It is important that media reporting of the increasing use of psychiatric drugs does not downplay the risk by saying the drugs are not addictive, but clarifies that, for some people, dependence can be a result of using the drugs exactly as prescribed.
Today, Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has received a petition signed by 12,300 people calling for him to take specific action to help resolve the problem of dependence and withdrawal from prescribed medications.
Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have been debating the issues surrounding the overuse of psychiatric drugs. They have been encouraged into action by petitions launched by those with lived experience and therapists who have witnessed first-hand the terrible difficulty that some people can have coming off psychiatric drugs.
Mark Horowitz and David Taylor’s Lancet paper and the work undertaken by John Read and James Davies, when taken together provide a radically different view of withdrawal than that which doctors in the UK are giving to their patients.
It pains me greatly that the personal experience of many thousands of people is dismissed as ‘anecdotal’ and therefore not fit to be part of the evidence base. Arguably, anecdotal experience is often far less compromised than supposedly sterile controlled trials. The motivation for people reporting withdrawal experiences is to seek help, support and understanding, not, like so many ‘researchers’, to sell drugs.
In this episode we chat with Professor John Read about the overuse of psychiatric medications and the alarming growth in the prescribing of antidepressants, benzodiazepines and other psychoactive medications.
This week, we talk to Claire who shares her powerful story of being prescribed antidepressants at the age of 16 and her experiences of trying to withdraw. She describes how she tapered gradually over 2 years but went on to experience SSRI discontinuation syndrome.
This week, we talk to Giovanna from Australia. Giovanna was prescribed an antidepressant aged 17 and tried many times to withdraw over the next 23 years. She shares her experiences with us including the advice and support that she received and her hopes for the future.
This week, we talk to Professor Peter Gøtzsche who is Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark. Professor Gøtzsche graduated as a master of science in biology and chemistry in 1974 and as a physician in 1984.
This week, we interview Daryl who was only 9 years old when he was taken into mental health services and medicated. He talks about being made to take both antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs and he describes the lies told to him to justify treatment. Daryl also talks very bravely about PSSD, Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction.
This week, we interview Dr. Terry Lynch who is a GP, psychotherapist, author and mental health educator. Ten years into his career as a GP, he became very concerned about the medical approach to emotional and mental suffering and was not prepared to remain silent.
This week, we interview Dr. David Healy, internationally respected psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist scientist and author. A professor of Psychiatry in Wales, David studied medicine in Dublin, and at Cambridge University.
This week on Let’s Talk Withdrawal, we interview Dede Moore who shares her own powerful story of antidepressant treatment and withdrawal. Dede turned her experiences into a force for good and now uses the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to assist those in withdrawal from antidepressants or benzodiazepines.
Christopher describes his transformational journey starting with a very difficult childhood which led him to be treated for many years with various psychiatric medications. After successfully withdrawing, he now works a Program Manager for Heart & Soul inc in California, an organisation which offers a variety of mental health recovery-oriented and wellness support opportunities for people in need of mental health support.
Kevin P. Miller is an international award winning Writer, Producer and Director whose films have won him numerous international Film and Television awards. Two-time Academy Award winner Paul Haggis called Miller’s documentary Generation Rx “a powerful and often chilling eye-opener.”
Nora talks about her extreme adverse reaction to an antidepressant which started almost immediately and left her with physical, emotional and psychological problems
This week, we talk with Doctor Lucy Johnstone who is a Clinical Psychologist, trainer, speaker and writer, and a long-standing critic of the biomedical model of psychiatry. She has worked in adult mental health settings for many years, alternating with academic posts.
This week, Susie tells us about her experiences of stopping her antidepressant drug cold turkey after 2 years of taking it. She also tells how her doctors failed to identify antidepressant withdrawal and didn’t listen when she tried to explain.
This week, Tina talks about her experience with depression, her use of antidepressant drugs and how a change in her medication led to her withdrawal problems. She also tells how her doctors failed to advise her about antidepressant withdrawal in advance or recognise it when it arose.
This week we talk to journalist and author Robert Whitaker. For many, Robert needs no introduction as he is well known for his award-winning book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, which was released in 2010. Anatomy of an Epidemic is arguably the definitive account of the realities of psychiatric drugs and completely lays bare the astonishing rise in mental ill health despite the availability of psychiatric drugs.
I feel that we need to decouple legitimate critical views of medical treatment or therapy from the propensity to feel shame and guilt about that treatment. Medical science makes progress precisely by being self-critical and self-analytical, not by accepting blind faith and rejecting all criticism. Most new and novel treatments or therapies have arisen because of dissatisfaction with previous methods of treatment. If we stop questioning ourselves in health and well-being we will not progress and part of that questioning needs to be by people who experience difficulty, not just by those who benefit.
This week, Megan talks about her experience with anxiety and insomnia and how that led to her being prescribed an antidepressant. She also talks about her two failed attempts to withdraw and how that meant she approached her tapering more carefully to ensure that she could minimise the withdrawal effects.
This week we interview Doctor Joanna Moncrieff. Dr. Moncrieff is a psychiatrist, academic and author. She has an interest in the history, philosophy and politics of psychiatry, and particularly in the use, misuse and misrepresentation of psychiatric drugs. She is one of the founding members and the co-chairperson the Critical Psychiatry Network.
This week we interview Simone who talks about her experiences of postnatal depression, fibromyalgia and her treatment with antidepressants. Simone describes how nutrition played a huge part in her recovery and how she now supports others with their health and wellbeing.
This week we interview Marion Brown. Marion is a Psychotherapist who works with the Human Givens approach to supporting people in emotional or psychological distress. Through her work, Marion has become increasingly concerned about the effects of psychotropic medications on patients and on their ability to engage with therapy.
This week we interview Gemma who talks about her experiences with both antidepressants and benzodiazepines and in particular the difficulties that parents of children with special needs encounter when they seek treatment for emotional or psychological distress.
This week we interview Dr. Gary Sidley. Dr. Sidley worked within NHS mental health services for 33 years in a variety of nursing, psychological and managerial roles. In the 1980s he was employed as a psychiatric nurse at a large asylum in Manchester, commencing his clinical psychology training in 1987. Subsequently, he worked as a clinical psychologist in community mental health services, inpatient units and GP practices, as well as with Senior Management positions.
This week we talk to Meghann from the USA. Meghann describes starting antidepressant drugs for OCD at the age of 9, how she came to consider her withdrawal after 17 years and how she feels now, 2 years after finishing with the drugs.
This week we interview David who has taken antidepressant drugs on and off over the last few years. David talks about his experiences of the mental healthcare system, how he has been supported by his medications and how and why he went about stopping his drugs.
This week, I interview Doctor Peter Groot from the User Research Center of the Maastricht University. Dr. Groot kindly took time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his own experiences with antidepressants, his approach when creating tapering strips and some of the difficulties encountered along the way.