Thursday, August 11, 2022

Comments by sarabee

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  • Andrew Solomon is a gifted and intelligent writer, but he is coming at this issue through a particular lens. He is a pharmaceutical industry scion and consumer of mental health services and psychotropic drugs for years, if not decades. He has admitted himself he takes a cocktail of medications to “manage his depression” (Wikipedia).

    As someone who lost a daughter to an antidepressant-induced suicide and has been part of the psychiatric survivor movement for over a decade, I see things very differently. I am dismayed by the number of women who believe that the only solution to their depression is taking psychiatric medication as well as the failure in this article to mention the issues of chemical dependency, withdrawal, and long term harm (such as sexual dysfunction and chronic dysthymia) caused by psychiatric drugs. Mary Guest’s story is indeed tragic, but I do not see it as a story of untreated mental illness, but rather of a misguided abrupt withdrawal from antidepressants followed by an ill advised resumption of treatment. Unless she resumed at an extremely low dose, she would have been at risk of akathisia, a known precursor to suicide. Abruptly stopping and then weeks later recommencing at perhaps the same dose is very dangerous and the behavioral changes caused have little to do with so-called underlying mental illness, but rather the toxic effects of the drug.

    There is no doubt in my mind that abruptly withdrawing from antidepressants is extremely dangerous and therefore women who want to bear children need to consider taking a very long time before getting pregnant to get safely off the drugs. Pregnancy is no time to be undertaking the difficult process of withdrawal which could easily take more than nine months to do safely depending on how long a woman has been taking them. This is only one of many reasons that I think these drugs should rarely, if ever, be given to women of child-bearing age. Evidence cited by Robert Whitaker in his book Anatomy of an Epidemic supports the fact that taking antidepressants is more likely to lead to chronic depression than not. Antidepressants work by a similar mechanism as cocaine and have been described by Joseph Glenmullen in Prozac Backlash as an attenuated form of cocaine. Of course this might feel marvelous over the short term and cause problems to melt away, but it hardly is a recipe for long term health and well being. Women who are struggling with antenatal depression could be responding to birth control pill withdrawal effects as these also cause mood changes. In fact, birth control pills are a segue into antidepressant use because they cause depression. Women are quite simply being taken advantage of as consumers of pharmaceutical products with little to no explanation of what to expect regarding long term behavioral changes caused by chronic consumption of medication, especially psychiatric drugs. The general public greatly underestimates the power of big pharma to promote a distorted and incomplete story about the products they sell. Adam Urato is to be commended for trying to set the record straight on the potential for birth defects. This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the ways in which the public has been deluded about this most potent of industry money makers, antidepressants.

    A large number of people are known to me personally who have broken free of their labels and their treatment with psych meds who are leading the best days of their lives as a result. I also know people whose lives have been destroyed by psychiatry and are permanently disabled (or dead) from their medications and literally no one who takes the Pollyanna view of treatment described in this article. Those of you suffering, please read the resources out there like Recovering from Psychiatry, Beyond Meds, or Mad in America that give another side to the story of solving the depression riddle. Even Andrew Solomon himself should consider trying to get ever so slowly off his cocktail and see how much better he might feel.