Get Real: Peter Gøtzsche Responds

February, 17, 2014 | 41 Comments

Comments

  1. For people, particularly psychiatrists, to go round calling people they disagree with (including other psychiatrists) “nutty” or “mad” or just in some way defective, is obviously troubling, abusive and evades the real reasons for differences which the abuser can’t address.

    As for Peter Gøtzsche, I hope he really isn’t anything “like” Ben Goldacre. Some years ago I was concerned over a paper of his that recommended “self-regulation” but it is still giving Goldacre too much credit.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/334/7586/208?tab=responses

  2. Outsiders would not be able to believe the truth of corruption and severe abuse including non-concensual and depraved treatment which still continues today, and in the UK. Indeed it certainly appears that for some of us who are ‘service users’ and who were brave enough to highlight real abuses within the system, we are deliberately ignored and dis-credited again. The very label of mental illness itself is used to dis-credit us and prevent so-called intelligent men in high circles to ever listen, investigate and believe what we say.

    The wheel within the wheel which keeps the abuse of mental health patients, and now it seems some brave psychiatric practitioners, in motion, involves far more people than those working in the health sector. We are tied in by corrupt medical insurance companies, the revised unfair legal system, military interests and a political system prepared to buffer the illegitimate use of psychiatric treatment in order to cover-up past severe abuse and to promote our system to the world. The ring that corrupts is also linked to proft, the banking sector’s excesses and a desperation to improve the British economy at any cost, even ignoring the most vulnerable in society and those it purports to safeguard.

    I probably shouldn’t say this, but if some of you psychiatrists are being given a hard time, some of us so-called mentally ill and shunned for it, at least aren’t left feeling quite so isolated in our incarceration. So for being labelled as ‘nutters’ yourself now, thank you.

  3. Medical people need to watch their language. In particular, psychiatrists need to watch their language. Psychiatry is the one field, where language is crucial to the patient who is being analysed, in case, they are defective.

    Peter Gotzsche is a one off. David Healy is always polite, always compassionate.

    Be grateful to have these two on board who have the killer put down at their disposal with more common sense than anyone else in the field of psychiatry, apart from 1Boringoldman who is just pure gold and helps out considerably with his constant churning of self-evident pharma manipulation.

  4. What I found interesting is that after Dr. Dawson suggested that psychiatrists no longer adhere to the “chemical imbalance” theory, one of his commentators – presumably a psychiatrist – wrote in:
    “Irrespective of what factors are precipitating the depression, we also know that ultimately, as a final step in the process of becoming a person suffering from depression, all the symptoms are the result of abnormal function of certain certain chemicals called neurotransmitters that nerves use to talk to each other. As a result, antidepressants, which can help normalize the function of those neurotransmitter systems can be a useful tool.”

  5. One of the benefits of being a blogger with no real educational background is that I get to publish whatever I write, I answer to no editor who fears a lawsuit. This could have landed me in hot water a few years ago when GSK’s Alistiar Benbow was, apparently, deeply upset by a video I had created about him that implied he was lying. His lawyers, Addleshaw Goddard, threatened to sue me if I didn’t retract the statement and remove the video from YouTube. The outcome is highlighted in my book and was covered by US Journalist, Ed Silverman.

    Basically, people target the likes of Healy, Whittaker and Gøtzsche because they know that their profession prohibits them from getting into a public pissing match. It’s a bullying tactic that is used in school playgrounds and business.

    I’ve been labelled many things over the years I’ve been writing, it used to bother me but I now wear these labels proudly. It’s a badge of honour to be called a nutter or words to that effect…okay it’s not very nice if you are suffering from a deep depression and someone labels you a nutter but to be called one because you have stood up for what you believe in [evidence based science] means that you are annoying those who choose to bury their heads in the sand.

    I was in LA a few years back and an unnamed whistleblower approached me. She said, “I can’t ell you anything about the case I am involved with but I can tell you that Glaxo cringe at you blog”

    Music to my ears, I ordered a beer and slept really well that night.

