The Junkies Take over the Asylum

August, 21, 2017 | 46 Comments


  1. David

    “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.””

    One of the most instructive books I ever read was by another Simon of Jewish descent, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s ‘Jerusalem, the biography’, which basically is a narration of three millennia of genocides, as one great hollow empire took over from another (and to which Jerusalem itself was often completely incidental, though at other times a focus). At the top people lived in grandeur and luxury, they had their clients no doubt, and each had their catalogue of immense and systematic damage to the population. Perhaps, they were all deluded that their present dominance actually meant something rather than just being another “outfit”. In the modern world the geographic hegemonies still pertain, but there are the other kinds as well – the great markets where the protection and reputation are much more important than reality, and in which science is constantly invoked as a belief system.

    We are a very flawed species, and we find it hard to learn anything. One of the greatest and most dangerous delusions seems to be that we ever do. Agencies like SMC and SAS and there to maintain and control illusions, they have in the modern world to have “science” in their title – it is just like being the appointee of God – but any competent historian ought to recognise them as propaganda units for their empires. Their very existence tells of the emptiness within.

  2. john the jack ..

    Sense About Science, the PACE trial and ME.

    (The email exchange discussed in this blog can be viewed here:

    Just paste. It.

    The Role of the Science Media Centre and the Insurance Industry in ME/CFS:

    the facts behind the fiction

    Professor Malcolm Hooper
    September 2013

    Some of the content of this document is already in the public domain; it was, however, commissioned for lawyers and high-profile others who had no knowledge of the background behind the ME/CFS controversy specifically to provide for them in a single document the facts relating to the Science Media Centre and its acknowledged campaign against people with ME/CFS, as well as the SMC’s relationship with the Wessely School and their relationship with the permanent health insurance industry.

    Indeed, anyone foolhardy enough to criticise the SMC would face immediate ridicule and the opprobrium of virtually the entire UK scientific and medical establishment (and the organisations that fund them). The esteem in which the SMC is held, and its influence throughout the media, is invincible, as is clear from a short film it commissioned to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2012

    This means that virtually the entire UK scientific and medical establishment, the UK nationals and the BBC unquestioningly believe what they are fed by the SMC. Such corporate control of science is scarcely believable.

  3. “Agencies like SMC and SAS and there to maintain and control illusions” should read ” Agencies like SMC and SAS are there to maintain and control illusions”

  4. Dr. Healy,
    Hopefully this is of some use to someone or there are others like me because I feel let down lost and ultimately I know I’m going to die because of an SSRi. I was 19 and my GP put me straight on 20mg Escitalopram, it stopped me feelings however that was and over the course a year I slowly got my life back whilst also seeing a psychologist. I had been on the maximum dose of Escitalipram for 3 years when I got food poisoning. I was in hospital 1 week and they forgot my medication, upon discharge they said if I felt ok no need to restart the Escitalipram. Since then my life has never been the same and I have learned as a psychiatric patient how little power and help you have and receive. I was vomiting and had brain zaps and was back in hospital and then a psych ward, I was told of course it wasn’t.t SSRi withdrawal. I couldn’t stop moving and walking, I felt anxiety that made me want to rip on my skin, I did in fact start clawing at my skin and head butting walls, everything was out of control I was in physical pain and unable to sleep. Diazepam temporarily masked the pacing, moving and anxiety but not the pain I felt. I got then a misdiagnosis of Bipolar(I am not). I have been in every med, antipsychotic combo etc you can think of, I even went on a clinical trial to ray and save myself because my psychiatrist after 3 years had done nothing. I had to fight and fight and the only reason I’m still alive is because of my parents and forcing myself to relearn to play computer games to survive the day. Finally after 4 years I begged for ECT and they still after 4 years didn’t think this appropriate(I was under a community psychiatrist) I have since learnt that only old age psychiatrists actually carry out ECT it’s rare for an acute and ever a rare if not unheard for a community psychiatrist to oerscribe it, they are told it’s a last resort if they even believe in the practise itself! Once I had ECT I started to get better, but not enough for the psychiatrist giving it, I learnt he was an old age psychiatrist and had little to no experience in ECT in younger people(I was 28) so I looked for someone who was, at the priory I was able to find a psychiatrist with experience in TR depression and giving ECT to not just the 50+! They said there was no limit and as I was responsible ding carrying on was the best option as I had no medication options left, so they sent a letter to my psychiatrist then to the ECT psych who stopped my treatment. They invited my parents in, it took them 2 hours and this specialist ECts letter to convince them to restart my ECT. This round was longer and much more a success, I got a hair cut for the first time in 4 years, washed, went to my friends for dinner, started to laugh and really feel that laughters as warmth inside, I was not cured by any means but getting there, then out of no where the ECT psych who did not know me did not see my progress in person or hear from my friends stopped it, I had just gone to once weekly and was still improving not due to go to once twice a week. This was ECT number 15.. I met people who had many more and who relapsed after going to once 2wice a week and were still being given it, but no I was stopped at 15 showing the only improvement in years, the reason apparently was “risk cost benefit ratio”.. what othe risk is there? I read and signed a form I had no other treatment psychological or pharmacological left.. isn’t someone 65 more of an anaesthetic risk and others than me? We appealed by my psychiatrist cannot turn over the ruling of the ECT psych, they couldn’t answer any of my families challenges… and so it is now 6 years, if done it all and I have no idea how I’m still alive, well I’m not, without treatment options p, from starting to get well and having it taken when learning that ECT was the only thing that worked, I can only conclude the SSRi has damaged my brain and because of a post code lottery and the stigma of ECT and lack of experience with younger people, I have now been left to die. No one can believe it but that’s psychiatry you always end up sounding like a conspiracy theorist when the truth is really what’s most frightening. I want to know what damage that SSRi has done and I want younger people at least offered ECT, we have the right to early intervention if our depression is severe, we can always say no. You are someone at least I hope will somewhat understand my story. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, it’s cost me my life.

  5. Take drug as directed – feel slight benefit

    What is that benefit, I mean, what has changed since consuming the drug?

    Taper from drug as directed – feel “emotional”

    Dr confirms the illness has not been cured yet, even though SSRIs don’t cure anything. You go back on drug – feel slight benefit, this time from drug withdrawal that the Dr missed.

    Ad Infinitum.

  6. David – Thank you so much for the information and especially for not giving up and not being willing to sacrifice people who are being caused harm by those who have the power to dupe the public. The data you have provided can now be used for more easily disseminating information as it is broken down into ‘categories’. Even if we all just alert one section with an e mail, or deliver leaflets using the information or computer savvy people forward your post to relevant organisations the message can be spread – I have e mailed Mumsnet and hope for a reply at least. By the way Duncan Double from the Critical Psychiatry Network runs a blog and is asking for suggestions for changing the way psychiatry is operating.
    Talking therapies were offering promise which seems to be fading out of sight for most – Allen Francis who does so love a Manual and who has been mentioned more than a few times here for his shameful behaviour has enthusiastically endorsed ‘The Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual Ed2(some pages are available to read on Amazon or Google Books) which apes the abhorrent Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual by breaking persons down into ever diminishing de humanising diagnoses and categories and sub categories to the 9th degree.

    Hi Hannah. I admire you so much for writing this post , your experience has been and still is so harrowing. Using your survival skills to alert others by doing this will Hopefully send warnings about the unacceptable way different health workers with differing personal opinions , who do not gain informed consent to drug prescriptions can completely upset recovery, There is no accountability if someone can be bounced around from pillar to post. At present there is no way most can know what options one individual psychiatrist favours or rejects – there needs to be a register where the public can get this kind of information…letters after a name are useless. Wishing you all the best, take care

    • Thank you Suzanne for the kind words, very much appreciated, apologies for spelling mistakes and changed words, typing original post out on a frustrating iPad not the best! I agree, I believe there should be set time limits and if you are struggling as a psychiatrist be able to phone or Skype another professional with more experience in a certain area, it might take swallowing some pride but it’s what’s best for the patients. If you’ve never used a certain medication or procedure before why would you consider it in your treatment arsenal? Nothing should be “last resort”… and myself and family will be forever left with the question what has that SSRi done to my brain.

  7. SMC is, of course, heavy on the “con” and short on “science. ” Put these two together, and it’s clear they have no conscience.

    Re. “What’s Going on Here” and Allen Frances’ unsolicited email, a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is appropriate, “Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.”

