Lamictal….. The Devils Drug
My dad had began taking Lamictal and almost instantly became a ball of ANGER. He even told me that it had been making him just radiate ANGER. He stopped the drug on his own because of how it was making him act and feel…. He seemed to be doing better and back to his self almost instantly after stopping the drug. We spent Saturday night at my sons 2nd Birthday party. Him and my mom just as happy and in love as ever. Sunday my mom did my hair. My dad texted me at 5 pm and told me that my 7 year old could stay with him Monday since she was out of school. At 9:00 at night my sister had dinner with them -everything fine everything normal. At 11:38 pm my sister got a ”good night i love you text” from my mom. At 7:30 am I found my dad dead in the floor with a hunting rifle.Found my mom dead in the bed with 2 gun shots. She was covered up in my sisters bed naked. Her bra and pantys in the trash can outside. Left only a note to his father. Not to any of his three girls. My dad was the kindest most loving caring man in the world. Loved his wife and girls and grandkids more than anything. Lamictal not only killed my father but also my mother. The media didnt mention he was on this new drug.. only that ”It was a murder-suicide I want everyone to know the town is safe.” My seven year old was my dads heart.. he would have never in his right state of mind done that for me and her to find. Shes seeing a child psychologist Im having post traumatic stress syndrome and my insurance doesnt cover mental. It has ruined my life. DO NOT TAKE LAMICTAL!
“My brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane.”
Thank you very very much for providing this website and the services you have there.
It’s taken over 10 years for me to write this story. For years I was too ashamed to admit I suffered from depression & anxiety, so I told no one. And my brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane. My last experience of medicated depression left me completely ashamed regarding what happened to me. I thought I had truly gone crazy but instead I found out later, it was only my reaction to the new so-called wonder drug of the day: Prozac. Many people take this drug without experiencing what I did; however, there are enough of us so that I want to share my story so that anyone suffering the same way I did can recognize what the problem is (the drug) and find a way to get healthier with out it.
My first depression occurred when I was 17, the fall of 1977. I was prescribed an anti-depressant, most likely one of the tricyclics and recovered 6 months later. The next bout of clinical depression occurred when I was 26, again on a trycyclic for about 6 months. Then I succumbed again in 1990. I was given Prozac. My depression symptoms consisted of crying excessively and inappropriately, inability to find joy in anything, inability to get out of bed/off the sofa, my body preferred remaining motionless, I ached physically and hoped the earth would swallow me whole or that I wished I’d fall asleep and not wake up. I never truly contemplated suicide until the last 2 years, but that’s another story. Back in 1990, my psychiatrist had me on Prozac. The first week I noticed that my muscles became twitchy, I became short with people, my head ached, my depression remained the same. By the second week, my anger was boiling, I snapped at people, I made scenes in public, I yelled, screamed, threw things, pushed people in retail store lines, movie lines, post office line. Can you imagine standing in line with a customer yelling, screaming and pounding their fist on the counter? By the time the Post Office incident occurred, I had extreme violent thoughts against OTHER people. The lady behind that counter was lucky that the counter was so tall because it was all I could do to keep myself from jumping over it to strangle her. Her offence? She didn’t accept my return of my postage stamps. Somehow I found the strength to get out and sat in my car sobbing and sobbing – I couldn’t stop. This was so much worse than my original depression. On my drive home, I was pulled over my highway patrol for speeding. I still could not stop sobbing. A second patrol car pulled up. My sobbing became harder. I held onto my steering wheel for my life as there was a huge pull on me to jump out of the car in front of any oncoming vehicle so I could die. I then thought, maybe if I rushed the officers, they’d pull their guns and kill me. What little sanity I had left convinced myself that I did not want to burden either the car driver or officers with my death. I drove off, half expecting the officers to pursue, but the let me go. I figured they didn’t want to deal with a crying woman. I was scared they were going to haul me off and commit me.
