Must read on antipsychotics

Why aren’t neuroleptics being challenged when they are actually much more dangerous than antidepressants that have been recently (finally) bashed in the UK, asks Adam James of the Guardian.

The whole article is absolutely relevant but for me who has been on twice the recommended highest dose of a neuroleptic for over 10 years—the below made my heart sink. I’m almost off that neuroleptic now, but I am not well.

Big question—-can I recover? Just how much neuroplasticity does my brain have?

Antipsychotics cause (brain) atrophy within a year, Moncrieff says. She accuses her colleagues of risking creating an “epidemic of iatrogenic brain damage”. (iatrogenic means drug induced)

I’d say that epidemic has already arrived. As James says:

Moncrieff is a hard-nosed scientist, so she is respectfully reserved. But gross scientific misconduct is her accusation. “It is as if the psychiatric community can not bear to acknowledge its own published findings,” she writes.

And of course that’s just part of the problem. We die 25 years earlier than the average individual among many other disturbing facts associated with these drugs. Please read the article.

For more in depth information you can also read Moncrieff’s latest book is The Myth of the Chemical Cure.

I have once before posted a study she did on the dangers of withdrawing from neuroleptics in which she suggests (again with scientific reserve) that withdrawal from neuroleptics can cause psychosis that has nothing to do with what was first being treated. Here is that paper again. Why is it so difficult to stop psychiatric drug treatment? It may be nothing to do with the original problem.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

29 Responses

  1. Sloopy Cowbell

    Oh God, Gianna!

    Bless you, you need an injection of inner strength….

    As you know, I have been on neuroleptics for years (nearly 15 years now) and I get that very same heart-sinking feeling when I read these studies, too.

    We know these drugs are killing us, harming us in possibly irrepairable ways.

    But we must keep telling ourselves we can do it, we CAN get off them.

    You can do it, and I can do it. Period. Don’t stray from that conviction.

    It’s just going to take us time, perhaps a considerable time. A year, two years. What we mustn’t do is hurry. That’s clearly dangerous.

    But plenty of people out there have done it, though.

    Here, for example, is the account of Clover Smith, a delightful, very colourful lady who’s done just that – she’s quit neuroleptics after many years of taking them:

    http://www.mindfreedom.org/personal-stories/smithclover/

    Here is another example, Ron Coleman. Attached to the Romme-Escher movement, Ron is something of a celebrity in British user-led mental health circles.

    Ron was an inpatient for many years, i.e. he was on “treatment” does rather than “maintenance” doses of neuroleptics.

    Yet he’s not only recovered but he’s out there right now, lecturing others on how to live drug-free.

    Please don’t get despondent, Gianna!

    One thing I can say, atrophy studies aside, is that you are probably the most articulate, most sophisticated person in the world, blogging on this topic.

    And I’ve already said it time over, you are an absolute inspiration to me and many others.

    Yours,
    Sloopy!

    Like

  2. Denise

    excellent article…especially like the link mentioned in the article – askapatient.com – lots of helpful info there too with real drug ratings from people who know. Thanks for the tip.

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  3. Denise

    more sites with Drug Warnings for anyone who is interested.

    FDA Medwatch – http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/index.html

    Harm Reduction Guide – http://www.freedom-center.org/node/318

    Medication Sense – http://www.medicationsense.com

    Mind Guide on Psych Drugs – http://www.mind.org.uk/Information/Booklets/Making+sense/Making+sense+of+coming+off+psychiatric+drugs.htm

    NewsTarget Drug Watch -www.naturalnews.com/DrugWatch_Home.html

    Psych Med Awareness Group – http://www.psychmedaware.org

    Psychiatric Drug Facts – http://www.breggin.com

    Rx List – http://www.rxlist.com

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  4. Sara

    Great article and I have the utmost respect for Joanna Moncrieff. I wonder how many of you caught the comments though that went with the article. She came in for quite a beating in most of them from so-called mainstream thinkers. One is really up against it when trying to get people to think beyond drugs and of course no one understands withdrawal so they think the “disease” is coming back and out of control when people stop taking their meds abruptly.

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  5. Sloopy Cowbell

    Hi again.

    I just remembered another success story of withdrawal from long term neuroleptic exposure.

    The case is documented on http://www.comingoff.com , the site inspired by Dr Rufus May, and his neuroleptic withdrawal group at Hebden Bridge which we mentioned before.

    Twenty years ago, Rufus was diagnosed as psychotic and whacked on neuroleptics. He’s now a practising clinical psychologist, helping many others to see the light. He sounds like a wonderful man. It would be great if he said hello to us here!

    The comingoff.com site documents Allen’s story. For nine years, Allen took various neuroleptics including Risperdal after suffering a psychotic episode.