    Phony Frances knew his unsolicited email sent to Dr. Healy wasn’t “confidential” as Frances later proclaimed. Frances wrote his public email primarily for all those he copied on it, and not for Dr. Healy. The appropriate, well-reasoned public response by Dr. Healy showed Allen for what he is: a panderer to cronies. 

    In his tweets and articles, Allen sometimes presents himself as a fence-sitter of sorts. He occasionally points out the harms caused by psychiatry’s lucrative prescription-first “caregiving.” At the same time, he routinely denies that SSRIs are unsafe and ineffective. But like Humpty Dumpty, fence-sitters who try to deny gravity often fall to their doom. Allen and his psychiatric fence-sitters are in peril, as is the field of psychiatry itself. Albeit, this epic fall is occurring too slowly and can’t resurrect SSRI-created corpses already in the ground.

    Unlike Humpty Dumpty, the gravity of prescribing torture and death isn’t a funny nursery rhyme: It’s a sadistic real-life tragedy in which real people–many only children–die. 

    Back to Shakespeare: Like Hamlet, Allen knows psychiatry’s present-day mousetrap is a play within a play. He knows his ilk willfully dose poison to unsuspecting consumers. Unlike Claudius, they don’t pour it in patients’ ears while asleep. But they do administer poison while intentionally leaving their victims and families in the dark.

    I wonder: Would Allen walk out of my daughter, Natalie’s, “play?” Will the ghosts of dead consumers ever haunt Allen and his like-minded colleagues?

  8. “Ich bin ein Berliner”

    Love .. walking .. round two ..

    Renowned experts in the programme

    The WPA XVII WORLD CONGRESS OF PSYCHIATRY is a top event that you can’t afford to miss! From anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder, from science to care – over the course of five days the WCP 2017 will gather all the expertise in the field of mental health in one place. Renowned keynote speakers have already agreed to participate.


    ‘Shell shock – a very British practice’

    Too many – Steins ..

  9. Its important to note ..

    Douglas August 22, 2017 at 11:48 am
    In my opinion, I think its important to note that Doctors in general; ignore and dismiss or prescribe “side-effect” medications, to quell the concerns of patients (in general). With all of the new medications coming out, having the warnings of death, suicidal ideation, the damage to internal organs, etc. The fact remains that I’ve noticed people who were calm got put on medications and then became unstable. What is the benefit to individual, the public, institutions, etc.

  10. It is a thought that in an earlier phase of our modern, secular world both Marxism and National Socialism claimed the authority of science, while it was only being used to justify barbarism. The claim to own or represent science is really a piece of conceit. “Science Media Centre” might be truthfully translated as something like “Government-Industrial Complex Media Manipulation HQ”. Harder to know what to do with “Sense about Science”. I once thought “Dense About Science” which perhaps just sounds rude but then it is hard for example to get much cruder or boorish than the rhetoric of David Robert Grimes.

    And, of course, it is very different from what David H does above. First of all it is his opinion, not the opinion of a representative body (of what?) saying they are science: also it is up to anybody to dispute it if they can, though there don’t seem to be too many takers at the moment.

    It is apparent that with medicine if it is a science at all – obviously parts of it are – that it is inherently fluid, that something that works for one person does not work for another, and once you have got angry quasi government agencies trying to control a conversation (and often trying for example to tell people they are well when they are ill) you have probably had it.

    As we know the health service is in financial as well as institutional crisis and it seems a very good way to make it worse if you just bang on with policies which are manifestly not known to be working. So, we are handing out 65m prescrictions of SSRI’s every year and we want to hand out more? That sounds like a very unhappy nation.

    I think most of the people on Severe Mental Illlness Benefit are suffering from either Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Syndrome or unresolved “anxiety”. And I don’t believe tricyclic medication or electric shock treatment are the solution.

    The Solution for me was through a Careful Drug Withdrawal approach and the application of Buddhist Philosophy and Buddhist Practice techniques.

    I was “diagnosed” with Acute Schizophrenia in 1980; Chronic Schizophrenia 1982; SchizoAffective Disorder 1983; and parted with Psychiatry in 1984.

  12. David you say: “I figure conflict of interest, crucially important in other areas of life, is of minor importance if not irrelevant in science. Although by science I mean something that can only happen in the presence of publicly available data.”

    I continue to disagree with your downplaying of the consequences of conflicts of interest. And the sort of science you describe, i.e. “something that can only happen in the presence of publicly available data” is sadly a fantasy at this time.

    ‘Science’ is currently dominated by vested interests, e.g. pharmaceutical companies and cliques of academics, government bureaucrats and politicians in powerful positions influencing policy.

    These vested interests will do anything to protect their positions, including ignoring and even censoring citizens who dare to question their ideology, as I know from personal experience.

    How many insiders would have the courage to challenge the prevailing dogma when their own careers are at risk for threatening the status quo? I guess you know the answer to that one…

    David, you have previously suggested comparisons with ‘science’ and the Church.[1] I recently came across an article titled The Corruption of Science which provides food for thought, here are some excerpts from the article:


    Corporate takeover of science

    Instances of the takeover and manipulation of science abound. The chemical/biotechnology corporations serve as a prime example. They figured out that science is the religion of the day, and taking control of science is to take control of people. They have used every means at their disposal to suppress scientific enquiry. They hire scientists and give money to academic institutions to fund research. They install people in key government positions at every level [4]; actively lobby congress and use their influence to coerce other nations to accept their products. They place editors on scientific journals, controlling what does and, more importantly, what doesn’t get published [5]; even to the extent of having published articles retracted that they see as damaging to their agenda, expunging the results from the public record and paving the way for expansion [6]….

    If the people hear voices dissenting from the scientific priesthood, the corporations immediately send out their scientists to harass and discredit the other scientists. Their methods, results, and even their credentials are called into question. Many have been denied tenure, lost their funding and even their jobs after publishing results casting doubt on the wisdom of genetic engineering. This has created a climate of fear within the scientific community and confusion without. The vast majority of scientists who are willing to speak out are either retired or of retirement age. They have nothing to lose. This is all too reminiscent of the historical relationship between the Pope, the kings & queens, the bishops & priesthood and the people.


    I recommend reading this thoughtful article via this link:

    [1] See for example your responses to me on “What’s going on Here?”

  13. Reason to hope ..

    “I have never seen a conflict of interest statement that mentioned the authors’ worldview. No prayer study lists “I believe in God” as a conflict of interest. No scientist is expected to state “I believe the scientific method is the best way to evaluate claims.”

    I E ..

    World-class speakers & entertainers discussing the role of science and evidence-based reasoning in a “post-truth” world.


  14. Great article again by Dr Healy, however I have to admit, like Elizabeth Hart, I also disagree with David’s position on conflicts of interest ..

    David you say: “I figure conflict of interest, crucially important in other areas of life, is of minor importance if not irrelevant in science. Although by science I mean something that can only happen in the presence of publicly available data.”

    Conflict of interest creates bias, it is extremely important in Science, because it influences how studies, research, results and opinions are approached and interpreted. The whole of biological psychiatry is awash with pharmaceutical conflicts of interest. Many top academic psychiatrists (opinion leaders etc) are driven purely by greed and what they can gain from pharmaceutical companies filling their bank accounts. This is the root of the problems we have now today with drugs like Seroxat and the other SSRI’s and psychiatric drugs in general…

  15. RE Conflict of Interest in Science, we will have to disagree. Science is about Data and its reproducibility. The idea is an experiment is conducted in front of others who can then repeat it at home and try to pull it apart to see how best to explain what appears to be happening.

    It almost requires bias (conflict of interest). Its only when believers and atheists, women and men, rich and poor, black and white agree on what they are seeing that we have an objective fact – yes that means the earth is round, or the earth is not at the center of the universe or the heart is a pump that we move forward scientifically. We want prejudices and hatred and sometimes even delusions in order to get people to do things and test things out and perhaps come up with a finding but its only when others who hate what you have done are forced to admit that yep the contraption flies that we have something scientific. Even then we want some to remain delusionally biased so that nothing gets left unchallenged.

    Science is not done by people with no passion or bias. You don’t have to be moral to do science or even be a good person.

    But when it comes to how science plays in court or is applied in medicine, bias and conflicts can completely corrupt the picture. A view offered by an expert in court may be obviously “paid for”.


