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.


  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?

      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. 

      • David_Healy says:

        eric – i don’t have the december email – can you resend

        • Dear Eric,

          I agree with you. These medications are not ‘fun’ drugs and the human biological metabolic rate presents problems for some individuals who cannot disperse these substances through the endocrine system adequately and this varies between individuals and possibly gender.

          There can also be a build up of toxicity levels from long term use of these medications taken orally and this can present the symptoms of the illness as worsening and relapse into psychosis. If the medications are given as depot injections then the patient has to endure the experience as you have described.

          It was pleasant to read that you were able to recover without medication replaced with a psychological intervention that worked for you. Well done, this could not have been an easy task.

  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!


    • Christine bell says:


      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


    • 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 Radcliffe says:

      In addition to the above – I would like to add that my own GP nearly always follows prescribing a medicine by saying ‘come back to me and let me know how you are getting on with it’
      This I think is such good practice and one that possibly should be followed by many Doctors – especially with potentially dangerous drugs>

  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
    Flower Arranging
    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.

      • Hello –I live in California. (Los Angeles) I had a “break down” of sorts some years ago- after losing a job, my father passing away, losing my place to live, and losing my boyfriend…all I did was cry–worst of all I could not sleep. A reputable psychiatrist asked me to give him 6 mo to a year in order for him to to help me with my problems. He told me every person/body is different, and therefore it was necessary to experiment with various drugs to see what would work to make me better. One drug made me like a zombie, another made me too aggressive (I started to get very angry at my family), others made me want to sleep too long and wake up tired. He gave me drugs to counter the side effects of other drugs. Finally he gave me 1/100th of the normal dose of an anti-psychotic. It allowed me to sleep though the night with no other problems. The doctor was surprised this small quantity could have any effect at all. It was still very expensive to take. After a couple months of regular sleep (I was more concerned about getting a solid night’s sleep than my depression), that I stopped taking it, and started drinking warm milk at night to help me sleep. Regardless, that was a horrible 6 months…I deal with my depression (which I have had a lot of in my life) with good nutrition, vitamins and minerals, exercise (biking, hiking, walking) and also positive statements and prayer–for myself and others…and try to be grateful for the good things in my life…e.g. adopting an attitude of gratitude” instead of dwelling on the negative things in my life and life in general. There’s more, but you are welcome to contact me if you like. I am VERY skeptical of all pharmaceutical drugs. My retired pharmacist friend said people should not take prescribed drugs–they are bad for you!! (and she spent a life-time prescribing them!! )

  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.

    • Wendy Kaysing says:

      Dear Cate: Thank you for writing your post and for bringing up the name Dorthea Dix. I immediately looked her up and read a short bio of her life. What a wonderful person indeed. I am inspired by all that I have read in the posts here–and of course saddened too. I have a friend who worked her entire adult life as a pharmacist (a dispenser of medicines/pharmaceuticals) here in the U.S. Though she is retired, she still keeps up with her education requirements as she still works now and then. Once I asked her to tell me in all her years of dispensing drugs what was the most important thing she learned? She said (and I quote): DON”T TAKE THEM! She went on to explain that there were way too many negative side effects, and that even more problems occurred when people take more than one medication (it was her job to make sure the drugs weren’t incompatible–but no way to tell what other medications the patient was still taking at home). On a similar note, my mother who worked as a companion to elderly people, once worked for a woman who suffered from delusions (among other things, she believed all the characters on a favorite TV show were real). The woman was consuming up to 12 prescribed medications, and could barely get out of bed. Finally, my mother asked the doctor, the latest in a string of doctors, to consider stopping most if not all of the medications. He did and the woman stopped having delusions and physically improved overall. Another person my mother worked for became very paranoid on a particular drug. The woman’s children thought the problem was my mother, until their mother became paranoid of them! In addition, I have learned from friends who have taken prescribed drugs for depression that the side effects can be devastating…removing them from mainstream life, putting them on a chemical roller-coaster of confusion and mood swings (exactly what the drugs are supposed to treat!) I could go on….but again, thank you for sharing your story and suggestions.

  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 

  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 

    • 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.

