Dr. David Healy Bio

Dr. David Healy is an internationally respected psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author. A professor of Psychiatry in Wales, David studied medicine in Dublin, and at Cambridge University. He is a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, and has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, 200 other pieces, and 20 books, including The Antidepressant Era and The Creation of Psychopharmacology from Harvard University Press, The Psychopharmacologists Volumes 1-3 and Let Them Eat Prozac from New York University Press, and Mania from Johns Hopkins University Press.

David’s main areas of research are clinical trials in psychopharmacology, the history of psychopharmacology, and the impact of both trials and psychotropic drugs on our culture.

He has been involved as an expert witness in homicide and suicide trials involving psychotropic drugs, and in bringing problems with these drugs to the attention of American and British regulators, as well raising awareness of how pharmaceutical companies sell drugs by marketing diseases and co-opting academic opinion-leaders, ghost-writing their articles.

David’s latest book, Pharmageddon, documents the riveting and terrifying story of how pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America and the life-threatening results.

David is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Data Based Medicine Limited, which operates through its website RxISK.org, dedicated to making medicines safer through online direct patient reporting of drug effects.

David and is colleagues recently established the RxISK eCONSULT, the world’s first internet based comprehensive drug event consultation service.

Comments

  1. Harinder Jadwani says:

    Take a pill and go away has apparently become the de facto modus operandi for many psychiatrists in Canada…. quick-fix questionnaires provide rapid diagnosis with none of the work involved in analysis….. apparently some psychiatrists are doing their job in 15-minute appointments. Toronto’s CAMH (Centre for Mental Health and Addiction) only books 30 minutes for assessments.

    • Eric Henry says:

      Dear David

      You’ve drawn attention recently in the BMJ to Psychiatric drugs and Suicide within the most  Vulnerable.

      I emailed your email address on Dec 21, 2012 in reference to my own experience.

      The Big Psychiatric Label:
      There’s no cure for life. There is recovery from ‘Schizophrenia’. My successful recovery was as a result of ‘not taking my medication’  and using Psychological means instead.  As a Doctor and a  Professor in Psychiatry are you able to  accept this?

      Psychology:
      CBT Type Therapy  is an experiment and result process. Its scientific. Results can be verified.

      Suicidal Toxic Reaction:
      Lots of youngish adults have thoughts on suicide, people with dreadful ‘no hope’ lives might  think about it more. My suicidal tendencies were as a result of  reaction to Depot at a toxic level – they were ‘full on’ and uncontrollable. The dangerous part was the mental state – beyond anything I had ever experienced. After about a day I calmed again.

      To identify  cause of Suicidal reaction an honest  interview of suicide attempters is needed.  With me the interviewers imputed my emotions. A pointer might be drug toxicity ie movement problems; and the initial 48 to 96 hr reaction to Depot type medication.

      Would you please respond to my December email – I’m writing stuff up about this at the moment. 

  2. Just read “Pharmageddon” and wonder exactly what is “the raw data”? It seems totally preposterous that this info not be included in procuring FDA approval for a new medication. However, “Big Business” does run this country, so anything is possible. Great book! Well written and easily read by a non-medical person. Thanks.

  3. Eric Henry says:

    QUESTION: Does the Psychiatric profession recognise complete consistent recovery from what is diagnosed as schizophrenia through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

    QUESTION: What about the most vulnerable?

    ABOUT ME: Diagnosed as schizophrenic, I was injected in 1980 with modecate, reacting desperately 24 hrs later (extreme fear, vulnerablity, tension, terror), lasting roughly a day. Experienced identical twice in the community (Galway) attempted sucide both times. Experienced involuntary leg movement till I discontinued this drug (4 or 5 yrs)(diagnosed as ‘mentally ill’ due to my inability to ‘hold down work’). Floundering on withdrawal I requested lighter oral medication and Counselling. I since followed wtih talking treatments and CBT. 26 years later I’m still well and in ‘non drug recovery’. I work at proper jobs in private enterprise, am Independant, am qualified tradesman also gained graduate and post graduate qualifications. I cut oral medication to a non therapeutic level that has no negative effects. (This is some of my experience! )

    COMMENT: My reactions are probably not limited to me, I’ve got a Voice.

    ALSO: You ve met me in the 1980 s (I think), in Galway. I was a ‘professional psychiatric patient’ (Loud voice, cheerful, red hair, receding, short, 5′ 11”)

  4. I am a “recovered” SSRI victim. I would like to make a couple of points that have not been made. One, after extensive research, I discovered that the cause of my alleged “depressive” symptoms was a combination of gluten allergies and related nutritional deficits. When I remedied those, I became symptom-free. Two, most of my brain has bounced back from SSRIs EVEN THOUGH I AM OVER 50. This needs to be said. The notion that the brain is static and doesn’t fix itself or replace neurons is ALSO INCORRECT. Neuroplasticity is a fact. (Train the brain to change the Mind is a book by a Harvard-trained type on this topic.)

    One thing that doctors kept telling me was that my deteriorating mental condition was an affect of AGE not the damn SSRIs. Well, that is a load of bollocks. Truly it is…I am 6 years past SSRIs now and my brain is recovering. I did lose my eidetic memory which pisses me off, but at least I can reason again.

    What I discovered is that the damage caused by SSRIs can be remedied through change of diet, withdrawal from anything with fluorides in it and regular detoxifications to keep drawing down the cumulated compounds that SSRIs leave behind. What I am angry about is that my fine brain was so impaired by these stupid drugs. I still have a brain that is better than many, but I was in the top 1 to 3 percent across the nation. Now, who knows where I stand. SSRIs damaged me terribly. This is a crime against all of humanity to permit this stuff to be given to people where it is eventually excreted into our water ways, evaporated up and put into our soil and air. Many of these drugs contain fluoride which is a persistent environmental toxin with NO REAL VALUE nutritionally and, Indian and Chinese studies both show that it lowers I.Q.

    In any event, I want to recommend Robert Whittaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic as well as Peter Breggin’s book, Medication Madness. There is another book that Lilly has squashed about the early evidence of the linkage between Prozac and violence. I will have to try to find that title.

    Keep up the good work!

