In my recent book, Crash: A Memoir of Overmedication and Recovery, I offer a detailed exploration of my journey through the maze of ineffective and often harmful psychiatric “care” that both my mother and I received when we experienced depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Early on, I picked up the notion that depression was due to something difficult you experienced—for my mother, it was the births of her children in close succession. She took copious amounts of pills and saw her psychiatrist fairly regularly, but she never got well for any extended length of time.
And when I had experiences of depression, I took a psych drug for a month or so and then discontinued it, so it didn’t seem like I needed a drug forever to be OK. Until the mid-90s when depression and chronic pain hit me at the same time and nothing at all helped. For many people, my story and my mother’s will be familiar—they try drug after drug and then maybe several ECT shocks and still don’t get well. Maybe your doctor treats you with numerous headache drugs and you still have a migraine. Maybe you’re given opioids as part of a pain management cocktail. What happens then?
I explore those questions and many more in my memoir. And in case you think that something that happened over 30 or 60 years ago—in the case of my mother—can’t be relevant today, here are a few news articles that relate to the experiences I recount in my book and an endorsement from a pharmacology professor at Georgetown.
“I read your book cover to cover tonight; I hadn’t meant to read the whole thing, but it is so well-written,,clear ,and compelling. I would love to have a hard copy to share with students.”
~ Adriane Fugh-Berman, pharmacology professor at Georgetown Medical School
NYT article explores polypharmacy and often ineffective drug treatment in teens and adults
“Researchers can’t predict the 15% who benefit from antidepressants, and the other 85% are unnecessarily exposed to the harms of the drugs.”
“Converging lines of evidence now suggest that depression—a common comorbidity in the setting of chronic pain—may in some patients represent an unrecognized yet potentially reversible harm of opioid therapy.”