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Dying for a Cure Paperback – 28 May 2009
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Basically, Rebekah went to see her doctor because she was having trouble sleeping [she had not long given birth to her first child]. Unbelievably, her doctor prescribed her Zoloft to help her with her sleeping [Zoloft is an antidepressant of the SSRi family]. What followed was three years of hell for Rebekah and her family.
Beddoe writes eloquently and 'Dying For A Cure' is like a diary of one persons nightmare that is being controlled by the ignorance and stubbornness of Australian doctors and psychiatrists. The book throws open many questions and as an observer [reader] one has to ask oneself why she was diagnosed with post natal depression when she was merely having sleep problems. From a minor complaint Rebekah endured an horrific journey of mind boggling drugs that included: Zoloft, Prozac, Xanax, Zyprexa, Serzone plus a whole host of others... not to mention the Electroconsulsive Therapy [ECT].
One is left in bewilderment at the lack of education in the field of mental illness. The signs were blindingly obvious that Beddoe's demeanor changed once given her first taste of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor [SSRi]. Quite why the medical profession failed to see this boils down to the way these particular drugs are promoted by pharmaceutical companies. Initially, they were promoted for depression and/or manic disorders. Pharma convinced a gullible world that this was caused by a 'chemical imbalance' of the brain, a theory that has never being scientifically proven and one that today is pretty much used as only a possibility and not an actual cause.
Pharma have also convinced the world that SSRis are not addictive. One only has to read 'Dying For A Cure' to dispel the non-addiction label.
Time after time Beddoe returned to the medical profession, time after time she was misdiagnosed and more drugs were prescribed to her, plunging her into deeper despair. This is a huge problem and one that I personally feel has been cleverly crafted by pharmaceutical companies. If a drug is touted as being non-addictive then doctors and psychiatrists will ignore the possibility of withdrawal and delve deeper into the so called illness of the patient, this lines the pockets of Pharma and destroys the lives of those who are unfortunately diagnosed on the strength of what Pharma marketing say rather than what patients tell their doctors and psychiatrists.
'Dying For A Cure' should be read by doctors and psychiatrists and should remain in their minds when they next see a patient walk through their door whose demeanor has drastically changed as a result of them being prescribed an SSRi. SSRi withdrawal is clearly an issue overlooked by the profession and by those that regulate medicines in all countries and not just Australia.
What saddens me is the fact that there is still ignorance regarding this issue. The benefit/risk factor regarding SSRi's is upside down, there is far more risk involved then any benefit in taking these drugs. 'Dying For A Cure' is proof of that.
We have a family member presently living through this experience of misdiagnosis, non recognition of drug side effects and withdrawal symptoms - for almost a decade now. You have no idea how cheering it is to finally see in print what we as a family have argued about with doctors for so many years. Anyone and everyone on SSRI antidepressants should read this book. I agree wholeheartedly with fiddaman64 - this book should be compulsory reading for every member of the psychiatric / medical profession. The ignorance surrounding the SRRIs - and other psychiatric drugs - is frightening. It seems if a symptom is not listed in the DSM, then it doesn't exist.
Rebekah, thank you for sharing your horrendous story, helping us further our personal mission and raising awareness of the devastating effects these drugs can have on some people.
The book is important to those who have afflicted family members, themselves have noticed new problems since starting medication or those interested in what drives medication use in our society. A sister American publication Medication Madness draws an even less happy picture.
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She ended up taking a cocktail of drugs - I think about 7 at one stage (her mother kept a diary of all the drugs she was taking because she was concerned about her daughter) - and spent most of her time either asleep, or roaming the streets trying to find something to kill herself with.
One day on the weekend, she ran out of one of the drugs she was taking, and couldn't get another prescription until Monday. She started feeling really sick. When she asked the chemist if he had anything to help her feel better, he said what she was experiencing was probably withdrawal symptoms. Something in her brain clicked. She then decided to ask the doctors about the withrawal symptoms. They told her that the drugs she was taking were not addictive. She wanted to come off the drugs anyway, but they refused. Instead, they increased her dosage, so she wouldn't cause any more trouble.
She asked to be referred to another psychiatrist, but they wouldn't take her. So she decided to come off the drugs herself. It took a long time, as she had numerous withdrawal symptoms, some drugs were harder than others to stop, but she made it in the end.
Please - anyone who takes anti-depressants and thinks they are safe - READ THIS BOOK.