    • ‘An objective fact’ in the case of isotretinoin (RoAccutane, acne drug and chemo drug) is that it mostly comprises high doses of Vitamin A. We all know, ‘as an objective fact’, that an overload of Vitamin A is toxic. We know that, unlike Vitamin C, if the body takes in too much, it can’t get rid of it. We know how polar explorers in the last century, who because they’d been marooned in the ice with no other food when supplies ran out, had to eat polar bear livers, chock full of Vitamin A, and went totally psychotic. This is well scientifically documented and witnessed. Pregnant women are advised not to take Vitamin A supplements for fear of damage to the foetus.

      And yet….and yet …..when youngsters ingesting this Vitamin A drug for their acne skin condition, sometimes in several 3 month long courses of increasingly high doses, when THEY become psychotic and some kill themselves, others are consigned to living like zombies, when all this happens, where is the accepted science in this? Where is the doubt that the Vitamin A drove them literally, out of their rational minds? Where is the doubt that foetuses born having been conceived in this noxious pottage of Vitamin A, will almost without doubt, be horrendously deformed? We all know the cause. We all know the science and we’ve known it for at least 34 years. So, how do we let young people go on ingesting this stuff? There is NO DOUBT about it’s toxic effect. So, surely, it HAS TO BE be Conflict of Interest here, financial interest driving this, good sales (into the earned £billions) and fear of being sued for catastrophic damage (potential loss of £billions) that makes Big Pharma swear that black is grey and that ‘we need not worry too much’, the sword may not fall on us, but if it falls on another, well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Tough, sad, but that’s life. Or death. We know the proven science here in relation to catastrophic toxicity.

      Yes, I accept all drugs have poisonous elements. But not as lethal as this, and yet, this Vitamin A element being well known and generally accepted, even so, they are being dished out like Smarties for acne, in many cases these days just for mild acne at that. The hell they cause many a sufferer is beyond imagining. Is it bias that enables this farce to continue day by day, and deaths to occur, as horrific suicides, month by month? We all have the science. Why doesn’t it stop this?

      • Heather

        What keeps it going is lack of access to the trial data that almost certainly shows similar events. Something else keeps it going too that I hope to develop on RxISK over coming weeks


        • Not meaning to be stupid here, but what more trial data do we need? We know that Vitamin A in large doses is toxic to body and brain, we’ve known it for a very long time, it is not disputed scientifically. We know that isotretinoin is full of it. So what more scientific trial proof do we need to gather/have access to?

          Very much looking forward to learning about the other factors that keep it going and which you say you will be revealing soon on RxISK. Great stuff. We need this desperately. Thank you.

    • David, conflicts of interest in ‘science’ are an extremely serious matter, particularly when powerful vested interests are allowed free rein to use the ‘data’ they publish via the also conflicted ‘peer-reviewed literature’ industry to coax and even coerce the community into having their lucrative medical interventions.

      And doctors are the frontline sales/police force dispensing these medical interventions/products. There are important ethical considerations here.

      The medical industry’s burgeoning influence over citizens and their children is an emerging international scandal. We need independent and objective critical analysis of the medical-industrial complex.

      • Elizabeth

        The things that counts in science id data. The problem across the board from RCTs to vaccines is a lack of data. I have been a consultant to most major pharmaceutical companies. The only way for you or anyone else to know if this has biased me is to be able to compare my statements against the data.

        You have to begin with defining what you mean by science. Science is not what the SMC or the Government say it is – where the appearances of science are used to conceal what powerful players want to do. You are confusing rhetoric with science it seems to me. When it comes to rhetoric and especially rhetoric about science, conflicts of interest are important but we have always known that.


  16. Publicly available data…conflicts of interest…it covers many an aspect ..

    This Coyne of the Realm seems to have his own Agenda ..

    James C.Coyne‏ @CoyneoftheRealm 5h5 hours ago

    James C.Coyne Retweeted Art Levine

    I’l ask again: Are David Healy, Jeanne Lenzer, and Robert Whitaker credible sources?




    James Foulger‏ @jifoulger 5h5 hours ago

    Replying to @CoyneoftheRealm @bmj_latest @wessleys
    Poor Simon could not get his point over in the media another fail @SMC_Londo

    Toss a coin .. ?

  17. The problem perhaps is that virtually everyone has some kind of interest but there are very powerful people and interests controlling the public discussion and to a great extent the data (though insufficiently not to leave themselves exposed). Conflict is not in itself corruption: certain things might be which involve conflicts. The pretence of objectivity by bullies trying to elbow everyone else out of the way is what is really telling. Perhaps it has to be looked at in terms of the history of human institutions to which the science itself is incidental – back with the “haves” and the “have-nots”, the masters and slaves.

  18. John
    The ‘Conflict’ with isotretinoin (RoAccutane) isn’t just mega bucks for ROCHE.
    Another ‘Conflict’ is that apparently there is nothing else half so quickly effective in the dermatologists’ toolbox for acne. And youngsters come in, pleading for it, begging, crying, saying they feel suicidal about their acne. Acne is the pits, I had it really badly and I remember the hell of it. But because my mind and body worked, I could do some problem solving, I hadn’t lost the power to be creative, ambitious, and look to the future with some degree of hope, try things like sunlight, careful diet, exercise, and keep optimistic.

    This drug is not asked for by people struggling with anxiety seemingly without cause. They are fed up with their skin eruptions and the taunts from others that these generate. They feel somehow dirty and unacceptable and they feel guilt, as though somehow it’s their fault. We could generalise and wonder if hormone imbalances are a big part of this. The ones who feel the ups and downs of life, the ‘sensitive’ ones, often seem to be the worst afflicted. The ones with finely tuned hormones maybe? The ones who feel hurt most. The ones with the thinnest skins. Which is nature at its most cruel. But it doesn’t excuse ROCHE.

    We need data, more data, as DH clearly states. But the problem with isotretinoin is that from it come so MANY DIFFERENT physical problems (well over 100 reported) that once patients have left the Dermatology Clinic with their packet of pills, when the physical evidence starts, they don’t even associate it with a skin drug. The skin, for heaven’s sake, is usually getting better.

    But whilst the mind is tipped into a feeling of deep and inexplicable despondency, other parts kick off too. Fingers become less agile, they get painful as though arthritic, eyes get sore, red and painful, reading is difficult, backs ache constantly, stomach problems are coming and going unpredictably, mouth ulcers become so bad in some that eating is so painful that they are branded as anorexic. The list goes on and on, to the end of the scale, where pancreases pack up and colons become non functional and colostomies are performed. In those studying for exams any degree of this is an added stress. But at least up to now, if reported (presumably to the gateway GP) one hopes they could even twig that this has all come since isotretinoin use. Probably not though, they’ll be off down a new rabbit hole. There will be referrals to various specialties, gastroenterologists, rheumatologists, etc etc. No one cares to admit that these new ailments could possibly come from the acne drug. So, of course, no data is collated.

    Then, on to the dire stage, the prescribing of SSRIs for the mounting despondency. This is the slippery slope to madness. In so many, temporary psychosis develops. The skin is probably fine now by the way. Why therefore are they so melancholic? They don’t know. Then they get uncharacteristically angry. Why? They don’t know. Confusion takes over. Medics say they must have had underlying mental illness issues before, but how fortunate that these have now surfaced, how lucky that there are SSRIs and anti psychotics for them. And hospitals to pop them into when they feel suicidal. Which they do, often. But in there, they do not fit any diagnostic ‘depression’ diagnosis. The medics are frustrated. Isotretinoin has possibly never even been mentioned. The Acute Hospital Notes will not converge with the Mental Health Hospital Notes and the GP Notes won’t link in with either. (!).

    The trail, thus, goes dead. In the end, medics on balance decide that these previously maybe intelligent, rational young people, must surely be attention-seeking, for what else could they possibly be? They themselves are lost in pain and hopelessness now, confusion and fear overtake them. No one understands. There is of course, no clear data because the pattern of illness is different in each one.

    They look on the Internet and realise by reading accounts written in desperation by similarly afflicted others, hundreds and hundreds of them, that there may be no hope of any understanding or reversal of their hellish situation. I haven’t even mentioned the sexual dysfunction, which will likely be present, and certainly the emotional labilty, the lack of a sense of joy in anything. . They decide that there is no point in continuing the suffering, because if life is like this, year on year, who needs it? They die.

    Now, how do we collect data from all this? I have a (very expensive) book detailing the early trials of RoAccutane-isotretinoin by ROCHE personnel. Nowhere was the emotional effect of the drug commented on. Lots of people dropped out of the trials but no reason was given.
    What the eye doesn’t look at, the heart needn’t worry about. Yellow cards are ineffective and often times hidden away.

