How Do Antidepressants Really ‘Work’?
A recent review, published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, challenges the dominant assumptions about the neurochemical and therapeutic effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors...
Researching the Link Between SSRIs and Violence
In 2010, my 25-year old son was prescribed Prozac for depression. After a psychiatrist doubled his dose, my son became acutely psychotic and had to be admitted to the hospital. Over the next twelve months, during which time he was treated with antidepressants and neuroleptics, my son had five further psychotic experiences. I thought it might be that my son was having difficulty metabolising the drugs.
Sadness: The Problem and The Solution
There is an ever-narrowing bandwidth of behavior that supports the dominant narrative in our culture today. We all need to act a certain way to protect the foundational beliefs of our time – that “science” has it all figured out, that rules keep us safe, and that it’s us vs. them (insert germs, terrorists, pests, and other “enemies”). But what are the consequences of this? What is this sadness and where does it go if we bandage our consciousness with business, medication, substances, or general avoidance of our real human experience?
Violence Caused by Antidepressants: An Update after Munich
The media is now reporting details about the 18-year-old who shot and killed nine and wounded many others before killing himself on July 22 in Munich. My clinical and forensic experience leads to a distinction among people who murder under the influence of psychiatric drugs. Those who kill only one or two people, or close family members, often have little or no history of mental disturbance and violent tendencies. The drug itself seems like the sole cause of the violent outburst. On the other hand, most of those who commit mass violence while taking psychiatric drugs often have a long history of mental disturbance and sometimes violence. For these people, the mental health system seems to have provoked increasing violence without recognizing the danger.
Prescribing Antidepressants for Girls: Intergenerational Adverse Consequences
Children exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy, a recent study shows, were diagnosed with depression by age 14 at more than four times the rate of children whose mothers were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder but did not take the medication. Such reports are usually met, appropriately, with an outpouring of reassurances from clinicians who take care of pregnant women, who need to protect their emotional wellbeing in whatever way they can. From my perspective as a pediatrician specializing in early childhood mental health our attention must be on prevention.
Who Will Guard the Guardians of Psychiatry?
The assertion that the so-called antidepressants are being over-prescribed implies that there is a correct and appropriate level of prescribing and that depression is a chronic illness (just like diabetes). It has been an integral part of psychiatry's message that although depression might have been triggered by an external event, it is essentially an illness residing within the person's neurochemistry. The issue is not whether people should or shouldn't take pills. The issue is psychiatry pushing these dangerous serotonin-disruptive chemicals on people, under the pretense that they have an illness.
Legal Journal Says Antidepressants Can Cause Violence and Suicide
Antidepressants have been reported to cause a state called “akathisia,” where people feel extremely agitated and restless and may become preoccupied with thoughts of...
“You May Be On Prozac But Not Know It”
"Within the last decade," reports The Alternative Daily, "traces of pharmaceuticals have been reported in the water cycle, including surface waters, wastewater, groundwater and to...
Antidepressants Linked to Dementia
A study published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that the use of antidepressant drugs was associated with an...
Serotonin Is Still Alive and Well in Psychiatry Land
In the September, 2015 issue of JAMA Psychiatry, a team of Swedish researchers published a study evaluating the serotonin system in persons with social anxiety. the findings here are in direct contradiction to what the pharmaceutical companies would have us believe: that anxiety and depression are caused by deficit levels of serotonin. There was an editorial by the authors in the same issue which attempted to obfuscate the findings by referencing the heterogeneity in persons who exhibit social anxiety. Unfortunately, neither the article or the editorial referenced the work of neuroscientist who for the past 30 years have been investigating what happens in the brains of animals that are subjected to uncontrollable stress.
Antidepressants, Pregnancy, and Autism: Why Wouldn’t Antidepressant Chemicals Affect a Developing...
