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Powerful psychiatric drugs shorten lifespan by decades

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

"People who have been labeled seriously mentally ill are dying 15 to 25 years earlier than normal, and it is clear that this is largely because of the effects of the drugs they are given."

 

Full Disclosure Needed About Psychiatric Drugs That Shorten Life

Research Shows Some Psychiatric Drugs Decrease Lifespan

By Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D. Psychology Today Sep 4 2011

 

....People who have been labeled seriously mentally ill are dying 15 to 25 years earlier than normal [1], and it is clear that this is largely because of the effects of the drugs they are given. [2] It's alarming enough when makers of deodorant, for instance, conceal the risks attendant on using their product; how much more reprehensible it is when marketers play .... on the intense suffering of those who are likely to be advised to take powerful psychiatric drugs.

 

Before proceeding, it is essential to state that I believe that suffering people have the right to try anything to ease their pain, as long as two criteria are met - and they almost never are. Those criteria are:

(1)The person recommending a treatment must learn about and disclose to the patient everything that is known about the potential benefits and potential kinds of harm that that treatment carries.

(2)The person recommending a treatment must learn about and inform the patient about the whole array of things that have been helpful to those who have suffered in similar ways (not just the traditional, medicalized approaches but all approaches).

 

The concern about life-shortening medications applies beyond those who are clearly deeply troubled. A disturbing creep (more nearly, a leap) in the readiness with which professionals prescribe powerful psychiatric drugs and on the basis of decreasing indications that these drugs might even help has characterized the mental health field in recent decades. [3] As a result, what the drug companies call "antipsychotic" medications have been increasingly prescribed for people who show no signs of being out of touch with reality. A recent CBS story revealed that residents of nursing homes were being prescribed these drugs for no justifiable reason and that people were dying as a result. [4] Even some well-meaning therapists or family doctors have been known to prescribe these strong drugs for people whose suffering worried them, despite the fact that there was little or no reason to think that the drugs would help their particular kinds of pain.

 

Even if these drugs were rarely prescribed (which they are not) and only for those whose suffering fit certain criteria, anyone who is advised to ingest medication has a right to know the whole story about what might happen if they do so. It has been a well-kept secret that the drugs called antipsychotics carry a high risk of shortening life. And when evidence is presented that they carry this risk, many people find it hard to believe that that can be so; they assume that the Food and Drug Administration would never have allowed the chemicals to go on the market if that were true. Most people are not aware that the FDA does not require drug companies to provide evidence of drugs' effectiveness or harm over the long term. Indeed, drugs have often been approved on the basis of studies of only a matter of weeks or months.

 

In any case, the alarm must be sounded that such drugs dramatically shorten life span, often by decades, and the risk is even higher for patients taking more than one such drug.[5] Wouldn't you want to have the chance to choose whether to take something that might reduce your emotional pain but has a high risk of shortening your life by many years or instead to try other approaches?

 

The shortening of life is, of course, not the only problem caused by some medications. The dangers of failing to educate people about the effects of psychiatric and other drugs and about other options appears in the following first-person story, which arrived in my email inbox as I was writing this essay. Patrick Risser, who recently received the Voice award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration of the federal government for his advocacy work, has kindly given his permission for me to include his story here and to give his contact information:

 

I was hospitalized in state hospital for the worst depression I'd ever experienced. I'd been hospitalized several times before but this was the worst. I was seriously suicidal and with all the precautions they took, I didn't see any easy way out. I'd had three heart attacks and I decided that the easiest way to die was to exercise my right to refuse medication(s) including my heart medicine. I quit taking all medications and then, miraculously I started to recover. Within weeks, I was well enough to leave the hospital. I fought and with assistance from an attorney, I received the right to leave. Afterward, I went through the PDR (Physician's Desk Reference) and looked up the medications. It turns out that one of the major effects of Inderal (a beta-blocker for my heart) is serious depression. Unfortunately, none of the psychiatrists ever looked beyond my behavior for a physical cause for my depression. My life was saved, perhaps literally, by being non-compliant and treatment resistant. I suspect that my heart problems were a result of my being compliant with over ten years of psychiatric medications that included Stelazine, Navane, Sinequan, Imipramine, Cogentin, Valium and Benadryl as a daily cocktail. I now warn people that compliance can kill (people receiving public mental illness services are dying over 25 years younger than the general population) and non-compliance can save lives.

Patrick Risser patrickrisser@gmail.com, http://www.patrisser.com/

 

 

[1] Colton, C. (2006). Congruencies in increased mortality rates, years of potential life lost, and causes of death among public mental health clients in eight states. Preventing Chronic Disease 3 (April).

[2] Joukmaa, M.; Heliovaara, M.; Knekt, P.; Aromaa, A.; Raitasalo, R.; & Lehtinen, V. (2006). Schizophrenia, neuroleptic medication and mortality. The British Journal of Psychiatry 188: 122-127 http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/188/2/122.full

[3] Caplan, P.J. (2011). When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

[4] http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7365533n

[5] Joukamaa et al., op. cit.

