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    Anti-Depressants: Psychological Side-Effects Are Even Worse Than Thought
    By News Staff | February 25th 2014 01:35 PM | 56 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    In America, after a startling homicide occurs, there is a lot of talk about society and guns and violence culture and what we should ban, everything from guns to video games. Much less discussed, because we don't want to demonize mental illness, is the overwhelming prevalence of psychiatric medications in those events.

    It does the public and patients a disservice to dismiss one factor and focus solely on others; we could end up solving the wrong problem and helping no one at all.

    A new paper finds that the situation involving mood-leveling medications could be even more dire than previously believed. A survey of 1,829 people who had been prescribed anti-depressants found large numbers of people, over half in some cases, reporting on psychological problems - thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and emotional numbness - due to their medication. This paper adds to growing concerns about the not only the scale of the problem, such as over-prescription of medications, but how well they solve more problems than they cause.

    Psychologist and lead author Professor John Read from the University of Liverpool, said in their statement, "The medicalization of sadness and distress has reached bizarre levels. One in ten people in some countries are now prescribed antidepressants each year. While the biological side-effects of antidepressants, such as weight gain and nausea, are well documented, the psychological and interpersonal effects have been largely ignored or denied. They appear to be alarmingly common."

    Each person completed an online questionnaire which asked about twenty adverse effects. The study was carried out in New Zealand and all of the participants had been on anti-depressants in the last five years. The survey factored in people's levels of depression and asked them to report on how they had felt while taking the medication.

    Over half of people aged 18 to 25 in the study reported suicidal feelings and in the total sample there were large percentages of people suffering from 'sexual difficulties' (62%) and 'feeling emotionally numb' (60%). Percentages for other effects included: 'feeling not like myself' (52%), 'reduction in positive feelings' (42%), 'caring less about others' (39%) and 'withdrawal effects' (55%). However, 82% reported that the drugs had helped alleviate their depression.

    Read concluded, "Effects such as feeling emotionally numb and caring less about other people are of major concern. Our study also found that people are not being told about this when prescribed the drugs.

    "Our finding that over a third of respondents reported suicidality 'as a result of taking the antidepressants' suggests that earlier studies may have underestimated the problem."


    Citation: John Read, Claire Cartwright, Kerry Gibson, 'Adverse emotional and interpersonal effects reported by 1829 New Zealanders while taking antidepressants', Psychiatry Research, 3 February 2014, DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.01.042

    Comments

    I'vesomething. Now I just do not seem to care. I have a large ox of notes and ideas for books and articles to write, but have no creative juices, imagination, drive or inkling to finish anything. been on a number of antidepressants over the past 10 years. Don't really know who or what I am right now. I am not as depressed or moody, that is a certainty. But my motivation levels are low, sex drive low. The ability to be creative gone. I have to force myself to do things I used to do... Hiking, exploring, doing things for the sheer enjoyment of them. My base of friends has collapsed, not because of them, but neglect from me. I don't even have the drive to connect with my own siblings or adult children. Maybe I should have taken a short course of them until the initial symptoms had gone, then sought out a talk group or something. Maybe it is the Cymbalta. I know many of the others tried left me vegetative. This one seemed to be the less of all the evils.

    Sounds to me like you are still depressed, my friend. Depression takes your energy, you will to live, your will to succeed, your will to get up and move from one room to the other much less hike a trail. I was clinically depressed and refused to take mood elevating drugs like Xanax. I have been taking Prozac for 8 years. Not one suicidal thought, not one thought of causing harm to someone else, and I have just lost 41 pounds, and am still losing weight because since I started taking Prozac my energy level has increased and I can finish a workout. Heck, I can start a workout! Before Prozac I couldn't even muster the interest let alone the energy to workout. It is not for everyone and doctors should monitor patients very carefully and make sure they are taking the medication as directed. I have made an entirely new group of friends based on new activities in which I now have become involved, and I am having more fun now than I did when I was in my 20's and 30's. Articles like this do a great disservice to those who are trying to free themselves from depression. My doctor says I am now ready to begin slow withdrawal of my Prozac and we started a few weeks ago. I take a lesser dosage and each month it gets less and less until I can get off completely and then he will monitor me closely for a few months to make sure all is still well. I encourage anyone experiencing dibiliatating depression to continue to seek help and don't give up.

    Judy, I appreciate your input. I just mustered the energy to screen and change GPs, perhaps I t is time to change Psychiatrists as well. I am tired of feeling flat. The 18 months trying other meds left me in a half asleep zombie zone. Maybe I need either a slight increase in this one or a supplement of another. There are things I want to do in my heart. Getting mind and body cooperating is a chore. They tell me ai have PTSD, as other symptoms and events fit. Time to change the entire medical team and seek a fresh approach. Again, thank you so much for your input.