    MK

    • Christine bell says:

      Hi

      I am so glad that you posted that you have recovered and pleased for you

      I am very interested in you saying that you detoxed the accumulated compounds out of your body

      I have been looking into detox and would appreciate it if you can let me know what you used to detox

      With thanks

      Pb

    • Hello MK, what did you make to detox from antidepressants?

      Thank you.

    • Try to tell it to the Yahoo group of people who suffer PSSD. The group was created in 2005.
      What about those patients that after months in hell due to tapering a SSRI reaches the end and cannot function? They have to go back to the SSRI.
      There are those who after quitting the drug have impairments for the rest of their lives.

      I’m glad you have recover but this is not the experience of numerous people.
      Claiming that “neuroplasticity” is heals it all is not true.
      Just read MK’s comment. This is the story of many!

  5. I agree that SSRIs can be bad but I admire people who seek professional help to face mental problems they may have and succeed with CBT instead or other therapies.
    Question: However, what do you do when a family member living at at distance is self-harming and refuses to seek help in any way?

    Loving mum

    • Psychiatrists do not have a clue about how they can help someone who self-harm.
      The prescribe drugs that has nothing to do with the disease – as if it was a rare accomplishment of the practitioners of the field.

      They try hard to stop. Some of them get united over internet ans share experiences.
      Usually someone says that has decided to stop and starts counting the days: “one week without doing it.” and everybody congratulates.

      But some time goes buy and the person write that s/he did it.
      Usually they say that they feel terrible that they did it and get very, very sad.

      I don’t think that psychiatrists can help. Maybe a therapist and the help of those who self harm and exchange coping strategies.
      Not easy for a parent to witness it. They hide the more they can.
      I hope you read it “loving mum” or that your daughter have found a way out in these two years.

  6. Christine MacVicar says:

    What advice do you have to the mother of a patient of 50, who is diagnosed with Asperger’s and schizophrenia in the NHS but has had multiple tests which have been evaluated by profs. Maes, St.Clair, Puri and toxicologist Rosemary Waring as have severe detox problems with an underlying medical condition. He has had CRP of 20 , now down to 10.3 which the NHS will not test. He currently has high antibodies to measles and herpes 1 – all private investigation. The NHS will allow no tests whatsoever or referrals to other consultants.

    He is under a community treatment order and has tremors in hand and leg and it now 19 Stone. Prof Puri said he had metabolic syndrome. His RMO admits that his behaviour changes are related to infection but says that her job is not to treat this, just the schizophrenia. The Scottish Mental Welfare Commission refuses to look at the case.

    • David_Healy says:

      Christine – impossible to comment without being able to review everything – this looks very complex.

  7. Christine MacVicar says:

    You seem to have me confused with someone else?
    I wrote the question about my son.

  8. HI,

    Can’t help feeling, having read the above , that drugs should be administered with greater care, checks for side effects made alot sooner and more regularly, and people should not be kept on drugs for any longer than is absolutely necessary>
    Is there anyway for people to be educated as to how to become very self aware when taking prescribed drugs?
    There are probably certain groups of people who are more vulnerable than others who would forget to /find it difficult to question what they are being prescribed.
    If I were a Doctor prescribing medicine, one of the first things I would make the patient aware of are possible side effects and to stress to the patient the importance of monitoring how they are feeling, so help can be sought if needed.
    Adverse sudden reactions need fast special treatment and sometimes cannot be anticipated – and acknowledgement by Pharmaceutical companies of any side effects would enable them to research their drugs to make them safer.
    I think people quite generally are afraid of admitting liability
    Communication between medical professions, pharmaceutical companies and patients is absolutely vital.

    Gillian

  9. Hi,

    Reading the above, I can’t help but feel there is a possible gap in the medical field
    for help given/offered to people who are trying to get their lives rebuilt
    following the trauma of having been ill due to adverse reactions caudedf by drugs.

    Having myself experienced the mind blowing effect of side effects caused seemingly by the drug Enhbrel – I have now surfaced and fortunately can see my way clear – but only after an awfu8l lot of self – questioning.
    I am thankful for the support and attention given by the medical teams – however-

    I do feel people would benefit from counselling, empathy, sense of humour and a gentle sign -posting in order for them to balance their lives out again.

    At times, staff tend to question,and interrogate such a way that would surely leave Inspector Morse or James Bond reeling and pale into a hasty retreat.
    It isn’t a patients fault they have become ill – and they do need a positive approach, during and after treatment.
    Extra training for staff who are attending to mentally ill patients is needed- in how they talk to them and approach them.
    Having interviewed young teenage drug abusers, homeless single mothers, potential suicide victims in my work as a senior employment officer- I think I kind of know what I am talking about.
    It is through my own insight and experience of working with people that I have manged to keep a sense of humour and balance- but I do worry for people who are left struggling to understand what has happened to them- and are in a position where they have no idea how to rebuild what they have lost.
    People seem to feel they have lost so much with no way back – through no fault of ttheir own- they should be heped gently as part of their recovery>
    Citizen’s advice can’t do it, and I do think Social Services is pretty hopeless at times-

    You know – I do think – this needs to be looked at – a more user friendly way which isn’t condescending or makes a person feel they are caught up in a system-

    A glimmer of hope can quite often be given on a ward e.g.
    Art Therapy
    Music
    Reading
    Flower Arranging
    Talking/discussion
    self analysis is so important for people to decide what to do next to get better- step by step .
    Well, that’;s my soap box fot this morning –
    Gill x

  10. i have just finished watching the 2012 Lancaster lecture on you tube. i first heard David speak in Middlesborough at an ADHD conference in the early 2000s or late 1990s i forget, and looking back it possibly helped save my life. having lived medication free for nearly 13 years now after starting on five years of seroxat in 1991. having had annual psychotic mania requiring section, detention, forced medication 1991 to 1996 when a change of consultant who actually had read the published data took me off seroxat and reduced my psychosis by half. i soon afterwards took myself off all meds and never looked back, that was 2000.

    keep on doing the work Dr Healy, in years to come you will be recognised as one of the big hitters in the fight to save lives and stop the soul mining that makes it profitable for big pharma to continue to exploit damaged and abused people for vast profit.

    i am in brighton having come to hear Robert Whitaker speak and though i know you are in a different category, the collective push of voices spreading alternate stories and information about the unseen truths of business, psychiatry and patient abuses all helps to save lives and slowly turn the mega tanker of this industry.

    thankyou for being committed to your work and holding a morally unquestionable clarity in your choices. what i want to know now is who do i sue for dismantling my life by prescribing seroxat to me, a bi polar diagnosed patient in 1991 when even BNF had advisory against such prescription in that year. and if there is a who to sue, please tell me how to get about it all these years later. being a uk citizen in the UK i have to presume the NHS is not an easy target and the consultant prescribing thankfully retired in 1996 or i would have been dead by 1997.

