Studies: 27% – 86% Suffer Antidepressant Withdrawal

In this world of fake news and the non-existence of investigative reporting both Sarah Boseley and The Guardian have long been a breath of fresh air and deserve a medal for their reporting! The only problem with this one is that the research they are reporting on is three decades too late! But it is because of their efforts as opposed to the lack of efforts by others that I include their request at the end of this article for donations as they are independent in their reporting.

 

For two and a half decades I and the International Coalition For Drug Awareness which I head have been warning about the dangers of withdrawal with a streaming ribbon across the top of our web page (www.drugawareness.org) warning that abrupt or rapid withdrawal can prove to be more dangerous, disabling, and last far longer than a very slow, careful, gradual withdrawal. Most confusing is the fact that the worst of the withdrawal can be delayed six months or longer depending upon the length of time on antidepressants. And for those on the drugs for ten years or more the delay can be even longer. In 1999 I finally tired of repeating over & over & over again one patient at a time all the information on safe withdrawal & published an hour & a half long CD on safe withdrawal & withdrawal tips on easing withdrawal effects which has more informationabout these drugs than you can find in years of research! You can find that in a downloadable version for just under $5 at the following link:

Help! I can’t get off my antidepressant! [Mp3 Download]

The chapter in my book on these antidepressants, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare, discusses the amazing similarity of these serotonergic antidepressants to Phencyclidine (PCP, “Angel Dust),” a medication pulled from the market only a few years before Prozac was introduced in the US and a drug in the same family as Ketamine now being pushed for treatment of depression! So what is most interesting considering the information in this article about those on antidepressants not wanting to attempt withdrawal because it is so horrible is that is exactly the reason people reported not wanting to withdraw from Phencyclidine (PCP, “Angel Dust”)! Reading the reports of those on both drugs was almost identical with them even using the exact same words to describe their experience! Seems history is repeating itself once again….and ironically these are the drugs people being forced off the opioid pain killers are being given as a replacement in spite of the fact that patients on them have reported for decades that coming off an antidepressant is far more difficult that getting off opioids!

Another helpful place for those looking for support as they go through the withdrawal process is one of our many Facebook groups. To find one just type in the name of the drug you are withdrawing from followed by the phrase “Should Be Illegal” & you will find thousands of others going through the same things you are. For example “Prozac (Fluoxetine) Should Be Illegal”

 

Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms severe, says new report…

Existing guidance that symptoms are minimal leads to misdiagnosis and ‘harmful long-term prescribing’

Sarah Boseley Health editor

Tue 2 Oct 2018 11.23 EDT

Shares
6,036

‘The withdrawal effects if I forget to take my pill are severe shakes, suicidal thoughts, a feeling of too much caffeine in my brain, electric shocks, hallucinations, insane mood swings,’ said one patient in a study. Photograph: Steve Debenport/Getty

Half of all those taking antidepressants experience withdrawal problems when they try to give them up and for millions of people in England, these are severe, according to a new review of the evidence commissioned by MPs.

Guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which says withdrawal symptoms “are usually mild and self-limiting over about one week” urgently needs to be changed, say the review authors.

Dr James Davies from the University of Roehampton and Prof John Read from the University of East London say the high rate of withdrawal symptoms may be part of the reason people are staying on the pills for longer. They cannot cope, so carry on taking the drugs, or their doctors assume they have relapsed and write another prescription.

The review was commissioned by the all-party parliamentary group for prescribed drug dependence and follows a long debate about the Nice guidance, which critics say is out of date.

Modern antidepressants of the SSRI class, such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Seroxat (paroxetine), were marketed in part on their safety. Studies showed that when taken alone, overdoses were rarely fatal, which was not the case with benzodiazepines. Also, stopping the drugs was said to be easier.

This new review of the research reveals what many patients have known for years…Dr James Davies

There have been plenty of anecdotal accounts of withdrawal symptoms, which include dizziness, vertigo, nausea, insomnia, headaches, tiredness and difficulties concentrating. But the Nice guidance said in 2004 that the withdrawal symptoms were slight and short-lived and was re-adopted without further evidence in 2009. It is similar to the US guidance, which says symptoms usually resolve within one to two weeks.

