Billiam James’ Akathisia Anthem available HERE with lyrics Here raises the profile of one of the most neglected problems in medical care. There may be up to 500 commonly available drugs that trigger depression, agitation and suicadality – see RxISK 500+.
The song has a gritty, hard-hitting message — rated with “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” on iTunes and Amazon. It’s for people who feel like their meds are not working as promised. The focus should be on people who have been through the system and know that something is wrong… People 25 years and up. Teenagers just don’t have this kind of experience, and besides we would get in deep shit — their parents and doctors would freak if they see us telling “innocent” teens not to take their meds.
There has been as this quote shows a debate within RxISK about who this Anthem is designed for or appropriate for.
This post is happening on davidhealy.org rather than RxISK because it represents a personal view – that teenagers and young adults – up to 25 are among the groups who most need to get and share the message. This is not because the problem is worse in this age group but much more because they have little to gain from being on drugs that cause these problems. The drugs don’t work in this age group.
I would like to see clips of the Akathisia Anthem circulating widely on Instagram and Snapchat and generating discussion among this age group who may be able to come up with a way to help us all grapple with these problems their parents and grandparents have managed so poorly.
I’d welcome all and any views on this issue.
Posts like this or programs about the hazards of medications often come with a disclaimer – if concerned about any of the issues here consult your doctor. Well in this case on balance there is no point consulting your doctor and great dangers in doing so. They don’t listen when consulted and are highly likely to do exactly the wrong thing if faced with someone voicing distress or clearly agitated – they will double the dose of the drug causing the problem or add in another drug that is likely to make the problem worse.
If you think you may have drug induced akathisia – drug induced emotional turmoil (DIET) – drug induced dysphoria – or just plain feel bad after going on treatment, the best bet is to stop it or reduce the dose. If the problem eases off or stops completely this was Akathisia – DIET.
There are two angles to keep in mind. One is that in some cases it can take a few days and occasionally up to a week to see a difference.
A second is that if you have been on treatment for some time, there is a risk of withdrawal complicating the picture should you decide to reduce or stop your treatment.
Even so, on balance, I cannot recommend consulting a physician or anyone in healthcare even if they seem to be nice people. There are likely some people out there who would react the right way (a minority) but its impossible to know who they are. This is the current sad state of affairs.
If however you are between the ages of 15 and 25 and a woman, there is one more thing to keep in mind – you are on average or in general the most intelligent known force in the universe. Trust your own judgement. Don’t let anyone shout you down.
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
The KIDS, akathisia in this drug spectrum, live in a world most adults have trouble understanding.
KIDS at concerts, kids at uni, kids out there in a different world to most of us parents. There is every opportunity to take illegal substances and a lot do and a lot do not survive. So, to them taking a prescription from their doctor will be in the same ballpark, but, of course, not so hallucinogenic because it came from an adult. Someone well versed in SSRIs or Benzos or anything else the doctor thinks is a good idea to give to a KiD.
A couple of interesting articles:
McGuirk says the question – ‘is it OK to use these chemicals to regulate our neurochemistry deliberately?’- is an “ethical question with philosophical undertones” and “one we’re going to have to answer as a culture”.
“If we aim to just solve the prescribed drug thing we won’t solve anything, we could make prescribed drugs illegal, shut down the dark web, it won’t solve anything,” he concludes. “The need will still be there, young people will just find something else to replace it.”
says that while treatment of symptoms is a necessary step, the doctor must be cautious. There is a delicate balance between treating a patient’s symptoms and inadvertently causing a drug misuse problem.
Unless a doctor is well versed in the psychological make up of KIDS, he could destroy them or he could set off a chain reaction or he could do what every other doctor does and make light of the disturbing results in front of him and claim immunity, absolution and exoneration ..
I have a KID, she might say ‘what is that goofy guy doing, shaking his bod, singing about a word I have never heard of’ and she might say ‘I would be more interested if it was done by a KID’ as I relate more to my friends than I do to an older shaker’ …
Tears For Fears – ‘SHOUT’ on Youtube. it’s an old one – a good one.
