A Letter to President Bush

“The drugs my daughter received are not F.D.A. approved for use in children. These drugs cause mania in 6% of all children taking them. The F.D.A. states the safety and efficacy have not been established. I ask, why are physicians allowed to prescribe off-label?”


Dear President Bush:

My name is Lisa Van Syckel and I am a resident of Raritan Township in the State of New Jersey. I would like you to hear how corporate greed and psychotic psychiatry have forever altered the life of my most precious gift from God, my daughter.

My husband, Bill, is Vice President and CFO of American Standard Co. and I am a proud stay-at-home mom. We have two children, Michelle, who is a senior, and Christopher, who is a freshman.

Three years ago we moved back to the United States after a five-year stay in Belgium. Our children attended St. John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium. They were honor roll students and fluent in the French Language. They traveled and explored many European Countries. They truly loved their life in Belgium.

In July of 1999 when we returned to the United States we were a little overwhelmed with the fast pace of our society. Michelle missed her friends in Europe. She began complaining of ill health and was upset over the declining health of her grandmother.

In April of 2000, Michelle continued to complain of ill health and had stopped eating. She was admitted to Somerset Medical Center’s eating disorder unit with a diagnosis of depression and Anorexia Nervosa. It turned out that my daughter had undiagnosed Neurological Lyme Disease. She was prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft and within hours of taking the medication she reported to hospital staff that she had the urge to hurt and cut herself, and, two days later, again reported she was uncomfortable taking the medication. Her complaint was dismissed. The next few weeks Michelle began suffering orthostatic changes and Brady Cardia, which are side effects of Zoloft. She was then given a new diagnosis of having a personality disorder.

By June of 2000 Michelle was removed from Zoloft and placed on Paxil. Within a few weeks Michelle began to self-mutilate with knives, razors and broken plastic CD cases. She became verbally abusive and was displaying extreme oppositional behavior. She had severe insomnia, diarrhea, chest pain, chills, weak muscles and akathisia. My cries for help were dismissed.

In August of 2000 her Paxil was increased to 40 mg. She was now diagnosed with a severe depressive disorder with psychotic features. I should note that psychosis is a side effect of Paxil. On a few occasions she would vomit blood and have rectal bleeding.

In September of 2000 Michelle became violent and suicidal. The self-mutilation increased. During one episode she slashed at her body with a razor and inflicted over 25 wounds. She even cut the word “die” in her abdomen. Michele was then hospitalized at the Charter facility in Summit as she was deemed a danger to herself and others. She was prescribed Depakote for mood and the Paxil was reduced to 20 mg. If you are not slowly tapered off the Paxil, you will suffer a severe withdrawal.

On October 6, 2000 Michelle became violent and attempted to commit suicide. As her brother attempted to stop her, she assaulted him. The police were called for assistance. She was so violent they had to place her in handcuffs. She managed to slip out of them twice. It took three police officers and two hospital security guards to place Michelle in humane restraints. I couldn’t‚t believe the strength my daughter had. She was sedated and when she awoke she had no recollection of events. I should also note that Michelle has no history of drug or alcohol abuse.

On October 7, 2000 Michelle awoke unable to walk or talk. She was dystonic and unaware of her surroundings. She was rushed to the hospital and again became violent and had to be restrained. She was sedated. She began to hallucinate. Her vitals were crashing. It took six hours to stabilize her. She was never admitted to the hospital. Instead, she was placed in an adolescent behavioral health facility.

While at UmDJ Michelle was prescribed Celexa and Risperdal without a wash out period. Within 36 hours she became violent and out of control. She was paranoid and delusional. She began to self-mutilate with staples she pulled out of the walls. When she was released and at home she threatened to kill me and came after me with an ax. She thought I was the devil and told me I was evil.

Michele was removed from all these drugs one year ago this April. Recovery has been a long process and she has suffered from numerous withdrawal symptoms. The drug-induced psychosis is gone, as is the drug-induced self-mutilation. 15% of children placed on anti-depressants will self-mutilate.

Her beautiful smile and wonderful disposition have returned, and she has been treated for her Lyme disease. Lyme disease was the reason for her ill health and loss of appetite. What a price she had to pay because physicians aren’t‚t educated in Lyme Disease. Our county here in New Jersey is 3rd in the nation on Lyme Cases.

Michelle now suffers from irreversible neurological damage. Once an honor roll student with high reading skills who loved to read, now must listen to books on tape. She has limited strength in her right hand due to suspected atrophy. She has a cyst on the pineal gland in her brain. She has been diagnosed with energy metabolism dysfunction in the brain, which means she is at high risk for diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. Adult women on anti-depressants have a 700% increased chance for breast cancer. I fear for my daughter who was undeveloped at the time she was placed on these drugs. Not to mention the numerous physical scars caused by the self-mutilation.

The drugs my daughter received are not F.D.A. approved for use in children. These drugs cause mania in 6% of all children taking them. The F.D.A. states the safety and efficacy have not been established. I ask, why are physicians allowed to prescribe off-label? I speak for myself, had I known these drugs were NOT F.D.A. approved, I would never have allowed my child to take them. What parent in their right mind would give drugs that are addictive and cause mania and psychosis? Through my experience and knowledge of the adverse affects of these medications, I ask are our children becoming violent, or is it the medications they are taking? The F.D.A. must know the answer as they fail to approve these medications for use in children.

Mr. President, please launch an investigation into the drug companies. Their greed is harming and in some cases killing our children. Eric Harris, the Columbine shooter, was on Luvox. The drug company, Solvay, has since removed this drug from the U.S. market.

I was saddened by your response to the medical community and promising to campaign for a $250,000 cap on medical mal-practice suits. Mr. President, have you truly seen the cost for medical care? Do you honestly believe $250,000 will cover the cost of breast cancer or diabetes? You should be encouraging physicians to take the time to evaluate their patients.

I am also insulted that you believe that $250,000 is sufficient in evaluating the health, dignity and reputation of a child. “Sir”, I don‚t know about you, but to me, my daughter is PRICELESS.

The drug companies and physicians are to blame for what happened to my daughter. They should be held accountable for their actions. Mr. President, how will you respond? Will you show strength and courage and protect our children? Or will you allow corporate greed to line your pockets as your look the other way?

My police department‚s officers were my heroes before September 11th. My daughter is alive today, due to their quick response, compassion and kindness. My other hero is my cousin, Jay, who is with special forces, 5th division, at Fort Campbell. My prayers were answered when he returned safely. Unfortunately, three men from his unit did not.

Mr. President, this is your opportunity to be our hero. Expose these drug companies! Prevent them from harming another child’s life. And please, dear God, don‚t ever put a price tag on the dignity or the lives of our children!

Our nation‚s children, like your children, are priceless!


Lisa VanSyckel


Lisa VanSyckel
5 Mills Court
Flemington, NJ 08822
(908) 237-9098



This is Survivor Story number 17.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Posted in Breaking News - Our Most Recent Serotonin Nightmares., SSRI Survivor Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
(DrugAwareness.Org & SSRIstories.Net)
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!”

She has specialized since 1990 in adverse reactions to serotonergic medications (such as Prozac, Sarafem, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Serzone, Remeron, Anafranil, Fen-Phen, Redux and Meridia as well as the new atypical antipsychotics Zyprexa, Geodon, Seroquel and Abilify), as well as pain killers, and has testified before the FDA and congressional subcommittee members on antidepressants.

WITHDRAWAL 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!

WITHDRAWAL HELP: You can find the hour and a half long CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: store.drugawareness.org And if you need additional consultations with Ann Blake-Tracy, you can book one at www.drugawareness.org or sign up for one of the memberships for the International Coalition for Drug Awareness which includes free consultations as one of the benefits of that particular membership plan. You can even get a whole month of access to the withdrawal CD with tips on rebuilding after the meds, all six of my DVDs, hundreds of radio interviews, lectures, TV interviews I have done over the years PLUS my book on antidepressants with more information than you will find anywhere else for only $30 membership for a month (that is only $5 more than the book alone would cost) at www.drugawareness.org. (Definitely the best option to save outrageous postage charges for those out of the country!)

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