Dying for a cure: A memoir of antidepressants, misdiagnosis and madness by Rebekah Beddoe

I just finished reading this book today.

She tells of her experiences with taking psychotropic drugs and how they became the cause of her mental deterioration.

She started off with Zoloft when she was prescribed them by a psychiatrist who diagnosed her as having post-natal depression. After being put on the Zoloft, she began self harming and attempting suicide which led to even more drugs being prescribed. The psychotropic drugs she was on caused her to have a manic episode which led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and she claims the drugs are also the cause of her diabetes. When she went off all the medication, the symptoms of bipolar, the self harm and suicidal tendencies disappeared.

It was an interesting read. I don’t agree with everything that she said. While there are risks of taking medication, it has also helped a lot of people I’m sure. And her experiences seem to be very extreme. On the other hand, mental health consumers need to be more informed of the risks taking medication involves and doctors need to be more aware of any adverse effects that people have while taking medication.

Doctors seem all too ready to prescribe medication for mental health problems such as depression. I think that medication is an option that can help people but other options like talk therapy should be explored too.

It is a bit alarming that starting on Zoloft caused this woman to have all these other problems that would not have otherwise been present. Not least because the medication that my psychiatrist wanted to presribe me is in fact Zoloft. And like what Rebekah’s doctor told her, my psychiatrist also told me that Zoloft is a ‘good medication,’ it’s ‘safe’ and ‘non addictive.’

I suspect that part of the reason why doctors may be so quick to prescribe medication is because they want to be seen as doing something. Antidepressants such as SSRIs have the warning that it may cause self harm and thoughts of suicide. But what do you do when someone with depression is already self harming and having thoughts of suicide as I was? Do you take the risk and give them the medication in the hope that it will help? Or do you not take the risk due to the many adverse reactions that may occur including worsening of mental health and thoughts of suicide and self harm?

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