Effexor/SSRI 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”).

556 total views, 2 views today

SSRI: 100-500% Increased Risk of Heart Birth Defects If Taken In Early Pregnancy

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): This new study SHOULD stop the Mother’s Act dead in its tracks! The Mother’s Act is designed to medicate pregnant and nursing mothers for depression and we know what they medicate them with – these drugs that they have just shown amazingly damaging effects upon the heart of the fetus!

ANY YOUNG WOMAN WHO INTENDS TO HAVE A FAMILY SHOULD BE WARNED OF THIS POSSIBILITY OF SERIOUS LIFE THREATING BIRTH DEFECTS IN HER OFFSPRING BEFORE EVER BEING STARTED ON AN SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANT!! Marketing these drugs to this age group should be considered criminal when you look at what this study shows to be the risks to the children born to these mothers.

And if you think this does not affect you, think again. You need to see what these children go through (if they survived their mother’s use of these drugs) throughout their lives due to their mother’s use of these drugs! Who do you think ends up paying the bills for the numerous reconstructive surgeries, the lifetime of medications and medical treatment? We do. All of us in higher insurance rates, disability payments, etc., etc., etc.

PLEASE CAREFULLY EXAMINE THE FOLLOWING RESULTS OF THIS STUDY AND SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!! Doing so may spare at least one baby from this horror.

Here is just one small example: http://bigpharmavictim.blogspot.com Manie’s mother was given Paxil and assured it would be okay as so many mothers are told. Her infant son, Manie, was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries and had to have open heart surgery when he was only 8 days old. The surgery lasted 12 hours.
___________________________

Paragraph one reads: “If you take antidepressants such as fluoxetine (marketed as Prozac) early in your pregnancy, you may be doubling the risk that your newborn will be born with a heart defect, according to a new study.”

Paragraph four reads: “Along with fluoxetine, sertraline (marketed as Zoloft) and citalopram (marketed as Celexa) seemed to increase the risk more than others, as did using more than one antidepressant at a time, according to the report in the September 25th Online First issue of BMJ.”

Paragraph six reads: “Sertraline [Zoloft] more than tripled the risk, while citalopram [Celexa] more than doubled it. Using more than one SSRI nearly quintupled the risk of the heart defect.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE58O39F20090925

Antidepressants in pregnancy up heart defect risk
Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:58am EDT Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text [+]

By Anthony J. Brown, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – If you take antidepressants such as fluoxetine (marketed as Prozac) early in your pregnancy, you may be doubling the risk that your newborn will be born with a heart defect, according to a new study.

However, the vast majority of children born to women who take such antidepressants – known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – do not have such defects, the researchers are quick to note.

Earlier studies have tied SSRIs during pregnancy to heart defects, but also to even more serious birth defects. According to the new study of nearly half a million children born in Denmark between 1996 and 2003, however, only heart defects are likely to be associated with the antidepressants, note co-author Dr. Lars Henning Pedersen, from Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues.

Along with fluoxetine, sertraline (marketed as Zoloft) and citalopram (marketed as Celexa) seemed to increase the risk more than others, as did using more than one antidepressant at a time, according to the report in the September 25th Online First issue of BMJ.

Overall, SSRI use in early pregnancy, defined as 28 days before to 112 days after conception, doubled the risk of a particular kind of heart defect involving a piece of tissue that separates parts of the heart.

Sertraline more than tripled the risk, while citalopram more than doubled it. Using more than one SSRI nearly quintupled the risk of the heart defect.

However, the number of children born with such defects was still quite small: For about every 250 pregnant women who did not take SSRIs, one infant was born with the defect, while about two were born with the defect for every 250 women who took one SSRI, and four for every 200 mothers who took more than one.

Pedersen told Reuters Health that the results surprised the team.

Still, in an accompanying editorial, Dr. Christina Chambers, from the University of California, San Diego, comments that doctors and patients “need to balance the small risks associated with SSRIs against those associated with undertreatment or no treatment.”

SOURCE: BMJ, online September 25, 2009.

1,880 total views, 3 views today

Zoloft & Welbutrin

Zoloft & Welbutrin
Wanda
I was on Zoloft and then Welbutrin for several months when someone said how their students were emotionally flat due to drugs. I realized that was my problem! I did not feel even the slightest twinge of emotion, even when watching movies or in therapy, healing from childhood abuse. I also had serious constipation problems and zero libido when on them. I immediately began taking smaller and smaller doses as prescribed by my psychiatrist. I finally got my heart back!

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ZOLOFT: NY Judge to Allow Zoloft Defense in Assault Case

Paragraphs two and three read: “The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.”

“Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.”

http://www.newsday.com/ny-judge-to-allow-zoloft-defense-in-assault-case-1.1388026

NY judge to allow “Zoloft defense” in assault case

August 22, 2009 By The Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) A Long Island judge has said she will allow a man accused of punching and kicking his former girlfriend to use the so-called “Zoloft defense.”

The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.

Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.

Prosecutors say they strongly disagree with the court’s decision.

Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer Inc. has said there’s not evidence to suggest that discontinuing the drug can cause violent behavior.

___

Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

413 total views, 1 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Police Stop Man From Committing Suicide: England

Paragraphs two and three read: “The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.”

“Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.”

http://www.newsday.com/ny-judge-to-allow-zoloft-defense-in-assault-case-1.1388026

NY judge to allow “Zoloft defense” in assault case

August 22, 2009 By The Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) A Long Island judge has said she will allow a man accused of punching and kicking his former girlfriend to use the so-called “Zoloft defense.”

