Alarming Report on Antidepressant Side Effects


Drawing on analysis of data from websites such as,, depression,,,, and, researchers from the University of Bologna and from North America report that patients who had discontinued SSRIs were experiencing significant withdrawal and post-withdrawal symptoms.

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Editor’s note: We missed this when it came out in September, and Beyond Meds caught it. So, hat tip to Monica Cassani, who adds additional commentary with lots of into and resources about withdrawal.

Alarming report on persistent side effects of antidepressant drugs published online (News Medical)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. “and the postwithdrawal phase, consisting of tardive receptor supersensitivity disorders”

    Translation: These drugs can mess you up for the rest of your life. I had already known that from experience, but it hurts me to realize that professionals actually have a name for it and still it seems that nobody on their side of the fence is taking it seriously. Drugs that can screw you up for a life-time, even if you only take it for a couple of months. Is that really worth getting through some hard times or subduing children?

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    • “tardive receptor supersensitivity disorders” Crap, that is so scary, and I agree that it’s hurtful that they have a name for it but don’t deal with it by changing their prescribing criteria. And do primary care docs even know this is an issue??

      “Is that really worth getting through some hard times or subduing children?”

      I don’t know about that. But it has certainly been worth it to save my life, which tricyclics and SSRIs have done several times. And I don’t care if I ever discontinue my Paxil. If not for antidepressants, I would have been dead by suicide long ago.

      And, having worked with severely depressed adolescents in residential treatment, I haven’t seen drugs used to “subdue” children but to save their lives. Adolescents are impulsive, and our clients have done some alarming things to try to kill themselves.

      I’m afraid the public and uneducated primary care providers see these drugs as feel-good pills and don’t understand that they aren’t to be used lightly. Not just to cope with hard times. I blame pharmaceutical advertising and reps for that. Damn them. And I understand that some psychiatrists are nothing more than pill pushers. Damn them.

      But I get afraid that these meds will be so maligned that someone will try to outlaw them. That’s why I get so prickly when they are used inappropriately. I need them, and so do others. I hope you feel better, Jeffrey. God bless you.

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  2. people do heal…in worst case scenarios it can take years but they do heal…I’m far better than I was, remain super-sensitive but see that I am continuing to improve. I’ve seen others like me reach total wellness.

    being gravely and profoundly ill for years is unimaginable for most people which is why it’s widely denied.

    but for those of us struck with such illness it’s important to know that people heal…they get to the other side. I’ve seen it many times. Hang on, Jeffrey.

    here is a link to the many ways I cope with and help my body heal from my iatrogenic illness:

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    • But Monica, your definition of healed is so subjective. Mine is not. If the brain is still impaired, the person is still damaged, regardless of how they feel or function. If I used your definition, I could consider myself healed by the fact that I can play guitar and use the internet, even though I have numerous neurological problems that drive me nuts every day and make me irritable, that aside from having already made me a social outcast for the last 15 years.

      But, by your definition of healed, I would be totally fine if I just chose to ignore those facts.

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      • I’m not sure why you think I’m talking about still being brain damaged…it seems to me my body and brain is healing quite nicely as in the brain damage is clearing up. Neuroplasticity is both the reason why we get harmed as well as the reason we can heal. In fact I’ve been told by a researcher who looks at this stuff that those of us who are gravely harmed are more susceptible to neuroplastic changes which also means we can heal more impressively in the long run.

        I certainly cannot speak to your individual circumstance. I am sorry you are clearly suffering so deeply.

        and yes, healing is a spectrum…so maybe you read something on my site to that effect…but what I see happening everyday among many of our comrades is complete healing. And while still very symptomatic myself I also see it happening in myself…it’s rather astonishing and amazing what this body is capable of.

        I hope you find a way to peace regardless…I do also believe we can live with pain and minimize suffering…that has been how I’ve gotten this far and it’s helped my body actually get better…and at this point my process of acceptance seems to be ushering in deeper healing and I do expect wellness.

        best to you,

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        • I should add…part of the healing process for me included very very dark times during which I couldn’t conceive of getting better…years of that really…though it helped that I stayed in touch with others who had regained wellness from similar insults…it can turn around. I hope it does for you too.

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          • It’s just that every time somebody supports the idea that people can heal from drug induced brain damage, however good their intentions may be, I see entire groups of people exploiting that in ways that support drug use.

            What if by the time that child drugging would have died down we instead have a new generation of people who believe that the kids could always just heal from their brain damage in their 20’s if the “treatment” doesn’t work out by then?

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          • what you’re saying makes no sense. it’s those of us who are recovering that speak of recovery…we’ve been harmed and we spread the word of the toxic harm.

            the only answer would be to lie and say we don’t get better…I know 100s who are ALL BETTER…your argument is ridiculous. those of us who are ill need to know we’ll get better…it’s almost like you don’t want to know that? what is up with that?

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          • You somehow failed to read what I wrote. Just because somebody has GOTTEN BETTER, as you say — a completely subjective experience based on personal opinion — does not mean that they have HEALED FROM DRUG INDUCED BRAIN DAMAGE. All of the available evidence suggests that the damage is permanent and could be found on autopsy even many years after a person got off them and was doing “better.”, but that does not mean that they REVERSED the harm that had been done to them.

            This has nothing to do with people going off the drugs and finding happiness. It has to do with going off the drugs and then even 20 years later you still have movement disorders, or cognitive deficits, or memory problems, ect.

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          • you’re wrong. available evidence suggests our brains are potentially highly neuroplastic and we can and do heal from these insults all the time. I’m sorry you’re in pain. I hope you get better.

            a post on neuroplasticity (scroll down for a long list of links on the topic)


            this link is for people who want to know about the amazing capacity for our brains and bodies to heal. I say hallelujah as I’ve seen so many people heal. Totally and completely.

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          • and for the record, I’m done here on this thread. Won’t be back..this argument is silly…if people want to know how the body is a wondrous healing machine and lots of ways to avoid psychiatry as well as heal from it if you’ve already encountered it you can visit my blog.

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      • While I share your concern about communicating the dangers of psychiatric drugs, I wouldn’t deny reality to support an argument against them.

        Many people say they do recover completely. If we don’t accept their subjective opinion of recovery, how would we assess recovery?

        The suffering people incur along the way to recovery is enough of a demonstration that these drugs should be prescribed much, much less frequently and that medicine should know much, much more about tapering.

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