    Allen is now neuroleptic-free and doing fine.

    In his own words, Allen says: “I have become a different person since coming off the medication, make plans if I wanted, and I do a lot more and do not have to pretend I am well, because I am!…The last nine years have been a blur; the next will be a life worth living.”

    Nice story!

    Take Care,
    Sloopy!

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  6. Roman

    Wow! I had no idea of the severity of taking neuroleptics. I had been taking Zyprexa (a neuroleptic) for about a year (maybe shorter). I guess luckily, I switched, due to the fact that it caused “goop” to consistently form in the corners of my eyes. Did anyone else experience this “weirdness”.

    I had been switched to Seroquel, and I have been taking that for about a year. The really fucked up thing about this is, it was prescribed as a sleep aid, with the added “benefit” of it’s anti-depressive/anxiety qualities.

    Other than the insomnia from Seroquel cessation, I think that I will stop immediately. My best friend told me that he had no withdrawals from stopping taking Seroquel immediately. Does anyone else have something to add to that?

    I am still slowly tapering off of Lamictal, and hoping that the depression won’t kill me after my next dose of 75mg, at which time I will begin taking 37.5mg.

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  7. Sloopy – Gianna signing in via her husband – I’m at home without internet connectivity.

    Just wanted to say, though I am definitely trying to be optimistic and feel that we can indeed recover, as your examples show, I’ve actually been on neuroleptics for 23 years. When I said I was on them for 10 years it was for double the therapeutic maximum doses, so you can understand why I have fear. Nonetheless, I too have faith, as you say, that with our convictions we can overcome this.

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  8. ‘The truth shall set you free’……
    Nobody said it wouldn’t HURT LIKE HELL first…..

    This ‘mental health system’ of ours is gonna hurt like hell for a while – while more truth comes out……

    Shame on anyone who pushes for ‘medical compliance’…..

    Compliance with what?
    An early death?

    There need to be fair trials soon – very soon – justice needs to be served for all those in top mgmt in big pharma – who have conveniently hidden this data for years…..

    Other than that, I have no opinion, one-way, or the other –
    Thanks for posting.

    Duane

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  9. Gianna,

    Regarding my passion on the last email – feel free to delete it if I came on too strong – spent over three hours today talking with a woman who was just released from a pschiatric unit after recieving 14 ECT treatments – not in the best of moods.

    Call me ‘crazy’, but this @#$% has got to stop!

    Duane

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  10. Sloopy Cowbell

    I think that I will stop immediately. My best friend told me that he had no withdrawals from stopping taking Seroquel immediately. Does anyone else have something to add to that?

    Hi, Roman!

    I would say taper off, very slowly.

    Someone with first-hand experience of Seroquel withdrawal is Stephany, who runs the splendid blog: http://bipolarsoupkitchen-stephany.blogspot.com/

    Stephany certainly documents a difficult withdrawal.

    If you’ve been taking neuroleptics for two years – not an insignificant time – why risk going cold turkey?

    Your friend was very lucky succeeding in doing that, but maybe he only took a low dose, and/or for only a short period?

    Either way, I’d withdraw using a taper to avoid suffering any mental trauma and anguish from the discontinuation.

    Best of luck, Roman!

    Rgds,
    S

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  11. Sloopy Cowbell

    Hi Gianna!

    I guess what is important is that you’re on a very low dose of neuroleptics now, and, moreover, that you have stabilised on that low dose for quite some while.

    But even that low dose is probably going to take a while to get out of your system.

    I do, however, believe the power of our minds to overcome the effects of psychotropics, is phenomenal.

    Pumped full of anti-depressants for many years, we can still feel suicidal depression. How so?

    Tell the shrink that and he’ll say the meds aren’t quite right, but, in truth, the emotions of the human mind are way too powerful for any drug to counter, in the long-term.

    That is because the healing comes from within, from modifying our cognitive behaviour.

    I say you can’t fail since you’re so dedicated. You’ve put so much effort into the healing process. You are in the very best frame of mind for the challenge, and pursuing all of those alternative therapies is really going to pay off!

    Best,
    Sloopy!

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  12. Sloopy Cowbell

    I am still slowly tapering off of Lamictal, and hoping that the depression won’t kill me after my next dose of 75mg, at which time I will begin taking 37.5mg.
    Hi Roman,

    Suddenly dropping the dose by 50% is not “slowly tapering off”.

    Most of the professionals speak generally of dropping dosages by a 10% taper *at most*, and stabilizing for some while – perhaps months – before attempting the next taper.

    You need to be really careful, Roman.

    Best go and read the literature on psychiatric drug withdrawal from the voluntary sector (e.g. Mind publications in the UK and the Icarus project booklet, etc).

