ANTIDEPRESSANT: Girl (11) From Bedwetting to Agitation & Psychotic Break

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

What a TRAGIC case and all too common! It compares with the
case of the 15 year old girl given Zoloft for warts – yes warts – and ended up
committing suicide. Of course Pfizer tried as hard as they could, albeit
unsuccessfully, to convince the court in her wrongful death suit that it
was the warts that drove her to suicide, not the Zoloft! And this case is also
very similar to the case of the little girl I discuss in my book, “Prozac:
Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare” who was given Prozac because as
an A student it was felt she spent too much time doing homework! (I thought that
was how you became an A student!) She was described before the meds as an
excellent student and well behaved child.  Yet, within days on
Prozac she was throwing herself downstairs. They then took her off the meds
and then put her back on the meds at higher doses and the Yale
study ends with her pulling her hair out and being locked in a psych
ward where she would jump up and down on her Teddy Bear screaming “Kill, kill!
Die, Die!” As I have asked for years, how many productive and caring lives have
we cut off from us all by these deadly drugs?!
Paragraph three reads:  “He also includes the stories of
individual patients, all of whom fared poorly on psychiatric medications and did
better after coming off them. One was of a young woman from Seattle
prescribed an antidepressant at age 11 to treat her bed-wetting, who then became
agitated and spiraled into full-blown psychosis.
When Whitaker met her
at age 21 she was living in a group home for the severely mentally ill, mute,
and withdrawn. Her story is heartbreaking, and the implication is that her
deterioration was triggered by the medications she was given.”

http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2010/04/14/tying_the_rise_in_mental_illness_to_drugs_used_in_its_treatment/

Tying the rise in mental illness to drugs used in its treatment

By Dennis
Rosen

April 14, 2010

ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC: Magic Bullets,
Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
By
Robert Whitaker

Crown, 416 pp., $26

In “Anatomy of an Epidemic’’
Whitaker presents his theory that the dramatic increase in mental illness in the
United States since World War II is the direct result of the medicines
psychiatrists have been prescribing to treat it, and that this itself stems from

an unholy alliance between the pharmaceutical industry and corrupt physicians.
However, although extensively researched and drawing upon hundreds of sources,
the gaps in his theory remain too large for him to succeed in making a
convincing argument.

Whitaker cites studies showing better outcomes for
patients with depression or schizophrenia who have come off their medications
than for those who have stayed on them, but doesn’t consider the possibility
that this may be because those with milder disease recovered and no longer
needed medications, while those who were sicker to begin with simply could not
do without them.

He also includes the stories of individual patients, all
of whom fared poorly on psychiatric medications and did better after coming off
them. One was of a young woman from Seattle prescribed an antidepressant at age
11 to treat her bed-wetting, who then became agitated and spiraled into
full-blown psychosis. When Whitaker met her at age 21 she was living in a group
home for the severely mentally ill, mute, and withdrawn. Her story is
heartbreaking, and the implication is that her deterioration was triggered by
the medications she was given.

But how can one be certain of this?
Perhaps she was destined for mental illness through a combination of her genes
and the environment in the same way that some children develop cancer,
irrespective of any medications they may be taking. Perhaps without the
medications given to treat her psychosis her course would have been even worse.
Many children are treated with tricyclics for bed-wetting and the vast majority
do fine. A single case does not prove the rule, and here lies the basic problem
of this book. As Whitaker himself points out, there simply are not enough data

from well-designed, trustworthy studies. And without this information, it is
impossible to conclude anything meaningful about cause and effect.

Though
there remain unanswered questions about the efficacy of some psychiatric
medications in some patients and their long-term consequences, there is no
denying that they have brought about a huge improvement in quality of life for
millions. While it is reasonable for Whitaker to raise his concerns, it is
critical to remember that hypothesis is no substitute for data.

Ignoring
this can lead to disastrous consequences, such as occurred in South Africa at
the turn of this century. Thabo Mbeki, then president of that country, refused

to accept that AIDS was caused by the HIV virus, believing instead that it was a
side effect of malnutrition and the medications used to treat AIDS itself. In
the absence of an effective treatment and prevention program, it is estimated
that 365,000 South Africans died prematurely of AIDS between the years 2000-05
(currently, 18.1 percent of South African adults have HIV/AIDS).

Those
who would seize the opportunity to cast psychiatry as a discipline into the
rubbish heap without consideration for the benefits it has brought to so many
would do well to remember how Mbeki’s inability to distinguish between theory
and fact exacted such an enormous toll in human life and
suffering.

Dr. Dennis Rosen is a pediatric lung and sleep specialist
at Children’s Hospital Boston and an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical
School.
[]
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper
Company.

1,424 total views, no views today

DEPT. of DEFENSE: Link Between Vet Suicides & Medications

Paragraph six of main article reads:  “Quality data
collection and analysis are critical components behind effective prevention
efforts. The Department made great strides over the last 12 months on gathering
critical information to understand the complexity of factors leading to suicide
and ways to prevent such tragedies from occurring within our communities. Data
collected by the DoD Suicide Event Report (DoDSER) tell us that we must continue
to educate our population and build programs, as there continue to be multiple
opportunities to intervene. For example, we are learning that 30% of individuals
who died by suicide communicated their potential self harm; 49% had been
seen in a medical/support clinic/program within 30 days of suicide;
and
26% sought broadly defined mental health resources.”

