Monday, February 12, 2007

Drug free for almost four years....and loving it.

It's hard to believe but after taking antidepressants for 23 years I have now been drug free for almost four years. It has been a wild ride since breaking free from my pharmacutical coma. I have had to learn how to feel and manage my emotions. With the drugs I didn't feel much of anything and was flat all the time.

One of the greatest joys has been the feeling of wanting to live. Taking so many drugs for so long made me feel hopeless. Being drug free has not been a picnic but it has been a whole lot better than being drugged out of my mind.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Irrational Medicine

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Depression Help For a College Student

This is the actual transcript from a recent email inquiry. I am posting it here so you can get a feel for some of the questions I get on a regular basis.

Hello Mr. Wilson:

A month ago, I was put on Paxil and Xanaxfor depression secondary to panic disorder. About 2 weeks later, I was then put on Paxil 10mg and Atavan 2mg. I have started to moderate my drug intake by taking the Paxil in the morning and half an atavan (like prescribed) and a full atavan at night. I don't take the atavan in the afternoon as prescribed because it makes me too sleepy. I'm a graduate student, and I need to stay awake during class, am I doing the right thing? I'm nervous, but when I read the synopsis of your book, I began to feel that the doctors don't know everything. I am financially unable to purchase your book (had to quit my job because of this depression) but what I've read by you on your website is phenomenal. Do you have any suggestions about what an uninsured graduate student can do? I've been feeling better now that I'm on the drugs, I don't feel suicidal or homicidal anymore, and I am going to therapy, but is my psychiatrist telling me the whole truth??



Dear Gene:

Sounds like you are taking the medicine the best way you can. Shifting around the dosages so that the impact of the side affects are minimized is a good compromise.

You are absolutely right to question whether or not your doctor is the best source to help you recover. If you are going to climb Mount Everest do you want to take advice from someone who has read about it in a text book or do you want to enlist the services of an experienced guide who has actually climbed the mountain?

My advice for an uninsured graduate student is to walk briskly for one hour a day, every day, and participate in a Yoga class every chance you get. In other words get your body moving. In addition a B vitamin supplement (lack of B vitamins, which are not stored by the body, can cause anxiety) and daily dosages of Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) can be helpful.

Also, keep going to therapy, but now and then ask yourself if it is working. I have found that 80% of therapists got into the business to figure out their own issues and really aren't qualified to help much. Also be aware that some of the side affects of antidepressants is depression and anxiety. So if the medicine is working for you now keep in your mind that eventually you want to try to get off the drugs because they all stop working at some time.

Eventually you need to figure out what is causing the depression - the root cause. Everyone's path to recovery is different, but there are some basics. Most importantly you must figure out what is causing the depression. What physical, emotional, mental or spiritual issue do you need to address in order to fully recover.

I will send you a free copy of the book if you promise to read it. That way you can see what I went through to recover. My case was extreme because I had issues in all four areas and it took me a long time to work through it. Most people will never have to do what I did but I wrote the book so they could see that recovery, even in such an extreme case, was possible.

Jeff Wilson


Mr. Wilson:

I can't thank you enough for your kind words of encouragement, and for e-mailing me back! I genuinely thought that my message would be lost among the others you recieve. I am going to take everything you told me into practice----it can only help me more.

What's funny is that I wanted to just be "the way I was before" the depression. But I realize now that the situaiton has changed me as a person for the better. I'm looking forward to exploring the causes of my anxiety and depression, and healing from it.

Thank you so much again for writing back to me, I deeply appreciate it!


P.S. I promise to not only read the book, but also to buy a hardcover copy from you later this month when I can afford it!


Dear Gene:

There is no doubt that depression changes us and in my judgment it is always for the better. Like a fire it molds and shapes who we become in this world. Without my depression I never would have discovered how strong and courageous I am. I appreciate my

Unfortunately most people get depressed and wallow in it. That is why I want to live my mission and give people hope for full recovery and to rekindle their inner light. I am especially concerned about college kids and the high rate of depression they seem to be suffering. Some day I hope to do a speaking tour of college campuses so people can hear my message of hope.

Hope you enjoy the book.

Jeff Wilson


Mr. Wilson:

I am enjoying the book very much. It's good to know that I'm not alone. I'm just happy that you have taken the time to email me, and understand what I'm going through.

I'd have to say that students should know that they are not alone in how they feel, and that the feelings they have are common, especially for students who are away from home for the first time. I think I became so afraid because I'm actually a student in Forensic Psychology---suffering from a disorder I've read about all of these years was frightening. You know what I heard once? I heard from my ER doctor that most doctoral students go through at least one episode of major depression during their program.