    • It is interesting to note that a pharmaceutical company (BIOTEC) was established in Bridgend two years before the unusual number of suicides began. Question: Is it possible that a staff worker (or workers) stole pharmaceuticals and passed them out (or sold them) to the young people who later committed suicide? Also has anyone accessed the number of young people who might have got depressed as a result of their friends committing suicide and subsequently were prescribed (or illegally) obtained) anti-depressants –e.g. either from a doctor or a street “dealer”? There needs to be a very thorough investigation of what exactly happened in Bridgend with regards to the young people there to prevent future loss life.

  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:


      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


  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:


      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


      • 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,


  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!

    • Manuel Montes de Oca says:

      After treating thousands of patients with addiction I have to agree with your observation. I see a clear link between antidepressants and Addiction and the best possibility seems to be the dampening in dopamine tone by the antidepressants increases cravings, desire and motivation for getting it up and nothing is better for that than Alcohol and drugs, sometimes females start stealing, gambling or other unusual behaviors.

  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!


    • 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:

    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?
    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.

    • G (Gillian Radcliffe) says:

      Yes Christine – there are a few out there who seem to have a natural instinct in helping patients.
      However I agree, not all have the natural ability to help a patient .
      I personally would always question whether I really need to take a medicine and discuss it – I won’t have any Doctor ‘forcing’ medicines on to me.
      Gillian Radcliffe

  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:

      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.

  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.

    • My heart goes out to you and your family. What a sorry world we live in where drugs that are supposed to help end up hurting people. May God give you peace of mind…and every one else who is dealing with the negative effects of pharmaceuticals and /or mental illness. I have learned to be my own physician, by reading extensively, and staying away from prescription drugs. I have been building up my physical health, and also my mental health, through reading, exercising (which I really don’t like to do!) –having a walking or hiking partner really helps!!! Regular walking in nature is very therapeutic I’ve found. also upping my B-Vitamins and increasing good nutrition in general…no junk food or soda…too much sugar!!! I also use prayer…I have learned that by praying for other people is also therapeutic for my mind. (and I pray for myself as well). Live is full of challenges and problems…but I believe there are solutions (good ones) to all problems–it is just up to us to find them.

  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

  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. I have seen the documentaries and also read some reports etc. And I wonder if you will say it is ever motivated with SSRI?

    Normal with depression 2 months after quitting?:
    How long according to you can a person feel depressed etc after quitting very slowly years medication of fluoxetin? It is 2 months after now since I quit so it is out of my body I guess ? But I feel more depressed then what I did even before starting!!! How long should I hang in there ? – I guess my biochemical balance is not ok yet… But will it be ? Or am I damaged for life ://?
    Since I feel more depressed now ofcourse my doctor wants me to start with the drug again. They say time can differentiate between withdrawal symptoms and the depression coming back and if the latter occur they want you to take the drug again… But if I understand the full truth about this drug it is inevitable to not be depressed after you quit since the drug it self has made your brain trying to lower the levels of serotonin?
    Very grateful to all your responses and feedback to this!
    Kindest regards

  46. How long arter quiting SSRI could I feel suicidal depressed ? It is now 2,5 months since I quit fluoxetin (I read it should be out after 25 days…. ) I feel worse then I was ever before – never was this deeply depressed. How long untill the brain is ok ? Will it ever be ? After Maybe 12 years back and forth with ssri they started giving me as a teenager with anxiousness and eating disorders…

    Is there ever , ever any argument to go back on SSRI ?( my physician think so now when I am depressed 2,5 months after quitting ;// but I am not convinced.. – need more objective advice! So please tell me how long can I be feeling like this after quitting ???

    Grateful to all replies!

    • David_Healy says:


      You can have marked withdrawal problems from fluoxetine months afterwards. Without knowing a lot more about your case its difficult to tell but you definitely should not let people insist that if you are having problems 3 months later than this can be nothing to do with withdrawal . It definitely can.


      • Dear David, thanks for your reply. But if it the symptoms got worse 2 months after quitting? I was in a very stressful life situation when the symptoms got worse approximately 2 after quitting the ssri. Can a crisis worsen the withdrawal syndromes?
        My doctor says from her experience that people who stop ssri often notice their need for the med in next “life-crisis” … She thinks I should start again. What is your advice? Is it motivated ever to start SSRI again ???
        ( I am so anxious and experience so much lability and depression it is like my doctor says that to manage life I should take the ssri…)
        Should I do Rxisk to get more correct advice from you ?