The attorney for Coram resident Brandon Hampson says he plans to argue that his client became violent and beat Lisa Essling on Aug. 25, 2006, because he stopped taking the popular antidepressant Zoloft days before the attack.

Nassau County District Court Judge Rhonda Fischer said Friday that she will allow a defense witness to testify that withdrawl from the antidepressant can cause a person to become aggressive.

Prosecutors say they strongly disagree with the court’s decision.

Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer Inc. has said there’s not evidence to suggest that discontinuing the drug can cause violent behavior.

___

Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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ZOLOFT: Violent Behavior in Young Girl: USA CNN

First two sentences read: “My daughter was treated for anxiety with Zoloft around a year ago. However, her school reported alarming, violent behavior (she never had that before), and we stopped it after only a week.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/expert.q.a/08/18/zoloft.adverse.effects.raison/

Is my daughter’s violent reaction to a drug an allergy?

Asked by Sharon, USA

My daughter was treated for anxiety with Zoloft around a year ago. However, her school reported alarming, violent behavior (she never had that before), and we stopped it after only a week. I always understood this to be an “adverse effect,” but a nurse today told me it was an allergy. An allergy means she should never take it again, but an adverse effect could be grown out of, and doesn’t rule out similar drugs. Was the nurse just dumbing things down, or was she correct?

Mental Health Expert Dr. Charles Raison Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School

Expert answer

Dear Sharon,

The nurse may have been trying to “dumb it down” as you say, but she was not correct. We’ll talk about bad reactions to antidepressants in a moment, but let’s talk about allergies first. An allergy is a very specific type of reaction that is caused by an arm of the immune system often referred to as Th2. Allergies can be mild or extremely serious, but whatever their intensity, what they share in common is that the immune system is needlessly going into overdrive in response to something that is not really dangerous.

Because allergies are a type of inflammatory response, their symptoms tend to be fairly stereotyped: itching, redness, swelling, runny nose and eyes, hives and shortness of breath (from airway swelling) when severe. When one takes a medication and has this type of reaction, that is an allergic response to the medicine. While all medications can cause an allergic reaction, some (for complicated reasons) are much more likely to do this than others. The classic example is penicillin, to which many people are allergic. Antidepressants have a very low likelihood of inducing an allergic response.

OK, that’s the scoop on allergies. So your daughter didn’t have an allergic response, but she did have a serious side effect to the Zoloft and one that is not uncommon. In fact, behavioral agitation –while not as common as other side effects such as loss of sexual function or stomach upset — is one of the most worrisome reactions elicited by antidepressants. One reason why you don’t want your doctor to start you on an antidepressant and tell you to “come back in six weeks” is that he or she should be on much closer lookout to make sure that you don’t develop severe anxiety or agitation in the first week or two of treatment.

Psychiatrists have debated endlessly about what causes antidepressant-induced agitation. There are probably several explanations, with each being true for individual patients. There is evidence that the acute effects of antidepressants can directly cause agitation in some people. There is also evidence that many people who get agitated may have, or be at risk for, having bipolar disorder (i.e. manic depression). We have known for years that many bipolar patients will have a first manic or hypomanic episode in response to being placed on an antidepressant. That is why I always tell patients to call me immediately if they start feeling too happy or too jazzed up too quickly, as that can be a sign of developing mania. Mania can also manifest as extreme agitation or irritability, especially in children and adolescents.

I am not suggesting that your daughter has a bipolar condition. I noticed that you chose the topic “autism” when you submitted your question. If your daughter has an autistic disorder, this might also put her at increased risk of having a bad reaction to an antidepressant.

I do not think your daughter needs to avoid all antidepressants forever, because each of these agents is different. Frequently, someone who can’t tolerate one antidepressant does just fine on another. But it goes without saying that I would certainly be cautious if you elect to try another antidepressant with your daughter. You might think about doing it during a break from school so that you can watch her closely and also so that if the agitation happens again, she won’t be in a place where it might affect her social relationships outside the family.

Finally, as the director of my residency program told me years ago, “Any medication that actually works will have side effects.” I’ve never forgotten that.

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ZOLOFT WITHDRAWAL: Nervous Breakdown & Woman Runs Away: Arizona

Second paragraph reads: “Chandler police said Carol Roby, 62, suffered a nervous breakdown after going off her Zoloft, an anti-depressant medication. Her family noticed her missing Saturday when she didn’t meet them for a 2 p.m. meeting. She also didn’t make an 8 a.m. work appointment, police said.”

FROM THE WARNING ON OUR www.drugawareness.org WEBSITE FROM ITS INCEPTIONIN 1997:
Withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs (usually over a period of a year or more depending upon the length of use of antidepressant medications).

http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/2009/08/10/20090810cr-adultfound0810.html

Chandler woman reported missing calls family from Tucson

8 commentsby Megan Boehnke – Aug. 10, 2009 10:01 AM
The Arizona Republic

A Chandler woman who was missing over the weekend called her family late Sunday from a hotel in Tucson.

Chandler police said Carol Roby, 62, suffered a nervous breakdown after going off her Zoloft, an anti-depressant medication. Her family noticed her missing Saturday when she didn’t meet them for a 2 p.m. meeting. She also didn’t make an 8 a.m. work appointment, police said.

She left behind her medication and insulin kit.