    • I would love to speak with you. I have had a recent experience of being prescribed four anti depressants and anti psychotics. I went into a totally zombified state. I came off them all with terrible withdrawal and am fine now. I am researching this subject for a newspaper article and I am interested in hearing others stories. Like you I want to sue. Do drop me a line so we can chat.
      bw
      Katinka

  11. Cate Mullen says:

    Keep up the good worl. Being of 100% Irish descent I am glad you know who have crossed borders and countires especially the USA. As a a professional, I remember the search for blood markers for Depression. I wonder why in grad school we read Foucault and Szaz and then on the psych unit the docs were looking for bio markers. I love that you have a historical perspective and in America Dorthea Dixis a mere memory. I loved your book. But how do we find leadership? How do we find strength in asking questions? How so we do what Dorthea Dix did in Aamerica? Who will be our next Dorthea Dix? After many years in the Mental Health field I became psychotic because of over the top stress. Everything you document is your newest book is true. How can we truly make a change?
    Peer run respite houses seem to be an answer with judicious use of short term medication on a case by case basis. How can this be accomplished? The Irish seem to have a history of psychosis especially where my father’s family is from in the wilderness of the west. How to change the USA system of forced medication? So many questions and in my area of the Midwest USA there is only the old sawhorese of medicine conpliance and lack of anything, anything alternativel Lucky for me I continued to do research and found Mind Freedom International, and Robert Whittaker’ writings along with yours and Loren Mosher along with the currnt crop. But when will someone try to resestablish Dr. Mosher ‘s treatment plan? When will they have peer mentors on Psych Units? When will it be safe to be hosptialized and not be comepletely traumatized bye low intelleigent direct c are workers and non caring Psychiatrist/ When will Psychiatrist break the bonds of Big Pharma and not take their money? How can they sleep at night?
    With each of my clients, I always offered the hope of medication discontinuation. That was never offered to me. It hurts that I could offer folks better care and professional ism that I was never able to recieve myself. The Psychiatric profession and the RC Church are both on a desperate c ollussion course. They can’t last with their sins much longer. Thanks and keep up the good work work.

  12. Christine MacVicar says:

    I think that the majority of psychiatrists have forgotten everything taught in medical school. The science of pharmacogenetics is never considered where a patients shows an adverse reaction. Tests are not carried out to ascertain a patient’s metabolic capacity because of the cost. The knowledge is there, but the damage continues. We would not need a human genome project if we are all identical. Everyone is different and some will react not only to drugs, but to food and to endogenous as well as exogenous toxins.
    Moreover the discovery that mitochondrial dysfunction is related to neur-psychiatric disturbances, should mean that acidosis from this should be ruled out- it is pretty obvious that this is physical when it happens.
    The BMJ’s best practice on psychosis recommends ruling out of physical problems and the current DSM also says physical problems should be ruled out.
    In my son’s experience, not only was there no blood tests by the psychiatrists in our NHS, but test results by world renown experts were ignored.
    Until we can ensure that every “mentally ill” person has a competent physical investigation, including immune, metabolic and genetic work up, the course of action will always be drug first and to hell with the consequences.
    This is an issue of human rights and we have legislation for this- is this how we take action?

  13. Stephanie Hicks says:

    As I told Dr David Fryer, Katie was diagnosed as Schizophrenic at age 16 after a suicide attempt after taking Aropax. The Psychiatrist at Bloomfield Psychiatric Hospital, Orange, NSW. Australia took 20 minutes to make

    I don’t believe in meds. My background is in Psychology & Rehab Counseling. 

    My daughter Katie (aged 32 yrs & < 60 kg in weight) had a script written for RISPERDAL CONSTA
     written for her 62.5 x 2 by a Dr Murial Reddy who has poor English. The  Neurologist at Calvary Hospital said she was on a toxic dose at 37.5 mg with side effects. The Respiridal Consta has been written for her without Cogentin for side affects. 
    I know I'm asking a lot but can you give me some advice. The Pharmacist was shocked & wouldn't fill the script. 
    The medication is making no difference to her psychosis except that she has become compliant. Not necessarily ideal. 

    I'm really worried as I think psychosis is a normal way of coping with trauma. If you have time, could you make some suggestions. 

    Maybe David may be able to forward to Paul Duckett as well for a suggestion. Life has been hell for her since Aropax. 

    Kind regards 
    Stephanie  

  14. Stephanie Hicks says:

    As I told David, Katie was diagnosed as Schizophrenic at age 16 after a suicide attempt after taking Aropax. The Psychiatrist at Bloomfield took 20 minutes to make his diagnosis. 

    Terry is in Canberra & seems fine / her youngest daughter Erina is turning 30. I don’t believe in meds. My background is in Psychology & Rehab Counseling. 

    My daughter Katie (aged 32 yrs & < 60 kg in weight) had a script written for RISPERDAL CONSTA
     written for her 62.5 x 2 by a Dr Murial Reddy who has poor English. The  Neurologist at Calvary Hospital said she was on a toxic dose at 37.5 mg with side effects. The Respiridal Consta has been written for her without Cogentin for side affects. 
    I know I'm asking a lot but can you give me some advice. The Pharmacist was shocked & wouldn't fill the script. 
    The medication is making no difference to her psychosis except that she has become compliant. Not necessarily ideal. 

    I'm really worried as I think psychosis is a normal way of coping with trauma. If you have time, could you make some suggestions. 

    Maybe David may be able to forward to Paul Duckett as well for a suggestion. Life has been hell for her since Aropax. 