        Grateful to your reply to this !

        • David_Healy says:


          Fluoxetine can give major problems months later. Its difficult from the few details here to tell. Going back on an SSRI is unlikely to be the answer but its not possible to be definitive about this

          • Yes I know its difficult from the few details you get from me here – I submitted a report on “Rxisk” wont I get an answer from the team there then ? An more in dept answer about my situation ?
            …or did I missunderstand that you a doctors statement about your specific case for free if you submit a report there ?

  47. Dear Dr. Healy,
    I was given Lorezapm to sleep for 10 weeks and I cold turkeyd it I didnt know anybetter. I was then given low dose of promethazine for 3-4 weeks.
    Last dose of promethazine 9. March 2014 and last dose of lorazepam 6 Feb 2014 (1mg)
    I dont have any physical symtpoms left. But I am in 24/7 fear and have extreme waves of suicidal thinking and panic. I am not able to live my life. I was not mentally ill before this ordeal.
    I am supecting through my research my symptoms are from the lorazepam. Being on promethazine for such a short time and low dose is unlikely? I asked a psychmed person in Germany who is against meds, he says it is the lorazepam and that highly unlikely have permanent damage. I am too scared to take anything else.
    I am read that I am expected to recover fully of this in time….up to 18 months.
    Please go easy on me with your answers I am terriffied all day as it is :)
    thanks Melanie, 35, from Germany

    P.S I also sent you this via the contact Formular didnt know which was better

  48. If I am suspecting I have the Stress syndromes that you talk about in http://davidhealy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/DBM-Paper-Medicine-Induced-Stress-Syndromes.pdf
    What kind of help should I ask for then ?
    Grateful to your response as soon as possible!

    • David_Healy says:


      There are two things. One is reporting on RxISK aimed at generating a report that you can take to your doctor in the hope that this will change your conversation with her. The good thing about this is its free. The intriguing thing is it might tell you a lot about the relationship between your doctor and you, whether or not she understands the problems you are going through and can help you with them.

      We also run a RxISK consult service, but this requires a more detailed medical history, would require and interview and would cost money.


  49. Dear David , since the latter part of your mail got me so confused I have to ask you just to clarify what you mean by:

    “on fluoxetine there is often no problem for weeks and then a problem
    going back on is unlikely to help at this point
    but i can imagine if i were in your shoes i might be v desperate
    and when desperate people try anything

    – that includes the recommendations you get from therapists too”

    Do you mean Is it unlikely that it is fluoxetin that 3 months after quitting making me feel suicidal now and not before ? or do you mean “on fluoxetine there is often no problem for weeks and then a problem “?

    And what do you mean : “when desperate people try anything…..” what is your point here.. ?

    Do you have any advice for trying st johns worth instead of going back on antidepressivs ? (Rather be without anything but can’t feel ´like this if I should continue life …)

    Sorry to bother you ; but then again it was your webbsite and talk in the documentaries etc. that got me questioning what SSRI really does with me and if I really can believe my doctor know…

    Really grateful to your reply for this and then I will try to move from there ..

    Kindest regards,

    • David_Healy says:


      withdrawal is postponed for weeks with fluoxetine and then happens – many people in withdrawal get desperate and when desperate do things that make it all worse – its difficult to blame them as i can easily imagine myself doing the same – that is doing something – if there appear to be no answers. on average the best bet in the longer run is to wait it out but i’ve no idea what i wd do in the same circumstance

  50. William Cory says:

    Dr. Healy — I’d like to hear your comments on the new drug “Brisdelle,” whichis Paroxetine, or Paxil, rebranded. They’ve dont the same thing that Lilly did with fluoxetine, aka Prozac, releasingit as Serafem.