I think it is important for us to know that we have resources, and people willing to listen, like you. I also think it is important for us to understand that depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and that it is treatable---without drugs. It is so easy for us to fall into thinking that drugs are the best and only option. Thank you so much for all of the work you are doing, and will continue to do. I wish you luck in all of your endeavors, and keep in touch!

I start school next week (and I'm studying for my finals from LAST semester) so free time is a luxury, but I'll get the book done soon. I'll keep you updated on my progress, and please, if I can help you the way you have helped me, don't hesitate to let me know!


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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Upcoming Workshop on Depression

Moving Beyond Depression
Strategies for reclaiming your life and spirit

Presented By
Jeffrey Wilson

Saturday – December 9, 2006 – 10:00AM to 5:00 PM – Cost $65

Mr. Wilson is a survivor of 23 years of psychiatric drug treatment, a former executive in the pharmaceutical industry and the author of Irrational Medicine: The Antidepressant Crisis and How To Avoid Unnecessary Behavioral Drugs. He is a recognized expert in overcoming depression and is passionate about each person's ability to recover and create a life full of joy and meaning.

Many sufferers of depression report that they experience intense feelings of hopelessness. This loss of hope is associated with the loss of motivation, social withdrawal, suicidal ideation, and negative thoughts about the future. In this 6-hour workshop Jeffrey Wilson will share about the nature of depression, the role that hope plays in recovery, and how to reclaim a drug free and depression free life.

His expertise and wisdom is invaluable as he gently guides participants through, around and beyond depression. With wisdom and sensitivity, he will challenge popular approaches to treating depression and provide real solutions for real healing.
Each participant will walk away with:
- Real-life tools for self-discovery and healing
- Understand the roles that physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing play in the treatment of depression
- Skills for changing negative thought processes
- An individualized roadmap to personal healing
- A free copy of the book Irrational Medicine

Jeffrey Wilson suggests that participants get away from the quick-fix mentality of chemical solutions and start recognizing that the whole person must be healed. Focusing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual causes of depression, he provides a model for relief that helps participants tailor a solution specific to their needs. His premise is that there is no single cause and no single path to recovery.

Across the globe, by the year 2020, depression is projected to be second only to heart disease as the leading cause of debilitating illness.
– World Health Organization

Moving Beyond Depression will give those who struggle with depression and those who love them understanding and hope.

To register or for more information contact:
Journeys Of Wisdom6161 Busch Boulevard, Suite 100Columbus, Ohio 43229(614) 888-1240 · 800-889-1976

Monday, October 16, 2006

What is Disease?

For doctors, disease identifies why people are sick and suggests a course of action. For researchers, disease identifies an area to be studied in the hopes of finding a cure. For patients, disease puts a name to an affliction and answers the question: What’s the matter with me? For pharmaceutical companies disease is a business model. It offers an opportunity to develop and market drugs that make a profit.

The drug industry is among the most profitable in the world and their knack for generating money makes oil companies look like lemonade stands. Drug companies owe their prodigious success to doing one thing exceptionally well - marketing. In the drug industry, devising treatments for normal conditions of life (like depression, menopause, anxiety, obesity) is known as “developing new disease markets” or “branding a condition.”

The first antidepressants were promoted in both the medical and financial worlds laying the groundwork for depression to be recognized as a disease. To date the pharmaceutical industry has spent millions of dollars developing dozens of drugs aimed at depression. By lobbying the FDA to recognize depression as a disease and marketing it they have dramatically increased the demand for the drugs. As a result depression has become one of the greatest “diseases” of our age.

You can’t see depression through a microscope, or detect it through a single blood test. Physicians have been so hasty to embrace it as a disease, for their own reasons, they have overlooked evidence that the science behind the diagnosis is flimsy and conjectural.

With backing from the American Psychiatric Association (which in financially funded by the drug companies) and the Federal Government (which is heavily influenced by the largest lobbying organization in the world, PHARMA) it is tempting to view depression as a fact of medicine, rather than as a fiction, wholly devised and disseminated by the pharmaceutical industry.

Depression as a disease is compelling to the consumer as well. Turning depression into a disease puts it in the province of science. With science, we’re not confined to figuring out our issues and dealing with them, instead we get drugs. But in reality, depression as a disease is just bad medicine, the product of an overeager illness industry.