    Hi; I read your comments and just wanted to say that I was diagnosed with PTSD after several years of misdiagnosis. I was tried on pretty much every type and numerous brands of anti-depressants (but no MAOIs) and was even forced to take anpsychotics for a short time.

    My regular (family) doctor tested my Vitamin D levels a couple years back (he is doing that now with everyone) and it was LOW. Even with supplementation, it has remained somewhat low. It is higher though, and after learning that high EPA fish oil (ratio 5:1) helps some people with psychiatric diagnoses, I've ben taking that for a while as well. I still have "issues" (mostly because of a situation I can't control) BUT one thing I notice, despite the slowing down, the numbness and other symptoms that make it hard to know if I am "depressed" is that, when I can push all the issues out of my mind, I AM happy, inside and there is a feeling of peace. In fact, I've come to realize that some of my symptoms, especially those associated with depression, are more associated with "stress exhaustion" (burnout) ... and that makes a lot of sense to me, in tems of KNOWING that I had pretty well recovered, while I was taking absolutely NO medications, from most PTSD symptoms a few years back, with therapy, a support group, graded exposure to "triggering" situations and some other structuring and "homework" I did.

    I can really relate to some of what you wrote, becausae I too have a lot of things I WANT to do, but mustering the willpower ... is ghastly. Unfortunately, I can't up and leave the situation which has exacerbated my own symptoms, but I KNOW for fact that PTSD doesn't have to be so life altering as it can be; also that "depressive symptoms" do NOT always reflect "depressive illness". I don't take any more anti-depressants, although I use one med for "social anxiety" as needed to calm physical reactions and another for concentration/sleep attacks (my working memory and concentration sucks).

    Even if you change your treatment team, I encourage you to do research - into your own life, and into PTSD and related - as that is what eventually really led to my improvement. I might stilll be misdiagnosed and taking pills for a condition I don't even have ... and my daughter recently refused a prescription for Prozac (for panic attacks) that are also related to the situation that is affecting me (us). I was really proud of her when she told the nurse from the doctor's office she wouldn't take the medication, as she KNEW the "problem" wasn't originating from within her. She's using other methods to handle the panic attacks and anxiety instead. I would be glad to provide some links, if you are interested.

    Greg M.
    I like your hands-on approach. I get frustrated when I hear people speak about their mental health dramatizations as "Oh, poor me! The doctor opened my mouth and crammed the pills down my throat!" The doctors can only go on what they are told and they do not have lab tests readily available for psychiatric diagnosis, hence misdiagnosis is common. I believe that, ultimately, once they do make diagnoses it is their duties to provide treatment, but patients cannot expect infallibility either. That is why it is important for the patient to be a participant in the treatment!

    Anyway, I'm glad everything is more positive now, Dawn, and I will always check out links (it may take me days to get around to reading them, but I eventually come back to them).
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Greg M.
    Yours is one of many success stories, Judy. Anti-depressants aren't for everyone, but they should be an option available to people suffering from moderate to severe depression. More importantly, though, the responsible use of anti-depressants as part of a holistic treatment plan, including talk therapy and lifestyle modifications, shouldn't be stigmatized! It has gotten to the point where people who are taking anti-depressants feel like bloody pariahs because everyone has already made up their minds that these pills are responsible for society's woes. Hyperbole and rhetoric abound, it has quickly become a hot-button issue. That said, I believe it is the responsibility of the patient to become as educated as possible about her disorder, and the responsibility of the medical practitioner to follow the Hippocratic Oath and, so long as both are doing each to the best of their respective abilities, there will be fewer pharmacies dispensing SSRIs and TCAs like candies to drooling and impassive adults. Far too often the debate becomes polarized over the anecdotal evidence of a few Boomer hypochondriacs or malpractice lawsuits against Dr. Feelgood, and then we get nowhere, stuck in infinite recursion and arguing useless pointlessly.
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Greg M.
    So, depressed individuals are reporting melancholic symptoms on a... self-report? And somehow this is worthy of publication in Psychiatry Research? I'm unwilling to pay for the article, but will someone with access to it please tell me whether or not the authors included questions like "How long have you been on your anti-depressant for?", "How many anti-depressants have you tried", etc. Thanks!
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    I was able to find it:

    Abstract
    Background
    In the context of rapidly increasing antidepressant use internationally, and recent reviews raising concerns about efficacy and adverse effects, this study aimed to survey the largest sample of AD recipients to date.

    Methods
    An online questionnaire about experiences with, and beliefs about, antidepressants was completed by 1829 adults who had been prescribed antidepressants in the last five years (53% were first prescribed them between 2000 and 2009, and 52% reported taking them for more than three years).

    Results
    Eight of the 20 adverse effects studied were reported by over half the participants; most frequently Sexual Difficulties (62%) and Feeling Emotionally Numb (60%). Percentages for other effects included: Feeling Not Like Myself – 52%, Reduction In Positive Feelings – 42%, Caring Less About Others – 39%, Suicidality – 39% and Withdrawal Effects – 55%. Total Adverse Effect scores were related to younger age, lower education and income, and type of antidepressant, but not to level of depression prior to taking antidepressants.