 

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-isnt-golden/201109/full-disclosure-needed-about-psychiatric-drugs-shorten-life

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summer   
summer

OMG... that poor man! Amazing that he was non-compliant, thus saving his life!

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brighteningup   
brighteningup

Summer, I agree, glad the guy seems to have been ok in the end.

 

There's a big issue here, IMHO there seem to be a lot of drugs out there where the side effects include depression but you're not warned about this. (I hope this isn't too off topic, my understanding is the guy was initially on heart medication?)

 

I had been using strong topical corticosteroids for a skin condition, though I'm now tapered down to a fairly low dose. One of the side effects of prolonged use is depression and anxiety. Use of these drugs has almost certainly been an important contributory factor to the anxiety and depression I've experienced.

 

When I started using these drugs I did ask about possible long term side effects but I wasn't warned that they included anxiety and depression. Some of this was due to poor patient infomation at that time, but there were studies around.

 

I found these studies recently while researching side effects of these drugs, and more recent studies that confirm them.

 

So I guess whatever drug your given, you NEED to ask about side effects:

- If it's a topical drug, or an inhaled drug, or similar you need to ask not just about local side effects in the area your taking it/ applying it, but also systemic side effects, i.e. side effects that can effect you elsewhere, like depression.

- You also need to ask if there are any issues with long term use.

- Then you need to do your own research into side effects. The internet can now help you, although there is some rubbish out there, there are reliable sites too, for uk available drugs useful sites are NHS choices and emc medicine guides - not sure what equivalents would be for other countries though much of the information here is relevant to everyone.

- then you need to go back and discuss what you're being asked to take with your medical practitioner, discuss risks and benefits, and make an informed choice

 

Now, clearly often chronic illnesses need treatments with nasty side effects, and benefits will outweigh the risks, so you will choose to take the drug - chemotherapy for certain cancers being a good example. In an emergency you also might need to take a drug in a hurry to save your life and not have time for research.

 

However, if you do need to take a drug long term for a chronic illness, at least if you know that mood swings and depression are a side effect of the drugs, and these start becoming a problem, you have the option of going back to have further discussions with your medical practitioner about wether these drugs are still right for you. Rather than also finding yourself lumped onto an SSRI or anti-psychotic or benzo as well, (or worst case all 3) when all you might need to do is cut down, come off or change the drug you're taking for the primary condition.

 

Obviously good medical practitioners will discuss side effects with you well, but not all medical practitioners are good, and even the good ones

might have missed the very latest advice, especially GPs who have to deal with many different illnesses generally so are not specialists.

 

Just my thoughts on this

 

Obviously all the above applies to be asked to take any medication for your mental health too.

 

Bright.

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Barbarannamated   
Barbarannamated

Imagine the increase in diabetes in future years as all of the people on APs for years are diagnosed. I've read that screening for diabetic risk factors/family history should be done prior to initiating therapy, but am not aware of that happening.

So many being used for depression, too... The TV ads kill me ..."if your original antidepressant isn't working...add Seroquel"! Can you imagine that aproach w antibiotics? "If Augmentin isn't working, add Cipro.... "

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

You are so right, bright. We all need to do our research for any drugs we're prescribed.

 

Quite frequently, the doctor won't even know the major side effects, and they're too busy to look them up.

 

Agreed, bar, could very well be the increase in diabetes we're seeing now is related to widespread use of psych drugs.

 

(Very much relieved my own blood sugar is down this year from last. My doctor warned me about it.)

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summer   
summer

 

(Very much relieved my own blood sugar is down this year from last. My doctor warned me about it.)

 

 

Alto, that's wonderful! Some pointers, please!

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

I have no idea how it happened. Maybe the cinnamon capsules each morning?

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jmncrr   
jmncrr

Just thought i would add a few links to the contrary about shortening life span. Anti-psychotics do have long term side effects, but if taken at lower doses, and the individual goes for regular checkups with there psychiatrist, and general practitioner lives can be extended. I am not defending the use of these drugs, but some people are in situations where they are there only option, and are necessary to extending there life.

 

People with mental illness are prone to heart disease, and diabetes, and that is the contributing factor to an early death.

 

They also have a tendency to not take care of themselves by smoking, over eating, and living sedentary lifestyles, along with no exercise. They also don't go for regular checkups with there general practitioner for there physical health, by overlooking there physical health do to there mental health.

 

I am tapering my antipsychotic because i have been misdiagnosed, not necessarily out of fear do to an increase in long term side effects like cardiovascular disease or metabolic syndrome, which seems to be caused by first generation antipsychotics, and high doses of second generation antipsychotics, along with lifestyles, and lack of attention someone with mental illness gives to there physical health.