    Getting back to Dawson… maybe he should go visit some graves of the kids who have died as a result of SSRi induced suicide, maybe he should approach the parents of those children and claim that their kids weren’t killed by the antidepressants…they suicided because they were ‘nutters’.

    I’ll bet my left testicle that Dawson doesn’t have the bottle to approach any one person whose hands are not tied by their profession.

    He could, if he wanted, have a pop at me. Fiddaman is a Scientologist [I’m not] – Fiddaman was expelled from school [Tell me something I don’t know] – What does Fiddaman know, he’s an ex Land Rover worker, etc, etc…

    I’ve heard it all before.

    One thing that the likes of Dawson don’t like is when the man on the street fights back. He will use the ‘uneducated’ slagging off as his choice of weapon.

    Dawson’s stance on those that speak out against antidepressants says more about him than those he targets.

    Must dash, I have to meet some aliens at the foot of my garden.

    • “Getting back to Dr Dawson… maybe he should go visit some graves of the kids who have died as a result of SSRi induced suicide, maybe he should approach the parents of those children and claim that their kids weren’t killed by the antidepressants…they suicided because they were ‘nutters’

      The bottom line is that he probably couldn’t care less. With him and many of his ilk and profession, there is an arrogance that knows no bounds. They truly don’t care if these drugs harm, ruin lives or cause people to kill themselves…that’s the bottom line. They couldn’t give a toss.

      It beggars belief to me that most Pyschiatrists ever chose the career path they did because most seem to have patient welfare and good mental health as the lowest matter of importance as a consideration for treating people.

      Dr Dawson and his colleagues World Wide are an arrogant and dangerous breed of person. Thank Goodness that technology at least now allows people to share information, especially such information that reveals the lie that these professional “cartels” peddle to people already at their lowest ebb and who are desperate for the magic pill to make them better. Sadly, in the hands of these professionals they are likely to descend into a pit of Hell.

      Well Done Peter & David

  6. Thanks for writing this rebuttal, Dr. Gøtzsche.

    I fear though, like Ron Pies, Dr. Dawson prefers to rewrite history (e.g. denial of the popularity of the “chemical imbalance” theory among psychiatrists) rather than deal with psychiatry’s recent past and conflicted present. Debates with those who resort to sophistry go nowhere.

    However, for astute readers, Dr. Dawson’s writing speaks for itself.

    Dr. Dawson’s use of devices to deny the truth reveals his anguish at the state of his profession and his outrage at “antipsychiatry” critics betrays how painful it is for him to experience lack of authority.

    The parlous state of the profession must cause a lot of distress in physicians who depend on identification with psychiatry for their sense of self-worth and status.

  7. Psychiatrists should start reporting the patients that committed suicide because of drug-induced suicidal ideation.
    Why not?
    “The patient that was taking ………………….. committed suicide.”

    I’m waiting for the first psychiatrist, or any other field of medicine, to do so.
    ” I lost a patient for Effexor.”
    “I lost a patient for a statin.”

    Is it too idealistic? What harm would it cause? Would the doctor be responsible?
    Who is responsible?
    Regulators are free?

    Jurisprudence. A jurisprudence change is necessary.

  8. ” It’s ad hominem by association or ad parahominem.”

    I like it. I have already stated that I admire your culture Dr. Healy.
    It is rare among physicians.
    Most doctors are stupid. Renaissance happened to other people not to them.

  9. George Dawson is typically arrogant, it seems to be the hallmark of many in his profession, he is also disparaging of Peter Gotzsche because he feels undermined my the truth therefore he attempts to discredit it. His response came across more like a teenage girl in a high school spat than an educated professional working in the highly delicate position of choosing chemicals which may, or may not, harm people.

    In many cases, these drugs do harm people, I am the walking embodiment of SSRI damage. I’m the type of evidence that people like George Dawson ignore.