At my next psych appt, the next day, I demanded to get off these crazy making pills, that I was better off them than on them. This doctor explained that it was better I was finally getting my anger out. I jumped up, slammed both hands on his desk, put my face as close to his as I could and screamed – YOU BETTER GET ME OFF THESE BEFORE I KILL SOMEONE. He relented. I was switched and weaned and I will never go back. From 1st pill to last pill took about 2 weeks. I thank God every time I remember these things that I didn’t kill anyone. You will never know how close I was to completely loosing it. It was as if part of me was watching myself do these behaviors and have thread-bare control over my actions. I remember feelings as if I were coming Unglued. That I was somehow disintegrating, being pulled about cell by cell.
A few years later, I signed up at a diet place to loose some weight. I explicitly asked if the Fen-Phen products were anything like Prozac and the doctor assured me that they were not. He was wrong. Again, by the end of the first week, I was crying uncontrollably, tears pouring down my face – this time it was more odd as I had no feelings to go along with the tears. I went in to explain, they wanted to resist refunding my money, but all they had to do was look at my face.
I went along just fine, until I had to deal with infertility. This has been the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching life trauma I’ve ever gone through. If there was something safe and effective, I’d be on it. There is not enough money on the planet for me to ever go back to anti-depressants. So I white-knuckle it. I use natural products, essential oils, meditation tapes and I let myself cry. Honestly, the essential oils I use have been a lifesaver, same as described in the website I list below. I’ve come to grips that no matter how much I truly want to die, that dying is not the answer and suicide is a decision where I could never change my mind. I thank God that I’ve never had another homicidal thought ever since quitting the drugs. I do however have left over tremors that are probably going to be with me for the rest of my life.
If I had heard my story from a book or website or third hand, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. It seems surreal that a simple little pill that’s suppose to help could turn a quiet, shy, woman into a shrieking homicidal threat in 14 days but that’s what I lived. I’m glad it’s getting more out in the open. I’m still incredibly ashamed but now, not at my depression, but rather at my behavior I exhibited to completely innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place when I walked by.
“To the FDA Advisory Panel on Antidepressant Safety in Children.”
My name is Sylvia Olsen and I am the mother of eight children from Salt Lake City, Utah. I suffered for many years with clinical depression and in 1988 my psychiatrist put me on an SSRI medication. I was told that, because it was clinical depression, I would need to take it for the rest of my life. Subsequently, when I got pregnant with my eighth child in 1991, I asked if I could keep taking the medication. My doctor said there was no evidence of negative side effects, and since I was already on it, I just kept taking it. Looking back, I believe the medication produced an overriding feeling of “everything is fine” which clouded my judgment. Normally, I would think twice before even taking an aspirin when I was pregnant. After all, we are talking about the development of a human being.
My son, Taylor, was born weighing much less than any of my previous seven children and displaying an irritability I had never experienced. I soon noticed his body was tense all the time and his movements stiff. The slightest sound would startle him to the point of screaming and, often, even as he slept, his arms would be held stiff and straight up from his body. Although I’ve had no experience personally taking care of “crack babies”, as they used to call them, I kept thinking how he reminded me of things I had heard about them. He would cry continually and seemed to find great comfort in being wrapped very snugly in a blanket and held very tightly.
As Taylor grew, we also had to deal with episodes of unreasonable displays of anger. When he got upset about something as simple as his shoe tied wrong, it was as though he had no ability to reason. He would scream, kick, and flail completely out of control. We would have to put our arms around him to restrain him from hurting himself or trashing his room and sit there for as long as half an hour before he would start to gain control of himself and stop screaming and gnashing. Then, everything would be fine as if nothing had happened. Other than this, and some allergies and skin problems, things appeared normal until he started school.
