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Mental health drugs a risk.

IT'S a brave psychiatrist who attempts to play down the effects of prescribed psychiatric drugs, specifically antidepressants, when there have been so many reported instances of damage and death associated with their use.

Two psychiatrists, Professor David Baldwin and Dr Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, co-authored a letter to the Times in February. They wrote concerning the effects experienced when coming off antidepressants.

They wrote, "In the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment."

The controversy resurfaced recently when Professor Baldwin resigned from Public Health England's expert panel on prescribed medicines in the wake of a conflict of interests along with a string of insults connected with the published letter.

While the psychiatrists made their assumptions, there was a fundamental error. They failed to consult the people who really matter; those being the people who have experienced and continue to experience the physical and mental pain and trauma associated with coming off of antidepressants.

How damaging are antidepressants? Recent figures were published by the Office for National Statistics on deaths related to drug poisoning in England. These figures are mind-boggling.

From 1993 to 2017, the number of deaths associated with antidepressants was 11,169 - 1.2 deaths per day over that 25-year period.

If this was the number of deaths associated with baked beans, it's very likely those beans would be off the shelves and the manufacturer promptly bankrupted due to the number of lawsuits.

The unholy alliance however between pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists seeks to continue a profit-driven agenda where conflicts of interest are viewed unfavourably and with disdain, especially when human lives are at stake.

Also realise this - antidepressants are big business. Since 2000, the NHS has spent PS5bn on antidepressants in England alone. The commercial aspect of psychiatric drugs may be good business, but it's bad medicine.

BRIAN DANIELS, national spokesperson, Citizens Commission on Human Rights

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2018
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