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Friday, July 22, 2011

Numb - A Documentary by Phil Lawrence



Phil Lawrence, who shot and directed the documentary 'Numb' kindly sent me a screener to view. I'm wishing he didn't. Watching it has made me angry...very angry.

I always advise fellow bloggers not to write whilst feeling angry, I'm ignoring my own advice because I want to share with you all what I have just witnessed.

NUMB Produced and Directed by Phil Lawrence - Creative Edge Productions.

Phil Lawrence takes us through his childhood and High School years before moving onto college where he struggled with anxiety attacks and abnormal bouts of blushing. Shortly after college Phil married his girlfriend Pamela and in 1993 their first child was born.

Sometime later, and still struggling with anxiety issues, Phil saw his doctor, he had seen adverts on TV telling him about Paxil, a drug to cure anxiety and shyness. Within 10 minutes Phil's doctor was writing him out a script for GlaxoSmithKline's wonder drug.

10 years on and Phil decided to document the whole tapering process, a tapering regime that Glaxo officials would have you believe does not exist. It does, Numb is evidence of that.

Phil's doctor recommended that he cut his 20mg dose by half to 10mg, this is in line with what Glaxo recommend on their updated Seroxat patient information leaflet here in the UK. I'm unsure what it says on the US version.

Watching Phil go through the ordeal of withdrawal is like my own story, it's a constant reminder of what I endured and also a reminder of the countless stories I have been sent and those I have read over the years...stories that GlaxoSmithKline poo-poo with lines such as, "Paxil has benefited millions of people worldwide."


Phil quest to seek help is shown by him telephoning those departments whom he felt could help him, namely the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The American Psychological Association (APA), and The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). They all declined to help him.

By day 5 we see Phil experiencing the sensation of buzzing noises inside his head, these turn into severe headaches and electric zaps blitzing his brain, all of which are eloquently described by Phil.

In essence, Phil has installed a window for us all top look through, a window of transparency that makes for some disturbing viewing [courtesy of GlaxoSmithKline]. Phil is creating an awareness that Glaxo just don't want you to see.

Numb also shows us the conflict of interest that clearly exists between the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA, footage from 1991 sees parents, mothers, fathers confront the FDA with regard to SSRi type medications causing suicide to loved ones, the result of that particular confrontation saw the FDA give SSRi's a clean bill of health, they saw no link in the suicidal thoughts.

Numb shows how Phil's emotions go up and down, his anger, his bouts of sadness, all highlighted by his wife Pamela, a woman full of understanding and much love for her husband.

Every single doctor should sit down and watch this powerful documentary, every single Judge presiding in a case brought by claimants against GSK's Paxil should also be shown this. In fact any one who has ever considered Paxil as a pill to cure their ill should take heed.

Numb is a documentary for the people, it's a view of the psychopharmaceutical monopoly and how they do everything to prove their abuse of minds is right and that those abused are wrong.

Phil Lawrence's journey is one of the roughest you will see hit the small screens, he is one of the many hundreds of thousands who struggle at the hands of SSRi drugs, one of the many who feel isolated because medicine regulators around the world are so limp-wristed that they dare not acknowledge that they are part of the problem. Nobody can offer a safe and effective way to come off these drugs, they can only offer a guidance, a guidance that was put into place by the small handful of psychiatrists that have spoken about about the dangers of SSRi withdrawal.

I abhor GlaxoSmithKline for what they did to Phil Lawrence. I abhor them for what they did to me. I abhor them for their constant denials and refusal to acknowledge that the withdrawal problem is far bigger than what they claim. They created a monster and people, just like Phil Lawrence, have to battle against that monster with little more than a pill cutter because the very same people who manufactured the drug won't help him.

The documentary should make those that see it reach for their keyboards to lobby someone, anyone, for answers. They will never get answers from the likes of GSK, they will never get answers via litigation [it's all about money and not GSK's bad behaviour.]

6 months into tapering is where the documentary ends. Phil was still having horrific withdrawal symptoms.

You each owe it to yourselves to purchase a copy of Numb. You owe it to family and friends. You owe it to humanity.

Numb is being premiered at the Tulsa International Film Festival between Sept 22-25, in the meantime, you can read more about it HERE

Hopefully, Phil can get it aired over here in the UK.

Mr Lawrence, I salute you, your bravery and spreading of awareness is admired and people should live forever in your debt for that.

Here's a trailer:




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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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