    Conclusions
    The adverse effects of antidepressants may be more frequent than previously reported, and include emotional and interpersonal effects.

    If you want more, I can give you specific parts.

    Hank
    When it comes to psychological issues, self-reporting is all there is. The field is still trapped in the 1950s regarding treating symptoms versus an evidence-based approach. There is no objective test for depression, so if people say they are depressed, they are depressed. It's obviously going to get a negative cultural reaction if someone says "I feel suicidal" and the response is "but that is self-reported, it doesn't count." I suspect Greg is not a suicide counselor. :)
    John Hasenkam
    There are now 100,000s of neuroimaging studies done but unfortunately these are largely ad hoc and not aimed at clinical treatment. I sometimes get the impression psychiatry is too comfortable with self reports when it should be working overtime to find better ways. For example, one study, nearly a decade ago now, found that in treatment resistant depression circa 10% of individuals had autoantibodies to thyroid hormones. Low thyroid function can mask as depression yet how often do people reporting depression have their thyroid function tested? An 60's study found that 40% of depressives had glucocorticoid resistance, which a Dex suppression test can indicate. Elevated inflammatory cytokine is also common in depression but is rarely checked. And yes, omega 3 status, Vit B status, homocysteine, sleep cycle regulation, are worth considering. 
    There is no objective test for depression but we can develop tests for specific biomarkers that can instruct treatment. However because they lament the lack of a test for depression they do not bother to at least gather data at the clinical level relevant to the above biomarkers(no doubt there are others) which would commence the development of treatment regimes that move beyond the label down to specific biomarkers and hopefully their behavioral correlates. 

    I don't understand why psychiatry continues to rely on self reports so much. Yes, there are financial and logistic issues involved but it almost as if they have given up on moving beyond self reports. 
    Greg M.
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Greg M.
    No, I am the last person you want attempting to talk someone off of the ledge, Hank. I'll hold his hand and jump off with him.

    @Medcat: Thanks for finding this information. The two I mentioned previously were questions that stuck out in my mind. Other than that, no others come to mind. The authors have done a good job gathering and analyzing data but, like Hank says, input is a worry. There is every reason for psychiatrists to integrate existing biomedical tests to aid in diagnosis and monitor prognosis, levels of anti-depressants, etc. It seems the next logical step for the field of psychiatry given that the neurotransmitters theory of synaptic transmission is generally accepted.

    But yeah, another argument for another time! Thanks again Medcat.
     
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    No problem, I was interested as well.

    I am not sure, from this discussion at least, how effectively they separated cause and effect.

    People on medication for emotional issues would be expected to have more of those feelings than the general population. It would seem a much tougher call to determine if this is caused by the medication

    I don't need more information because for one, my psychiatrist is very good and he gave me all the literature I would need before I started taking the drugs and because they do not affect me like that. My husband of 31 years died in 1998 so I am celibate by choice therefore I don't care about sexual difficulties, and I'm not looking for romance so I have not tested that one and really do not care in the least. I have many friends with whom I associate daily and on the weekends I go to visit and receive visits from my sons and grandchildren, I see my sister to whom I am closest five or six times a week; I have lunch weekly with all 7 of my siblings--something we started when our parents died but when I was in the midst of depression I could not manage, I work out daily, I ride my bicycle, I swim, I funciton as a normal person. I don't care what a bunch of other people do or how their meds affect them; they do not affect me in that way and they are a life saver for me. So put your stats in the toilet as far as I am concerned! Don't care! I will continue to do what is right for me. When my medical team tells me that I need to change, then I will consider the change. However, a bunch of annonymous people whom I do not know in the least do not affect me in the least. I can tell you that I love my children and have seen no decline there, I love my grandchildren and have seen no decline and in fact, all of the people for whom I care I seem to have been given a new day to tell them how much I love them and being with them. Everyone who cares about me has said what a difference they can see in me. I have never had suicidal thoughts even when I was in my deepest trough and I do not have them now. I am looking forward to going back to school and I have begun to love my job again. Why should I question this on the slight information that someone scrounged around on the Internet for to make a point. If you are someone who does not need antidepressants God bless you and I hope it lasts, but for me, this has been a life changer. So your stats mean nothing to me. Am I going to believe what some annonymous stranger says to me or will I beleive my own experience?

    That's great, and everything - but if how other people react to the medicine really wasn't an issue for you, then why would you be here? I would assume that you wouldn't be looking around on the internet for something that doesn't pertain to you.

    Another thing to note is that even if you're doing well on one antidepressant, you could still have negative side effects on another antidepressant if you end up switching. Just because it doesn't affect you at the moment doesn't mean it won't affect you in the future - even if it doesn't affect you personally. Someone around you may end up on antidepressants, and have to deal with the negative side effects.