Although, he seemed to be bright and aware at home, in school he struggled with reading, writing, spelling and math, unlike his older brothers and sisters. Even though his tantrums are almost non existent now,(we believe through the help of nutritional supplements) and his academics have improved a lot, he has always required remedial help. One thing that always comes up when talking to school aids who have worked with Taylor, particularly, one-on-one, is that they are puzzled by one thing in his learning process. He will appear to understand something perfectly, a math process for instance, and even be doing it on his own for a while, when suddenly, in the middle of the same work, it’s as though a light bulb goes off and he has no knowledge of even being taught the process. Then, later, he knows how to do the problem again as if he never lost it! They say it appears to be some odd kind of glitch in his brain, and I believe it is just another symptom of the developmental problems due to the SSRIs I was taking when pregnant with Taylor.
I believe there are safe and affective ways of dealing with clinical depression in children other than the use of SSRIs and that the benefits do not outweigh the risks and unknown side effects.
Antidepressants do not actually heal the human mind. If they did, then we would see a decline in depression across our nation, but we do not. Please look at the possibility that there is another way to treat this growing problem that, I believe, SSRIs only mask. Even John March, chief of child psychiatry at Duke University, who receives grants from Lilly and research funds from Pfizer, said, “These medicines are not a panacea, and will not, on average, carry kids to remission.”
After eight years on these medications, I once spent a several months trying to cut back by just a few milligrams and suffered terrible bouts of depression from the withdrawal. Yet, later, through the help of a nutritionist, I was able to wean off of them completely in just a three month period. That was seven years ago and I have not suffered from depression since.
St. George, UT
“(After begging my doctor to put me on Prozac,) I just felt insane. I felt like screaming, tearing my clothes off and running around like a madman.”
I wrote to this site several weeks ago about sending in my story. As I wrote it that night, the anger, fear and trauma built so badly that I ended up ranting and rambling. I needed some time away to think and to collect my thoughts about this nightmare so that I could do it justice on paper. I will try to make it as brief as I can:
In 1991, my parents separated. I was 18 at the time. My mom had been seeing a psychiatrist and was taking Prozac. She turned into a completely different person. She was vengeful, angry and borderline psychotic. My mom told me that my dad was an alcoholic (I since have learned she is as well) and that we have depression in our family. She recommended that I see a psychiatrist as well. I blew her off and went to college the next year. I starting drinking once a week (parties) in college and started becoming depressed. It was harder to get up in the mornings now and I remembered what mom had told me.
I panicked and went to the doctor. Mom went with me to the doctor (right before she left home) and I practically begged him to put me on Prozac if that was “what I needed.” He assured me that the side effects were dry mouth, possible weight gain, nausea, etc. I took the stuff and almost immediately started feeling badly (the doctors told me that that was impossible as it would take two weeks to get into my system.
They have since concluded that some patients are effected in a few days. I just felt insane. I felt like screaming, tearing my clothes off and running around like a madman. I told my doctor that the stuff was making me crazy but he told me that it was me and not the pills (For the record, he was an MD who could prescribe meds. I was referred to him by a psychologist.) So we upped the dose. I had also been taking a benzodiazepine (Klonopin) because I was having trouble sleeping and I immediately became addicted. The doctor never told me that these pills were addictive. I stayed on Klonopin for three years and mixed and matched medications constantly as my condition worsened. I tried to save a drug problem with more drugs and I spiraled completely out of control as I was caught in that vicious cycle we all have heard about.
I tried countless anti-depressants. I was later diagnosed with manic-depression and schizophrenia. The possibility exists that the Prozac helped my depression and left my manic phase alone (or aggravated it.) Medications are constantly evolving and the doctors don’t even know sometimes so I have no real answers. I took Paxil for a day and puked my guts out. I took Luvox and all I thought about was killing people. I took muscle relaxers and other pills while my addiction went unnoticed by doctors in two states. I switched to Atavin in 1995 and drugged myself completely to death for two years. I was taking the near maximum dose. I was later told by other doctors that I should never have been on benzodiazepines for that long. I told one doctor that I needed to quit taking the benzos as they were killing me. He apparently misunderstood me and told me that I would be on them for the rest of my life. I’m assuming he meant the other medications I was taking. I had to go to another doctor to phase down off of the benzos. I had a grand mal seizure by coming off them two days early (I had been phasing down for months.) This was at the Kentucky State Fair in front of my mother and sister and I almost died.