    Kind regards 
    Stephanie  

    • John O'Brien, Ph.D. says:

      I just saw this and wanted to comment given its importance. The psychiatrist definitely misdiagnosed in this case. He was in remiss to make such a diagnosis having very little to go and to make it in a very little time frame. Anxiety disorders and other forms of mental illness can present similar symptoms as presented with Schizophrenia. A skilled and experienced clinician knows the difference. The psychiatrist in question is not worth his salt.

  15. alice yonskie says:

    just wondering….if you are a scientologist. having a debate about the dangers of psychiatric drugs and their connection to school shootings. my friend says it is a conspiracy theory put out there by scientologists because they dont believe in psychiatric drugs. your bio doesnt say if you are indeed a scientologist or not, so i would like to know.

    • David_Healy says:

      Not any connection to scientology. Your friend is wrong about the conspiracy. The data and internal company documents all show a risk so if there is a conspiracy there seems to be one not to talk about the risk which is unfortunate because by understanding it we could greatly mitigate the problems

  16. Darren Matthews MBE says:

    It was interesting to read your comments about Bridgend. As Director of Bridgend Samaritans between 2007 and 2010 I was closely involved with the crisis. Since it started I argued against the authorities who still to this day insist that the number of suicides in Bridgend County is normal. What happened here is far from normal.

  17. After being on Humira for 2 years, I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Has anyone else that you have come across had the same thing?

    • David_Healy says:

      Audrey

      Check out the FDA A-Z Side Effects on the research button on RxISK. This may show you whether there are other reports of cancer in general or breast cancer in particular

      DH

  18. Judith M.L. day says:

    Dr. Healey,
    I have been diagnosed with me/fm/mci since 1998. I have been taking Synthroid .05 mg for almost fifteen years since I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and placed on Lithium, which caused thyroid dysfunction.

    Despite weight bearing and aerobic exercising most every day, my bone density is decreasing. When I was aware of this problem, I started to cut back on the Synthroid since January 2013 and for the past two months have weaned myself off completely. My TSH, t3 and t4 are nearly normal. I will have them checked again in another month and believe they may be perfect by then.

    The strange thing is, I feel more energetic, I am losing weight, without reducing my food intake, I can rush now without getting chest pain or tightness that the doctors have been ignoring, but I have been complaining about for years. I am perspiring normally again and the hair loss, especially my eyebrows is getting better.

    My gp is very puzzled about this, but is supporting me while I challenge myself and hopefully will not have to take Synthroid for the rest of my life as I have been advised to do. What do you think about this situation?

    • David_Healy says:

      Judith – Synthroid has been one of the most commonly reported drugs to Rxisk – with reports of weight gain and other problems. You may be able to see some if you check it out and there is an earlier RxISK story about this also – Till Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane. Can you add your report? DH

  19. Christine MacVicar says:

    Judith ML you should read about the effects of vitamin K2 on bone density. Apparently it directs calcium to where it should be, in your bones, and not in your arteries.

  20. Kathy Coutanche says:

    In ‘Pharmagedon’, you use ADHD several times as an example of behaviour which has become pathologised and over medicated. I am unsure as to whether you believe that it is never appropriate to use ADHD medications or simply that they are used too much.

    Whilst I agree that people who experience definite ADHD symptoms are not ill, they are evidently unable to function efficiently in the current societal environment and many benefit from medications. Do you condone medication for these people?

    • David_Healy says:

      Kathy

      There is an extreme disorder of overactivity in children that they pretty well grow out of. Stimulants can make a dramatic difference to this. But this may be little more than 1-5 of the children now dx with ADHD in the US.

      The idea of ADHD medication makes little sense when you consider some children are given stimulants and some just the opposite – neuroleptics. It would make as much sense to say Problem Child Medication.

      I think a bunch of people with the ADHD diathesis – basically extroversion – far from not fitting in have been the most successfull entrepreneurs of our time and medicating their children likely means the children will not be as successfull as their parents

      David

      • is there in fact such a “Thing” as ADHD or is it just a boisterous, (perhaps) undisciplined Child?

        As someone born in the mid-fifties I cannot recall any school fellow with such a problem. There was the odd naughty, inattentive kid who generally responded to discipline but certainly didn’t deserve or need a Psychiatric Label or medication for the same.

        I suspect this is just another “Pharma” developed condition

      • This is something that I have been thinking for a while – what tends to happen after a person or child has been diagnosed with a mental condition – is the ‘dampening’ of any creative ability – we could in fact be stopping any future ‘Einstein’s or World Leaders Inventors in their tracks!
        As with the Amazon Forest (new medicines) we may be chopping down our own futures?
        Nurturing of peoples’ personalities is important in mental health recovery.

  21. Could you put your main ideas about pharmaceuticals into a graphic novel format so that those of us who have been severely impaired by side effects can better understand what happened to us. I’ve read that some classes actually use graphic design texts to teach from. I have no attention span any more for reading and my retention memory seems impaired. So sad. I was once a smart cookie. I tutored Philosophy. Maybe I’ll get better. It’s only been 7 years off meds. I guess the crayons they gave all of us at the mental hospitals should have been more of a clue as to what was happening to us. I can still write a little bit, but seem impaired of ability to read at length. Concentration is lacking.There are some terrific graphic illustrators these days. It’s frightening to me that people are so unfamiliar with the consequences of modern Rx medicine. I did not realize how adversely affected I apparently am, until I tried to read intelligently written blogs. I aced all of my Psych courses in college, too. Please don’t be offended by my suggestion. Graphic art is really hot and perhaps it would work. Something to think about. Best wishes to Dr. Healy and his crew for trying to make the world a more informed and, thereby, safer place. (a superhero might be nice touch)

  22. Dr. Healy,

    I need some help as I believe that I have experienced some very negative side-effects from paroxetine. I have been taking it for a couple of years to treat anxiety and since that time, I’ve noticed a decrease in my libido and a ravenous thirst for alcoholic beverages. I am otherwise a healthy 40-year-old man with no previous history of addiction; I was never even a habitual cigarette smoker although I dabbled with them in college. I was the sort of person who could have a cigarette or two when drinking but I never became a daily smoker. After college, I gave them up altogether because I began exercising more often and got into really good shape. I never had any cravings for nicotine.