    Brisdelle, in the DTC ads, is proposed as a treatment for hot flashes during menopause. Serafem is proposed as treatment for PMD. Are women’s hormonal troubles, serious troubles that beg for treatments, simply n easy target for Big Pharma?
    Thank you — William

  51. Deirdre Oliver says:

    Do they make slight alterations to be able to re-patent these drugs under new names? Or do they just use them to slip past the public who may have had bad experiences with the old Prozac & Paxil? `Here, try this new one, dear, it’s better than the old ones,’ says the doc. Because it will be to women. The drug companies, like all big marketers, have long employed psychologists to predict purchasing behaviour. It’s always been known that women are more likely to take a pill for what ails them, while their menfolk turn to drink. Look at ads aimed a families & those aimed at `men’ e.g. Father’s Day = tools, cars, flash booze. By aiming at menopausal women, Big Pharma stands to get ALL women into the fold. How an addictive drug designed to treat depression via a non-existent `chemical imbalance’ with an 80%+ placebo effect only, can be ethically marketed as a `treatment’ for menopause beggars the imagination. The only thing I can think of is that you could claim there is a `chemical imbalance’ during menopause. BUT, since this is a `normal’ CHANGE in chemicals (i.e. hormonal & universal `change of life’), how on earth is `restoring’ it possible, even if it is at all desirable? Maybe they could sell cancer drugs to all the ladies who develop uterine, cervical & ovarian cancer that could eventuate. It might take years to find this out, though! WHATEVER WILL THEY THINK OF NEXT?
    We already have suicide, homicide, addiction, long term untreatable depression among other effects of these drugs, how much more will we tolerate?

    • William Cory says:

      When Lilly released Serafem for PMDD, it was fluoxetine, and chemically identical to Prozac. I’ve assumed that paroxetine is unchanged from the same paroxetine in Paxil when they release it as Brisdelle.

      When a company’s patent starts running out, theywant to protect their high markup, so they find another previously off-label use for the drug and re-patent it for that purpose. To me, this is a flaw in patent law that they take advantage of. Cynical of me? Absolutely.

    • Yes Deidre – you are so right – I was given Amisulpiride as a newer drug to replace the Sulpiride which was prescribed to me previously. The Sulpiride gave me a few side effects = dry mouth, weight gain and eventually repressed my mood considerably which when I was better I managed to be weaned off and stopped. This time they decided to ‘try’ me out with Amisulpiride and I ended up in A&E with increased heart rate and tremors in my limbs. They had given me too large a dose and decreased it at A&E; The Psychiatrist Doctor who had originally prescribed it just tut tutted and said it was unlikely it was the medicine! but the trembling continued in my right hand and my GP decided it was time to come off it completely because she noticed it was a side effect according to her book – what a difference in attitudes!. My GP is great because she always reads her book to check on what side effects have been noted for a medicine that you are on or being given This is really good practice on her part. After being weaned off Amisulpiride I now feel so much better and the trembling in my right hand has gone! Why I was ever given this newer drug instead of the older more tolerable one I have no idea – Guinea Pig springs to mind!

      • The thing I haven’t mentioned is I had to be given Sulpiride & Amisulpride because of a massive side effect I had with two different biological drugs I was on for Rheumatoid Arthritis, namely Enbrel and Rituximab – and therefore ended up with side effects from the very drugs that were given to me to help me get over said massive side effect.
        No more biological drugs for me ever again – back to conventional treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis. I never experienced any problems before I had the Anti TNF drugs apart from the severe Rheumatoid Arthritis I was suffering with and ended up with Organic Psychosis. Has any one else experienced anything like this? I have found a few instances on the Internet and in various other places and would be interested to read from anyone who has experienced something similar>:) I am now completely recovered but left with feeling fed up it ever happened::)

        • In a word – Enbrel and Rituximab gave me Organic Psychosis from which I am completely hopefully recovered. I want to know if there is anyone else who may have experienced something similar:)

  52. Since the doctors clearly dont know the potential of this dryg and I feel like I am in this alone: I have huge problems with fluoxetin withdrawal and since the doctors dont know anything they adviced me to take it out on 4 months after taking it for 9 years and a month after I took last dose I got huge depression, anxiety and withdrawalsymtoms) about this they just say “some people might need this their whole life …” Is that so accoring to you David ?? My Life got totally destroyed after this and I should probably proceed somehow but in Sweden how ???) first I need to find a Way to survive this
    And now that withdrawalsymtoms got so bad the only thing they could advice was fluoxetin again and withdraw even slower …( she Said ok to try smth Else but in Sweden they know really nothing about alternative therapies ) But my doctor is not saying like the others that I should take 20mg she just asks me what I think/want and I am the one to decide :(((( how can I know ? Is it lack of knowledge or a good thing that she doesnt follow the rekommendations from the drugcompay and drugbooks ordination ? I am just lost in this now 10mg .
    Is there anyone who has har good effects from acupuncture or some kind of herbs that you can give me a tips about ? Or Tell me some good physician that knows this whom I can turn too ? please very grateful to all replies!

