Possible Risks with Long Term use of Anti Depressant/Anxiety/Psychotic Medications

Hi guys. Re. the disturbing but not entirely surprising material popping up these days regarding the claimed unreliability/susceptibility to commercial bias of some medical research and/or how it makes its way into medical practice. (post 'The Ethical Nag')

Here's another piece in a similarly cautious vein on anti depressants, anti anxiety and anti psychotic medications - it's a blog run by a mainstream British psychiatrist who (if i'm quoting another piece correctly) works as a Senior Lecturer in psychiatry at University College London and is a practicing consultant psychiatrist: joannamoncrieff.com/blog/

It's very encouraging that there seem to be quite a few these days speaking out from within the various systems and institutions (not just medical) these days - brave people.

So many treatments have strings attached, and if we 're to make rational and balanced medical decisions/take responsibility for ourselves we need this sort of information...


9 Replies

  • Ian, a good article. I still regard shrinks as the most dangerous medical specialty of all, endocrinologists aren't far behind though. I caught Dr. Neville's phone adrenal class yesterday, good stuff. PR

  • Ta Paul. I guess we've many times talked of the importance of our taking responsibility for ourselves in medical matters (that doesn't mean we shouldn't co-operate/collaborate with others when we need help) - it's the basic rule of life as we experience it.

    As in we exist in a reality that's all about learning how to apply our individual free will for the greatest good - so there's always a price if we choose not to engage/are prevented from enegaging by whatever means.

    The flip side of that may be that it's those professions and societal institutions that may seek/have the capability to directly to interfere with/over rule this capability that actually have the most potential to be 'dangerous' - especially those that mess with mind, mind state and values/beliefs…


  • I have a particular interest in this because my son now aged 34 has been on antipsychotics now for many years, firstly due to his Tourette Syndrome (ie from a teenager), and then when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his late 20s after being sectioned. In fact he was first put on Haloperidol at the age of six!!! On that occasion though only for a few months.

    Unfortunately he was ill and desperate for many years from his late teens to his late 20s and in his case maybe these drugs are a lesser evil. After all if he had committed suicide due to his distress then that would have been worse. Though I am someone who has a very healthy scepticism of the medical world, and in particular the pharmaceuticals related to it, I do feel that maybe in his case it has given him a level of calm for the last few years that he didn't have before. He may well have a short life, sadly, but one with less torment. Who is to say what is preferable?

    I can see how society, now that it has thrown these sufferers onto the ''Care in the Community', needs to keep them quiet with a chemical cosh. The psychs have to have a quick drug fix just as the GPs like to have a quick drug fix, and this is what is on offer. Unless there is a sea change on how the country approaches health then I cannot see anything changing any time soon, for those on anti depressants or anti psychotics (or many other drugs in fact, all of which are toxic to the liver,and probably other organs).

    Recently there was an item in Pulse the GP online site which described a report that indicated that GPs should no longer prescribe paracetamol long term for arthritis as it is so toxic. You can imagine the howls from the GPs in the comments section.

  • Hi A. That's a tough road for the lad, and for all concerned - one that inevitably entails hard decisions in circumstances and at times where/when complete information isn't available.

    I guess (much as in your own nicely balanced post - i'm just taking the opportunity to develop the topic a little more) the lady isn't saying that there aren't many circumstances where considered use of especially anti psychotics is the right decision.

    It seems her concern may relate more to the tendency of the various vested interests to whitewash scenarios - potentially leading e.g. to over use of whatever drug, or unrealistic expectations, or to potential side effects not making it on to the radar so far as the patient or guardian's decision making process is concerned.

    We've all been exposed to the de facto 'happy happy' pitches that get rolled out for many of the mainstream medications and the associated treatment protocols we encounter. ('just pop the pill and you'll be fine') We're even getting some radio adverts over here now...

    Thyroid replacement (as evidenced by the existence and focus of this site, and by the experience of so many posting here - i.e. the stock synthetic T4/TSH protocol is by this measure pretty clearly not the largely bug free and one size fits all option it's often presented as being) is perhaps be the most familiar example for most of us.

    Life as we all know has its bumpy bits, and most of us know and accept this. We (have to) roll the dice and get on with it. Scenarios like these massively complicate (and often worsen) what are already difficult situations though…


  • Thanks Ian. I have quite a family history of psychiatric problems actually, over 3 generations. I seem to have escaped with 'only' thyroid issues and CFS so maybe should think myself lucky!

    In the last few years I have developed a very hard line anti-drug stance, (and I mean PRESCRIBED drugs as well as recreational), after examining the harm they can do, and only wish I had this info at 18 rather than my early 60s. In fact I wish I could replay the last 40 yrs and make different choices for myself based on what I now believe to be the facts. Sigh.

    So my parents were both in different psych hospitals and given ECT and my mother in particular has had a life time of mostly Ativan or similar. She's nearly 92, and only just beginning to lose her short term memory. I suspect that she needs some B12 actually, but I doubt she will take any notice of me. My father had all his faculties until a stroke at 84, but I don't think he stayed on any medication.

    My husband had several severe depressions, and it seems likely he has undiagnosed bipolar disorder. He always reckons that the antidepressants that he took for just months made him more severely ill to the point of being suicidal, and like me now keeps his medications only to the bare minimum (just a BP medication).

    So, yes, despite my personal feelings re my son, I keep most of these modern medicines at arm's reach and try to be responsible for my own health as much as I can with good diet, supplements, and herbal medicine.