I was a solid B student with an IQ near the upper two percent in HS and I was also a successful athlete. There had been no major disciplinary problems in my schooling life up until I started taking medications. I never partied in HS and probably had only a few drinks of wine in my life before I was 18. Before the medication, I averaged a 3.0 my freshman year in college with the intent to do better. The pills sent my life into a tailspin. I dropped out of college several times after seeing my GPA dip to a 1.0. I bounced from drunk parent to drunk parent and doctor to doctor. I had been on pills until recently, even though I had kicked the Atavin for good seven years ago. I was unable to work during this time as I was addicted.
They tell us that the pills are non-addicting but they don’t understand people with addiction issues. I get addicted to anything. ANY powerful drug will addict me and the anti-depressants and mood stabilizers were no different. After fighting for my right to get clean and free of drugs and doctors (with both parents and doctors), I have made it to some sanity. I ballooned up to 242 pounds on the pills (one social worker asked me once if I would rather be fat or mentally ill.) I have since gotten down to a very healthy and athletic 185 and I feel great. I have also invested in proper nutritional supplementation. Natural supplements, especially fish oils, work and I regret not trying them earlier. In 1998, I had a domestic dispute with my dad and I was arrested and committed. I was abused, bullied and intimidated at the “mental health clinic” where I was committed, where I was put on more pills (after being coerced into signing my rights away.) Most of the rest of the “treatment” was having social workers tell me how to grocery shop (!) and play Scattergories with me and other patients (no joke.) I was also insulted in the clinic and overheard lines like “people think we’re Nazis and criminals.”
One social worker even told me, “There is no such thing as justice.” I may be misquoting exactly how she said it but the message was that justice was a fallacy in the real world. So I knew that I had no rights in this place. They charged me $500 a day (I couldn’t say no as I was a prisoner) and told me about disability and it’s insurance the day that I was to be released five months later. In the meantime, I had been put in a group home, where a miscommunication between the case worker there and the mental health clinic led to me being arrested and put back into the clinic. I was told by the clinic that I could stay as long as it took me to find a job, although the normal period was two weeks. After two weeks I didn’t have a job, so they kicked me out. Terrified, I left and went back to the clinic to talk about what had happened. The police were waiting for me and arrested me as I had “broken the rules of the group home by leaving.” I swear this is the God honest truth.
I now owe these snakes $54,000 for pills that got me addicted and for playing Scattegories while I was a prisoner. I have taken their pills, gotten addicted and have been unable to work. They continued to experiment, make more money and blamed a lot of the problems on me. I called up my original MD in 2001 and confronted him about the issue of medications actually causing the symptoms they are supposed to be treating (since proven my doctors.) I asked him if he knew about these potential problems when he prescribed the first round of meds and didn’t tell me. He said that he did after I continued to press him. I called him a bastard and he hung up (I will also note that he didn’t return any of my calls to talk to him and I had to get him at home.) I tried to report him (symbolically and as a public service) very recently. The woman I was trying to talk to answered me very rudely and in a belittling fashion that I couldn’t report something that long ago. I have since read a lot on this issue and feel that I am just another victim of corporate psychiatry (look it up online.) I am hurt, angry and betrayed by people who took an oath to help me. Some doctors were stooges while others knew the risks and didn’t tell me. These issues put my life at risk and have led to poverty and financial ruin for me.
I have talked to lawyers and they told me that they don’t even touch addiction cases of psyche meds, even if the doctors err. Apparently, these people have dictatorial power to experiment on citizens like me who suffered enough emotional abuse from drunken parents and cruel school children. I also have tried to contact newspapers online with the story but they have not written back to me. I have run from this issue as I feel I have no hope for retribution, satisfaction or justice (they also told me in the clinic that paybacks are bad. Gee I wonder why.) If anyone wants to contact me on this subject, I will be more then happy to talk. I will also be more then happy to fight as I still owe these so-called people $54,000. I don’t even have the money to declare bankruptcy right now. The payments are supposedly ability to pay but I get notices in the mail every month from the clinic.