    • Hello Anna. I took antidepressants too and now have around 3 years that I quit them and I still have some wd problems, but now they do not are so bad. If you can do it, my advice to you is to try to do alternative therapies and wait. If it only get worst maybe you should need to take some vitamins or others drugs, but believe me, do not come back to SSRI and do not take antipsychotics too, I’m saying it because some doctors will try to push it to you.
      I know exactly how is your despair and when we are in despair we need first holding on and research a lot to not make the same mistake again.
      Unfortunatelly almost all the doctors are useless now because almost all will offer to you is this “superdepressants drugs”. It sucks, but now you will need to be your own doctor.
      If it at least make you feel a bit better right now, keep in mind that a lot of people suffer with it and are getting better, do not believe in everything that you read and do not believe that you will need these drugs forever.
      A hormonal panel and others bloos tests should help a lot if you find a good physician to help you to figure if do not have any other problem that trigger this symptoms, it can be a good start to see what is happening in your body.
      Have faith and keep in mind that it will get better, but please do not come back to SSRI.

      • Thanks for the reply. What do you dsay David ? And what kinds of tests could it be I should do ?
        I went back to the lowest dose 5-10 mg . But I really want to quit If I dont need it for the rest of my Life – what do you say about this David ? Is there cases like this ? Is there any good psycician in Sweden/ Europe you could recommend me to turn to for advice ?
        Grateful to your response!
        Kindest regards

  53. Is what Breggin says true ? Do you recoomend his book for withdrawal ?

    Grateful to your reply David understand that u are swamped with things … But I don’t know who to turn to… Want to write a book too about this . If you need people let me know !
    Kindest regards,

  54. Need advice now! Do I dare to try : http://www.theroadback.org/about_us.aspx ??
    they suggest: supplements that reduce the JNK gene and some other stuff to balance while you withdraw from psychoactive drugs! Please David tell me what do you know from your knowledge about this ? I need something now !

    Grateful to all answers if anyone here tried this ???

    Kindest regards,

  55. It is difficult to separate a mental illness symptoms from those caused by anti-psychotic medication. Prior to any treatment our son then 17 years old experienced his first apparent psychosis:delusional thinking and paranoia. At that time he was stressed by school, academic requirments and unfortunately bullying by some of his peers which he verbally fended off including protecting others….it was a bad year for him and the following year ghaving switched school he had his first melt-down wihtthe symptoms mentioned above. That is when we realized hwo ill he was …He refused medication at first and continued to be agigated, having paranoia and threatening to kill himself before his imaginary threats would do that to him. So concerend for him we encouraged him to take the path of medication which he did a year later, became calmer more functional for a while unitl according to his psyhciatrist he had relapse as he resisted the drug…..briefly he want from one medication to another. Each time they worked for a bit unitl they failed; in the end after seven years of this roller-coaster treatment (psychiatrist refused to refer him to CBT convincing him that CBT would only trigger his psychosis-we tried desperately to convince our son otherwise and to try CBT which he did but too late) , He was typical revolving door patient seeking refuge or treatment at the hospital.Our son began his first attempts of self-harm at the age of 23 years and he succeeded after his fifth…during his medication treatment over theose seven years he developed side-affects with each new drug used : dsykinesia, weight gain; weight loss; psychedelic colours; muscular spasms; dizzy spell/fainting and possible cognitive impairment although that could also be the illness as well as depression; not surprising if your life qualityis reduced to this…..and perhaps the drugs contributed to this as well as the last drug was Paliperidone whcih 1 and 10 persons can cause manic depression and mood swings! Psychiatrist and medical team after 10 months still refused to take him off this drug even after his self-harm attempts instead they increased dosage and tried injections -suffered psychedelic clour and muscular /dizzy epidsodes…sent him homefrom the hospital even after his self-harm attempts when really they should have kept him under observation for much longer and perhaps changed hsi medication. At that point as his parent we wanted him off the drugs, but we were also scared of what it might do to him-withdrawals etc. No win situation for some.