Paragraph 34 of main
article reads:  “In recent years, antidepressant medications,
particularly the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have
been closely evaluated for the increased risk of suicide-related behaviors in
adolescents and young adults associated with their use
. In recognition

of this risk, the FDA’s requires a “black box” warning in the product labeling
of all antidepressant medications that advises clinicians to closely monitor any
worsening in depression, emergence of suicidal thinking or behavior, or unusual
changes in behavior, such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from social
situations. Close monitoring is especially important during the first four weeks
of treatment. The FDA also recognizes that depression and other psychiatric
disorders are themselves associated with increased risks for
suicide.”

http://www.pennlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/national-15/12670299869190.xml&storylist=health

Link Between Medication And Veteran Suicide

2/24/2010, 10:27 a.m. EST
The Associated Press

(AP) ­ xfdte MEDICATION-AND-SUICIDE sked

TESTIMONY February
24, 2010 LOREE K. SUTTON, M.D. DIRECTOR U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HOUSE
VETERANS AFFAIRS LINK BETWEEN MEDICATION AND VETERAN SUICIDE Roll Call, Inc.
1255 22nd Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20037 Transcript/Programming: Tel.
301-731-1728 Sales: Tel. 202-419-8500 ext 599 sales@cqrollcall.com www.cqrollcall.com Roll Call, Inc. is a private firm not
affiliated with the U.S. Government. Copyright 2010 by Roll Call, Inc.
Washington, D.C. U.S.A. All materials herein are protected by United States
copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed,
published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call, Inc.
You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies

of the content.Statement of Loree K. Sutton, M.D. Director, Defense Centers of
Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Special Assistant
to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs U.S. Department of

Defense

February 24, 2010

Introduction

Chairman Filner, Mr.
Buyer, distinguished Members of the Committee; thank you for the opportunity to
appear here today to talk to you about the Department of Defense‘s (DoD) efforts
to reduce the number of suicides across our force.

On behalf of DoD, I
want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued, strong support
and demonstrated commitment to our service members, veterans, and their
families.

Over the last nine years, a new era of combat emerged, where
counterinsurgency and asymmetric warfare are the norm. This shift continues to
place a great amount of strain on our most important resource, our service
members. Despite the operational challenges facing them and their families, they
remain incredibly resilient, motivated, and well-trained. The Department
recognizes the need to provide the resources and programs necessary to maintain
their resilience and motivation. Our core messages tell our service members and
their families that they are not alone; treatment works; the earlier the
intervention the better; and reaching out is an act of courage and
strength.

The Department also recognizes that the total number and rate

of suicides continue to rise and this is of deep concern at all leadership
levels. Today, I will share with the Committee our current efforts to reduce the
number of suicides across the Force, and the role of medication and
suicides.

Suicide has a multitude of causes, and no simple solution.
There are many potential areas for intervention, and it is difficult to pinpoint
the best approach because each suicide is unique. Recognizing this, DoD is
tackling the challenge using a multi- pronged strategy involving comprehensive
prevention education, research, and outreach. We believe in fostering a holistic
approach to treatment, leveraging primary care for early recognition and
intervention, and when needed, providing innovative specialty care. The areas of

focus to reduce risk include: (1) conducting data collection and analysis to
detect contributing risk factors; (2) facilitating partnerships across DoD,
federal agencies, and civilian organizations to increase collaboration and
communication; (3) reducing stigma and increasing access to resources to provide
needed care; and (4) using research to close gaps and identify best practices.
Data Surveillance

Quality data collection and analysis are critical
components behind effective prevention efforts. The Department made great
strides over the last 12 months on gathering critical information to understand
the complexity of factors leading to suicide and ways to prevent such tragedies
from occurring within our communities. Data collected by the DoD Suicide Event
Report (DoDSER) tell us that we must continue to educate our population and
build programs, as there continue to be multiple opportunities to intervene. For
example, we are learning that 30% of individuals who died by suicide
communicated their potential self harm; 49% had been seen in a medical/support
clinic/program within 30 days of suicide; and 26% sought broadly defined mental
health resources.

Historically, the Services used unique suicide
surveillance systems. In January 2008, the National Center for Telehealth and
Technology (T2), a Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) component center,
launched the DoDSER Annual Report. The DoDSER Annual Report was developed to
standardize data collection and reporting. Pulling data from all branches of the
military, it captures over 250 data-points per suicide with details, summaries,
and analyses of a wide range of potential contributing factors. DoDSER Annual
Report data include specific demographics, suicide event details, treatment, and
military history, among others. The variables are designed to map directly to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death
Reporting System to support direct comparisons between military and civilian
populations.

By standardizing data and reporting,
DoD tracks and analyzes suicide data and contributing risk factors proactively
to inform and improve future prevention, intervention, and treatment services.
The DoDSER Annual Report is revised annually based on input from the Services.
The data facilitate the review and evaluation of the effectiveness of suicide
prevention initiatives and their execution over time. DoDSER represents the
strides DoD has taken to better understand what some of the
underlying factors are for suicide. The Department uses this tool to inform
current efforts and initiatives. []

According to the Armed Forces
Medical Examiner System (AFMES), in January 2010 there were 24 confirmed

suicides, all in Regular Components within the DoD. In calendar year 2009, AFMES
reported that there were 312 confirmed suicides, with 286 confirmed in Regular
Components and 26 confirmed in the Reserve Components. Demographic risk factors
include: male, Caucasian, E-1 to E-4, younger than 25 years old, GED or less
than high school education, divorced, and in the Active Duty Component. Other
factors associated with suicide, which are consistent with data from civilian
populations, are: substance abuse, relationship issues, and legal,
administrative (Article 15), and financial problems. Although the impact of
deployment is still under investigation, a majority of suicides do not occur in
the theaters of operation. 16% of suicides occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Despite the knowledge gained and data collected, it is important to resist
oversimplifying or generalizing statistics. Each suicide is as different as a
person is unique.

According to AFMES, there were 26 confirmed suicides in
calendar year 2009 among the Reserve Components, which include all Active Guard
and Reserves. Due to the unique nature of their service, there are challenges
associated with capturing all suicide completions, preparatory behavior and self
harm without intent to die among National Guard and Reserve populations when
they are not on active or activated status. To address this issue, DoD is
examining ways to utilize information gathered from existing tracking and
reporting systems including, but not limited to, insurance and benefit data. The
DoD continues to support National Guard and Reserve populations through numerous
initiatives to increase outreach, care, and resources on all fronts.

The
numbers also tell us that prevention is not enough, as 36% of military suicides

had a history of a mental disorder. The integrated efforts of prevention,
intervention, and treatment are essential to DoD’s approach to tackle the
challenge of suicide.

Facilitating Partnerships

Continued
collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other federal,
private, and academic organizations is a key part of DoD’s overall
strategy.

Conferences serve as dissemination and outreach platforms by
providing local and regional coordinators with innovative ideas to implement
within their communities and providing DoD and VA with the opportunity to gather
feedback on communities’ needs. The annual DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference
provides such a forum. With over 900 attendees, the 2010 conference shared
practical applications, results from research and pilot studies, guidance from
senior DoD and VA leaders on the way forward, and testimonies emphasizing the
importance of seeking help.

