33 posts in this topic

At the beginning of February I sent an email to Australian Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Counsellors and to NZ & UK (counsellors, if I remember correctly).

 

 

Members are welcome to use any parts of the following Email & Business Card and refer to my website if they wish.  The website is meant to be a "one stop spot" for ease of getting important information and as a pointer to SA's website.  Please note that the website is not searchable in search engines.

 

________________________________________________

 

Email stats:  5,935 - successfully sent

                      2,029  - opened (but it is possible to read an email via preview without opening)

 

Unique click stats:  35 - Surviving Antidepressants (link to Welcome to SA)

                                  44 - Intro to AD WD Syndrome (link to SA's Intro to AD WD Syndrome)

                                  21 - Founder of SA's Bio About Paxil Withdrawal (link to Alto's Bio on patientslikeme)

                                  43 - adwithdrawal.weebly.com

                                         (my website created with info links to keep email brief but point interested people in right direction)

Total:                       143

________________________________________________

 

PLEASE NOTE:  I have tried to be careful regarding copyright etc but if there is anything I had done incorrectly please let me know.

________________________________________________

 

THE EMAIL I SENT:

 

Dear Sir/Madam,
 
I am writing in the hope that by sharing information I have recently discovered people will not have to suffer debilitating withdrawal symptoms when reducing or stopping antidepressant drugs. Of course a person’s original condition, for which they were prescribed an antidepressant, will still need to be addressed with non-drug methods of coping taught/learnt.
 
My aim is to inform so people don’t suffer unnecessarily

The brain changes when an antidepressant drug is taken and it becomes physiologically dependent on the drug. Because of this the process needs to be REVERSED SLOWLY to allow the brain to adapt to not receiving as much of the drug.

Unfortunately, many people are advised to stop the drug cold turkey, reduce it too quickly, take it on alternate days or take different doses alternately. Any of these methods may, in many cases, result in the person suffering bad withdrawal symptoms. Although the person may feel okay for a while, symptoms can appear weeks or months later, with ongoing symptoms occurring for several years. When this occurs they may be told that their original condition has returned or may be diagnosed with a new condition. They may be put back on the same drug (possibly at an even higher dose), prescribed a different drug, or a combination of these.

 
When researching my own antidepressant withdrawal issues I found that there is a way to minimise withdrawal symptoms. The Surviving Antidepressants support website recommends that a drug be tapered by 10% (of the previous dose) followed by a holding period of 4-6 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to receiving a little less of the drug. The analogy is given of it being like a plant growing on a trellis. If you take away the entire trellis the plant will collapse whereas if you take it away gradually the plant is able to adapt to the changes as parts of the trellis are removed.
 
To gain an insight into what stopping antidepressant drugs can do I urge you to visit the following links:
 

My website adwithdrawal.weebly.com (this is not searchable) has links to more withdrawal and various other related information.
 
Thank you for taking the time to read my email and I hope I have provided you with some valuable information. If you have found it helpful I would appreciate you forwarding this email to anyone you think would benefit so that they too can become informed. I can be contacted via my website if you have any comments or questions.

Regards,

A Concerned Individual
(I am not receiving any form of payment for my website or contacting you)
________________________________________________
 
I have also printed up Business Cards to hand out to pharmacies and people who I might chat with:
 

Front:

  ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL

 

Information Website:

 

http://adwithdrawal.weebly.com

 

Support & Information Website:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org

 

Back:

 

If antidepressants are stopped too quickly a person might feel okay at first but start feeling worse after a week or more. Doctor may say it's original condition back or diagnose new condition, not recognise it's caused from stopping the antidepressant.

 

Please visit websites listed to get information about antidepressant withdrawal issues and safer, better
ways to reduce antidepressants slowly to reduce withdrawal symptoms and their severity. I can be contacted via:
http://adwithdrawal.weebly.com

 

__________

 

Responses I received to my email:

 

"I totally disagree with what you have written. It is ill-informed, technically incorrect, and a danger to patients who require the medication in the same way a diabetic requires insulin."