  56. Deirdre Toomey says:

    Unlike most of those who have posted messages here I am lucky in that mirtazapine/venlafxine suits me. I was severely depressed from mid-October 2014 to about a week ago. I was cautiously prescribed mirtazapine 30mg with low dose Venlafaxine and I am myself again. I had suffered a tachyphylaxis after taking escitalopram for several years. My GP asked whether or not I had suicidal ideation and insisted on a follow up appointment, so he’s not careless. However I am reading ‘Pharmageddon’ with great interest. There is a lot of money to be made from medication. When T. S. Eliot was asked how he kept so youthful he replied ‘Gin and drugs.’

    • Re T.S. Eliot
      “For many years Eliot had suffered from lung-related health problems including bronchitis and tachycardia caused by heavy smoking. He died of emphysema at his home in Kensington in London, on 4 January 1965, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes were taken to St. Michael’s Church in East Coker, the village in Somerset from which his Eliot ancestors had emigrated to America. A wall plaque commemorates him with a quotation from his poem “East Coker”, “In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning.” “

    • Deirdre Oliver says:

      I’m glad you are helped by these drugs. Since you have had more than one episode of serious depression, you say you took Lexapro (SSRI escitaloprom), for several years, I wonder if you have thought of trying to find out WHY you get depressed. I realise it must seem pretty good to get a good response from a combination of Effexor (an SNRI) and Remeron, but each of these is altering the chemical balance in your brain which could take years, if ever, to realign itself when you stop taking them. It also concerns me that it took from October 2014 to January 2015 (3 months) for you to feel `yourself again’. The action time of theses drugs is supposed to be 4-6 weeks. If you’ve read Healy’s books/articles, the research by Irving Kirsch and Robert Whitaker’s, `Anatomy of an Epidemic’, you’ll have seen that the antidepressant drugs you take do not perform better than a placebo (sugar pill) in over 85% of people, and most of the others are those with very severe psychotic depression where almost any sedating drug can help, briefly. Have you thought of finding a program where you might be able to discover why you are so vulnerable to depression and whether you can work through it. Angela Gilchrist, a UK psychologist once tweeted `all psychiatric disease can be the result of grief, unresolved and unvalidated…’ Just one possibility. There is a psychotherapy program called `formulation’ which is having good results for people in the UK. This asks, not `what’s wrong with you?’ but `what happened to you?’ It removes the inner belief that somehow you are intrinsically flawed, faulty, with bad genes, chemical imbalances (a discarded theory now but still touted by ill-informed and/or drug paid practitioners) etc. This alone is a major part of depression so continuing with it via drugs to FIX these `faults and flaws’ is actually reinforcing your depressive feelings. `What happened to you’ suggests that something(s) in your life experience has left you vulnerable – not bad, but to some extent, damaged. Going through a process of learning, maybe grieving, understanding and eventually overcoming this might leave you strong enough to not need `careful’ doctors, or drugs.

  57. Deirdre Toomey says:

    I have rejected the prospect of psychoanalyis for my depression (the only analyst I know wanted to marry me, which is not a solution). I am happy to continue with the medication ( a friend of mine has taken sertraline for ten years now, during which time he was depression free for the first time since his adolescence and he published three very sucessful novels. He tried medication very reluctantly after 30 years of failed psychotherapy). However, thank you for your advice. Deirdre

