For the full article and list of drugs by Dr. David Healy please click on the link: Left Hanging
Red stands for the drugs that I’ve done on or currently use. It was while I was on Prozac and Zyprexa that I experience suicidal and homicidal ideations and eventually attempted suicide.
We need to be aware of what we put into a our body. I’m not looking to scare anyone, I’m looking to educate people that there are sometimes horrible consequences to putting chemicals into our body.
Drugs that can Trigger & Cause Suicide or Homicide
|Paroxetine||Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat, Aropax|
“After 8 weeks of treatment, the researchers found that patients who were not getting any better were ones who had significantly higher levels of three inflammation markers before treatment started.
This suggests these three signals could be used to find patients who are least likely to respond to antidepressants, allowing doctors to consider a more tailored or “personalized” approach to treatment from the start, the researchers said.”
On of my campers is on psychiatric medication, an anti-depressant and anti-psychotic. One of my co-counsellors immediately became nervous about what this child would be like. I pushed aside my anger at the assumption this camper would be different to the extent nervousness was warranted and reassured her that I had been on this medication/similar medication and that things would be fine.
The first day of camp this particular camper was not at camp and another co-counsellor expressed nervous about what the camper would be like. Again I said not to worry.
My co-counsellors’ response was typical of those who do not have any information on psychiatric medication aside from what is in the media (which we all know is bullshit).
When I first heard of the nervousness in some of my co-counsellors all I could think about was how I’m concerned about what the medication is doing to her than what she would do (if anything, which she hasn’t because she’s fine)!
There was a fear of what a child, who needed medication, could be like. It reminded me of what I heard about me and what I thought of myself when I first began medication, “I must be so crazy that I need medication!”
Still on the same topic of medication, I was having a conversation with one of the concerned counsellors during our lunch break a few days ago. She shared with me a story of someone she knew whose young children were murdered by their Mother who was experiencing depression (most likely postpartum). I expressed how horrible that was and that I couldn’t imagine the pain the Father was going through. She response was, again stereotypical, that she must have gone off her medication and killed her children. I suppressed my desire to go into a rage and instead told her about how I had been on psychiatric medication and that sometimes it’s the medication that can cause violence.
It seems to me that the mental health profession has placed great emphasis on medication as being the ultimate treatment but has not effectively educated ANYONE on what psychiatric medication is really all about! This is of course because the drug companies do not want anyone to know that, for example, homicidal thoughts and actions are a potential side effect of some of their products (I experienced this myself). So we have a whole society believing in medication but knowing nothing about it.
Not everyone who goes on medication is going to commit a horrible act hence the reason the medication. Not everyone who decides to discontinue medication will commit a horrible act. Not everyone who chooses not to take medication is going to commit a horrible act. Those are the facts!
Medication is also not the end all of problems! As all of us know we still need to work on our issues. The medication is supposed to help make solving our issues easier but it doesn’t erase them!
These medication stereotypes have got to go!
Lately, I have been thinking about my experience with anti-psychotics.
Most people don’t know that I’ve been on an anti psychotics but I was put on Zyprexa (Olanzapine) about 3 or 4 months after being diagnosed with dysthymic disorder (combined with Prozac, antidepressant). My psychiatrist told me that the drug was to help me sleep but was not a sleeping pill. I still do not understand fully what he meant by that. It’s possible that he meant it is not marketed as a sleeping pill but it will make me sleep. Can you do that? In psychiatry you can because Zpyrexa is also only FDA approved for use in schizophrenia and bipolar…not dysthymia.
When I research “Zyprexa” and “anti-psychotics” I find words like:
I can’t relate to any of these words! So why put me on it?
My research for this post led me to a list of off label uses for anti psychotics:
Treatment resistant depression
Autism spectrum disorders
Pervasive developmental disorder
Again, none of which I can relate to!
Maybe my psychiatrist believed I had “treatment resistant depression” but never told my parents or I? He didn’t tell us a few crucial details.
Anti psychotics have been deployed as antidepressants, anti anxiety, mood stabilizers, cognitive enhancers, anti-aggressive, anti -impulsive, anti-suicidal, and hypnotic (sleep) medications.
And there is my answer. These drugs are being used for sleep.
I was on a low dose of Zyprexa, 2.5mg. I would take 1 half and hour before I wanted to go to bed. As the half hour mark approached I would become very sleepy and would fall into what I can only describe as a coma-like “sleep”. I slept through the whole night and would wake for school the next morning very refreshed. I can admit that I had the best sleeps of my life on Zyprexa but the odds of me being able to wake up if there was fire in the house were pretty slim.