    Then find a competent professional who will help and oversee the process.

    Sudden Lamictal withdrawal can induce suicidal depression, and if “the balance of your mind is temporarily disturbed” from the biochemical trauma of sudden withdrawal….

    It doesn’t bear thinking about….

    Be careful…

    Like

  13. Roman,

    If you need to hear this information from a doctor – about the dangers involved in rapid withdrawal, pick up the book –

    ‘Your Drug May be Your Problem – How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medication’ – by Peter Breggin, MD (Psychiatrist – Harvard Medical School Graduate)

    Rapid withdrawal can cause brain damage –

    The only down-side to the book, is that for some his method is a bit too fast – there is no such thing as ‘too slow’…….

    Also, as this site points out – adding things like nutrition, sunlight, meditation, aromatherapy, etc – these things can all be helpful.

    Duane

    Like

  14. Gosh Sloopy, thanks I hadn’t read this yet.:)

    Roman,

    Yes, I removed 75mg of Seroquel that was given to me for a bit of a racing mind, but mostly for insomnia. It definitely was not a drug for me, it left me in terrible train wreck morning fog, or basically 12-14 hours after taking it, was only able to think if at all.

    I cut back the 75 to 50mg and became less than patient and went cold turkey, and on my blog side bar is a rambling posts of my Seroquel withdrawals link. I wrote as it went and it was pure hell, at least for me.

    Good luck, I would not recommend stopping this cold turkey based on my personal experience. It was extreme.

    Stephany at soulful sepulcher

    Like

  15. Jane

    To this day, I can remember what it was like to go on perphenazine. It felt like my mind was dying. Of all the drugs to ever come out of a lab, antipsychotics are on my list as the one of the most dangerous, most disgusting most evil meds in all of creation. It should be illegal to put children on them. It should be illegal to force anyone on them. There has never been a person born that *needs* this kind of *medicine*

    “Antipsychotics cause (brain) atrophy within a year, Moncrieff says.”

    I felt it happening within days. The drug scientists have figured out how to give someone a brain wipe chemically. Itis death of personality.

    The fact that FDA approved Abilify for kids makes me want to go on a rampage. Sick and disgusting. I was suicidal each and every day I was on psych meds. I was told I had to take them for the rest of my life. Thank the Universe for habeas corpus. 6 months of my brain and mind going down the drain was more than enough for me. I would rather die than be forced to take those meds again. I would fight until my last breath against it.

    As a side note, I was on high doses of that drug, and I quit cold turkey unsupervised. I also spent the time WDing differently than most. While I was detoxing I did nothing but lay on the bed or a floor, every single hour for 3 straight days doing nothing but breathing as slowly as possible. Most people who detox off anything, even nicotine and caffeine, don’t spend 72 hours unmoving in a self imposed trance without food. If I had to guess, that may have been what saved me from any kind of WD as my WD was painless and uneventful. The drug left my body, my mind came back. I have no horror stories about WDing from antiPsychs to share with you. YMMV

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  16. Mandy

    I have been completely off of Effexor for almost five months. After going off of it, my I.Q. seems have dropped fifty points. I think I may have brain damage, and I am so terrified that it might be permanent. I haven’t yet found a doctor that knows what they doing and can help me. Do you know if anti-depressants can cause permanent brain damage?

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  17. Truelotus

    Hi,

    I take a gram of seroquel, also known as 1000mgs, 4mgs of xanax XR, a couple grams of Neurontin and take two Ambien CR or Chloral Hydrate every night. That’s the main stuff, then I have various and assorted pills. I have had a vicodin prescription, for around 5 years but have never abused it.

    My concern is about this cocktail I’m taking. I’ve been concerned for a long while. Yesterday, I noticed that I had jerks in my hand, where I could not pick up a gallon of water. I’d be overweight, but I am also disabled and exercise 2 hours almost every day.

    The reason that I think that it got like this, is that I kept telling myself I needed to work, to make money, to pay the mortgage until no matter how much I took, it just didn’t matter, I just couldn’t work. Now I am on permanent disability. All of this is supposed to be about bipolar 1, but I doubt if I’m even a low grade bipolar II.

    You don’t start out taking medications thinking it will add up and add up. That’s addictive. If a medicatioin really worked, as if Seroquel really worked, it would work continuously at it’s original dosage of maybe 50mg and not need to be amped up all the time.

    Funny as I have worked as a scientist for 20 years, most of the time inside the pharmaceutical industry, so maybe this is my karma. I believed the model presented to me, but what seems to be happening isn’t about science at all. It seems to be about manipulating science so that the results are on one side, and that manipulation is about money. l

    I didn’t do much today. I feel groggy. What is more amazing, is that most of the time I do not feel groggy. How many people could take the level of medication I am taking and not wonder about it?