  58. Deirdre Oliver says:

    For every plus there is a minus. I spent 8 years on an antidepressant & was not depressed. During that time I raised 2 boys through adolescence, established a burgeoning career as a sculptor, had 2 books about to be published, a movie deal with re-writes pending & a sit-com in pre-production. I didn’t like the side-effects of the drugs and suggested changing to the new SSRI (2010) to help cope with the stress of so many commitments. The old drug was suddenly withdrawn (not recommended) & the new begun soon after. Within days I had a catastrophic suicidal reaction to the SSRI (documented in 1998) and was immediately given ECT, diagnosed with Bipolar (never before seen) & spent the next 13 years heavily drugged, with permanent brain damage from them and ECT. I can no longer write books, have lost my sculpture skills & don’t remember my children growing up. Two years ago I walked away from bio-psychiatry, and am drug free. I am working through the reasons for my vulnerability to depression, have had NO symptoms except the PTSD I got from the years of abuse. I don’t do psychoanalysis or CBT or any other, but I still have some residual withdrawal symptoms from the drugs which I may have for life. My point is, try not to dismiss other options. I agree it is not easy finding a psychotherapist who is right for you, but one bad psychotherapist should not foul the whole pond. I can understand how your confidence might be a little compromised, but then I met a psychiatrist whose only interest was in my (now ex) husband’s adventures in the stock market. At least yours liked you. I was 57 when this saga began, I still can’t believe it happened. As my old mum used to say, `you’re born but not buried’. Try to keep all avenue open, you might be surprised.

  59. There needs to be a way for the patients to let drug companies know what side effects are happening to them.
    I had a bad reaction to a drug and I’m now numb down one side, no-one will admit the drug caused this. I don’t want compensation I just want to have something on record to say that I shouldn’t be given it again or anything that is similar, I doubt that I will ever get this.
    As I understand it doctors have forms that they can fill in if a unusual reaction occurs in a patient but that would mean admitting they had given you a something that damaged you and if they admit that then you would probably have grounds to sue them, so the form seems to be something that is avoided and thus putting people at risk. This is why I suggest maybe an online form that patients can fill in themselves.

    I can’t help but think that this approach could lead to another thalidomide type disaster because the things that were put in place to prevent it from happening again are being undermined, it seems almost inevitable.

    • Suzanna, I agree with you. When I suffered a bad reaction to a drug my immediate thought was that it needed to be reported to the drug company who create it. This is how I was first introduced to the Rxisk report – but I think the report only reaches the medical profession and does not reach the drug companies. Like you I wasn’t interested in compensation just felt it was important for it to be recognised.

    • Suzanna, My Doctors published a report about what happened to me on line -on the Internet. Perhaps you may be able to get yours to do the same?
      Have you completed a Rxisk report via this web site also?

  60. A.Allaway says:

    I am an intelligent human being who even after reading all of the research took Seroxat for anxiety. I have suffered on and of with this since childhood. I am a mother of two children aged 8 and 4. I took the drug which seemed to work for three months, then the awful side effects began…… severe nausea (as have life end approached), muscle aches, headaches, blurred vision, poor circulation, general pain. So I felt the most intelligent approach was to let the G.P know that I wanted to stop taking the ‘medicine’. she told me within 3 weeks I would be off them. thankfully a friend of mine gave me your protocol after suffering for 2 days feeling like I could die…. 11 months of suffering and I am finally off the drug…. but problematic symptoms persist and my G.P just doesn’t believe these problems exist…. My eyes are so sensitive to light, I have trouble focusing on detail, I have what could only be described as image staining?? so when I look at something there is a double image of light??? I am extremely tearful much of the time (which is very out of character, I have never been depressed). I feel like I’m struggling for breath sometimes and am extremely agitated much of the time which makes me a snappy mother and wife I am usually very tolerant)… I thought that after 3 weeks any residual symptoms would be gone and I would be free…. I am far from free. What do I do? who can I tell? who can help me? who would believe me? How long will the symptoms persist? How much more of this can I cope with… my body is now clear of the drug yet I am very far from free of it….. I hope somebody can help me my fear is that my brain has been permanently damaged and therefore I am irreparably changed? I am going to be helping with some research into the relationship of SSRI’s and the impact on vision. As yet I cannot find the answers I need? Is there a reliable prognosis on post Paroxetine recovery? My sincere thanks.