    The entire point of the study was to show that the side effects are more common than previously believed - if you just so happen to not have the side effects, then good for you.

    Greg Morris: The only joke is you.

    Greg M.
    First ad hominem directed at me after less than 24 hours back on the site. I'm so proud! I'd like to thank you, but you haven't given me your name.
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    A good B-complex, some fish oil, vitamin D3, healthy foods, and outdoor activity works better than anything any doctor ever prescribed me. When on these drugs, I hate everyone including myself, wanted to kill myself, nothing I wanted to do before starting the drugs. Since being clean of them, I actually feel good for the first time in many years. I did not know how bad I felt until I started feeling good. I now love life, like myself and others.
    I have had 3 relatives while on these drugs for mild depression, complete suicide. I will always believe in my heart that the drugs pushed them over the edge as they almost did me many times.

    John Hasenkam
    It's a friggin online questionnaire, that should ring alarm bells. The reported incidences are very high, that should ring ... . Even the reported incidence of benefit is hugely above what recent studies indicate for drug efficacy in treating depression. I now have ringing in my ears. 
    I'm with Greg on this one, before we draw any conclusions from this study we should be looking very carefully at that questionnaire and overall study design. I suspect far too many leading questions in the study. The cited figures are ridiculously high for both side effects and efficacy. 

    The drugs help, albeit with much less than desired frequency, but my personal view is the drugs help the person to achieve a state where they can initiate strategies for recovery. That is, the drugs set you on the right path but you still have to do the walking. 

    Hank
    Regarding every psychology paper, I use The Statistical Significance Filter rule of thumb: If an estimate is statistically significant, it’s probably an overestimate.
    This article should be titled “Anti-Depressants do not fix everything”. There should be no alarm here. This is not news. As an antidepressant patient for over a decade I consider myself an expert and success story. Most important stat in this article is over 80% reported reduction in their depression. Yes, there are side effects. Yes these are powerful medicines and you should be informed. I am fortunate enough to have a good psychiatrist who blended an antidepressant with an amphetamine to keep me focused and productive, but YMMV. Shop around, try different things.
    My personal views from first-hand experience, and items probably not on the “survey”:
    1) Depression <> sadness.
    Depression, more often than not is anger turned inward. It can be from stress, anger, sometimes sadness or powerlessness of such great magnitude that the chemical processes of the brain are hindered. Often Seratonin is depleted and the brain gets caught in obsessive loops, forward thinking and worry, multi-tasking to the extent of thrashing, inability to decide what to do next. These can be debilitative in their power over a person. Symptoms can include confusion, irritability, inappropriate outbursts, uncontrollable rage, social withdrawal, drug abuse and worse. Get help if this describes you.
    2) Antidepressants do not increase suicidal ideations.
    If you have suicidal ideations, seek therapy before pill popping. Find the roots of your feelings and do not give up. Stay busy. These drugs do not in my option make you want to kill yourself more than you already want to. They CAN however, reduce the worry you might have about the impact or fallout from your suicide. I've had friends kill themselves. the impact on others is dreadful. Don;t go there. These drugs can have the effect of helping you believe everything will be all-right. Things will work out, but you will never know the pain you cause others in such a selfish act. Some may follow you, think about that first.
    Yes, a good diet and proper exercise are probably more effective than these drugs, but the drugs do work. They are not a fix-all however. Take responsibility for your life. Get out there and live it. Have you ever noticed that people who are busy doing what they want to do are rarely depressed? This could be you.
    3) Sexual Dysfunction is not necessarily a bad thing.
    Very common in antidepressant patients is the “delayed gratification” or inability to orgasm. Been there many times. You get close and you just can’t deliver. But you are still horny and can be like the energizer bunny. Keep going and going…. So enjoy it. The lack of desire is also common. This also happens as you get older, so I really wonder if this is a causal effect or a simple artifact of aging. Make an effort to stay in shape be spontaneous with your significant other and these will likely subside.

    All in all anti-depressants are a good tool in the care of many people. But they are not the be-all and end-all of happiness. You are responsible to find your slice of happiness and give happiness to others. So get busy.

    I agree with the article: that there are psychological problems that are drug-related with almost all (if not all) of the multiple victim shootings that have been occurring [in America], but there is something that bothers me about this article in general.
    Maybe the author is not good at conveying the information properly, but something was not connected or convincing about it.
    "Suicidality" ? Is that even a word? My spell check won't even leave it alone.....

    I appreciate the attempt to make people aware of the correlation between multiple victim shootings and the use of prescribed drugs.....it's a valid conclusion, and there have been more and more articles cropping up about the fact that most of these killers were on prescribed anti-pshychotic/anti-depressant drugs and their ill-effects....but this is a serious issue in the extreme and I wish the article had been better-written, with more source references. It would be more convincing.

