Psych drugs damage ability to love/bond

Helen Fisher is an anthropologist who has looked at how antidepressants effect romantic love, falling in love and most importantly ongoing attachment. The conclusion being that the love response and the human instinct for attachment are profoundly messed up. Antidepressants don’t just create sexual dysfunction, they wreak havoc with the whole emotional system that creates attachment to other human beings.

In my experience it is not only the antidepressants that do this. As far as I can tell all psychiatric drugs do it. As I’ve said before the only reason they look at antidepressants is because they are so mainstream. The other psych meds aren’t taken by as many “normal” people as the antidepressants do so they haven’t been studied by this woman who is basically making a social commentary. It would be nice if those who study these things extended  studies to include all psychotropics, but it feels rather typical that we who have been on the stronger stuff would be overlooked, as is so often the case.

My relationship has certainly suffered as a result of blunted feelings and those feelings were blunted well after I got off antidepressants as they were the first drug to go in a four year and counting process of psychiatric drug withdrawal. My passions are starting to peep through again, slowly, but surely, now that I’m off the vast majority of the drugs.

Below is from an article in the LA times about a year ago. I’ve written about this topic before but it bears repeating:

Couples think about the other obsessively – on a roller coaster of euphoria when together, longing when apart.

It’s temporary insanity,” says Helen Fisher, an evolutionary anthropologist at Rutgers University.

Now, from her studies of the brains of lovers in the throes of the initial tumble, Fisher has developed a controversial theory. She and her collaborator, psychiatrist J. Anderson Thomson of the University of Virginia, believe that Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and other antidepressants alter brain chemistry so as to blunt the intense cutting edge of new love.

Fisher and Thomson, who describe their theory in a chapter in the book, “Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience,” aren’t talking just about the notorious ability of the drugs to damp sexual desire and performance, although that, they believe, plays its part. They think the drugs also sap the craving for a mate – perhaps even the brain’s very ability to fall in love.

And here is a video of her speaking on the same topic but emphasizing different things which I think are more important:

This fact alone about psychiatric drugs is enough to undermine society. Don’t think this doesn’t effect parent’s ability to love and bond with their children. And then when you think about all the kids on these drugs who simply don’t develop normally. Teenage hormones are part of growing up. What happens when you skip that developmental stage? What happens if you never enter it at all due to a lifetime of being on drugs? We are stopping the human experience from happening.

37 thoughts on “Psych drugs damage ability to love/bond

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  1. Michelle!!
    thanks so much for all your comments…in other places too….

    You are so right on! and I appreciate all your insights and cautious advice…

    I do take aminos and Calrsons Liquid fish oil too…the kind you refrigerate…

    I think I’m going to send you an email…

    Your comments this morning all gave me great hope as I’ve been struggling the last couple of weeks.

    I feel much better today…will be posting soon.
    peace. and thank you again

  2. I just wanted to add — I am very much for people working on themselves, and getting whatever kind of help and support they need! I meditate and have done years of psychotherapy — but without knowing I was bipolar, I never got the help that I needed. Hence my current emphasis on supplements. I suppose therapy will be next, but I am concerned about medical privacy, after having fought and all-out battle with Blue Shield over my medical records (they tried to get me on a pre-existing and rescind). For those who might be in the same boat at some time, the best thing to do is to contact your state insurance commissioner. I contacted mine, which triggered an investigation, and a few months later B.S. shelled out 12.9 million dollars in fines. My payoff was NOT having to pay out $100,000 and a whole lot of satisfaction in helping others.

  3. Hi Gianna,

    I know you have read The Mood Cure and have dabbled in amino acids. I take a general formula, plus individual aminos that fit my specific needs. I also take fish oil, which is almost universally recommended and has been widely tested. (Carlson’s, from Norway, is one of the best brands).

    Another approach that might interest folks is taking homeopathic neurotransmitters. For some reason which escapes me now, you can’t take serotonin directly. But you can take it homeopathically, which I have found works fast.

    If you are taking amino acids, you may also need a B complex formula with plenty of B6. Sometimes what they put in broad amino acid formulas just isn’t enough.

    And then, there are all those lovely herbs…my point is not to recommend any specific supplement exactly (other than fish oil) but to suggest that you don’t have to suffer needlessly if your brain is hungry for real brain food which it is lacking, especially coming off of nutrient-robbing drugs.

    And in case someone missed my other post today, lithium aspartate and orotate are available at well-stocked pill stores, and they are well tested to be non-toxic as well as very effective, and relatively cheap. Good bye bad thoughts! I don’t miss them a bit.