Jeffrey Wilson is a survivor of 23 years of psychiatric drug treatment, a former executive in the pharmaceutical industry and the author of Irrational Medicine: The Antidepressant Crisis and How To Avoid Unnecessary Behavioral Drugs. He is a recognized expert in overcoming depression and is passionate about each person's ability to recover and create a life full of joy and meaning.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Human Potential - Recovering from Depression

The growth of western psychiatry has resulted in an over-reliance on psychiatric labels and expensive drugs. Vast sums of money are spent on treatment that doesn’t address the underlying cause, only masks symptoms and causes additional problems.
The pharmaceutical industry is targeting everyone, especially our youth with two specific marketing strategies. First is mental health screening programs in schools and physician offices, which are often unscientific, vague, and disempowering. Second is the false advertising about a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. This unproven medical model is globalizing as never before, rapidly spreading from richer developed nations to poorer developing nations.
I know what it is like to be in extreme emotional distress and to undergo the invalidating “treatment” of the mental health system. For over half of my life (23 years) I was prescribed one drug after another to “fix” my depression. With three different mental illness labels (depression, ADD, and Bipolar Disorder) my chances of ever living a happy life were very, very bleak. I had been told over and over that I had a hereditary chemical imbalance and that I would have to be on five different medications for the rest of my life. But somehow my genuine human spirit found a way out from behind the drugs and propelled me from one end of the spectrum to another. I found a way to recover from depression and get off the antidepressants.
What I discovered is that depression is not a disease but a symptom of a bigger issue. Its cause can be a mental, physical, emotional or spiritual issue in a person’s life. Depression is there to tell us that something is out of balance that something is not right in our lives. I also discovered that the public is not being told the truth about antidepressants. The drugs that were suppose to “cure” me we actually the cause of my ADD and Bipolar symptoms.
Today I am free of depression and antidepressants because of persistence, personal responsibility, and by the grace of God. The only special thing I had going for me was my determination to live in a better world. You too can realize your strength and make life better for yourself and others.
Full recovery is possible but it’s not happening in traditional mental health programs where the primary and often only treatment is medication. To achieve full freedom and success, each person must become actively involved in their own education, growth and recovery. If you can get out of bed in the morning, get dressed, brush your teeth, and wipe your behind then there is hope for you.
Jeffrey Wilson is a survivor of 23 years of psychiatric drug treatment, a former executive in the pharmaceutical industry and the author of Irrational Medicine: The Antidepressant Crisis and How To Avoid Unnecessary Behavioral Drugs. He is a recognized expert in overcoming depression and is passionate about each person's ability to recover and create a life full of joy and meaning.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Overcoming Depression and Self-Discovery

Not long ago I was the poster child for psychotropic drug use. Over a 23 year period my doctors had sequentially assigned to me the labels of Depression, Adult ADD and Bi-polar Disorder. With each diagnosis a new drug was assigned to my treatment regiment. At the peak I was taking Wellbutrin and Effexor (both antidepressants), Depakote (a mood stabilizer), Buspar (for anxiety) and Concerta (a timed released form of Ritalin). My life evolved around the monthly doctor visit where I would routinely receive a dosage increase or a new medication. I would follow each visit with a trip to my local pharmacy where I spent on average $750 a month to support my legal drug habit.

With three different mental illnesses I thought my chances of ever living a normal life were very, very bleak. I had been told over and over that I had a hereditary chemical imbalance and that I would have to be on the medicine for the rest of my life.

Then one December my psychiatrist went out of town unexpectedly. I cut my usual dosages in half in order to make it to my next appointment and something remarkable happened, I began to feel better. All of a sudden I was not as tired or depressed or agitated or suicidal. I had more energy and slept better at night.

When my doctor returned I told him what I had done. He berated me for “going off” my medication, wrote five new scripts and instructed me to get them filled immediately. He ignored my questions about why would I feel better with less medicine, or why would I have so much more energy with fewer pills.

I walked out of his office mad that he had ignored me and suspicious that I was not being told the whole truth. I began to suspect that the drugs were the cause of a lot of my problems. At that point I decided to stop relying solely on my doctor’s advice and start looking for my own information about my diseases and the medicine I was taking.

Over the next 12 months I worked with alternative health care providers and developed a plan to get off the drugs. Then after going through seven months of drug withdrawal I broke out of my pharmaceutical coma. I came out the other side of a long and dark tunnel free of Depression, Adult ADD and Bi-polar Disorder.

I also discovered that I did not know who I was. For over half of my life I had been on psychotropic drugs that had suppressed my emotions, including the good ones. For over half my life I had been numbed out to the world around me. I now struggle with knowing what I like, dislike or even what I want to do when I grow up. But I do not suffer from mental illness.