Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Comments by Greg_Martin

Showing 9 of 9 comments.

  • I went off psych drugs. Been dealing with this since 2010. I went off xanax after 6 years. I cut 10% a month for a year. Missed 3 months of work after my last dose, did not return to any form of consistency for about a year. Made a foolish decision to also go off Paxil and that sent me to the psych ward and then ECT. Awful experiences that didn’t help. I don’t have it in me to do another slow taper. I have 2 kids and a wife and a job to keep going. The intensity of akathisia is way more intense than anything I endured off benzos and that is saying ALOT. Benzos are providing some relief. I can function, go to work, be there for my kids. And I’m very well familiar with Whitaker’s book. I wouldnt’ be on this site if I weren’t. My point is that there are no easy answers and being a rigid staunch anti-med at all costs misses the fact that there are no easy answers to this.

  • You tell me what to do then? Tapering off SSRIs increases my akathisia. Increasing SSRI dosage increases my akathisia. Benzos have helped reduce the agitation. No one can tell me or anyone else in this situation how to cope or how to reduce the intolerability of akathisia. They condemn the suggestion but don’t realize that anything that makes this condition worse increases the risk of suicide. It’s not a grin and bear it condition. It lasts for long periods of time. When I went off benzos years ago, my withdrawal was horrible but I did not have these long, sustained periods of akathisia that I’ve had with SSRI withdrawal. Sometimes people just can’t get off the drugs. Sometimes, you have to make very hard choices.

  • I took Paxil for 15 years and Xanax for 6 years. The withdrawal from xanax was horrible and lasted in high intensity for about a year after my year-long taper (which was also difficult). I went off Paxil after the benzo withdrawal had died down. After a month off, I tried to re-instate on Paxil but that did not help. I ended up in inpatient psych facility and was later transferred to another facility to do ECT. ECT did not help, and the experience haunts me. When I returned home, I thought I was heading for suicide. Constant ideation which was fueled by the intolerable feelings of akathisia. I have a wife and two kids and I wanted to live. So I went back on benzos and the degree of intensity of the symptoms lessened. I’m still struggling and I don’t know if taking benzos just put off more intense misery later. But I do know that I have been living my life with my kids and wife for two years since I made that decision. And that wouldn’t have happened without re-instating benzos.

    We’re all reaching in the dark here. I think those who use their personal experience of benzo withdrawal to castigate Dr Shipko are seeing the situation only through their own experience. As, I admit, am I. But my experience tells me there is no easy answer to this situation. And, of all the horrors that I endured getting off benzos, I never experienced akathisia. And I was grateful for the relief that benzos brought me. It may easily be something that haunts me later, but I know my wife and kids are glad I’ve been around the past two years.

    The less we stand in rigid judgment about treating a condition where there is so little actual research or understanding of its nature, the better off we’re going to be.

  • What I enjoyed most about his blog was the wisdom and thoughtfulness he presented. His tone, even when critical, was grounded in an open search for the truth and not laced with common hyperbole and combative rhetoric often found in the critical psychiatry movement. And of course I learned a great deal about how easily manipulated RCT can be and the desperate need for reform which helped give me comfort while enduring difficult discontinuation effects from SSRIs and benzos. I will miss his blog terribly.

  • Sera,

    There is so much wonderful power in your essay – so many good points and needed deconstruction that I hesitate to say anything negative about it. But I will because I think it’s important. Just know that I share much of your anger and point of view toward the BG article.

    I just wish you had pared down some of your rhetoric and tone – particularly the mocking condescending terminology like “my dear Globe,” “you Globe folks,” “(Once again) Correlation is NOT Causation (Say it with me now!),” ” Oooo. If you can’t scare them with what you supposedly do know, terrify them with the looming unknown! Yeah, that’s how it’s done!”

    In my opinion, using rhetoric like that distracts from the very serious points you are making. I can imagine that the Post would far more easily dismiss and deflect the message that needs to get to them regarding this irresponsible article because of that tone.

    This is not to say your response should be devoid of emotion or passion – but much of this comes across to me as almost childlike mocking. Your strongest passages are where you make your points with succinctness.