  4. Gianna, thanks.

    You wrote

    where do you begin to make reparations for a life lived when you could not discern the truth?

    If I knew the answer to that, I would run for President. I have found in the last two years since I have been single again, I have found though from private journaling, and starting my blog a few months ago it really helps. I’ve come to the realization what I can and cannot change in my life, what my limitations are due to either physical or mental constraints. And I learned who my real friends were. And I found out ironically, almost every one was on line, not irl.

    I was able to do this step years ago when I first got sober with AA. At that time it was easy to admit I was powerless over alcohol
    (vodka) and asked my family to forgive me. They did. It was more difficult with my friends, there is so much about me I keep bottled up and don’t say to them. Maybe that’s why I like cyberspace so much, no one knows me out there and I can vent and cry and on the other hand, help and lift up when that needs to be done as well.

    But it’s been harder frankly, with admitting to myself that I am indeed BP. I have known this for over half my life, but I didn’t fully accept it until the marriage ended. By accepting it, and not realizing it was like a mental health scarlet letter, I began to heal.

    It’s different for everyone. But please keep writing. YOu may not see it but it helps both you and your readers.

    And by that simple thing, you can grow.

    That’s really all I know. I am still learning. I expect I will be always learning until I take my final breath.


  5. Hi Susan,
    I won’t be around much but I will be checking comments.

    I’m very touched by your story. I know this sort of thing is very painful.

    I’m fully functioning again sexually, but the emotional deadness I experieneced when I met and married my husband (sexual deadness too, but I still did what I was supposed to do—I needed my husband) anyway that deadness is still taking a toll on our marriage.

    I could not feel who I was and now I’m trying to figure out who I am now that I can feel. It’s very frightening sometime. Having not had connection to my soul in so long. Learning that maybe some of my life decisions were made in a fog and in desperation because I did not know how to take care of myself…

    where do you begin to make reparations for a life lived when you could not discern the truth?

    oh…this is one of the reasons I need a break…it’s all too painful…

    I’m so glad we’ve connected though. Stay in touch.
    love to you.

  6. Gianna,

    Hello. I see you are going on a vacation, so I don’t know if you will print this or not. It’s OK if you don’t. I just wanted to share this with you and wish I had seen this article originally when it came out.

    I’m only able to talk about this now, to people, though it will be 2 years in November. I had been married to who I thought was a wonderful man for almost 3 years. Sure, we had our problems, but so does every other couple in a committed relationship.

    We were actually two bipolar one types who really in hindsight should have never been together in the first place. Anyway,

    Through out the entire relationship, when I was up he was down. And vice versa. I was getting more and more depressed the last 6 months of our marriage, he was getting more and more high. And the problems spilt over into the bedroom. Not with him. With me. While I have and had always enjoyed sex in the past, I was dead from the waist down. From depression and the med cocktail I was on. It was 2000 mg of Lithium, something I had basically been on for 20 years, Seroquel for sleeping problems and an anti depressant. I cannot recall which one it was for the life of me. I am sure it will come back to me after I send this.

    For my ex it was like he was married to one of those inflatable dolls. So he went with me to the pdoc and said he knows more about psychiatric drugs than the pdoc, and I need a script for Viagra to save our marriage.

    Now I can honestly say, of all the meds I have ever been on, Viagra gave me no side effects. It gave me no effects what so ever. I believe hubby thought it would turn me into a hypermanic nympho, something I am not pleased to say I was in my mid twenties to mid thirties.

    I was still numb from the waist down. Still couldn’t experience an orgasm. I felt angry and upset, not a woman.

    He left me soon after siting this as the reason, he wanted someone he could be intimate with, his equipment was working fine and if he couldn’t get it at home, he had his bp groupies who were more than willing to give him what I couldn’t.

    Thank you Gianna for being, the first person I have seen onlne to tackle this thorny issue. It takes courage to break down taboo walls, and I have to give you kudos for this.

    I am glad I put your site in my RSS feeder, and as soon as I get around to it, will add you to my blogroll.

  7. I wanted to add two further reasons for why people continue to take psychiatric drugs in spite of the obvious damage those drugs are causing.

    One reason is fear of being drugged involuntarily due to “non-compliance”.

    I have often heard it said, even by so-called psychiatric advocates, that a low daily dose of psychotropics has got to be better than risking being dragged into the psych-unit, kicking and screaming, for compulsory “treatment” at mega-doses.

    Forced treatment can leave its own deep scars both physically and on the human psyche.