Roby drove to Tucson and checked herself into a hotel before eventually calling her family.

514 total views, 1 views today

ZOLOFT: Bizzare Suicide: New York

First two paragraphs read: “Toxicology results on Chris Corna released this week do not change the Westchester medical examiner’s conclusion that the popular Colorado restaurateur’s death was a suicide, but police are not closing their investigation.”

“The car Chris Corna of Steamboat Springs was driving very early May 18 crashed into a bridge abutment after he slit his throat, the medical examiner said. A bloodied kitchen knife was found in the car. Either trauma was enough to kill him, Medical Examiner Millard Hyland said at that time.”

Paragraph four reads: “Hyland said today that toxicology tests found appropriate amounts of a medicine, a tranquilizer used to treat anxiety, were in Corna’s system. The tranquilizer, sertraline, he said, is used in Zoloft.”

http://lohud.com/article/20090807/NEWS02/908070399/-1/SPORTS

Suicide ruling remains in Colo. restaurateur’s Port Chester death after toxicology results

By Leslie Korngold • lkorngol@lohud.com • August 7, 2009

Text Size: Normal | Large | Larger

PORT CHESTER – Toxicology results on Chris Corna released this week do not change the Westchester medical examiner’s conclusion that the popular Colorado restaurateur’s death was a suicide, but police are not closing their investigation.

The car Chris Corna of Steamboat Springs was driving very early May 18 crashed into a bridge abutment after he slit his throat, the medical examiner said. A bloodied kitchen knife was found in the car. Either trauma was enough to kill him, Medical Examiner Millard Hyland said at that time.

The initial finding of suicide elicited numerous e-mails and calls to The Journal News and Port Chester police from family and friends of the Steamboat Springs businessman saying it was not possible. He was on the East Coast having just proposed to a Greenwich woman and was doing well financially.

Hyland said today that toxicology tests found appropriate amounts of a medicine, a tranquilizer used to treat anxiety, were in Corna’s system. The tranquilizer, sertraline, he said, is used in Zoloft.

The “quantities are not over the top for someone taking it regularly,” the medical examiner said.

Hyland did not know if Corna was on the medication regularly. But even if it had been administered just this one time, it was still not enough to kill Corna and “it would be very difficult to attribute suicidal tendencies to the drug,” Hyland said.

There was no alcohol in Corna’s system, and the only other chemical present was a byproduct of the breakdown of sertraline, Hyland explained.

Port Chester police have been investigating the curious accident and wanted to see the toxicology report. Today, police said they were continuing their investigation into the circumstances of the death but would not elaborate

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Zoloft SSRI Antidepressant Destroyed my Life

It’s now August of 2009, just past a year after being discharged from the psychiatric hospital.  I’ve been off Zoloft since March 2009 and am finally feeling like a human being again.  Fortunately, I don’t seem to have any neurological damage, memory impairment, concentration troubles or other lasting symptoms.

I’m 48 years old and my introduction to Zoloft began when I was 34. I’ve since learned that the symptoms of fatigue and difficulty sleeping and concentrating that I was having at that time were due to over-work and adrenal exhaustion. That doctor had me fill out a questionnaire and then spent maybe 10 minutes with me before giving me free samples of Zoloft.   Had I known then, what I know now?… And I must forgive the past and not dwell on it in order to heal.

In June of 2008, my nutritionist who was treating me with amino acid therapy took me off Zoloft abruptly.  This caused me to go into a manic state, which I had never experienced before.  It also brought up a lot of anger.  After about a ten days, my wife and I figured out it was the discontinuation of Zoloft that was causing all these problems, so I went back on it.

Because of all my weird behavior, I had left the house and was staying at a hotel.  My wife got my sister involved and she stayed with me for a couple of days but didn’t bring along her bi-polar medications.  I remember distinctly the night of July 13th:  I slept from about 9pm to 5am, went for a work out and did my meditation.  I was definitely stabilizing.

Then my sister took me into town, my wife and I had another fight and, in my anger and frustration, I broke the rear view mirror off my sister’s car.  This caused her to freak out.  We had picked up her meds and agreed to go back to the hotel and take a nap.  I later learned that she had already called the police.

When we arrived at the hotel, the cops came to my door (hands on their holstered guns) and ordered me out of the car.  They hand cuffed me, searched me and put me in the squad car.  Then, as I later learned, my sister and wife had a discussion about “wether or not to tell the police that I had threatened her.”  My sister told the police a lie, that I had threatened her with a gun and I was hauled off to the ER where I was doped up with an injection.

Later I was taken to the psychiatric hospital where I was asked to sign a bunch of forms and “releases.”  How absurd!  I was only semi-consicouss at the time.

At the hospital I was taken off the Zoloft and diagnosed as bi-polar.  Of course, this through me into another withdrawal episode and made me manic and aggressive again.

I want to point out that I have no history of violence, have never been in any sort of brawl, have never been arrested, have never before been put in handcuffs, no DUI tickets and even a clean driving record.

The hospital changed my drugs every few days.  Zyprexa, Lithium, Depakote, Abilify, etc.  After 20 days, I was discharged. The insurance and family money was expended, so I was well, right?

Far from it:  My wife filed for divorce.  I lost access to my home, which was also my office.  She cleaned out the company bank account, etc.

Eventually, I lost pretty much everything and got saddled with all our debt and received none of the assets due to a waiver of “appearance” I signed 3 days out of the hospital.  We had agreed on a negotiated, one lawyer divorce, but I ended up getting totally screwed.

