Tag: risks of antipsychotics
This week Live & Learn launched a research study on the experience of people labeled with mental disorders who have tried to stop taking psychiatric medications. This project -- the Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction (PMDR) Study -- aims to understand the process of coming off psychiatric medications in order to better support those who choose to do so. The study seeks to answer the question: What helps people stop their psychiatric medications? What gets in the way of stopping?
The writings of Pies and his colleagues, I believe, provide a compelling case study of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance arises when people are presented with information that creates conflicted psychological states, challenging some belief they hold dear, and people typically resolve dissonant states by sifting through information in ways that protect their self-esteem and their financial interests. It is easy to see that process operating here.
For a long time I have felt that there just isn’t a good enough and long enough study on the pros and cons of long-term antipsychotic treatment versus reduction and discontinuation in people who have psychotic disorders, including those who are classified as having schizophrenia. Moreover, there are increasing reasons to be worried about the effects of long-term treatment with antipsychotics. I put this case to the UK’s National Institute of Health Research recently, and proposed that they fund a trial to assess the long-term outcomes of a gradual programme of antipsychotic reduction compared with standard ‘maintenance treatment.’ The NIHR agreed that this was an important issue, and that a new trial was urgently needed. The RADAR (Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation And Reduction) study officially started in January 2016.
The case of “Beth” depicts, almost innocently, the trials and tribulations of a well-adjusted, talented 15-year-old who developed depression, paranoia, panic attacks, and self-injurious and homicidal behavior, and “bipolar disorder” after being prescribed antidepressants, and then antipsychotics. After Beth decided - on her own - to discontinue psychotropic medications in favor of hormone therapy, she remained free of psychiatric symptoms.
On his website, Dr. Nardo details the hidden risks and bad science behind the growing practice of using atypical antipsychotics to augment antidepressant treatment for severe depression. The story of Atypical Antipsychotic Augmentation of Treatment Resistant Depression is a “prime example” “to illustrate how commercial interests have invaded medical practice.” “Besides the obvious dangers of the Metabolic Syndrome and Tardive Dyskinesia, these drugs don’t really do what they’re advertised to do – make the antidepressants work a lot better.”