    My wife does not believe that the paroxetine has anything to do with my drinking. My concerns fall on deaf ears and she says I must be an alcoholic because I always enjoyed drinking and now I am just at a more advanced state of the “disease” of alcoholism. She doesn’t believe that anecdotal evidence I have come across to support my theory holds any merit as it is “just anecdotal information” and not based on scientific findings. I value good health and my marriage, so I have abstained from alcohol for the past couple of months. I do feel terrible about upsetting and worrying my wife throughout this time as I love her very much.

    I’m still on paroxetine, so of course I don’t want to mix it with alchohol based on what happened. It just bothers me that my problem drinking started when I began taking paroxetine. I feel it helps me alleviate much of my anxiety, but that I can’t get enough to drink when I try to “have a few” now. It’s almost as if I am so carefree, I think it is okay to drink excessively until I start slurring my words and my wife gets angry with me for being irresponsible. Then I sort of “snap back” to reality. Please note that although I have done this on numerous occassions, I have never driven drunk; I drink at home or at gatherings in our community when driving is not involved. I know this doesn’t make excessive drinking okay, but my perceived safety of doing so in such situations matters to me at the time. I also never become violent or threatening while drinking. In fact, I make friends easily and get along very well with my others in my social circle.

    This sounds like a terrible excuse but I feel that I don’t NEED alchohol but that I just really enjoy it when I get the chance to indulge. I feel a bit more impulsive, in general, on paroxetine, but we all know that alchohol lowers inhibitions. Could this combined with certain chemical predispositions make me a “problem drinker” on SSRI’s? I just want someone to vouch for me that SSRIs could have this effect on my behavior. I was prescribed Wellbutrin years back while I was going through a rough time and recall drinking more and losing my appetite while taking it.

    I will continue to abstain from alcohol, especially as long as I am taking an SSRI, but I don’t think it’s fair that I am now considered an alcoholic by my wife before this “confounding variable” has been eliminated. Now she says she will never trust me to drink again because of how much I have consumed over the past couple years. By the way, I took six months off last year because she got mad at me for drinking too much and passing out on repeated occassions. I did well, did not cheat, and simply went back to drinking after the six months. Since I’ve been on paroxetine, I just don’t worry about things that much. I don’t want to be anxious, but it’s almost as if I need a little bit of my old anxious, worried self back in order to restore balance to my life.

    I suppose I should start to wean myself off of the SSRI. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Jack

  23. Tina Girard says:

    About five years ago my husband was put on effexor. Prior to him being prescribed this he had not drank a drop of alcohol for 2 years. At first it seemed the medication had worked wonders, but then a while on it the doctor raised the dosage as soon as that happened my husband began drinking and A LOT. We separated for a couple of years and got back together 5 months ago. His drinking is still on going it wasn’t till very recent that I realized the connection between the effexor and my husband starting to drink again. So I brought it to his doctors attention who immediately shut me down and said it’s not the medication.

    Then he goes and raises the dosage a few weeks ago. Now when my husband drinks he has become ever increasingly violent! He doesn’t care about anything or anyone but the booze. He is having an affair and when I confronted him he had no feelings what so ever about it. Not once has he said sorry for the things he has done to me in the past five months. I’m trying so hard to save my marriage but feel so alone and burnt. I need solid proof that the effexor is the issue! These online forums are not solid enough. God please help!

  24. I am at my wits end. I am eight months out from the side effects of Levofloxacin. Every few months the effects come back. I wake up in the morning with trigger fingers, pains in my toes, knees,elbows fingers. I was a very active 69 year old..now I walk like someone in their 90s. I am bummed and don’t know how to get this crap out of my system. I read that the the drug is made of engineered DNA to kill the cell of the bacteria….I’m afraid it is killing my cells as well. Is there any thing I can do?

    This is just the time where I can enjoy my wonderful grandchildren…I can’t even chase them.

    Any ideas!

    Thanks
    Phyllis

    • Hi Phyllis!

      One of many problems is that we do not know what to do and there is not
      guidance about what are we supposed to do after off the medicines.
      We have to cope with numerous problems with the help of groups of “inpatients”.
      After 19 months in hell to taper 300 mg of Effexor I spent three months having numerous physical problems that made living impossible.

      I had to go back to Effexor, a decision I had to take by myself after reading a lot and coming up to the conclusion that the road that the serotonin used to walk gladly had been altered or destroyed in such a way that it was impossible to mu brain to function normally.
      In other words: Effexor caused a “chemical imbalance” in my brain.

      Unfortunately I was in such despair that I went back to 150 mg and today I believe that if I had taken a lower dose it would be enough.

      I thought that by the end of the process things would be easier but, no.
      When I was taking 37, 5 mg I started feeling the brain zaps and other withdrawal symptoms.
      Now I see that I should have stay on this dose for a long time, six, seven months or one year.

      But it is too late.
      Maybe if you went back to a very little dose of the poison you would feel better.

      I know this is the last thing you wanna hear.
      The thing is: those who were affected don’t matter. I don’t know.
      I hope you find your way out.

  25. dr ted willis says:

    i have recently read dr gotzches book deadly medicines …..

    i am a gp in the uk and i have felt for a long time that our patients are grossly overmedicated.

    however, i think we need a practical book from dr healy and dr gotsche and maybe dr mangin in nz ?is she a gp? as to how a practising gp should start to tackle the problems of polypharmacy.
    I think it might also balance the picture to emphasize drugs that by and large do fulfil their promise and acheive real health benefits – metformin and allopurinol and tamoxifen come to mind but there are others.

    • Dear Dr Willis

      Thank Goodness there are GP’s who aren’t so arrogant as to follow form and deny that any problems exist.

      Most GP’s seem to diagnose by computer printed diagnostic, tick-box tests and then prescribe according to NICE Guidelines. Guidelines which seem to be dictated by Pharmaceutical company “feedback”

      If I was entirely truthful I’d be happier consulting my Veterinarian than my GP! I mean that sincerely.

      Could I ask whether you feel there is a real problem with the approach to psychiatric/psychological in GP practices?