It was Zyprexa’s “hypnotic” quality that made my overdose look worse than it actually was. I did want to die when I overdosed on Zyprexa but it was nowhere near a lethal dose but because this drug knocked me out it made me unresponsive for longer because of the amount I took. I went in and out of sleep the whole day, maybe a bit longer, I don’t know and I don’t want to ask my parents (I’ll have to check my journal later). The strangest sensation was when I was in the doctor’s office and I could hear my Dad talking with the doctor but I couldn’t respond to their questions. I could answer in my head but not with my voice. I did manage a “no” when the doctor asked me if I wanted to stay at the hospital for the night. I probably looked so stupid…
Zyprexa Fact Sheet
- Generic name is Olanzapine
- Can be taken orally or by injection
- Used for treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
- Can be used in conjunction with fluxoetine (Prozac) to treat major depression
- Mechanism: D2 and 5HT 2 receptor antagonist
- Some side effects: Drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain, diabetes, akathesia, and adverse effects on fetus in pregnancy
- BLACK BOX WARNING: All atypicals may increase mortality in elderly patients by 1.7 times greater than placebo
It is strange how I can talk about suicide. I can talk about the mean things people have said to me. I can talk about how I’ve overcome all my crap but I still feel afraid to talk about certain parts of my life.
There are 2 influential parts of my life that I have not spoken about in this blog and never speak about due to the stigma surrounding those incidents.
What I do want to blog about is an issue that has shaped my whole opinion on mental health that I do talk about (and slowly have….http://prideinmadness.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/antidepressant-suicide-ironic/) is the harmful, sometimes deadly, adverse affects of psychiatric medication.
I am still afraid to voice this view because too many see it as “an opinion” when it is really a fact. It is a fact that no one takes seriously until they experience it. It is a fact that is documented by pharmaceutical companies but they hide it and doctors hide it or worse, don’t know about it.
I am looked down on for saying, “psychiatric medication caused me to attempt suicide”, people think I’m clinically paranoid, a scientologist, or a conspiracy theorist. This means that the drug companies (Eli Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline etc) have won in keeping the population in its place.
THIS IS REAL!!!!
I feel the biggest part of the problem is not really ignorance to the data. I can go to any drug fact sheet and find suicidality and homicidal tendencies (save that for another blog) as possible side effects. I have heard doctors admit it (just not mine). The ignorance is in the prevalence of these possibly deadly and damaging side effects.
In Fall 2011 I attend CTV’s Canada AM Town Hall on Suicide and it was an extremely depressing experience. I was terrified to be there alone but I knew I had to be there (I feel scared just thinking about it). A woman did what I could not do, then, and asked the doctor on the panel about the suicidality of antidepressants. She was shot down. The doctor said “a small but real number” of young people and I guess I can give him credit for that but he still put more focus on how people are committing suicide BECAUSE they are not on medication.
I AM TIRED OF BEING PUSHED TO THE SIDE!
Michael and I watched an old radio show clip from back in the day when people were just starting to hear that cigarettes caused lung cancer. The host said that even though a few scientists are saying that the majority of cigarette smokers a not getting cancer (we know better now) we still need to worry about the MINORITY that are getting cancer! This belief seems to translate into many area of life, that the minority needs help, but in mental health this is not so. We are still rest assured that more people than not are having positive experiences with psych medication but this leaves people such as myself shoved aside and desperately trying to find a safe treatment in a system that doesn’t have enough options.
On February 8th I am attending Canada AM’s town hall on child and youth mental health. I am guaranteed to be able to ask a question to the panel of “experts” a question.
Here it is…….
“Hello, my name is Kristen and when I was 16 years old I was diagnosed with chronic depression which I have since recovered from. I was put on Prozac and Zyprexa and while on these two drugs experienced the adverse side effect of suicidality after only a few months. I survived my attempt but now I was faced with even less treatment options because I swore I would never go back on something that had almost killed me. I am tired of my experience being labeled as “small” and a “minority” and I want something to be done about this deadly side effect. My question is, with the knowledge of suicidality as a side effect of antidepressants and antipsychotics, especially in children, youth and young adults, what is being done to make these drugs safer for young people?”
The following I have developed based off of my own personal experience, the documentary Generation Rx (2008), “Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker (a serious wealth of knowledge), and stories from PsychOUT 2011 conference.
As a personal choice I will never take psychiatric medication again. To those who do take psychiatric medication I only ask that to keep yourself informed on the medication side effects and stay alert to your body so you know when something is going wrong and not working. It is your right as a patient to deny a medication or switch medications if you do not feel they are working for you.
When I was 16 years old I was put on Prozac (May 2005). I thought that this was going to solve everything! I got my miracle drug, my happy pill, psychiatry’s magic bullet!