    No, I return to my first premise. We KNOW Vitamin A is toxic and can lead to madness if ingested at high enough levels, which vary between individuals. Use it topically for skin healing if you must, but do not swallow it. What more do we need to know? I realise I should maybe wait for the RxISK revelations but I am so incensed by the lack of action by Coroners, who could collate and report on a Section 43 all these deaths (there’ll be another by the end of this month, according to MHRA stats), but it is apparently not within their brief when deciding on a verdict, that my frustration is making me explode. DH says in this post that he wonders why people who’ve suffered don’t explode more. So do I. But it does us no good, and if we appear irrational, we’ve lost our cause before we’ve started. Apparently the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP has now been alerted to our son’s case by his own MP, and she is asking for an update on the latest developments with regard to RoAccutane. For this we are most grateful. He was blessed with a marvellous MP. One of the absolute best. But I’m afraid we are not getting our hopes up. This could be a good time though for any RoAccutane sufferers, or anyone with strong views on this, to drop Jeremy a line…..

    • Heather

      No argument, of course – and I am so sorry. What we probably all see is the unavoidability of conflict as such, but what we also see is the abuse by the government-industrial complex. I am not sure I agree with David absolutely but I think I see what he is trying to say. But some conflicts will not do per se, for example when the chair of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is also the UK’s leading vaccine developer, and recommends his own product. That is an unacceptable conflict.

      Some conflicts will not do at all, some will not do if they are not disclosed, and some are everyday, unavoidable and based on the simple reality of human existence.

  19. Tick Tock ..

    James C.Coyne‏ @CoyneoftheRealm 30m30 minutes ago

    James C.Coyne Retweeted StudentDoctorNetwork

    Why consider @Mad_In_America a trusted source? accurate as often as a broken clock.

    Academic Stalking and Brand Fascism David Healy

    Academic Stalking:

    A Case History

    I contested the termination. The story broke in April 2001.9 and the media approached me for my side of the issues. They also approached the university, who declined to comment but directed reporters to a Dr. James Coyne, then at the University of Pennsylvania, indicating that Dr. Coyne would be able to comment on Healy. I had never heard of Dr. Coyne. His remarks appear to have been intemperate, and none of the outlets that covered the story featured his views. This led him to write letters, the first of

    which was published in the University of Toronto Bulletin, in which he indicated the only odd feature of what has come to be known as the Healy affair was that the university had seen fit to consider hiring Healy in the first instance, as he had little research to his name and his healthy volunteer study was poor from a methodological point of view and likely unethical.10 Dr. Coyne sent a number of comparable contributions to locations, including Web sites, where they could be posted without oversight. Who was James Coyne? I later found that he had consulted for a number of pharmaceutical companies, including Lilly, and also that he had links with Chamberlain Communications, a New York-based PR agency working for Lilly. He was a psychologist who had previously been employed in Ann Arbor, working on depression. From 2000 onwards, Dr. Coyne made regular and colourful contributions to a Society for Scientific Clinical Psychology (SSCP) listserv berating me and my research and anyone who offered me support on the issue of whether antidepressants could trigger suicidality.11 This was not a listserv on which I was a participant. I only became aware of the contents some years later. In a posting on 9/11/01, before other news broke that day, referring to Healy he stated: “He had not only BEEN an expert witness when he published that article, he was ACTIVELY a witness in an unresolved civil suit in which it was crucial that he be able to cite data for his otherwise unsubstantiated position that SSRI’s make people suicidal. Releasing the paper to accomplish that was both timely and sleazy, and all the more so because he did not disclose his relevant financial interests in the study having a particular outcome. His testimony and soliciting of law suits was quite germane to any effort to make sense of his bizarre report and I doubt many readers understood the connection…. Incidentally, when it is convenient, Healy accepts considerable money from drug companies, more than most people I know.” Many of the claims made by Dr. Coyne in his postings and correspondence regarding the Healy affair contained claims and assertions about me that were only otherwise being made to my knowledge in briefings to the media by Lilly, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The types of materials aired by Dr. Coyne found an echo in a posting by Pfizer on the US FDA’s Web site in July 2004. This posting was linked to a drugs advisory committee meeting to consider the issue of suicidality on antidepressants given to pediatric patients. An earlier meeting in February 2004 had indicated there appeared to be a problem—antidepressants made minors suicidal. The FDA had deferred handling the issue further for a period of half a year on the basis that the agency needed to analyze the data further. Prior to the second hearing in September 2004, interested parties were allowed to make postings on the FDA’s Web site and Pfizer did so. The Pfizer letter was a fifty-page billet-doux extolling the character and science of David Healy in terms such as the following:12 Dr. Healy has distorted and mischaracterized the evidence. . . many erroneous statements, unsupported contentions and data distortions. . . . Dr. Healy has been hired by lawyers representing civil-litigation plaintiffs and criminal defendants to criticize SSRIs in at least 8 cases. Although he is a psychiatrist and reader at the University of North Wales, he is primarily known
    for his work as a medical historian. He has little scientific experience in conducting and interpreting the results of controlled clinical research. . . . Before becoming a litigation expert witness testifying against SSRI manufacturers, Dr. Healy published views opposite to those he now espouses on the question of whether SSRIs induce suicide. This material contains a number of claims that appear to me actionably false, but taking an action against a pharmaceutical company seemed counter-productive in that any legal effort would likely distract my attention from other important work, and it seemed to me quite likely that Pfizer and other companies had this possibility in mind. FDA denied me a right of reply, but I have since published a reply.13. Aside from postings on the SSCP listserv,

    Dr. Coyne’s stalking took more concrete form in 2005. I was aware from postings on the listserv that he was writing or proposing to write an article on the Healy affair. When an article on the “Martyrdom of David Healy” finally appeared in the American Journal of Bioethics, it was only published online. There was no hard copy.14 The journal refused a right of reply. The article is in many respects curiously unfocused, but from its title onwards it conveys the impression that Healy has a lot to answer for. This article led the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP), the leading international psychopharmacological association, of which I am a member, to institute an investigation.

    Curiously this investigation and apparently a number of other investigations of the Healy affair have been able to proceed without consulting me at any point. The Coyne article set up a debate, scheduled for Columbia University in October 2005, supposed to feature Dr. Coyne and myself. I turned up, but Dr. Coyne did not. Subsequently, Dr. Coyne posted on the SSCP listserve a series of comments on Healy and Healy’s positions, which I presumed were the kinds of things that he would have said in the debate. These comments and my replies have been posted on the Alliance for Human Research Protection and Web sites.15 The most ominous development in relation to the Coyne article came in March 2006 when I had a letter from the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK, the body responsible for the registration of doctors. Investigation by the GMC can lead to a doctor being struck off. The letter from the GMC started “Dear Healy, . . .” Letters like this from the GMC must also include the letter of complaint. The GMC is headed by Sir Graeme M. Catto. Ordinarily letters to Dr. Catto would be addressed “Dear Sir Graeme,” but this letter of complaint was addressed “Dear Graeme, . . .” It was from someone I would have considered a relatively close professional colleague, Professor David Nutt, the Professor of Psychiatry and previously the Dean of Medicine at Bristol University. This letter referred Dr. Catto and the GMC to the Coyne article, which “raises serious concerns about the scientific and ethical conduct of Dr. Healy. . . . Is this something the GMC should be concerned about?”16 Complaints to the GMC often take years to run their course. Individuals being complained about find the process highly stressful. In this instance, the correspondence

    Ethics, Conflict of Interest, first ever public response by David Healy, MD, to James Coyne, PhD, attack in AJOB

    Lessons in Conflict of Interest:

    The Construction of the Martyrdom of David Healy and the Dilemma of Bioethics

    James C. Coyne

    “I leave for you to decide for yourself if these interests motivate my critiques of Healy. If these payments are the source for my critiques, I obviously come cheap,” he told the Guardian.

    Dr Healy says that, to his anger, Professor Coyne’s criticisms of him in the BMJ were later passed to a journalist from Health Which in the UK by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, without an opportunity for him to refute them. He claims that the findings from his study have since been supported by a great deal more evidence that he has obtained through the court hearings and in company archives. He has passed much of his evidence to the Medicines Control Agency, which regulates the drugs.

    The Healy case has shown up the blurring of the boundaries between academic institutions, which are short of money, and an industry that has a bottomless wallet – certainly in an area like psychiatry, where drugs have become hugely important. There is an urgent need for more openness, but the stakes have become very high.

