Petition PE01627 – Scottish Parliament – Mental Health Treatment (Consent for under 18s)

Petition PE01627 – Mental Health Treatment (Consent for under 18s)

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01627

Reflections on Petitions Committee Meeting of 18 January 2018

1   Robust assessment of harms is needed

At the meeting of the Public Petitions Committee on 18 January, the Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt, stressed the importance of early intervention and prevention which is of course the best way to avoid young people with mental health issues being in the situation where medication needs to be prescribed at all.  We all welcome greater openness about mental health issues and the reduction of stigma.  However, it cannot just be assumed that this has resulted in increased prescribing of antidepressants or that increased prescribing is necessarily a good thing.  Research in England has demonstrated that increased prescribing rates are due to patients staying on the drugs for longer rather than more patients coming forward.  Without a robust assessment of the harms caused by these drugs, including drug-related suicides, one cannot assume anything about their safety or effectiveness.  Yet, Dr Mitchell stated during the discussions for PE01651 that there was no way of knowing how often patients of all ages were seriously harmed by these drugs.  Increased prescribing among young people could also of course simply indicate a lack of alternative services available to these patients and their prescribing doctors.

2   Explicit and accurate information is needed about the drugs

Professor David Healy, one of the world’s foremost psychopharmacologists and expert in SSRI antidepressants, spoke at a global health conference recently in Aberdeen. (1) He said that, in 29 paediatric clinical trials of antidepressants, every single one failed to produce an obvious benefit. Moreover, “In every single one of these trials it has produced more harms than benefits in the sense that it has made children become suicidal who wouldn’t have become suicidal if they hadn’t been put on these drugs.”  He also said: “We have a situation where, if you are following the evidence, no-one should be using these drugs. At the same time, in teenagers, these drugs have become the most commonly used drugs.”

Dr Jane Morris, consultant psychiatrist, Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, spoke on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  She was astonished at Prof Healy’s assessment of the evidence but she did not explain what was wrong with Prof Healy’s statements or in what way they were wrong.  She expressed the view that antidepressant prescribing is effective and appropriate.  And so the listening public was once again left confused, much like the patient in the consulting room when given less than clear information about the drugs they are being advised to consume.  What is one to believe and disbelieve? The public and patients alike are not given facts and figures on which they can base an informed decision.   They are not presented in such a way that allow for an informed assessment of the benefits and the risks.  Why is this information not presented to the public in a format that they can understand it?  So how can a young person possibly be expected to make an informed decision when there is such a huge gulf between one set of experts on the one hand and the Royal College of Psychiatry on the other?  Which set of opinions will be presented to the young patient in the consulting room?  Surely the issue is not the capacity to consent but the quality and accuracy of the information being offered by the prescribing doctor.

3   Antidepressant prescribing is too high

The Minister for Mental Health and Dr John Mitchell both asserted that there is no evidence that antidepressants are being prescribed inappropriately by GPs in Scotland.  Dr Mitchell said they are being used for the right indications and they are being reviewed.  I find this surprising given the research results being reported in England and the recently announced Public Health England year long review of drugs of dependence, including antidepressants.  Prof Tony Kendrick, Southampton University, estimates that around 33 – 50% of patients could taper off their antidepressant drugs and avoid future side effects and become more self-reliant.  He also says that up to one half of patients could be given an alternative treatment.  The Minister however stated that “there is no evidence that people having greater access to psychological therapies will reduce antidepressant prescribing”.  The views of the Scottish Government seem to be completely at odds with thinking south of the border.

4   Medical training in pharmacology?

There was much discussion about training and education for GPs in mental health, particularly diagnosis of depression.  Also the issues around safeguarding and obtaining consent.  The Committee discussed GP undergraduate and postgraduate training in psychiatry and opportunities for continuing professional development, as well as the nature of appraisal and revalidation.

I would wish to once again focus on the drugs.  

  • How much education and training do GPs receive in relation to the drugs they prescribe and the adverse effects of those drugs?
  • How much time is spent on pharmacology for example in the undergraduate and postgraduate courses?  I understand that time in the undergraduate curriculum for this subject has been reduced as curricular changes have taken place over the years and this has been a cause of considerable concern.
  • How much of the information received by prescribing doctors is in fact from the pharmaceutical industry and biased in their favour?

It is now clear from the experiences of patients reported for Petition PE01651, that GPs seem to have limited understanding of the issues of dependence or the need for slow and safe tapering.  They often do not recognise the adverse effects of the drugs, assuming that such effects are signs of deteriorating mental health.   If there is such limited understanding of the drug effects then they may not be in a position to give patients accurate information in order for informed consent to be obtained.  Nor will they be in a position to monitor the patient appropriately after the drug has been prescribed.  Young adults should be informed of all the risks associated with these drugs as should adults of all ages.  These include of course the risk of dependence and the difficulties of withdrawal.

The issue of safeguarding was then discussed.  Young adults who seek help for mental health problems are likely to be anxious or depressed or both.  If they have a history of self-harming that would of course ring alarm bells.  A young person in these circumstances may well have no intention of taking their own life, but the prescribing of powerful neuro-toxic drugs could well propel them towards that very act.  And so while it would be the case that the young person has the capacity to give consent, at the same time that young person may have little idea of what might lie ahead.  It is one thing to be told that a drug might have a particular effect, it is quite another to experience it.   The experience may bear no resemblance to the expectations of the patient.  Rational thought  may no longer be possible.  This of course can happen to patients of any age after being prescribed antidepressants.  Even with regular reviews, the GP may not be able to prevent a patient’s suicide.  If family members or other trusted adults are fully involved that should lessen the risks but even then that may not be sufficient.  It is crucial that GPs therefore understand the harmful and dangerous effects of these drugs for patients of all ages and that they clearly warn patients about these and any family members or trusted adults who are involved in that decision-making process for young adults.

5   NICE Guidelines on depression

Dr Mitchell referred to the NICE guidelines on depression, last revised in 2016.  I was recently made aware of these guidelines by Dr Philip Gaskill, GP but with respect to the section on antidepressant withdrawal.  There are about two pages on this subject.  I checked every research reference on which the advice was based and to my astonishment discovered that the studies are short term studies when in practice patients are on these drugs for many years or even decades.  Clearly there has been no attempt to revise them with respect to withdrawal.  I cannot of course comment on the rest of the document but I would ask again what exactly is known about these drugs and in particular what do GPs know about them?  if GPs follow the tapering guidance in this document they may well put patients at risk but they will be legally covered because they had followed the guidelines.  In my case, after a catastrophic withdrawal from a benzodiazepine, my GPs main concerns were to deny all knowledge or understanding of what had happened to me.   Antidepressants have been on the market for decades and the tapering guidelines have never been revised to take account of the length of time patients are being kept on these drugs.

6   Written consent forms 

Perhaps a written consent form is needed for the prescribing of mental health drugs whether they are prescribed for a physical or a mental health problem.  Patients could be provided with a detailed information sheet about the perceived benefits and known risks of these drugs and this would ensure every patient receives hopefully accurate and unbiased information and is not dependent on what may be the partial knowledge of the prescribing doctor.  The quality of the information would require honesty on the part of those compiling the document.  There is no point in medical experts providing conflicting opinions if they do not explain exactly what they are talking about and why their opinions differ.  The  patient could take that information sheet away with them, reflect on it, discuss it with family members if they so choose before the drug is prescribed.  As these drugs are not to be prescribed as a first line of treatment for young adults, consent would not normally be required at first consultation.  Perhaps a trusted adult could be involved in the consent process with the agreement of the young adult.  If the young adult does not wish anyone else to be involved then this could be documented and it would be clear that they young adult is likely to be at greater risk as a result.  If the risk is high, then of course confidentiality would have to be breached.

The reason this petition was brought was the tragic death by suicide of Annette Mackenzie’s daughter, Britney.  The central issue was that of informed consent and the prescribing of powerful anti-anxiety drugs at first consultation.  Even if Britney had not been prescribed them at first consultation but had returned for further consultations, the risks of taking the drugs would have been the same.  The risks of the drugs have to be properly communicated to patients of whatever age and at whatever stage of the consultation process they happen to be prescribed.  it is assumed that the prescribing doctor will be aware of those risks but perhaps we should not take that for granted.  Was Britney informed that propranolol has been associated with many suicides?  Did the trainee GP in question know that this was the case?  These questions were not asked by the GMC.  Had Britney been informed that this was one of the risks associated with this particular drug, perhaps she would have been better placed to understand what was happening to her.   Instead, the outcome was that the trainee GP had acted as any other doctor would do in similar circumstances.  This surely does not bode well for other young patients seeking help for anxiety or depression.   An information sheet would ensure that any known risks are presented and presented consistently.  Written consent would ensure that there is documentary evidence that the process of informed consent has indeed taken place and this would protect the prescribing doctor in the event of a subsequent death or other adverse event.

(1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42917452

(2) https://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2016/07/antidepressent-study-kendrick.page

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Welsh Assembly seeks individual stories for prescribed drug dependence

Petition P-05-784 Prescription drug dependence and withdrawal – recognition and support

The National Assembly for Wales’s Petitions Committee is considering the following petition, which was submitted by Stevie Lewis:

Petition text

We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.

This petition has been set up to raise awareness of the plight of individuals in Wales who are affected by dependence on and withdrawal from prescribed antidepressants and benzodiazepines – and specifically to ask the Welsh Government to support the BMA’s UK-wide call for action to provide timely and appropriate support for individuals affected.

The term “prescription drug dependence” refers specifically to the situation where, having taken their antidepressant or benzodiazepine medication exactly as prescribed by their doctor, patients find they are unable to stop because of the debilitating withdrawal effects. It is important to note here that addiction and dependence are related but different issues. Use of the term addiction implies pleasure seeking behaviour. Reporting of prescription drug dependence in the media continues to allude to “misuse” and “addiction” as if the patient is responsible in some way for their own harm. This is far from the truth. There is no pleasure whatsoever in finding that if you try to reduce or stop your antidepressant, you suffer a wide range of physical and emotional disturbances, that for some people can be life limiting and, tragically, even life ending. Patients need formal acknowledgement, support and guidance to help them through their withdrawal journey and this currently does not exist.

Further information about the petition and the Committee’s consideration of it to date can be found here:

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=19952

The Committee has agreed to seek the views and experiences of people affected by this issue in Wales. We would be particularly interested in views in relation to the following:

  1. Your experience of prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.
  1. What support services are available to people experiencing prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal, particularly in Wales, and whether these are sufficient?
  1. The extent to which prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal is a recognised issue amongst health professionals and the general public.
  1. Any actions that can be taken to improve the experience of those affected by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal, including in terms of prevention, management and support.

We would welcome views be sent to SeneddPetitions@assembly.wales by 16 March 2018.

Responses may be published as part of our Committee papers and discussed at a future Committee meeting. Please let us know as part of your response if you do not want your submission to be published.

If you would like any further information on this petition, please contact the Committee clerking team on 0300 200 6379.

Yours sincerely

David J Rowlands AM, Chair

P-05-784 Dibyniaeth ar gyffuriau presgripsiwn ac effeithiau diddyfnu – adnabyddiaeth a chefnogaeth

Mae Pwyllgor Deisebau Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn ystyried y ddeiseb ganlynol, a gyflwynwyd gan Stevie Lewis:

Testun y ddeiseb

Rydym yn galw ar Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru i annog Llywodraeth Cymru i gymryd camau i adnabod yn briodol a chefnogi’n effeithiol yr unigolion hynny yr effeithir arnynt ac a niweidir gan ddibyniaeth ar gyffuriau presgripsiwn a’r adwaith wrth ddiddyfnu oddi wrthynt.

Sefydlwyd y ddeiseb hon i godi ymwybyddiaeth o sefyllfa unigolion yng Nghymru yr effeithir arnynt gan ddibyniaeth ar gyffuriau gwrth-iselder a bensodiasepinau ar bresgripsiwn a’r adwaith wrth geisio diddyfnu oddi wrthynt. Yn benodol gofynnwn i Lywodraeth Cymru gefnogi galwad Cymdeithas Feddygol Prydain ledled y DU am gamau i ddarparu cymorth amserol a phriodol ar gyfer unigolion yr effeithir arnynt.

Mae’r term “dibyniaeth ar gyffuriau presgripsiwn” yn cyfeirio’n benodol at y sefyllfa lle mae cleifion, ar ôl cymryd eu meddyginiaeth gwrth-iselder neu bensodiasepin yn union fel a ragnodwyd gan eu meddyg, yn gweld na allant roi’r gorau oherwydd yr effeithiau diddyfnu difrifol. Mae’n bwysig nodi yma bod caethiwed a dibyniaeth yn gysylltiedig â’i gilydd, ond yn faterion gwahanol. Mae defnyddio’r term ‘bod yn gaeth’ yn awgrymu bod yr unigolyn yn ymddwyn mewn ffordd benodol er mwyn ceisio pleser. Mae adroddiadau am ddibyniaeth ar gyffuriau presgripsiwn yn y cyfryngau yn parhau i gyfeirio at “camddefnyddio” a “bod yn gaeth” fel pe bai’r claf yn gyfrifol mewn rhyw ffordd am ei niwed ei hun. Mae hyn ymhell o’r gwir. Ni cheir unrhyw bleser o gwbl o sylweddoli eich bod yn dioddef amrywiaeth eang o symptomau corfforol ac emosiynol wrth geisio rhoi’r gorau i’ch meddyginiaeth gwrth-iselder neu gymryd llai ohoni. Mewn rhai achosion, gall y symptomau gyfyngu ar fywyd pobl ac, yn drasig, gallant fod yn angheuol hyd yn oed. Mae ar gleifion angen cydnabyddiaeth ffurfiol, cymorth ac arweiniad i’w helpu drwy eu taith o roi’r gorau i’r feddyginiaeth ac nid yw hynny’n bodoli ar hyn o bryd.

Mae rhagor o wybodaeth am y ddeiseb, ac ystyriaeth y Pwyllgor ohoni hyd yma, ar gael yma:

http://www.senedd.cynulliad.cymru/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=19952

Mae’r Pwyllgor wedi cytuno i geisio barn a phrofiadau pobl yr effeithir arnynt gan y mater hwn yng Nghymru. Byddai gennym ddiddordeb arbennig mewn safbwyntiau mewn perthynas â’r canlynol:

  1. Eich profiad o ddibyniaeth a diddyfnu mewn perthynas â chyffuriau ar bresgripsiwn.
  1. Pa wasanaethau cymorth sydd ar gael i bobl sy’n dioddef o ddibyniaeth a diddyfnu mewn perthynas â chyffuriau ar bresgripsiwn, yn enwedig yng Nghymru, ac a yw’r rhain yn ddigonol?
  1. Y graddau y mae dibyniaeth a diddyfnu mewn perthynas â chyffuriau ar bresgripsiwn yn fater sy’n cael ei gydnabod ymhlith gweithwyr iechyd proffesiynol a’r cyhoedd yn gyffredinol.
  1. Unrhyw gamau y gellir eu cymryd i wella profiad y rheini yr effeithir arnynt gan ddibyniaeth a diddyfnu mewn perthynas â chyffuriau ar bresgripsiwn, gan gynnwys o ran atal, rheoli a chefnogi.

Byddem yn croesawu anfon sylwadau at SeneddDeisebau@cynulliad.cymru  erbyn 16 Mawrth 2018.

Gellir cyhoeddi ymatebion fel rhan o bapurau’r Pwyllgor, a byddant yn cael eu trafod yn un o gyfarfodydd y Pwyllgor yn y dyfodol. Rhowch wybod i ni fel rhan o’ch ymateb os nad ydych am i’ch cyfraniad gael ei gyhoeddi.

Os hoffech gael rhagor o wybodaeth am y ddeiseb hon, cysylltwch â thîm Clercio’r Pwyllgor drwy anfon e-bost at SeneddDeisebau@cynulliad.cymru neu ffonio 0300 200 6379.

Yn gywir

David J Rowlands AC/AM, Cadeirydd

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Response to Public Petitions Committee Meeting – 18 January

Since submitting my previous written statement (Ref PE01651/NNNN) I have with great reluctance attended the Substance Misuse Service. I felt very uncomfortable having only ever taken drugs as prescribed. The consultant psychiatrist gave a full and unequivocal verbal statement that my current disastrous state of health is entirely the result of 40 years of prescribed Nitrazepam and a far too rapid taper (3 months).  He said I should have tapered over one to two years. My GP stated in writing that he had planned to taper me off over a matter of weeks, this is contrary to NICE Guidelines.  This level of ignorance is wholly unacceptable. The psychiatrist said he would stand by his opinion should I wish to take legal action.  He also advised nothing could be done by way of treatment.

He confirmed long-term consumption of benzodiazepines causes dementia-like symptoms, of which I have many.  At no point over the past 40 years did any doctor ever inform me this would be the most likely outcome. My future looks very bleak indeed. This was the 9th doctor I had consulted in Scotland (4 GPs, psychiatrist, two neurologists (private and NHS) and a neurophysiologist.  I am utterly appalled that it has taken four years to achieve an accurate and honest assessment of my dreadful state of health.  It has cost me over £1,000 in the process in private consultations, tests and MRI scan.  All utterly fruitless because of medical denial and downright dishonesty.  I have also of course consulted Dr Terry Lynch, GP in Ireland who knew exactly what was wrong with me at first consultation.  Time has been taken up with the GP practice complaints procedures as well as NHS complaints processes.  And all because the medical profession wanted to conceal the truth about what had really happened to me.  Most patients would of course have given up.

In despair, I recently contacted Dignitas in Switzerland. Other affected patients have also contacted them.  I was appalled when they sent me an information pack for the “mentally ill”.  They informed me that “protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome”, a term I had in fact not mentioned, is a psychiatric diagnosis.  So it seems that anything associated with drugs of dependence carries a psychiatric diagnosis.  This is unlikely to be made explicit to the patient.  Side effects, withdrawal symptoms are regularly mistaken for “mental illness”. There is no escape from psychiatry’s clutches it would seem.

Response to Petitions Meeting of 18 January 2018 – Members of the online prescribed harmed community listened with great interest to the discussion.  We are very grateful to the Committee members for their careful preparation and probing questions.  There was considerable dismay when listening to many of the responses given by Dr John Mitchell, Government Adviser and Maureen Watt, Minister for Mental Health.  It was felt that neither demonstrated any real understanding of the issues surrounding prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal nor did they address the very serious issue of iatrogenic harm and brain injury.   In fact, they did not express any particular concern about the many serious issues raised in this petition.  This left those watching with a poor impression of our Scottish Government.

The language used by the Minister was similar to that used by GPs and consultants in their letters to each other when patients have run into serious trouble with drugs of dependence. For example, the Minister said “.. the petitioner feels that it has happened”, the implication being that it may be untrue.  GPs write “the patient believes this, the patient believes that” with the implication being the patient’s symptoms or the cause of those symptoms may exist only in the mind of the patient. This causes so much pain and distress.  Their purpose is of course to deflect attention away from their own failings.  This sort of language is totally unacceptable.

Dr Mitchell suggested that the patient-reported life-changing effects were rare but was unable to cite any research evidence to this effect.  He said it would be too difficult to determine. I agree it would be extremely difficult.  GPs and consultants more often than not fail to record the fact that drug consumption and/or withdrawal has been the cause of the life-changing event.  In my case only “chronic fatigue syndrome” and “neurological functional symptoms” would be found to date.  So far, the nature and extent of my disabilities are not recorded and symptoms that are recorded are trivialised.

I can no longer read, it is a great struggle. I can stand for very short periods, walk for short distances with a walking frame and require a wheelchair in a supermarket.  My brain does not properly compute my surroundings.   I have difficulty processing speech.  My fingers are partly numb.  My long-term memory is very poor.  I have huge difficulty doing small household tasks. I trust that my most recent consultation will result in a written record of these disabilities.  I have twice been refused an assessment for dementia but what was not said was that I have benzodiazepine-related dementia-like symptoms.  Dr Mitchell suggested that support would be available to patients like myself.  I can assure the Committee that I have been offered nothing apart from a few sessions of physiotherapy. This is completely inadequate given the state I have been left in and is totally unforgivable. Hydrotherapy did not materialise.  I refused any sort of psychological therapy as it is entirely irrelevant.  My GPs have refused to discuss the cause of my disastrous state of health.  My own attempts to rehabilitate myself caused further catastrophic effects as I forced myself to walk putting more pressure on my brain.

The Minister reiterated the Government’s position that it takes prescribed drug dependence seriously.  The Minister also said that the year on year increases in antidepressant prescribing are associated with better awareness of mental health issues, reduced stigma and better diagnosis and treatment of depression. Whilst we would all welcome reduced stigma around mental health, the Minister did not present any evidence to support her views. A research study in England has demonstrated that anti-stigma campaigns have less impact on public opinion than had been hoped. (Smith M (2013) Anti-stigma campaigns: time to change.  BrJPsych, 202 (s55) s49-s50)

Dr James Davies, Roehampton University has conducted research for the APPG-PDD and estimates that 800,000 patients in England have been taking anti-depressants for more than two years and do not clinically require them. There is no reason to believe that Scotland is any different but there are no publicly available statistics to refer to as far as I am aware. Of course patients have to withdraw whatever the reason for initial prescribing unless they stay on the drugs for life.

On 24 January, Public Health England announced a year-long review of PDD (Prescribed Drug Dependence) such is their concern.  It is therefore astonishing that there is no such concern in Scotland where more than one million patients are being prescribed benzodiazepines and antidepressants.  All should be given the opportunity to taper off these drugs if they so wish and support services should be in place to help them.  Dr Mitchell referred to a study “Key Information on the Use of Antidepressants in Scotland”.  This examines prescribing data for a million patients and concludes there is no evidence that GPs are prescribing these drugs for no good reason.  However, it does not consider how long patients have been kept on the drugs.  It is known that the longer patients are on the drugs, the more difficult it can be to withdraw from them.

Dr Mitchell referred to RCPsych website guidance on antidepressant discontinuation.   Discontinuation syndrome is the term preferred by the drug companies to give the impression that withdrawal is less problematic than for benzodiazepines.  Yet, the experiences of many patients would suggest that antidepressant withdrawal can be every bit as horrendous as benzodiazepine withdrawal.  Dr Mitchell accepted uncritically the results of a survey of 817 patients, conducted by RCPsych.  Few details were given about how the survey was conducted or how long respondents had been on the drugs. There are thousands of patients online reporting a wide range of problems with withdrawal so surely that is equally relevant evidence.  Dr James Davies, Roehampton University has conducted a survey of the online prescribed dependent community.  See Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry: 2017 Prescribed Drug Withdrawal Survey.

“The responses we received were as moving and informative as they were upsetting. The true scale of the suffering generated by injudicious prescribing and medication harms was evident on every page.”

Advice given by RCPsych is in line with NICE guidelines on antidepressant tapering which is based on short-term studies.  The tapering advice is too fast.  A clinical trial in The Netherlands was a failure because the Dutch Guidelines are also too fast. (Eveleigh et al (2017). BJGP Open, 2017-0169)   A second clinical trial is to be conducted.  Prof Tony Kendrick, Southampton University, is conducting a trial also looking at tapering methods.  He believes that between a third and a half of people taking antidepressants could stop with appropriate help.  The study is funded for six years, patients desperately need help right now.

Patients require the tools to taper slowly and accurately.  It is extremely difficult to cut small tablets into equal pieces or to open up capsules and take out beads or powder.
Patients are refused liquid preparations by GPs on grounds of cost or because GPs do
not see the need to taper slowly.  The tapering strips can only be obtained from The
Netherlands via the internet at some considerable cost to the patient.  A prescription is
required and GPs may not agree to provide one.  As things stand at present, setting up a
helpline would be very difficult because there is no one with sufficient knowledge of
tapering and withdrawal to staff that helpline.  Existing NHS helplines and out of hours
services are also of little use to patients as evidenced by responses to an online
survey conducted by myself for the BMA, as requested by PHE (results available on
request).  GPs clearly do not have sufficient education and training in this area, as stated
in the BMA report of 2016 on PDD.  It is astonishing that there are addiction clinics
dedicated to the problems of illegal drug addiction but no such facilities for PDD patients, when many more patients are affected by the latter.  It is alarming that after decades on the market, no research has been conducted to date into safe tapering methods for antidepressants.  It is a scandal that we are in this situation after the horrendous disaster caused by benzodiazepines from the 1960s onwards, ruining countless lives.

So to conclude I can see absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Scottish Government takes the issue of PDD seriously.  To preside over ever-increasing rates of prescribing whilst failing to take any steps to ensure patients can safely withdraw is to me a complete dereliction of duty.  The ignorance of GPs around this subject is one of the main causes of the catastrophic life-changing events that are reported.   It certainly was in my case.  I can only imagine that is why the evidence of such events is being kept well hidden and therefore can never be quantified.

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Videos by Prof Malcolm Hooper ME/CFS & Gulf War Syndrome

There are a series of 10 videos.   Prof Malcolm Hooper talks about the similarities between ME/CFS, Gulf War Syndrome, MCS and Fibromyalgia.

 

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David Healy publicises petition on RxISK website.

https://rxisk.org/psychotropic-drug-dependence-in-scotland-petition-pe01651/

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Scotsman article about ME/CFS – Unrest film shown at Holyrood

Took the opportunity to comment on this article and emailed the journalist.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/unrest-over-lack-of-care-for-people-living-with-me-1-4674032

Simon Wessely was also involved in the following water poisoning scandal in Cornwall.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/14/camelford-poisonings-cornwall-inquest-water

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Public Health England announces review – 26 January

https://healthmedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/01/26/government-launches-landmark-review-into-prescription-drug-addiction/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/24/prescription-drug-addiction-government-launches-investigation

And BMA renews call for a helpline.

https://www.bma.org.uk/news/2018/january/prescription-drug-addiction-on-the-rise

Camden to withdraw funding from REST Clinic, Daily Mail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5327291/Service-overcome-anxiety-drugs-no-longer-funded-NHS.html

Tabitha Dow, Metro, 24 January 2018

Woman shares how coming off an antidepressant has ruined her life

BBC News, 24 January 2018, Growing problem of addiction to prescription drugs probed

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42787958

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