All the Better for the Fishes

March, 22, 2019 | 15 Comments


  1. Thank you again and again David. The photo of the conference shows the audience packed in like a flock of bleating sheep. The speaker had revved up the audience by a metaphor comparing the number of young male doctors who had committed suicide to the men who were sent to their deaths at the battle of the Somme? (Really – a bit crass?) and suicide amongst the women? .Compare the concern being expressed and the funding for services being set up for themselves with those for everyone else. Such as by robots
    Pulse med mag has made a cock up it seems by describing the service setup for people at risk of suicide in Mersey as – giving access via a crisis card to a ‘hologram’ of a health adviser. This has been ‘corrected’ and now uses the weasel words ‘augmented reality’ .The article has also corrected the wrong numbers given for suicide in the Mersey area – but both the original article and comments have been deleted.
    There was a lot of feedback after the conference by Zoe Norris and others about the sexist comments they were treated to by senior members at the conference and bullying in the NHS was again on the agenda.

    They also expressed outrage that Pulse med mag had published an article publicing the Care Quality Care Commision’s request to the public to contact them with complaints about GPs. The new leader of the CQC started her job in March – so the boot was put in right at the start for her – she is a GP herself – feeling bullied yet?

    There seems to be a loss of pride in becoming a medic – the unsavoury conferences don’t help ,resilience won’t change anything if it just means being able to survive what is going on in medicine -if enough took up the mission David is advocating that could be regained.


    The FDA Package Insert: Fluoxetine Reference, ID: 4036401 – reads (in bold) as follows:

    “Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for Major Depressive Disorder – OR OTHER INDICATIONS, BOTH PSYCHIATRIC AND NON-PSYCHIATRIC – should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behaviour and other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers.
    Such monitoring should include daily observations by families and caregivers”.
    (My emphasis).

    A recent Royal Society of Medicine Podcast, addressing the impact of medical professional stress, patient complaints and litigation on the psychological health of doctors, made reference to the prophylactic use of antidepressants for those facing such adversity.

    Are the families of these vulnerable doctors advised to regularly monitor for the onset of AKATHISIA?

    Were they to recognise this most dangerous, common ADR to SSRIs/SNRIs et al,
    and were they to immediately report the onset of akathisia to their caregiver; might not misdiagnosis, and increased dosing or change of antidepressant be more likely than an immediate recognition of this life threatening, acute neurotoxicity?

    We do not apparently have an Inquest process which affords priority to detailed and fastidious recording and reporting of all prescription psychotropic drugs, in those deceased, who may have suffered from antidepressant/akathisia induced suicidality, and then death due to lethal prescription drug toxicity.

    The differentiation of “suicide” from “non-suicide”, – ie from death due to overwhelming neurotoxicity, would surely provide an opportunity to reduce the “loss-of-life by self” in all professional and societal groups.

    • ‘Death from overwhelming neurotoxity’….. absolutely! This should have been the conclusion reached by the Coroner at our son’s Inquest in 2013. Especially as he has clearly set this out in writing in his farewell letter, which the police submitted to the coroner, along with medical statement from his one time private GP who explained about his tendency to allergy or inability to destoxify medications, having ‘an exquisite spreading sensitivity….’, childhood and adult asthma, acne, psoriasis etc. Our son wrote that he was leaving this world because he was terrified by the voids in his thinking, the inability to harness his (previously good) memory (so he couldn’t run his IT business), his inability to sleep without being beset by nightmares so terrifying that he almost daren’t close his eyes. He thought all this meant he had some kind of dementia or brain malfunction. He was right about the brain malfunction. This came, to a sensible, logical, totally sane and extremely talented young man, from the following :-

      Roaccutane/isotretinoin (started anxiety feelings off)

      Stelazine – awful reaction, Risperdal – reaction like having a fit, GP seemed unconcerned, passed buck to Psychiatrist No 1.

      Seroxat SSRI – on stopping, suidal thoughts so strong our son begged to go into hospital for his own safety lest the urges towards suicide overcame him.

      More drugs, SSRIs and antipsychotics, but no one interested in the RoAccutane isotretinoin history, before which he had been ok, maybe unhappy with severe acne but who would t be? Never suicidal, just keen to find a cure for ugly skin.