_____

 

"This has been standard practice in medicine for decades."

_____

 

"I understand you are well intentioned and wish to share your experience with others.

 

The thing is that there are many types of antidepressant medication and what you describe applies to some, but not others.  There are some that have less physiological habituation and thus need less gradual withdrawal than others.

 

So really you probably need to work with someone who understands both the pharmacology of antidepressant medications and their use in psychiatry if you wish to issue some guidelines for people contemplating ceasing to take this medication.

The doctors who understand psychotropic medications well are the psychiatrists.

Many general practitioners prescribe this kind of medication without really knowing a lot about it.

 

It is possible you were in this kind of situation where the prescribing doctor was not much help to you in dealing with ceasing to take an antidepressant.  I am sorry you had this experience. 

 

It does happen but it is not a universal one."

_____

 

"Thank you.  I will pass it on.  I like the metaphor of the trellis."

_____

 

"Good on you for getting this together."

_____

 

"I agree with the main points in your letter!  My view is as follows;

 

In my practice I have always told people if are taking SSRI antidepressants and decide they want to stop

after talking with their doctor, the process must be slow! The drug company recommendation is almost always too fast.

 

Rapid reduction in the medication can in my experience produce dissociative effects which can be disconcerting or even frightening to the patient. This can cause the person to conclude that they must keep taking the medication.  (going cold turkey is of course at the high end of rapid reduction of the medication)

 

My experience of nearly 29yrs as a psychologist is to (after discussing with their doctor) suggest they come off slowly over a period of 2-3 months and keep in contact with their doctor during this time.

 

Obviously post antidepressant medication the patient needs to find other ways of dealing with their depression.

My efforts are directed at giving the patient new skills showing them ways of reducing stress and dealing with anxiety and depression."

_____

 

"thank you,

 

This has been a big concern for me. It is very hard to advise clients about antidepressant use, usually conflicting the advice of their GP or Psychiatrist, and their own subjective experience. At the very least antidepressant complicate issues, especially regarding reactive depression."

_____

 

"Thank you very much for this email, and for sending out (I assume to psychiatrists and others Australia wide) your very reasonable and well-founded concerns regarding effectively withdrawing from SSRI/SNRI medications."

_____

 

"Thank you very much for this information - it segues well into a presentation I made to my peers about antidepressant medication."

__________

 

CC

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I'm also thinking of:

 

- posting photocopied A5 leafet with tear-ffs on the bottom on Community Notice Boards

 

- dropping leaflets into letterboxes, thinking I could do up perforated ones (using my sewing machine, with an old needle of course) so they would be easy to tear off and pass on to other people.  Also thinking that kids love perforated things so they might just hang around a bit longer and get noticed.

 

CC

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this is brilliant. much encouragement to you throughout this project.

 

it is quite interesting to see their responses and consider what they represent, in the industry. cringeworthy and heartwarming.

 

i hope you continue sharing the outcomes.

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Thanks Rapunzel & IU.  Appreciate the support.

 

Just emailed out another 1,382.  Canada (approx 1,100 - obviously some of the French speakers may not be able to read it :() & more to UK (approx 250).

 

CC

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I commend you chessie cat! Makes me proud to know their are people like you trying to make a difference ????

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Thanks Mort.

 

I really do appreciate all the support I am receiving for this because it is making me feel like it is worthwhile putting in the time and effort to do it and spurring me on to do more.

 

Third mail out:  I've just successfully sent 341 more to English-speaking Psychologists/Counsellors/Therapists in Asia.

 

Email stats for second mail out (Canada & more UK):  1,364 successfully sent, 418 opened, total of 24 unique clicks, Welcome to SA 6, Intro to AD WD 8, Alto's Bio 3, my website 7One response received saying thank you and that they will pass it on.

 

Stats for first mail out will not be updated any further since I have used the accounts to send the new emails and can no longer get the reports.

