Days of Reckoning?

A little over a year ago, there was consternation in psychiatric circles as a French psychiatrist, Daniele Canarelli was found guilty after her patient hacked a man to death. She had not recogized the hazard he posed. Doctors didn’t like the implications they saw.

In a series of lectures I have raised the question as to how long it might be before a doctors would be found guilty for a suicide or homoicide linked to an antidepressant, given that we have known that these drugs can cause suicide or homicide for over 50 years. See RxISK’s Violence Zone.

New Zealand

In March 2008 17-year old Toran Henry who was on Fluoxetine (Prozac) committed suicide, fifteen days after starting the drug. Maria Bradshaw, his mother, convinced that the drug had caused the problem refused to have his death attributed to a depression or other disorder he didn’t have.

Unbeknownst to her, the company that marketed it in New Zealand, Mylan, had looked internally at the case and decided their drug had caused Toran’s death. Maria had to fight to get this information. Mylan withheld their assessment and forced her to get the High Court to agree she was her child’s legal representative.

Following her efforts for her son, Maria and others formed CASPER, a New Zealand based organization aimed at raising awareness of suicide and the role that treatments like the antidepressants can play in provoking this. It is now spreading to other countries and its profile is rising steadily.

Old Zealand

Meanwhile in 2011 in Old Zealand (Denmark), Danilo Terrida, 20, committed suicide eleven days after he was prescribed antidepressants following an eight-minute-long conversation with a doctor.

The doctor never followed up on the consultation and was recently found responsible for the suicide by the National Agency for Patients’ Rights and Complaints.

The health agency, Sundhedsstyrelsen, has decided to make it harder for doctors to prescribe antidepressants to 18-to-24-year-olds after Danilo’s suicide.

From now on, young patients will have to face an assessment and an in-depth conversation with a doctor before antidepressants can be prescribed.

“Along with the Danilo case, there have been other cases that we, as the oversight authority, are not satisfied with. That is why we are now tightening the rules for this vulnerable group,” Sundhedsstyrelsen spokesperson Anne Mette Dons told TV2 News.

Danilo’s family said that they were pleased that the rules had been tightened for prescribing antidepressants.

“It doesn’t change the fact that we have lost our son,” Danilo’s mother, Marianne Terrida, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “The fact that it’s a dangerous drug is not new, it’s been known a long time.”


The case has sparked a debate in Zealand about the dangers of psychiatric drugs, and in Politiken newspaper today Peter Gøtzsche, medical researcher and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Center at Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, wrote that antidepressants have caused healthy people to commit suicide.

“It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but antidepressants increase it even more, at least up until the age of 40,” he wrote.

He added that psychiatric medication often does more harm than good and that patients would often be better off without medication.

“Doctors cannot cope with the paradox that drugs that can be useful for short-term treatment can be highly dangerous when used for years and even create the illnesses that they were supposed to prevent, or even bring on an even worse illness,” Gøtzsche wrote.

Editorial Note: The risk of suicide and violence affects all age groups – up to 100. If they go wrong, these drugs are likely to be highly dangerous in the short term.

RxISK: Research and report prescription drug side effects on

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  1. I’m Toran’s mum and just a small correction. Mylan Pharmaceuticals tried to make me go to the High Court for proof that I am my minor child’s legal representative but there was no way I was setting that precedent for other families. In the end a newly appointed lawyer for Mylan agreed I was entitled to the information…and got fired for his troubles.

  2. I have recently been shown a copy of a letter from the UK Dept of Health. In reply to a previous letter about the dangers of a particular drug, the “ministerial correspondent” replied: “The prescribing of any drug remains the overall responsibility of the doctor, in discussion with the patient, who has access to their medical history and is therefore best placed to advise them.”
    So, when a tragedy follows, don’t bother Pharma, or the Dept of Health, or NICE, or the MHRA, just go ahead and sue your GP. These bodies will stand by and see the doctors take the blame.

    • “These bodies will stand by and see the doctors take the blame.”
      And then perhaps doctors might be forced to defend themselves against charges of negligence, incompetence, etc. This could provide just the opportunity to uncover the extent of the fraudulent enterprise that has successfully deflected many from their original higher motives.

  3. Marnie Woodcock says:

    Maybe you all need to concentrate your efforts on helping people withdraw from all these meds now and by non-invasive and non-damaging methods such as healthy diet, opportunities for exercise and freedom.

    Helping those most vulnerable who have been caught in the crossfire of a corrupt and at times abusive practice has got to be a priority for mental health practitoners.

