The perils of anti-depressants: Increased suicide risk

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It is no secret that I have suffered, and still do suffer, from major depressive illnesses. Many people do and they either hide it, talk about it or plaster over the cracks.

You usually don’t realise someone you love is suffering from depression until they tip over somehow.

The problem is the medical fraternity almost always prescribe medications in various forms. I know, I’ve been on most of them, sometimes in a chemical cocktail. The very worst time of my life was when I was on anti-depressants.

Now there is another worry…it appears they increase the risk of suicide.

Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review of its kind has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.

The review of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants, involving more than 18,000 people, found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under-18s.

Although a similarly stark link was not seen in adults, the authors said misreporting of trial data could have led to a “serious underestimation of the harms”.  

Families have claimed over many years that antidepressants drove loved ones to suicide, but this has been dismissed by medical companies and doctors who said a link was unproven.

The review was carried out by the Nordic Cochrane Centre and analysed by University College London (UCL), who have endorsed the findings in a British Medical Journal editorial.

After comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports, the scientists concluded pharmaceutical companies had regularly misclassified deaths and suicidal actions or thoughts in people taking antidepressants to “favour their products”.

Prof Peter Gøtzsche, the lead author, from the Nordic Cochrane Centre, said: “Antidepressants don’t work in children, that is pretty clear, in the randomised trials children say that they don’t work for them, but they increase their risk of suicide.

“What I get out of this colossal under-reporting of suicides is that [antidepressants] likely increase suicides in all ages.”

Commenting on the findings of the review, Prof Gøtzsche added: “It is absolutely horrendous that they have such disregard for human lives.”

Experts said the review’s findings were “startling” and that it was “deeply worrying” that clinical trials appear to have been misreported.

I’ll tell you right now that if doctors informed you properly of the side effects of anti-depressants then many people would no longer take them, especially blokes.

If they told you that you’d lose balance, sweat like a pig, smell awful and could get hard-ons but never go bang, then no bloke would even bother. The sexual aspect right there is enough of a reason to off yourself…and I would suggest that it is a massive contributing factor to risk-taking behaviour, affairs and marriage dissolution….and it all comes back to the drugs.

Insurance companies don’t help either…they want to see you taking pills to “fix” yourself. The problems arise when the pills don’t work…and for me none of them did. What they did do, though, was turn me into an uncaring heartless zombie. They did more damage to my life than they solved.

Since coming off those awful drugs my life has considerably improved, but I am still dealing with the legacy of those years.

Drugs don’t solve all of the issues with depression. Seek professional help, and change doctors if you need to until you find someone who gets you.

 

– Fairfax


 

SUICIDE HELPLINES

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 – provides 24-hour telephone counselling
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 – provides 24-hour telephone and text counselling services for young people
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666 – provides 24-hour telephone counselling.
  • Tautoko: 0508 828 865 – provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends
  • Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon – 11pm)
  • Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm – 6pm weekdays)
  • The Lowdown: thelowdown.co.nz  – website for young people ages 12 – 19.
  • National Depression Initiative – depression.org.nz (for adults), 0800 111 757 – provides 24-hour service

If it is an emergency, or you feel you or someone you know is at risk, please call 111.

For information about suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz.

 


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