We work closely with our partners at the VA
to ensure that the transition out of service and into VA care is seamless and
that service members, veterans, and families receive the care they deserve. The
DCoE coordinates information and resources with VA’s National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), and National Resource Directory. As part of this
partnership, DCoE worked with VA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMHSA) in December of 2009 to modify the introductory
message on the Lifeline, so that callers are instructed to press “1” if they
are a United States military veteran or Active Duty Service Member (ADSM) or are
calling about one. This expansion increases the scope of services that are
available to ADSMs who may be in crisis.

Collaborative care is an example

of an immediate solution that DoD is aggressively implementing. According to
DoDSER data, 36 percent of completed suicides had a history of a mental health
condition. Providing mental health services in conjunction with primary care is
an important part of our prevention strategy because early detection and
intervention is a key to preventing suicide behaviors. Each Service is
developing collaborative care models based on recommendations from a National
Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study. The DCoE collaborates with the Services
to integrate the best practices from these models to develop consistent
standards across DoD. DCoE is currently implementing a controlled trial study at
six sites and 18 clinics of collaborative primary care to inform future
efforts.

In August 2009, the DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force was
established under the purview of the Defense Health Board. The goal of the task
force is to provide recommendations to legislative and administrative bodies on
suicide prevention within the military.

The Department recognizes the
importance of eliminating the toxic threat of stigma by transforming its culture
from reactionary to a more proactive environment by engaging leadership to
encourage transparency, accountability, candor, and respect. The DoD is
promoting awareness among leaders and urging them to lead by example in matters
related to health and well-being. In addition, changes in policies and messages
to all levels help create a safe culture to seek help. One significant change
was the revision of question 21 on the questionnaire for security clearances on
whether a service member has sought mental or behavioral help in the past year.
DoD believes that service members should not have to deny themselves the care
they need and deserve out of fear of repercussions. Our efforts to combat stigma
will continue alongside our efforts to provide the best prevention, intervention
and treatment options.

Additionally, DoD is undergoing a cultural
transformation to push care closer to the service members and their families. An
emphasis on early intervention for antecedent issues such as post- traumatic
stress, depression, and substance abuse can help address needs before they
develop into bigger issues that could contribute to suicides. This population
based approach enables DoD to engage multiple audiences including peers,
families, units, and communities to support suicide prevention, risk reduction,
and overall health promotion. The Services also have programs to address needs
before they develop into issues that must be addressed in a specialty care
setting.

DCoE helps combat stigma through the Real Warriors Campaign, a
public education initiative that reinforces the notion that reaching out is a
sign of strength. Under the theme of “Real Warriors, Real Battles, Real
Strengths,” this effort provides concrete examples of service members who sought
care for psychological health issues and are maintaining a successful military
career. While primarily focused on stigma, the Real Warriors Campaign is
actively engaged in the fight against military suicide in a number of

ways:

The website prominently displays the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline on every page;-Two video profiles of service members involved in the
campaign openly discuss their struggles with suicidal ideation from a position
of strength and optimism having reached out for care that is working; and-The
site allows service members, veterans, families and health professionals to
confidentially reach out to health consultants around the clock through the Real
Warriors Live Chat feature or by calling the DCoE Outreach Center.

The
Campaign’s message boards include numerous posts from service members who share
their coping strategies for dealing with suicidal ideation. The site includes
content that focuses on suicide prevention and substance abuse. Short,
documentary-style videos illustrate the resilience exhibited by service members,
their families, and caregivers.

Since the Real Warriors Campaign launched
in May 2009, the website, www.realwarriors.net,
saw more than 45,500 unique visitors from 127 countries, with more than 69,128
visits and 450,000 page views. The DoD believes that stigma can be defeated by
encouraging and supporting service members to reach out when help is
needed.

critical component of DoD’s strategy is advancing research. As
part of DoD’s research portfolio, the RAND Center for Military Health Policy
Research is reviewing and cataloguing suicide prevention programs across the
Services with recommendations for enhancements of current programs. The results
will be released March 2010 and disseminated to inform future program
development.

A pilot study that showed promise in the civilian sector is
the Caring Letters Program. In a randomized clinical trial, sending brief
letters of concern and reminders of treatment to patients admitted for suicide
attempt, ideation, or for a psychiatric condition was shown to dramatically
reduce the risk of death by suicide. In an effort to determine the applicability
to military populations, the National Center for TeleHealth and Technology (T2)
is piloting a program at Ft Lewis, Washington. The goals of the Caring Letters
Pilot are to (1) test the feasibility of expanding the program to other military
treatment facilities, (2) collect preliminary outcome data, and (3) evaluate the
method of letter transmittal (email vs. postal mail). Since its inception in
July 2009, 81 letters have been sent. Efforts are currently underway to plan a
multi-site randomized control trial.

Many programs are currently in place
to raise awareness among service members, train civilian providers supporting
our service members and communities, and increase leadership involvement in
behavioral health efforts. The programs are on all levels, from the national
level down into local communities. These initiatives, including programs that
provide face-to-face support or online support, demonstrate DoD’s multi-pronged
approach and commitment to ensuring service members and families have access to
the best resources. Some examples of these efforts are detailed
below:

Each Service has its own suicide prevention initiatives tailored
to its culture. In November 2007, DoD established the DCoE to offer a central
coordinating point for activities related to psychological health concerns and
traumatic brain injuries. DCoE focuses on the full continuum of care and
prevention to enhance coordination among the Services, federal agencies, and
civilian organizations. DCoE works to identify best practices and disseminate
practical resources to affected communities. In this effort, emphasis is placed
on building resilience, supporting recovery, and promoting reintegration to
ensure a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and proactive approach in promoting
health and wellbeing.

The Suicide Prevention and Risk Reduction Committee
(SPARRC), chaired by DCoE, provides a forum for inter-Service and VA partnership
and coordination. Members include Suicide Prevention Program Managers from the
Services and representatives from the National Guard Bureau, Reserve Affairs,
VA, Office of Armed Forces Medical Examiner, T2, Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration, and others. This committee is the main venue for
ensuring collaboration and consistency in system-wide communication related to
suicide, risk reduction policy initiatives, and suicide surveillance metrics
across the military. A SPARRC website is currently in development to serve as a
“clearinghouse” for suicide prevention information, contacts, innovative
approaches, and tools.