      Periods of more RoAccutane courses. Skin moderately temporarily better.
      Then endless low mood.

      Escilatopram suggested by psychologist, prescribed by Psychiatrist No 2.
      (Son always working hard, calms mind with stray computer games, always in and out of akathisia, assumes he’s a mad person, losing hope over years. Pursues good diet, physical fitness, cycles, works out daily in gym, takes vitamins, never stops TRYING TO UNDERSTAND what he’s done wrong to cause this ‘illness in his head’. No one admits it’s the drugs they’ve prescribed, much easier to let him think he’s mad.

      Finally, Psychiatrist No 3, admits him for 3 days to hospital after further few months’ course (unacknowledged naturally once again) of Citalopram, anxiety surging, feeling suicidal. Puts him straight off that (no taper) onto Venlafaxine

      A few weeks later Hime Treatment NHS Psychiatrist No 4, who is an NLP trainer when out of hours too, who doesn’t like medication, again ignores RoAccutane history, stops Venlafaxine stone dead saying he is not depressed and he needs to ‘wake up and smell the coffee but if he doesn’t sort himself out, he is sure he will kill himself. This said in front of parents and Mental Health Team. Quite hypnotically and convincingly. Tells son he has brought this all upon himself.

      Withdrawal now sudden, as ordered, leads to massive akathisia reaction.

      Psychiatrist No 5 (to whom son has been quickly been handed like a parcel) prescribes Olanzapine and Sertraline. Now acne comes back with a vengeance thanks to Olanzapine. Mind going into freefall.

      Bursting pains in head when dermatologist gives more RoAccutane for the acne.

      Son offers to pay for brain scan, but told no, it’s just your anxiety, shake yourself out of it, get a grip…
      Memory loss overwhelming now, has voids where can’t remember who or where he is.

      He sticks with it for one more agonising month. Parents try to find a forensic psychiatrist privately to assess terrible bursting head pain, zaps behind eyes etc.
      But son believes the loud words of Psychiatrist No 4, blames himself, doesn’t want to be a burden to parents. This ongoing withdrawal etc misery has gone on, on and off, for 11 years. He feels it’s all pointless, even if comes out of it somehow, it will recur.

      So, at 32, this bright, striving, decent guy ends his life. Who can blame him. Such medicalised torture is beyond all belief. If he had to die, surely better at age 21 as a victim of a terrorist’s shooting, bomb, or from a knife stabbing somewhere. . Awful, tragic, but quicker than 11 years of deterioration. Not by a series of prescriptions by trusted medics and a denial of responsibility for what those meds could have done. Much better to sweep him under the carpet and let him blame himself.
      APPG Reports only 1% of doctors found to be effective/accurate about meds they prescribe. Thank god at last someone has ad itted it somewhere.

      • “Death from overwhelming neurotoxicity”.

        Thank you Heather.

        Our grieving and bereavement for those precious adult children, killed, maimed, or reduced to years of “living death”( by carousel prescribing, and enforcement of psychotropic drugs) is an endless, tormented journey with no destination.

        Our palliation lies in relentless endeavour to prevent such tragedies from destroying other families.

        If only those hundreds of thousands who marched through London yesterday were demanding that every “suicide” Inquest must address a comprehensive, fastidious prescription-drug history – (combined with knowledge and awareness of AKATHISIA, of neurotoxicity and of the “medication” induced , profound changes in emotions, feelings and behaviours) – then other families could indeed be spared, and their children could be saved.

        If psychotropic (and other prescription) drug-induced
        taking-of-life by self is the real cause of death, then surely a verdict of “Suicide” is a miscarriage of justice?

        “Was this death the result of cumulative, adverse prescription drug reaction/s leading to overwhelming neurotoxicity”?

        Until this question is addressed routinely during the Inquest, then surely a verdict of “Suicide” is a miscarriage of justice for the deceased, for their entire family, and an imposed “stigma” exacerbating that family’s grief and torment for generations.