Over the past 12 months, I’ve lived in 5 states.  I’ve had a couple of “room and board” jobs and stayed with friends.  Fortunately, my mother has been able to give me some financial support, so I haven’t been without the basic necessities of life.  Through a friend, I found Ann Blake-Tracy and she helped me understand what happened to me and gave me phone support while I finished the detox from the Zoloft these past few months.

Now, I’m well enough that I’m looking for  a job again so I can restart my life.

I’m certainly not bipolar.  What a bunch of total bullshit.  All I’m taking right now is 0.5 mg of Klonopin (Clonazepam) twice a day to help with anxiety and sleep.

I used to have a pretty normal life.  I made a six figure income.  My wife (18 years of marriage) didn’t have to work. We had a nice house and the swimming pool I had wanted since I was a child.  Now, all that’s gone.  All because of a stupid little pill and all the people that don’t know what the hell their doing with all these powerful drugs.

During the 13 years I was on SSRI Antidepressants, I saw several different psychiatrists and doctors.  They experimented on me with many different drugs: Effexor, Celexa, Abilify, Alprazolam, Clonazepam (Klonopin), Depakote, Lunesta, Trazodone, Xanax, Zyprexa and of course Zoloft (Sertraline).

Of all the drugs, Lamictal was the worst.  Once the doctor increased the dose from 50 mg a day to 200 mg a day (I’ve since found out that is NOT an increase in accordance with the manufacturers instructions) I had horrible, disgusting nightmares every single night and became highly suicidal.  This happened in October of 2008, and freaked me out so much that I went back on Zoloft and some other drugs so that I could get my sleep.

During all these crazy times, I have survived because of my spiritual faith, the generosity of my mother and some good friends and Divine Grace.  Also, because of the various nutritionists I’ve had over the years, I’ve learned how to eat well and take the right supplements.  Cenitol by metagenics is magnesium supplement that has been especially helpful with relaxing me and helping me sleep.  I order that online at:  http://www.janethumphrey.meta-ehealth.com.

Lastly, I would like to mention that none of these doctors I saw gave me any sort of what I would call informed consent.  I was never informed about all the adverse reactions and side-effects that I’ve now learned were well known back then.  None of the doctors explained that, according to their view of brain chemical imbalance, I would need to stay on these SSRI Antidepressants for the rest of my life.  None of the doctors EVER explained discontinuation syndrome etc, etc, etc.

These drugs manufactures and the doctors that push these drugs are all involved in a horrible scam, the tragic consequences of which yet to become fully manifest.

My intense gratitude to Ann Blake-Tracy and the good work she is doing!

1,522 total views, 1 views today

Amy – Zoloft Survivor

In 2004, I gave birth to my son, Isaac, on Thursday, July 8. I had significant stresses in my life for several years and especially in the months prior to the birth, but throughout it all I remained happy and healthy and calm and patient. One major stress was moving from Georgia to Minnesota when I was about 8 months pregnant. I loved Georgia but dreaded Minnesota, and was being forced to move for my husband Joel’s new job.

Though I had wanted to deliver naturally, I ended up having Pitocin, an epidural, an episiotomy, epinephrine (synthetic adrenaline), and a vacuum extraction. I also had oxygen therapy for most of the end of labor and delivery. (I recently learned that epinephrine leads to mental disturbances. Pitocin and epidurals can cause an abnormal fetal heart rate, and epidurals can cause respiratory issues.) The final contraction for the baby’s delivery had to be induced with an increase in Pitocin. I was so numb in my lower body I couldn’t even feel when I was supposed to be pushing. I had pushed for an hour and 15 minutes before the doctor grew impatient with me and decided to intervene. Nevertheless I was enamored with my new baby and motherhood and nursing.

The nurses were concerned about Isaac’s weight loss early on (I recently learned that the infant’s weight loss is excessive when you have an epidural, which involves a drug derived from cocaine, and babies exposed to IV fluids are more likely to lose a large amount of weight after birth and get jaundice & hypoglycemia). They had taken him to the nursery overnight twice and told me he could go several hours without eating, but then wondered why he was losing weight. They blamed it on my milk not coming in yet. They shoved us out of the hospital at 48 hours postpartum with some formula samples.

The next morning, when he was three days old, Isaac had to go to the ER. A nurse called me at 10 a.m. to ask me how many diapers Isaac had since we brought him home. When I told her he hadn’t had one in almost eight hours, she told me to take him to Children’s to check for dehydration and jaundice. The ER doctor at Children’s said he seemed fine but sent us home with a bottle of formula just in case we needed it. Back at home again, Joel fed it to him (it was way too much for a newborn), and Isaac threw it up projectile style. Then Isaac fell asleep. Later I noticed he looked a little blue on the skin around his mouth and on his hands and feet. I couldn’t wake him.

We called 911. The paramedics couldn’t find any reason for the overly lethargic baby, blue hands, feet and mouth, but recommended we take him back to Children’s.

A few minutes after we walked into the ER, Isaac nearly choked to death. The staff saved him and he was admitted over night. I was scared he might choke again during or following a feeding, or from getting a small object in his mouth. The doctors explained that Isaac would be just fine with eating, and that the 8 ounce bottle (which they had given us earlier) had just been too much for a newborn. Coincidentally, had it not been for the vacuum extraction, Isaac wouldn’t have had high hemoglobin that made him look like he was turning blue, the first signal to me that something was not right. When we returned home my anxiety worsened from somewhat normal to severe. I had a panic attack. I called my OB and he said I might be having a heart attack and need to go to the ER, or it could be a panic attack. I didn’t want to go to the hospital any more so I just tried to rest.