    It turns out that many of us labelled with an entire quagmire of pychiatric labels were actually those with the most reason and able to see over and above the motives of profit and greed driving some organisations and companies. And woe betide any of us who spoke out as patients.

    I’m opposed to ECT too though and for good reason. It’s barbaric, and silences people yet again from speaking out. Many of us suffered it whilst too young to even give consent and our bodies remember and we still see it as another threat, more abuse. We don’t need more silencing treatment. Some of you doctors weren’t to know because even the medical notes on that got destroyed.

    In defence of some psychiatrists and GPs, I will add, that you’ve been kept from ever having all the pieces to work with as much of it’s still classified and ongoing. It may remain classified, who knows, but I hope you learn to use your best ears and listen now and when a person comes to you with the seemingly oddest of experiences, it might not mean they’re ill but victims of crimes and abuses you or the Police may never understand. We fear being locked up because we only survive by using our intuition and intelligence, and ‘survivor’ has to better than ‘victim’.

    Thank you to all of you who continue to search for the truth amidst such a sea of phoney data and information and to discover how to alleviate symptoms of those physically damaged. I realise that some of you get targeted and suffer for your honesty and determination too.

    Best wishes Marnie W

  4. There is a lot contained in GUILTY

    I can complain until the cows come home to a psychiatrist who gave me Seroxat.
    In my particular situation, a financial advisor would probably have been more appropriate.
    I was not depressed. He said so. He said I was in a situational crisis and was unhappy because of it. I knew that.

    My partner, an airline pilot pushed his luck at the pub. This man was brave flying a two seater aeroplane, an air ambulance, on to cockle beaches in dark stormy weather to places such as Barra in the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland and all over to remote airfields on Scottish Islands to ‘save lives.’

    My gp also said I was not depressed.

    So, my argument, in this respect, would be, I was given the wrong drug for the wrong reason which would lead me on to a rather manic withdrawal.
    Giving the wrong drug for the wrong reason can only lead to tears.

    But, then, get this.

    He said Seroxat had ‘abrupt discontinuation symptoms’. Not to me, but in a letter to the surgery, eighteen months before I threw Seroxat away.

    The little village surgery, in their wisdom, ignored his letter and when I run screaming into the little village surgery I am told to drive myself off to a mental hospital.

    My medication is not checked, I am released and three days later…..accident and emergency beckons.

    So, is there any reason why I should not throw a hissy fit at not only being given the most dangerous drug in the world but at the sheer incompetence of those pretending to look after me.

    Their crime was tantamount to an ‘almost murder’ and when I complain and complain and complain over the course of years I am met with *Seroxat does not cause aggression, violence and suicide* from all concerned.

    You came to see us and we gave you the benefit of our experience and we gave you not just Seroxat, but, Ativan, Librium and Valium and Beta-blockers to help protect you.

    What warped and twisted minds can do this.

    When I got a handle on rattling and rolling, I chucked the lot.
    It was not easy cold turkey off this lot, but I did it.

    How old was I?
    51. All gone now… life was trashed….that extra pint of lager certainly was my undoing.
    Can I buy you a pint, Andrew, even a nice Chablis?

    Over Christmas, my computer was wiped, by a ‘rather nasty virus’.
    I lost everything, all my GlaxoSmithKline cases against the hospital and surgery, and other long discourses to the ‘powers that be’.

    GSK, you wouldn’t, would you, hack into my computer, like you hacked into me………..?

    Nothing would surprise me about you lot…….with your track record.

    This is all so unimpressive…….I know what impresses me. Cockle beaches…….and…..not…..guilty doctors….

    And, not, threatening telephone calls from Novia Scotia….from the owner of the wee surgery, on sabbatical to make a fortune in Canada, he failed, uh oh…laddy, you are back, it is not beyond impossible to take the doctor down with you.

    I am no Nigella, but, even, I, sitting in my caravan, can smoulder with just a little bit of righteous indignation and calmly and boldly go where no man has been before…….doctor, you are GUILTY

    • Marnie Woodcock says:

      Annie, regarding computers trashed, evidence removed even when in packaged paper form in own home ie someone covertly removed it, have had same. I was registered for a PhD at University under the umbrella of ‘Creative Writing’. My subject material was abuse within the psychiatric sector. Mysteriously, land-line, mobile, internet etc all disrupted at crucial moments made message on that clear too. Even in University I was blocked. There are some people doing vile things out there to serve their own purpose. It’s just yet more abuse for speaking out about previous abuse that affected hundreds of women locally.

      Sadly now, there are too many suspects other than just GSK or my local mental health sector, so the muddied waters make it impossible to seek legal redress. I tried several times.

