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Mad in America: Rethinking Mental Health

The Mad in America podcast, hosted by James Moore, examines mental health with a critical eye by speaking with psychologists, psychiatrists and people with lived experience.

When you hear such conversations, you realise that much of what is believed to be settled in mental health is actually up for debate. Is mental health a matter of faulty biology or is there more to it? Are the treatments used in psychiatry helpful or harmful in the long term? Are psychiatric diagnoses reliable? With the help of our guests, we examine these questions and so much more. 

This podcast is part of Mad in America’s mission to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care and mental health. We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change. 

On the podcast over the coming weeks, we will have interviews with experts and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. Thank you for joining us as we discuss the many issues around rethinking mental health around the world.

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May 23, 2017

This week we interview Gemma who talks about her experiences with both antidepressants and benzodiazepines and in particular the difficulties that parents of children with special needs encounter when they seek treatment for emotional or psychological distress. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • How realising that she was not being the parent that she wanted to be led Gemma to seeking medical help for anxiety and depression
  • That Gemma was put onto a SNRI (Serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor)
  • How the side effects of the antidepressant drug, like fatigue and appetite changes were insidious and difficult to recognise
  • How a Benzodiazepine was added on top of the antidepressant
  • How Gemma had full trust in following medical advice and relying on a tablet for a mood disorder
  • The power of Psychiatric drug advertising
  • How Gemma came to realise that she started to crave the Benzodiazepine
  • How changes in Gemma’s health caused her to seek information that made her realise that the health effects were a result of the drug becoming less effective
  • How Gemma, being uninformed, stopped the Benzodiazepine cold turkey, experiencing a sudden rush of withdrawal effects
  • How Gemma’s doctor didn't recognise withdrawal or dependance
  • How Gemma tried to reduce her SNRI by 10 milligrams a month leading to very difficult  withdrawal effects
  • How it took 9 months to go from 20 milligrams to zero
  • How Gemma took time to share what was happening with her children so they understood the situation
  • How Gemma found taking vitamins and supplements helped her during withdrawal
  • How Gemma, after 2 years off the drugs, still experiences body pain and anxiety attacks
  • That people should focus on nutrition, exercise and diet before considering taking an antidepressant
  • That, if you are prescribed a drug, look up support groups first to see what you are getting into
  • That the parents of children with special needs have particular difficulty finding the time to attend talking therapy due to the extra demands of parenting and the difficulties finding respite

Podcast show notes:

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© James Moore 2017