  10. After reading this, and before turning in for the evening, I am having an extreme, “I really appreciate David Healy except for Electroshock” moment. I’ve been working on recruiting people to get involved with his study on eye problems associated with ssri’s. This is really important research. I know people reading this know someone who might be able to contribute. I’ve written for Mad In America on eye problems related to seroquel. an “antipsychotic”/neuroleptic. So I’m really, really on board with research……..especially because that will lead to real research on withdrawal. There is none, and it’s absolutely outrageous. People are gathering in droves on facebook as they withdraw from these drugs and their doctors have nothing but hocus pocus advice to offer. “oh, just cut it in half and then stop taking it after a week”, or, “I have found that people who are addicted to benzodiazapine’s can switch to depakote for one week and then not experience withdrawal” (!!???@#@#??!!). The medical profession MUST take responsibility, and I support and applaud Peter Gotzche for going out on this limb so rationally and with the appropriate sense of outrage. Add to that his witty knack for pointing out semantics and psychodynamics. The truth is out. Now what? It’s time to think about what people need. Wasn’t that the whole idea in the beginning anyway? People need research on Withdrawal. THIS is the real suffering that is happening now, and it can longer be shrugged off by talking about who did what. We need research now.

  11. Thank you David and Peter. This site allows the professionals to discuss their field of expertise but also gives SSRI survivors an opportunity to tell their stories for the benefit of all. This can be the only way forward. There was a time when nobody listened. Doctors blamed patient problems on their condition and just kept writing prescriptions. Prescriptions that killed and incapacitated many.

  12. Well educated men argue over my reality, on sand-box level!

    SSRI’s can cause horrendeous side-effects, some scientists acknowledges them, some don’t.

    Me? I just live day to day with these things that some people say cannot happens.

    People has ended up with narcolepsy from a flu-vaccine, and no one argues with that, but getting your brain altered by a medication MENT FOR YOUR BRAIN causes a stir…

    Start to listen to us who suffer this very instant!

  13. I find this extremely interesting not least since I have experience from four persons on the SSRI stuff and all of them has failed to leave them behind and in two cases with severe consequences.

    I am pretty well acquainted with R&D in natural science (Aerospace Materials at Chalmers) by a lifetime experience and earlier I also had a belief that medicine was also a “true” part of that natural science but as with this belief has eroded away in me the more I try to understand what medicine is about.

    Now I am reading Peter Götzsches book “Deadly Medicines ….” with great interest and not much is left of my earlier naive beliefs in medicine.

  14. Long Live Peter C. Gotzsche!

    …and shame on Dr. Dawson.

    I myself was damaged by one of these “happy pills” in 2013. A psychiatrist from my local psychiatric “care” center prescribed me some. I was told I had a biochemical imbalance in my brain related to serotonin deficiency. I was told SSRIs have no permanent side effects and that possible sexual adverse effects, for example, would go away after drug discontinuation. That is of course not always the case and this applies also to other form of damage these drug can cause like cognitive and emotional ones. The psychiatric profession here has done their best to deny all harm done but the reality is terrifying as, especially us victims, already know too well. And the withdrawal hell is just another horrifying story to tell.

    A Psychiatry Victim,
    Southern Finland

  15. Dear Peter and David

    There is no such thing as a ‘chemical imbalance in the brain’ in terms of human distress – this is a major fraud on the taxpayer.

    The drugs themselves turn people into long term psychiatric patients, not the original problems. I can substantiate this.

    When I sought help in 1980, I asked for psychotherapy. This was denied to me and I was forced to take strong drugs. I remained disabled until I stopped these drugs by means of slow taper in 1984.

    I then made full recovery and a return to productivity through straightforward understandable psychotherapy. And I have remained well since.

    Successful Recovery was as a result of rejecting the mainstream chemical
    treatment and accessing suitable non drug help.

  16. ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: “Peter C. Gøtzsche” Date: 18 February 2014 07:24
    Subject: my response to your criticism of “Psychiatry gone astray”
    To: [email protected]

    Please explain why you refused to accept my little entry on your blog where I say I responded to your criticism and gave a link to Healy’s website where my response is.

    Don’t you favour an open debate?

    http://davidhealy.org/get-real-peter-gotzsche-responds/

    bw

    Peter G

      • Its very unfortunate that abusive comments of any sort are used. But to some extent these seem an inevitable manifestation of the hidden violence the system inflicts on those whom it injures and who have the temerity to protest.

