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Like millions of Britons who’ve taken prescribed antidepressants, when I tried to stop taking the pills I suffered serious psychiatric symptoms. In fact, I felt so suicidal that I had to be admitted to hospital.
One thing marks me as different, though — I am a practising NHS psychiatrist. My experiences have led me to campaign for openness about the dangers antidepressant drugs can pose — in particular to patients who want to stop taking them.
Body - Royal - College - Psychiatrists - RCPsych
I have also lobbied for my professional body, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), to become fully open about its links with the pharmaceutical industry. For I believe that the drug companies hold a perilous financial grip over the College.
You’d think that my colleagues would be generally sympathetic. However, I have been marginalised, ignored and vilified as a troublemaker — and a leading member of the RCPsych even wrote to my employer questioning my sanity.
Psychiatrists - Experiences - Antidepressants - Head - Parapet
Very few psychiatrists have ever spoken about their own experiences of taking antidepressants. So I know I have been putting my head above the parapet.
Nevertheless, I persist in talking about the problems that I and many others have suffered on antidepressant drugs, because I believe that we must have an open and honest debate about their benefits and harms.
October - Review - All-Party - Parliamentary - Group
Last October, a review by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence suggested around four million people in England may experience symptoms such as anxiety, sleep problems and hallucinations when withdrawing from antidepressants — and in about 1.8 million people, these symptoms may be severe.
My own problem began more than 20 years ago, when my first child was born. I was sleeping badly and feeling increasingly anxious, not least because my professional exams were coming up for membership of the Royal College.
GP - Anxiety - Disorder
My GP said I had generalised anxiety disorder and recommended I...
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