    To me, this is not a trivial issue, I’ve found through my own bitter experience that the critical psychiatry movement is often derided more for its tone than for the substance of its arguments. Resorting to using some of this excessive, derisive rhetoric gives the Post a way out of addressing the crux of your argument.

    And let me repeat, I feel as angry as you do about their piece – it’s infuriating that the reporters simply accept as an a priori fact that mandated hospitalization and medication are inherently therapeutic – that they ignore the very real issues raised about the efficacy of our treatment strategies. But I also think it is human nature when attacked with snark and derision to put up a defensive wall where they actually ignore the substance of an argument.

  • “Pies’ piece was published in the Psychiatric Times, which means that it was directed as his peers, a post designed to assure them that all was okay in the world of psychiatry, and with its use of antipsychotics.”

    This very excellent critical piece being published in MIA is having the same impact as Pies piece in the Psychiatric Times – directing it to people already inclined to believe the argument. I know that Robert is trying to engage in a dialogue with the psychiatric community and the reason information like this is confined to this site is more an indictment of the psychiatric community (and frankly scientific community in general) actively denying the opportunities for debate and an open exchange of this VITAL critique.

    As someone dealing with severe after-effects of discontinuing 15 years of Paxil and 6 years of xanax (only to find himself stuck back on zoloft and ativan), I get very little out of spending too much time on this site. It’s not that I don’t agree with the majority of what’s written here. It’s that without the curiosity of people in the field, it’s just preaching to the choir.

    This underscores Bob’s main post here and the one earlier re: the antidepressant forum’s muted reception to his presentation. There is a genuine lack of curiosity or concern about the long-term effects of these medications. I know there is something wrong with my nervous system that is the result of being on these medications long-term. I’ve talked about it at length with the doctor I see. She tells me that I’m “an unusual case” and also agrees that there’s not much psychiatry can do for me. But there is absolutely no feeling of responsibility. And beyond just lack of curiosity, the lack of feeling of responsibility is even more distressing to me.

    I’m not exactly sure what general point I’m making other than just profound disappointment that these very important debates are not really happening in an interactive forum. It just make me feel more stuck and trapped. Lack of validation is tough to take. Explaining a nervous system disruption to those who’ve never heard of it, puts one in the position of sounding like a neurotic who makes up vague symptoms for sympathy. So I don’t say anything to anyone.

    We’re just too siloed off right now. We either need to find a way to bring people like Pies and Peter Kramer into this site to actively engage in a discussion (without ad hominen attacks) or find a better way to get the message – backed by the solid evidence and research Robert brings – out to the field.

  • Quote from WebMD in their section “Withdrawal from Antidepressants”:

    “Antidepressants help restore the normal function of naturally occurring, mood-regulating substances in the brain, called neurotransmitters, including serotonin and norepinephrine. ”

    That is STILL on the site – where did they get this “information”? From “respected” psychiatric professionals, of course. It’s the legacy that Piers seems to eager to dismiss.

    But, I will say as someone who has had depression that while I soundly reject the single neurotransmitter imbalance theory – I do know that something PHYSICAL and probably chemical is happening in the brain to cause depressive symptoms like anhedonia, lethargy, lack of motivation, etc. But so little is understood about the brain, that it has been so grossly irresponsible for pharmaceutical companies to make drugs to treat something they don’t understand. They put the sad excuse for a cart wayyy in front of the horse they don’t understand.

    I will also say that experiencing drug withdrawal demonstrates that neurotransmitter dysfunction does significantly impact psychological wellbeing and physical functioning. If the harm from drugs targeting neurotransmitters can cause “depressive like symptoms” then surely the transmitters themselves play a role in depression.

    Again, though, don’t get me wrong. Pharmaceutical interventions are making things worse…but for research and understanding, science should continue to examine the role of neurotransmitters in brain health particularly how they adapt and respond to external stresses and changes.

  • As one who unnecessarily received ECT because of drug withdrawal, I honestly believe our focus should be on psych drug harm to a much greater degree than banning ECT. This is not to endorse ECT by any means and there are probably harms not yet identified, but there just isn’t any comparison to the degree of suffering I’ve experienced from psych drugs than the 11 treatments of ECT I received. I guess I’m a Healy-ite on this.