Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Comments by prhiannon

Showing 12 of 12 comments.

  • I started on Prozac in 1992 and was never able to get off SSRIs without a variety of severe symptoms. I ended up on a “cocktail” of psych drugs that I’ve been tapering off over the past six years. The good news is that with very slow tapering I was able to get off the SSRIs finally, with none of the problems I had experienced in the past.

    I participated on the website Surviving Antidepressants for several years and highly recommend it.

  • That’s good to hear; I hope you always make that clear. I had never been suicidal the way that I was on psychiatric drugs before ever taking them, and continually and miserably all the time I took them, with two attempts when I was in withdrawal from them as well. Suicidality caused by the use of psych drugs and going on and off them is a huge problem, I think, which nobody is really measuring or keeping any kind of reliable track of.

  • I just want to add my voice to the many thanking Dr. Breggin for his work.

    I lost 20 years of my life to psychiatric meds, starting with a prescription for fluoxetine for PTSD after an assault. I was so disabled I couldn’t work or function socially and I lost my life savings and my home and my relationships and friends. I kept taking more and more meds as prescribed for my “underlying illness,” thinking that they were helping me and I would be even worse without them. I was almost constantly suicidal and after an attempt, with no health insurance (couldn’t work at that point), I had to file bankruptcy and was encouraged to file for disability by my friends.

    Thanks to the Internet I was able to figure out what was going on and I have been tapering for four years off my final “cocktail” of meds. While tapering I am more functional and happier (working full time, moved to a different part of the country, have a network of friends, enjoying my hobbies and enthusiasms and zest for the first time in over 20 years) than I ever was during those years on “therapeutic” doses. Dr. Breggin’s work has supported and sustained me and I am so grateful to him.

    I’d also like to echo AA’s endorsement of the website Surviving Antidepressants for tapering advice.

  • Probably not.

    The part that is of interest and may be relevant is that diet affects microbiome which may then affect behavior. (I think it’s ridiculous to speculate as to how it affects “depression” or emotions; not that mice don’t have emotions, but they can’t tell us what they are so it’s silly to assume. But we can observe behavior.)

    I haven’t read the actual paper and it’s not clear from the above piece whether the authors do try to generalize the results to humans, but the specific findings involving saturated fat in mouse diets would not apply to humans, because mice have never been meat-eating hunters. So a diet containing more than an occasional trace of saturated fat–or sucrose, for that matter–is going to produce a nonadaptive and unnatural gut microbiome, and if microbiome affects behavior, then it’s probably going to produce nonadaptive and unnatural behavior.

  • In a society that has debated whether women who use cocaine during pregnancy should be incarcerated, I think it is absolutely ludicrous that we don’t question bathing a fetus in drugs that alter brain chemistry in direct and extremely powerful ways–ways that the mammalian nervous system has never been exposed to before in evolution and has no way to adapt to–during the months that its brain is most vulnerable to injury. Altering the chemistry in the synapses in a brain that is actually just forming, growing, from nothing–how does that make sense?

    I cannot understand how anyone who managed to graduate from medical school could possibly think this makes sense or is okay. I know the pharmaceutical companies are sociopathically greedy and without conscience, I don’t expect logic or restraint or ethical behavior from them any more, but these prescriptions are written by actual physicians. What is the disconnect in logic here? How can they possibly think that this level of risk to a fetus makes any sense at all?

  • The forum Surviving Antidepressants is a reliable source of information for tapering off neuroleptics–primarily ADs but due to the need for it they are developing a body of information about other sorts of meds as well. There are a few doctors around who know as much about tapering as the adminstrator of that site does, but not many (the site does maintain a list of helpful and well-informed doctors though). Unfortunately a lot of doctors will give taper advice that just makes the problems worse, so be careful.

  • “I wonder if even more useful than a compendium of practitioners facilitating drug withdrawal would be a database of personal experiences of coming off drugs: the hows, the whys, the how-longs, the what-it-was-like. It could be the start of a more systematic enquiry into a very important and overlooked area of psychiatry.”

    The above-mentioned withdrawal boards would be a good source of this information, with thousands of individual stories. In my experience the best-organized such board is Surviving Antidepressants.

    I hope more physicians will come to realize that there are many of us out here who have a tremendous amount of experience helping people withdraw from psychiatric meds and we’ve learned a lot that’s useful.

  • Unfortunately, continuing on the drugs is not always an option either. It’s not that simple. In fact, problems that arise from taking SSRIs on an ongoing basis very often lead to the addition of more neurotoxic and disabling drugs. We Internet citizens see many cases of polypharmacy and eventual disability that started with SSRI side effects or “poop-out.”

    I wish there were a simple answer. I think there’s more in this kitchen than just a frying pan and a fire, sadly.

    I’d like to add that I’ve personally worked with a number of people with decades-long histories on SSRIs and other psych drugs who do succeed with very slow tapers over a couple of years or more.

  • As one of those “citizen scientists” I’m glad I didn’t read this piece before beginning my taper, because I might then have been too afraid to try it.

    I’ve been tapering multiple meds excruciatingly slowly for three and a half years, and during that time I have reduced my SSRI dosage to its current level of 1.5 mg. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I’ve gotten back so much of my original personality and zest and social interests and ability to work and play, after 20 years of my life lost to psych meds, starting with Prozac.

    I do think it’s important to discuss the rare possibility of permanent dysfunction after use and discontinuation of SSRIs. But please do balance this presentation with the extremely hopeful possibility that, as many of us have found, it is in fact possible to carefully taper off SSRIs slowly and to recover if not 100% of previous function, at least a life much more worth living than the disabled zombie existence we experienced on the drugs.

    In short: there are perhaps some people who should never have attempted to come off SSRIs. But how many are there who would benefit greatly from doing so, with appropriate support and advice and care?

    While this is a necessary discussion, please be aware of the risk of discouraging those who might benefit greatly from getting off these life-destroying drugs.