This week another study was published showing that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased rates of autism in the children. By my count, this is now the tenth study on this topic and it follows on the heels of previous studies – all of which found links between SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy and autism in the offspring. Most of these studies were recently reviewed by Man, et al, who also concluded that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with autism in the children. So we now have numerous studies in different human populations all showing a link between SSRI use in pregnancy and autism in the children. Yet, much of the news and blogosphere focus on casting doubts about these findings. What is going on here?
Antidepressants Associated with Increased Risk for Manic Symptoms
An analysis of medical records in the UK reveals that the use of certain antidepressants for depression is linked to a heightened risk for mania and bipolar disorder. The research, published this week in BMJ Open, found the strongest effect for serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the antidepressant venlafaxine.
Massive Number of Antidepressant Meta-Analyses Biased By Industry
A massive number of meta-analyses of antidepressant clinical trials have financial conflicts of interest and are unduly influenced by pharmaceutical companies, according to a review to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. Researchers also found that meta-analyses with industry ties almost never report any negative findings in their abstracts.
Study 329: The Timelines
In addition to hosting the Panorama programs and The Famous Grouse history of Study 329, Study329.org has a comprehensive timeline on the origins of concerns about the SSRIs and the risk of suicide, initially with Prozac and subsequently with Paxil/Seroxat. The hope is to provide a comprehensive repository for anyone who wants to study SSRIs, RCTs, and Study 329 in particular.
Shooting the Odds, Part III
My prior MIA blog posts have largely addressed the problems that can occur when people try to stop taking serotonin-related antidepressants, particularly after taking them for a long period of time. I wanted to share a few updated thoughts that I have on the problem.
Stopping SSRI Antidepressants Can Cause Long, Intense Withdrawal Problems
In the first systematic review of withdrawal problems that patients experience when trying to get off SSRI antidepressant medications, researchers found that withdrawing from SSRIs was comparable to trying to quit addictive benzodiazepines.
Playing the Odds, Revisited
It is hard to believe that a year has gone past since I posted Playing the Odds: Antidepressant Withdrawal and the Problem of Informed Consent. The feedback I received underscored the more controversial aspects of SSRI toxicity. Common themes concerned the abrupt onset of new symptoms 3 to 12 months after stopping the drug, reinstatement of the drug failing to help withdrawal related symptoms, the possibility that withdrawal-related symptoms can persist indefinitely and concerns about using benzodiazepines to help with tardive akathisia.
Former Duke Psychiatry Chair Calls for BMJ to Retract Article about...
A former Duke University psychiatry chair is calling for a retraction of a study suggesting that the FDA's black-box warnings about increased suicidality in youth taking SSRIs led to increases in adolescent suicide attempts.
Here’s the Real Data: No Increase in Suicide Attempts Following Black...
A British Medical Journal study led by Harvard Medical School's Christine Lu suggested that black box warnings about increased suicidality in youth who take antidepressants actually led to increases in adolescent suicide attempts. However, the latest in a stream of critics of that conclusion are the authors of one of the key studies cited by Lu in support of her team's analysis.
Upon Further Review: Did the Black Box Warning on SSRIs Lead...
A study that appeared online in the British Medical Journal suggests that the FDA’s warning in 2003 that antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal ideation in youth paradoxically led to an increase in suicide attempts in this age group. Media reports on the study tell of how the black-box warning “backfired.” But is this conclusion warranted by the study? Or is the study flawed? And how did the media report on this story?
Preventing Depression: SSRIs for At-Risk Populations?
An issue that we think deserves more media attention than it is currently receiving is the idea of Preventive Intervention in Psychiatry. The goal of Preventive Intervention is to reduce the rate of psychiatric diagnoses in an at-risk group of people by pretreating all the group members with a medication. For instance, could the rate of PTSD in the military be reduced by pretreating everybody in the military with an SSRI?
Things Your Doctor Should Tell You About Antidepressants
The conventional wisdom is that antidepressant medications are effective and safe. However, the scientific literature shows that the conventional wisdom is flawed. While all prescription medications have side effects, antidepressant medications appear to do more harm than good as treatments for depression.
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