There was an interesting article, Antidepressant regulations tightened following suicide, in the Copenhagen Post on January 7. Thanks to Mad in America for the link. It is reported that Danilo Terrida, aged 20, committed suicide in 2011
“…eleven days after he was prescribed antidepressants following an eight-minute-long conversation with a doctor.”
The doctor has been deemed responsible for the suicide by the National Agency for Patients’ Rights and Complaints. According to its website:
“The National Agency for Patients’ Rights and Complaints functions as a single point of access for patients who wish to complain about the professional treatment in the Danish health service.”
As a result of this case, Sundhedsstyrelsen, the Danish Health and Medicines Authority, has issued a directive requiring a more thorough assessment before these drugs can be prescribed to people aged 18 to 24.
Here are some quotes from the article:
“The case has sparked a debate about the dangers of psychiatric drugs, and in Politiken newspaper today Peter Gøtzsche, medical researcher and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Center at Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, wrote that antidepressants have caused healthy people to commit suicide.”
“He [Gøtzsche] added that psychiatric medication often does more harm than good and that patients would often be better off without medication.”
“‘Doctors cannot cope with the paradox that drugs that can be useful for short-term treatment can be highly dangerous when used for years and even create the illnesses that they were supposed to prevent, or even bring on an even worse illness,’ Gøtzsche wrote.”
So, we have one more piece of confirmation of something that’s been known for years. Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide for some individuals, especially in the period immediately following initiation. For decades, the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatrists spun this embarrassing fact as evidence that the drugs were working. The story went like this: when people are deeply depressed, they lack the energy or motivation to even take their own lives. But as the antidepressant “kicks in,” the person begins to feel more motivation, though still considerably depressed. So he kills himself.
And psychiatry actually embraced and promulgated that nonsense. Today it is clear that the drugs, especially the serotonin boosters, actually generate suicidal thoughts and intentions in some individuals, especially young people.
Requiring a more thorough assessment, as the Danes plan to do, seems a fairly minimal precaution, but it’s better than the 8-minute conversation that Danilo Terrida got. The ongoing problem, however, is that there is, as far as I know, no way to identify those people who pose particular risk in this regard, other than intensive individualized monitoring for all people who are prescribed these products. It seems unlikely that screening of that magnitude will become general practice, given the frequency with which antidepressants are being prescribed. So instead of an 8-minute interview, there’ll be a 30-minute interview, but the results may not be much different.
In addition, this whole issue needs to be publicized more in order to ensure that clients are making informed choices.