Episode 10 Kevin P Miller talks about his documentary films Generation Rx (2009) and Letters From Generation Rx (2015) which tell the powerful stories of families harmed by their psychiatric medications

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In this episode we discuss:
  • How Kevin came to make his powerful films that document the real experiences of people taking psychiatric drugs
  • The coverage of the 1991 Prozac hearings in Washington D.C. before the Food and Drug Administration
  • How the power of the testimonies of people harmed by their medications drove Kevin to tell their stories and how difficult a process it was
  • How Tilda Swinton came to be involved as narrator of the film
  • Reaction to the film, particularly from Pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • How examples of people who used vitamins and nutrition to help their mental health caused outrage amongst the medical community
  • That there are millions of people being harmed because of the lack of the relevant information that would allow patients to make informed choices about their medications
  • How tax payers money is used to bring medications to market and how little is spent on research into nutritional approaches
  • How free trade and healthcare are intertwined
  • The concept of medical freedom of choice
  • That we should devote a small mount of time and money to alternative approaches and how it could help millions of people without the risk of adverse effects
  • Discussions around Folic acid and how earlier action could have prevented many neural tube defects
  • The plans for the film Letters from Generation Rx including distribution
  • How people can join the mailing list at lettersfromgenerationrx.com
  • There is additional news and information at facebook.com/lettersfromgenerationrx
  • That we should recognise that some people find the drugs helpful
  • How people can use the information in the film to question their doctors and their legislators

Episode 11 Nora talks about her extreme adverse reaction to an antidepressant which started almost immediately and left her with physical, emotional and psychological problems

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In this episode we discuss:
  • How pressures and stresses in life led Nora to consult her doctor for advice
  • How Nora was prescribed an antidepressant after a 5 minute consultation with no discussion about adverse effects
  • That Nora was not prepared by her doctor in any way for what happened when she started to take her medication
  • That in Ireland you don't always get a Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) that would have helped her understand what she was taking
  • That Nora reacted straight away to her antidepressant medication and the adverse reactions were sudden and shocking
  • How she stopped her tablets after 5 days but still suffered with protracted withdrawal
  • That Nora had to use the Internet to find the information that she needed about her drug
  • How Nora went back to her GP who didn't know anything about withdrawal and became annoyed when hearing her experiences
  • That, 2 years after that short period taking her antidepressant, she still struggles with physical, emotional and psychological effects
  • That, for Nora, the most troubling withdrawal effects have been the electric shock sensations that she continues to experience
  • How Nora felt that her doctors did know that withdrawal was a possibility but could not admit to the problems that people have
  • That, if you look at the clinical trials, there is only a small chance greater than placebo that an antidepressant will have a beneficial effect but the risks of adverse effects are much greater
  • That more education of doctors is needed so that patients can make a properly informed choice about drug treatments for mental health
  • How the internet and Facebook are vital resources for people that do not get the information that they need from mainstream medicine
  • That mainstream medicine makes incorrect and dangerous assumptions about the onset, length and severity of antidepressant withdrawal

Episode 12 Doctor Lucy Johnstone on how the underlying causes of emotional distress are often unexplored, and why that might be

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This week, we talk with Doctor Lucy Johnstone who is a clinical Psychologist, trainer, speaker and writer, and a long-standing critic of the biomedical model of psychiatry. She has worked in adult mental health settings for many years, alternating with academic posts. Lucy has authored a number of books, including 'Users and Abusers of Psychiatry, and ‘A straight talking introduction to psychiatric diagnosis’ as well as a number of articles and chapters on topics such as psychiatric diagnosis, formulation, the psychological effects of ECT, and the role of trauma in breakdown. I was keen to talk to Dr. Johnstone about our reliance on the concept of diagnosis and how that doesn't fit well with psychological or emotional distress and how a predominantly biomedical view of tends to lead to a purely medication centred approach to mental healthcare.

