My Crazy Meds Are Crazier Than I'll Ever Be: Psychiatry, Anxiety and Depression

June 25, 2011 Kate White

Psychiatric treatment is a relationship between you, your mental illness, your drugs, and your doctor(s). That relationship is what matters most when it comes to ensuring medications treat actual mental health issues.
Taking the meds out of clinical practice and studying them in a lab is not only difficult but results in mixed outcomes. The kind we see reflected in the studies which the press pick up on.

Just this week I've read that the drugs don't work, that it's all a big fraud, and that the next Big Pharma pill will cure everything.

Psychiatry, like democracy, is the worst form of treatment except for all the others that have been tried


My first med was paroxetine (Paxil). I was 15. Good times.
Did it help? Definitely. Run a Google search and you'll get plenty of disagreement and/or reasons I shouldn't have taken it for anxiety or depression but that's the internet for you. My love for continues to this day but does not replace the warm and fuzzies for the competent psychiatrists I've had, nor the general loathing induced by those who played tic-tac-toe with my head.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'
~Isaac Asimov

In many people psychiatric medication like SSRIs will work for about 2 years then for mysterious reasons simply cease. Stop, go. Much like the depression. Unfortunately you can't hop off the paroxetine bus then hop on again without breaking the engine. Bummer that.

My psychiatrist was well aware of this. I had a vague notion but wasn't really paying attention. It was obvious when it stopped working. Almost but thankfully not quite as obvious as when it started; It moderately adjusted my baseline level of depression. That may not sound all that exciting but it was a real difference to me. It also isn't something the studies can currently look into.

Do they have enough evidence to know that drug resistance is commonplace? Yep, though they've no real idea why and there isn't a large enough, specific enough population of depressed anxious people with similar histories of use for psychiatric medication to get results that mean much of anything. Also trying to make psychiatry purely about the studies isn't a great plan.

I don't mind how the drugs saved my life. I'm just glad they did.

Does that make it good treatment? Not necessarily but it's an improvement on the LSD they were handing out in the '70s so I'll take it.

Psychiatry: still as much blunt force artistry as science

Psychiatry, as it stands today, is somewhat like handing your brain over to Damien Hirst with a scalpel and a couple of chem-phys books; There's a lot of "That's funny...", or in psychiatric parlance "That's interesting...".


(I don't spend my spare time schilling for GlaxoSmithKline, if you were wondering.)

APA Reference
White, K. (2011, June 25). My Crazy Meds Are Crazier Than I'll Ever Be: Psychiatry, Anxiety and Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Kate White

Dr Musli Ferati
July, 6 2011 at 10:28 am

The medication of mental disorders is somewhat different out from somatic illness. There are many psycho-social and sociocultural factors that determines their efficacy, furthermore when it is known that individual compliance and adherence to treatment are specific for every psychiatric patient. As it is noted psychiatric medication is extended for long time, that implicates different side effects that are unpredictable from psychiatrists and producers of remedies. In my psychiatric experience I was often confronted with disastrous intercassions of nurses, that destroyed therapeutic process. In term of nursing, I would like to access the great impact of nursery in satisfying treatment of psychiatric patients. But in daily practice many nurses take upon oneself to manage the medication of psychiatric clientele, that is unlawful and unprofessional as well. I stressed this destructive deed of nurses, because for long time it was became an amiss phenomenon that mostly damages psychiatric patients. Not only for professional purposes, I should to underline that this antipsychiatric tendency wouldn't any probability to overcoming, because the heads of Mental Health Service collaborate closely with irresponsible nurses. Unbelievable but true unfortunately!

July, 1 2011 at 12:29 pm

Wow, do I love this!!! Have you read MAD IN AMERICA?…
I have taken so many drugs in the last 20 years, I simply can't remember them all. And, speaking of memory, I didn't have one for all those years due to the meds. I also gained 35 lbs., got a rash that could have killed me (not that they told me this could be the consequence), my feet turned black, I slept and slept and slept, couldn't understand what I was reading (books used to be my life!), could no longer write creatively (another talent suffocated), couldn't crochet complex patterns anymore, got debilitating permanent arthritis, lost a good portion of my hair, lost my sex drive, had such dry skin I would scratch it raw during the night...are you getting the picture?...and ultimately, was diagnosed with a tumor on my liver that almost killed me.
And now?
Now, I'm losing weight, (with no effort), taking a writing course, crocheting for profit, making love with my husband, and sitting here knowing with absolute surety that I will remember I wrote this.
Keep your meds, keep your pills,
I will find other ways to deal with my ills

Wendy Lerf
June, 30 2011 at 9:32 pm

WOW. This brings my thoughts of many years into sharp relief. I have Bipolar Disordfer as well as several other serious mental illnesses and I nearly died due to long term mis-prescription of SSRI's. They are definitely required as part of some Bipolar patients' meds regimes, but for some Bipolar patients they are contraindicated and they can be fatal, as they escalte every part of Bipolar, a complex disorders, with pretty much a range of sub-disorders within it. I was prescribed them for 6 years as part of my meds mix (there is a notion that they are OK as long as the patient is on mood stabilisers, but that wasn;t the case with me - I WAS on mood stabilisers). I was too trusting of my doctorsd, who I knw amd sure are in the "unholy alliance between psychiatrists and BIG PHARMA. I wasn't educated about the possible side effects, my whole life went down the loitel, I made a 100% serious suicide attempt 3 years ago and nearly died. I moved away shortly after and my new psych established quickly that I should never have bee on SSRI's and took me off them and had he not, I would be dead.
I also think we are a vast mob of guineau pigs, with our lives serving to see the efficacy and dangers of meds. And has been said, it's the House that wins. It's just like Microsoft selling software that has not been completely tested out into the market for the users to find the bugs and report them back.
And thank you SO MUCH for the statement, "Psychiatry, like democracy, is the worst form of treatment except for all the others that have been tried". That one's a keeper.