      As for threats, it’s gone way beyond threats on the internet like the Labour babes whinge about, I’ve had two attempts on my life, yet still there’s a wall of silence. Worse, with these situations is you’re left to deal with the whole dirty saga on your own. I can’t go to the Police with anything as they are implicated in a lot of the abuse and in helping conceal it. Besides which, they wouldn’t have access to the details, what might be left, or capable of understanding it anyway.

      The only thing I can say with real grace is… I haven’t sold my soul. I guess that’s all you’re left with too.

      I’ll speak out until my last breath and not for any motive other than I believe it’s the right thing to do. People need the truth or nothing ever really has a chance to change for the better.

      Some doctors are guilty but there is a myriad of others who are equally if not more so, and when the murkiest psychiatric abuses centre around military & intelligence services’ work, they don’t stand much of a chance. That’s my personal experience and some of what I uncovered; it may not apply to all and I hope it doesn’t.

      Kind regards

      Marnie W

  5. I know someone who went on Paxil paroxetine (along with Depakote) in May of 2007 to treat either diagnosed anxiety & depression or compress his undiagnosed bipolar (he’s not sure). (Depakote plus Paxil suggests the prescriber saw bipolar regardless of what he told the patient.) By the end of 2008 my acquaintance began attacking people physically when they triggered him in some way. He was compelled to do a year of anger management classes. but nothing was said about the medications, and he kept taking them. He completed the a/m course, but attacked several more people, and did brief jail time. In October of 2001, he read that Paxil was associated with such behavior and quit taking it, de-titrating with the help of progressively smaller daily dosage of Remeron mirtazepine over several months. He has not attacked anyone again since then, but was later d/x’d with PTSD and put on Seroquel quetiapine to help him with a lower order of rage and impulsivity complaints. He began meditating regularly in 2009 and is now off the S/q.

  6. I will add to my previous post that mis-d/x of bipolar as depression is VERY common because pts show up at the ER, the psych MD’s office, or the psych lockup =depressed=. (Why would a manic want “help?” Believe me; they don’t when they’re “high,” but they do when they’re “low.”) There’s quite a bit of of peer-reviewed empirical literature on this topic dating back to 1990. To 1990. (Did I say “1990?”) It includes:

    Ramasubbu, R.: Antidepressant treat-associated behavioural expression of hypomania: a case series, in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 28, No. 7, November 2004.

    Shi, L.; Thiebaud, P.; McCombs, J.: The impact of unrecognized bipolar disorders for patients treated for depression with antidepressants in the fee-for-services California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) program, in Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 82, No. 3, November 2004.

    Takeshima, M.; et al: Bipolar II Depression Often Misdiagnosed as Major Depressive Disorder, in Clinical Psychiatry News, Vol. 38, No. 3, March 2010.

    Solomon, R.; Rich, C.; Darko, D.: Antidepressant treatment and the occurrence of mania in bipolar patients admitted for depression, in Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 18, No. 4, April 1990,

    Rouillon, F.: Adverse drug reaction in long term antidepressant treatment, in European Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 1991,

    Dilsaver, S.; Swann, A.: Mixed mania: Apparent induction by a tricylcic antidepressant in five consecutively treated patients with bipolar depression, in Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 37, No. 1, January 1995.

    Ghaemi, S. N.; Sachs, G.; Chiou, A.; et al: Is bipolar disorder still underdiagnosed? Are antidepressants overutilized?, in Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 52, No. 1-3, January-March 1999.

    Mendlewicz, J.; Souery, D.; Rivelli, S.: Short-term and long-term treatment for bipolar patients: beyond the guidelines, in Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 55, No. 1, September 1999,

    Bottlender, R.; Rudolf, D.; Straub, A.; Moller, H.: Mood stabilizers reduce the risk of developing antidepressant-induced maniform states in acute treatment of bipolar I depressed patients, in Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 63, No. 1-3, January-March 2001.

    Sharma, V.: Loss of response to antidepressants and subsequent refractoriness: diagnostic issues in a retrospective case series, in Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 64, No. 1, April 2001.

    Antidepressants in Bipolar Disorder: The Controversies (update 3, 9/2009), at

    Antidepressants Risky for Bipolar II? Researcher Says Doctors Often Give Wrong Treatment for a Type of Bipolar Disorder, at

    Antidepressants in bipolar disorder: the case for caution, at

    Antidepressant treatment for acute bipolar depression: An update, at

    Antidepressants Don’t Help Bipolar: Study: Adding Antidepressants to Mood-Stabilizing Drugs Doesn’t Affect Bipolar Depression

    Can antidepressants jump-start bipolar disorder?