    Also, I am NOT saying that all people who have been prescribed these medications have the same results; the ones we DON'T hear about are the ones the drugs have actually helped.
    However, I do believe that we, at least in America, are "over-drugged" by an industry that cares more about treating symptoms rather than finding actual cures. The profit margin is larger for one thing....for the drug manufacturers....not the users.

    Greg M.
    Christine, I agree with most of what you have to say except for this:

    "However, I do believe that we, at least in America, are "over-drugged" by an industry that cares more about treating symptoms rather than finding actual cures. The profit margin is larger for one thing....for the drug manufacturers....not the users."
    I fully get that pharmaceutical companies have a bottom-line and may or may not be interested in curing chronic disorders depending on the profit--or loss thereof--but there's nothing stopping Mr&Mrs. Joe America from educating themselves about psychopharmacology and mental health in our technological era in order to exercise their "free will" and begin making their own decisions so as to avoid becoming "over-drugged." Understand, however, that I'm mainly directing this at the individuals (re: anti-depressant treatment-resistant versus non-anti-depressant treatment-resistant; sorry for simplistic Bayesian logic) who congest an overburdened medical system, whatever their reasoning, only to turn around and blame the same profit-driven system for exploiting them. Hypocritical much?
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    John Hasenkam
    However, I do believe that we, at least in America, are "over-drugged" by an industry that cares more about treating symptoms rather than finding actual cures. 

    Yes, too much drugging going and Big Pharma has received some hefty fines for off label promotion of psychiatric drugs. In that circumstance wrong target, Big Pharma doesn't write scripts. However their shoddy studies, their failure to report all trials, their hiding of inconvenient data, is very naughty and has also been subject to litigation. 

    Depression is a condition that occurs at the interface of the individual and the environment. As such the idea that it can be cured with drugs is highly problematic for most individuals. It is not the fault of Big Pharma that they have not found a cure for depression or any other psychiatric condition. What many people do not appreciate is that the challenge of treating psychiatric conditions is orders of magnitude greater than treating many if not most other medical conditions. The reason for that is simple: we don't have a good working model of global CNS function and there is nothing in sight that proffers a remedy to that conceptual shortcoming. 

    When treating non-psychiatric conditions we do have good working models but with psychiatric conditions it is not sufficient to treat the CNS as tissue in a vat. The personal history, the genetics, the person's current environment, are all causative agents in psychiatric conditions to such a large extent that simply changing the CNS is often not enough, especially with depression. Unfortunately the other interventions that are so often required are either financially or logistically impossible to implement. 



    Kind of strange article in my opinion. Does anyone else notice that he starts of the article asserting that anti-depressants cause homicides? Then I see no evidence in the article to back this statement. I am a little skeptical of this website.

    "Psychologist and lead author Professor John Read from the University of Liverpool"...... John Read practices ECT at Liverpool. Now wonder he is a skeptic of meds, he wants to shock people.... and ignore those side effects. Again, the more I dig around and research this site, the less legitimate it seems.

    Hank
    You should be skeptical of the University of Liverpool. His title comes from them. And Psychiatry Research published the study.
    Hank, so then this site has no responsibility for the content of it's articles? Are there no editors?

    Also, can you comment on how the author / authors start off with relating murders to anti-depressants? Where in the article does it support that statement?

    Never mind, I read your profile. Yeah this is a partisan site. Now I realize what is going on. Sorry to waste your time.

    Hank
    I am not sure you know what partisan means. It is not partisan to note if people who commit crimes are on drugs, or own guns, or were abused as children, any more than it is partisan to note the political party of a bunch of people who don't accept climate science or food science. If it is a common link among them it is called data.

    Now, you may not like the data, you may think the data are irrelevant, but calling it partisan means you simply do not know what words like that mean.
    The Science Left Behind is not partisan? The rise of anti-scientific left are not partisan books? You are authoring those books and creating this website, it all starts to piece together. Smells a lot like Fox News to me. Sure you are not related to Bill O'Rielly?

    Hank
    Even there you do not understand how data works. If there are 20 books talking about the anti-science positions of Republicans and 1 noting that the left has positions that are just as goofy, to you that is "partisan". Well, no, that is transparency and fact. 

    The notion that 20,000 members of this science community got together to support some unknown, unspecified right-wing agenda against...anti-depressants...is so weirdly stupid I have to wonder what medications you were on when you wrote that comment.
    I never stated 20,000 members of the site are part of an agenda. I said the site is partisan. But, if I did, it is as no less stupid then this article which states that "In America, after a startling homicide occurs,.... is the overwhelming prevalence of psychiatric medications in those events." and then does not produce one ounce of evidence to support that claim. So, this site seems to have a right-wing leader, and bunch of randomly produced articles.

    By the way, this is as harmful as the propaganda against vaccines.