  26. Dr. John O'Brien, Ph.D. says:

    In the majority of cases I have dealt with involving children with ADHD, it has amounted to poor parenting and the child’s need for attention and discipline. Children who feel no one is listening and nor understands them and their needs aren’t being met, will inevitably act out in frustration and anger – a cry for help. When they do, they are isolated and punished which only exacerbates the problem.

    If the adults don’t ” get it ” how can we expects kids too ?

  27. Then state for the record that, except for their statements about psychopharmacology, you believe that the church of scientology is a destructive cult that fraudulently preys on people with psychiatric illness and prevents them from getting the effective treatment you advocate as well as draining their savings, and you support the government in any legal effort to limit their influence or shut them down.

    Your association by them will be affirmed when you decline to do this, claim ignorance of the cult, leave this unanswered, or post a mild, weasel-worded denouncement, pr delete this without comment.

    NOTE: I don’t expect you to reply. If you are a cult member, you will almost certainly prevent this from being posted (or delete it), which will be a smoking gun. In fact, I was curious to see if you were part of the cult While I can’t prove you’re not, I came up with a way to prove that you are: you’ll delete this.

    –faye kane ♀ girl brain
    No, I’m not a lawyer; I’m an autistic homeless woman who moved into a cave in the woods. tinyurl dot com slash kanecave

  28. ive been on risperdal consta now for over 4 months, i am only 19 and im experiencing some pretty hellish side effects already, please dave healey some advice could be useful to me as i need to gain the support of my family in changing my medication or stopping it for CBT. i am on a 50 mg dose every 2 weeks, i know these side effects may not be average or common ones but every one reacts differently to meds , for example there was a young lad not long ago that has been given a rare sleeping disorder where he will now sleep most of his life from a simple vaccination. I have gone deaf in one ear with a ringing in my ear also 24/7 non stop i find it hard to sleep and i am infact awake now at 3.33am, i am experiencing weakened muscles lack of concentration, lung and heart pains where i assume the poisonous drug is soaking into my vital organs, back and spinal aches and pains after being injected , cramps, and most importantly of all , the drug feeds me or makes me produce a female pregnancy hormone called prolactin and i quiete frankly think that is sick, i am not producing any semen or sperm, and i have started to hear voices since i have taken the medication , but NEVER EVER before have heard voices , the drug alleged purpose is to stop or reduce dopamine levels i think , but all it does is block the dopamine receptors and u dont have to have any scientifical (which i am quiete scientific) or medical background to work out using logic that the dopamine will still continue to build up withouth being able to recept, once they take me off the drug i will probably end up going phsychotic or experience more hallucinations just like when u take MDMA or ecstacy dopamine is released making you feel high .e

  29. Christine MacVicar says:

    Risperidal and other atypical antipsychotics are mitochondrial toxins causing metabolic syndrome which is in fact mitochondrial damage. Mitochondrial disease / dysfunction/ disorder (MTD) is now thought to be the underlying cause of much heart and liver disease, stroke and possibly diabetes. Muscle weaknesses are obviously linked to MTD. If you have undiagnosed MTD, your medication will exacerbate this. MTD can cause psychiatric symptoms by itself, without adding to it.
    Your symptoms sound very like my son’s.

  30. Sammi Daugh says:

    I wonder why there is so little consistency between doctors within this field and how is it that the high volume of “we don’t know how or why this works” or the lack of effectiveness is so tolerated. I cannot think of any other area of medicine in which this sort of thing would be so casually tolerated. I happen to have a rare disorder that has given me occasion to meet all manner of specialists. Not one other area with whom I have dealt would ever consider the state of medication in mental health to be acceptable. Can you imagine an oncologist giving a patient med A without having any idea why it “seems” to work, based solely on anecdotal feedback from patients? Or then to add med B, C & D to the mix because B counteracts the side effects of A but causes symptoms X & Z so we have to use C & D together to balance it all out. It even sounds ludicrous when you explain which meds one is on and why.

    I was misdiagnosed for 12 years. I was given everything except the kitchen sink and because of the current “cult of medication truth” my doctor was deep into the belief that these medications DO work if one finds the right mystery mix.

    How does the medical community explain this apparent unique need for custom cocktails from person to person with the same disorders? How is that even possible? Why does no one really ever say gee, maybe these medications are a bit of a crock or perhaps our diagnostic processes need desperate overhaul?

    I do take medications for OCD but reluctantly so. I am not “anti-medication” either. I just find the passive acceptance and lack of questioning on behalf of the medical community disturbing. I find no comfort in getting a medication that has little validity behind it other than “it seems to work.” It does help… some… sometimes… with some things. Is that good enough for anyone else? It seems to leave a bitter taste for me.

  31. I was prescribed ssris 12 years ago for pms I still have the side effects(even though I didn’t have anxiety ,sleeping disorder ,stomach complaint,and mustle weakness)to name just a few of the complaints I now have.my doctors treat me as though I am a pest ,and that worries me ,is there something in my files to to suggest I am not to be taken seriously .I would love a private appointment with you Dr Healy ,could we arrange this?

  32. robert mcritchiee says:

    David,
    I have read 2 of your books and enjoyed them. I am a retired Cardiologist, but at school, I was taught that into was one word and on to was two words!~ Is this correct?
    BW,
    Bob McRitchie

  33. Hello Dr. David

    I know you from your book Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disease.

    I want to know your opinion about this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO5yHD24hqc

    I’m at my final year of Med school and I’m planing to be a psychiatrist. Lots of my
    friends asked be about this video and I want to know your view of such a case.

    VIDEO: in Sudan, a village in which many of its people thought to have some magic spell. The man is reading some prayers but not a verse from the Quran or Hadeeth.

