The College of Psychiatry of Ireland; Protecting patient’s interests?

The lawyers acting for Staff Sgt Robert Bales who allegedly massacred 17 Afghans, are currently looking at whether the Prescribed drugs he was taking were to blame. An article in today’s Telegraph states Prescribed drugs ‘to blame over spate of violence among US soldiers’ Link. Bart Billings, a former military psychologist and combat stress expert, told the Los Angeles Times “We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now … And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence,”

It is widely recognised, see Shane’s report, that Akathisia, brought on by prescription drugs, is the condition which can cause a drug induced suicide and/or homicide.

The body entrusted with the knowledge, including side-effects, of these drugs in Ireland is The College of Psychiatry of Ireland. I have written before about their “failure to warn” and active denials that these drugs can cause suicide and violence, despite the drug companies and the medicines regulators having to do so. Here’s what their website has to say about akathisia and antidepressants, which include a lot of ‘may be’s’ and theories;

What is antidepressant medication?

The manner in which antidepressants help to restore normal mood isn’t known for definite, but it is probably related to their effect on regulating the activity of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These are chemical messengers that help brain cells communicate and pass signals to each other. The chemicals most involved in depression are serotonin and noradrenaline and antidepressant medications influence their activity. There are other theories to explain the effectiveness of antidepressants in depression, such as their effect on the inflammatory and immune system and on their potential to promote nerve cell growth or (‘neurogenesis’) in certain brain areas. It may be through a combination of these effects that they are helpful in depression.

Then you are re-directed to a UK website, where it states, as usual, that it’s your illness that can cause the problem;

Depression and other psychiatric illnesses are associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and suicide. You should be aware that this medicine may not start to make you feel better for at least two to four weeks.  (This seems at odds with Prof. Casey’s statement, at a 2003 Lundbeck seminar who stated that these drugs work WITHIN DAYS.) However, it is important that you keep taking it in order for it to work properly and for you to feel better. If you feel your depression or anxiety has got worse, or if you have any distressing thoughts, or feelings about suicide or harming yourself in these first few weeks, or  indeed at any point during treatment or after stopping treatment, then it is very important to talk to your doctor. (No mention that it could be the drug causing these feelings and of course the patient will still be waiting for the anti-depressant effect to kick in).

Now here’s the big problem, the section dealing with akathisia;

SSRI antidepressants have been associated with the development of unpleasant or distressing restlessness and the need to move, often accompanied by an inability to sit or stand still. This is most likely to occur within the first few weeks of treatment. If you experience these symptoms you should consult your doctor. (No mention of the serious side-effects that akathisia can cause, just consult your doctor).

Shame on the Irish College of Psychiatry.


Here’s some other light-hearted reading concerning this issue:

4 thoughts on “The College of Psychiatry of Ireland; Protecting patient’s interests?

  1. Consulting you doctor is a waste of time if they don’t know how to recognise an adverse reaction. It is shocking how little doctors know about pharmacology and they rely solely on the pharmaceutical companies to give them information about this as the Medical Council offers no ongoing training/literature and the IMB only produce a ‘newsletter’ that is distributed a couple of times a year.

    All of this was addressed in that 2007 Report by the Dept of Health with recommendations for increased training for doctors, none of it found its way into the Medical Practitioners legislation that was implemented that same year.

    Someone in the Department of Health has to address this or there will continue to be casualties.

    Sorry if that sounds dramatic but as you know only too well it is actually a matter of life and death and I wouldn’t wish the experience on my worst enemy.


  2. Research has shown that doctor’s prescribing habbits change marketly IF the education they are given about drugs is not given by drug companies. We know that the drugs doctors are most likely to prescribe are from the latest visit they have had from drug company representatives. The WHOLE reason drug companies have reps visiting doctors is to get them to prescribe more. And of course lets not forget that drug company reps have NO medical training or the like. They have not read ANY of the research studies about the drugs, instead they are employed purely to sell the drugs, and just spin off roped learned benefits spouted by the companies. WHY do medications that supposedly do nothing more than restore a persons wellness need to be sold in this way. Insulin for diabetes is not sold in this way. It can’t be. Give someone too much insulin and they will die. Can’t have those deaths on there hands. But when it comes to mental illness they can simply blame suicide, blame the illness, etc. Time the medical profession admitted they were in bed with drug companies. They need to be regulated and urgently.


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