Additionally, the DCoE Outreach Center coordinates
with Military OneSource, accessible by phone at 1-800-342-9647. Licensed mental
health consultants are available to listen, answer questions, and refer callers
to a wide range of services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Military OneSource provides services on a range of other topics including
education, relocation, and parenting.

Another DoD program that encourages
seeking care is inTransition, which provides a bridge of support for service
members while they are transitioning between health care systems or providers.
The program assigns credentialed “Supercoaches” on a one-on-one basis to service
members in transition. These “Supercoaches” provide support, encouragement, and
promote continued use of behavioral health services.

In an effort to
increase access to resources and align with modern communication platforms, DoD
is harnessing technology and social media tools. Afterdeployment.org, an
interactive website developed by T2, provides service members and families
behavioral health information using an anonymous platform. This mental wellness
resource is designed to help service members and families manage the challenges
faced after a deployment. In addition, Afterdeployment.org launched a series of

free podcasts, available on iTunes, discussing a variety of mental health issues
affecting service members and families. Since the rollout in August 2008,
Afterdeployment.org has seen 86,083 visits to its website. Afterdeployment.org
is currently developing both a mobile version of the site and a mobile
application. The portability will allow access to resources regardless of
location.

Telebehavioral health refers to use of telecommunications and
information technology for clinical and non-clinical behavioral health care
services. Telebehavioral health may include the use of videoconferencing,
web-based cameras, email and telephone. T2 is exploring ways to supply timely
telebehavioral health services to service members in theater and during health
screenings immediately upon return to the continental United States. The use of

technology provides service members and their families access to psychological
health care even in the most extreme and/or remote circumstances. Medication and
Suicide Risk

The Department supports the use of psychopharmacological
treatments as a key component of mental health care. Scientific evidence over
the past several decades points to the role of medications in limiting the
severity and duration of illness as well as for preventing relapses and
recurrences. These findings have been translated into recommendations for
clinicians in the VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines for Major Depressive
Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychoses and Substance Use Disorder.
These guidelines are updated periodically as required to reflect the most
current knowledge concerning each of these conditions. Recognizing that all

medications carry potential risks as well as benefits, clinicians must exercise
their judgment in applying these guidelines and determining the most effective
use of medications, other therapies which include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,
Cognitive Processing Therapy and/or Prolonged Exposure treatment, or a
combination of medication and therapy. Therapy must be monitored, with careful
attention to diagnosis, dosing, clinical response and potential adverse
events.

In recent years, antidepressant medications, particularly the use
of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have been closely evaluated
for the increased risk of suicide-related behaviors in adolescents and young
adults associated with their use. In recognition of this risk, the FDA’s
requires a “black box” warning in the product labeling of all antidepressant

medications that advises clinicians to closely monitor any worsening in
depression, emergence of suicidal thinking or behavior, or unusual changes in
behavior, such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from social
situations. Close monitoring is especially important during the first four weeks
of treatment. The FDA also recognizes that depression and other psychiatric
disorders are themselves associated with increased risks for
suicide.

Accordingly, the Department uses multiple tools to address the
identified risk for antidepressant as well as other medications, as scientific
evidence reaches the threshold for action. These methods include dissemination
of safety alerts to clinicians, patient information sheets, pharmacy monitoring
for harmful combinations of prescribed medications, adherence to The Joint
Commission standards governing medication reconciliation, compliance with the
reporting of adverse events, increasingly sophisticated use pharmacotherapeutic
analysis as well as training and education programs in evidence-based modalities
reflecting the most current clinical practice guidelines.

The DoDSER data
base, while still maturing, provides an unprecedented repository of Service
suicide surveillance data that will continue to inform our efforts. Further, we
look forward to the payoff from continued research investments.

Way
Forward

Suicide is a problem that needs solutions now. DoD is focused on
rapidly translating best practices into applicable tools for service members and
families. At the same time, DoD continues to improve on collaborative
relationships across the Services and with national experts, collecting data,
and in research efforts that will accelerate improvements in current services
and programs as well as spur new innovations. In addition, DoD will also
continue to evolve and leverage our population-based system to push innovations
in prevention and care toward the service member and family.

DoD’s
current initiatives to address the challenges placed on service members and
their families are progressing, but we recognize that there is still much to be
done. In order to build on our current efforts and successfully shift to a model

of population-based care, we identified the following areas of additional
focus.

An issue of increasing concern is suicides of military family
members and how to support surviving families. At this point in time, DoD does
not track suicides of military family members. However, DoD recognizes the
importance of engaging and supporting this population, as their sacrifices
deserve our recognition. The DoD Suicide Prevention Task Force met this year
with surviving families at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
Seminar. The DoD Task Force will provide recommendations to the Secretary of

Defense and Congress. Efforts will be focused on increasing outreach to
families; providing families with more education and training to recognize the
signs of suicidal behavior and where to seek help; and supporting families after
a suicide event. In addition, for calendar year 2010, SPARRC partnered with TAPS
to form a sub-committee to identify additional needs of families and to
recommend concrete solutions.

Postvention, which refers to all activities
and response after a suicide event, is another area of growing attention. The
goals of postvention include: (1) promote healing, (2) reduce risk of contagion,
and (3) identify those at risk and connect them to help. Postvention is also
viewed as a form of prevention for survivors. This year, DoD will work with the
Services to promote consistent postvention protocols across
programs.

Connect/Frameworks Suicide Postvention Program is a civilian
program that utilizes evidenced supported protocols to promote an integrated
community based response to suicides. Postvention protocols and guidelines
include topics such as discussing cause and method of death; how to address
needs of families; memorial service activities; and media coverage and
messaging.

In addition to prevention, intervention, and treatment, DoD is
shifting attention to increasing resilience. DoD promotes a holistic approach
that optimizes the physical, psychological, and spiritual components of the
human condition. The DoD is also piloting resilience programs in military
settings to determine applicability and effectiveness within military
populations. While the impact of deployment on suicide is still under
investigation, it cannot be denied that an era of high operational tempo and
persistent conflict increases pressure on our warriors. A comprehensive approach
to enhancing resilience actively confronts the increasing stressors service
members face in this environment.