I felt somewhat better the next day but the home health nurse who came out to check on us advised me to start taking drugs for anxiety. She set up an appointment with my OB/GYN.

For days I refused to let others feed him a bottle unless I was there to watch or listen to make sure he didn’t choke. For the most part I was nursing, but occasionally I let someone feed him a bottle because of medical advice that I “get my rest, and let others take care of Isaac” while I took care of myself. But I could not sleep with others feeding him a bottle, and even when he wasn’t eating, I couldn’t sleep out of fear I was going to wake up to a dead baby. I slept a lot of the time with my hand draped into the bassinet on his tummy to feel it move up and down with each breath.

I walked into my OB’s office with my baby, on Wednesday one week after the birth. The nurse at the desk asked if I was here for my 6-week appointment. I said, no, the baby was only six days old. Then, with a look of horror, she said, “Oh, you must be having problems, then.” I nodded. The nurse let me in within a few minutes and took my blood pressure. It was like 149 over 120 or something, way higher than usual.

When I saw the doctor, I began to talk about the stress of the ER visits, the panic attack, my blood pressure, my inability to sleep, etc. He interrupted me after about one minute and said, “What did the nurse you saw at home yesterday tell you?” I replied that she said I had anxiety and needed drugs. He quickly recommended I start taking 50 mg of Zoloft and possibly up my dose. He said that Zoloft is the standard of care for post-partum depression. Then he said, “Or post-partum anxiety in your case, although people don’t recognize that as much as they do PPD.”

The sample package of Zoloft he gave me was labeled for use in PMDD. He said it would take six weeks to work and I might need to stay on it for six months to a year or longer. He said he felt we needed to be aggressive in treating this, and not to stop taking it once I felt better because it was probably going to get worse and maybe even dangerous if I didn’t take the drugs. There was no information label attached to the sample pack.

I asked about having my thyroid checked because my mother-in-law was worried that could be causing my problems. I had been on thyroid medication for years and never needed a dose adjustment, and my doctor knew this. He said that there are no valid post-partum thyroid levels and he didn’t want to test it.

I asked about Zoloft’s safety for nursing and the doctor said it would make my baby happy too. He also prescribed Clonipin in case of more panic attacks, but told me I needed to check with my son’s pediatrician before taking it (I never took the Clonipin because I didn’t have any more panic attacks). He started to leave and told me to call if I had any side effects that bothered me. I asked if I could take the Zoloft right away and if it would help my blood pressure, and he said to go ahead.

Within minutes on Zoloft I began to feel a little less anxious. We walked to Joel’s office (a few blocks) to show off the new baby. I even let some woman at the office hold him. I had a sense that my anxiety had been too strong and that Zoloft was going to make it better.

Within several hours I felt a bit detached from my new baby, my family, and even my own emotions. While earlier that day I was fearful and protective, with a strong need to have my baby in my arms at all times, yet extremely overjoyed with my baby and life all at the same time, within hours I felt like a different person.

Things gradually got worse and I struggled to feel the joy that was mine a few hours before. Sometimes I felt a bit giddy, but I didn’t feel really happy. I could laugh and make jokes and play with the baby, but it was temporary. I couldn’t feel the overwhelming love I had before I took Zoloft. I continued this way until the most unimaginable thing happened.

That Friday, sleep deprived, I sat next to my mom on the couch, trying to nurse a very sleepy baby in the middle of the night. I remember thinking I had lost my love and adoration for my baby because I was too tired to feel anything. I knew that I loved him but I couldn’t feel it the way I had a few days before. I couldn’t understand why I had to be the only one to stay up all the time and never sleep, and my baby, who needed to eat, couldn’t stay awake long enough to get much food.

As I gave up on the feeding and walked past the stairs to our bedroom to lay the baby in his bassinet, I hallucinated – I saw myself standing about half-way down the stairs, throwing the baby down.

I had no history of mental illness. Never could I have imagined I would think such a thought, let alone hallucinate killing my baby. I went to the kitchen with my mom after I put the baby down and started to cry and told her I was afraid I was going to lose my mind and hurt myself or hurt the baby. She said that wouldn’t happen. She hugged me and told me to get some sleep. Upstairs in bed, I still cried for a long time and then told Joel I was afraid I was going to lose it and that I couldn’t sleep. He told me to get some sleep. I can’t remember if I got any sleep that night.

The next morning Joel and I were holding the baby and watching movies in the living room. But I couldn’t stop being afraid. I was convinced that I was on the edge of losing my mind. I felt like I couldn’t hold the baby, and I asked Joel to hold him. He didn’t understand why. I said I couldn’t hold him, or carry him past the stairs in the state of mind I was in. Joel got really freaked out as I told him about what had happened; he said what I was telling him was disturbing. I just wanted help. I told him I didn’t know why it all happened but I was really scared and I was afraid to hold the baby. I just wanted him to take over and maybe calm me down. He suggested I go take a bath and relax. But I couldn’t do that because I was having thoughts of suicide. I was afraid if I went in the bathroom by myself I would certainly find a way to kill myself with a razor or pills. I was so scared I was going to hurt the baby that I wanted to protect him from me by killing myself. But at the same time I knew this was all crazy and I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to hurt the baby.