We can’t pussyfoot around when wolves are on the prowl.
Once we older ones were young girls and boys brought up to be ‘nice’, respect your elders , do as the doctor tells you, Who knows how many were injured or silently killed themselves without having any way of shouting out – no support groups, no internet , no blogs, years spent in psych hospitals on vile drugs, doctor knows best, so many women’s lives destroyed by ‘mothers’ little helpers’ …so many still vulnerable even while the secrets are pouring out of the bag . Many of us are not natural lions, but have had to become both lion and mouse – tell them politely, quietly and if they don’t listen, escape their clutches and roar out the message, to others as well – prescribed meds can harm and kill leave us shaking and trembling in fear and shock of what can be done to us as well as from the effects of the drugs – no warnings about AKATHISIA – ‘in my clinical judgement’….I could risk sacrificing your life, your children,s life and get away with it in the medieval – evil 21st century
I found that it was useless to contact student groups at colleges – most are too ‘nice’ to believe the message possibly. The young ones who are more likely to act maybe are those who are already cynical about the lot they are being dished out in UK and make home rap videos…that’s a line the younger ones would know more about but will have a look. Every time a programme like the ones put out on BBC , lately by Will Self, come out I contact them – not even a response – all ‘educated’ people from the layer in society which has access to the media but are more interested in preserving the status quo
Although Billiam James’ lyrics and rendition are undoubtedly clever, I do feel something more like George Exra’s ‘Shotgun’ would have made more catchy impact, with a video like he did, sort of visual supernatural, turning over and over. There are, btw, 5 other songs entitled ‘Akathisia’ on Amazon UK by various different artists. I know this one has qualifying words after just ‘Akathisia’ but this Akathisia Anthem comes across to me initially like a song connected to hard drugs. But even if I’m old, (uncool) I’m female and hopefully still intelligent. I feel a bit like maybe Sally did when trying to get people interested in Study 329 who didn’t know much about it, and she was concerned they might be turned 9ff before they’d been hooked on. I feel the same thing might apply to getting Akathisia across to a side audience, which, after all, is vital.
I hate to be critical but like Susanne says, we can’t pussyfoot around when wolves are on the prowl. I only put in this comment because opinions were seriously asked for, so…..I feel we are still striving for perfection.
..”there is no point consulting your doctor and great dangers in doing so. They don’t listen when consulted and are highly likely to do exactly the wrong thing if faced with someone voicing distress or clearly agitated – they will double the dose of the drug causing the problem or add in another drug that is likely to make the problem worse.”
Never was a truer word spoken!
I get this sick in my stomach feeling every time i read …’consult your doctor’
I don’t like prescribing antidepressants.Take away SSRIs and I’m not sure what else to offer emotionally distressed patients in primary care.
Arwel – You are reading the D H and Rxisk blogs…….
Arwel – You can access the information on the DH and Rxisk blogs – What you should also be doing as a medic is signposting those who consult you to them . You may be prepared to risk the potential for harming their lives, often for many years, too often to a premature death -they may decide they do not want to take the risk.
Many people find meditation helpful – for those who want to give it it a go and would prefer to avoid projects run by NHS or social services or voluntary organisations funded by them there is :-
Kalpa Bhadra Kadampa Buddhist Centre – see meditatenorthwales.com
based in Llandudno, 34 Mostyn Ave. LL30IYY tel 01492878778
Weekly classes in Llandudno andall over N Wales. And talks, retreats for those who want to go into it further. It is NOT mindfullness.
They also need help to run a World Peace Cafe – if anyone is up for it
email@example.com (Many of us have got back into work by doing unpaid work – there is no need for any kind of referral or involvement from medics.)
I don’t know this centre personally but have meditated off and on for many years – was advised not too when depressed – wrong again. no one size fits all.
