences a
wider range of appropriate emotions. “However, if I did not have another option,
I would prefer Effexor® side effects over the chronic anxiety and
sadness I experienced for much of my life without it.”

The authors of the
British study reported a similar finding. Many participants in the study
considered whether they should stop taking their medication, but viewed the side
effects as preferable to the illness for which they were being

“And that is the problem, isn’t it?” comments an MPC
contributor. “We just don’t have meds that treat without some side

The full discussion can be accessed at


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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Amnesia & Murder: Man Stabs Wife to Death: Nebraska

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy:

Serious memory loss is a common complaint as far as side
effects to antidepressants go. Even Amnesia is listed as a Frequent side effect
for Prozac in the Physicians Desk Reference.  It is no uncommon to be
unaware of what one has done on these drugs.
Also paranoia is listed as an “Infrequent” side-effect
[but not listed as Rare] in the Physicians Desk Reference for medications for
depression.  A person with paranoia should almost never be given an
Paragraphs 12 through 16 read:  “The report says
Hollister began experiencing  ‘depressive symptoms,’ including
severe insomnia, in the summer of 2008. Financial stress, health problems and a
relative’s purported involvement with a cult contributed to his depression, the
report says.”

“Hollister reportedly became paranoid about others, whom
he believed were ‘plotting’ against him
,” the report says.  ‘He also
experienced suicidal ideation during that time period’.”

sought help from several medical professionals and was
prescribed medicine for depression and

“On Nov. 3, Hollister called 911, saying his wife was
dead and a knife was beside her.”

Published Saturday October 31,

Man competent for trial in wife’s death

By Todd Cooper

His mental
state now stabilized through medication, Robert T. Hollister has been ruled
competent to stand trial in the stabbing death of his wife, Jeanie “Ellie”

What doctors haven’t determined is whether the Omaha man was
sane at the time of his wife’s death on Nov. 3, 2008.

In a recent court
document, Lincoln Regional Center doctors said they needed more time to make
that determination. Hollister has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to

first-degree murder.

“Mr. Hollister is competent to stand trial,” the
regional center report says. “Further evaluation is necessary before an opinion
can be offered regarding Mr. Hollister’s mental status at the time of the

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine acknowledged the rarity of
regional center doctors requesting more time for evaluation because they haven’t
reached a consensus regarding a defendant’s mental state at the time of a

He said a defendant isn’t necessarily insane just because he has
been battling mental illness. However, he said, attorneys will have to wait for
the further evaluation before deciding how to proceed.

With insanity
defenses, the burden shifts to defense attorneys to prove that their client was
insane at the time of the killing. It will be up to Douglas County District
Judge Marlon Polk to weigh any testimony about Hollister’s mental

If the judge concludes that Hollister was insane, he most likely
would be committed indefinitely to the regional center. If the judge determines
that Hollister was sane, he would proceed to trial and, if convicted, face life
in prison.

The initial regional center report by psychiatrist Klaus
Hartmann and psychologist Mario Scalora shows that Hollister, 59, had been
battling depression for several months before the death of his


Hollister, who has no criminal record, has a master’s degree in
human resources and was employed at Omaha Bedding Co. from 1994 to

He then worked at his wife’s vintage clothing store, “Weird Wild
Stuff,” from 2007 until the time of her death.

The report says Hollister
began experiencing “depressive symptoms,” including severe insomnia, in the
summer of 2008. Financial stress, health problems and a relative’s purported
involvement with a cult contributed to his depression, the report

“Hollister reportedly became paranoid about others, whom he
believed were ‘plotting’ against him,” the report says. “He also experienced
suicidal ideation during that time period.”

Hollister sought help from
several medical professionals and was prescribed medicine for depression and

On Nov. 3, Hollister called 911, saying his wife was dead and a
knife was beside her.

Police found Ellie Hollister dead in the couple’s
home at 4705 N. 111th Circle.

Detectives found evidence that Ellie
Hollister, 52, tried to fight off her husband, including scratch marks on Robert
Hollister’s face. Hollister told regional center doctors he had “memory lapses
related to the alleged offense.”