2010 will also provide DoD further
opportunities to demonstrate a public health model of prevention, by supporting
peer-to-peer programs in the Services and continuing to increase the number of

mental health providers in communities. DoD is actively engaged in hiring more
mental health providers and providing them with quality and continued training.
Conclusion

Through our united and concerted efforts, we can continue
making a change for the better. DoD recognizes the need to provide the resources
and programs necessary to maintain the resilience and motivation of our service
members and families. We will continue to emphasize education as we deliver our
core messages. “You are not alone; treatment works; the earlier the intervention
the better; and reaching out is an act of courage and strength.”

We are
devoted to this effort and will continue to work aggressively to prevent the
unnecessary loss of life.

With the Committee’s continued assistance and
support, we will ensure our brave men and women in uniform and their families
have access to the resources they require.

On behalf of the DoD, thank
you for the opportunity to highlight these vital issues. I look forward to your
questions.

1,001 total views, 1 views today

Medical examiner confirms death of 9-yr-old Colony, TX boy was

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

This suicide is much too similar to little Gabriel Myers’ (7) suicide
in Florida last year – while in the custody of CPS! He too was on
similar medications when he impulsively hung himself with a shower
hose in the bathroom.

Both types of medications have an FDA black box warning for suicide
for this age group. WHY?!!! Want to talk about him being exposed to
something toxic? This is it! Why as a society do we allow this to
continue?!!! Why is it okay for doctors to give patients drugs that
could cause suicide?

Here is the warning given for Strattera which is prescribed for ADHD.
[And a similar warning was given to all antidepressant and mood
stablizing medications (which Montana was also taking).]

9/05 From Web MD: “The FDA is advising health care providers and
caregivers that children and adolescents being treated with Strattera
should be closely monitored for worsening of symptoms as well as
agitation, irritability, SUICIDAL THINKING OR BEHAVIORS, and unusual
changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of
therapy or when the dose is changed (either increased or decreased).”

“THIS MONITORING SHOULD INCLUDE DAILY OBSERVATION BY FAMILIES AND
CAREGIVERS AND FREQUENT CONTACT WITH THE PHYSICIAN, says the FDA.”
[Emphasis added]

What kind of close monitoring is this when he hangs himself in a
nurses office?! Why did none of the professionals working with Montana
withdraw him from the medications which had been producing these
suicidal thoughts for some time BEFORE he lost his life? I see these
FAR TOO OFTEN and the children are getting younger and younger as
those who should be caring for them ignore these strong FDA warnings
that are the next closest thing there is to banning a group of drugs!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/021710dnmetlancesuicide.12e83ee14.html?so=TimeStampAscending&ocp=5#slcgm_comments_anchor

Medical examiner confirms death of 9-year-old Colony boy was suicide

11:13 PM CST on Thursday, February 18, 2010

By WENDY HUNDLEY/The Dallas Morning News
whundley@dallasnews.com

The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled Thursday that a
9-year-old boy from The Colony committed suicide.

Montana Lance

The determination rules out speculation that Montana Lance’s death was
an accident.

Montana was found hanging in a bathroom at Stewart’s Creek Elementary
School around 1 p.m. Jan. 21. He was taken to Baylor Medical Center at
Carrollton, where he was pronounced dead.

Lt. Darren Brockway of The Colony police said the medical examiner’s
ruling is consistent with police conclusions about the death.

“He’d gotten in trouble at school and panicked,” Brockway said. “He
just felt there was no other way out.”

There had been speculation that Montana watched a television show
about teen suicide the night before his death and was copying what he
saw with no real intention to kill himself.

“We ruled that out as an option after talking to his parents,”
Brockway said. “He didn’t watch that show.”

Also Online

01/25/10: Friends, family stunned by apparent suicide of 9-year-old boy

Link: Leave your condolences for the family of Montana Lance

Still, experts say children as young as Montana may not fully
comprehend the consequences of their actions. A suicidal act may be a
spur-of-the-moment act, like an outburst or a tantrum, they say.

“It was more of a conscious decision he made in a moment of high
anxiety,” Brockway said.

A spokesman for the Lance family could not be reached for comment
Thursday. A police report says Montana’s father had insisted the death
was accidental.

Brockway said Montana had been upset on the day of his death after he
was sent to the office for misbehaving in class. He locked himself in
the school nurse’s restroom and didn’t come out.

After about 10 minutes, the nurse got a key to open the door and found
the child unconscious.

Montana had attached the buckle of a brown cloth belt to a hook of a
device used to help disabled people use the restroom, according to a
police report. He was found with the belt around his neck with his
feet off the floor. Police found no notes or messages.

He had been taking medication for mood swings and for attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had been having suicidal thoughts
for about two years, the police report states.

In 2007, Montana’s parents, Jason and Debbie Lance, sought treatment
for their son for ADHD.

In 2008, they told the doctor that the boy had been talking about
committing suicide, and he was referred to a psychiatrist, according
to the police report.

After Montana’s death, Child Protective Services opened an
investigation to determine whether abuse or neglect were contributing
factors.

That investigation has not been completed, but the family’s other two
children have not been removed from the home, CPS spokeswoman Marissa
Gonzales said.

Gonzales said CPS has had no prior involvement with the Lances and
routinely investigates child fatalities.

With the medical examiner’s ruling, police plan to close their
investigation with no charges filed, Brockway said.

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Medical examiner confirms death of 9-yr-old Colony, TX boy was suicide

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

This suicide is much too similar to little Gabriel Myers’ (7) suicide in Florida last year – while in the custody of CPS! He too was on similar medications when he impulsively hung himself with a shower hose in the bathroom.

Both types of medications have an FDA black box warning for suicide for this age group. WHY?!!! Want to talk about him being exposed to something toxic? This is it! Why as a society do we allow this to continue?!!! Why is it okay for doctors to give patients drugs that could cause suicide?

Here is the warning given for Strattera which is prescribed for ADHD. [And a similar warning was given to all antidepressant and mood stablizing medications (which Montana was also taking).]