    ..but, the stakes ..

  20. This article published in The Guardian in July 2016 gives some background on the startling rise of antidepressant use in England:

    Antidepressant prescriptions in England double in a decade:


    The number of antidepressants given to patients in England has doubled in a decade, official figures show.

    In 2015 there were 61m such drugs prescribed and dispensed outside of hospitals. They are used to treat clinical depression as well as other conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic attacks.

    The total was 31.6m more than in 2005 and up 3.9m, or 6.8% on 2014, according to a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

    The net cost of ingredients of antidepressants, before taking account of any money reclaimed by the NHS, was nearly £285m last year. About nine in 10 of all medicines are dispensed to people eligible for free prescriptions, including older people and children…


    So it seems many of these millions of prescriptions for antidepressants are ‘free’ on the NHS? (See NHS in England: help with health costs:

    Or to put it more accurately, funded by taxpayers?

    And do GPs do most of the prescribing? What expertise do they have in this area, who provides their training?

    Also see:

    High antidepressant use could lead to UK public health disaster. New Scientist, 12 May 2016:

  21. 2017 Withdrawal Survey extended until 5pm BST Monday 28 August

    By admin on 25/08/2017 in Psychiatric drugs

    We have received an unprecedented number of responses to the 2017 Withdrawal Survey and as a result we have decided to extend the survey until 5pm BST Monday 28 August.

    You can access the survey here:

    More details on the survey are available here:

    Thank you for your support.

    Share this:

  22. Those who wish to silence and discredit D H go to such lengths it is obvious they are very anxious about his refusal to be bullied into giving up – many would when they use every trick in the book to undermine covertly as well as openly. It is abusive and meant to cause harm. Regarding the attacks about being paid by pharmaceutical companies – there is nothing sleazy about it , there needs to be dialogue between different parties and few can afford to work for nothing -unlike the underhand actions of Coyne and Co who seems to be the co-ordinator of much of the attacks.

    The National Survivor User Network , an independent organisation, takes the view that David’s message is serious enough to be included in their next newsletter. An absolutely ethical action to alert people of the seriousness of what is going on – with many thanks to them ,They describe their work and aims on web site and produce a weekly newsletter (free) on website.

  23. If we all pile in to a courtroom and tell the judge – look what happened to me, I was suicidal, homicidal, had violent attacks, my child is dead, my mother isn’t here, my dad threw a wobbly, the judge will look for the evidence.

    And along comes David Healy as a scientist, author, expert on psychotropic medication – who has written books, won court cases in the US on behalf of clients (deceased or otherwise), written hundreds of papers on the subject, been vilified by his colleagues and started up Rxisk to share the ‘anecdotal’ evidence and Rxisk Data to show the ‘actual’ evidence on hundreds of medications.

    Plus David’s Blog .. where his audience are free to give their opinions and to cite newspaper articles, and to look at all aspects of the Pharmaceutical Industry from Health and Psychiatric/General Practitioners to Government Bodies NICE/MHRA, to Media Centres, to Academic Medical Journals, to quote blogs MiA, to throw in Patient Blogs and so on ..

    It all comes back down to Data.

    If a Pharmaceutical Company can refute all criticism of its drug under question and the Powers that Be are not vocally enquiring you could say the road ahead looks bleak.

    When Study 329 came along to sucker the strength out of GSK Paroxetine and evidence of its healing qualities, it didn’t exactly rattle had a lot of exposure around the world and it sits in the portals of Rxisk as the real evidence..those who lost out to Seroxat or Paxil thought we had won the lottery..

    There are literally thousands of articles in the press.

    Do anti depressants work, yes they do, no they don’t.

    Read about so and so’s deathly experience and make your own mind up.

    Read all the statistics as to how many particularly in the US and UK are now on anti depressants – they sought help and they got it in the form of the pill.

    This shows the drugs are working, all these people wouldn’t be put on ads if they didn’t work and if they didn’t need them.

    Anti depressant prescribing is now an epidemic from gps who offer them to anyone for anything remotely connected with a problem they don’t know how to deal with.

    Psychiatrists add to the fuel of over prescribing with the drug cocktails which are now accepted as commonplace – each drug banging off the other and drugs dropped and changed willy nilly.

    No one has said STOP IT…because as David has said they can be useful for some.

    How do we differentiate between the useful for some and the useful for all as a question ..?

    and if you read very senior persons twitter accounts why is it desperately disappointing that the overall view has no urgency and is, in fact, largely flippant ..

    140 characters can be very damaging to people who are seriously looking for answers ..

    I think the commenters on DH Blog are very serious about needing answers and do so with passion

    and although comments invariably throw up more questions than least everyone has the guts to face up to the problem which is more than you can say about any P that B whose job is to protect the public ..

    Why don’t all these people realise that they are rubbing us up the wrong way and come out with something worth listening to or is it really the case that they don’t really care either way ..

    Isn’t something huge missing from our endeavours .. ?

    Give a shrink a president and he will take a mile ..

    “We must avoid temptation to medicalize bad behavior/politicize psych diagnosis. Trump must be contained by political not psychiatric tools”

    James C.Coyne‏ @CoyneoftheRealm 21m21 minutes ago

    It is a victory that we forced @richardhorton1 to have to mobilize such allies to respond to #PACEgate. Will he get Prince Charles next?

    How to win friends and influence people .. there is more polly tics in this ‘mental’ arena than in any other …don’t you think?

  24. “Tell me about some mistakes you’ve made and what you’ve learned from them”.

    This question alone is surely more valuable to the future standards of patient care and the commitment to medical lifetime learning than the ritual annual appraisal of all medical practitioners.

    In his book “Admissions” neurosurgeon Henry Marsh* addresses the importance of acknowledging, sharing and learning from our inevitable mistakes in the practice of medicine.

    “Senior doctors, just like senior politicians, can easily become corrupted by the power they hold and by the lack of people around them who will speak truth to power.
    And yet we continue to make mistakes throughout our careers, and we always learn more from failure than from success.
    Success teaches us nothing, and easily makes us complacent.
    But we will only learn from our mistakes if we admit to them – at least to ourselves, if not to our colleagues and patients. And to admit to our mistakes we must fight against the self- deception that was so necessary and important at the beginning of our careers”.

    Because at the beginning of our careers: –

    “There is nothing more frightening for a patient than a doctor, especially a young one, who is lacking in confidence.
    Furthermore patients want hope as well as treatment.
    So we quickly learn to deceive, to pretend to a greater level of competence and knowledge that we know to be the case and try to shield our patients a little from the frightening reality they often face.
    And the best way of deceiving others, is of course to deceive yourself”

    D.H. Observes (above): –

    “The confidence that comes with power leads to a blindness to mistakes.
    Strangely, it also leads to extreme nastiness when faced with any evidence of a mistake. The powerful feel very threatened by those they subjugate”.

    As I re-read the unsolicited e-mail exchange – and reflect on the faces of the eminent A.P.A. and R.C.P propagandists and masters of self, patient and prescriber deception;
    my dominant and unshakeable thought is now “Beware The Smiling Assassin”.

    It would be a breath of fresh air were they to share an e-mail dialogue of their mistakes and patient tragedies.

    *Henry Marsh. Admissions. A Life in Brain Surgery. Orion Books. ISBN 978-1-4746-0386-7.

  25. A helping hand ..

    Stop Suicide By Helping Big Pharma, Says Shady Suicide Prevention Group

    by Martha Rosenberg

    August 23, 2017

    In 2011, AFSP appointed psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff president of the organization until his troubles began. Nemeroff became the subject of a congressional inquiry and was found to have so much unreported Pharma income, the $9.3 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study depression that he managed was suspended, which happens rarely. He left Emory University in disgrace.

    A 1999 textbook written by Nemeroff and his colleague Alan Schatzberg was found, in 2010, to be written and funded by GlaxoSmithKline. Both Nemeroff and Schatzberg remain at AFSP and are termed “leaders.”

    A Tweet on the Right Side ..

    BOB FIDDAMAN  ?‏ @Fiddaman Aug 24

    @afspnational labelled “Shady Suicide Prevention Group” … Also – … via @AkathisiaRx


    Kristina Kaiser Gehrki

    Burn Baby Burn .. great comments ..

    the field’s significant figures tweeted while psychiatry burned?