    Violent restraints, forced injections, electroshock and even psychosurgery. These aren’t treatments but barbaric forms of torture which might go on for months or even years, at the whim of the psychiatrist.

    This is the Hobson’s choice of fear-based medicine. You can live in the community and slowly poison your brain by your own hand, or else become an in-patient and let the shrink do the job but at break-neck speed.

    Psychiatry is heavily reliant on patient fear. How often have we heard a shrink warn his patient, “if you stop taking those meds, you will become ill, and I will have to commit you to hospital to forcibly inject them into you”?

    A second reason for taking toxic psych-drugs is that many chronically drugged patients have no insight into their own drug-induced cognitive impairment.

    The mental dysfunction is typically cumulative with “creeping” damage as the exposure to psychiatric drugs increases.

    This phenomenon is not unlike the drink driver, who is quite sure that he is not only safe to get behind the wheel, but that he is actually safer than if he hadn’t been drinking!

    Dr Peter Breggin dedicates a whole chapter to this subject in his book Your drug may be your problem. How and why to stop taking psychiatric medications. See, in particular, Chapter 3: You may be the last to know

    For this reason, I feel it is so important to warn patients when you see they are obviously impaired by drugs. It is our duty to inform them.

    I remember pointing out to one patient that he was blinking spasmodically, an early symptom of tardive dyskinesia, a form of brain damage caused by neuroleptics.

    At first he was in denial, then he became angry, then he demanded the shrink stop drugging him immediately. It worked!

    I remember another patient, a very delicate and elegant woman, a PA to a company director. She had been committed to hospital suffering from deep sadness after her husband ditched her for a younger partner. She made some sort of cry for help which got her detained.

    First the shrinks dosed her up on anti-depressants, then some benzos, and then their piece de resistance, the anti-psychotics.

    Within just a few days, psychotropic drugs had reduced her to a child-like mental state, and she didn’t even know it.

    When she arrived she was eloquent in speech and manner, a pleasure to talk to, but she also remained belligerent, indignant at her plight. Shrinks cannot bear those sort of patients, the ungrateful ones. So through psychiatric drugs she was turned into a compliant cabbage who slurred her speech, couldn’t string together a coherent sentence, and was barely able to stand unaided.

    I glanced at her drug chart as the psych-staff were dosing her up one night. She was on some hefty stuff. I took her to one side, and said, “you’re being given some serious shit called Haldol. You really don’t need that! It is one of the most powerful anti-psychotic drugs there is, and you are not psychotic! Tell the shrink to stop it!”

    She somehow found the strength within her to object. At first the shrink threatened her with electroshock and then he back-pedalled, telling her if she wouldn’t accept his “treatment”, she could fuck off out of his ward!

  8. Jane,

    I think it’s beyond horrible that drugs were forced on you. That is one of my worst nightmares, and you lived through it. It does help to hear this—makes it much more understandable the amount of anger you have on the topic. It must seem very strange to someone who was forced to take psychotropic drugs, very much against their will, to see people willingly take them. Wow. To look at things from your perspective is very interesting. Thanks for sharing it. I think it’s extremely rare for someone as young as you were to have had such insight into how drugs can harm one’s spirit and to be able to see the evils of Big Pharma. I commend your innate intelligence, and wish I would have had this kind of foresight. I wasn’t nearly that advanced at that age, unfortunately. Again, thanks for sharing, and I (again) apologize for being judgemental of _your_ experience. We all have to watch it sometimes. But I really feel proud of how we’re handling the fallout. That’s what I like so much about this blog–everyone seems very mature and honest and takes responsibilities for their flaws. And I certainly aint no Bodhissatva (hell I don’t even know how to spell it!)…I feel my bitchiness and judgement come up on a daily basis, and have to work with it! XXOO to everyone! Doe

  9. Jane,
    thanks for you apology..
    I do know all of that story you told and as you know I think you’re a walking miracle..

    In any case the important thing is we all agree pharma is evil.

    I have restrained myself time and time again on several blogs including FS about the new studies which keep coming that prove this stuff is largely ineffective garbage that keeps on giving you awful effects even when you are done with it.

    I wouldn’t restrain yourself…it is all garbage….we all agree here anyway, there are people at FS who like their meds…and there are people both here and there who haven’t figured out another way that works for them.

    Your experience is different than a lot of people’s here but fundamentally I believe we share the same concerns.

  10. Doe

    I knew when I posted that it would ruffle some feathers. I had hoped to be excused on the basis that I was ranting.