  3. Many year ago before the electronic universe I read a letter (I think in British Medical Journal) which was both deeply tragic and slightly farcical. It was from a broken hearted doctor who had lost his wife in a car crash and wanted to warn other doctors to make sure they bought properly re-inforced second cars for their spouses.

  4. “A better bet in terms of restoring morale might be if someone could get the profession to take on a mission …” David, I think you could be on to something here. It’s bad enough to be stuck in a dehumanizing system that too often grinds people up instead of healing them. But maybe the most demoralizing thing is not to fight it.

    The demands put on doctors to see dozens of patients a day, and to substitute a blizzard of prescriptions for individualized care, are certainly exhausting and stressful. But maybe the worst part is the loss of all those “rewards” that once made people want to be doctors in the first place. Being respected and admired in the community. Having the opportunity to truly help others, and knowing they were actually grateful. Feeling like you could make the world a better place, at least in a modest way.

    I recently ran across a tribute to a Chicago couple who survived the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Poland, fought with the Resistance and were instrumental in founding the Illinois Holocaust Museum to preserve the lessons of that terrible time.

    It noted that they settled on the South Side, ran a small clothing store and “raised three sons – all of whom studied medicine at their father’s urging.” “It was not only a profession, but a lifestyle,” one of those sons recalled his father saying. “A lifestyle of self-respect, compassion and an ability to help repair the world.”

    That’s right. Help repair the world. Tikkun olam, as the rabbis say. So, a man who was himself a hero felt like the noblest thing his sons could do was go be doctors. Boy, those were the days, huh? Wouldn’t you like to get that kind of respect, doc? Wouldn’t you like to, well, actually deserve it?

  5. I stopped costing money (30+ years ago) as a result of (carefully) not taking my medication to make full recovery.

    I believe the figure for doctors under suspicion of suffering from Serious Mental Health problems is about 40%.

    But, what I’ve observed is that “Doctors” seem to be very high on the “Psychopath Spectrum” , on Medical Councils for example. These are the dangerous ones.

  6. Listen to Hawkins, Hitchens, and Gervais, to name but a few.

    Their stance on atheism, or agno-atheism, is not too dissimilar to the stance of your average drug safety advocate.

    The Royal College of Fundamentalists are, in this instance, your Catholic church. Most, if not all, their beliefs are based on faith. When this faith is questioned they can, rightly or wrongly, claim the anecdotes of their congregation. If their congregation offer support then the claims must be correct, right?

    The Royal College spokesperson, Carmine Pariante, recently (and regularly) claims that brain pellets save lives. It’s akin to a Christian claiming that Jesus saves lives. When asked for proof, Pariante has remained silent.

    When listening to Hawkins, Hitchens and Gervais one steps outside the bubble that one has been cocooned in from an early age. One starts to question whether there is, indeed, a God.

    It’s a difficult belief to shake because we’ve been indoctrinated, in much the same way the prescribers and the general public were first indoctrinated by the chemical imbalance claim and now the claim that brain pellets are lifesaving. What if we dismiss God, will bad things happen to us? What if we dismiss “lifesaving” medication, will we die?

    A Christian will quote you passages from the Bible like playing a trump card in much the same way a prescriber will use the DSM.

    I’ll leave the final words to the late, great Christopher Hitchens.

    “What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

  7. Nogracias Retweeted

    David Hammerstein‏ @DaHammerstein 3h

    Psychiatry’s Incurable Hubris

    From The Atlantic: “The protracted attempt to usher psychiatry into medicine’s modern era is the subject of Anne Harrington’s Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness. As her subtitle indicates, this is not a story of steady progress. Rather, it’s a tale of promising roads that turned out to be dead ends, of treatments that seemed miraculous in their day but barbaric in retrospect, of public-health policies that were born in hope but destined for disaster.

    Gary Greenberg
    April 2019 Issue

    The biology of mental illness is still a mystery, but practitioners don’t want to admit it.

  8. Doctors who kill themselves: a study of the methods used for suicide


    QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, Volume 93, Issue 6, June 2000

    Availability of method may be a factor contributing to the relatively high suicide rate of doctors. This fact might influence clinical management of doctors who are known to be depressed or suicidal.

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