  26. From the grass roots, where I’m left standing, I can’t believe there is any contest here. I’ve watched an intelligent, optimistic, jokey and delightful young man be transformed almost overnight by an SSRI called Seroxat (paroxitine) into a shaking, anxious shadow of himself, protesting that voices are telling him that he must kill himself and therefore please may he go to hospital because he’s afraid otherwise he may carry out their instructions.

    Up to that moment he was a cheery, busy, ambitious and very popular guy. Suddenly, like putting on an invisibility cloak of Harry Potter’s, he was magicked into someone else. The ‘old him’ was never back again. In years to come, he somehow forced himself to remain focused and busy because he felt he must keep going, to remain financially in control of his life. But those glorious joyful ridiculously funny and empathically caring parts of him, never resurfaced. When we visited him in his flat, I dreaded the haunted look in his eyes when they met mine, before he had chance to switch on the ‘don’t worry about me, I’m fine’ smile which was meant to reassure us. This young guy’s life was compromised by isotretinoin and finally ruined by SSRIs and also eventually with anti psychotics added to the mix.

    How CAN James Coyne et al possibly question the fact that SSRIs do make people suicidal?

    My son cannot be unique. He wasn’t a child, he was 21 and a half. He’d only taken the wretched SSRI because RoAccutane-isotretinoin for acne had lowered his mood. But at that point he wasn’t suicidal, he was withdrawn and moody but still reasonable. After Seroxat he was gone, into someone who was obsessed with wanting to die. We couldn’t get through to him. We were dumbfounded and eventually terrified.

    Having lost him, after 11 years of hoping and struggling and begging for understanding and help, we try to remember the happy times. Well meaning friends tell us we should. Some did know him from years ago, when he was still ‘himself’. But our whole life was on hold as we walked in fear of the inevitable all those 11 last years. So the good memories seem out of reach. Only one person has ever, by his writings, made things clear for us, and that is Dr David Healy. We know what we witnessed, but the medical world in the main, seems to be lost in a cloud cuckoo land of stupidity, or worse. I just can’t get my head round it. Why in heaven’s name can’t they see the obvious and act on it? 61 million prescriptions for SSRIs in 2015. How many of the recipients of those are now transformed into shadows of their former selves, with their potential sacrificed? And hardly anyone is listening, in fact, just the opposite. The world is sliding into madness. I despair.

    • Heather, as I have said many times before, your descriptions of Olly’s suffering, the changes in him and your suffering take me right back to Shane’s dark days every time. Of course, the end of your story is different – you have lost Olly whereas we still have Shane. Very much a changed Shane but a slowly recovering one. Each step that he now takes builds up his self-confidence ever so slowly. Time alone will tell whether his recovery will ever be complete – but it has to be said that he is giving it his very best shot. I feel that doubts sometimes enter his mind because of the criticisms geared against the horrors of SSRIs and other drugs – from some professionals as well as from lucky users. By ‘doubts’ I mean the intense fear that some part of him was the cause of his problems; after all, he was told that for well over ten years and it’s probably still a deep fear that he may hold, despite his copy of his assessment by David 15 years ago which shows the evil ways of Seroxat. However, slowly but surely he can see that, with time and a reduction plan to follow, progress is being made. I have no doubt whatsoever that, without David’s present support, things would have been very different. Gone are the days when the psychiatrist would be in utter panic because Shane was again so troubled by the ‘voices’ that he needed to become an in-patient – why he didn’t share those concerns with colleagues and request advice I’ll never understand. I know for a fact that David offered his support at that point – but, it seemed, to no avail. According to Shane’s care co-ordinator, the ‘panic’ was because the psychiatrist was scared of Shane giving-in to the voices and a lack of having seen a similar case in the past. Surely a time to share concerns with others then I would have thought, especially as he’d had me ranting on about Seroxat having been the cause of the whole problem and that adding replacement drugs were increasing, rather than lessening, the symptoms, for so long!
      It is quite obvious that pharma companies, for all their show of increased warnings etc., are not going to see people as anything other than profit fodder. It is also obvious that their ‘hangers on’ are not going to change their tune any time soon either for the same reason. It is a shame that the public, generally, are so dismissive of the possibility of harm. They are blinded, not by science, but by the ‘I’m alright Jack’ approach that we seem to have all around us these days.
      It is not only in psychiatry that patients count for very little it seems. I was speaking to Shane’s neighbour yesterday. She had a knee replacement about 18 months ago and has had problems ever since. She still walks with a stick and nothing can be done to straighten that operated on leg – so she’s just been told. She asked for a second opinion – and was told there’s no point as ‘whatever one tells you, the rest will stick to – no-one will rock the boat’. Three (only) were operated on the day that this lady had hers done – ALL are having major problems. She has queried this, only to be told – yes, you’ve guessed it – ‘ no problem with the replacement nor the way it was done – it’s the way your body’s accepting it’! Thank goodness that we are at least backing one who will rock as many boats as necessary in the fight to make this world slightly less mad than it is at present.

  27. I still think, however gruelling, it is worth campaigning in all ways possible to alert the public. It is not going to be possible to tell how many people will read such as Annie’s booklets and decide to be very wary about what they are prescribed, some at least will say no and pass the message on. No stats will be given to the public as to how many are rejecting SSR’s now, especially maybe as prescribed by GPs who prescribe the most without any specialist diagnosis, how much it may have gone up following DH’s message on TV prog about James Holmes,Most will not take any further action than rejecting them,, there will be no ‘stats’ to prove how many , have decided to reject SSRs The immoral actions and even incredible nasty ridiculing which show the level those in power are capable of ,may come back to haunt them one day – too late for some but campaigns by those who will not shut up have already made a difference.

  28. Unless Annie has got some booklets too of which I am unaware, , I think it’s our booklets you are referring to Susanne, and yes, I totally agree about keeping on keeping on. My dilemma though is this:
    Our booklets feature the danger of RoAccutane-isotretinoin; but life is not that simple. We know that the acne drug kicked off the melancholy for our son, but then when the SSRI was added, he became suicidal. How could we ever prove which one killed him? Coupled to which, he had a few practical worries on and off through his 11 years post medications, so Big Pharma would say ‘ah, but how can we know everything that might have been stressing him?’

    This latter is a new tactic ROCHE in particular are resorting to. I was interviewed by BBC online a while ago and this was the tack the reporter was guiding me into. ‘How can you know what ALL your son’s worries were?’ Well, after he died, we found out about some stress a couple of irritating people were loading onto him, but had his mind been working right, he would doubtless have dealt with them easily. But he was in the grips of akathisia and these two people took advantage of his insecurity. And then his aggressively non-listening psychiatrist drove him over the edge, when instead our son feeling he could turn to a trusted and wise professional, he could see, as the rest of us could, that this man had no real understanding of the situation and wasn’t interested in spending any time helping to look at any history.

    We once took an antique valuable dolls’ house to a Book Fair in Italy. On arrival there, the night before the Fair, it was stolen from our car. Before leaving UK we had put in place travel insurance with the AA. But we also had always had this antique insured under Home Insurance with another company too. When it was stolen, neither the AA nor the other company would pay out on insurance as each said our cover was invalid because it was insured under another company’s policy. What worries me is that ROCHE can pass the buck to GSK, between RoAccutane and Seroxat, and then whoever makes any other drugs like Sertraline (Lustral) and Olanzapine, can also duck out, saying ‘it wasn’t on my watch guv’.’) so in the end, do we put them ALL in one booklet, or do we settle for the first one and just allude to the possibility of synergistic psychosis for the others? And where does the negligent psychiatrist feature in ’cause of death’? Although he told our son he was not depressed and therefore Venlafaxine was unnecessary, so he suggested he stop it at once (cold turkey), also disregarding the fact he had previously been on Escilatopram for a year or two, and Zopliclone for sleep, and Diazepam for anything in between. He just told him he might as well stop it all at once, whilst shouting at him at the same time. Our son followed the instructions of the ‘wise one’. When his akathisia and unbearable pain from his brain swelling in his skull drove him to suicide, the GMC’s comment was that our son had freedom of choice and it was HIS decision to stop the drug. So, the psychiatrist, despite having been up before them for another suicide where he had not taken adequate care, was exonerated, and didn’t even have to appear and present his case.

    It seems to me that the poor old patient really loses all round. It’s like, ‘how long is a piece of string.’ No responsibility taken anywhere, so no need for anyone but the patient and family to worry. All fades away with time. Who cares? It’s like the Buddhists say, ‘Everything passes.’