It is very difficult these days, when patients are hooked on false medical information which is all over the Internet. It is a most difficult problem and seems to be getting worse, and I’m convinced that these problems are all expressions of emotional pain which is very difficult for these patients to tell us the cause of their anxiety and depression etc. The last one that I had about a couple years ago with a long history of pelvic pain and many useless operations and worthless drugs. Finally she broke down, probably about the 10th visit, and admitted to me that she was having a sexual affair with her religious advisor! Probably incurable! Hang in there.
Should young adults aged 18-24 be shielded from information that might “encourage them to go off their meds” (or say no to them in the first place)? Well, let’s see …
Another name for this age group might be: Enlisted Men and Women in the U.S. Military. They’re mature enough to carry deadly weapons and go overseas to kill and be killed. The Iraq war was largely fought by people in this very age group – who also suffered badly from overmedication in the armed forces. Just Google “Zoloft and a Rifle,” the Hartford Courant’s groundbreaking piece from 2005 or 2006. Then read how Zoloft was later joined or replaced by Seroquel, Risperdal, Topamax, Depakote and a host of other psych meds thrown at young soldiers, with results that ranged from so-so to deadly. People this age are also old enough to go to prison and even to get the death penalty in states where it still exists. Not to mention old enough to have children and take full responsibility for raising them. Any claims that they cannot or should not be in charge of their own medical care strike me as absurd.
As for the under-18’s, they deserve to hear the all the facts too, whether their parents approve or not. Conscientious doctors and nurses, as well as women’s rights activists and other progressives, have long fought for the rights of young women to get sex education, birth control and even abortion without parental consent. If you’re old enough to become a mother, they say, with all the adult consequences of that decision, you’re old enough to make it for yourself.
I agree. And I think we should take the same attitude towards antidepressants. The decision to take them can be just as life-altering as pregnancy in some cases – even life-ending, sad to say. And while parents might know a bit more than their teen daughters about the repercussions of sex and parenthood, they are not the experts in this realm. When it comes to depression and the meds given out to treat it, only you know what is happening in your head – and only you must live with it. That’s every bit as true at sixteen as it is at sixty.
My advice was (and is) to officially address this information to the 18-24’s, to keep the cops and lawyers at bay – but make sure it gets out as widely as possible. Adolescents have always gobbled up media aimed at young adults, and they’ll be listening to this too.
Yes, a lot of very good points here made by Johanna and Kristina and the rest. Including the doctor who say, if I can’t prescribe antidepressants in primary care, what can I offer.
I stand corrected in my maybe unthoughtout criticism of the Akathisia Anthem. I guess I was thinking (and please forgive me) it might have resonated better with a younger audience if performed by a younger person, like George Ezra. The words are really good.
It seems to me that the Akathisia issue is more important than anything else we discuss here on these Blogs. If these meds did not produce Akathisia, we would not have the deaths which are happening more and more. And worse, these deaths are NOT being recognised as caused by Akathisia, but in so many cases, the dying are being blamed for their own demise and labelled as mentally ill, which they are not. And even if they briefly were, they deserved help with their illness, not being poisoned, reviled and sidelined, lost in an abyss of horror most of us cannot even bear to imagine. ‘A total living hell’, as my son described it.
As to the doctor who relies on antidepressants in their armoury – well, how did your patient present? Were they seemingly needing antidepressants because they were depressed? When did this start, why did it start, are there things in their life which are triggering it, could talking to others or distraction, joining a group to share experiences, mutual support, learning a new skill in a relaxed way, start to improve their low mood, and maybe assist in looking at and resolving any of their worries that can be sorted? Wouldn’t they do this better with a working, thinking brain, than one clouded in antidepressant-induced fog, or worse? Couldn’t you offer social prescribing, if you had in your armoury a list of local groups with different interests, that you could signpost the patient to? You don’t have to worry about being insured to recommend these, you are only suggesting they COULD try one. You could say, if true, and it probably would be, that you are not forcing them to try this, but other patients of yours have, and have found them to be beneficial. People need people. Today’s mental health services tend to isolate people at home, no day centres left to go to where you can socialise over a cuppa, find ways of improving your wellbeing, no one to talk to in your own four walls (if you have a home) except worried/frustrated relatives (if you still have any) and being lost in a cloud of gloom and unreality. And we wonder why the suicide rates are rising?