In this episode we discuss:
  • The difference between a clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist
  • How Lucy became interested in the way we live and how that contributes to states of extreme distress
  • How Lucy’s books follow a theme of being critical of the concept of diagnosis
  • Why diagnosis is not the right lens through which to look at emotional or psychological distress
  • How we turn people with problems into patients with illnesses
  • How it is generally accepted that mental health issues are medical illnesses when there is no basis for this and it is an assumption
  • We need a more sophisticated approach and better language to help us understand trauma and emotional distress
  • That a medical illness view is sold as a fact when it really is not scientifically or ethically justified
  • How it can be looked down on to question your diagnosis
  • That we realise that a diagnosis is often necessary for practical help like benefits or sick notes but this needn't always be the case
  • How the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is constructed and the most recent version is DSM V
  • That there is a great deal of controversy because it is including more and more behaviours that are becoming classified as illnesses with no evidence that they are illnesses
  • Even the people that are putting together the DSM acknowledge that we need a better system
  • How many Psychiatrists are backing away now from theories like the chemical imbalance
  • Some of the alternatives to diagnosis that allow the service user to express themselves
  • How formulation works as one possible alternative to diagnosis, although not the only one, and that the conversation shouldn't not just be ‘what is wrong with you’
  • It should be a normalising not a pathologising message
  • That diagnosis often disguises the social drivers whereas best practice formation or discussion will include the social issues like poverty or inequality that are leading to emotional distress
  • That diagnosis and medication encourages us to locate the problem within the individual for their predicament rather than confront the fact that societal concerns are causing the huge increase in emotional or psychological distress
  • Why chemical imbalances don't explain the link between antidepressant prescribing and poverty
  • Why a psychosocial approach to mental distress would reduce psychiatric prescribing
  • That there is more and more evidence to suggest that overall, psychiatric drugs lead to disability in the long term rather than fix any problem

Episode 13 Susie talks about stopping her antidepressant cold turkey after 2 years and how her doctors failed to recognise antidepressant withdrawal


This week, Susie tells us about her experiences of stopping her antidepressant drug cold turkey after 2 years of taking it. She also tells how her doctors failed to identify antidepressant withdrawal and didn't listen when she tried to explain.

In this episode we discuss:
  • How feeling lonely and having caring pressures led to Susie seeking help from her doctor
  • How Susie consulted a student doctor who prescribed her antidepressant
  • That Susie had previous positive experience with antidepressant drugs
  • That the doctor Susie consulted did not tell her about adverse effects or difficulties with withdrawal
  • That her antidepressant made her feel violent and angry
  • How the most difficult adverse effect was paralysis
  • How Susie took her antidepressant for 2 years and then stopped ‘cold turkey’
  • That Susie was misdiagnosed by three different doctors who failed to recognise or treat her for antidepressant withdrawal
  • That people in withdrawal need support from family or friends, sometimes even for basic things like being fed
  • That there is a lot of education of medical professionals needed on psychiatric drug withdrawal
  • That Susie feels fortunate to have finished with her medication but that she describes withdrawal as like ‘going through hell’

Episode 14 Tina talks about her experience with depression, her use of antidepressant drugs and how a change in her medication led to her withdrawal problems

On iTunes

This week, Tina talks about her experience with depression, her use of antidepressant drugs and how a change in her medication led to her withdrawal problems. She also tells how her doctors failed to advise her about antidepressant withdrawal in advance or recognise it when it arose.

In this episode we discuss:
  • How work pressures led to Tina feeling under intense pressure
  • How Tina’s doctor diagnosed her with ‘flat battery syndrome’ and prescribed antidepressants
  • How Tina was told that there were no issues with dependance or withdrawal
  • That Tina wasn't worried about side effects and was confident that the medication would help her
  • How Tina only saw her GP twice over the next six years with no review of her medications
  • How additional pressures with work led to Tina then getting a diagnosis of anxiety in addition to depression
  • How her Doctor advised changing from Fluoxetine to Paroxetine
  • That Tina felt a little better after the changeover
  • How losing her ex husband led to Tina experiencing a deep depression and suicidal thoughts and that she sought help from counselling
  • This time the GP changed Tina to Citalopram, describing it as a “kinder’ antidepressant asking Tina to change over in 2 weeks
  • How, within a few days, Tina started to feel very unwell experiencing vivid dreams, nausea, dizziness, tinnitus
  • When she came to make her reductions in the second week of the changeover she felt like she was being poisoned
  • That she experienced severe electric shock sensations which led her to research online and discovered that what she was experiencing was Paroxetine withdrawal
  • How Tina was just advised to changeover even more quickly and ended up feeling that she needed to go into hospital
  • How she feels that if she were taking illegal drugs she would have got more support
  • How, once changed onto Citalopram, the symptoms started to ease
  • That Tina is still on Citalopram but that she got virtually no support from her GP which making the changes to her medication
  • How counselling helped in allowing Tina to express how she felt
  • How Tina feels that there should be more awareness, more information and more support for people that end up in antidepressant withdrawal