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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Royal College of Psychiatrists - 63%

As many of you already know, Professor Wendy Burn, President – Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Professor David Baldwin, Chair, Psychopharmacology Committee – Royal College of
Psychiatrists have been sent a letter regarding recent remarks in an opinion piece published by The Times newspaper. The letter, sent to Burn and Baldwin, is calling for the pair to publicly retract, explain and apologise for the statement.

The opinion piece to The Times was signed off by both Burn and Baldwin and it caused quite a stir amongst users, and former users of antidepressants. Burn and Baldwin wrote, "We know that in the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment."

Many outraged present and former patients took to Twitter to confront Wendy Burn where she was told that her opinion did not tally with a 2014 study posted on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website. It was a study that was due to be revised in Oct 2017, however, it appears, that it never was.

The study showed that 63% of people suffered from antidepressant withdrawal. The most common side effect listed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, was Anxiety (70%).  Electric shocks, better known as 'head-zaps' was seen in 48% of those who participated in the study. Imagine that, a drug gave 70% of patients symptoms of anxiety during withdrawal!

Burn, who often prescribes antidepressants claims that she never witnesses withdrawal in the majority of her patients. Let's assume 70% of her patients suffer anxiety during withdrawal - it's probably safe to say that Burn diagnoses them with such and re-introduces the antidepressant - and round and round the patient goes. It beggars belief - if an antidepressant can induce anxiety then (ahem) treat that anxiety with an antidepressant!

When the survey was pointed out to Burn on Twitter, she claimed she never knew of it. 24 hours later the survey was taken down and now many feel it was removed because it didn't tally with the comments made by Burn and Baldwin in The Times.

Carmine Pariante, who is often a spokesperson for The Royal College of Psychiatrists, claimed on Twitter that he had been told: "The leaflet expired in 2016 and should have been revised then. @rcpsyc will produce a revised leaflet with an updated evidence-base and with input from patients and GPs."

However, a video which seems to accompany the survey was uploaded in 2015 to youtube. Remarkably, there is no mention of the 63% who suffered withdrawal effects, nor is there any mention that a quarter of those surveyed experienced withdrawal effects for 12 weeks or longer (as was stipulated in the original survey (here)

The video, which claims that "Most people don't have troublesome side effects when coming off antidepressants," once again, goes against their own study findings. More bizarrely, the video contradicts the above claim with, "Most people said that their symptoms lasted up to six weeks."

If that doesn't confuse you then I don't know what will!

To add more confusion to the pot they claim that the side effects may just be your depression returning ("You may have some physical symptoms or your depression may return.")

Moreover, the video still remains in the public domain - for whatever reason, it has not been taken down by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. One can only presume that the findings in the video haven't 'expired' and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have no plans for an updated 'evidence-base and with input from patients and GPs.'

It seems to me that the Royal College of Psychiatrists are having their cake and eating it here.

Anyway, here's the video that was published on YouTube on Jun 26, 2015. A backup copy has been made just in case the Royal College of Psychiatrists decide to move this video too.


Bob Fiddaman

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