Antidepressant drugs made woman believe she had killed her own children … Hallucinations, crushed libido, side effects galore

Back in 2009 I contacted a man on YouTube who said his name was Kevin.  He had bravely posted a video about persistent sexual dysfunction from SSRIs.  In it he wore a red shirt and went under the user name of “ManFromUK”.

In the video he spoke of his own loss along with the complaints of over a thousand members in a support group for people suffering from seemingly permanent sexual dysfunction.  They were suffering not only from ED, but both men and women were experiencing genital anesthesia long after taking, and then discontinuing, SSRIs.  He said that he had come to the U.S. and spoken about this health issue at a large gathering of the American Psychological Association.

I messaged him, asking if he knew of any support groups for those who suffered such losses from antipsychotics.  He said he didn’t know of any, but referred me to the SSRI group.  Even though I have never taken SSRIs, I was admitted to the group and have been following it ever since.  When I last looked there were almost 4,000 members.  Here is the link:    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SSRIsex/info

I wonder if this article mentions the same Kevin:

 

Antidepressant drugs made woman believe she had killed her own children … Hallucinations, crushed libido, side effects galore

Antidepressant drugs made woman believe she had killed her own children … Hallucinations, crushed libido, side effects galoreWhen you read the side effects on a package of antidepressants – or any medication, for that matter – it’s easy to brush them off out of a desire to start feeling better quickly. Problems like fatigue, nausea and decreased libido are just words on a page and easy to dismiss … until they happen to you.

If you or a loved one is thinking of taking these medications, you might want to read the story of Katinka Blackford Newman first. Her experience illustrates the very ugly side of these drugs that few people talk about, and shows how it can impact real people in a way that those package inserts can never truly convey.

Her story is one that a lot of people can relate to. The sleepless nights and tumult of going through a divorce led her doctor to prescribe the antidepressant escitalopram. Just a few hours later, the psychosis set in, and she hallucinated that she had killed her own children. When she was brought to the hospital, the doctors did not realize she was having an adverse reaction to the antidepressants, and gave her even more pills. (RELATED: Find more news about medical violence at MedicalViolence.com.)

She describes the next year as a nightmare, saying she was so sick she could barely even leave her house. Unable to sit still, she felt suicidal and lost her relationship with her children. She says the drugs made her an “overweight, dribbling wreck, unable to finish a sentence.” When a different hospital took her off all five medications a year later, by what she describes as “a stroke of luck” when her private insurance ran out, she felt reborn, and was back to her usual self within weeks, working as a filmmaker and preparing for a half-marathon.

One part of her life that did not go back to normal right away, however, was her interest in sex. Although her libido did eventually return, she is now drawing attention to the many people who experience sexual dysfunction as a result of taking antidepressants. In some cases, normal sexual function never returns after discontinuing the drugs.

Most people experience genital numbing within half an hour of taking a pill, and a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry involving nearly 1,000 people, estimates that nearly 60 percent of those taking the most popular SSRIs experience sexual side effects.

This problem is so widespread that it even has a name, Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD). It can affect men and woman alike. One man, Kevin Bennett, has shared his story in hopes of sparing others what he suffered after starting Prozac for anxiety when he was 18. He says he become completely impotent within four days. He thought the side effect was only temporary at first. After quitting the medication cold turkey, however, side effects like drowsiness subsided, but his sexual function never returned to normal.

Bennett even went so far as to write a letter to the drug’s manufacturer, Eli Lilly, to ask for advice about the problem, which was preventing him from having normal relationships. The Big Pharma firm responded that Prozac was not the problem and he should consult his GP. This was in 1997; the drug now carries a warning that sexual dysfunction can persist even after stopping treatment, so it’s clear the company was not being honest with him.

After seeing a slew of doctors including neurologists, radiologists, urologists and endocrinologists, it became apparent that his body was working normally and that the Prozac was the culprit. A muscle relaxant injection just before intercourse is the only way he can perform, a situation he describes as “humiliating.”

Even if you can live without sex, the other side effects of SSRIs are just as bad, if not worse. The prospect of becoming suicidal is perhaps the most disturbing of all. Before mindlessly filling a prescription from your doctor for antidepressants, research the side effects carefully and look into alternative coping mechanisms like cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, yoga and meditation.”

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

NaturalNews.com

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Finnish Open Dialogue: High recovery rates leave many psychiatric beds empty

The United States could learn a lot from countries like Finland. However, if we were to implement some of their principles in reaching out to those experiencing emotional overwhelm, it wouldn’t be profitable for drug companies.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

This is a guest post written by Daniel Mackler the filmmaker. His three films show alternative methods of healing people with psychosis. In all the films relationships are ultimately what heal. Loving, healing relationships. Please visit these posts to look at the trailers and read a bit about each of his films. Here and here andhere. You can purchase the films here.

All the films are now available for free viewing on youtube now as well. If you’ve not seen them yet, it’s well worth taking the time to do so.

The below article was written as a result of a conversation that Daniel and I had. He revealed that the psychiatric hospital he visited when making his last film, built in the 1950s was mostly empty. They don’t need the beds because their success rate is so high!

I started asking particulars about this issue given that…

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Monica’s Story: The Aftermath of Polypsychopharmacology, by Monica Cassani ~ November 12, 2012

“The tragedy is that during all those years of being drugged during the prime of my life I felt purposeless, flat, barely alive and sexless.”

I recently contacted the doctor who is responsible for my iatrogenesis — the doctor who grossly over-medicated me and made me ill. I’ve been corresponding with him for several years now, but this was the first telephone conversation I’ve had with him since telling him what his drug cocktail did to me. He rarely says much in response to my emails where I link to the articles I’ve written casting large shadows on the “treatment” he gave me. So I called him and left a voicemail that I might talk to him.

When he returned my call a few days later, we talked for perhaps a half hour. I always liked this man when I was his patient and now that I’ve worked through most of the rage of having been harmed by his treatment, I still like him. His intentions were good. I’m clear on that. I do not think this relieves him of responsibility, but it does relieve me from hating him which simply isn’t good for my soul. Still, I simultaneously appreciate Dr. David Healy’s insight about patients succumbing to Stolkholm Syndrome and have made the same observation about myself. I contain multitudes. There is nothing easy about emotionally processing what happened to me and what continues to happen to so many others.

So my conversation with the man who practiced wild, untested poly-pharma on me was actually quite civil and I felt it was productive too. He listened and shared his view too. He did not always agree, but he was clearly listening.

I want to share a bit of the conversation. He has a hard time believing that what happened to me is routine, that it happens to many patients. He grants me my experience, though, like a good shrink. He believes me when I tell him both that my mind is clear now and that I’ve been gravely harmed by the drugs. I’m not sure he thinks he’s responsible, but he doesn’t challenge my experience. The phrase cognitive dissonance comes to mind. How do they do this? I don’t claim to understand.

So he said something suggesting what happened to me isn’t the norm. That he sees medications working wonders all the time. I challenged him like this, “Dr. M, when you were treating me you thought I was one of your successes, right?” He said, “Yes.” And I responded with, “Well, you were wrong. My life was miserable. I lived in a drugged haze. I slept and worked because that is all I had time to do. I had no passion for what I did and I just lived by going through the motions, flat and empty. My life was hell. I liked you and you needed to believe that I was okay…I tried to please you like a “good patient.” Still if you’d paid attention you know that I was always asking to be put on disability. That’s because it was insane for me to work 8 hours a day when I required 12 hours of sleep because of the heavy sedation. It was also dangerous for me to drive on that pharmaceutical cocktail yet I needed to drive to keep my job. If you had really paid attention you would have known my life was miserable. And I promise you, you have other patients just like me.”

I’m sharing that vignette as an opening because I think most doctors hear stories like mine and think that they are not the ones perpetrating such injury. My doctor is a very well-reputed psychiatrist in the Bay Area, CA. He’s well-known and well-regarded. He is a typical psychiatrist and typical psychiatrists are causing grave harm every day all over this country and throughout a good part of the world. He still seems to believe that I’m an anomaly and that somehow I’m not his problem. Yes, cognitive dissonance.

So I was on a six drug combination including every class of psychiatric drug at high doses that required over six years of withdrawal. I was left severely ill, afflicted by a severe iatrogenic illness: “Withdrawal syndrome” for lack of a better name. The name makes it sound like something that might last days or weeks but it’s crippled my life for years. Those of us who become this sick (I’ve networked with thousands of folks in withdrawal now) are subject to dangerous care and outright denial of our experience by medical doctors and the medical establishment in general.

What possesses a doctor to prescribe such a cocktail? I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I can tell you how it happened.

The drugs never did “work” and in retrospect they made me much worse… in fact they caused the chronic illness I am now living with. It became clear to me when I was unable to continue working about fifteen years into the (heavy) drugging as my mind and body simply stopped cooperating under a fog of neurotoxic chemicals. I knew I had to try to free myself from them.

So, how did it all begin? After an illicit drug-induced mania I triggered in college, psychiatry got a hold of me. I was told that I was bipolar and would be sick for the rest of my life. One doctor, in fact, told me I would die if I did not take medication for the rest of my life. Having suffered repeated traumas in my life the additional trauma I was subjected to in the psychiatric ward took its toll. I gave in to what they told me, they scared me good including threats to send me to a state hospital for permanent residence. It’s clear to me now this was used only to terrorize me into submitting to drug treatment, it was not a threat that would have been carried out, but I did not know that then.

The truth, however, is that I had a history of trauma that needed tending to, not any sort of brain disease as mental illness is popularly understood. The years of heavy drugging, in the end, is the only thing that made me truly sick. That is, psychiatric and physical symptoms caused by the drugs I was being given for “treatment.” My original diagnosis, bipolar disorder, given as a life sentence never really had much credibility. The tragedy is that during all those years of being drugged during the prime of my life I felt purposeless, flat, barely alive and sexless. I went from being a fit and toned athlete to being 100 lbs over-weight and unable to exercise much at all due to the sedation and nausea. Yes, I had long-term chronic nausea as an adverse effect of the Lamictal. I went through the motions of living while in a fog.

Now, drug-free, I’m quite often too ill to leave my home but my mind is crystal clear. I am motivated and productive, the author and editor of a popular mental health blog that offers alternatives to psychiatry. Having been both a professional in the mental health system and a victim of the same system, I have some interesting and uncomfortable insights into the standard of care. I’m passionate about my work. I have more of a life than I ever had on drugs even while able-bodied and even though now my life is painfully limited in ways it’s hard to convey to those who’ve never experienced such illness and isolation.

In retrospect I see now how one drug led to the next. The “mood-stabilizers” which left me depressed led to the antidepressants which left me with insomnia and agitation which led to the benzos for sleep. They still didn’t get rid of the agitation which led me to the antipsychotics (which made everything worse and in fact my doc kept adding Risperdal milligram by milligram until I was on 11 mg for my akathisia which I now know is CAUSED by the Risperdal—he was treating a symptom with the very drug that was causing the symptom!! My akathisia ceased when I finally got off the Risperdal. We always called it “anxiety”, but it was akathisia.

That big cocktail of drugs left me sedated and lethargic. No surprise. The next step was stimulants. Addiction and dependence to benzos also leads one to needing more and more drug to get the same “therapeutic effect.” And so my dose continued to increase. Unfortunately I’ve learned this happens to way too many people, some of whom never even realize it. Drugs leading to more drugs leading to more drugs. And once in the trap it’s almost impossible to see clearly. To realize what is going on is difficult and perhaps sometimes impossible.

I’ve been free of this massive cocktail of drugs for over two and half years now. The sad part is the greatest amount of suffering I’ve ever endured in my life has been a result of my body adjusting to no longer having neurotoxic drugs in my system. Medically-caused harm and a term that often sounds Orwellian to those of us who experience the protracted version: withdrawal syndrome. It totally fails to capture the grave disability some of us experience.

Still, I have not one moment of regret for having freed myself from these drugs because my mind is clear! I have a clarity of mind that is so beautiful I can cry if I spend time thinking about it. My clarity was stolen from me for almost half my life. I have it back and even impaired as I am, unable to leave the house most of the time, I am grateful.

I once made a list of the myriad insults my body and mind endured. It included over 50, mostly disabling symptoms. What is most astonishing is that I am exponentially better now and don’t experience the bulk of these symptoms anymore, but I’m still very very sick. This, again, is something very few people can conceive of. It’s mind-boggling to me as well and I’ve experienced it.

The fact is our bodies and minds are intrinsically driven to seek wellness and mine is no exception. I am on a path towards wholeness. I don’t imagine it will stop now. There is no going back.

(Read more about Monica in one of my previous blogs ~ LindaKay1948):

If I Had Remained Med Compliant… by Monica Cassani

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Benzo Awareness Day: Psych drugs cause harm (VIDEO)

Here is someone whose award-winning blog I have followed for years. Monica Cassani is someone who has overcome great suffering from psychiatric meds. This amazing lady painstakingly withdrew from all classes of them after she had become overweight, bed-ridden, non-verbal and unable to sit up for two years, and had been home-bound for five. She is now drug-free, healthy, and happy again.

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

(July 11th, let us unite with all who’ve been harmed by psychiatric drugs)

For more information visit:

*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with…

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Torturing new mothers and then wondering why they get mentally ill.

This is the essence of what happened to me as a young mother:

“Torturing new mothers? Who does that? Well, as a society, we all do. I’m not kidding, I’m perfectly serious, and I’m going to stop mincing my words and say it how it is. We torture mothers.

Sleep deprivation is a method of torture that has been used for at least 500 years, and is still used today. It was used extensively in Guantanamo Bay. The difference between sleep deprivation in Guantanamo bay and in new mothers is that no-one is systematically and intentionally hurting new mothers. But the effect is the same. Sleep torture is designed to create psychological changes, which are supposed to encourage the victim to submit, to lose their sense of reality, and to talk.

Chronic sleep deprivation is not good for you. It leads to cognitive impairment, anger and irritability, anxiety, and even psychosis.  Yes, you read that right. Chronic sleep deprivation is known to cause psychosis. Puerperal psychosis in new mothers is not common thankfully, but it is dangerous.  I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few study days on perinatal mental health recently, and they have all included really valuable talks by people who have recovered from severe postnatal depression, post traumatic stress disorder and psychosis. What I noticed was that they all had one thing in common . They all mentioned lack of sleep as a factor in their illness. The lovelySinead Willis talked about “lack of sleep started to catch up with me….I couldn’t sleep more than an hour at night and I became very disorientated”. One of the effects of sleep deprivation is disorientation, or a feeling of “altered reality”. At another talk I was lucky enough to hear, the mother told us that she hadn’t slept at all for the first three days of her baby’s life, but no one noticed, because she was in a private hospital room on her own. She developed psychosis within a matter of days.  Elaine Hanzak, author of “Eyes without sparkle” talks about the fact that during her treatment, she would look forward to her Electro-Convulsive Therapy sessions, because “they have to put you to sleep first….bliss”.

Chronic sleep deprivation is when you have no opportunity to make up your sleep debt. You go on, night after night, suffering from not enough sleep. Acute sleep deprivation is when you lose sleep for one night, but you can then catch up. Even acute sleep deprivation has a marked effect on our mental health. In one study by Walker and colleagues, healthy young students were split into two groups. One group were sleep deprived, the other group slept normally.  The next day, both groups were shown disturbing, upsetting and gory pictures. The researchers found that there were significant differences in the brain activity of the two groups, as measured by MRI scans. The sleep deprived group showed reactions similar to anxiety reactions. Their amygdala lit up like an alarm bell to the disturbing images, firing off stress hormones, whilst the normal group’s brain showed a more balanced reaction, with the parts of the brain that “panic and worry” being balanced by the part of the brain that “reasons and rationalises”. In the sleep deprived group, their ability to process and mediate the anxiety was damaged.

People have always thought that anxiety and depression causes disturbed sleep. But this research suggests that lack of sleep can cause anxiety.  All on its own, and in only one night.  Whilst new mums aren’t shown disturbing images by scientists, they do have disturbing images all of their own. Worries and concerns about the baby, feelings of guilt, not being good enough, intrusions of hurting the baby, concerns about baby’s feeding, and so on. And of course, once anxiety sets in, it becomes more difficult to sleep, increasing the chances of depression setting in, and a vicious cycle begins with a force of its own.

With all this in mind, is it any wonder that we have such high rates of anxiety, depression, and psychosis postnatally? Women usually give birth overnight, sometimes over two or three nights. They are then put in a busy maternity ward with lights on, other women and babies crying, constant interruptions from staff and so on. Or they are sent home alone with just a very tired husband. Either way, they have a baby with them, who they need to keep alive, learn to feed, and look after. On no sleep.  Then, when the father goes back to work after his 2 weeks of paternity leave, it is perfectly acceptable in our society for her to say “I’ll do the night feeds, because you have to work all day”. She isn’t understanding the value, the necessity, of her sleep for her mental health. Neither is the father, or the health visitor, or society in general.   Her sleep debt builds, increasing the risk to her mental health.