 

CC

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very, very good!

where did you get the contacts?

what e-mailing program do you use?

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Hi Rapunzel, just time and patience searching on the internet and lots of copying and pasting.  Sometimes I have to paste into word first and do some find and replace before they can be pasted into Excel.  I also found a macro online for extracting the email addresses into a separate column.  Using m.a.i.l.c.h.i.m.p.

 

Hi Shaman, thanks.  I appreciate it.

 

In the process of getting USA addresses.  Got about 700 so far, but lots more to go.  I just do a few pages at a time.  Gets a bit mind numbing and also have to watch out for RSI with all the mouse clicking but I'll get there!!!

 

BTW the stats are still accessible for the first email sent out and occasionally someone is opening an email from that mail out.

 

CC

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ambitious.

 

are you also sending messages to treatment clinics and other psychiatric facilities that have an email but not necessarily individualized doctor email accounts?  there are a lot of organizations, profit and non-profit, which may be receptive to your information but are not listed as personal or professional doctor addresses.  low-cost and state sponsored places tend to be even more in the dark ages than general doctors.

 

having a version that is more appropriate to emergency rooms and other general care institutions might be good to try for non-personalized offerings, though maybe that is outside of the scope of your projects here.  either way, i think this is great, and appreciate it on a personal and ideological level.

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Hi InvisibleUnless,

 

I'm just getting what I can for psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors.  That in itself is a pretty large task.

 

UPDATE:  Another batch sent out tonight to UK Psychologists - approximately 2,500.

 

I'm still working on the USA list which is a bit more work than the UK one.

 

CC

 

Edit:  Total emails sent so far 10,146 with 2,935 opened.  This is including tonight's mail out.  A week or so after sending the big USA one I post all of the stats.

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Hi Everyone,

Update with the recent responses:

"Please keep your spam to yourself."

"Tks for the info, duly noted"

"This is a great resource for people - thank you so much for sharing it with me."

"Very much obliged to you for these references; thank you. I will take note (always have had your view of them) and pass on."

I contacted the person who sent me this email and asked what the response was to the presentation:

“Thank you very much for this information - it segues well into a presentation I made to my peers about antidepressant medication.”

Response:
“I can’t recall quite what I said - and I think I sent you the link to the Rebekah Beddoe book, Dying for a Cure.  I am finding myself less and less likely to be open to medication for my clients as I feel it’s a modern day concept that has been perpetuated by universities that medication is a cure all. Thomas Edison said that the health of the human race will be found in nutrition and exercise and understanding fundamentals (or something like that) not medication.  Good on you.

The response to my presentation was quiet, polite and dismissive.  I gave examples from my own clients along with a summary of the book.

I support you in your journey - thank you.  I have shared the link with some clients.  One day it will be more accepted that there is no evidence that certain levels of serotonin cause depression.”

 

I replied to the above and told them that like what I am doing seeds are being planted.

And I received one that is so exciting that I want to share it with you but I need to contact this person first to get their permission as it is more than “general” in nature.  However, here is the intro:

"Good evening...
May I please thank you for your excellent letter.  I want to share from what I know.
I am always dealing with this problem in my private practice. ..."

After sending out 10,000 emails, I feel like I’ve hit pay dirt!!!  Woohoo!!!

I hope it’s not long before I can divulge more.  I feel like a kid being told to keep a surprise birthday party a secret.

CC

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Well done, Chessie, brilliant!!

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Hi Everyone,

 

Well I've finished gathering email addresses and still have nearly 4,000 more to send.  I'm definitely over collecting emails, confirmed by getting to the point where I was happy to see that someone DIDN'T have an email that I had to copy and paste!