  34. I have to take medicine for Rheumatoid Arthritis whether I like it or not – therefore I have to take risks- I have tried without and it seems impossible for me to function without. . However, having had to dust myself down once again following a second episode of Organic Psychosis on a completely different biological drug – to go through the experience a second time is pushing me rather a lot – I have managed to rebalance and I must say it is very much partly due to the medical professionals one has around at the time.
    Yes – I need to reconsider my options with medicines now. Take myself off the biological drugs for RA. (The second drug was given to me because it was supposed to work in a different way from the first)
    I can’t help but wonder at the amount of upheaval there is following this type of experience with a drug and indeed for anyone going through anything like it at present. ( There was a slight concern at one point by a Doctor that I may be labelling a drug which is very popular with the patients- as now being unusable – but her demeanour changed when she realised I am only interested in recovery.)
    I am lucky to have medics who are embracing the fact that the drugs are responsible and this helps enormously with my ability to recover.
    It has only taken me a short time to go through all the different emotions one experiences following this type of experience – and I am now fine again. If Medical Professionals are more willing to listen to patients- like mine have- and acknowledge it is a drug causing the problem – patients would possibly recover faster.
    I wish all Doctors would realise that patients need this level of understanding in order to help their patients. I guess this is a sort of ‘Thank You’ and also a nod to any professionals who may read it. I am unable to name them although I wish I could as they do a marvellous job:)

  35. Christine MacVicar says:

    Just to comment on G’s post. You have been very lucky that you have had doctors who give a damn!
    Even those who have the evidence that genetically they are not able to metabolise certain drugs are being forced to take these without monitoring.
    The whole issue of abuse and negligence by psychiatrists is impossible to challenge without legal aid. The LA system is controlled by the government as is the NHS, so there never can be justice.

  36. Dr Healy,
    If you could give me your opinion I would be grateful.I am a 50 year old female.I had undiagnosed hypothyroidism between 1987 and 1997, and then it was diagnosed.In 1988 I was admitted to a psychiatric unit with a drug induced psychosis after six months of smoking cannabis heavily.I was put on Flupenthixol injections.I had typical symptoms of thinking I was being poisioned, by my family and extreme paranoia,all as described by endocrinologists in books about hypothyroidism conditions.I suffered fifteen years of akathisia during which I received little help other than they insisted I stay on the flupenthixol.2003 I was again in severe psychosis, they took me off flupenthixol and put me on olanzapine,obviously they realised I has akathisia but they never told me such a condition existed.I was on olanzapine for four years, then ,another psychosis due to stopping all my medications,thyroid, metformin,I was diagnosed type2 diabetes in 2003,blood pressure meds and the olanzapine.I just could not stand the effects the meds were having on my body I was ill.They told me the olanzapine had damaged my kidneys and placed my heart under strain weakening it.In hospital severely ill,I refused to eat for two weeks and only drank water ,they kept me off all my meds during this time and I actually felt better with no psychiatric symptoms or psychosis.I wanted to stay off the drugs but I was under section and they forced me to take Amisulpride which I am taking to this day.I was given ECT in 2003,2006 and 2007.There were questions raised by me as to whether my psychosis was due to the undiagnosed thyroid condition and in fear of legal action against them the psychiatrists has a lot invested in making a diagnosis of schizophrenia, later changed to schizoaffective disorder stick.For a brief period a mental health solicitor got them to diagnose organic delusional disorder.2014 and I still am on Amisulpride having had psychosis between 2010 and 2011,hospitalised 3 times in 18months..Again stopping meds abruptly.My question is I still have akathisia on the Amulsulpide,do you think I can come off it again like I did those two weeks in hospital and stay well drug free.?Under psychosis,bearing in mind I wasn’t taking my thyroid or Amisulpride ,two weeks before I would stop them, then I would go into psychosis,I had delusions,detachment from reality and experienced telepathy and heard voices of dead spirits.I feel fed up and I’ll taking anti psychotics and they make my diabetes worse and cause weight problems.I am 21stones.Can you please advise me as to how to become free of this psychiatric drug?

    • David_Healy says:

      Katie
      Unfortunately this sounds too complex to be able to diagnose and advise about without having access to all records and a chance to monitor you over time.
      David

  37. Deirdre Oliver says:

    Hello all, What an extraordinary exposure. It’s great, the evidence is flooding in and everybody is joining in the hate fest. It isn’t too hard to hate the big pharmas, even very bio’s sneer as they write the scrips and dig around in the bottom drawer for the sample packs that don’t come with any literature. BUT, what about the OTHER `therapy’? Electroconvulsive Therapy, ECT. Let’s see where Dr David Healy stands on that? An awful lot of people are fully aware how destructive that can be. Tens/hundreds of thousands of people for 75 years have had their lives devastated by Electroshock. Who is one of `shocks’ leading supporters? Dr. David Healy.
    “It’s [memory loss] a nonissue. The idea that your memory is wiped out is a fiction.” British psychiatrist David Healy, MD, FRC. and…
    “…the move away from using ECT as a first-line treatment of depression in the 1940s and 1950s, when it was relegated to “merely an approach to treatment-resistant depression in the 1990s” is a medical calamity:…A treatment of proven safety and reliability.” “It is as though penicillin had entered a fallow period because of opposition from Christian Science.” Professor Edward Shorter & Professor Max Fink, and David Healy, reader in psychopharmocology. Wales UK
    I think he means `Scientology’. I see a vigorous campaign here that diverts, do I see a wee bit of hypocrisy here?

  38. Anne Thomas says:

    Dr Healy…
    I have been on Seroxat for nearly 20 years ( I am 42) most of those years the dose has been 60mg. My GP just keeps on giving to me! I can not get off the drug and no one will help me. I have been everywhere and seen numerous doctors lots of diagnoses and still I am here crippled with anxiety. Please can you help me?

  39. We just lost our 24 year old son after battling for 7 years with an acute mental illness-diagnosed as paranoia schizophrenia. A revolving patient voluntary and involuntary admission , yet co-operating with his psychiatric medical team in taking his medication and opting for therapy when he was advised to do so; after being switched from one drug to another starting in 2008 with Risperidal; Zyprexa; Clozapine and then June 2013 Paliperidone (Invega) we noticed a fundamental change in his mood-high jubilation to extreme sadness, leading to depression, and several self-harm attempts often in a seemingly like trance during these episodes; he suffered dizzy spells, stiffness of muscles, seeing psychedelic colors, blurry vision, and each time we complained about the medication and each time the medical team advised see how it goes, too early to decide, this was after he had taken it for five months, and they increased the doze too! On April 1, 2014 in early evening he opened his bedroom window (3rd floor) and fell either intentionally or from a dizzy spell (a she had two that afternoon) and confused state of mind….why was he released form the hospital in January when he had voluntarily admitted himself after acknowledging he was depressed, suicidal and felt something wrong with the medication? Well, he wanted to go home who wouldn’t, a hospital is not the best environment especially if your depressed but then was he really able to make such a decision when he was largely depended on medical advice and his family’s support? He was not able to take care of himself, cognition was impaired by the illness or drug or maybe both….yet he was left to figure it out by himself even though everyone knew his cognitive functions were vulnerable as was his emotional state.