    • Heather apologies re the slip up – I did mean your booklets. I remember years ago there somebody who kept a record of psychiatrists/GPs and others , by name, who had proved be helpful – but equally those who had not, by name. That was the early days of The Hearing Voices Network when it was controlled by those who had experienced voices and who had been treated horrendously harmfully by ‘the system’ .It was a personal project and so again a limited number of people knew of it in pre internet days – but again it helped more than a few to know who to avoid and why. There was no question of slander or other legal issues as the information shared was of individuals’ personal experience both good and negative. There is no way as it is of knowing who would be likely to be helpful in a specific situation. For example Joanna Montcrieff of Critical Psychiatry Network suggested practitioners are not allowed to see people out of area when she was asked for names of practitioners in the network who might see her son – but also advised the person in severe distress, who had done the rounds as always, to ask users and carers in the local area. When this is the sort defensive fobbing off, by giving useless advice ,is all she could get from a ‘critical psychiatrist’ it is obvious that there is still a need to develop something independently. To be fair LM of UCL does have a good reputation amongst user/survivors and does speak out against over prescribing of drugs etc. It’s just a thought at the moment but so many blogs describe practitioners who have caused avoidable harm through arrogance and ignorance rather than well meaning error – which probably everybody will make during a career -and have had it covered up. People should be able to make a decision as to whether to trust those they are referred to are likely to help, including GPs. There is a massive deficit of information available to the public as it is.

      • Susanne – I think your idea about a list of ratings and user opinions on professionals in the field could be very helpful. One can rate the services of a plumber or electrician, so why not a doctor? There is a UK site I believe called ‘Rate that Doctor’ and you can give them stars and state what their service was like. The trouble is, if it were about a plumber’s failure to mend a burst pipe, there’s no argument about whether the pipe was leaking, and someone else can inspect and test the deficient repair afterwards and verify or deny that your account is true. With ‘mental issues’ it is more fuzzy. And if you don’t have recordings on tape of bad treatment, how can you prove it? And even if you do, we can’t use ours, I think, in a court of law, because the person being recorded wasn’t asked first, when we made a secret recording.

        I would love to name the psychiatrists who were helpful and those who were not, in our son’s experience. After our son’s death, when we were trying to raise awareness of the treatment he’d received, we even had other patients coming to us with written accounts of what similar dreadful things the worst psychiartrist had done to them too, freely offered, but then they got scared as they were still ‘in the system’ so had something to lose by whistleblowing, so one couple took their account back and even said if we ever used it, they would tell the psychiatrist that we’d forced them to give it!

        There is a lot of fear in this area of health. Carers need the support of professionals because when a loved one is acting strangely, one becomes terrified and feels lost. You feel, understandably, that you can’t manage it on your own because communication is not normal now, the person seems unreachable in discussion sometimes. So one can understand the confusion and the ‘sitting on the fence – hedging one’s bets’, attitude. For us it was no problem, we had nothing to lose, we had lost who we held so dear. They were still alive and needed the professional, however dreadfully he behaved. Perhaps they felt he was better than nothing and like us they knew he could be vindictive if riled. We had all been warned of this by other NHS staff who were afraid of him too, but they were also afraid they’d lose their jobs if they spoke openly about his behaviour.

        So, fear usually restricts how much knowledge can be shared. And don’t forget, doctor will stand with doctor usually, whatever happens. Think of the way the GMC operates. Unless the doctor is really wonderfully honest and fearless, like DH. But plumber will not stand with plumber over a rotten piece of workmanship, because they have personal standards of excellence and want clients to recommend them so they get further work themselves. Which is where we came in, Susanne, about making a list. I wish we could do it, but I don’t know what modus operandi we could employ which would not be open to abuse.

    • When I said ‘post medication’ here, I meant ‘post the first time Olly took any medication’, starting with the first course of RoAccutane, of which he had several courses over the ensuing 11 years. He also had Seroxat for the ‘low mood’ from the acne drug, then as he appeared suicidal,m Risperidone (which caused a slight seizure and what we now know was akathisia. This akathisia went on for about 2 years till he tailed off the medications but more courses of RoAccutane were started when his acne came back worse than ever. By now he ached so much that digging in the garden, riding his mountain bike, playing tennis, was painful and he couldn’t do these things for long. His anxiety was always there, his memory also was badly restricted, his previously wonderful powers of concentration were gone and he had to read everything several times to absorb it. He made copious lists to aid his memory, striking things through with orange highlighter pens when tasks were completed. His whole life became a struggle to get through each day, rather than the normal existence he’d experienced before taking the acne medication. The anti depressants used to cause acne themselves, so he went round in a carousel of one drug triggering the need for the other, and always on a slow downward spiral with hope fading away. He used to say it never got better, and that ‘he’d been here before’ each time the symptoms recurred. The suicidal OCD feelings which first came at the beginning, were always lurking in the back of his mind.

      I lose count of all the ways he tried to counter all these symptoms reading self help books, listening to tapes, CDs, as well as the social anxiety organisations he joined online and via Samaritans. When one considers all the time he had to allocate to all this, instead of just using his free moments to chill out and have fun, one wonders how he ever managed to build a highly successful IT and nature photography business and have his work published worldwide. But his hope and creativity kept him alive. Until he had several stresses all at one in 2012 and was given escilatopram around the time of needing more RoAccutane. This gave him unrecognised akathisia and overwhelming suicidal OCD. Venlafaxine was added, and Diazepam, with Zopiclone as he couldn’t sleep. Still trying to run his business, people around him took advantage of his vulnerability at this time. His new psychiatrist (Home Treatment) undid what others previously had prescribed, and stopped it all ‘cold turkey’. He told him his difficulties were all of his own making. Shortly after that he made a serious but unsuccessful suicide attempt, all his hope for help now having gone. Olanzapine and Sertraline on high dose were then added, by this and another outpatient psychiatrist (whose spoken English was almost incomprehensible) and with bursting head pain, our son’s life drew to a close within a month. The head pain was so extreme, probably pseudo tumour swelling his brain from the next lot of RoAccutane which was needed because the Olanzapine made the acne far worse again. It was an impossible merry-go-round of misery for one very reasonable, hard working, much loved guy to cope with. I write this at 3.00am, unable to sleep myself until I have tried to put things right yet again for him, to honour his bravery and to warn s happening to youtt explaining to others, especially Big Pharma, what hell can be inflicted on certain unsuspecting patients and their families. If you can possibly avoid it, never jump onto this carousel because getting off, if no one medically qualified admits the truth of what’s happening to you, is well neigh impossible.

      • Heather, you may rest assured that none of us reading the comments here will EVER doubt Olly’s bravery – that is because we’ve all either witnessed or suffered the consequences of similar bad outcomes. For your own sake, I feel it’s important for you to know and be able to accept that, whilst all our sympathy is with you, we also feel as frustrated as you do over this whole issue and feel it’s like banging our heads against a brick wall – but we have a duty of care to SELF too. I can fully appreciate that every breath you have left in you will be used to warn others and to keep Olly’s suffering in people’s minds – but you do deserve a little ‘me time too’. You wrote at 3am, I noticed, a time when most of us were fast asleep and replenishing our energies. I, too, know how it is when the world seems so wrong, uncaring and unlistening, and your thoughts are racing for more ideas of what you can possibly do to take the warnings further. Frustration after frustration fills both your day and your night – but very few outside your immediate family circle seem to ‘get it’ or even care. In fact, many will say ‘why bother? – get a life, you can’t change the world’. Easy for them to suggest but impossible for us to do.
        The change, away from all the frustration, for me came with the change of psychiatric care for Shane. I can honestly say that I’ve not lost one night’s sleep since that, day two years ago, when David offered a clinic appointment for Shane. It is not that things have been easy since then – they certainly have not – it is simply that, at last, someone listens and BELIEVES every word that’s spoken about how things are. Shane’s journey to better health has become the focal point in the discussions – whereas, before, his continued lack of progress seemed to create a ‘nuisance element’ for the psychiatrists involved.
        Heather – be kind to yourself (as difficult as that may seem) and we’ll move forward by trusting the one who provides us with this opportunity to take the weight off our shoulders occasionally.

        • Mary, this is well put and I accept absolutely what you are saying.