        It should be less acceptable if the abuse comes from the pillars of the establishment.

        DH

        • I have been watching this unfold from the start, and I have stopped myself from commenting up until now. But this latest post from Dr Dawson marks a new low.

          Abusive comments are understandable, I have to fight with myself every time I make a comment on this subject. But normally if you call someone a #&@% other readers take it for what it is and understand that this slur says more about the person saying it that it does about the person receiving it.

          But here we have an email which I don’t believe for a second came from Peter Gotzsche and I am certain Dr Dawson doesn’t believe it either. For example, did it come from the same address? He doesn’t say. And why would a prominent researcher even feel the need to do such a thing?

          Yet this hasn’t stopped him treating it as if it was from Peter, and posting a response in public while ignoring the real email and the challenge of open debate.

          He doesn’t have time to tackle Peter’s actual response but somehow has time to reply to this phantom message. This goes way beyond simple abusive comments and is IMO an extremely underhand attempt to discredit another person. There is no excuse for this type of behaviour.

      • This demonstrates how Dr. Dawson, author of a blog called Real Psychiatry, is naive about the real world, in this case Internet spoofing.

        That he used the occasion for yet another rant about antipsychiatry speaks volumes about his ability to think clearly. (If anything, it calls for an editorial about how those opposed to psychiatry damage their own cause by intemperate online behavior.)

  17. Having now read almost the whole of Peter Götzsches book I fully understand his frequent urges to vomit in front of those psychiatric “professionals” on the pay roll of Big Pharma.

    Today I learnt that one of those four victims, a young person that I know closely, who have unsuccessfully tried to get away from the SSRI treatment now probably is “beyond hope” in the hands of the psychiatrists. Being young he will though probably generate big profits.

    The sad thing is that this corruption seems to be in all fields of medicine. I have personal experience from the cardiology field as a surviving victim of a severe heart attack 15 years ago. I did my then “homework” (I am pretty good at that!), refuse by-pass operations, take no heart medicines but have my “tricks” (as for instance excluding all transfats/margarine from my diet 1999) which the cardiologist blatantly tells me that he does not want to hear about.

    • Professor Göran
      It was good you did your homework. In Ireland each Severely Mentally Ill person costs the taxpayer 50,000 euros, no questions asked.

    • I admire doctors like Peter GotzscheDavid Healy and the like.
      My life was destroyed by Zoloft after only a 3rd tablet. I had severe reaction from Zoloft and was suicidal. These drugs destroy the soul, the very core of a human being.
      I am still recovering 18 months later, and my situation was not helped by throwing Seroquel and Mirtazapine into the mix when I did not even recover from Zoloft. Furthermore, my psychiatrist abruptly stopped Seroquel after a month, lowered and increased Mitrazapine dose on several occasions, until I finally had enough.
      I started tappering off Mirtazapine last October and it has been a battle. During this time I have suffered from bizzare side effects which include; Andreniline rushes, surges. Burning /pins and needles in the head.Disturbing dreams, PGAD, (from Zoloft), severe depression, (from Zoloft).
      Sensitivity to light, sound,touch.(Zoloft ).
      Cold chills, hot flashes, nightmares etc. Weight loss, weight gain. Many others.

      When I experienced bizzare reaction from Zoloft, I received no support from my doctor as she was clueless what to do. I am still angry at my doctor. After 2 months of suffering, I had pharmocogenic test done and it showed that I was sensitive to many medications including Zoloft. I
      feel betrayed, let down by the very professionals that were supposed to help me.
      Why not offer these test prior to prescribing antidepressants? Why put people through misery?
      Antidepressants destroy lives of individuals and the loved ones. My hope is to get off Mirtazapine safety and regain control of my life.
      A big thanks goes to my GP and my psychiatrist, for giving me a chemical imbalance, that I did not have before .