The review, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, focused on 14 studies of antidepressants that had relevant data on withdrawal symptoms. The studies, which were diverse, showed that between 27% and 86% of people suffered from them, with a weighted average of 56%.

Antidepressants are now some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the UK and US, say the authors. “In the UK, usage has risen since 2000 by 170%, with over seven million adults (16% of the English adult population) being prescribed an antidepressant in England alone last year,” says the review.

About half of antidepressant users have been taking the pills for longer than two years. In England, that is 3.5 million people – 8% of the population. In the US, 13% of the population (37 million adults) were on them by 2011-2014, official data shows. Half have been taking them for five years or more.

“This new review of the research reveals what many patients have known for years – that withdrawal from antidepressants often causes severe, debilitating symptoms which can last for weeks, months or longer,” said Dr James Davies.

“Existing Nice guidelines fail to acknowledge how common withdrawal is and wrongly suggest that it usually resolves within one week. This leads many doctors to misdiagnose withdrawal symptoms, often as relapse, resulting in much unnecessary and harmful long-term prescribing.”

In addition to updating the existing evidence reviews, we will include new work on patient choice Nice
The review includes comments from some of the studies where antidepressant users were interviewed about their experiences of trying to wean themselves off the pills.

One spoke of “horrible dizzy spells and nausea whenever I lower my dose”. Another said: “The withdrawal effects if I forget to take my pill are severe shakes, suicidal thoughts, a feeling of too much caffeine in my brain, electric shocks, hallucinations, insane mood swings … kinda stuck on them now coz I’m too scared to come off it.”

Sir Oliver Letwin MP, chair of the parliamentary group, said: “This systematic review provides important new data on antidepressant withdrawal which will be considered by Public Health England as part of their current review into prescribed drug dependence. The data suggests that existing medical guidelines in this area should be urgently updated to reflect the fact that antidepressant withdrawal is much more common, severe and long-lasting than previously stated. Furthermore, we hope that other medical bodies will take note of this new research, and update their own guidance accordingly.”

Nice said it is looking again at its guidance. “In July 2018, the committee met and concluded that the current evidence base needs updating to include research from July 2016 onwards. Nice agrees,” said Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at Nice. “It is important that the final recommendations are based on the most up-to-date evidence possible. In addition to updating the existing evidence reviews, we will include new work on patient choice and a focus on shared decision making.

“We hope the final guideline will allow people with depression to be offered the best treatments and reach joint decisions about their care that reflect their preferences and values.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/02/antidepressant-withdrawal-symptoms-severe-says-new-report

• This article was amended on 3 October 2018 to clarify how overdosing on SSRI antidepressants differs from overdosing on benzodiazepines.

Since you’re here…
… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce.

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our Editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Support The Guardian

3,777 total views, 1 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS & PAIN MEDS: Soldier’s Family Claim He is Being Overmedicated

Paragraphs 8 through 10 read:  “About two and a half
weeks ago, Chas was not quite the same on the phone,” says Chip.
He was irritable and confused, and could barely stay
awake
.”

“Then one recent morning staff from Walter Reed had to
bang on Chas’s door just to wake him. Chip says chas is in such a groggy state
now he could not even get on his segway.”

“Chip began to investigate and
discovered doctors changed Chas’s medication, despite chip’s specific orders not
to. He is convinced his son is being prescribed too
many painkillers and anti-depressants.”

http://www.fox2now.com/news/ktvi-walter-reed-chas-shafer-111109,0,55246.story

Illinois Soldier’s Family Worries About His Safety at Walter Reed
Hospital

By Teresa Woodard FOX2now.com

November 11,
2009

Related links

O’FALLON, IL (KTVI-FOX2now.com) – The
family of an O’Fallon, Illinois soldier who lost his leg in Iraq is asking
serious questions about treatment at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington,
DC. There’s been an unexpected setback in Specialist Chas Shaffer’s recovery.
Fourteen months after the incident, his father says he has regressed, and he

blames the medication he‘s being prescribed by army doctors.