Kate White
June, 26 2011 at 12:09 pm

Hey Jaliya hun
And you know what they say, the house always wins. hah
"I want to be drug-free. I want to know who I am and what I am capable of *without* this crap-shoot chemical manipulation."
First you get hugs. And second you get unconditional support on this one.
I've been reading bits and pieces about SSRI withdrawal lately and they're even more sobering than the questions (which are quite sobering enough). I feel really grateful not to have gone through them.
Was also told similar things re: staying on the meds. Not in those terms but the word indefinitely was used a lot. Only none of the meds I tried after that first one had the same very obvious effect. An effect I still can't quite find words for and neither could my psychiatrists. Always boiled down to well we just know they work ok so take them, and just to be safe probably take this too.
Er, yeah, thanks?

June, 26 2011 at 9:02 am

Kate, your experience mirrors my own in that I initially experienced about two years' worth of phenomenal changes after taking an SSRI.
Then ... uh-oh. It's taken many years and much investigation to suss out the damage that's also been done. I still take the drug, and am beginning a *very* gradual withdrawal. Nearly 15 years of ingesting this one drug ... and I think that I finally got my dear physician to understand my point of view when I recently said this to him:
"What would you say to me if I told you that I've been taking cocaine every day for the last 15 years?" (I've never touched the stuff and never will.)
His eyes widened; he paused, stared at me for a moment, then said,
"I ... would tell you that it's not a good idea ..."
"Doc, I *have* been taking a drug every day for the last 15 years. You know which one."
Thus began a whole new conversation. About seven years ago, I told my doc that I wanted to consider going off the drug. At the time, he said, "If you were diabetic and insulin-dependent, what do you think I'd say to you if you told me you wanted to stop taking the insulin?" -- This is an argument that, in relation to psychotropic drugs, is no longer valid; there is no way, except patient reports (no blood or other chemical/functional tests), to monitor the effiacy of drugs that target emotions and behaviour. The SSRI class of drugs has been on the market for about 30 years now, and finally we are beginning to see long-term studies that consider harmful effects as well as the beneficial effects.
Through a process of differentiation and elimination over several years, I have come to see much more clearly which symptoms are most likely to be accumulated effects of this one drug ... and I have no doubt that I must titerate the dose, eventually, down to zero. I hope I can do this; I want to be drug-free. I want to know who I am and what I am capable of *without* this crap-shoot chemical manipulation.
My doctor agrees with me that psychotropic drugs are a crap shoot. I was extremely lucky that the first drug at its first dose seemed to work miracles ... until the side effects, over time, became cumulative effects and then new symptoms of dysfunction.
Whether to take these drugs, and for how long ... These are sobering questions ...

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Victoria Coleman
April, 15 2017 at 6:20 am

Due to the fact that I had two boyfriends at the same time , neither of which were any good for me at all, my mental state caused me to attempt suicide in 2000. I took a mess of pills but my neighbor caught me in the act and took me to the hospital. I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and released in three days time. Over the next fifteen years I had a psych doctor who ran me through so many different drugs I can't even remember the names of them all. We finally found a few whose side effects were not intolerable. I had taken Prozac for fifteen years. When it stopped working Abilify was added. I gained one hundred pounds and didn't care. In fact I didn't care about ANYTHING. I had not laughed or cried in the whole fifteen years. It took my psych doc to make me angry to get off the drugs. He told me to just stop taking the antidepressant of the time period when I swung manic. He knew as well as I knew that should NEVER be done. You must decrease dosage from those drugs. I got electric shock like feelings all through my body. I got angry and found another doctor who was glad I did not want too many drugs. He took me off the kolonipin which was not working anyhow and changed me to Xanex. I rarely take it but if I need to, it does work. He took me off of Topomax (dopeamax) because my memory is shot and I have to write everything down. The Prozac and Abilify were already gone by the time we met. I am happy now with NO medication and wonder if I EVER REALLY needed any of it! Why I let the first doctor have me like a zombie for years I have yet to figure out. Maybe those drugs are good for some people but NOT for me! Bless you all. Try Jesus, who is still healing in this day and age. He has healed me and he can heal you!

June, 26 2011 at 6:27 am

I too wouldn't be around if it wasn't for a very good pdoc and my husband and the meds I finally ended up with. Sure there were some big drawbacks along the way but I need them and they work. I am grateful they were around and I am now getting back to living life for the first real time in my 29 years...

Jonathan Alter
June, 25 2011 at 1:02 pm

Hi Kate! What a great article. thanks. I would not be alive today without my therapists, psychiatrists, and the Meds. You know Meds are many times guess-work, but once you get there... Well... Thank God! I hope there will be a time when I am off Meds, but until then I wouldn't be without them. They give me room to do therapy, to heal, and to just be present... To be in my body. Take care Kate! Jonathan

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