  40. Dr. Healy,

    Thank you for your dedication. I’m from Chicago area and the climate here concerning psychiatric medication and care is very grim. My 25 year old son is currently hospitalized in a psychiatric unit after a suicide attempt. He swallowed 150 pills given to him by his psychiatrist. To make matters worse, the hospital psychiatrist is prescribing Zyprexa, which has a warning stating it can cause suicide in young adults. His journey is a long one, beginning at age 14 after two of his closest friends died suddenly; one by suicide and the other struck by a car. During the same time I was involved in two auto accidents resulting in Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, and my husband started drinking again after twenty years of sobriety. We divorced two years later. My son was feeling depressed, and I knew he needed someone to talk to; psychotherapy. We visited his pediatrician and she refused to prescribe any psychiatric drugs, so she referred us to a psychiatrist, who started him on Resperidal and Celexa. Since I’m extremely knowledgeable in alternative treatment methods, I questioned the psychiatrist if she would recommend something along those lines. No, to my dismay. I’ve since learned that doesn’t work in Midwest USA. Feeling desperate to help my son, along with her strong fear tactics that he would get much worse if I didn’t give him the medications, I agreed. He took one dose of Celexa and went off to Dad’s. I received a phone call from the local university hospital the next morning. They told me my son was in the hospital, and couldn’t speak. He was in a catatonic state, and the nurses said the police found him walking down the highway the night before. He was admitted to a psych hospital and diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and told me he would be in a catatonic state the rest of his life. He explained that my son was predisposed to Schizophrenia; I never thought it could be the Celexa, until his pediatrician said it was the medication. He did come out of the catatonic state and seemed normal except for depression from the many losses. The county mental department of health visited our house, due to law, and told me he had to take meds, and if I wouldn’t allow treatment, they could take him from me for refusing medical care to a minor. This has been a battle that never ends. Since that dose of Celexa and numerous other medications, he began to attempt suicide over and over again. He has had so many suicide attempts, I literaly lost count. He would have one attempt, be sent home and be back the next day. This has been going on for over ten years, and I know it’s the medications. Fed up, I moved to Washington state and ater reading Mind Freedom, convinced him to wean off medications. He got better. We had to move back to the Midwest, where he went back to the same psychiatrist who keeps prescribing six or seven different types of medications at a time. He has my son convinced, along with Nami that he will need these medicaitons the rest of his life. He has had two suicide attempts in six weeks. This last one was extemely serious, and now the psych doctor at this current hospital isn’t sure if he has bi polar, so he’s doing a “trial” over the next seven days to see if he really has bi polar. His regualar psych doctor prescribed Adderall for him, and even admitted to me that people with bi polar should not take Adderall, because it causes psychosis. It did cause psychosis in my son, and had a horrifying experience in our apartment complex and we lost our lease. This is devastating. I’ve just finished a year as a psych student and now it is all becoming a lot clearer to me. We’ve become participants in a study without our knowledge. Unethical. How do I help my son? When I speak up to doctors that I feel it is the medication causing his suicidal attempts, they don’t even look up at me, they don’t answer, they are silent. On two occasions, hospital staff called security to ask me to leave. I feel trapped.

    I have never written on a blog, but I stumbled across this doing an assignment. I appreciate reading all the posts and my heart goes out to all who are suffering.

    I will not sit by and let Big Pharma do this to our children. I will make them answer.

    They have destroyed my beautiful son.

  41. Please never give up – I understand completely that medicines can be the cause of so much – My drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis did very strange things to me which I never experienced ever before in my life. They gave me an Organic Psychosis.
    I am very lucky the medical help I have had includes those who understand the dangers of side effects caused by medicines. Can you find a different Doctor?
    It is possible to come out the other end recovered but you do need to have VERY understanding medical help who are not blinkered and can think outside ‘the box’ when it comes to treatment, who listen and are not afraid to wean their patient off a drug to see if it helps.
    I hope you can switch to a different group of professionals for help. Perhaps a fresh approach to your sons’ health is what is needed?
    Please forgive me if I sound patronising – unintentional – I am just concerned.

    Sincere Best wishes

  42. Deirdre Oliver says:

    What about ECT, David? All this pain and nobody’s mentioning shock?

    • David_Healy says:

      Deirdre – I have a huge set of correspondence etc on the ECT issues on healyprozac.com – under the academic stalking section. Have a look at what’s there
      David

  43. Christine – thank you for your comment – I suppose I am hoping people will seek out the professionals who do give a damn, and my notes might prompt them to?

  44. Anne Watmough says:

    Dear Dr Healy, I am well read and am currently an in patient in hospital and unfortunately have been caught up within the psychiatric system since the age of 23! I have had psychotic episodes since the age of 17! In other words I do go mad and as a consequence I sought help my madness I believe caused by childhood trauma! I am now 63! I unfortunately lost faith in the psychiatric system many years ago but am inspired by people like yourself! Dr Peter Breggin and Dr Robert Whitaker! If I am to be granted my liberty I must allow my psychiatrist to intoxicate me I know I have no choice to get out! I am a writer and have entered competitions which one or two I expect to win so have an optimistic outlook on life! I also feel I have intruders that I can prove to nobody and as a consequence I contact police and sometimes when paranoid get aggressive with them over the phone! So I get placed in hospital and would much rather be prosecuted instead! My point being what would be satisfactory and a sanctuary for people like me? Would Loren Mosher’s Soteria still work today do you think?

  45. That kind of effect could also prompt an economic crisis, as the paradoxical “wages of sin” prompt insurers to offer lower co-pays to alcoholics and gamblers.

    Yep!

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