 

I thought I'd update you on the stats so far:

 

Emails:

 

10,470          Successfully sent emails

 

3,766         Opened emails (not adjusted) (it is possibly to read an email via preview)

 

  4,043          Opened emails (adjusted)

                    (Used average opening % & applied to account for which I wasn't getting data after initial send)

 

Unique click stats:    59 - Surviving Antidepressants (link to Welcome to SA)

                                  68 - Intro to AD WD Syndrome (link to SA's Intro to AD WD Syndrome)

                                  30 - Founder of SA's Bio About Paxil Withdrawal (link to Alto's Bio on patientslikeme)

                                  66 - adwithdrawal.weebly.com

                                         (my website with info links to keep email brief but point people in right direction)

Total:                     223

 

CC

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:D

 

For people who like percentages, the percentage opened is between 35-38%.  It will be interesting to see if that % remains similar for the next round to be sent.

 

I've also received an email from someone who had the email forwarded to them.  They said:

 

 

"Very interesting, thanks for sharing. This touches on many of the points raised by that book I mentioned: "Cracked: Why Psychiatry is doing more harm than good", by James Davies.

 

 If you get time (it's 30 minutes long), you might find this presentation by 'Spartan life coach' worthwhile: "depression is NOT a biological disease". He has done lots of talks and is quite the expert on NPD as well."

 

NPD - Narcissistic personality disorder

 

I watched Depression is Not a Biological Disease last night and it is good.  However, this guy mentions Depression is a disease of civilization: Stephen Ilardi at TEDxEmory which I am listening to now.

 

CC

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Haven't yet heard back from my "exciting email author".  I'll leave it till end of next week and if no response I'll email again.

 

Still getting the odd few emails being opened and a couple more website clicks.  Have to wait a few more days before I can send the final batch.

 

Onto the next stage.  I've done up a leaflet for dropping in letterboxes.  Will be photocopying 4 to an A4 sheet.  Picture attached.  Unfortunately it will probably have to be on white paper which is why I put a fancy, hopefully eye catching, border around it  At 8 cents per A4 sheet I can do them for 2 cents per leaflet.  I'd like to do them on coloured paper but really can't afford to.  I'm after quantity.  I'll also use the same thing for a sign but copy them 2 to an A4 page with the websites as tear off strips along the bottom and pin them on community notice boards.

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Final lot of emails (approx 3,300) has been successfully sent.  Rough break down by country:

 

NZ:  1,240  US 1,910  Canada 150

 

Thankfully didn't have to use the account for which I had received a warning.  Phew!

 

Total now sent:  13,774

 

That's a lot of emails :wacko: :blink: :o

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Wow Chessie you truly are an international hero.

 

That is phenomenal stuff.

 

Thank you for what you are doing cc

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I am always dealing with this problem in my private practice. ..."

 

I have no doubt that this is a  daily observation internationally.

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Thanks NZ.  It started out as a simple email to send to Australian psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors.  Next it was the website which began as one page to support the email.  It escalated from there.  Thankfully it didn't swallow me up.  :P

Anyway, (just for you NZ11 ;)  ) 252 NZ Psych emails have been opened and website clicks:  7 Welcome to SA, 1 Intro to SA, 2 Alto's Bio & 3 visits to my website.

 

Of the 412 US emails opened website clicks:  4 Welcome to SA, 10 Intro to SA, 2 Alto's Bio & 3 visits to my website.

 

And 2 responses:

 

 

"Thank you for sharing. I too do not get paid for anything or everything I do for families and individuals that live with the effects of a biological brain disorder. What you state in your email is one of the things we teach, especially when this people that are on meds abruptly stop their meds since they are feeling better, they think they do not need to take their script anymore. Bam! They hit rock bottom hard. 

 

I will explore your website for useful suggestions. 

 

Thank you!"

 

 

"Hello,

 

.... you make extremely valid and valued points, ....

 

Our practice is extremely mindful and strategic about medication management because of the sensitive brain responses to a new or withdrawn compound.

 

Thank you for your concern ....

