Posted by simon levane on February 17, 2006, at 19:00:46
In reply to Re: Suicide on Effexor, posted by lifetime on February 16, 2006, at 14:37:32
I am sorry that my response is out of sequence in the thread. I find it difficult to answer you. The difficulty is that after the fact, I can see so much that I should have done differently, and I can see my own ignorance, and i can see if I had researched my daughter's illness, I could have helped her better, and the last year and 8 months since her death in the subway, I have been living an unending nightmare of regret and guilt and of loss. Perhaps you understand a lot in helping managing your wife's treatment, and it is very true that some adolescents and young adults complete suicide without any warning or indication.
I have heard of cases first hand in which a teenager had attempted suicide and was taken to a hospital, then released to her parent's care, and succeeded in completing suicide a few weeks later -- imagine the mother's broken heart to experience this..
My daughter was ill for 8 years and we went through periods when she was going to school and doing well, and had many happy moments, but we never had the kind of support and education that was needed, and we depended on the guidance of the medical caregivers.
I have written at some length of our experience in losing our child. My experience in losing my daughter as i was a single parent. There is a huge evidence and doctors who speak against the indiscriminant use of anti-depressants and of ritalin.. The anecdotal reports are even more compelling when someone writes of a specific experience taking one of these drugs and feeling suicidal... How can anyone discount this???????????????
I was a fool in hindsight, but I trusted our GP and sadly, he trusted the psychiatrist specialist and neither of them warned us of the risk. On top of this, I had the pharmacist delay giving us the medication, so there was a presumed consultation with the family doctor who confirmed the dosage and was not cognitant of the risk because he hadn't read the warnings that were 5 YEARS OLD.
There are issues here of accountability, and of proper assessment of risk. I sat with my daughter meeting a specialist who made me feel as if things were not so bad... that she had some issues that needed medication and this would help and in time she would get better, but she was dealing with symptoms from her area of clinical research specialty and she NEVER gave us an indication of the risk or that my daughter should be monitored and what to do if she expressed suicidal ideation.. none of that..
My daughter spoke of suicide sometimes because she was fascinated by Kurt Cobain's death and Marilyn Monroe's death - she wrote an essay on this in school.. she had me watch Girl Interrupted with her, and I thought she identified with the main character.. and thought she had taken wisdom from the tragedy of that movie.. thought she was beyond thinking of taking her life.. She liked to push my "buttons" and i worried if I reacted with too much concern to an adolescent threat -- it would raise the ante..... Dear God!!! i was trained by a parent support group not to take the hook of suicidal threat cause lots of kids may use that as a lever... how wrong they were!!!
There is a disbelief that your child could do such a thing.. No one can fathom that.. imagine it.. I could not.. now I live it..
The bottom line, Herb, is that we must keep our children safe.. and no one should put them at risk... This means that drugs should be dispensed with care and caution, and that medical records should be properly shared, and parents must be educated and involved in the care of our children.. our at risk children.
I trusted our GP because he had always been a good doctor and had always handled the usual medical things with care and thoughtfulness, but this was out of his scope, and he missed so many clues that we were telling him.. and he took on the responsibility of prescribing a drug about which he knew almost NOTHING.... and even at face with a concerned pharmacist he still didn't look it up, but relied on the specialist who had recommended it, and she was ignorant of my daughter's full medical history and so full of her own area of specialization that she even missed the fact that Ritalin can cause symptoms of OCD and has its own risks...
My daughter also contributed to this by not telling us the truth about her addiction to Ritalin.
At end, it cost us her life.. All of us.. her, and me and all who loved her.....
And it cost DM her son's life.. Her wonderful son who hardly had a trouble, but was prescribed the drug without the doctor letting DM know of the potential risk...
In both cases, the risk was not explained....
DM is without fault or blame, but I am not so free because I should have researched this, but I was duped by the impression that there was no significant risk.. and I went home that night with the new meds and gave my daughter the two capsules not realizing it would be the last time i would ever see her alive..