  18. Someone has to speak up for the underdog.
    If behoves me to say that *Doing a Dawson*©, could do the rounds in the world of psychiatry.
    If, all patients, sitting in front of a psychiatrist, asked *You’re not Doing a Dawson on me, are you?*
    To, which, the psychiatrist, might reply *what are you talking about?*
    Then, the, ‘mouth-watering opportunity’, to take a pill, might pass……………….

  19. What are the best primary sources that support the proposition that the serotonin hypothesis of depression has been refuted? I am always in debates with people but don’t know what to cite other than secondary articles. PS It’s astonishing how pervasive neurotransmitter imbalance theories are in the alternative medicine community at least in the US. Several doctors have told me I am anxious because of a GABA/glutamate imbalance, for example. These theories seem to have gained new currency with the advent of the notion that methylation cycle “defects” underlie many illnesses including mental ones. It is all so upsetting, really. Thank you for what you do.

    • The serotonin hypothesis of depression so called was dead by the late 1960s – the people who put it forward like Herman van Praag and Alec Coppen stopped believing it then.

      The serotonin myth you are talking about was invented in SmithKline Beecham and other companies to market SSRIS. There was never any evidence for it – calling it a hypothesis is unwarranted.

      DH

      • Its amazing how some doctors like Peter Breggin/Terry Lynch can describe the experience of human distress with real insight.
        Dr Ivor Browne also, and he explains clear routes out.

      • There are a couple of good references here http://bigthink.com/devil-in-the-data/the-chemical-imbalance-myth (see their citations).

        Also of interest:

        Psychiatry’s New Brain-Mind and the Legend of the “Chemical Imbalance”
        By Ronald Pies, MD Psychiatric Times July 11, 2011
        http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/blogs/couch-crisis/psychiatry%E2%80%99s-new-brain-mind-and-legend-%E2%80%9Cchemical-imbalance%E2%80%9D (free registration required) which claims:

        “….I am not one who easily loses his temper, but I confess to experiencing markedly increased limbic activity whenever I hear someone proclaim, “Psychiatrists think all mental disorders are due to a chemical imbalance!” In the past 30 years, I don’t believe I have ever heard a knowledgeable, well-trained psychiatrist make such a preposterous claim, except perhaps to mock it. On the other hand, the “chemical imbalance” trope has been tossed around a great deal by opponents of psychiatry, who mendaciously attribute the phrase to psychiatrists themselves.2 And, yes—the “chemical imbalance” image has been vigorously promoted by some pharmaceutical companies, often to the detriment of our patients’ understanding.3 In truth, the “chemical imbalance” notion was always a kind of urban legend- – never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists…..”

    • The methylation thing is another fad.

      When 40%-50% of the population has a genetic “mutation,” it’s a normal variation that confers some survival benefit. That benefit has not yet been discovered. Who knows, it might be a different way to metabolize B vitamins.

      The factors that go into methylation are so complex, no one has unraveled them yet, and so-called treatment is trial-and-error.

      What we do know is raw green leafy vegetables are good for you. Eat them at every opportunity. They are very much absent in the modern diet.

  20. Yeah methylation is now being promoted by people such as “Dr.” Amy Yasko (not a real doctor) and many others (some of whom are real doctors) as a cause or major factor in everything from autism to chronic fatigue to whatever. So people get expensive genetic testing for methylation “SNPs” and are prescribed hideously complex supplement regimes. The message boards naturally are full of people comparing notes, recommending practitioners, listing their SNPs and their supplements. “Dr,” Amy charges $600 just to test you, and you could spend hundreds or even more monthly on the recommended supplements. Uh, sorry to interrupt the flow of money, but where is the science supporting this? I don’t know, and it doesn’t seem to matter.

    • How is it, by the way, that licensed MDs can get away with charging people for urinary neurotransmitter testing, which as far as I can determine has at least two fundamental flaws: (1) it says nothing about what’s going on in the brain and (2) even if it did it wouldn’t say anything about a person’s mental and emotional state? Yet a search of the web reveals almost countless “functional” medical practitioners touting their ability to assess your neurotransmitter status and to fix your imbalances through orthomolecular methods. What on earth is going on and are we truly powerless to stop it? I try writing these people to ask them for the science supporting their claims but of course they universally ignore me.

