Dying For A Cure (A Warning On Depression Medications)
Touch wood I have never suffered from clinical depression. The only depression I've suffered from has been short term situational depression, such as from a breakup. I'm a pretty happy kind of guy, in fact some people say I smile too much. Can that be a bad thing? I'm easy going and if you get up my skin, it's usually because you've done something to annoy me repeatedly and consistently without learning your lesson.
I've known a couple of people who have been diagnosed with depression. One of them didn't really show it when she was with me and I really believed afterwards that she might have had something much worse. But the scars I was left with have healed now, for the most part and all is forgiven. I'm pretty strong that way and tend to create my own kinds of therapy to deal with things. Getting rid of your worries or angst creatively works. It's one of the reasons I keep telling people not to bottle up emotions.
It should be pointed out at this stage that I am not an expert on depression. I've only heard the horrible stories of the behaviors of people who have been diagnosed with depression and were taking their prescribed medication. I do know though that doctors are often too quick to make a depression diagnosis. In some cases they have the medicines in their desk ready to hand out, just like paracetamol. Given that most GP consultations are about 15 minutes long, it just doesn't sit right with me that such a diagnosis can be made so quickly without spending a fair amount of time getting to know the person's history (unless you've been with that same doctor for years I guess). Even so, no test is done to determine whether or not a person has a chemical excess or deficiency before medication is prescribed.
WHO released a report in a few years back suggesting that depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020. Approximately one in four people suffer from depression and it is said to be the leading cause of disability and suicides. In Australia, 12 million prescriptions are written each year for antidepressants. That's a staggering amount, given the country's population is only just over 20 million! I wouldn't be surprised if statistics are comparable in the US & UK.
I strongly recommend to anyone who has been diagnosed with depression or knows someone that has been, to read this book "Dying For A Cure". It is written by Rebekah Beddoe, an Australian author who was diagnosed with postnatal depression after the birth of her daughter. Her nightmare began from this point forward. She only managed to bring herself back from the depths after the realization that the antidepressants and other depression treatments were in fact the cause of her (suicidal) behavior.
The following is a reproduction of the blurb on the back of the book and from her website Dying For A Cure. I think it summarizes the message very well.
Shortly after the birth of her daughter Rebekah Beddoe was diagnosed with post-natal depression. Two years later she was taking six different drugs, including lithium, a tranquilliser, an antipsychotic, and antidepressants. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; given electric-shock therapy; made numerous attempts on her life; and was alternately manic and consumed by crippling despair during which she could barely move. She had a two-year-old daughter she hardly knew and a mother and partner who were at their wits' end, unable to recognise the formerly ambitious, vibrant and highly successful woman they loved so much.
Australians have embraced antidepressants: twelve million prescriptions are written annually, mostly by GPs. But, what do we really know of the pills' effects? The idea that they correct a chemical imbalance in our brain is by no means proven, indeed there is much evidence that contradicts this view. It is commonly thought such drugs are not addictive; in fact, as Rebekah found to her great distress, they are hard to come off and those who do may suffer debilitating side effects.
This is a powerful memoir of the nightmarish three years Rebekah endured as she was repeatedly misdiagnosed, only to realise that her medication was the cause of her mental deterioration. In this book Rebekah calls for better information from the pharmaceutical companies about the risks associated with antidepressants and similar classes of drugs - facts, rather than marketing dressed up as medical science - and for a re-examination of the ways some psychiatrists treat their patients.
Unfortunately this book is hard to come by on Amazon. There is an Australian Online Bookstore called Fishpond where it can be purchased (see link below). It is a massive eye opener.
Random Extracts from "Dying For A Cure"
With the referral the doctor handed me a small box of tablets: a trial pack of Zoloft...
..."Unlike the older kind of antidepressants, this new class is very safe. You can stop taking them any time you like. You would have heard of Prozac? Well, this one is a cousin of Prozac. They both belong to a group of antidepressants called SSRIs" (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)...
...Max had doubled my Zoloft. I was now taking 200mgs, along with the Valium. My mind now became blitzed with thoughts of hurting and marring myself. I would sit in my hospital room and think of ways to better my maiden effort, thirsting for my own blood...
...8 June 2000. Medications:
Clonazepam, 1mg, 4 x day
Xanax, 750 micrograms, 3 x day
Valium, 2.5mgs, 4 x day...
...Their findings, published in the February 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal, were intriguing. When looking at the overall figures, there appeared to be no significant difference in rates of suicide between the groups of people given SSRIs and those given placebo. At first glance this might seem to dispel the claims that SSRIs cause people to suicide. However, on closer inspection it was revealed that while suicides had decreased in the population with major depression, for those with milder depression and other conditions there was as much as an eightfold increase in the rates of suicide. The results for the major depression group combined with the results for the others gave a misleading overall null effect...
...One weekend about two-thirds into 2002, I forgot to fill a script, forcing me to endure two days without Luvox...
'Have you missed any of these?' She indicated the Luvox.
'Two doses. I forgot to put in my script on Saturday'.
'Well, that's it then.' She went and got me a cup of water...
Withdrawal! What withdrawal? What was she talking about?
I typed 'SSRI+withdrawal' into my web search engine when I got home. I was stunned when up cropped links to several discussion boards. I read with mouth-gaping amazement story after story of people unable to stop taking SSRIs...
Get the book: Dying For A Cure
Visit the website: Dying For A Cure
Uplift Program - "to bring health and happiness not just to those who suffer the devastating pain of depression, but to everyone who has ever felt isolated, confused or overcome by the stress of modern life."
Myths & Misconceptions About Depression - from WHO. Read with CAUTION. Even this seemingly reputable resource states that drugs used to treat depression are not addictive!