Again, I swear that this is all the God honest truth. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if it hadn’t happened to me. I am a college graduate with a degree in history and a minor in political science and I am not stupid (I’m studying for the Mensa test now.) I knew what was happening to me the whole way but was too sick to fight it. If anyone has any information on organizations that fight these kinds of things, please let me know as I have tried many things. And, for God’s sake, don’t go to these people if you can help it. Watch your health, take the proper supplements and take care of yourselves. In my experience, if you go to these people and take their pills, you just put a gun in your mouth and pulled the trigger. I also have to live with the pain and shame of this stuff forever.
PS- Sorry it took so long but it’s a long story. I would like my name and E-mail printed as I would like to be a leader in the confrontation of these issues. If you have any questions, please E-mail me.
(Please excuse the E-mail ID. I get angry about past stuff sometimes.)
“…an incredible journey into another world.”
I am another in a long line of Prozac victims. For most of my life I’ve suffered from bouts of depression. After teaching in the public schools for nearly twenty years, I requested Prozac to help with my increasing depression. The following months began an incredible journey into another world.
At first I noticed that my self-confidence was growing. Even in my dreams (which were often fearful and involved my being in overwhelming situations) I began to gain confidence. I remember that in one dream instead of running away in fear, I stood my ground and fought my aggressor. This was an unheard of event! As one who has been given the gift of music but a paralyzing fear of being imperfect thrown in, I began to have the confidence to perform before others and finally get some affirmation.
As you might guess, if the story ended there, all would have been well. However, eventually I began to drink heavily, become very aggressive , and start to behave in ways that were also new to me. I struggled in other areas too personal to mention here in my personal life. Eventually, I saw clearly that my life was a curse to all concerned. One hears that the person who attempts suicide must be a real coward who cares only about himself. On the contrary, I knew that my continued existence was a threat to everyone I cared about. The most loving thing I could do was to end my life before I took others down with me.
I wrote the usual note saying good-by and tried to overdose on everything I could find. I swallowed all the Prozac I had, Benadryl, ….whatever I could find. I went to bed knowing that I was doing the right thing. When I survived and was brought to in the hospital, I was furious at those who had saved me. Learning that my survival was a miracle was not met by me with rejoicing. It took a while for my anger to subside.
At the ward they took me off all medication and watched me carefully. As days passed, it all began to look like a bad dream and I couldn’t imagine why I had attempted suicide. I swore to all it would never happen again. I was eventually dismissed, sent home, and again prescribed an antidepressant. This one was Effexor. Within one year the whole series of events repeated itself and I attempted suicide again…and failed. This attempt was strange. I had had a wonderful day but had ended it with a disagreement with my son. Without so much of a second thought, I was swallowing pills to kill myself!
Obviously, after my survival the psychiatrists still didn’t consider the fact that although I had been depressed most of my life I had never attempted suicide until I was put on these new antidepressants. I went back on Prozac this time. However, I was beginning to get a feeling on my own that the medication might be the cause. However, to stop and face depression with nothing was frightening. I decided to cut my dosage from 20 mg to 10 mg a day. This small drop seemed to help immensely. I just never told the doctors. Still with even 10 mg I could become furious easily. I just didn’t totally lose it.
Then I discovered you on the internet and found out about all the other people like me. Last week I stopped the Prozac and began taking ST. John’s Wort instead. I don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps, I’ll continue with the herbs. Maybe not. I don’t like taking anything, but from what I’ve learned on the web, SJW doesn’t affect a person like Prozac. I guess I will eventually find out, won’t I?
Well, that is my very condensed story. I have decided to order your book if for no other reason than to reinforce my decision not to return to Prozac.
Thank you for coming out like you have against the drug companies and helping those of us who have been so misled. I hope my story ends happily.
Years 2000 and Prior
This is Survivor Story number 84.
Total number of stories in current database is 96