If we could get Government to produce figures on how very effective social prescribing is, then maybe we could get funding for it, so it could mushroom and become the preferred treatment. See for instance the results of ARTLIFT in Gloucestershire, started several years ago by a GP, and evaluated by the University of the West of England. Tremendous success. So simple, so obvious, but so contrary to subscribing to the coffers of Big Pharma. The money is all going the wrong way, and society is paying for the result, we are losing ourselves and soon it will be too late to wake up and realise this. ‘Be careful what you wish for, because inevitably you will get it. Whatever you put all your belief and effort into, will bear fruit’.
I’m glad to see akathisia gaining critical attention it deserves. Like most public health campaigns, it’s effective to employ a variety of communication tools to reach various demographics.
I couldn’t agree more about needing to reach young women in the 18 to 25 age group given this demographic applied to my daughter, Natalie. Not only was she a very intelligent young woman, she was extremely health conscience, exercised regularly, and followed a vegetarian, organic diet. Tragically, she died after following her doctor’s over-the-phone phone instructions to take an increased dose of Zoloft. This was done by her doctor because the doctor failed to recognize and properly treat akathisia. While Natalie apparently recognized many of the systemic failures of psychiatry prior to her prescribed demise, I doubt she could have fully envisioned her doctor was ignorantly poisoning her. When a person is deliriously suffering from akathisia, prior knowledge and critical thinking is chemically hijacked. We must do better to publicize that drugs-whether they are FDA-approved or bought on a street corner-pose serious risks. I hope the akathisia anthem can do so by reaching young people who desperately need this life-saving info. It is also my hope that those who see the video will not take black box drugs marketed as “antidepressants” in the first place.
I’m sorry about your daughter Natalie. I sent her story (from Rxisk) to my own UK MP Karen Buck (but I don’t whether she even received it).
With me, once I tapered off the toxic drugs, my years of psychiatric disability and my suicide attempts came to an end.
“See” your Doctor
Secrets of the drugs trials: Transcript
JOFRE: Publishing the data in full would put profits at risk. But if they couldn’t get a children’s licence, could they find an unofficial way to market Seroxat for childhood depression? Exit the doctors – enter the spin doctors. They would help create a new story. Seroxat was safe and it did work for teenagers. The inconvenient facts would be buried and the marketing people would spread the good news to doctors around the world. Every stage in this clinical process is contained within these boxes.
JOFRE: The same month the journal article was published, the third of the company’s clinical trials in depressed children reported back. Would this one back up the company’s public claims for Seroxat? Not at all. It actually showed the children on Seroxat did worse than the ones on sugar pills. Yet doctors at this time asking GSK for advice on treating children were told that study 329 showed the drug….. “was superior to placebo by several assessment methods.” No mention of the serious side-effects or the two failed studies. Meanwhile GSK was telling its American sales reps who promote drugs direct to doctors that Seroxat: “demonstrates REMARKABLE efficacy and safety in the treatment of adolescent depression.”
BARTH MENZIES: This is Scott, 14 years old. This is a little boy who’s 11 years old. He started taking Seroxat and he ended up.. he hanged himself in the closet with the leash of his new pet puppy.
The youth today are, in the main, more savvy than us when it comes to drugs. Sadly, they are clued up on street drugs but not prescription drugs.
Is there any evidence out there that suggests smoking weed (habitually) can induce akathisia? Or, indeed, sniffing the white powder, albeit prior to binge drinking on weekends?
Like it or not, these pastimes are part of the youth culture, just as the culture of prescribing without informed consent is.
The doctor who posted that he’s “not sure what else to offer emotionally distressed patients in primary care” is, in essence, using the same excuse as the youth of today who, when asked why they smoke weed, usually respond by saying, “I’m not sure what else to take that will make me feel chilled.”
The biggest threat to drug companies is the youth. The industry sees youth as future customers, in many cases (329) as present customers.
I don’t buy into the line, “if not antidepressants, then what else can I offer?”
It smacks of someone who shrugs their shoulders and is almost like a disclaimer without going into any reasoning.
Yes, there is evidence antidepressants may harm but, hey, what else do I have at my disposal? It’s a poor excuse and is designed to protect the prescriber and not the patient.
If the youth smoke weed or do lines of coke because there is nothing else then they are basically giving us a poor excuse and a reason to continue doing what they are doing, just as the prescriber is when he/she utters, “what else am I supposed to do?”
As a prescriber, your hands are not tied. You owe it to yourself and your patients to research publicly available litigation documents.
The benefits, we are told, outweigh the risks. It’s a phrase that has now become popular. We have accepted it without researching it and drug companies point to the “millions of people our drugs have helped.” It’s a smokescreen that hides the risks.
I see no benefit in creating a chemical imbalance and running the risk of addiction, sexual dysfunction, aggression or, worse still, death.
Prescribers only point to the people these drugs have helped. They wouldn’t have to do that if serious ADRs weren’t reported. It’s those who suffer who need guidance. Simply saying these drugs have helped millions is a form of stigma against those who they haven’t helped.
As long as this attitude remains, the ADRs can be hidden. I don’t want to hear how they save lives, which is, incidentally, complete tosh, I want to hear how every single prescriber does his homework by reading non-drug company literature then relays this information to his patient.
So, they may scare patients if they tell them about the true percentage of suicide or attempted suicides on these drugs. Isn’t that the whole point of measuring benefit v risk?
Des Spence GP wrote (another) article in Pulse Med Mag May 22nd 2017
‘We Need to Stop Prescribing Antidepressants for Primary Care’
These medications are over prescribed by the psych med tanks and are about to roll into the quagmire of child mental health’.
‘The Defeat Depression in Adults was an unmitigated disaster – psychiatry will make the issue of sorting out mental health issues in children worse with a mantra of medicate, medicate and medicate’ which denies children the opportunity to work things out themselves’. (applies to adults as well of course).
Comment from Arwel Parry to the article:- ‘Brilliant article and so sadly true’ So sad also is Arwel’s comment a year later above. Seems the mantra has stuck. The Bodnant Practice funds Arwel and colleagues to provide health services to students at Bangor University and to provide training for GPs. Both groups should be informed by those who know best – those who have been harmed ,lost loved ones never given informed consent As it is yet another generation of trainees will be toeing the line,yet another generation of young people being fobbed of with drugs.
Another comment to the same article by an hospital emiritus professor (anonymously)was the only one of two out of many to spell out the truth of the potential for medications to cause AKATHISIA and other harms including suicide ,quoting specifically the Dolin case. He was concerned enough to write yet another comment on June 17th 2017 and highlights that doctors ‘have a duty to understand the drug you are prescribing including any adverse effects, contraindications and monitoring’.
What is also sad is that the doctors who write to pulse mostly do so anonymously for fear of retaliation – people not registered as GPs are not allowed to comment
But what can be done about Depression? A lot of the time it isn’t depression, it’s a combination of things with anxiety included, (and real circumstances).
I had had “High Anxiety” (and misery) when I came off my own SMI meds, and Buddhist Meditation + Philosophy worked. My happiness levels through the years have become very good, and my anxiety levels have much reduced.
A lot of people seem to successfully leave Psychiatry behind, with the help of “Meditation + Yoga”
Welcome to Mad in the UK!
Thank you Peter, it’s an honour and a pleasure, so pleased to see Mad in the UK ‘in the wild’
Off to an auntie good start!