  21. Dr. Dawson’s arrogance is not surprising but very disappointing. He reminds me of a right wing climate change denier: faced with both scientific and anecdotal evidence, he chooses instead to rely on ad hominem attacks, a sure sign that he has already lost the argument.

    He challenges and criticizes Dr. Healy and Dr. Gøtzsche and all but calls them irresponsible quacks but does not seem to mind using his own unproven opinions of myth versus reality as to what the patient/public’s understanding is of the true benefits and science (or lack of) behind antidepressants. What about the reality of the small studies done with few subjects before new ADs are approved? What about the clinical trials that have gone missing, presumably because the drug company that pays for the trials is not happy with the outcome? Why didn’t he ask a few people/patients whether they had certain knowledge of being exploited by these so-called myths? I have been. I suppose he couldn’t be bothered.

    I am a SURVIVOR of Effexor and I mean that quite literally. If it were not for a forum I found online and later Dr. Healy, I never would have survived withdrawal from this poison, the effects of which linger on nearly three years later. Now, for the first time, there is a final safe withdrawal guide, thanks to Dr. Healy and his colleagues, that I can freely share with people I know who are or will be suffering.

    I have nothing but respect for those who care enough to keep digging and questioning and nothing but contempt for those who do not and who refuse to listen, especially those like Dr. Dawson who are in some position of influence. If Dr. Dawson really cared, he’d jump on board and try to wade through the time-consuming data that is being collected for analysis rather than sit back and cast aspersions on those who are trying to get to the bottom of what I call white-coated murder for the love of the almighty money.

  22. Regarding Dr. Dawson’s and other psychiatrists’ reactions to criticism, on Facebook recently, a smart psychiatrist, Jim Pfrommer recently posted:

    “…it would be important to keep in mind Helen Bloch Lewis’ concept of “humiliated fury.”

    Most psychiatrists really only want to help their patients. If you approach as an angry victim, it is very likely you will trigger an intense shame in the psychiatrist for errors causing you harm. If this is done without significant tact, the likelihood of the doc being overwhelmed with his shame and responding in the “attack other” pole of the Compass of Shame is immense. I would think most doctors would want to learn how to be more effective, but if one goes in triggering too much shame, they are likely to shut down, not be able to listen well, and possibly automatically attack. Many of these docs have “helping people” as a central part of their identity, and if hit hard with hurting people, are liable to shut down respond really poorly.”

    This fits well with my perception of Dr. Dawson’s general attitude towards “anti-psychiatry” criticism.

    It still doesn’t explain how to effectively communicate to individual psychiatrists how they’ve harmed us or made mistakes. Given the doctors’ fragile emotional states, patients must exercise a consideration and “tact” that perhaps was not extended to them by the doctors.

    Still, it seems to me that when you get to “with all due respect, the mistakes you made ruined my life,” you’re still going to meet some resistance.

  23. It is interesting to see a leading European medical researcher challenging the pharmaceutical industry and the way our medical/health system works.

    Hamlet once wrote, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Sure, one could argue that is the case but the truth is that duty of care is the responsibility of all, including our Doctors.

    This is a challenging issue of international proportion, it goes beyond the borders of the state of Denmark.

    The abuse of psychiatric drugs is indeed real, having had family members being part of this I can truly relate to Gøtzsche’s argument. In my view – Peter C Gøtzsche is doing a great job, it is about time the public gets more insight into these issues.

    So where do we go from here – as a certified practitioner of Reconnective Healing I encourage the medical community and indeed our doctors to take more interest in complementary medicine and approaches.

    There are many different ways to achieve balance and wellbeing…

    • We shouldn’t forget that Gøtzsche has challenged “the way our medical/health system works” and the medical industry at another front: mammography. He’s been the leading critic of systematic screening with mammography for well over a decade. Apart from “The Mammogram Myth” by Rolf Hefti, Gøtzsche’s book “Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy” is among the very few extensive, eye-opening, and real accounts about mammography.

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