    Hank
    Well, it is partisan toward science. That is the problem for some people, I suppose - data does not always fit into their cultural world view and so they selectively deny it. About 10 times a week I get called a shill for the left or a shill for the right, though I haven't changed in the least, just the topic has. Ask National Review if they think I am a right-wing person. They do not but you think I am - to someone on the far left, the middle is the right, and to people on the far right, the middle is the left.  Shrieking about Fox News says a lot about where you sit, but nothing about us. If you had shrieked about MSNBC I would know your political skew just as accurately.

    So, please educate us all, which sites are not "partisan" by your undefined and entirely subjective definition? And since you know the science media landscape so well (certainly better than me, since you know our membership and our audience apparently better than I do), please catalog all of the science sites run by left-wing people.
    Alright Hank, perhaps I was hasty in calling your website partisan. But this article still makes no sense. I still want to know how the author can make assertions in the introduction and never backs it up with facts.

    ROTFL. Transparency and fact? LOL ... next, you'll be saying that it's "fair and balanced".

    Greg M.
    My goal for 2014 is to try and complete abolish identity politics and the political continuum. Left, right... who the hell cares?! Is it possible? What will I substitute in its place?
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    My goal for 2014 is to try and complete abolish identity politics and the political continuum. Left, right... who the hell cares?! Is it possible? What will I substitute in its place?
    How about substituting science in its place? Good science is conducted in an objective and apolitical manner. I'm also fed up of people constantly referencing left and right wing politics while discussing scientific research and articles on a science site. They should go and do that on political sites where biased pseudoscience is just another tool to fight each other with.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    In America, 50% of science is controlled by the government so it will be political. I have met few demographics outside politicians and their staffs that are as uniformly political as scientists. You don't hold science or scientists in high regard anyway so claiming it is pseudoscience when the cultural manipulation of data is obvious is...odd. You have claimed the LHC is going to wreck the earth, that you are a psychic and that you have been visited by UFOs, but none of those things are pseudoscience and no one leveled that at you, they are just batshit crazy. Still, no one tells you that you should be booted from the site over it. So you shouldn't claim you should have some dictatorial power over anyone else's membership either.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Sorry if I have accidentally hit a nerve but all I did was answer Greg when he said 'My goal for 2014 is to try and complete abolish identity politics and the political continuum. Left, right... who the hell cares?! Is it possible? What will I substitute in its place?I just thought that politics was best left out of science as much as possible, obviously you don't agree. 
    BTW I  never claimed that the LHC was going to wreck the earth, I simply asked how scientists knew that these Large Hadron Collider experiments at CERN in Geneva were safe when I was worried that we could be like children playing with fire and creating dangerous micro black holes, magnetic monopoles, strangelets or new forces that we don't yet understand.
     
    I was reassured in the comments section of my blog that you subsequently deleted that non of this could possibly ever happen and if it did then Hawking's radiation would cause any micro black holes or anything else that was accidentally created to evaporate quickly. I'm not sure that even Stephen Hawking still agrees with that these days but I was reassured at the time and I apologized for outlining my rather stupid hypothesis and then removed it. 

    Do you ever forgive anyone when they have apologised or am I permanently tarred with the batshit crazy brush in your mind? It was a long time ago and I was new to the site but I still don't see why simply asking those questions makes me batshit crazy? I hold science and scientists in high regard that is why I am a member here because I enjoy asking scientists questions and reading, writing and discussing science and I also have a science degree myself and I am about to complete a second one.

    Its also true that I once saw a UFO in broad daylight and was stupid enough to publicly admit it, just so that people like you can ridicule me. If you saw an unidentified flying object would you tell anyone? I doubt it somehow. Isn't science about sharing observations? BTW I have never said that anyone should be booted from the site and I have never claimed that I have some sort of dictatorial power over anyone else's membership, quite the opposite, I am the lowest of the low here as you well know and I don't even mind that, I'm just happy to be here :)
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Greg M.
    Yeah Helen, that's what I meant. I try to approach issues objectively and framing an issue beforehand as being either {right or left} unnecessarily biases it. Sometimes I am a neo-liberal, or an anarcho-syndicalist, or even *gasp* a fascist. It all depends on the issue we're discussing, and how much I've had to drink. Identity politics and the political continuum are cop-outs, though. They are for lazy thinkers, for people who wish to have a cookie-cutter response to a particular problem; for politicians.

     
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    This article makes an assertion that anti-depressants are "overwhelming prevalence of psychiatric medications in those events[ startling homicides]". Then does not show one shred of evidence to support it. The article is written by "News staff"? Who the heck is "News staff"? This is definitely suspect. The article is wrapped up to look scientific, but it is written by ghost writer. Not very professional at all.

    Yeah, I actually found the referenced article by John Read et al. It makes no assertion that anti-depressants are linked to homicides. Apparently who ever "News Staff" is, he or she is taking great literary license and creating fiction from it. Not very scientific at all. I am doing my best to reach John Read and tell him how his work is being used to mis-inform people.