We called the help line for our insurance and the nurse recommended I go to an ER right away. Joel asked what they could do for me at the ER and she said they would give me drugs to stop the thoughts and make me feel better.
This seemed to me like a reasonable thing.

At this point my son was nine days old. We went to the ER, where the doctors pretty much ignored me for a while, gave me some disgusting hospital food, and then came in to talk to me. The doctor nonchalantly told me I wasn’t evil and that I just wanted to kill myself because I was feeling guilty about having thoughts of hurting my baby. I asked how long the thoughts would continue and he said, maybe three weeks or even three months. This was unbearable to me. I already felt bad enough, and to imagine having thoughts of harming my baby for even three days, let alone weeks, was too much. I burst into tears for about the 5th time in the ER room. As I waited and waited for another visit from the next in the series of hospital employees, and I tried to sleep, I was so tired I almost instantly passed out, but only to a vision of myself drowning my baby in our bathtub. Every time I closed my eyes to rest I got frightened and opened my eyes again. I could not let myself fall asleep. I was afraid I was going to fall asleep, and my spirit and mind would die, and when I woke up, I would be someone else.

Then a woman came in with a computer and asked me a bunch of questions and entered in my responses. She tried to make Joel leave for the questioning but I wouldn’t allow it. Judging from a report I obtained months later, she distorted the information I was telling her, making things seem even worse than they already were.

Following her computerized “diagnostic” process, she recommended I be admitted to the psychiatric ward so I could “get someone to talk to and get some help.”

I asked if I could be admitted to a room in a non-psychiatric ward where I could have Joel and Isaac stay with me like they did in the maternity ward. She said no. I said that I didn’t want to be admitted if it meant I had to leave my family. She told me that I could go home after 12 hours if I wanted to, that the admission was voluntary unless a doctor decided to keep me there longer.
She had me sign some admission form and then the nurse walked me and Joel up to the psychiatric ward.

I had only to take one look at the inside before I knew I wanted to go home. I started crying to Joel to take me home, but he said he didn’t want to do that because I needed help, and he was afraid for me and the baby. The nurse told me that I should give it a try. But leaving wasn’t an option anyway since I had signed the admission form. Joel left to get me some things I would need and the nurse took me to a room where he asked me a few questions and had me sign some more forms.
He made me agree that I was willing to do anything to help my treatment. Then he took me to my room and left me there. I didn’t like my room, and there was a girl in there trying to sleep so I left and tried to find some place to sit. There weren’t many places to sit except the room, and there was a phone with a line of patients waiting for it, a few nasty, mismatched chairs, some broken shelves with old games, and a small dining area. I went to the nurses’ station and knocked on the glass and asked to talk to my nurse. I told him I wasn’t happy here and wanted to just go home and that I had changed my mind about the voluntary admission. He told me that the doctors would never let me leave this soon anyway and I should just wait for the doctor to see me and start getting my help. I asked when I could see the doctor and he said not until the next day, or maybe Monday.

I said I needed someone to talk to and he wasn’t being helpful and neither were the doctors. I asked how I could get released and he told me I had to sign an intent-to-leave form and wait 12 hours from that time and I could be released unless the doctor decided to place a hold on me for up to 72 hours. I filled out the form and awaited Joel’s arrival with my bag.

What had started out as a voluntary admission quickly became involuntary. Joel arrived and we waited for an answer from the nurse who was already in the process of checking on my release. Soon we were told that the doctor had placed a 72-hour hold on me but that it wouldn’t start until Monday morning (this was Saturday) when he could see me. We couldn’t understand why the doctor wouldn’t release me when he hadn’t met me or talked to me.

Joel stayed with me as long as he could but then left to go to our house and take care of Isaac (my mom had been taking care of him all day). Later that night the nurses came in to give me meds. They brought me my Synthroid, and several additional drugs- I think they were an anti-psychotic, a tranquilizer, and Ambien. But with these new meds came some information sheets. I quickly read the indications and the warnings, and refused to take them. Not only were they unsafe for nursing, they were indicated to treat “schizophrenia and other mental illnesses” and had many dangerous sounding side effects, such as nightmares, suicidal thoughts, etc. This was the first time I had seen a fact sheet like this, since my Zoloft samples from the OB/GYN three days earlier came with no fact sheet or warnings whatsoever. I also got a fact sheet for Zoloft for the first time.

All alone and with no one to talk to, there was nothing I could do but cry or sleep. I did a lot of crying and pumping of my milk for the baby, even one session in the middle of the night, but I also did a lot of sleeping.

The next morning, Sunday, I felt pretty good in comparison to the day before. I felt more rested than I had been since before my baby was born. And I didn’t feel as unstable or frightened as I had the day before. Since I had been taking Zoloft in the mornings, I hadn’t had a dose for over 24 hours. It occurred to me that perhaps Zoloft could be causing my problems.

I phoned Joel and said that I felt a lot better and wanted to talk to the doctor before taking any more Zoloft.