9/05 From Web MD: “The FDA is advising health care providers and caregivers that children and adolescents being treated with Strattera should be closely monitored for worsening of symptoms as well as agitation, irritability, SUICIDAL THINKING OR BEHAVIORS, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of therapy or when the dose is changed (either increased or decreased).”

“THIS MONITORING SHOULD INCLUDE DAILY OBSERVATION BY FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS AND FREQUENT CONTACT WITH THE PHYSICIAN, says the FDA.” [Emphasis added]

What kind of close monitoring is this when he hangs himself in a nurses office?! Why did none of the professionals working with Montana withdraw him from the medications which had been producing these suicidal thoughts for some time BEFORE he lost his life? I see these FAR TOO OFTEN and the children are getting younger and younger as those who should be caring for them ignore these strong FDA warnings that are the next closest thing there is to banning a group of drugs!

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/021710dnmetlancesuicide.12e83ee14.html?so=TimeStampAscending&ocp=5#slcgm_comments_anchor
Medical examiner confirms death of 9-year-old Colony boy was suicide

11:13 PM CST on Thursday, February 18, 2010

By WENDY HUNDLEY/The Dallas Morning News
whundley@dallasnews.com
The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled Thursday that a 9-year-old boy from The Colony committed suicide.

Montana Lance
The determination rules out speculation that Montana Lance’s death was an accident.

Montana was found hanging in a bathroom at Stewart’s Creek Elementary School around 1 p.m. Jan. 21. He was taken to Baylor Medical Center at Carrollton, where he was pronounced dead.

Lt. Darren Brockway of The Colony police said the medical examiner’s ruling is consistent with police conclusions about the death.

“He’d gotten in trouble at school and panicked,” Brockway said. “He just felt there was no other way out.”

There had been speculation that Montana watched a television show about teen suicide the night before his death and was copying what he saw with no real intention to kill himself.

“We ruled that out as an option after talking to his parents,” Brockway said. “He didn’t watch that show.”

Also Online
01/25/10: Friends, family stunned by apparent suicide of 9-year-old boy

Link: Leave your condolences for the family of Montana Lance

Still, experts say children as young as Montana may not fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. A suicidal act may be a spur-of-the-moment act, like an outburst or a tantrum, they say.

“It was more of a conscious decision he made in a moment of high anxiety,” Brockway said.

A spokesman for the Lance family could not be reached for comment Thursday. A police report says Montana’s father had insisted the death was accidental.

Brockway said Montana had been upset on the day of his death after he was sent to the office for misbehaving in class. He locked himself in the school nurse’s restroom and didn’t come out.

After about 10 minutes, the nurse got a key to open the door and found the child unconscious.

Montana had attached the buckle of a brown cloth belt to a hook of a device used to help disabled people use the restroom, according to a police report. He was found with the belt around his neck with his feet off the floor. Police found no notes or messages.

He had been taking medication for mood swings and for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had been having suicidal thoughts for about two years, the police report states.

In 2007, Montana’s parents, Jason and Debbie Lance, sought treatment for their son for ADHD.

In 2008, they told the doctor that the boy had been talking about committing suicide, and he was referred to a psychiatrist, according to the police report.

After Montana’s death, Child Protective Services opened an investigation to determine whether abuse or neglect were contributing factors.

That investigation has not been completed, but the family’s other two children have not been removed from the home, CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said.

Gonzales said CPS has had no prior involvement with the Lances and routinely investigates child fatalities.

With the medical examiner’s ruling, police plan to close their investigation with no charges filed, Brockway said.

1,592 total views, no views today

My Wife’s Suicide on Lexapro

“She was the most gentle, kind and compassionate woman I have ever met.”

My wife, Bonnie, to whom I was married for 32 loving years, completed suicide on Monday, January 26, 2004. She was severely depressed, on Thursday, January 22, she could not go to work. I stayed home with her and immediately took her to her physician. Her physician placed her on medical leave for a month, and referred her to a psychiatrist who saw her that afternoon. He did a lethality assessment and concluded that Bonnie was not a suicide risk, but was in fact severely depressed. Bonnie was already on Lexapro from her own physician. He elevated her dosage that day, and added Wellbutrin, both of which are on the FDA warning list. He told me what he did, but gave me no warnings of risk of suicide, and in fact told me that the drugs would help her feel better in time.

She began to experience greater anxiety and agitation over the weekend. She began making statements that simply were not rational, such as she was failing all her colleagues, and the children and families she worked with because she was going on medical leave for a month. She was a school social worker who worked with disabled children and their families, and she was quite good at what she did. When I told her that people became ill all the time, and schools and other organizations had the capability of filling in behind an employee that became sick, and it was her job to get well, she would not hear it. I tried to tell her over the weekend she was failing no one, but she just did not seem to comprehend or accept what I was saying.

The psychiatrist told me I could go back to work on Monday. I planned to take her back to see him on Tuesday morning, when she had the follow-up visit scheduled, and she knew I was going to. On Monday, I asked her if she wanted me to stay home with her, and I could go back to work on Wednesday, but she told me she would be all right. We talked on the phone about 10:00 and she said she was fine. I decided to go home at lunch time to check on her and have lunch with her. I arrived at 12:30. Some time between 10:00 and 12:30, she cut herself so violently and viciously that she lost every drop of blood in her body. This was the most gentle, kind and compassionate woman I have ever met. She never spanked our children; she just did not believe in violence. The other FDA symptom besides anxiety and agitation that I have read about is hostility. The violence on herself was incredibly hostile. It is my understanding that most female suicides are by overdose. She had plenty of pills including sleeping pills that she could have overdosed on, but she chose to attack herself. That was so wildly out of character, that I cannot understand it.

She was clearly depressed, and their is a family history of emotional disorder. However, the FDA warnings on antidepressants were an exact description of what happened to Bonnie. I can’t prove and I am not necessarily claiming cause and effect. However, I am posting this with you because I am really beginning to believe that the radical change in antidepressants affected her biochemistry, and contributed to her suicide.

If their is any way, Bonnie’s story can save even one life then I want to help do that.

Thank you for letting me share.

Fred Meservey (Bonnie’s devoted and loving husband)bonfred@nycap.rr.com

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12 drugs in 4 years caused near fatal effects

“Within 4 days of starting Paxil I was experiencing racing thoughts and was extremely suicidal.”