    Although meditation has brought me a long way I am far from perfect. I know my flaws intimately.

    Gianna and Co.

    You are all correct, it was a slap in the face, it was judgmental and I acknowledge that and apologize. I guess there is no way some of you would not take that personally.

    My experience on meds was brief by the standards of most that post here. A mere 6 months. Half of one year of my life.

    What made that 6 months so awful beyond the chemical effects, was the inescapable nature of it. I wanted off the drugs before I went on them! I said no. They said yes. Under penalty of assault and battery they won.

    When I finally learned to accept (read that as acting) the medication submissively it was even worse. Voluntarily poisoning myself every day and not fighting like hell about it every day was killing me spiritually.

    When I detoxed cold turkey by the expedient of running away from the juvi psych dentention my mind woke up.

    After my return I pretended to take meds again after I broke my hunger strike which I did because they threatened me with ect if I didn’t.

    That was a seriously dangerous game I played palming my meds at the nurses station three times a day for weeks.

    The clock ticked. Days past. I found the patients bill of rights which said I did not have to be force medicated if I was not in acute danger of harming self or others.

    To make a long story short, I called my social worker and said I wanted out because I was not feeling suicidal, depressed, etc and because I had been off meds for a month.

    She then told me I was being noncompliant and that I would never be allowed to leave until I went back on meds. I told her she was wrong and that it was against the law. She hung up on me after telling me she would be contacting the program director to tell him I was off meds.

    I then used my phone privilege to contact my court appointed guardian ad litem and told him I wanted to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus against the State. He set it in motion and I had my court day. I talked to the judge and he overruled my social worker ordering me placed in foster care.

    I was only 15 years old at the time I did that. I beat the system, my social worker and coercive psychiatry in one shot. I literally fought for and won my freedom from psych meds at a time when most teenagers should have been out dating and shopping and working in fast food.

    Obviously my experiences jaded me in the extreme.

    During the 90s I watched the dawn of SSRIs as a spectator. My first experience with them was watching a kid at a group home going into seizures on the floor before breakfast soon after starting on Prozac.

    Because back then they did not know about MAOIs and SSRIs and they medwashed him without prolonged tapering from other drugs he had been on.

    Sometime after I reached the age of 16 Prozac was on the lips of every Pdoc or therapist I talked to while in mental health services. It was literally pushed on me again and again and I turned it down again and again because I did not believe they knew what they were doing. I had a cynical distrust of Pharma ever since.

    I sensed back then there would be repercussions. Call it a premonition. I am very sensitive to drug effects in my body.

    Then Prozac was mentioned in the movie ‘Disclosure’ with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore in 1994 almost two years after I left mental health services as a teen. Right around the time Congress said it was ok to start advertising psych meds on Tv and in other media.

    A colleague of MD’s character sees he is stressed and asks him if wants to take a Prozac as they pass each other in the office. Lilly paid for that insert.

    In the later 90s I was in a waiting room of doctor for some such thing and what do i find? I pick up a copy of Highlights children’s magazine and there is a full page add for Prozac in a kid’s magazine! It was a child’s stick figure drawing showing a black and white sad mommy and a mommy in a full color background with the sun and a smile. Message, hey kids, when your mom gets moody, tell her to take prozac. It will make the sun come out. okaaaay.

    That’s when I realized that Big Pharma was flat out frikkin evil.

    I knew back then that people were going to suffer and people were going to pay a price far beyond the cost of the med itself.

    I knew then that was the only the beginning and not the end. I knew that when the official tally of the damages done to us by believing in and consuming Big Pharma’s lies that we would be in a major epidemic of iatrogenisis that we asked for and paid for.

    I knew that the high speed rat race and the distractions of consuming and entertainment would keep most folks too occupied to notice the dangers until it was too late for some of them.

    When you are a teen idling away on a psych ward every day was interminable infinity of suffering. I had no distractions from the constant feedback of the suffering of my own mind and body, hour and after hour.

    Those six months might have well been six decades in my mind back then.

    That is why I came across as condescending and judgmental about it. Because I am judgmental about it. Now you know why.

    For all the reasons above and more I ranted my true feelings about the issue from my own background with it and some of you suffered for it.

    I have restrained myself time and time again on several blogs including FS about the new studies which keep coming that prove this stuff is largely ineffective garbage that keeps on giving you awful effects even when you are done with it.

    This article was the last straw for me and I just wanted to get it out of my system.

    Thank you both for being honest with how it made you feel.