“Hollister demonstrated a desire for
justice,” the report says, “rather than undeserved punishment.”

the writer:


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PROZAC: 15 Yr Old Girl Kills 9 Yr Old Neighbor “To See What It Felt Like”

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy:

This case helps you see clearly first hand what
the term “homicidal ideation” really means! This is a side effect of
antidepressants that goes hand in hand with “suicidal ideation”. It is a
fixation on murder – an obsessive compulsive type of adverse reaction to the
Paragraph four reads:  “Bustamante dug two shallow
graves before killing Olten. Bustamante had a record of trying to commit suicide
was on the antidepressant known

15-Year-Old Girl Indicted For Murder (Photo) Meet Alyssa
by Mitch

A 15-year-old girl named Alyssa Bustamante
has been arrested and is going to court over killing a 9-year-old named
Elizabeth Olten ‘to see how it feltto kill someone.

Bustamante is to be
tried as an adult according to reports after lawmakers found out the viciousness
of her attack.

Bustamante stabbed, strangled, and cut the throat of the

9-year-old girl named Elizabeth Olten. When police asked why she killed the girl
she said she “wanted to know what it felt liketo kill someone.
Here is a
photo of young Elizabeth, who life was ended on a whim.

Bustamante dug
two shallow graves before killing Olten. Bustamante had a record of trying to

commit suicide and was on the antidepressant known as prozac.

There is
now a fight on whether or not to be her in an adult jail or possibly even a
mental institution.

Her lawyer is desperately fighting to keep her out of
jail. It‘s hard to believe that is the face of a killer. (c) tPC

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Ann Blake-Tracy’s December 13, 2006 to the FDA

Ann Blake-Tracy, head of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? & Our Serotonin Nightmare. For 15 years I have testified in court cases involving antidepressants. The last 17 years of my life have been devoted to researching, writing, and lecturing about these drugs.

Two of my nieces in their early 20’s, a decade apart, attempted suicide on antidepressants, the first on Prozac, the second just a month ago on Wellbutrin.

Due to time constraints I refer you to my September, 2004 testimony on the damaging effects of inhibiting serotonin metabolism – the very mode of action of antidepressants. Impairing serotonin metabolism results in a multitude of symptoms including suicide, violent crime, mania and psychosis. Suicidal ideation is, without question, associated with these drugs.

Rosie Meysenburg, Sara Bostock and I have collected and posted 1200 [now 3000] news articles documenting many exaggerated acts of violence against self or others at with a direct link to

Beyond suicidal ideation we have mania/bipolar increasing dramatically. Antidepressants have always been known to trigger both.

According to the Pharmaceutical Business Review in the last 11 years alone, the number of people in the U.S. with “bipolar” disorder has increased by 4.8 million. [a 4000% increase]

Dr. Malcolm Bowers of Yale, found in the late 90’s over 200,000 people yearly are hospitalized with antidepressant-induced manic psychosis. They also point out that most go unrecognized as medication-induced, remain un hospitalized, and a threat to themselves and others.

What types of threats from manias?

Pyromania: A compulsion to start fires

Kleptomania: A compulsion to embezzle, shoplift, commit robberies

Dipsomania: An uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol

Nymphomania and erotomania: Sexual compulsions – a pathologic preoccupation with sexual fantasies or activities

Child sex abuse has increased dramatically with even female teachers going manic on these drugs and seducing students. The head of the sex abuse treatment program for Utah estimated 80% of sex crime perpetrators were on antidepressants at the time of the crime. While Karl Von Kleist, an ex-LAPD officer and leading polygraph expert estimated 90% – strong evidence of manic sexual compulsions that demand attention.

Diabetes has skyrocketed, has been linked to antidepressants, and blood sugar imbalances have long been suspected as the cause of mania or bipolar. Anyone who has witnessed someone in insulin shock would see the striking similarity to a violent reaction to an antidepressant.

If there has been any increase in suicide since the black box warning it is due to doctors not knowing how to get patients off these drugs safely.

Clearly far too many lives are being destroyed in various ways by these drugs.

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:

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Homicidal and Suicidal on Zoloft and Paxil

“1 week on the Paxil and I was nuts!”


Recently experiencing a mind-altering homicidal/suicidal Zoloft induced event in my own life, I wondered if any studies have been done to determine how many of these men had been taking an SSRI.

My personal experience, thank God, did not end in a completed homicide or suicide. If it not for your website and links I know I would not be here to testify to the dangers of SSRI’s.

I am currently withdrawing from Zoloft for the 4th time in 10 years. It saddens me even to admit this. Why I again took the drug that had led me to suicidal ideation when withdrawing from it in the past is beyond me.

I want to share with you my recent frightening experience.