So that some of this makes sense, at the age of 7, I was hospitalized with an unknown virus that attacked my major organs. Although I recovered quite well given the severity of the illness, I was left with minor liver damage and it was noted in my medical records that I was very medication sensitive. I repeatedly told each psychiatrist I saw about the liver damage.

In 1999 at the age of 14 I was admitted to aN adolescent psychiatric unit for depression and suicidal ideation. One day later I was prescribed the antidepressant Prozac and addictive anti-anxiety drug Klonopin by a psychiatrist who I’d never even met. After my first dose of both drugs and for the next few weeks I felt like I was drunk, I could barely walk and was unable to stay awake. I was kept on these drugs for 3 months, in that time I began to self-injure and was kicked out of public high school because of repeatedly falling asleep in class, until I complained to my psychiatrist of severe memory loss, he had me quit both cold turkey and begin Paxil.

Within 4 days of starting Paxil I was experiencing racing thoughts and was extremely suicidal. When my psychiatrist found this out he quickly diagnosed me as bipolar and put me on Tegretol and Risperdal. I was pulled off the Tegretol 2 weeks later due to extreme dizziness. I was told that Risperdal was aN antidepressant and at that time I was one extremely physically ill 15 year old kid and in no position to question my doctor.

After 2 months of continual nightmares caused by Risperdal I began to experience a horrible (for anyone yet alone a teenager) side effect, my body started to act like I was pregnant! My period stopped and I began to lactate. I was taken off the Risperdal and given Effexor, which made me suffer from severe insomnia and agitation and was given Trazadone to help me sleep. At this time my psychiatrist was moving out of state and my mom chose a new one for me, neither she nor I knew he specialized in ADHD. I was then given Ritalin and told my anxiety and drug induced agitation was actually a sign of ADHD.

I took only one pill of Ritalin and spend the rest of the day curled in a ball on my bed unable to move because of extreme stomach pain. When my psychiatrist found out I’d only taken that one dose he admonished me for not giving it time to work and gave me a prescription for Dipresamine. I had a severe allergic reaction, my arms and legs were covered in a rash which then turned into hives and I started having trouble breathing. My mom called the psychiatrist. After a 4 hour wait he returned the call and began to yell at my mom for calling and bothering him, he finally told her to not give me any more Dipresamine and he’d phone the pharmacy with a prescription for Zoloft.

After I recovered from the reaction I started the Zoloft, within an hour of taking it began to throw up and continued to for a few hours, this repeated with each dose of Zoloft I took and I stopped taking it after a week. At this time a therapist I was seeing recommended a certain psychiatrist for me to see. I met with him and he prescribed Depakote. I told him I wouldn’t take medicines that required blood tests and he assured me I didn’t need them on Depakote (I now know that isn’t true).

After 3 weeks I felt like a zombie and began having hallucinations, hand tremors, and had gained a lot of weight. I asked the psychiatrist if Depakote could be causing it all and he told me absolutely not. He went on to say what I was obviously developing schizophrenia and gave me a prescription for Risperdal (yes, he did know of my previous bad reaction) which I never took.

A few days later my cousin who is a nurse’s assistant came to have dinner with me and my parents. We started talking and I told her about the weird problems and the hallucinations. When she’d heard everything, her exact words were “I’m taking you to the emergency room, NOW!” She took me to the hospital that she worked at and had a doctor she knew in the ER examine me. He ordered the first ever lab tests done on me, and told me that my liver enzymes were high and I had a dangerous level of Depakote in my body, and that if I continued to take the Depakote I would likely go into liver failure within a few weeks.

After being told to go to my regular doctor in a few weeks to have liver enzymes checked again, and to return immediately if I got worse, I was sent home and promptly threw the rest of the Depakote in the trash. It took over 3 months for the hallucinations, weight gain, and hand tremors to go away. My liver enzymes went down, but they never returned to what they had been before I’d taken the Depakote. I’ve been told that my liver functions at about 70% of what a healthy liver does, a large part of that damage is from the Depakote.

I’d like to say that was the end of my experience with psychiatric drugs, but I hadn’t quite learned my lesson. Recently another therapist insisted I see a psychiatrist, who gave me Buspar. Buspar is advertised as the only nonaddicting anti-anxiety drug. After taking it for 11 days I felt dulled and slowed so I stopped taking it. I suffered through 3 days of withdrawals including headaches, dizziness, lose of coordination, insomnia, and severe muscle aches. Now, I’ve learned my lesson!

I was told I had ever disorder imaginable, including schizophrenia, and that my future was long term hospitalization. I proved them wrong. I entered an alternative program funded by the public school district where we were considered to be public school students but attended class at a separate location from the public high school. In May 2003, I graduated with a 3.97 GPA, the highest in the alternative program, had a class rank of 13 out of 350 students at the public high school, and was chosen to give a speech at my graduation ceremony.

In August I’m starting college at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and planning to become a special education teacher for children with behavior disorders.

Bani
bani@busmail.org

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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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Son Convicted of Murder while on Paxil

“I was frightened and bewildered. Nothing like that had ever happened before with any of our children.”

 

I’m writing regarding the radio show you were interviewed on in June of this year. I was very fortunate to catch this interview, normally I am not awake at this hour of the night. I was both delighted and disappointed. Delighted because you almost never hear the dangers of these “mind altering drugs.” Disappointed because nobody seems to care. I call these drugs “mind altering” because “anti-depressant” doesn’t fit the consequences it can make. I feel you are a ray of hope to people like me who have experienced the horrible effects these drugs have.

I have four children. My youngest child, Jarred was put on Paxil at 16. I took my son to the doctor because I was concerned about his abuse of alcohol. After a 15 minute evaluation, the doctor concluded Jarred was depressed. He gave us sample boxes of Paxil, a month supply. He gave us no instruction except to take one a day. There were no instructions with or on the sample packets. After the first day on this drug, my son complained of severe agitation, he said he felt “weird.” I called the doctor and asked if he had a smaller dosage. I told him I thought they were too strong for Jarred. The doctor told me there was not a smaller dosage than 20mg. He said I should cut them in half. A couple days later my son became combative with me and his father. The police had to be called. I was frightened and bewildered. Nothing like that had ever happened before with any of our children. I didn’t connect these drugs with this incident, I thought it was from alcohol use. Three days later, a family friend was murdered. Jarred was charged and convicted of first degree murder. He is in a California state prison serving life without parole. We were in shock, in total disbelief this happened.