    Incidentally, I know that there ARE other approaches to helping schizophrenia such as the Hearing Voices Network but I am not my son, and he has to, like me, find his own path. Maybe he won't ever seek this approach though, and that is understandable in his case. I have given him these links in the past but he hasn't followed them up I think.

    And I am very pleased that there are people like Joanna, re the linked blog who are prepared to put their heads above the parapet, even if they do get shot down in the process.

  • Hi all,

    I have found through many experiments on myself and much reading, along with Marz, who posts on here, that the health of the gut is paramount when it comes to mental and physical health. I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and have experienced many autoimmune illnesses. Doctors do not have an explanation for most chronic illness and have no idea how we can stop the problem at its source. You can check my activity on health unlocked for some examples.

    I now follow a paleo diet and have just had the healthiest steadiest year of my life. I have not quite got off my medication - Olanzapine - only on 1.5mg now. It's a slow process after 23 years but I am quietly confident about my future. I have no physical symptoms of any kind and take no thyroid supplements. I would recommend reading "The Paleo Answer" by Loren Cordain (around £6 as an ebook fom Amazon)as there is an excellent explanation for how grains, legumes and potatoes can cause a leaky gut.

    Best wishes, C.

  • As ever A & C it seems that the highly integrated/interdependent/holistic nature of body, mind and spirit (yes - the latter two as well) get overlooked.

    As does the harm done by allopathic medicines that use a sledge hammer to shut down/reduce symptoms without actually locating and addressing the root cause or causes within the incredibly complex network of cause and consequence that is the above.

    How can for example an anti psychotic that doesn't so much solve the problem as shut down the ability to care or react emotionally to the stimulus or much else for example be regarded as a cure? (while there do clearly seem to be circumstances where they are the best available option for the patient and those around him/her it amounts to a chemical version of the confinement of the mentally disturbed that was routine)

    This is an interesting page which collects research on the specific issue of the two way/both directions links between brain function, gut flora, immune function and diet (cause and effect despite our perceptions tends almost inevitably to act in both directions): articles.mercola.com/sites/...

    The immune system seems a pretty central linkage in all of this too - it's hard to bet against the likelihood that mental disturbances are like many (if not most) chronic dieases often at least in part the result of inflammatory processes. In this case in at least the gut, thyroid and brain.

    My personal situation has included a tendency to chronic stress and a highly active mind - there's a definite family tendency in that direction with a number of breakdowns and so on over a couple of generations.

    I've gained enormously from what is a by now routine practice of meditation. I'm also convinced that these issues have a spiritual dimension - that when we are slow to take the hints that higher mind sends us as regards our life path that it also results in stress and eventually if not heeded serious illness.

    I was treated with SSRIs for a while years ago - but can honestly say that they did nothing for me other to create this wooden and disconnected feeling. Not to mention that it shut off libido.

    Whatever depressive symptoms I had quickly cleared (as did longstanding gut issues) with the optimising of my thyroid replacement (i struggled down the classic road of 15+ years of undiagnosed hypothyroidism and auto immune disease - despite obvious symptoms being pointed out to a series of doctors)

    The eventual thyroidectomy was followed by seven years of sub optimal replacement. Eventually increasing the quantity of T3 to what I needed - and with as you say eliminating sugars, milk, wheat/flour and the like from my diet.

    Getting better (the project is ongoing) control of cortisol levels has helped a lot too. I've noticed as well that a moderate tendency to anxiety in the mornings is almost certainly linked to high cortisol.

    One interesting perspective that all of this tends to point to is that it probably is the case that many of us that suffer with thyroid, endocrine, gut and immune imbalances actually do suffer from depression. Even though we hate to admit it.

    The problem of course is less the admitting (although the social stigma must play its part in this feeling) than the 'dust bin' manner in which it's used to trivialise and to on a one issue basis categorise what for many of us are complex, multidimensional health situations (including very real physical causes, consequences and symptoms) as above - and to justify what is most often inappropriate treatment with wholly unsuitable anti depressants and the like.

    The fact is that it's very likely that many of the above situations do lead to depression, and vice versa, but….…


  • Ian, C, A, depression is a classic symptom of being Hypo. If you read the early literature, before they had highly inaccurate lab tests to confuse the issue and had to actually observe their patients, what they observed with thyroid problems (including subjects without thyroids) was everything from mild depression to frank insanity and everything in between including auditory and visual hallucinations and plenty of paranoia. I do not mean to suggest that all mental illness is connected to hormonal imbalance, or gut imbalance, but I would bet a good part of it is. We simply lack any real understanding of what causes what is termed mental illness in all its various forms.

    Although I am not very fond of the so called profession of shrinkology, to every rule there is an exception and there are some who are appalled at what their profession does to people.

    Dr. Kelly Brogan is one such exception. BS in cognitive neuroscience from MIT and MD from Cornell Medical School and she managed to survive medical school with her eyes, ears and critical thinking process intact. She spends a lot of time trying to get her patients off ineffective meds and find out what the root cause of the problem is. This always goes to the basis of good health; diet, lifestyle, exercise and proper supplements. Getting off a lot of the drugs used by shrinks is a terribly complicated business. For those that enjoy reading she has several articles on her website.


    Bottom left of the front page is a video on antidepressants.


    I have yet to read anything she has written that I disagree with. PR

  • Thank you for these links. I had a quick glance and will come back to read more later. I notice she gives a link to an e-conference on nutrition. I listened to a similar e-conference re gluten last November - some of the same speakers are being interviewed here. I learned a lot. Here is the link:


    Best wishes, C

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