    Hank
    He is easy to reach, his email is at the top of the paper. "I actually found the referenced article" is not any great feat, since the citation is right there. Just plug in the DOI and you go right to it.

    Anyway, maybe are a rep for Big Pharma, and are worried that any link between mind-altering drugs and bizarre behavior will hurt your industry, but your panicky comment got me to do a search.  I found so much I thought about actually doing an article on it, but this seems to be so well-known I would be 'preaching to the choir'.

    Now, Read is in Liverpool, guns are banned there, and he was studying...New Zealand...rather than America so he won't be much help about why drugs are a concern for Americans, but your issue seems to be any correlation to violent acts. Well, lots of data seem to show it. The colloquial insult about bizarre behavior may have to change from 'he must be off his his meds' to 'he must be on his meds'. Here are a few:

    New Warnings Proposed for Antidepressants - FDA, which further links to 15,000 acts of violence to psychiatric medications and says only 1% of cases are reported.
    Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law - PLoS Medicine
    Thoughts and acts of aggression/violence toward others reported in association with varenicline - Annals of Pharmacotherapy
    Psychiatric Drugs and Violence: A Review of FDA Data Finds A Link - Psychology Today
    Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others - PLoS One

    Maybe data bugs you and you just want to know about high-profile cases, so:

    Washington Navy Yard shooter was on antidepressants
    Newtown shooter was on antidepressants (in the home, not in his system at the time of the autopsy, so it may be linked to frontal lobe syndrome)
    Virginia Tech shooter on antidepressants
    Columbine shooter on antidepressants
    Autora movie theater shooter on antidepressants

    Every recent massacre has the same link.

    It's often the case that if you want to know the weaknesses in your field, ask your opposition. So Greenpeace happily lists all of the issues with oil companies and groups that are worried about the over-use of medication do the same thing. Citizens Commission on Human Rights International has a dizzying list of links

    Obviously it is okay to be skeptical. You had me wondering enough I spent an hour finding this stuff. But it only took an hour. You could have done the same thing, if your goal was truth.

    If you are arguing correlation is not a great way to go, okay, or that maybe video games are the problem, okay, but that is not the point you are making, you are saying it's a lie. If so, then even an hour search shows it's an often-told one. If they are all wrong (or lying), you should simply show your data and after you write Read, you can write everyone behind these studies and analyses.

    The FDA would love to hear from you, since they are among the liars you accuse.
    Thanks for the diatribe. The article takes a leap to assert that John Read et al assert that antidepressants are prevalent in homicides. No matter how much you rant in these comments section, none of that stated in Read's original study. Reference all the other articles properly. You site a lot of things in the comments section, perhaps you should reference them properly from the article.

    Hank
    Okay crackpot, you have shown that you have no interest in any studies, you are just off on some weird jag. You didn't look at any of the links, much less a single study, and instead want to assert that no shootings involve people on psychiatric medication. You must be on your meds to make such a ridiculous claim.

    Insisting that anyone who debunks your nonsense is on a 'rant' does not make it it so. It just shows you are goofy and paranoid.
    Hank, you still think I am a crackpot? John Read just joined in and confirms he never made any correlation between anti-depressants and violence. Sorry if the studies you are quoting don't supporting your conclusions, but that is not my fault. You should take more time to get your facts straight before jumping to conclusions.

    Hank
    No one here said the paper cited was about homicides and anti-depressants. The issue was focusing on one thing based on an agenda (guns, video games) and ignoring others (medications) because of cultural worries about stigmatizing patients isn't painting an accurate picture. Your zeal to protect Big Pharma from any culpability despite all the links you got means you have an agenda.
    My only agenda is truth.

    The first paragraph of your paper makes the assertion that anti-depressants are involved in homicides. Yet you or whoever "News Staff" is makes this assertion with no formal studies to make the case.

    This article is junk, and you are a hot head that doesn't know how to use logic.

    Also, I am not saying there is no relationship between anti-depressants and violence. Perhaps there is. I am just picky about people making assertions, especially where they are supposed to be professional. Again, there is just no mention in Read's article about this correlation.