    Know that I read your reasons for taking those drugs and it makes sense and I can’t fault you for not knowing in advance.

    I hope Gianna, Doe, and everyone else who rightfully sensed that I was being judgmental and insensitive about it accept my apology.

  11. Jane, I see your point. And to be honest with you, I felt bad as soon as I left my comment, knowing that I was using my spirituality to be snarky myself–which made me feel pretty ugly inside. I apologize.

    I think I was reacting to (what felt to me anyway) like a judgemental response. You say you can’t understand it (how people wouldn’t already just know these things…why are they shocked?)…and it kind of pushes our buttons and makes some of us feel judged. It’s really not a very helpful thing to say. But yes, you are human like the rest of us, and just vent sometimes.

    What I came to with your comment is that you literally just don’t understand it. It’s not your experience…and you’ve been on your own particular journey with meds (sounds like from what I gather that you took them for a short amount of time, knew right away it was not a good thing, and got off). For some of us, it was different.

    We are already so hard on ourselves, and have so many regrets about, the difficulties that we face getting off meds, and the damage done by them, particularly being on them longterm…that it just felt very hurtful, very much like a slap in the face, to have a “My God, didn’t you KNOW that would happen?” response.

    I would have to say that no, as dumb as it might seem, I didn’t know. I was really young, and yes, I was begging for a chemical quick fix. But no, I when I was that age, I was thinking things through very thoroughly and I felt like I was immortal half the time.

  12. Jane,
    You are indeed welcome to express yourself…

    As we are too!!

    I knew you were not directing your broad generalizations at me, but that didn’t stop me from being offended because it was a broad enough generalization for me to feel that it painted over my experience too.

    You know I have great respect for you…

    You vent all you want…as you said you:

    Sometimes I like to rant too just like the rest of you. I hope Gianna, your offer to Mad Crone extends to me too.

    Assuredly that was all I was doing with my comment. It was not meant as personal attack on any person.

    I was expressing my own anger with both the pill pop culture and the inevitable effects of it combined with the information contained in the article.

    It seems like a no brainer to me that eventually SSRIs would cause major effects like this.

    My crime apparently is saying that out loud. That’s just how I feel about it regardless of whether it’s the most ideal and compassionate PoV

    We needed to rant in response…I hold absolutely no hard feelings…The problem was not saying what your thought out loud. The only issue possibly was not being aware enough of who was reading. We, too, are sensitive, and can be offended, irritated and passionate…

    By the way, I loved your explanation of how meditation helped you and what your limitations with it are.

  13. I suppose I should have put a generalized rant warning in my comment.

    As usual you a much better than I at sounding more reasonable. I agree that incessant pharmaganda and lack of knowledge about alternatives leaves many without much choice.

    I see this all the time in comments left on various videos of Bipolar Youtube videos.

    You and I were talking about parent modeling behavior and behavior in families other day. Parents model consuming pills for everything and that is what their kids do now too.

    There was no intention of singling out individuals at all. Individuals make all the difference, individually. I was severely generalizing.

    Which brings me to Gianna’s reply.

    You surely do not have to remind me about forced meds. I was institutionalized as a teen. I lived that nightmare myself, I saw it happen to others. I know some folks don’t get an option. I have complained about that loudly on videos and in print. It’s horrible.

    I was in fact painting with broad strokes.

    At the beginning of my comment I simply stated the truth of my own experience. Within hours or days of being forced meds I had the distinct inner sensation of death of personality.

    I knew this crap was toxic to my very soul the moment I went on it. That was why I was not on it for long. I had such problems with compliance with those meds that I barely aborted hanging myself on the ward out of despair from the chemical effects on my body and mind.

    Failing that I fled the facility in order to get physically away from the drugs. I used my level system rating to gain access to outdoors and I ran for my dear life. After being returned in shackles by police I went on a hunger strike for days. I never went back on meds.

    That’s my story of being on and going off meds.

    It’s not your story which is vastly different than mine for many reasons.

    You seem to have taken personal offense at what was again, a severe over generalization.

    My irritation was directed at those who buy into consumer culture and beg for these drugs only to find themselves losing themselves, their very minds and bodies to these drugs and they find that some how shocking.

    The stuff, the article, these antidepressants are called SSRI, just the name alone should set off mental alarm bells. I know it did mine and my own brother tried that stuff during a severe depression.

    It’s not natural to screw around with brain chemistry. That stuff gives you a chemical imbalance.

    I warned him but he tried it anyway.

    Then a few weeks later he is complaining of brain zaps after I already told him artificial serotonin manipulation is artificial and not good for your brain and he should have been expecting weird shit to happen.

    He had to test it himself to come to the same conclusions.

    Experience is sometimes the best and only teacher for these things.

    Anyway, your are not the target off of my angst. I know most of your story and I don’t consider you a compulsive quick fixer. I don’t see your current predicament as being your fault. Although I can see where and why you might take it personally.


    I was tempted to say something slightly snarky in reply to your comment. Instead I will say this.

    Meditation did not turn me in loving Bodhisattva of mercy and compassion.

    A lot of the canon surrounding Buddhism amounts to an Asian version of ‘What would Jesus do.’

    I never really got into all that. I make no claims to Enlightenment with a capital E or to being any kind of spiritual teacher whatsoever.

    Although I learned some Buddhist theory and practice the important meditation that I was taught came from a Taoist master. Taoism includes such canon as Sun Tzu’s treatise on war.

    Meditation freed me from 20 + years of self hate and depression. It silenced my mind including the incessant inner voices and turmoil. It healed numerous physical, emotional and psychological injuries that had failed to heal from anything else.

    It turned me from an inferior disabled human to just a plain ordinary person capable of being offended, irritated or passionate about things from time to time.

    Please don’t confuse what I did with meditation training and project it onto or compare it to the goals of Buddhism.

    I don’t hold myself to that standard. It becomes occasionally tiresome being overly sensitive, compassionate, delicate, PC and even handed every time I want to comment or reply to something.

    Sometimes I like to rant too just like the rest of you. I hope Gianna, your offer to Mad Crone extends to me too.

    Assuredly that was all I was doing with my comment. It was not meant as personal attack on any person.

    I was expressing my own anger with both the pill pop culture and the inevitable effects of it combined with the information contained in the article.

    It seems like a no brainer to me that eventually SSRIs would cause major effects like this.

    My crime apparently is saying that out loud. That’s just how I feel about it regardless of whether it’s the most ideal and compassionate PoV

  14. Tory,
    So sorry you’re in this boat…
    Be sure to do lots of research on withdrawal and alternatives to meds before deciding to go off of them.

    I know it feels awful but it truly pays to be very carefully prepared before doing anything about it.

    Best to you.

  15. I have been on Lamictal for over 6 months; before that I was on Celexa, and before that, Prozac. The Celexa and the Prozac weren’t SO bad… I mean, I had terrible nightmares and often sweated excessively, but…

    However, I have not felt anything like what I once considered “love”, nor have I felt anything like what I once considered “lust”, in months. I thought maybe there was something wrong with my relationship, but deep down I know it’s me. Which was confusing, because the medication is supposed to make it better, right? Wrong.

    Now I’ve had my suspicion confirmed – I think the meds are the problem. (I’m also on Concerta for fatigue and ADD which I believe are a long-lasting side effect of my former amphetamine addiction.)

    Thanks for sharing your story – I’ll be reading more of your entries on Lamictal withdrawal in the hopes that soon I can do the same. Before things get out of hand.

  16. It is now more an intellectual exercise to determine compatibility and attraction. Doesn’t that sound sexy?

    No it’s not sexy and it saddens me deeply that that is what is at the foundation of my current relationship…

    I hope your mind clears too bipolarlife.

    the best to you.

  17. I use to take risperdal and was very apathetic while taking it. Nothing really bothered me, which was good because I have anxiety and paranoia, but good feelings like happiness couldn’t penetrate the drug haze either. Everything was beige. My current pdoc took me off of it (but I have a doctor who actually listens, which is something that I hope you find Mad Crone).

    I also feel blunted in my emotions with the mood stabilizer that I am taking. Recently, a friend who knew me pre-medication said that I am not myself. That I lack a creative drive. Which is true. I also feel that I lost the ability to simply “fall in love.” It is now more an intellectual exercise to determine compatibility and attraction. Doesn’t that sound sexy?

  18. Diane,
    The piece from your blog is beautiful and quite accurate…I’ve posted a study on my site in the past about people having more frequent relapses if they take the neuroleptics.

    I’m terribly sorry you feel you can’t try again to withdraw. I can imagine how scary it must be.

    You’re welcome to vent anytime you like.

