This week we have an interview with Bobby Fiddaman.
Bobby is a very well known author, blogger and researcher who has been writing about psychiatric drugs and the many issues involved for over 11 years.
In 2011 he released his book, ‘The Evidence, However, Is Clear…The Seroxat Scandal’ which is a powerful and explosive account of his experiences taking and withdrawing from the antidepressant Seroxat.
He is a rockstar of the movement to expose the truth about psychiatric drugs, to many he is a hero and to some, he is an uncompromising agitator. His blog has been viewed over 2 million times and he is respected by many and also well known by the pharmaceutical regulators and many of the pharmaceutical manufacturers too.
I was keen to ask Bobby about his own experiences of the mental health system, his research and campaigning over the years and his relationships with the UK and US pharmaceutical regulatory bodies.
In this episode we discuss:
- How, in the late 1990s, Bobby had health problems which made working difficult and this led to low mood and a doctor prescribing Seroxat (Paxil, Aropax, Paroxetine)
- How he felt that his moods and emotions were blunted by the drug and he recalls not feeling empathy or emotion
- That eventually his pay was stopped and he was retired on ill health grounds but by this time his financial position was difficult and he became divorced
- That Bobby took 21 months to wean himself off the Seroxat using a liquid form, going from 40 milligrams to 22 milligrams a day over 19 months
- That he then quit cold turkey, against doctor advice, because he just want to get rid of the stranglehold that the drug had on him
- How Bobby felt that his short term memory was affected by being on the drug
- That sometimes it is harder for friends and family to experience someone going through withdrawal, because they don't know what is happening to the person that they love
- That these experiences promoted Bobby to write his 2011 book, ‘The Evidence, However, Is Clear…The Seroxat Scandal’
- How Bobby stumbled across an article by the investigative journalist Evelyn Pringle and that set the ball rolling with his own blog
- How Bobby’s blog started to cover the experiences of families who had experienced tragedy due to psychiatric drugs
- That the blog hosts guest writers so people can tell their own story in their own words
- How Bobby knows that the pharmaceutical manufacturers and the regulators are regular visitors to his blog
- That Bobby has been told that his blog makes GlaxoSmithKline ‘cringe’ and this is a measure of the impact of his work
- That Bobby feels that the manufacturers should just come clean and let the truth come out about the drugs, the clinical trials, the adverse effects and the withdrawal problems
- That many people don't understand that compensation and out of court settlements often just allow the truth to remain hidden
- How Bobby was present for the entire trial between Wendy Dolin and GlaxoSmithKline and was shocked by the behaviour of GSKs attorneys
- That the term ‘akathisia’ is not well known but is implicated in many suicides related to antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs
- That doctors need to listen to patients to understand the wide range of effects of the drugs
- That Bobby feels that the regulators, particularly the UK MHRA, should hang their heads in shame because they know about the problems with the drugs but do nothing in response
- That there is an incestuous relationship between the pharmaceutical manufacturers and the regulators
- How Bobby has had several meetings with the MHRA over the years, including meeting the CEO, but he feels that they meet to appease rather than take action in response to concerns
- That Bobby also set up a meeting between MHRA and Dr. David Healy
- That the regulators are totally funded by the pharmaceutical industry
- How Bobby now highlights celebrities who promote the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness
- That social media has had a big impact on the ability of people to get together and share experiences and make their voices heard
- How the MHRA Yellow Card scheme is meant to work
- How, when you start asking questions about follow up, you find that no action is taken and the database of adverse events is worthless
- That nowhere on the labelling is a list of the benefits of antidepressant drugs
- That in order to make the drugs safer, we should listen to patient concerns
- That Bobby uses humour as a tool for getting the message heard
- How Bobby would like to encourage others to write about their experiences
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