    Antidepressants for Bipolar Disorder: A Clinical Overview of Efficacy and Safety

    Antidepressants for Bipolar Disorder

    Bipolar Spectrum Disorder May Be Underrecognized And Improperly Treated

    • David_Healy says:

      Just to be absolutely clear – bipolarity does not explain people becoming suicidal on antidepressants. Healthy volunteers become suicidal on antidepressants and the treatments used for bipolar disorder also cause suicide in healthy volunteers, epileptic and migraine patients and in bipolar patients

      • Dr. Healy wrote: “…bipolarity does not explain people becoming suicidal on antidepressants” . . . . . I’d beg to differ, but the degree to which this statement reflects an evident lack of awareness of peer-reviewed material on the narrower subject, as well as an evident lack of grasp of how bipolar works on the limbic system and its neural projections and inputs suggests I’d be wasting my time. Adios, I guess.

  7. I am beginning to think that doctors taking the blame may be the right way for this to go. Don’t get me wrong I do have some sympathy for them but I also feel that putting them under a bit of pressure might just shake them awake to the reality the situation. These people are some of the best paid professionals around and I for one have no idea why. I don’t think it is unreasonable that their high remuneration comes at the cost of having to take responsibility for their own actions, and even once in a while actually helping someone. Maybe when their own necks are on the line they might be a little more sceptical of the ‘education’ they receive.

    From my POV they are guilty of lots of things including gross incompetence. This incompetence has led to me taking charge of my own health, which in turn has led to health benefits I never even considered possible.

    According to my medical notes I have a number of illnesses for which there is NO CURE. These include severe gastric problems (GERD), Ankylosing spondylitis, Dyshidrotic eczema and cluster headaches. The GERD, AS and dyshidrosis where chronic, and the cluster headaches are episodic.

    So what did the good doctors do for me? I had four years of every conceivable scan and test on my back only to be told by a very stern surgeon that there was nothing wrong other than a little wear and tear…he sent me away with a diagnosis of Degenerative Disk Disease, which is a fancy way of saying go away you silly hypochondriac. My GP told me to change my profession to something that didn’t involve sitting at a desk all day, and then prescribed some Naproxen and an appointment to see a physiotherapist. It wasn’t until much later when my ribs and pelvis got really bad that AS even got a mention. Thankfully I wasn’t offered a biologic for the AS because back then I might have taken it.

    For the gastric problems I was given a PPI which I took for about a year with great relief. The next time I went to my GP I was quizzed as to why I stopped taking the medication. My reply was “but my symptoms have gone”. Her reply to that, “it will come back if you stop”… me, “is there nothing else that can be none”, Dr, “not really”. She was right about one thing… it did come back.

    For the dyshidrosis I was given steroid cream and told to keep my hands dry and avoid contact with chemicals.

    Then there were two events that changed all this. First my wife was nearly killed by Prozac before being drastically altered by EffexorXR. – This made me start to question the medical system. The second event was a soft tissue infection in my knee with no apparent injury, which led to a more serious blood infection that resulted in me being hospitalised for a number of days where I was blasted by multiple intravenous antibiotics.

    The antibiotics caused some major changes to some of my condition- some good – some bad. This was my first clue. Using all my symptoms and health changes as a starting point, I started to use the good old conspiracy loaded internet to see what I could find out.

    It’s worth mentioning I was right behind Ben Goldacre on the whole nutrition thing…’its common sense and everything in moderation blah, blah, blah’. I bought the whole ‘my cat has the same PhD as Gillian McKeith therefore nutrition is quackery’ line of reasoning, so I wasn’t that optimistic that food was going to do much more than improve things a little – but a little was better than nothing and the Doctors were worse than useless so I had nothing to lose.

    Armed with an enthusiastic amateurs understanding of evolutionary biology that would probably put the vast majority of medical professionals to shame, I started reading all the conflicting advice given by many different groups of food faddists and health pundits, paleo people, vegans, naturalists, fitness freaks and mainstream nutritionists…and I came up with a plan.

    Stop eating processed food, refined sugar, complex seed oils and wheat…then try my best to remove as much grain from my diet as possible, including meat from grain fed cattle. But sugar and wheat were my no1 targets. In six months I lost 28lbs, my eczema had cleared up completely, my gastric problems hadn’t returned and my AS was a lot more manageable.