And the answer to all of this "Depressed people kill themselves".. how simplistic and distorted..
I am reminded of a drug that was used to cure severe acne.. and there was a risk factor of about 1 in a 100,000 for anaplastic anemia.. totally incurable.. so in a nation of 250,000,000 with who knows how many kids with bad acne.. that drug could potentially kill hundreds of kids every year.. It was removed from the market.. and you know what? Few doctors ever told parents or patients of that risk. Would you give you kid a drug that could kill them to cure acne.... ??????
sure a few million kids used it without any side effect, but would you have risked your child's life? It is the same thing with these anti-depressants. Had I known this, I would have been home that night and my daughter would likely still be alive now as i sit here and write this pain out.........
Due diligence.. accountability... proper education.. not this lackadaisical attitude even after the fact, when it has cost the lives of our children and we live in the agony of pain, and some of us have not only the loss and the missing of our children, but the guilt that we could have done better had we been wiser and less flawed...
that is the reality...
Dear Mr. Levane,
> I can emphasize with your feelings and express my condolences at the tragedy that has befallen your family and others from the seriousness of mood disorders. The fact is from my experiences and knowledge no mood disorder should ever be taken lightly and what at one moment may seem trivial could easily and rapidly escalate into suicidal ideations and the successful attempt at taking one’s own life.
> Whether or not you are aware there are many successful adolescent suicides without the patient ever being on any medication and/or treatment. While I am knowledgeable from my readings that it is thought that in some instances the use of medications maybe a causation or contributing factor to increasing suicidal ideations the fact still remains there is no definitive correlations and many conflicting research reports.
> While I cannot undo that which has taken place I can share my experiences, research and knowledge without giving any advice. If one finds it comforting and enabling to take legal action then do as one sees fit. While I still face the possibility of my spouse taking her life one day I continue to advocate for education. Mood disorders should be taken seriously. Mood disorders are potentially fatal. Medications to treat these disorders should be taken seriously. Awareness that medications have potential side-effects should be taken seriously. Awareness that medications not only have potential side-effects but can lead to death also applies to medications other than psychotropics. For that matter one should be aware that over the counter drugs such as aspirin can kill too.
> You speak about “risk management.” Even as a youngster I heard an old saying when one takes drugs, “There is no free ride as there is a price to pay in one form or another.” I’ve been handling “risk management” for over 42 years in collaboration with doctors, good doctors and more importantly better doctors. In our travails we’ve encountered doctors who think their deities and others that didn’t listen. We simply made informed decisions and moved on to another physician. While many doctors heed the call “TO DO NO HARM” others are truly compassionate and caring and do make their best efforts to relieve the angish, pain and suffering of their patients suffering from horrific mood disorders and go above their call of duty to help. We have been fortunate to have had a number of those physicians attending to my spouse. While there are no guarantees when treating mood disorders one doctor in particular went beyond the bounds of the drug company specifications which I cited elsewhere relating to mega dosing of Effexor XR. The point I am making is the doctor suggested, we asked questions, we researched and made a reasonably informed decision regardless of the fact that this particular doctor was an M.D., professor, lecturer, researcher, published researcher and noted psychopharmacologist and authority. As a former DBSA facilitator I’ve listened to thousands of personal experiences of horror stories, tragedies and triumphs but we’ve always continued to encourage education, self-advocacy, support networks and systems and the like. There are no easy answers to what works or why these things happen but what we can do is to share our experiences and knowledge so hopefully others can benefit from those experiences both bad and good.
> I would hope from your writings and that of “Devastated Mother” too that other parents reading this thread take the time to educate themselves quickly, to maintain lines of communication with one’s child, to try and discuss the situation with the attending physician and most importantly carefully observe any changes in the patient’s mood state especially when first initiating and/or changing any treatment regimen. I might also point out that it is not unheard of having to go through numerous treatment options and/or combinations of options in order to obtain a favorable response and/or outcome.