          I must appear obsessive and at times very repetitive writing about what happened to our son Olly. I write mainly to show others who are regularly tempted to use RoAccutanr-isotretinoin, what can happen to you. It doesn’t just kill you quickly (well, for a few it can) but it slowly erodes all the joy and feeling you had in life and can over literally years, render you a physical and mental wreck. If our son had to die I’d far rather he’d been his old chirpy self and then quickly been blown up by a terrorist’s bomb. The suffering we watched, for so many years, was out of this world. There is not even the merciful fogginess of dementia, which I assume would cause forgetfulness and at least a little cushioning against the mental pain. Cancer is appalling I know, our other son suffered that, but he did have sympathy and understanding from those around him who knew of his condition and lots of loving support from all of us, family and friends.

          The RoAccutane-isotretinoin sufferer doesn’t get any sympathy or understanding because medics and the world seem mostly to feel that the acne drug is some kind of miracle and that any side effects are worth it whilst the magic works because they will go when the drug course ends and the acne is gone. And when SSRIs are offered for the ‘low mood’ side effect, they don’t understand the synergistic psychosis they can cause either. So in the end, the patient is cast aside as not fitting any mental health diagnosis except ‘attention-seeking’ but their mind and body fall apart and they give up.

          There are literally thousands of youngsters out there right now, just like Olly, and they are ashamed to admit how they feel because no one believes them anyway, so what’s the point. Some may even eventually come through and get better, but so many don’t, and they have nowhere to turn. We run a Helpline and we know.

          Mary, I try to be kind to myself and I thank you for your kind and wise words. On the Olly’s Friendship Foundation facebook page I wrote yesterday about the film making he and I used to love to do together, and which I am trying to carry on, to complete projects we started together. That sort of activity helps me. Keeping busy helps me. To my shame, writing too much here helps me. But what haunts me in the middle of the night is that I didn’t fight hard enough for Olly, I didn’t fully understand the cause of his suffering, I sometimes lost patience with him because I wanted a bit of a break from worry. I even at one point wondered if the loathsome social worker Care Co-ordinator was right when he said we should just walk away and leave him alone to sort himself out because he was attention seeking when he told them he felt suicidal. We didn’t for long, luckily, but he did sort himself out, in a drastic way even so.

          I’m so glad this hasn’t happened to Shane, and that you and he are getting through, with excellent support now. I want that kind of support to be there for everyone badly affected by medication side effects. Sadly, we can’t clone David Healy :). I just don’t know how we can set it up. We keep trying to get our Centre up and running but encounter extraordinary and inexplicable hassle from certain authoritative bodies. I guess we will find a way through in the end but the power and the tentacles of Big Pharma do seem to reach into the most unlikely places and hinder progress.

          So, onward and upward….

          • Heather, I wasn’t for one moment suggesting any changes to what you write – it was simply the thought of you awake at 3am and writing that pulled at my heartstrings! I think you’re absolutely right about Big Pharma reaching every possible corner – Johanna’s new post on David’s blog seems to throw further light on the bubbling pot of disaster as far as I can see.
            ‘The cloning of Dr. David’ sounds an interesting topic Heather! The truth is that the cloning is unnecessary – all we need is doctors with humility. David doesn’t wave a magic wand above his patients – not to my knowledge anyway! – he quite simply LISTENS and SUGGESTS. He is both frank and totally HONEST with the patient – and if he doesn’t know how things are going to turn out, he says so. If he finds his thoughts (on dose reduction for example) were wrong, he says so. If I talk too much – he shuts me up! His patient becomes the captain of the ship – David hopes to steer things, within the scope of his extensive knowledge of the facts of the matter and increasing understanding of the patient. Family members are in this to prevent a catastrophe and to give insight from the shore, as it were. What is there, in that description of how David works, that other psychiatrists couldn’t also do? Of course each is allowed their own approach to matters but why is it that so many of us have such sad stories of our treatment by other psychiatrists? It worried me 15 years ago that the local psychiatrist said nothing about David’s work on Seroxat until it was too late. It concerns me far more that, up to 2 years ago, the local psychiatrists were still going their own unsuccessful ways – and probably still are. I cannot see how they have any measure of job satisfaction whatsoever – maybe that is part of their problem, that they are in this role for all the wrong reasons?

      • Heather,

        Don’t antipsychotics induce a form of severe and extensive pseudo-acne which I understand does not respond to standard treatments like erythromycin?

        Our own dear lost soul, last poisoned with risperidone and valproate
        (after a catalogue of false and contrived psychiatric diagnoses, accompanied by the endless carousel of enforced, highly toxic psychotropic drugs) -developed devastating skin toxicity which is indistinguishable from the most severe forms of acne.

        Whilst unmonitored for massive female gynaecomastia, eventually, in response to my desperate concern for serious adverse drug reactions, the GP found predictably elevated prolactin levels.

        What do these drugs to to other physiological systems?

        Endocrine toxicity may also be multifocal, as with brain/neurotoxicity.
        We believe that thyroid disease may also be antipsychotic induced?

        Do any psychiatric drug prescribers and enforcers ever ask themselves any basic anticipatory drug toxicity questions?

        For example, why not ask of themselves: –

        I know risperidone causes hyper-prolactinaemia, and hence mammary hyperplasia.

        Basic fourth year medical school pathology taught me how malignant tumours begin as hyperplasia (accelerated cell division) – so hadn’t I better ask if this young woman has a direct maternal family history of pre-menopausal breast cancer before I prescribe?

        Perhaps I could be increasing an already heightened risk of breast malignancy at an early age.

        Is this really “bipolar disorder” or was the original “psychosis” a misdiagnosed serotonin toxicity from totally unnecessary prescriptions for SSRIs in a person who had never ever been depressed?

        Perhaps I should review a time line of all her “meds” and assess what happened to her personality and behaviour during immediate withdrawal and new drug introductions?

        It appears that they do not ask themselves such questions.

        Why are those psychiatrists who’s cruelty, arrogance, dogma and refusal to listen to patients or their loved ones so ignorant, and in such absolute denial when it comes to the vast toxicities of the drugs which they hold in such dangerous and inappropriate therapeutic regard?

        Why are they prepared to incarcerate and compel the ingestion of these drugs with such vague and questionable “diagnoses”?

        I am at a loss to understand or to conceptualise an answer to these questions.

        I am a doctor.

        It is beyond my belief and my comprehension, but such actions have made me ashamed of my own profession.

  29. The Decline of use of Paroxetine in England

    In 2001 new patients in England peaked at 339K, 682K patients were treated overall in that year, 207 suicides were induced, one of these was that of my wife, Rhona after just 11 days on Seroxat.

    The successful Tobin v GSK (USA June 2001) trial had no noticeable effect in the UK, in fact, usage increased to maximum by Q4 2001. The MCA failed once again to react to specific documented warnings from Dr David Healy (Social Audit website) on his return. The Agency ignored the significance of the Tobin trial verdict even though it had explicitly found against the fundamental safety of Seroxat. In particular the MCA failed to demand full access to the undisclosed Healthy Volunteer results (1988) kept secret by GSK, the key evidence in the Tobin verdict.

    Reason (d) is compatible with (e). By not fighting the competition commercially, GSK have ensured that the generic company appears to be the major supplier of paroxetine within less than 6 months, obtaining 95% of the 20 mg supply, and therefore 76% of the whole paroxetine supply in UK. It is possible that having a generic fall guy to share the predicted adverse publicity and the foreseeable litigation is a deliberate company strategy.

    Graham Aldred
    17 May 2004

  30. Although there is such a mass of information and many opinions in a complex subject, which is the way the human brain functions, there are also a huge divergence of interests and/or motives. This creates great difficulties in trying to ascertain the facts and the truth.

    However, since credible grounds seem to exist, the fact that genuine questions have been made is surely a cogent reason to re-examine in depth, by a qualified body, to determine the logical and scientific steps to be taken. Even if much work is to be nullified it is incumbent on all involved to do what is best for all patients. It requires proper care and a protocol that will ensure that any dubious or corrupt findings are consigned to the rubbish bin and that in future people are not forced to pursue and propagate harmful and costly enterprises.

    Integrity must not be compromised for short term or costly gains. The reputation of many gifted people must not be compromised. The is an old saying. More haste, less speed. Please try and get this important study on track and, hopefully, satisfactorily resolved.

  31. Dear Dr Healey,

    I was directed to your website after meeting Karen Bradshaw at Daniel Fisher’s eCPR workshop in Wales this week. I am particularly interested in your observation that ‘SSRIs trigger alcoholism in a significant number of people, especially women’ as that was my experience. Please could you provide the evidence for this observation as I am about to start writing a book about my experiences in the mental health system/industry and how I survived. With much gratitude in anticipation of your response.

    Kind regards

    Michelle Muller

    8 October 2017

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