The victim was someone we spent time with. Jarred would play games with her. He spent nights at her house with my other children. Jarred cared very much for this special lady. This was extremely out of character for Jarred. We couldn’t understand what happened. No one believed Jarred could do this. We didn’t connect the drug to what had happened until Jarred’s attorney asked us about the Paxil he was taking. He said he found cases where people have taken these drugs and committing horrible crimes. It puzzled Jarred’s lawyer because Jarred had never been in trouble or had never been violent.

This has been heavy on my heart for four years. We’re hearing of more and more cases of horrible crimes committed by people who are on these drugs. There is definitely a connection.

My question to you is what can I to help get the message across. I have been silent too long. I want to do something to help. I want to do anything I can to stop these tragedies from happening. I know they will continue to occur with some doctors handing these drugs out like aspirin.

I realize you are very busy. I greatly appreciate your work. I would love very much to hear from you.

Brenda Victor
RAWDUDE101@aol.com

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 46.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

964 total views, 1 views today

My 18-Year Old’s Bizarre Behavior on Prozac

“At no time …did any one mention Prozac’s side effects.”

My 18 year old son has been on Prozac for the last year and a half.
Initially, I brought him to a counselor for some mild anxiety he was experiencing (shyness in social situations, etc.) The counselor (a licensed MSW) prescribed Prozac, saying that it would greatly reduce Jeff’s anxiety. Indeed, after two weeks Jeff reported feeling better, being more relaxed in school and in social situations. Over the next 6 months or so, however, I began to notice some disturbing symptoms (excessive sleepiness at times and at other times extreme agitation along with an inability to concentrate on schoolwork).I told his family doctor, who suggested cutting his dose of Prozac, from 20 mg. to 10 mg. Shortly after this time, Jeff began to develop a severe drinking problem. He frequently came home so intoxicated that he could not stand and remembered nothing the next morning. His grades in school also started plummeting: during his senior year in high school, his grades went from B+ to failing. He was extremely agitated, anxious, unable to sit still or focus. At this point his counselors recommended that his Prozac be upped from 10 to 20 mg.

Things went from bad to worse-his drinking increased, he barely graduated from high school (he was on home study because he was exhibiting bizarre, sometimes threatening behavior in school, and was suspended).At no time during this period did any one mention Prozac’s side effects or the possibility that Jeff was having a serious reaction to this drug.

Finally, towards the end of summer ’99, when he picked up his prescription from the pharmacy, he read the label and noticed some of the possible side effects, pointing out to my husband and myself that these were the same things he’d been experiencing. We made a family decision to stop the Prozac, not realizing that the fun was just beginning. About a week after stopping the Prozac, Jeff began to have panic attacks (something he’d never experienced before).Along with the shaking, irregular heartbeat and anxiety, he experienced strange sensations in his head and a buzzing sound in his ears. We went to see his doctor, who didn’t make the connection-he sent him to a psychologist to treat the panic attacks, not suspecting that the problem might be Prozac withdrawal (nor did I). For the past 2 months, his symptoms have grown steadily worse: he’s been in the emergency room for severe headaches, has seen a neurologist, had many expensive tests, and been diagnosed with Migraine.

No one made the connection between his symptoms and the fact that he had stopped the Prozac abruptly (all doctors knew of his decision). It wasn’t until I saw Dr. Tracy on the Leeza show recently that I started to suspect that this might be the problem. Since then I’ve been researching Prozac on the internet and am amazed at the information I’m finding! I’ve spoken to Jeff’s doctor who was as surprised as I about these complications (I printed and mailed him lots of info.)I will order your book, as I want to know what I can do to help my son at this point apologize at the length of this e-mail, but I had to tell this story to someone.
Thank you.

Followup Letter to Dr. Tracy:
Dear Dr. Tracy,
Thank you for your kind response to my e-mail. It’s obvious that this is an issue very close to your heart. It’ s easy for me to see how frustrating this battle can be: the more information that I find on this topic, the more appalled I become that the medical and psychiatric professions are allowing this to happen to unsuspecting and trusting patients. Amazingly, Jeff seems to be doing much better. Just within the past week, his headaches have all but disappeared, and his anxiety level is greatly diminished. It’s been about 2 1/2 months since he stopped taking the Prozac- from what I’ve read however there can be delayed withdrawal reactions, so I’m not sure we’re out of the woods yet. I’ve been very busy printing information that I find on the internet and sending Jeff’s doctor and counselors letters and packets of information. My hope is that they will at least begin to question these drugs and do some research on their own. I’d like to show you an excerpt from the letter I wrote to the psychologist Jeff was referred to for the panic attacks he experienced shortly after discontinuing the Prozac. I am particularly annoyed with this doctor because he told me that Jeff’ panic attacks were the manifestations of OCD and that he needed to be on medication. From letter to Dr. Robbins: Coincidentally, now that Jeff’s withdrawal symptoms seem to have abated, he is much more like the son I once knew. He’s more relaxed, he’s stopped drinking, his sense of humor is back, and he’s actually able to focus on schoolwork ( he got an A on a recent College Comp. paper.)What does this say about Prozac? Basically, I feel that this drug took my son away from me for two years! I have also written a letter to the Rochester editorial page; a Speaking Outessay. I’ll let you know if they print it. If there’s any way I can help you with this cause, please let me know .I feel very strongly about it: this drug took my 16 year old son, who had been identified as gifted, was well-liked by his peers, and had a great sense of humor, and reduced him to a barely functioning shell of a person. I am thankful to you and God for rescuing us from this terrible shadow that hung over our lives.

Yes, I would like my e-mail (the original and this reply) posted on your website. You may include my first name and e-mail address. I would also like to remind people who’ve had negative experiences with Prozac or another anti-depressant to send a med-watch complaint to the FDA. The number for your local FDA is in the Federal organization section of the phone book. There is also a link from this ICFDA web site.] The more complaints they get the more likely it is they’ll investigate (I hope, unless they’re in this with the drug companies- but that’s a whole different topic)

Patti582@aol.com

2/27/2000

This is Survivor Story number 27.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

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