  61. Deirdre Oliver says:

    Naturally the GP doesn’t believe you. After all, she prescribed them for anxiety. They are NOT an anxiolytic, they are advertised (without foundation in fact) as an ANTI-DEPRESSANT! Her information has come from the drug companies and THEY aren’t admitting anything! YES, you probably will get over them but how long it will take is anyone’s guess. They have interfered with the normal operation of your brain. The possible consequences are so varied that no one can know just how many there may be. It is an indictment of today’s medical profession that they would rather believe a commercial industry with extreme vested interests, rather than listen to their patients. Apart from just detaching medical professionals from drug companies, perhaps we should attempt to educate them in `healing’ rather than `treating’. Fot 1000s of years women understood healing & accumulated vast amounts of knowledge. Their power was such that the church felt the need to shut them down – over a couple of hundred years `witches’ were murdered, taking their learning with them. Since the middle ages when the church (men) took over and set out to `drive the devil out (via purges, bloodletting etc) and were succeeded by men (again) who figured they could make a buck out of it, the treatment of illness has been a testimony to testosterone, a `fight’ to `make’ people better. “You will recover, by fair means or foul because I tell you will.” Of course it’s not that simple but…It was hoped, in the early 1990s, that the increases in the number of female doctors would lead to a gentler medicine, with more input from the recipients, but the co-operative approach is taking a long time to overtake the cut and poison approach. Good luck, keep fighting & see if you can get your family to read some of the stuff from the rest of us so that they can understand that you are more a victim of `furore therapeuticus’ (the excessive treatment doctors indulge in when they can’t admit they might have it wrong), than either a `nutter’ or self indulgent ratbag. You’re NOT!

    • I like what you wrote…very telling on a number of levels. It reminds me of what I read years ago: “The doctor’s job is to remove obstacles to the healing process.” In other words, make it easy to heal…not more difficult!

    • Deirdre Toomey says:

      There is a yellow card system in the UK which allows the reporting of adverse reactions. This is most important in ‘black triangle’ medications, that is those which are newly introduced. I think that patients should report adverse reactions, which can differ from patient to patient. Yesterday I was talking to a friend who had had no adverse reaction to a cardiac medication, which I had found intolerable. I no longer take it. Nor does he, as some of the more severe side effects are hidden (irreversable liver damage, for example).

  62. Deirdre Oliver says:

    There remain significant problems within the medical profession generally with prescribing drugs they appear to know little about. Granted the pharma list is huge & no one can know it all, BUT, surely they should know a bit about the ones they commonly use . Recently, because of sleep problems from anti-psychotic drugs withdrawal (12 years & never a psychotic moment in my life before during or after), I was prescribed a drug that was an anticonvulsant, also tried out for bipolar (with poor results). Though I had told the doctor of the problem, I got NO info from him re side effects, or why it was prescribed, the pharmacist had to be asked to provide an info sheet & I saw that, among other thing, it could precipitate `suicidal behaviour’. My entire 13 years of misery was because an SSRI triggered suicidal responses in me, overnight the 1st time and it took a week 10 years later. And I had TOLD the doctor that. For SLEEPING? That’s what they started the Quetiapine for! Then the other day I was prescribed Amytriptyline for a bladder issue. Again No warning, NO info sheet, THIS time I had heard of the drug & knew it was used for urine problems (my issue), but I didn’t know it too has a suicidal side effect! I took one and had over 4 hours of dreadful akathesia – then checked it out. It ticked ALL the boxes for someone like me who already has a dopamine (movement, RLS & withdrawals etc) problem & had suicidal reactions to drugs in the past. What is wrong with these people? Two things absolutely essential in the `caring’ professions – empathy, (you have to listen to & try to understand your patient’s point of view), & humility, (believe them & don’t always assume YOU know better). If anyone has seen this in their doctors lately, please tell me, I’ve become horribly cynical?

  63. Deirdre Oliver says:

    I’ll check this out here in Australia. I have little faith in our `watchdog’ authority, the Therapeutic Goods Authority, however. This organisation has placed Electroshock machines in the same category as condoms. This despite the US FDA categorisation in Cat III `not proven safe or effective & posing an unreasonable risk of harm’. I’d like to see a condom like that. Plus, surely it is incumbent on the doctors to report adverse reactions as part of their duty of care? You can see that an `authority’ might feel that the subjective complaints of citizens, particularly `mentally ill’ citizens, might be more vexatious than important. And with so many psychiatrists with their hands in the drug companys’ pockets, or naively believing their spiel over their patient’s experiences, things don’t look like changing. My cynicism is unabated, but I will try.

  64. 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.



  1. […] a provocative essay entitled, “Randomized God,” internationally renowned psychiatrist David Healy lays out a blueprint for a clinical trial to test the healing power of prayer. Putting aside the […]

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