In other cultures, mums are made to rest, recuperate, stay in bed, and do nothing but get to know baby. They are fed, washed, pampered with hot stone massages, and so on. Almost all non-westernised cultures have a ritual similar to this, which lasts about 40 days.  In the West, mums are not made to rest. They are expected to go on as normal, with the washing, the school run, losing baby weight, going shopping and so on.  Mums are told “sleep when baby sleeps”. However, this simply is not good enough. Because mum needs to eat, and she needs to shower, and she needs to get dressed sometimes, and she needs to go to see the health visitor and have baby weighed, and baby might only sleep for 20 minutes at a time. Then, when dad goes back to work, it gets even more chronic, because she offers to do the night feeds so that he can get up and work the next day. The importance of her physical and emotional health is ignored, at a high cost to the devastation that perinatal mental illness causes, and a high cost to the NHS.

Let’s stop torturing mothers. Let’s stop ignoring the problem of expecting new mums to get back to normal. They are not normal, they are super important, and we need to value them and treat them with the greatest respect, if we don’t want them to break into a million pieces, shattering the lives of all those around them. The NHS needs to prioritise maternal mental health, not just with adequate treatment facilities once the damage is done, but also with prevention in the first place. Proper paternity leave, decent postnatal wards with midwives who have time to care, regular home visits, continuity of care. Change needs to happen in attitudes as well. We need to start telling other people how important it is, to look after mum. Encourage partners to “put mum to sleep”. Tuck her up in bed with a chamomile tea (or a G and T) and tell her to stay there. Turn the lights off for her, bring her an extra pillow, tell visitors to go away because she is sleeping, bring the baby to her when he or she needs a feed. The cost of not doing so, could be her mental health.”

Mia Scotland, Clinical Psychologist, Author of “Why Perinatal Depression Matters”

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FDA: Antidepressant Trials Have Not Adequately Reported Sexual Dysfunction Side Effects

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“A group of US Food and Drug Administration scientists held a forum to discuss how to better evaluate side effects of sexual dysfunction associated with antidepressant drugs during clinical trials, and published their report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

“Sexual dysfunction is an important side effect of serotonergic antidepressants,” they wrote. “However, sexual dysfunction is often underestimated in clinical trials submitted in support of drug approval. This is because such assessments are based mainly on unsolicited reporting.”

The authors reported on the FDA’s current efforts to develop methodologies for more accurately capturing the scope and severity of sexual dysfunction side effects occurring in trials of new antidepressants.”

‘Trouble is, when people DO report sexual dysfunction after being given psychiatric drugs, they are often ignored.  In my case, after being given an antipsychotic, the credibility of what I said was gone.  I didn’t even know whether there were others suffering like I have been until I found a support group on Yahoo in 2009.  

To put it bluntly, I haven’t been horny in almost 32 years.  I discontinued haldol when I was 35.  I’m 67 now.  (I have never taken SSRIs.)  

My biggest concern is for the CHILDREN being given psychiatric drugs. Will they be able to experience normal puberty?  I think we will have a growing number of people who are asexual.  We will also have more people put on welfare because they’ve been harmed and disabled by the drugs and can no longer work.

(I have adult friends who have taken SSRIs and have reported sexual dysfunction, NOT ONLY ED, but LOSS OF LIBIDO and GENITAL NUMBNESS, PERSISTING YEARS AFTER TAKING AND THEN DISCONTINUING THEM.  They are some of the people I’ve come to know through a Yahoo support group with 3,721 members.)

For some young people, this may be a permanent condition.

For some, it may be a reason they are committing suicide.

 ~ Linda Kay

http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/07/fda-antidepressant-trials-have-not-adequately-reported-sexual-dysfunction-side-effects/

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The Mental (Illness) system and thoughts on alternatives: a collection

How can we call it our Mental “Health” system, when so many people are being injured and left disabled by it?

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Lunatic-AsylumI can’t call the current system of care a “mental health system” when it’s so clearly one that generates, encourages and sustains mental illness. And so I’ve often referred to it as a mental illness system. Here I’m underscoring that as it’s important that we make big changes if we want to help not only the most vulnerable people in our society, but also society itself. We create one another. None of this happens in a vacuum.

Below is a list of posts from Beyond Meds that look at the system from many different perspectives. It will become one of the main drop-down navigation menu tabs at the top of the page. It will replace the Professional/Patient Divide tab and will be called Mental Illness System. The contents of it will include those…

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