I felt fake. I felt like shit. “Give your body time to get used to it. It takes a month.” I waited. After a month I wrote in to http://www.teencentral.com (good site) and told them about how my medication wasn’t working. I was still sad, I was still cutting. I wanted to die. They told me not to resist my medication. Should I be able to resist medication? I can resist cough medicine…once I take it then my nose stops running. You’re telling me that I have the power to will away the supposed positive effects of Prozac? Seems backwards to me now.
My Aunt had a book called Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel (amazing book) and she wouldn’t let me read it. This made me laugh since I was diagnosed with a type of depression and on Prozac. I was looking up the book online one day and also came across research that said Prozac was found to increase suicidal thoughts and suicidality. They actually used the word violent in the article I read. I was thrown into a panic! I was supposed to be on this drug to get better! I didn’t want to die! That’s why I was on medication!
I went back to my psychiatrist and told him my medication wasn’t working. He increased my dose.
And so it went on like this. I say it’s not working and he increases my dose. I got up to 30 or 40 mg within a few months. One time he increased my dose because I told him my boyfriend had broken up with me. “Everyone needs a little extra help sometimes” he told me. He eventually added the anti-psychotic Zyprexa. It was supposed to help me sleep.
While on Zyprexa (only 2.5mg) I finally understood why they gave it to people with schizophrenia. I had read that those with schizophrenia would sometimes stop taking their medication because it was impossible to function on it due to overwhelming fatigue and living in a zombie like state. Zyprexa was worse for me. After 30 minutes of taking Zyprexa, at night, I was forced to fall asleep. My brain would shut itself off and there was nothing I could do about it until the medication wore off.
This all happened quickly! Late May I was on Prozac, doses increasing each time I saw my psychiatrist and by August I was on Zyprexa and Prozac.
Finally I decided in November 2005 that I had, had enough. I tried to commit suicide by overdosing on Zyprexa.
Even after this attempt I remained on antidepressants for about another year, deciding to end my use of psychiatric medication in late 2007. I never tried to attempt suicide before or after my use of psychiatric medication.
I experienced what should be known as Akathisia (ack-a-thiz-e-a…if that helps). I say should because people commonly, if not only, associate with restless leg syndrome. Antidepressants and anti-psychotics are known to cause akathisia which is an “inner restlessness” which causes someone to feel the need to move. This “inner restlessness” is believed to be the mechanism for inducing suicidality. An inner restlessness so strong that it makes you want to die.
On a side note: I began experiencing restless leg syndrome almost immediately after beginning Prozac. My legs because very agitated and I would tighten my muscles are shake my leg to try to make the feeling go away. I still experience this, even after stopping medication. It mostly happens later at night while I’m sitting. I take it as a sign that I’m tired and going to sleep helps but I wonder if this is a sign of neurological damage caused by the psychiatric medication I took as a teen.
I am usually deeply criticized for saying that my suicide attempt was based in medication but I am not alone in this experience.
There is research out there that proves a link between antidepressants and suicidality.
- Suicide Attempts Among Patients Starting Depression Treatment With Medications or Psychotherapy by Gregory E. Simon and James Savarino (2007), published in The American Journal of Psychiatry ( http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?Volume=164&page=1029&journalID=13)
- Efficacy and safety of antidepressants for children and adolescents (2008) (http://robertwhitaker.org/robertwhitaker.org/Children_files/Efficacy%20and%20safety%20of%20antidepressants%20for%20children%20and%20adolescents.PDF)
- Antidepressants in bipolar disorder: a case for caution (2003) (http://robertwhitaker.org/robertwhitaker.org/Bipolar%20Illness_files/Antidepressants%20in%20bipolar%20disorder.PDF)
It gets all wrapped up for you in a shameful present. SURPRISE! My psychiatrist never told me that Prozac or Zyprexa could cause suicidal thoughts or actions so I began to think that it was my fault. That I was so sick and medication couldn’t help me. It wasn’t until later, finding out on my own, that akathisia does occur in people taking psychiatric medications but because the suicide risk is already high for people with psychiatric disorders any attempts and completions are attributed to the disorder and not the medication
I’m not asking that people stop taking their medication. If you have found the medication that helps you and you are happy then I am happy for you!
I am asking that we question our doctors on the effects these drugs may have on our bodies and minds. I ask that you pay attention to what your body is telling you. I ask that you do not feel shamed if a medication does not work. I ask that you do not deny that others have horrible experiences with a drug that has helped you. I ask that we do not keep quiet about the negatives of antidepressants. I also ask that this does not be chalked up to “anti-psychiatry bullshit” because it’s not.
On Feb 8 I will be attending CTV’s town hall on children and youth mental health. I will be sharing my story briefly in order to ask the question “What is being done to make psychiatric medication safer for young people.”
I almost died. I need an answer.
I leave you with the trailer to Generation Rx. Everyone needs to watch this documentary! It opened my eyes and I hope it opens yours!