Monday, May 04, 2015
An Open Request For Dr Max Pemberton (TV Doctor)
I'd refer to you by your real name given that 'Max Pemberton', as I understand, is a pen name you use. However, I feel using your first pen name, 'Max', is suitable for the purpose of this request.
I'm am writing in response to your editorial in the Daily Mail (The Real scandal about happy pills) in which you quite openly disagree with the opinions of psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist and author, Dr David Healy. (Real name)
My response is simple and one that will cut out the need for a pissing match on social networks.
I would like to sit down with you and debate some of the statements you made in your editorial, specifically, where you state...
"You never hear anyone opining that chemotherapy is over-prescribed, do you?"
I would also like to discuss your stance on whether or not depression is caused by a lack of the brain chemical serotonin, if not, then what is depression caused by?
You also claim that, "As an academic, Professor Healy doesn't have to pick up the pieces. As a psychiatrist working in the NHS, I do."
Which is very interesting because as a writer I, myself, often find myself helping families harmed by antidepressants.
So, here's the request.
I would love to debate the above issues (and more with you) - I would also like to bring with me supporting evidence, although this may prove to be difficult financially as those that I wish to attend live in different parts of the world, namely,..
Neil and Rhonda Carlin (Canada) - Their daughter, Sara, was just 18 when she tied a knot in an electric wire, placed it around her neck then hanged herself. Sara, at the time was on the antidepressant Seroxat, known as Paxil in the US and Canada. A total of 16 recommendations were made at the end of her inquest. You can read about some of those recommendations here. Here's a photo of Sara.
Leonie Fennell (Ireland) - Her son, Shane, was just 22 when he was prescribed the antidepressant Cipramil, known as Celexa in the US. 17 days later Shane took his life and the life of another. Shane didn't hang himself, he plunged a knife into his chest 19 times. His mom told the inquest she believed his actions were the result of his taking Cipramil. The inquest returned an open verdict. Leonie has her own website here. Here's a photo of Shane.
Stephany Gatchell (Ireland) - Her daughter, Sharise, was just 18 years of age when she took her own life. Sharise chose death by hanging. An empty packet of Seroxat was found beneath her lifeless body. Two weeks after she killed herself the MHRA made an announcement that SSRI'S should no longer be prescribed to under 18's. Too little too late for the parents of Sharise. You can read a speech that her mom gave at the Brighton convention regarding Seroxat here. Here's a photo of Sharise.
Stephanie Lynch (Ireland) - Her son, Jake, was just 14 when he put a rifle inside his mouth, pulled the trigger and killed himself. He'd been prescribed Prozac because his was worrying about school exams. His mother wrote a guest post. If you can stomach it, click here. Here's a photo of Jake.
Stuart Jones - (Wales) His daughter, Sheryl, was 28 when she was prescribed Cipramil because, according to her father, she was having a 'down day'. Sheryl took an overdose of the antidepressant just three days later. Her life support machine was switched off four days after she was admitted to the intensive care unit. The inquest returned an open verdict. You can read her father's eulogy here. Here's a photo of Sheryl.
Kim Witczak (USA) - On August 6, 2003 Kim's husband, Woody, died of a Zoloft-induced suicide at age 37. In Kim's own words, "He was not depressed, nor did he have any history of mental illness or depression. He died after taking the drug a total of 5 weeks with the dosage being doubled shortely before his death. He was given the antidepressant from his general physician for “insomnia.” - You can read more about Woody here. Here's a photo of Woody.
Mathy Milling Downing (USA) - Her daughter, Candace, was just 12. When Candace entered middle school, she began having problems on tests and frustration over certain homework assignments. She would block on answers she knew on tests, or write so illegibly that some answers were marked incorrect, even if she had them correct. Because of her parents’ concern, she saw her pediatrician, who recommended that she see a child psychiatrist. The psychiatrist wrote Candace a prescription for Zoloft. Some time later Candace hanged herself. - You can read more about Candace here. Here's a photo of Candace.
Celeste Steubing (USA) - Her son, Matthew, was 18 when he plunged more than 160 feet from the Silas Pearman Bridge before slamming into the Cooper River. Matthew was prescribed the antidepressant Lexapro after a visit to a psychologist. Both Celeste and her husband, Daniel, said Matthew had never been suicidal before going on the drug, which was prescribed by a doctor to correct a perceived chemical imbalance. -You can read more about Matthew here. Here's a photo of Matthew.
With the exception of both Stepanie's from Ireland and Stuart from Wales, I have met each and everyone of the parents, and wife, mentioned. I feel, Dr Pemberton, that you should too.
I'm unsure of your stance on antidepressant use during pregnancy - If you feel it's safe then I can introduce you to a number of parents who have lost children due to their mothers taking antidepressants during pregnancy - hey, the more the merrier, eh Dr. Pemberton?
You are going to need a rather large couch to accommodate us all. Hey, I can even tell you about my personal experience at the hands of Seroxat. I was prescribed it for work related problems. It took me a total of 19 months to taper down from 40mg per day to 22mg per day - in the end I was forced to go cold turkey. I had one suicide attempt and felt compelled to cause bodily harm to complete strangers. (Don't worry Dr Pemberton - I'm off it now so don't feel suicidal or homicidal) I've met with the MHRA a few times and no violence was aimed in their direction.
Are you up for it? I feel we should debate the points you make in your editorial. I do feel that you should look at all of the above in the eye and tell them that antidepressants are perfectly safe. Or will you just pass them off, like the MHRA do, as 'anecdotal stories'?
You can contact me on Twitter or by direct email if you so desire.
I look forward to your reply.
Author of The evidence, however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal.