Continuing the Medication Debate: An Examination of Bob Fiddaman’s Book on The Seroxat Scandal (Guest Post)
In an effort to continue our dialogue on medications, I have decided to post this book review. This does not mean I am for or against medications, but rather I am providing you with another chance for discussion. Today’s guest post comes from reader Sheila who writes the blog Prozac Withdrawal (a blog on her personal struggle with antidepressants). Throughout the book review, Sheila struggles with the positives and negatives of medication- the same struggle all patients go through. The following is her book review:
I’ve been following Seroxat Sufferers Stand Up and Be Counted! For a little while and I cottoned onto the fact that the author, Bob had written the book “The Evidence, However, Is Clear” so I sent off for it and read it in one day, that’s pretty fast for me nowadays.
Bob was prescribed Seroxat (an SSRI in the same family as Prozac/Lustral) for depression due to work related problems, what followed was a journey that took him through a tapering process of, what he believes to be, a highly addictive antidepressant. Following almost two years of withdrawal, Fiddaman’s new battle with the manufacturer of the drug (GlaxoSmithKline) and the UK Medicines Regulator (MHRA) took him on a more frustrating journey than he could ever have imagined. (This bit is from the blurb on the back of the book). I understand from Bob’s website/blog/book that he is an activist and winner of two Human Rights Awards and lives in a council flat in Birmingham.
I am really so much in awe of Bob and I learned a lot from his book, about how the pharmaceutical industry has cynically marketed SSRI’s, how the MHRA is hand in glove with the manufacturers of SSRI’s (and other drugs) and not detached as it should be. How they have suppressed information that these drugs are extremely difficult to get off of, and kept the medical profession in the dark about how to get people off SSRI’s properly. I learned how the drug companies peddled the myth of a “Chemical Imbalance in the Brain” which I fell for and believed myself until the penny slowly dropped after 10 years of failure to get myself off Lustral. It’s a shocking read but I wasn’t surprised by anything I read, I’d kind of realised for myself a long while ago that someone must be making a lot money out of all these people who struggle to get off SSRI’s and believe they have a chemical imbalance.
Where I struggle is that I know a lot of people who have benefited from antidepressants as well and feel they have improved their quality of life, I find myself avoiding discussion forums on mental health on certain women’s web sites now for fear of upsetting people who are on SSRI’s with what I now know. I don’t want to cause additional depression and anxiety for people who are already depressed and anxious and probably wouldn’t want to listen anyway.
What I really have a problem with is that doctors are not presenting patients with the full facts about SSRI’s before prescribing them like smarties. The first time I had Post Natal Depression I soldiered on without drugs, I really struggled, and it took me a good year to really come out the other side, I’m glad I did though and I’m glad I didn’t go into a second pregnancy on SSRI’s and the worry about the effect on my second baby. After I gave birth the second time I thought I had got away with it, but then I felt the blackness wash over me soon after, worse than the first time. This time I decided I wasn’t going to keep it to myself, I was going to fess up, I told Peter and my health visitor, together we went to talk to the doctor, the doctor suggested antidepressants, I was desperate but my overriding concern was that I would be addicted and that was the first question I asked, I was reassured that no these were a fairly new class of drug and they were not addictive…..the rest is history.
I often wonder, if my doctor had said, there is a drug that can help you feel better, but they do have some side effects, they can make you feel numb, if you stop them suddenly or come off too fast they can make you feel desperate and suicidal, they can be extremely difficult to get off and worse case scenario it could take you as long as 3-5 years to taper off them, I wonder what I would have decided then? I wonder what a lot of other people would decide?
Please use the comment section for discussions on this book review as well as the medication debate. Remember, please be civil and respect everyone’s comments and enjoy the discussion.
I hope you are all well,