  19. According to the docs and drug companies, the antipsychotics are good for what they call the “positive” (hallucinations) symptoms and not so good for the “negative” symptoms like apathy, probably because the negative ones are effects of the antipsychotics. I have tried weaning myself off them several times and have had manic episodes each time. This is from the history part of my psych (shameless self promotion) site:

    Dopamine is a substance involved with emotional and hormonal response and the integration of experience, emotion, and thought. Most of these drugs subdue many of the emotions that make one human such as love, concern for others, empathy, self-insight, creativity, initiative, autonomy, rationality, abstract reasoning, judgment, future planning, foresight, will power, determination, and concentration. Despite little knowledge of how neuroleptics work and some serious adverse effect, the drugs are readily administered . ..In 1979, Canadian investigators offered an explanation on why neuroleptic drugs make people more biological vulnerable to psychosis and may even cause psychosis. In response to the blocking of dopamine activity, the brain tries to compensate by increasing the number of its dopamine receptors, thus becoming supersensitive to this neurotransmitter. Once a person’s brain undergoes this change, then he or she is at very high risk of relapse should the drug be withdrawn. As the Canadian investigators concluded: “Some patients who seem to require lifelong neuroleptics may actually do so because of neuroleptics.”

    I was put on neuroleptics without my consent and I hate them as I think my break with reality was the result of trauma (theft and badgering) and I was given a permanent disability for a temporary problem. If I go off the risperdal, I do dumb things like giving $700 to a girl for watching my dog while I was hospitalized and $1000 to Special Olympics and soon find myself bouncing checks for food and heat. I suspect that the withdrawal causes the mania, but I just cannot afford to experiment with withdrawal for a fourth time. I don’t suppose it matters much but the latest docs have changed my label from schizophrenic to bipolar and the prescription stays the same – go figure – a pill that fits all. I try and talk to the psychiatrists about the possibility that psychiatry is on the wrong track, but as one said, “I know what I know.” There is no sense being anything but docile and dumb around them because you have less status with them than with the general public. Thanks for letting me vent.

  20. Jane,

    I have to wonder at your lack of compassion–particularly from someone who advocates meditation, and you should look at it as well. Anytime we lack compassion for others and their situation, we are on some level uncompassionate with ourselves…so perhaps you are being really harsh with yourself lately?

  21. Jane: It seems to me, that most of the people, who frequent Gianna’s blog, would definitely prefer alternatives to the chemical quick fix. Nevertheless, I also know a lot of people, who do ask for the latter. But when you look at, why they ask for it, it mostly turns out, that they don’t know anything about alternatives (“Soteria? Is that an Italian dish, or?”), and/or have been effectively, uhm yah, brainwashed into believing in the biological model exclusively, and in drugs as the best treatment option, that they don’t feel, they’ve got the strength to try alternative approaches on their own (Al Siebert says, that what he calls “resilience” is a decisive factor, if someone wants to do without the system’s “help”; not everyone has got this resilience), and/or that they have got no one to support them (another decisive factor). And, of course, there are also people, who would do whatever it takes to avoid having to face their (painful) past.

    It’s true, there are a lot of people out there, who ask for the chemical quick fix, and thus keep business-as-usual alive. But mostly they ask for it, because they are not given any choice. You can’t blame them individually.

  22. Not all of us begged for chemical fixes. Some of us had them shoved down our throats and forcibly injected into us. We were not offered choices or alternatives and when our spirits broke we succumbed to their bullshit…

    And a lot of us break free in spite of that…here we are…on the blog.

    You are painting with a broad brush there Jane.

    Just because you fought your way out successfully without staying on meds more than a few months doesn’t make the rest of us all dumbshits who wanted a chemical fix.

    It’s all much more complex than that…

    Certainly not for everyone, but for a lot of us it really is.

  23. This article is just stuff I sensed a long time ago when I fought against being made to take meds.

    This is not surprising at all. I don’t understand how come people do not expect these things to occur when they take these drugs.

    I know that sounds harsh or insensitive but I don’t care. I don’t understand this unshakable faith in biochemistry cures that people develop or why more people are not just downright skeptical of any of these drugs from the get go.

    I know people like to slam TherapyFirst over at Furious Seasons but he made a great observation as a prescribing doc.

    People beg for chemical fixes for their problems.

    They so don’t have time to be mentally ill. It’s all about getting back up on the horse as fast as you can.

    When you get mental and emotional problems you are supposed to slow down and pay attention to your life. Not just take a psychological aspirin and carry on.

    The problem is not the supply, it’s the demand. Big Pharma is just giving you folks what you have asked for.

    The real kick in the ass is learning that taking the shortest cut into mental wellness is only going to slow you down or damage you in the long run.

    It is the pill popping mentality that is to blame, not big pharam per se.