    After a year I had lost 40lbs and my BMI had now dropped from 28 to 22. I was not restricting my calorie intake. No gastric problems, no more outbreaks of eczema, no more back pain, stiffness or sciatica. No more pelvis or hip pain, no more swelling or cist at the base of my spine, no more excruciating rib and shoulder pain and no more tendonitis in my feet and ankles.

    I am a further six months down the road now and I now consider myself in the best health of my adult life. My weight has been steady now for 8 months not even shifting so much as a single pound. I can comfortably sit at my desk for hours on end. I don’t wake up half paralysed anymore and my eczema has never returned. I sleep better, have better skin, sweat less, and have cleaner hair and much better toilet habits. My mood has improved, my concentration is better and I have barely had so much as a sniffle since. My life has been utterly transformed in a way that I didn’t think was possible and to be honest; it didn’t even take that much effort.

    In short I feel I have been given a second chance at life. I am cured and in finding my cure the highly paid and highly trained doctors have been as much use as a chocolate fireguard in hell.

    People dispute my story but the only thing that matters to me is my reality, and in my reality I am fit, healthy and pain free for the first time in nearly 20 years. Where would I be now if it wasn’t for effexor waking me up to the whole thing? Anyone familiar with how effexor affected my wife might see the irony in that statement.

    So where would I be? I would be on PPI’s, Steroids, Anti-inflammatory’s and no doubt a biologic. Further down the road I would probably have followed my mother in getting cancer with secondary tumours occurring at all my old pain sites and then…radiotherapy, chemotherapy and 14 drugs a day until my death.

    I am done with doctors. People might say, well they helped you through your blood infection, but in truth I knew what treatment I needed and what treatment I would get long before they did. They were just there to administer the medicine once I had convinced the young ER doctor that it was in fact a soft tissue infection and not DVT, which of course my blood work eventually confirmed.

    They are guilty all right, some are guilty of corruption, many are guilty of putting self-interest above integrity and most are guilty of good old fashioned incompetence.

    As for the food industry, I fear that the science behind that is in as bad a shape as it is in medicine….or maybe it’s just the other side highly successful profit making machine?

  8. William Cory says:

    Dr. Healy — Given the subject matter of this post, and the overall purpose of your excellent site, I’d like to ask your opinion of “who is to blame” in general terms for the Gordian Knot of misinformation, disinformation, inaccurate statistics, misdiagnosis, misapplication of drugs, lack of oversight and control, etc.

    Here is my short list of the usual suspects: Based on your own opinion and experience, could you rate them as to their share of responsibility for all of the problems we observe, specifically regarding depression and attempted treatment of same with SSRIs:

    Legislators (oversight, etc.)
    Pharmaceutical Mfrs
    Contract Research Orgs
    Medical Doctors
    Or ___________?

    I realize this is a simplistic approach; it is just for my own information, but I would like to know whom you consider “most” Guilty, in most cases.

    Thank you –

  9. May I add to the discussion of the mistreatment of mental disturbance with psycho-active medications? As important as the issue is, over-prescription is by no means the only failing of modern psychiatry.

    As a patient advocate and online community moderator, I frequently interact with people who are under medication for chronic pain conditions. It is amazing and disheartening how many of these people have been labeled as psychosomatic, and thus effectively denied further medical evaluation or treatment for rare conditions that have little to do with mental health.

    Some are told explicitly that their depression or anxiety have “caused” a psychogenic condition of pain, fatigue, or generalized debility. Prior to the May 2013 publication of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, such patients might be diagnosed with “somatoform” disorders on grounds that they persistently presented with “unexplained medical symptoms (UMS)” that a doctor could trace to no known medical entity. The DSM-5 reversed that logic, proclaiming that any patient whose life is affected by prolonged “disproportionate concerns” for their medical condition can now be diagnosed with so-called Somatic Symptom Disorder — *whether or not* they have medically unexplained symptoms.

    Does anybody else detect a “Catch 22″ in this disordered and illogical professional thinking by psychiatrists? You are anxious because six doctors have failed to find an explanation or treatment for pain which leaves you in a fetal ball on the floor several times a day. So now your anxiety becomes a mental health disorder? It’s your fault?

    By writing off “difficult” or “hysterical” patients as head cases, medical doctors and their psychiatric accessories are likely directly contributing to patient suicides. There is ample plausible evidence for this association in recent large-sample patient surveys. I offer this case in a paper titled “Psychogenic Pain and Iatrogenic Suicide”, published on the Global Summit for Diagnostic Alternatives of the Association for Humanistic Psychology. See .

    I believe it is time and past time that organizations like the APA and its non-US equivalents are sued for their complicity in massive patient harms. And legislators need to be held to account for taking political campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies.

    Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.

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