The nurses reported to the doctor that I was refusing to take my meds and the doctor did see me that day. He talked to me for no more than 10 minutes and told me to keep taking my Zoloft. I expressed concern about its side effects but he said to keep taking it anyway, that all my problems were not caused by Zoloft. It was clear the only reason he came to see me was so he could gather the required information for his background report. The only questions he asked me relating to a mental illness were whether I check the locks a lot and whether I have a family history of mental or emotional problems. I told him that I do check locks occasionally, but not repeatedly, but I have to check them because Joel forgets to lock the door (which he still does to this day). I told him that some members of my family had some emotional issues but not severe ones. I answered every biographical question honestly. I couldn’t really understand why it was important for him to know what clubs I was in during high school or whether I had a serious boyfriend as a teen. And why wasn’t he asking me about the events leading up to my prescription for Zoloft?

I tried to get something more from him and asked him if he thought I could have PTSD from witnessing my son nearly die in the ER from choking. But he said “I have no idea.” And he also said “Your son didn’t almost die.” (Later I learned from reading my file that the lady with the computer had written that I was obsessed about my baby and had imagined him turning blue and taken him to the ER twice where nothing was found to be wrong with him). Then when I expressed my desire to leave because I wasn’t getting counseling and I felt the environment was depressing and the nurses were rude and borderline verbally abusive to me and other patients, he said that was just my paranoia.

My mom, Joel, and Isaac came later that day for a visit. I explained what was going on, how I had been ridiculed for requesting sanitary pads after mine had been taken from my bathroom while I slept, and was treated rudely when I asked for access to my Tucks pads, a place to clean my episiotomy, and the chance to talk to the doctor before taking any more meds, and how I had been not allowed to sanitize my breast pump or get anyone to talk with me about my emotional problems. I explained that the doctor spent about seven minutes with me, left, and wanted to leave me there for an indefinite proportion of the maximum 72 hours from Monday.

Joel and mom could not believe the mistreatment and lack of treatment and threatened to call a lawyer or the press, because the doctor (who was on-call) refused to come up to the hospital or even talk to Joel on the phone that day. One of the nurses was in the room along with an OB/GYN consulting doctor as my mom explained several incidences of ridiculous behavior on the part of the staff. The psychiatric nurse and the OB were really shocked at all the staff had done to me.

That night as my family left, I felt my heart being ripped out again because of my desperate need to be with the people who loved me, and to be with my newborn son.

Monday the doctor requested a family meeting. He agreed to release me with several conditions- that I get psychiatric outpatient care, take parenting classes, stay on Zoloft, and get counseling. He said I had post-partum depression with psychotic features and left it up to my mom and husband to protect me and my son.

As I left the hospital, my mom called her friend who was a Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist. She put me on the phone. I told her my new “diagnosis” and she said I might need to try to get up to a more therapeutic dose of 150 mg, and that 50 mg is just a starting dose.

Over the course of a few weeks I sought counseling, psychiatric help, and adjusted my dose of Zoloft up. My mom tried to convince me that Zoloft was possibly the reason for my problems, but I didn’t listen to her. I listened to the doctors who said I was psychotic. But each time I adjusted my dose, the violent thoughts got worse. I was no longer having hallucinations but I was plagued by persistent “bad thoughts” and the feeling that I had little control over myself. I practiced “I’m in control” messages constantly and used a calming down technique that I learned in therapy. My therapist explained to me that I wasn’t like the moms who kill their babies because I wasn’t angry at the baby, I was just afraid I was going to hurt him, and that I always sought help when I felt overwhelmed, so I would be able to do it again if necessary. For months I worked on my goal of being able to take care of my son without supervision from my mom and Joel.

Most people believe co-sleeping is dangerous. I fully believed this at the time, and I feared rolling over on my son, even though my mother encouraged me to co-sleep and nurse exclusively (and even though I remembered sleeping with my own parents and siblings in our family bed). Psychiatrists told me I needed to let others care for Isaac at night and get at least 8 hours of sleep to stay healthy. Joel and my mom would feed Isaac at night while I slept. Joel started to get sleep deprived and my mom had to take over after he had a car accident. My mom would stay up much of the night with Isaac and then all day with me to keep me feeling safe, and when Joel got home from work she would go to bed to rest for her night duty. I had to set up safeguards for myself so I felt I would not leave the room and kill my baby in the night or kill myself while others were asleep. Eventually Isaac moved from our room to the guest room with my mom. She would bring him to me for feedings in the morning, and sit in the recliner and watch me feed him in bed. Throughout the day she was constantly watching me. If she left me alone with the baby for five minutes, I would freak out. Once she was taking a bath, and I yelled to her to hurry up because I was going to put Isaac in his crib and lock myself out of the house. Eventually, she would take her bath as soon as Joel got home, and then go to bed, to rest for her night duty.

My therapist suggested I add another bottle of formula to the regimen each day so I could get more time to myself. She thought I was having a hard time with motherhood because of the demands of breastfeeding. My psychiatrist increased my dose of Zoloft twice and I still didn’t get better – just worse each time the dose went up. She wanted to switch me to anti-psychotics and stop nursing to do this. I considered going along with it but decided against it because I didn’t want to lose time and progress by going through withdrawal and adjusting to new medications. I also did not want to completely stop nursing.

I began to reconsider everything. I started to nurse more. Finally one night when Isaac was about six weeks old I decided to take him to bed because I was more afraid of falling asleep and dropping him from the chair than I was of rolling on him in the bed. I discovered I could co-sleep and breastfeed simultaneously. Since then I get enough sleep, and so does my family.