Moore pools to fish ..
‘When a person is deliriously suffering from Akathisia, prior knowledge and critical thinking is chemically hijacked’…..brilliantly put, by Kristina Kaiser Gehrki, describing what happened to her daughter. She sums it up, to perfection. You can to be there, to have lived the horror of seeing your loved one thus removed, to know how utterly appalling Akathisia is.
Sadly on BBC News today, we see reported the death of a very young child who died because his emergency chest hernia operation was delayed, at a Manchester hospital. The coroner, (amazingly and correctly) blamed the lack of care by the hospital, for the death. Of course we are very sorry that he died. But seeing it, we sighed with exasperation…why can’t more coroners do this? Why couldn’t they have raised similar concerns about all our lost youngsters who died from Akathisia, often after long drawn out horrendous hellish ‘living death’ experiences? But no coroner will listen to us, or even if they do, they cannot report back the manner of the suffering, inflicted by lack of responsible educated medical prescribing and care, because they just don’t seem to be allowed to entertain it. You only have to look at statistics on http://www.antidepaware to see how many deaths are due to antidepressants. Many might assume that this means, by overdose of these meds. But could it not equally be because of Akathisia generated by them? Coroners don’t record this, most of them probably wouldn’t even know what Akathisia is.
On the high index of suspicion list…
On the other hand, the other article is a new page on David Healy’s Rxisk [Akathisia by the Rxisk Medical Team] that I found both simple and clarifying:
UPDATE: Don’t miss Greg’s comment, a description from inside that supplements the Rxisk page!
I agree that the Rxsk site does the most complete description of the phenomenon. I only experienced it after I got off Paxil for 15 years. You look at descriptions on major medical sites and they focus heavily on the “constant motion” aspect of it. But that’s not how I experience it – in fact, I thought I had something different – that no one else had because I wasn’t restless per se. It’s internal agitation. Like my nerves are in a vice. I can sit still but feel an internal claustrophobia that’s unrelated to anything going on in my external world. Never experienced anything like it before or while I was taking Paxil. I had gone off xanax before Paxil and fought hard (over a year and a half) to get over that. But getting off Paxil put me in such an aggravated state of akathesia, that I constantly thought about suicide (had never before) – not because I felt like my life was meaningless or that I had severe anhedonia, it was that I just wanted to get out of this body. The only thing that helped unfortunately was going back on benzos. And while I have some semblance of myself stitched together with this drug combination, I’m existentially compromised and I know it’s a physical result of changes made to my neruorchemistry, I can not describe it in a way to my doctor that she truly understands it as such. There is no vocabulary for feelings like this and, as a patient, you just learn to stop talking about it as much because what ends up happening is you either get prescribed more drugs or you get referred to mindfulness training which, for me, is the WORST way to deal with akathesia. The more I’m distracted from what’s going on around me at the moment (focus on work or watching a show or reading), the less I’m bothered by it. The more “mindful” I am of it, the more aggravated and claustrophobic I feel. That to me is a surefire indication that this is not a “psychological” symptom. But it is a lonely one – because only online do I find other people and sites like RXisk that actually describe what I’m feeling.
Yes, yes, YES, this description set out by Annie from Bob is EXACTLY it. He has described AKATHISIA in all its horror.
This is precisely what I watched my son grapple with, over years. And sometimes, like stated here, he found that the more distracted he could be, mostly by his creativity with design and photography and I T problem solving, the more he could get a bit of respite. Mindfulness made it worse, EMDR made it worse. Being busy with a creative project, lashing his mind down to the deck of his mental ship and sailing forward, holding on tight, kept him going a bit longer. He formed a very successful business, made a lot of money, employed people who respected him. The world might said, the lad did really well. He was a grafter, with a moral code second to none.
And then, each time, when feeling better and momentarily forgetting what went before, but thinking all could be well again, he’d get sucked into having another SSRI because a therapist said such-and-such one is new, different, like, ‘oh, don’t worry Olly, escilatopram is super and safe and different because it combines the best elements of SSRIs and older tricyclics’ (apparently). ‘It isn’t like Seroxat, old chap, it’s groundbreaking and safe.’ So he TRUSTED them and he took it and whoops, before you know it, he’s back in the horror of the Akathisia that Annie and Bob describe here.
And once it has happened over and over again, and bearing in mind that Olly knew nothing about Akathisia but truly secretly believed he was an ugly, acne-covered mad person, subject to inevitable episodes of madness, once you’ve lived through it (AKATHISIA) several times, you know EXACTLY what is coming, and, as he wrote to us before he calmly exited this world, ‘I’m so sorry but I can’t go on, it’s all too much, I can’t face this again because I know how bad it gets’.
As a loving mother, I was glad that he died. What a terrible thing to admit! Had he been a suffering animal, injured beyond hope, I’d have had him put to sleep. At one point he begged us to do that. As we sat in A and E all through one dreadful fear-filled night with him, I left my husband beside him whilst I went away to weep in the waiting room because I couldn’t do what he asked and put him out of his agony, and I couldn’t sit there reasoning with him any more, and I loved him so much I’d have done anything for him, but I’d tried and tried to get him sensible understanding medical help and I just got a ranting all-powerful nightmare of a psychiatrist who bullied his own Team into following his instructions. ‘I don’t need to listen’ this doctor railed at us in front of him, ‘ I know what is wrong with Olly, he should wake up and smell the coffee, stop this attention-seeking behaviour, he has brought his so-called illness on himself’. All treatment was suddenly stopped on this man’s curt instructions. Just insults delivered now and then by a visiting Care Co-ordination Social Worker. ‘If you’d meant to kill yourself Olly, you’d have cut an artery. Stop wasting our time.’
Back in A and E, no one had listened to us or looked us in the eye. Olly’s open cut arm was stitched up in silence eventually, staff on Reception clucking in disapproval. No parent, spouse or relative should end up feeling this way, that their beloved one would be better dead. Where is the morality in a world that allows this elephant to slide through our rooms. Just so that Big Pharma do not have to come clean about what their meds can really be doing, the Akathisia they cause, and arrogant psychiatrists and GPs can hide behind a need to be distant and dismissive. ‘If he wants to kill himself, that’s up to him, there’s nothing we can do to stop him’, we were often told. No, maybe not, but you could listen to him and to us, as he describes what was his Akathisia. You could notice his endless pacing and twitching and restless legs and hear about his restless mind. Not just shove some Sertraline and Olanzapine at him and tell him to go for a walk. Nor tell us to stay away from him because he was joyfully basking in our attention and concern. God help us.
Ambulance teams and paramedics tell me they dread a call to a person who is suffering mental unwellness, suicidal etc. These teams are invariably really good caring decent people who are frustrated beyond measure because they feel desperate; there is nowhere to take these poor agonised people other than A and E, where they will mostly get the silent patching-up treatment Olly and we did. They know there is no help for them anywhere.
By chance, years later, (suffering suspected heart attack myself), the same paramedic came out to me, that had come out to Olly in July 2012 when he cut his arm open deeply that one time, whilst he’d tried to drown himself in a river, but lost his nerve at the last second from the shock of the cold water, and covered in mud, crawled out and limped home to us at midnight. We’d called an ambulance. Because it was an attempted suicide, police came too. They were all kind and concerned and frankly, absolutely wonderful. We told them about the psychiatrist. They knew of him, they’d heard of his methods before. They said, change to another. We tried. The GP tried. The NHS said it would take 3 months to get him an appointment with another. Too late. Dead by then.
The paramedic remembered Olly from 4 years back, and told me how many paramedics are struggling, longing to improve the system, doing their best with all the skills they have, using compassion at all times too. He sadly said our son really need not have died had there been real help in MH care, for him. I told him about RoAccutane/isotretinoin, RxISK and Akathisia, and gave him a stack of our leaflets to hand to colleagues. We hand out hundreds of them.