    What keeps me on it, is a feeling of anxiety, which has been reduced from quitting prozac, which I’ve been on for 20 years. I am afraid to go off the seroquel because I’m afraid it’s keeping me from having anxiety and I don’t want that. I wish there was somewhere I could go to detox. The only official thing I can detox off is the Xanax, I guess, as who would have a clinic for people to get off a non-addictive medicine like Serouquel. They would be sued, wouldn’t they?

    Any help appreciated. I have a relatively good diet and do lots of exercise. Its just as the years go on I wonder if my body is goign to tolerate these pills. I’m 46 now, and my hands drop a gallon water bottle. Should I ignore it, or when I can’t hold up a piece of paper when I’m 56?

    Uh, I was pretty low level in the pharmaceutical industry, but still heard of a thing or two that was not quite right. It really all is based upon money and what you do or do not do to increase the stock price. In Academia they openly pay for buildings, like the Cargill Building on the University of Minnesota. I’m suuure that they won’t direct any of the research on GMOs there!

    Best,
    Tru

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  18. Truelotus

    OK, I’ll check that out.

    Yes, I know it could be tarive dyskinesia. Nothing in my jaw, though, but I also have “familial tremors” which I had before I ever took a single drug.

    I’m 46, and so far I’ve been OK, probably mostly due to a great deal of exercise and a good healthy diet (most of the time). Every medication I take, I take a lot, and a few of my doctors think I have a super liver that is removing the drugs from my blood too fast, so that I have to take a lot. Don’t know if this is true or not, but a couple have mentioned it to me. Anyway, this shaking has got me worried. I’m sure as I age, my body will be less able to cope with this cocktail of drugs and I should take my shaking as a sign.

    I was down to 800mg of Seroquel, and then my home was destroyed by a tornado which killed a neighbor’s child, hopped over to Iowa and killed 7 more people.

    Amazingly, I had no anxiety with the tornado ripping my house apart while I hid in the basement, nor have I had any anxiety subsequently. That makes me think that my “anxiety” may be a side effect of some of my drugs, especially the prozac which I have successfully quit back in February.

    After the tornado, we were in weird sleeping and eating situations for a few months before we moved into our new home, my dog got cancer and died, which was traumatic, and I went back up to 1000mg of Seroquel to get some sleep. I think now is the time to go back down to 800mgs at least.

    What I think is the worst, is that I’d rather live through another tornado, than go two nights without my pills. If that isn’t an emotional addiction, I don’t know what is. I’m more horrified of not having my drugs than a tornado!

    Thanks for all your help. I’m checking out many of your links here. I started with Furious Seasons.

    I wish there was a place I could go like rehab. Technically, I am addicted to 4mgs of Xanax for which I can go into rehab. I don’t even remember my shrink putting me on that, but I’m on it now! Otherwise, all I can do is wean myself off of all this crap. I don’t even remember who I am. I only know that I don’t think I’ve ever been bipolar I as I am diagnosed now. I think I’m a rather low level bipolar II. Maybe I’ll always need some medication, but beyond what the FDA allows? Monster doses? Don’t think that’s right.

    However, I’ve been in therapy for 20+ years and I don’t think any of it has helped other than to let me vent about whatever is bugging me at the moment and for a sense of continuity. I was sexually abused as a child and I don’t think anyone has ever helped me cope with that, or talk about that. Apparently seroquel and prozac is the cure for that problem.

    Best,
    Tru

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  19. Truelotus

    Thanks for the mail. Much obliged. Yes, many of us don’t have enough factors for a borderline diagnosis, but we still have an underlying cause of our anxiety and depression which is never addressed.

    Shoving a pill in us, so we shut up and act “normal”, is also abuse. It dehumanizes us.

    I didn’t realize how much abuse counted until after I became disabled from work, and had time to think about it and not just burry it with more and more drugs. I was around 40 before I really realized what had happened to me was horrible. Now if I can find a therapist who will help. My current one is all about being a “support person” for someone with a biochemical disease. I have to find someone else. Easier said than done. I’ve been seeing him for a decade.
    Best,
    Tru

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  20. 4 Tru-

    I’ve been where you are now, with my med cocktail. and learned a lot from Gianna too.

    FS is a good blog to also read daily…..I’ve learned more from it than I did in college courses.

    All the blogs Gianna links to rock. That’s how you know you have a good blog- when you get a hyperlink on Gianna’s and FS’s blogs….

    😉

    Hang in there Tru. Don’t despair. You would be amazed how many people here have walked where you are right now.

    Sincerely,

    Susan

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