 

With Appreciation,"

 

CC

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Okay, so I'm attaching the Email Campaign stats for anyone who is interested.  I've tried to give as much detail about what category of person in what country/area I was targetting but it isn't as comprehensive as I would like it to be.  Never having been involved in anything to do with stats, I didn't realise what information I would like to extract overall so I am a lot hinder in wise sight!!! (that's what I was thinking so I've typed it :P )

 

Anyway, regardless of me not doing it the way I would have liked, I take comfort in knowing that there are more people in the world today who (hopefully) know about AD WD than did at the start of February.

 

Drum roll please .......... tah dah .......... here 'tis

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This is truly important and wonderful work you are doing here CC :wub:   Thank you, definitely a hero. The stats and responses are very encouraging.
 

Haven't yet heard back from my "exciting email author".  I'll leave it till end of next week and if no response I'll email again.

 

I'm looking forward to hearing more about this.

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Thanks Petunia.

 

Another thing that I am hoping is that if people didn't open the email they would have, in most instances, read the subject line of "Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome" so even that might have planted a seed.

 

Even though I didn't receive very many emails, it was great to receive the feedback that I got, which helped me to know that what I was doing was worthwhile.

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I wonder if you could include Dr Healy's pamplet . just to back it up with some science  .. Or maybe I didnt read the thread properly ..  Your effort is special :) 

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Thanks Mort.  The emails have already been sent (during February).  My idea was to keep it simple and as short as possible so that people might take the time to read it.  I decided not to include any attachments because people are wary of attachments because they might carry a virus which is why I created my website (as one stop information and as a pointer to Surviving Antidepressants) and included links to it and to what I hoped would be the most helpful and provide the most impact.

 

I've decided that I'm going to contact the people who responded positively and ask if they would permit their details be included on SA as professionals with AD WD awareness.

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This will be the final update on the February Email Campaign.  Since then there has been another 60 emails opened and an additional 12 website clicks.  Stats are attached, with the changes highlighted.  Emails Opened attached.

EMAIL CAMPAIGN - Breakdown UPDATE.pdf

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In the Email Breakdown PDFs, please ignore the figures directly above the highlighted totals (this line has no text in the first column).  It's just my calculation of the percentage of emails opened for the 3 rows directly above.

 

And I've just realised that it got added into the totals.  Oopsy!!!  Sorry about that.  So the total line should read:

 

13,716 = Total Emails Successfully Sent

 

 4,828  = Total Emails Opened

 

 35.20  = Percent Opened

 

*5,007 = Total adjusted to incl 33% estimate

 

I haven't been able to attach the updated Website Clicks PDF so I've included an overview of the update showing additional 12 website clicks:

 

 85     Welcome to SA

          1 NZ Psychol

 

 99     Intro to SA’s AD WD Syndrome

          1 UK Psychol, 1 US Psychol & MH, 3 NZ Psychol

 

 46     Alto’s Bio on patientslikeme

          1 UK Psychol, 1 US Psychol & MH, 2 NZ Psychol

 

 81     adwithdrawal.weebly.org

          1 Aust combo, 1 UK Psychol

 

311   TOTAL

 

 

I realise I won't know but I hope it makes a difference.

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I just wanted to thank you for doing this. I've always wished I could do something to fight this evil, but I'm so afraid of the stigma surrounding "mental illness" and "psychiatric medication."

 

I'll be praying for you and your success in this.

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Hi Skylark,

 

Thank you for dropping by and giving your support.  Not all of us are able to do what we wish we could do.  Personally, I'm not able to handle doing anything with the lawsuit.

 

The funny thing was when I started with the original Australian emails, I wasn't even going to mention on SA what I was doing.  I ended up being glad that I did because the support I have received here has given me confirmation that I have done the right thing.

 

UPDATE:  Sent out emails today to the 14 people who responded positively requesting their permission to include their details on our list.  Also asked them to forward the email on to any doctors and prescribing & non-prescribing professionals who are of like mind.  I've already had one response and she is publishing a blog soon and asked permission to include a link to my website.

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thats really exciting!

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