Friday, May 8, 2009

The Conundrum of Marriage Destroyed by SSRI’s

If you have reached this page because you or loved ones have experienced major personality changes that have damaged your family and you want to know if the antidepressants have played a role, I highly recommend you check out this site.(Sadly the original forum got removed. It contained a lot of stories. Lots of users and spouses reporting the most insane reactions emotionally and behaviorally.  There is a contributor named BTDT or BTD who is mentally off and obsessed with posting on the TOPIX forum. But he/ she does seem to provide comfort.  But the stories get lost in the "discussion" on this sight.  There is also a few different Facebook Pages.) 
Marriages Destroyed by SSRI/ SNRI's There are dozens of stories here that will make you say, "I could have written this story". Your are not alone. There are now 300 different stories on this thread ranging from a college professor who gave up her career in her 40's to go become a stripper and a prostitute to a couples who were married for 20 plus years. Another place to read and get info (maybe even post) is at paxilprogress.org/forums. Here the threads are a little easier to read, but there are less of these family support stories. Now on to the post. (I am just updating some info. I will do a look back in the near future.)If you don't mind giving up a little privacy, There is a great FB group called "Lives Destroyed by SSRIs". 

The system is broken. Who is going to do the research to find out if an otherwise happy marriage was effected by Prozac or any of the other SSRI related drugs? The prescribing information on every one of them require physicians to do a screening for bipolar disorder. This evaluation cost thousands of dollars and is often not covered by insurance if the patient should happen to have it. Drs get a large amount of what can only be described as kickback for prescribing them. (I spent 20 min. explaining to my doc how SSRI's had destroyed my life. This doc knew my wife and how close our relationship was. He was taken back by the events i described and said, "It sounds like she may have been misdiagnosed and is bipolar." At the end he still offered to prescribe me an antidepressant.)

Who is going to do the research to find out if Drs are talking to family members to find out if the patient is an alcoholic or bi-polar before the issue a prescription? They will tell you that they are just doctors and only go off the information their patience give them. Most are well meaning and think they are doing great work. Their patient is extremely happy. They are bared by HIPAA and doctor patient confidentiality from talking to the patient's family about personality changes. Of course that is exactly what the prescribing information says should happen. "Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and non psychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior..." So how is this information exchange going to take place?

As a friend of mine put it, "I went to the doctors and said i was feeling stressed because I was unemployed and about to loose my house. He gave me an antidepressant and I didn't feel 'stressed' any more. I was still about to loose my house and was still unemployed, but i just didn't care. Heck I even stopped looking for work."

Once the doctor realizes the error of their ways they are stuck. If they get their patient off the drugs, they very well may find themselves defending a lawsuit.

So who else could have an interest in uncovering the damaging affects? The drug companies? They are making billions off these drugs. They are well aware of what they are doing. Ever noticed how every antidepressant commercial spend 20 seconds telling you how good the drug will make you feel, and then a minute and a half telling you about the dangers? Yet nobody finds this absurd. Do you think they have any incentive expose the grey area, non-life threatening dangers of these drugs?

Our watchdog agency the FDA has its hands so tied with bureaucracy that it takes an act of congress to change a drugs status once accepted. So much of the process is being driven by money and not the well being of the citizens the agency is supposed to be protecting.

To sum it up in real terms. The drug companies can show minimal side affect of the physical, life threatening nature. The Drs. give their patient the pills and the patient returns and says, “you know, I finally came to the realization that instead of being married, I wanted to sleep with everybody in town, spend all my money, and neglect my parental duties. Now I am happy.” They Drs say, “wow look I did a good job, my patient is “happy”. The pharmacies just take your money and completely feel disconnected.

Here is the reality of SSRIs. My wife went to consoling because after the birth of the baby, her obsessive/ compulsiveness and anxiety had increased. So she was given a drug that would “take the edge off”. Take the edge off it did. It take away your guilt and remorse feelings. Think about what you would do if you had no guilt or remorse? Think about what you would do if you couldn’t feel love or sadness. I can tell you a heart wrenching story of what you could do.

I too suffered from a disconnect in reality. For quite a few months I thought this whole thing had happened a lot quicker then it had. Luckily i like to write and stumbled upon old records and emails that I had kept to journal the irrational times. My wife was first prescribed Zoloft. This is when the feelings of agitation and suicide increased. She also became abnormally irritated with the baby. Only after this did our first fights where she mentioned not being happy in the marriage emerged. Prior to that it was never a consideration. As a good husband and completely in my character, she would calm down and ask for forgiveness. I would, and that meant that I forgave and forgot. I didn't know I should be watching for these as signs of adverse reactions to SSRIs. Even if i did, who would I tell?

A major sign for me should have been when my wife’s godmother died. She complained about the inability to cry. She said she just didn’t feel anything to this lady who had been an important part of her life. We thought it was just a part of her newly prescribed drug and it would pass. Now she is way passed that. Honesty, commitment, faithfulness, family, and duty were pillars of her character. Now she has none of those qualities. The problem is that if you ask her she will tell you how happy she is. If you didn’t have the guilt or remorse, wouldn’t you be ecstatic too?