    If you don’t use it you lose it. That goes for mental and emotional capabilities as well as physical ones.

  24. Yes, Susan it is distressing.

    I don’t know how long you’ve been off Effexor but feelings do generally come back in time. You might try other wellness exercises like diet, nutrition, exercise and meditation for starters.

    Also, for anyone else out there, there are alternatives to antidepressants. I would argue they are virtually never necessary. All sorts of lifestyle changes can alter our emotions for the better without drugs—some of them are listed above.

    It simply takes a lot of discipline and patience.

  25. I always thought I was living in the past or something because I was unable to find the same family joy and love again after coming off very necessary Effexor use for 5 years. It’s refreshing (I think.. ) to know this hole in my spirit and heart isn’t just my imagination or some old anchor dragging me down… actually, I am not sure which is better, ignorance or knowledge in this situation.

  26. hi gianna,

    this was a huge factor in my desire to get off my meds. not only was my creativity leaving me and my mind slipping but my ability to enjoy a fullfilling relationship was eluding me. i know i have some emotional “hang-ups”, but this was more than that. it wasn’t just the loss of the ability to desire or enjoy sex…it was loosing the ability to feel empathy and connection to others. it wasn’t just about romantic relationships…it was about all of my relationships. but when i told my doctors, they just looked back and…i don’t know what they thought. but living with out some deeper connection to others and the world is something i wish they had to experience for years and decades at a time. it is huge part of what makes us human and connects us to others.

    thanks for posting this…

  27. well, Marian, I agree, it’s a very convenient side effect for the people responsible for warehousing us. But I do think it’s a convenient accident…

    Certainly psychiatry has had a role in eugenics. No argument there.

  28. Gianna: “I think it’s also anathema to consider that the “severely mentally ill,” those of us on neuroleptics and all sorts of other stuff that leave us drooling acutally have a sex life. Heavens no! How disgusting!”

    At the risk of manoeuvring myself into crossfire here, I’ll take this to another level:

    There are people (some angry anti-psychiatry folks) who don’t consider the effect the drugs have, both on sexual functioning AND the emotional side of the matter, an unwanted SIDE effect… I don’t think, they were actively pursuing to make the drugs have this effect. But, on the other hand, I don’t either think, they’re too unhappy about them actually having it. Can’t help it, somehow, I see a connection to people being told: “It’s genetic, so you better not have kids.” Or a leading “expert” in this country stating, it were the best to take away children from “schizophrenics” right at birth, with or without the mother’s consent. And, anti-psychiatry or not, if we’re honest, no one can deny that psychiatry did play a significant role in eugenics throughout history.

  29. Doe, it breaks my heart too, and sometimes I don’t know if I can get back now, what I missed out on in the developmental process of my relationship with my husband. It chills me to the bone.

    I thought of you when I wrote this and how you said that you didn’t cry when your husband had his heart attack…

    I didn’t cry for years and years…now I’m a regualr water fountain…I’ve gone to the other extreme, but I think I’m just making up for lost time…that and I’m still withdrawing which makes me sensitive.

  30. Marian,
    You said:
    But, hush!, don’t talk about it in regard to drugs for “the really insane”! It might make (at least) some of them want to quit their drugs. And, while quitting Zoloft or Effexor, taken for “normal” depression, maybe can be accepted, it’s an absolute no-no for the “severely mentally ill” to quit their Zyprexa.

    I think it’s also anathema to consider that the “severely mentally ill,” those of us on neuroleptics and all sorts of other stuff that leave us drooling acutally have a sex life. Heavens no! How disgusting!

    I know social workers and psychiatrists in general (having been one) stay away from the topic as much as possible and put adults in living situations where sex is not allowed. The fact that that the patients are numbed out helps them control the situation.

  31. Gianna, this was one of the things that made me stop taking mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I felt like I just didn’t care about my family anymore, and that was a horrible feeling…er…lack of feeling.

  32. This is the thing that I feel and terrifies me the most. Feels like having your soul snatched away. To feel unable to love…for me, it’s the worst.

  33. I have a friend, who’s been on neuroleptics for more than 20 years. He says, that what bothers him even more than feeling that some of his intellectual capacity got destroyed, is feeling that some of his emotional “capacity” is gone.

    But, hush!, don’t talk about it in regard to drugs for “the really insane”! It might make (at least) some of them want to quit their drugs. And, while quitting Zoloft or Effexor, taken for “normal” depression, maybe can be accepted, it’s an absolute no-no for the “severely mentally ill” to quit their Zyprexa.

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