 

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_use_of_antipsychotic_drugs_improves_life_expectancy_for_individuals_with_schizophrenia

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dsm5-in-distress/201412/having-severe-mental-illness-means-dying-young

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JanCarol   
JanCarol

jmncrr - the source of that study is the NiMH who has a vested interest in keeping people on drugs.  They did talk about the high mortality of people on "high doses" of antipsychotic drugs - and here's the thing - what doctors, where, actually prescribe these things in low doses?  Really, in practice?

 

And the other article by Allen Frances, whose views are confusing.  Formerly an author of the DSM, he has come out against DSM diagnosis in many ways, but still tries to hold the line for psychiatry "in general."
 

Again, low doses.  That's kind of a goal here on SA - to reduce down to the minimum needed (which, in many cases is no drugs at all).

 

Today's News.com.au:

 

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/twenty-year-survival-shortfall-its-very-easy-to-kill-a-patient/news-story/f32756f896fa8a76c1d7471e8a622525

 

Twenty year survival shortfall: ‘It’s very easy to kill a patient’

 

THE magic pills used to treat some people suffering severe mental illness are also killing them, according to experts.

 

 

Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, medical researchers and other professionals from around the country have this week gathered at the annual Society for Mental Health Research Conference in Sydney.

 

Among the issues broached Wednesday was a life expectancy gap between people with and without mental illness.

St Vincents Hospital endocrinologist and clinical researcher, Professor Katherine Samaras, said there was a “20-year survival shortfall” and the gap was not “getting any closer to being zero”.

She attributed the discrepancy in part to antipsychotics and antidepressants that have previously been linked to weight gain and subsequent physical conditions including diabetes, cancer and hypertension.

In a session called ‘Can we stop killing our patients?’ Prof Samaras said there were many silent diseases “that occur in severe mental illness”.

“It’s the diabetes, the heart disease, the hypertension and cancer that occur on average two decades earlier than they would occur in people who didn’t have severe mental illness,” Prof. Samaras said.

“For women it starts very, very early with disturbances in menstrual cycle.”

Prof. Samaras said some antidepressants were known to cause patients to gain “seven per cent of their body weight within 12 months ... and double the risk of diabetes ... which is guaranteed to bring on metabolic disturbances”.

She said a “slow way (to) ... kill a patient” was to “just add sweetener”.

“It’s probably very easy to kill a patient,” she said.

 

 

Psychiatrist Dr Julia Lappin, of the University of New South Wales School of Psychiatry, said premature death among people with severe mental illness was the “scandal of our generation”.

“There’s a mortality gap that continues to grow,” Dr Lappin said.

“We really need to think about what we’re going to do about reducing the mortality gap for our population and assisting them with domestic health care.”

Dr Lappin said people with severe mental illness were dying younger “largely due to very high rates of cardiometabolic risk factors: they smoke much more than the general population; they’re more obese; their blood pressure’s higher; they have diabetes and extraordinarily high rates of metabolic syndrome”.

“In addition they have very sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition,” she said

 

Includes a discussion of the problems with Clozapine and metabolic disorder, and a news video.

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jmncrr   
jmncrr

 

Twenty year survival shortfall: ‘It’s very easy to kill a patient’

 

I don't see how this article is any different than what i posted. The side effects of antipsychotics are dose dependent, and high doses can lead to the adverse effects stated in all three articles. I am sure if someone who is schizophrenic or bipolar and on a minimal dose, goes to see his primary care Dr., eats healthy, exercises, and doesn't smoke can live a long life. I believe there are some Dr's, who will keep the dose to a minimum.

 However there are people with MI, who have to take higher doses in order to keep there illness under control, and that is unfortunate.

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keepinghope   
keepinghope

This is scary, but I don't doubt it for a second.

 

Carrie Fisher died very recently, apparently from heart issues. Hadn't she been quite open about being on cocktails of different psych drugs for many years?

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CAFFEE60   
CAFFEE60

I took note that Robin Williams, Patty Duke, and now Carrie Fisher all died in their sixties. Scary.

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keepinghope   
keepinghope

Came across this article on Carrie Fisher's death which claims:

 

Dr. Pert, Dr. Heidi Connolly and I all warned of this damage to the heart in 1997 as the serotonergic diet drugs Fen-Phen and Redux were pulled from the market due to both brain damage and heart damage. The serotonin causes a gummy gooey glossy substance to build up in the heart and also the brain (as found in Alzheimer’s) preventing normal functioning. Heart failure is fairly common, especially in longer term use, with these meds as we also witnessed this past weekend in the case of Carrie Fisher.

 

Is that right? A gummy substance? Never heard that before.

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Jemima   
Jemima

I hope I'm not posting in the wrong place here, but I follow a blog on Osteoporosis and I was startled to read this mornings' post on how some over-the-counter medications can do serious damage to a person's mind.  I have been using a generic form of Benadryl for sleep quite often and noticed that it sometimes affected my memory, but I seem to recover after a day or so.  Time to quit while I'm ahead, methinks: http://tinyurl.com/Cold-and-Flu-Meds . 

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