    So I am really not here to argue the point of anti-depressants and violence. Just making the point that there is a huge error in the article. Obviously the internet is the wild west, and nobody can tell you to take it down. But I wish you would either correct it or take it down if you don't have the time. Do what you will.

    interesting discussions

    thanks JIm for alerting me to the misinformation that has sneaked in here and there

    so, for the record:

    our paper makes no reference to guns, homicide etc.

    we do address the direction of causality issue by showing that there was no relationship between the number of adverse effects and level of depression just before being prescribed the drugs (so the most likely explanation for the reported experiences is that they are indeed adverse effects of the drugs rather than symptoms of depression - but we cant prove that 100%)

    yes we asked about how long people had been on the drugs; those on them for more than three years reported significantly more adverse effects

    far from using |hock therapy I have long campaigned against its use

    hope all that is helpful

    thanks to you all for your interest in our research

    John

    Thank you Dr. Read. I appreciate your time to set the record straight.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I'm a crisis counselor and repeatedly clients on the phone tell me that they are on anti-depressant medication, living alone and handling severe panic attacks alone each day when their medications are wearing off, usually in the morning. That is when I am answering calls on the crisis line where I work as a counselling volunteer. It seems to me that many of these clients are taking these prescribed medications as a mental straitjacket that prevents them from behaving in a way that may be interpreted as generally socially unacceptable. Unfortunately not many of these clients are also getting the ongoing counselling therapy that they so desperately need to recover.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Greg M.
    If only researchers knew everything about depression, we could treat it like an additive set function and tally all the scores like a bookie, including the risk of anti-depressants per capita and the benefits of other preventative measures, but there are no metrics for beneficial treatment outcomes except for self-reports and anecdotal evidence. If a reliable source of these data existed, a sort of meta-analysis Valhalla, it would be further confounded by the fact that many patients are wholly uneducated about the side-effects, signs and symptoms, possible contraindications, etc., of the medications they are taking.

    Now, I'm not saying that patients ought to know everything about the drugs they are putting in their bodies, but they need to know some basic, common side effects and perhaps some of the more extreme cases. Maybe they should even be keeping a daily journal, who knows... Doctors need to be more stringent about putting patients on anti-depressants. It is ridiculously easy to have them prescribed to oneself! [. . .] To make a long rant short, my beef is not with the drugs, but with our dispensation and usage of the drugs.

    Sorry Helen, that wasn't directed at you. There was a reason I quoted you... LOL! I was wondering mainly about the demographics, about the type of people who are using your counseling services. Is affordable therapy inaccessible to most people?
    Begin with this assumption: it's all a joke. Then you will see the humour in everything.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I was wondering mainly about the demographics, about the type of people who are using your counseling services. Is affordable therapy inaccessible to most people?
    We are a crisis line in Australia, so we can't provide ongoing counselling, because every time a client calls the crisis line they get a different telephone counselor who will usually concentrate on trying to contain the crisis, empower the client and explore their options, often providing them with referrals from our national database to an approved practitioner and/or service accessible by phone or via the Internet or operating locally within the caller's district. We can search the referrals database on postal code or key words. Most of these approved referrals are affordable, some are free, gold coin donation and/or means tested but Australia is a huge country and where you live is a big factor, I often find that the city centres and some of the more remote rural areas are the hardest places to find adequate referrals. 

    Many callers already have psychiatrists and GP's who are overseeing their treatment and medication and many have also been referred by them to a psychologist in the past. Psychologists tend to assess clients with psychometric tests then provide them with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) more often than counselling. Many people are surprised to discover that there are no compulsory counselling units in a psychology degree, even these days for some strange reason that I still don't understand, I was also surprised to discover that when I did my psychology degree. 

    Counselling can be quite different to CBT. Rather than concentrating on assessing and labeling the client and then treating or modifying their specific negative behaviors and/or conditioned responses many counselling approaches aim to empower the client by helping them to better understand why they are experiencing these negative behaviors and symptoms, identifying past strengths and successes and realistic goals for the future, then developing new strategies and solutions to utilize these strengths and overcome any obstacles to achieving their goals and being happy. The client is treated as the expert of their condition as no one knows their life story, experiences and emotions better than the client and they then teach the counselor about themselves, identifying what experiences makes them happy and sad and why. 

    The counsellor is on a journey with the client symbolically walking alongside and helping them to work out where they want to go and how to overcome or circumvent the obstacles in their way. The counselor is not an expert who is diagnosing the client with a life long, often disempowering and stigmatizing label such as a mental disorder and then telling them what to do or even what to take medicinally to treat their accompanying symptoms. The low self image that results simply from living with the social stigmatization of a mental disorder is often associated with depression, disempowerment, social exclusion and suicide.

    The crisis line where I work is confidential unless someone's life is in danger, then we have to contact an in shift supervisor who will decide whether to contact the police who will then decide the best course of action. Anyone who is in crisis, stressed, anxious, grieving, lonely or depressed who has access to a phone can contact us, either for free or for the cost of a local call, depending on whether they are calling from a mobile phone or land line. They may be old, young, rich or poor and they may have mental and/or physical health challenges or be just experiencing a crisis. There are some regular callers who often live alone and are housebound for various reasons and/or have no one else to talk to. Some callers are very heavily medicated and/or taking anti-depressants and/or anti-psychotics and many say that they have been doing so for years. Many also seem to experience panic attacks when their medication is wearing off or other adverse side effects such as blurred vision, slurred speech and possibly even suicidal ideation. I can't say much more or even identify the service because of confidentiality and security reasons.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine