Have responded to David Walsh’s article and have been chatting to him on Twitter. I hope he understands a little better now about the subject of prescribed harm.
Had a busy time as my comments disappeared and I had to repost. In the end I contacted The Scotsman and was advised it was a systems error.
I listened to Helen Stokes-Lampard’s speech at the recent Annual RCGP Conference. She spoke very passionately about the devastating effects of loneliness on people’s health. I wonder if she could spare a thought for the many victims of prescribed drugs of dependence, their health decimated, forced to live in isolation because of the many dreadful symptoms associated with withdrawal. I have spent 3.5 years in bed. For three months, I saw no-one, I spoke to no-one. I then saw friends for two hours about once a month. I live alone. Most of the time I was too desperately ill to have company in the house. I could not even talk on the phone for much of that time. I certainly could not get to a GP surgery, yet I was denied home visits twice and so I stopped asking. Others have been even less fortunate and have been de-registered by their practices. You see, we are seen as a huge problem. We have sustained neurological damage due to drugs prescribed by our doctors and they do not know what to do with us. They do not want to admit what has happened to us and instead tell us our symptoms have nothing to do with the drugs, they suggest we see a psychiatrist. Our friends and families often do not believe us either and so the isolation is complete and it all started off with a visit to a doctor, a prescription for a drug of dependence. We trusted our doctors and feel deeply betrayed in return. And so our health is destroyed, we are forced to withdraw from society. How many of us will die prematurely and for what? How many of us are going to develop Alzheimer’s? I wonder if Helen Stokes-Lampard could answer those questions. I am striving to find a doctor who will discuss these matters with me.
It seems the rate of prescribing shows no signs of slowing down and I imagine at this rate we will reach the one million mark. Yet the RCPsych states that around 30% of patients are likely to benefit, the rest will have no benefit or will simply benefit from the placebo effect. So around 585,000 will not benefit from the drugs themselves.
In the meantime, the damage done by these drugs is being kept hidden so it cannot be quantified. But the RCPsych continues to portray the drugs as “safe and effective”. Base on what evidence?
I am a sociologist by training and my special interest was the medical profession. I spent a number of years studying the power of the profession and its various institutions. I found it extremely interesting. I also worked with many doctors over a period of 20 years. I observed them with interest. I also became involved in a way I had never expected. As a research assistant I worked with orthopaedic surgeons. I recruited elderly patients to a clinical trial which set out to prevent second hip fractures. It was a complete failure. The surgeons in charge of the trial expected me to inform patients using a patient information sheet that was hugely flawed, greatly exaggerating the risk of a second hip fracture. All attempts by me to get it changed fell on deaf ears. Why? I will never know. I refused to obtain written consent because it said that such consent would be obtained by “a doctor”. I was at pains to explain to elderly patients that my white coat did not equate to having a medical degree. I was left with an impression of an entirely cavalier attitude by my surgical colleagues to the issue of informed patient consent. I tried to ensure a relative was present particularly if patients were somewhat confused. When a patient died on the operating table, I found myself spending two days in court, giving evidence at the Fatal Accident Inquiry. I spent hours explaining why the patient information sheet was entirely wrong. My boss at the time, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, threatened me to keep quiet. The Sheriff concluded that my orthopaedic colleagues had deliberately fabricated the information presented to the patient but I was never sure that this was really the case. I still don’t know and I prefer to think not. I always had the impression that their cavalier attitude and lack of rigour led to their downfall. Perhaps they just didn’t think patients should be accurately informed.
I then spent many years working on medical education and medical careers research projects with a variety of GPs and consultants. I was always perplexed at the lack of rigour in their approach to research. The same cavalier approach was evident but they seemed to think it was just fine, talking up the merits of their extremely dubious work and sometimes presenting it at conferences. And I would be left wondering if they really could not see the various flaws. The irony of all this of course was the fact that I was sedated by prescription drugs all these years and unable to function normally and clarity of thought was extremely difficult. My impressions were formed through a prescription drug-induced fog. Now, my thinking is somewhat clearer and I find myself faced with the same cavalier attitude to the devastation of my own health. It is clearly of no significance to any of my doctors and it doesn’t seem to matter which diagnostic label is applied. I cannot operate this way. In fact they do not even seem to understand that I would like to talk about the reasons for such devastation. So once again I am perplexed and mystified. Every medical letter I read fills me with dismay, the factual errors, the erroneous assumptions and conclusions. I realise now that my view of the medical mind was entirely wrong. I had assumed that accuracy might be of some importance. I am so very impressed with members of the prescribed harmed community, their ability to research the devastating consequences of drugs of dependence, whilst our doctors seem to possess little knowledge or understanding of the subject. It certainly seems as if doctors and affected patients live in a parallel universe, talking different languages. However, my understanding of the medical mind seems to be a little clearer. I doubt that my doctors have a better understanding of mine but it is difficult to know when they refuse to engage in a meaningful discussion about the devastation caused by benzodiazepines and antidepressants. I have resorted to Twitter, sending out a plea to the Royal College of Psychiatrists and GPs for any doctor with relevant knowledge to get in touch with me. I am looking forward to many replies.
Three letters have been published today in response to the series of articles last week on prescription drugs. One of the letters is mine. If neither the Government nor the medical profession is capable of positive action, then patients really have to take matters into their own hands, being very careful to research any pharmaceutical product they may be advised to consume. Patients clearly should not rely on their doctors for accurate information. I had always assumed that the purpose of consulting a professional was to benefit from their professional knowledge and expertise, but this is clearly not the case. Their knowledge is extremely limited and in the case of doctors more than likely tainted by the corporate greed of the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr Peter Gordon is one of the few brave souls from the medical profession who is willing to speak out and support our petition to the Scottish Parliament on the issue of prescribed drug dependence. I do not worry about our Cabinet Secretary for Health, what I do see is a complete failure to address this enormous public health issue as the medical profession continues to play pass the parcel with patients’ lives.
I am a worrier and I worry for Scotland’s Minister of Health
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is keen to promote antidepressants as “safe and effective”. It is also very keen to promote the diagnosis of “Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms”.
The many patients whose lives have been devastated by these prescription drugs suspect that MUPS is being used as a smokescreen for the many harmful effects of antidepressant drugs and other psychotropic medication. Affected patients are not listened to or helped, they are “managed” or “processed” by prescribing doctors in such a manner as to avoid any diagnosis of the harmful effects of the drugs. Of course there are no diagnostic tests to assess the damage to the nerve cells, at least not on the NHS. Some patients however are accessing tests privately which clearly show that there is damage to the brain and central nervous system. Whether such damage is temporary or permanent is less clear and of course there is no medical understanding of how to reverse any such damage.
And so patients are advised to access talking therapies, to avoid looking on the internet for information, to believe that their symptoms are more psychological than physical. However, this strategy is failing as the growing online community of patients, many highly intelligent but seriously harmed by psychiatric drugs, conducts extensive research into this subject, becoming far more informed than the average GP. Doctors cannot continue to destroy the health of patients, pretend it has not happened and expect patients to meekly crawl into a corner and keep silent, whilst their prescribing doctors avoid any responsibility for the damage done. This sort of behaviour belongs in another era, not in the 21st century.
“You can fool some of the patients some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the patients all of the time.”