Chip Shaffer
marched in the Veterans’ Day Parade in O’Fallon Wednesday afternoon, all the
while wondering how his son was feeling in Washington, D.C.

“It seems
like I keep failing. And as the father of a wounded warrior, I don’t like
failing,” he says.

Shaffer is a veteran and the son of a World War Two
veteran, and the father of a soldier.

“I am trying to protect that third
generation,” says Shaffer.

Chip’s only son, Chas lost his right leg in
Iraq on September 1, 2008. After months of intense physical and emotional
therapy, Chas seemed unstoppable on a visit home in July. He was easily getting
around on a prosthetic leg, and speeding up and down his father’s street on a
segway.

But now, Chip says, there has been a setback.

“About two
and a half weeks ago, Chas was not quite the same on the phone,” says Chip. He

was irritable and confused, and could barely stay awake.

Then one recent
morning staff from Walter Reed had to bang on Chas’s door just to wake him. Chip
says chas is in such a groggy state now he could not even get on his
segway.

Chip began to investigate and discovered doctors changed Chas’s
medication, despite chip’s specific orders not to. He is convinced his son is
being prescribed too many painkillers and anti-depressants.

A long string
of unclassified army emails shows the Shaffers began complaining about possible
overmedication in February. Chas brought it up in what he believed would be a
private and confidential meeting between amputees at Walter Reed and a senator,
but his name was released and his superiors ridiculed him for what they called
an”offhand comment” said because, “he had an audience, and he used
it.”

The emails were followed by face to face contact where Chas was told
to remember the chain of command.

“In essence he was told never tell a
senator, never tell anyone else anything. This is personal opinions did not
count,” says Chip.

The army has now stripped Chip of his power to make
medical decisions on his son’s behalf. He is deeply worried about Chas and all
patients at Walter Reed.

“These kids need a lot of help. If we can’t fix
it, where are we as a country?” he asks. “If they want a fight, I have no
problem taking a fight to ’em.”

The senator Chas met with is Illinois
Sen. Dick Durbin. He was at the same Veterans’ Day Parade in O’Fallon as Chip.

He promises he cares about Chas too.

“We’ve been in touch with Mr.
Shaffer a number of times, and we’re working with him,” he told Fox 2. “He has
legitimate concerns and we’re going to make sure his son receives the best care.
It wasn’t that long ago that there were some really terrible stories coming out
of Walter Reed. I think things are better, but we’ve got to judge this on a case
by case basis and make sure his son is getting the very best treatment he

deserves.”

Chip was glad to hear the senator’s comments.

“I’m
going to place my confidence in Sen. Durbin. However, he fails, he‘s failing all
our military,” he says.

1,283 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS & PAIN MEDS: Man in Wheelchair Robs Bank: Florida

Paragraph nine reads:  “Reed lost the use of both of his
legs in 1986 from a gunshot wound. One of his legs was amputated just five
months before the robbery. His attorney argued he was
on anti-depressants and pain medication at the time.”

http://www.wftv.com/countybycounty/20813137/detail.html

Wheelchair-Bound Bank Robber Sentenced To Jail

Posted: 12:32 pm EDT September 9, 2009Updated: 1:16 pm EDT September 9,
2009

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The man who robbed a bank in his

wheelchair, and then hid the money in his prosthetic leg, was back in court
Wednesday morning. Christopher Reed entered a guilty plea and will serve time in
jail.

Reed wasn’t given any breaks because of his physical condition. In
fact, Judge John Harris said robbing the bank and threatening to blow it up were
both serious offenses. He ended up following sentencing guidelines and sent Reed
to prison for three years.

Reed, 48, took responsibility for his crimes,
apologizing from his wheelchair.

“I would like to say to the employees
and customers … that I am very, very sorry for my actions that day,” Reed said.

The paraplegic Merritt Island man drove his motorized wheelchair into
Space Coast Credit Union in November 2008. With a black stick and a lighter in
his hand, he told the teller he wanted $40,000 or he was going to blow the bank
up.

Reed’s defense attorney, though, in asking for leniency, said he
never caused any panic.

“Customer actually held the door for Mr. Reed
after Mr. Reed had just robbed the bank,” Reed’s attorney argued.

Reed
was caught not far from the bank. The sheriff’s helicopter was barely in the air
when he was spotted nearby. Deputies found $1,300 stuffed in his prosthetic leg.

Reed lost the use of both of his legs in 1986 from a gunshot wound. One
of his legs was amputated just five months before the robbery. His attorney
argued he was on anti-depressants and pain medication at the time.

The
judge, though, noted he faced 30 year years in prison before the plea agreement.

“These are very serious crimes that you have committed here,” Judge
Harris said.

The judge sentenced him to 34 months in prison and three
years of probation and he isn’t allowed into a Space Coast Credit Union again.
His attorney tried to get a lighter sentence, questioning whether there were
adequate facilities for men in Reed’s condition, but Judge John Harris shot that
notion down right away.

1,412 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS & PAIN MEDS: Death: Former Woman Soldier: England

Paragraphs two and three read:  “Chanice Ward, 29, died in April after taking a cocktail of painkillers andantidepressants in her Barford caravan, but yesterday greater Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said he could not be certain she committed suicide.”

“Her father maintains a belief that Miss Ward took her own life because she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder bought on by her years in the army, and has now vowed to continue with the fight for recognition she began before she died.”

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=ENOnline&category=News&tBrand=ENOnline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED27%20Aug%202009%2007%3A35%3A01%3A210

Uncertainty over overdose death

Chanice Ward.
REBECCA GOUGH
27 August 2009 07:35

A coroner has ruled that a young woman who was discharged from the army against her will and who died of an overdose earlier this year may not have deliberately taken her own life.

Chanice Ward, 29, died in April after taking a cocktail of painkillers and antidepressants in her Barford caravan, but yesterday greater Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said he could not be certain she committed suicide.

Her father maintains a belief that Miss Ward took her own life because she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder bought on by her years in the army, and has now vowed to continue with the fight for recognition she began before she died.

The inquest heard how Miss Ward, who was pursuing a case for compensation with the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency, had a history of depression and died as a result of a “self-administered overdose”.

Mr Ward, 57, who served 22 years in the army, said: “I know this inquest could not appoint blame but I’m certainly of the opinion that her time in the military and in active service worsened her state of mind. We have a case going on with the MoD and will be continuing her cause.”

For the last five years Miss Ward, of Barford, near Hethersett, had been working at Norwich Union in Surrey Street, Norwich and was a PA in the pensions department.

Since the age of 18 she had served six years in the Royal Medical Corps as a combat medic and ambulance technician, from 1997 to 2003, and won award medals from Bosnia and Kosovo.

She was found dead in the caravan she rented in Barford on April 3, but speaking at her inquest, her family and friends said they were shocked she had taken an overdose.

Her mother, Donna Holder, said her daughter was diagnosed with depression when she was a teenager but had appeared much happier in recent months.

Ms Holder said: “It was a very great shock because she was so well and had so many future plans and so much to look forward to.”

Mr Ward added that he had taken a phone call from his daughter a few weeks before she died, and said: “She said to me ‘I don’t think I’ve got long left to live’, and I said she was being silly but I knew deep down that she knew it.

“In the last six months she appeared tremendously upbeat but there was something underlying. She always appeared on the surface to be putting on a front but you never knew underneath what was going on.”

Her close friend Stanley Woodhouse was with her the weekend before she died and said: “I think I probably spent more time with her in the last few months of her life than anybody did.

“She thought the medication she was on had solved a lot of her problems but, as her father has said, we didn’t really know what was going on deep down. The feeling she gave to me was that she was upbeat about life.”

In an interview with our sister paper the Evening News earlier this year Ms Ward claimed she twice tried to kill herself but that her bosses would not accept she was suffering from an illness.

A MoD spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the family of Chanice Ward at this difficult time.

“We take the welfare of all our service personnel and veterans seriously.

“We have made great progress both in the treatment of mental health problems and in reducing the stigma associated with seeking help.

“Treatment for mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress, is also available for veterans through six community-based mental health pilot schemes the MoD has created with the NHS.”

1,299 total views, no views today