Around the same time I had my 6-week checkup with my OB. By this time he was willing to test my thyroid. Two days after the appointment, I got a call from him reporting that I had hyperthyroidism and I needed to back off of my Synthroid and see an endocrinologist.
mood disorders Melanie Blocker Sto
I began to understand what was wrong with me. I knew that I could have breast-fed my baby just fine without nurses taking him and making him starve in the newborn nursery, without bottles of formula, and still get all my sleep as I was now getting through co-sleeping. And I also began to see the pattern that had emerged. Repeated interference from medical staff had resulted in a less-than-desirable labor & delivery, emergencies for my son, subsequent panic for me, Zoloft, and subsequent hospitalization. All the while this was aggravated by Synthroid on top of underlying, undetected hyperthyroidism.

My endocrinologist dismissed the notion that Zoloft could be a culprit in my psychosis. But she did attribute the symptoms to my post-partum thyroiditis and also probably thought I was a little bit nuts. She said had she seen me earlier, she could have helped me more by giving me beta blockers. I learned much later that beta blockers can also cause depression, so I’m actually thankful that my OB didn’t refer me earlier, as I may have had to deal with Zoloft and beta blockers at the same time!

Empowered by my new diagnosis and treatment, I began to feel healthier. But the thoughts never went away. I just felt better physically. It really bothered me that I couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head. Despite my growing ability to spend increasing amounts of time alone with my son, I didn’t feel right. I started believing that it was possible that Zoloft had planted some foreign thoughts in my mind.

I began to consider stopping Zoloft. Every doctor I was in contact with didn’t like that idea. Isaac’s pediatrician said that Zoloft just gives people enough energy to kill themselves. She didn’t touch the violence issue. The psychiatrist all but refused to give me withdrawal information until I called her and told her I had already started to cut back and wanted information on how to do so safely.

My mom was planning to go back to Texas, so I had to get better. I withdrew from Zoloft over a few weeks and started to feel more like myself again.

Since I stopped taking Zoloft, I feel normal. I take care of Isaac by myself and stay socially active. I never feel out of control like I did on Zoloft, but the memories of losing my grip on sanity will never go away. Never again will I subject myself to drugs to “heal” my mind.

I am looking forward to a long life. It is something that Zoloft tried to take away from me. But I beat it. I beat the thoughts, the urges, and I regained my hope. As a result of this ordeal I am more confident in my true self and my ability to get through the worst life can offer you.

Amy Philo
Zoloft Survivor

I can’t remember if I stated this before, however when certain comments were added to my most recent youtube video it made me wonder if I was very clear in telling this story of what happened to me. Yes, a lot of people have thyroid problems which lead to prescriptions for drugs. However I do not believe in the slightest that my thyroid had anything to do with the suicidal urges and homicidal urges.

I have since had a second baby. This time I had a home birth with a midwife attending. I did notice that I felt crummy and irritable if I did not eat enough or rest enough (I have since learned why this happens, you lose a ton of blood continuously and it gets worse if you don’t rest because your uterus is literally bleeding until it completely contracts and you stop having post-baby bleeding). Some of the worst advice I ever got in my life all compounded into one giant insurmountable confusion-fest which was only made worse by Zoloft, most of the bad advice started with my OBGYN’s statement to me that I was too fat and breastfeeding is a great time to lose weight / diet, but a lot of it coming from other sources as well. These included the advice to formula feed rather than telling me I could breastfeed while sleeping (if I hadn’t fed Isaac the bottle when he was 3 days old, he never would have nearly choked to death), the anti-cosleeping dogma that is prevalent in our society, and the blatant lies and omissions from psychiatrists and nurses who should have known or told me that there was a possibility that my really bad psychotic symptoms were drug-related.
The panic attack was absolutely legitimate, perhaps I would not have had it if my baby never almost died, or if I wasn’t rapidly coming down from the effects of labor drugs and pain meds. However a panic attack is not in any way similar to what Zoloft does.

Those who doubt that Zoloft can do this, I want you to go pick up a copy of David Healy’s Let Them Eat Prozac. In this book he outlines all the evidence that SSRIs induce violence and suicide. He states that a good example of proof is the dose-dependent relationship between suicidality and SSRIs. Also, a challenge, dechallenge, and rechallenge protocol has been used to demonstrate the effect.

David Healy is critical of SSRIs but he still prescribes them to some patients. If someone who is in one sense an advocate for the drugs can admit in a several hundred page book all the negative things about SSRIs then I do not understand why people insist on disbelieving that.

When I was on Zoloft there was clearly a dose dependent relationship between homicidal urges and Zoloft. Every time the dose went up, the thoughts got worse. I also had terrible withdrawal (not physical pain necessarily but definitely jitters) including worsening homicidal thoughts. At times I would think things like “If I just kill myself and the baby now, this hell will be over and I will never have to deal with this again.”

This is the type of hell that people somehow think is an acceptable side effect. The number of people suffering from this is not insignificant, and in fact at least 60% of patients discontinue SSRIs within a few weeks because they find it unacceptable. How many others are trapped into staying on them by bad advice and delusions given toa them by their doctors, or by insurmountable withdrawal syndrome?

Nothing of the sort of psychological torture I endured on Zoloft has visited me after my second baby. Doctors warned me to not have any more kids because there is supposedly a 90% chance that PPD will return. I am thankful that I did not listen to them, and it saddens me to think of all the babies like Toby who never got to be born because of poisonous lies from the pharma dogma. It’s almost like a form of population control / eugenics!!!!!!

By the way, Isaac is now 3.5 and Toby is 15 months…

Here is mine

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