I successfully withdrew from 8 years of taking Zoloft last year. By April, 2002 I was medication free. I also stopped receiving depo-provera injections. In Aug. I experienced depression (I now think was PMS) and was very adverse to any treatment with an SSRI. My depression lingered and my Dr. insisted I go back on an SSRI ”because I was just one of those people that will always need an SSRI to live a normal life”. She suggested that since I had effectively gone off Zoloft that Paxil would be a better alternative. 1 week on the Paxil and I was nuts! 2 weeks on the Paxil and I developed severe heart palpitations, increased anxiety and a total inability to concentrate. I titrated myself to shavings of Paxil and went back to the Dr. She was unhappy that I had decreased the Paxil dosage, and thought I should have increased it to “get past that”. We agreed Zoloft had worked before, and I immediately quit the Paxil and started back on a 50 mgm Zoloft dose with a psychiatric consult in 2 weeks. My Dr. felt that “my psychiatric problems were beyond her scope” and suggested my meds be evaluated by a shrink.

After taking the Zoloft 50 mgm for 1 week, I developed a homicidal and suicidal obsession. I was functioning in a somewhat normal fashion, but could not avoid thinking about suicide almost 24 hours a day. I felt it was the only answer to my problems. On the day of my psych consult, I was in despair over the anxiety attacks I was experiencing at night, waking me out of my sleep. I also was in despair over the invasion of suicidal thoughts and feeling the need to kill my child (to protect her) that were overwhelming me. I told this to the intake nurse during my initial psych interview.

She escorted me to the psychiatrist, who gave me some diagnostic fill in the blank tests. He increased the Zoloft to 100mgm a day, gave me a 2 week sample of Wellbutrin to start bid and gave me a sample bottle of Zyprexa to take prn -”for when you are really losing it”. I scheduled a follow up appt. for 2 weeks and left. I went home, picked up my daughter and took her to her gymnastics class. While waiting for her, I read the inserts in the drug sample boxes. Oh, My God! This information scared me out of my wits! I determined that the shrink really thought I was nuts without telling me! I immediately went to the bathroom and flushed the samples away. I thought, if I get any more suicidal, I’ll be over-dosing on my samples in a flash. While watching my daughter work so hard at her gymnastics, I decided I could not bare any more thoughts of killing her or myself. I needed to get home, get to your site and start researching what was wrong with me!

After her class, when we arrived home, the police were in my drive-way. I was fearing some tragedy had happened to my sons or husband. When my daughter and I entered our home, I found I was the tragedy!! The police had been waiting for me for 1/2 hour. They had been dispatched to my home, by the intake nurse at the clinic. She had called the police and told them I was going to kill my daughter and myself. The police had spent the time before I got home questioning my family, searching our home, and removing my husband’s gun collection from the house. All this was done with my husband’s permission as he and my boys were totally unaware of my problems. The police interviewed me for a 1/2 hour and 2 more police came to our home. After another 1/2 hour they decided I was o.k. and left. I had a lot of explaining to do to my family. They were as alarmed as I . For lack of insight and desperation I started taking 100mgm of Zoloft that evening.

About a week later after developing extreme heart palpitations and increased anxiety (which my m.d. gave me Xanax for). I went to your website and found a link re: Zoloft side effects; I found that suicidal and homicidal ideation within the first few weeks of use was a known side effect.

It would have been very beneficial if the psychiatrist and other professionals I came in contact with would have known this. As soon as I read this I went to another link for more help and decided to taper off the Zoloft. The anxiety, depression, and especially the heart palpitations have subsided.

I had an echocardiogram and holter monitor which showed I was fine. I haven’t got all the Zoloft out of my system yet, but am hopeful that I will use ANY alternative to SSRI medication should/when the depression returns.

After careful evaluation of my situation, and having had successful use of Zoloft for many years, I had come to the conclusion that I needed more Zoloft because I was SO depressed about the suicidal ideation. I spoke directly to a phone counselor from another link. He was very helpful in explaining that THE SAME MEDICATION (ESPECIALLY SSRI’S) CAN CAUSE NEW SIDE EFFECTS WHEN THEY ARE TAKEN AGAIN AFTER BEING DISCONTINUED. It was a logical explanation to what had gone wrong!

If it weren’t for your website and links I doubt I would be able to write this. Thank-you Dr. Tracy for saving my life.

Thank you, again.

Laura Kandl



This is Survivor Story number 7.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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