Now she is out of reach of me. Her family is unaware of the many things she is doing. They have to be aware of the personality change, but probably figure it is just because she is "going through a hard time" with the divorce. They haven’t researched the effects of Prozac. Not to mention when you mix alcohol with it. So who is going to question her “happiness”. How can I rest assured that these uncaring feelings are not extended to include my daughter. From where I am standing there is nothing she is doing nothing that is in the interest of our child.

This is not my wife. Her very soul has been suppressed. There is not a shred of the values she once held dear. She almost seems not to realize the devastation that it is having on me or our daughter. My daughter has twice said to me, "I don't want to go to mommy's. I scared". This of course drives my own paranoia. Is she scared because she just dosn't want to leave home, and me? IS she afraid of some real threat? What do you say to a 2 yr old that she will understand. "Sorry munchkin, The courts say I have to send you to a place that 'scares' you". What kind of trust boundries am I breaking by doing this? I grow tired of this fight. But I can't give up until the unanswered questions about the dangers of the affects of these drugs are answered. I want to. That is the true "conundrum".


http://www.topix.com/forum/drug/effexor/TQ4I2UR28DFD3N759

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your experience. Mine was somewhat different, but you're not alone. One correction, though: extra serotonin, or at least the amount that comes from SSRIs, does not make you less agitated. (This is in reference to something else you wrote.) It causes restlessness, and not the good kind. I was bugging people, making stupid jokes, etc. That was when things were better. Eventually it turned into full-blown anxiety and agitation. I became afraid of fire, merging cars, horseback riding, and needles. My fear of needles stuck around until I started taking something to keep my serotonin down. When I was on Prozac I used to let people walk all over me. Now some people are starting to get mad because that's not happening anymore and because I express hurt over the things I didn't get to deal with at the time. It's not all about going through the motions and playing others' games anymore, and some don't like that.
Anyway, there's a lot more to my story, but you get the idea. Withdrawal will probably be just as rough, so hang on! Thanks for trying to warn others.

JS

Lord of Logic said...

JS,

It seems that the only thing certain about these drugs is that they are not certain how people will react to them. I understand that the withdraws can be as wild of ride as the actual reactions. But there is an old saying. “If you realize you are on the wrong train heading the wrong direction, your first move should be to get off the train.” I don’t know if I will ever have to experience her in the withdraw phase. Currently we are as about as distant as we could get. I can only hope that on the other side there is a good life for my daughter and a lot less stress on her family. Oddly enough going through this process has made me a person less willing to let people walk all over me, and I was never on the stuff.

Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

You are so, so, so, right! My situation was so much like yours, but in my case, it was my husband. 6 months on zoloft, and he stopped caring about me, his son, our pets...our LIFE. Everyone saw the changes in him, but chalked it up to mid-life crisis. The injustice of it all is too maddening for words.

My heart goes out to you, and the countless other victims of these emotion numbing drugs. :(

Anonymous said...

I consider SSRI's to be poison, for exactly the reasons we all share. Being married to someone who is distant, uncaring, overtly aggressive, occasionally manic... it's not what marriage was meant to be. The other night, my husband was ballistic when he overheard me telling someone that serotonin makes you feel happy. It's just a nerurotransmitter, after all. It's not an addiction.

Worse than being married, though, is the affect it has on our children. How can a kid possibly understand why Daddy doesn't seem to care about them and is more drawn to seeking new adventures without any of us? That is the heartbreaker. We are adults. We are fully capable of learning to cope through the bad -- and SSRI's ARE BAD!! -- but I can't help but lift up in prayer those little ones who have become SSRI orphans when their parents drop themselves into a pill bottle.

My husband has developed terrible tremors and other physical symptoms that he blames on other medications. He can't see the field for the trees, and refuses to tell our doctor about it. As far as I know, he's taking in excess of the standard "high" dose.

Lord, grant me the serenity...

Lord of Logic said...

Anon,

I have struggled with what is best for my daughter since before I knew what was going on. I only recently had my own perception of reality adjusted as I went through some old email while preparing for my case. First I realized that this had been going on longer then my wife had been taking Prozac. that rocked me for a week. Then i dug back a little further and remembered that she had first been prescribed Zoloft. Our first major "fight" for lack of a better word and her first signs of aggression came only months after she started taking Zoloft. She eventually quit on her own. Which we all know can be equally as bad. For her the fact of the matter is that she has always shown signs that could be either attributed to bipolar or borderline or both personality disorders. These drugs simply move the range of emotion. They reduce feelings of depression on one end, but make the manic phases much more extreme.

Tell your husband that dopamine is a neurotransmitter. We all know dopamine inhibitors as "Cocaine". Emerging studies are finding that addictions are directly related to the brains feelings of a lack of neurochemicals. Whether it be drugs or certain activities that boost these chemical levels in the brain, the reason for the addictions still ends at the need for them. For years we have developed drugs to wean people off other drugs only to find that the patients became addicted to the cure.

I feel for you and your family. Do you two share the same doctor? If you do, make an appointment. If you do not, try and make it happen. When the doctor asks you how you are, tell them you are feeling depressed, and then tell them why. Tell them how things have gotten worse since Zoloft came into the family. Beware of telling a general practitionor about depression. After I told min for 20 min. how SSRI’s had destroyed my life, at the end of the session he tried to get me to take a prescription for one. Lol. That is what we are up against. He is a great Doc too.

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