I am feeling utterly, madly, crazily desperate now about the need to DO something. It’s ‘Let’s prevent Suicide Week’ (or some such trendy self congratulatory term) next week I think. Sorry to be cynical. We should be having that aim every minute of every week, but until we get AKATHISIA flagged up and admitted to as the important cause it is, we are getting nowhere. I am donning my Akathisia sweatshirt and stepping forward to tell Olly’s story wherever I can, it’s all I can do to make amends for his suffering, to ‘help others’. But I am just one small woman. I’m afraid till Akathisia gets understood by all, these suicides will go on and on.
A local Welsh Assembly member – new to the job, as he was elected after his father, who was the previous AM for the area, took his own life – is now pleading for us all to be kinder in word and deed – simple gestures as well as social media comments.
He has mentioned the ‘Let’s prevent suicide’ week and I intend to contact him with info, such as Akathisia awareness etc., explaining that, whilst his father may have died for very different reasons, akathisia is a killer – and, so far, a hidden one at that. I have every faith that Jack Sergeant will certainly listen, and with a bit of luck, bring up such issues in Cardiff at their meetings whenever possible.
Open and shut case if you ask me.
Mickey Nardo is missed every day of the week …
Bob wrote a very telling blog on Akathisia (+2) not that long ago …
Paxil Induced Akathisia – Jury Awards $11.9 Million
Open and shut case if you ask me.
Hi Heather – the N Wales Local Medical Cttee Ltd held a meeting in March when Social prescribing was on the agenda – have you heard anything about it? I don’t live in the area. It sounds very claustrophobic to me – so many different agencies involved – would predict power games; scrabbles for funds ..too bureaucratic compared with the groups/meeting places you envisage I think. There’s potential for people to become ‘socialised’ as well as ‘medicalised’
Reporting back after Suicide Crisis Conference in Gloucester today, 10th September. Managed to stand up and speak on mike Out in front of stage, to appreciative assembled large company about AKATHISIA. I raised it in the section dealing with Trauma in Bereavement. The excellent speaker said that of all the types of bereavement. Suicide was the worst for those left behind as they don’t know, and therefore are likely to endlessly agonise afterwards, over why the loved one left this world.
I ventured, in our case, to differ. I said I wished that HAD been our experience, but that we’d known for a long time that our son intended dying, and why, mainly because of the havoc AKATHISIA played with his mind and body. (I was proudly wearing my AKATHISIA sweatshirt). I explained my frustration about people being told to come forward and share their suicidal feelings, as our son did, and then being told they are attention-seeking and to go for a walk etc. I said we had fought for months to be taken seriously, well aware he intended dying, and were met with complete indifference. He had been shamed and humiliated. I explained about the effects on some people of prescribed medications, and how Big Pharma really did not want this AKATHISIA problem addressed and spread around. So it was up to all of us to pass the word as far reachingly as we can. The audience were in warm agreement, they kindly applauded loudly, and my words ended the conference. Many took our leaflets. Others came and spoke to us and we passed on RxISK information. A really good outcome, we felt.
Thank you Heather.
I am a Nurse Practitioner and for many years prescribed SSRI’s, but always checked for adverse effects. If patients complained of any side effect I would discontinue or change medication which was in retrospect not helpful either.
My son is suffering from PSSD along with many other adverse effects of SSRI’s. I did not know what life altering effects these medications would have. Of course my son and me both wish he never took them. We are still hopeful that something will return, even if it is minimal. I now advocate to anyone who asks me about anti-depressants NOT to use them. Try and find alternative therapies minus the medication route. Psychotherapy,acupuncture,hypnosis,meditation,yoga, natural supplements. I know finances can be an issue with these treatments but going in debt outweighs possible permanent life altering health issues. We must continue to speak out, report and support each other in this quest to find treatment for all the side effects of these medications including akathesia as well as all other adverse effects.