Adverse Psychiatric Reactions Information Link
Promoting awareness of medicines that can harm mental health

Depressed or suicidal?

OVERVIEW Psychiatric Adverse Reactions

Depression can be a possible adverse reactions to a medication or following anaesthesia. 

Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) can also be confusion, nightmares, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis or suicidal feelings 

If you are feeling suicidal it could be an adverse reaction or withdrawal reaction to one of many groups of drugs prescribed or purchased from a pharmacy. Or the result of the effect of recent anaesthetic.

Some drugs should not be stopped suddenly, such as cortico-steroids, but a gradual reduction with the support of a healthcare professional can be beneficial.

Addiction to some medicines, this is known as dependence and is not uncommon. Varying a dose can cause mental changes.

IF YOU ARE HAVING THOUGHTS ABOUT SUICIDE - DO NOT STAY ON YOUR OWN. CALL A RELATIVE OR FRIEND - This may be a temporary state of mind and if you can find support you will get over this dark moment.

SAMARITANS  Whatever you're going through, call free any time, from any phone 
all - 116 123.   24hr service for anyone feeling distressed and wishing to speak to someone

Ask someone to stay with you.

If you decide to go or are taken to the hospital:

Take a list of all medicines and drugs you have taken or recently stopped, to the emergency department. Do not leave the hospital - and insist on staying until the suicidal feelings have passed or you are in the care of people who understand the risks and will care for you.

The Samaritans are supportive but wont know if the problem is caused or exacerbated by your medical treatment. You can contact them if it will help to speak to someone, at any time of day or night:

You do not have to be actually suicidal to call the Samaritans, if bereaved or sad about anything they are there to help.

MAYTREE - 020 7236 7070 for anyone feeling suicidal or concerned about someone else

If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, another source of support is Maytree based in London. They offer supportive help for anyone who would like to call, talk and maybe go to their respite facility for a few days. You can self-refer to this charity call: 020 7263 7070 email  or view the web site:    

Everyday drugs commonly used for indigestion, acne, inflammation, pain, infections, cholesterol, malaria prevention and other conditions, as well as those prescribed for depression and anxiety,  can cause serious psychiatric side effects or withdrawal reactions.


 Please report adverse drug reactions to medicines or anaesthetics (links on home page)

TIPS FOR DEALING WITH DEPRESSION - Vitamins may help! see list below.

 Depressed or feeling low? mood swings? unhappy?


 A personal message from Millie Kieve founder of APRIL

Some people have told me that antidepressant drugs have helped them and many have told me the drugs may have helped in the first place but the pain of coming off far outweighed the problems suffered in the first place.

If you feel low and there is good reason, talk to someone who may help resolve the problem. That may seem obvious but we often run to find a quick fix, rather than talk through and try to resolve the causes.

If you have suffered a bereavement, as one has to go through the pain of bereavement to be able to cope, this is a reason for talking to a bereavement counsellor in my experience. It certainly helped me.

Taking antidepressants may delay the process of working through the pain, as they blunt normal feelings. However some people go to the doctor to discuss their feelings and drugs are all they are offered.

if you are feeling low, depressed or suffering mood swings here are some tips:

Something in this list may help you and if not, then I apologise. However take note as even if you do take antidepressants, they wont work alone, you will have to make efforts to change some other things in your life too.

Professor David Healy's Withdrawal Protocol  will be  guide to how you may feel when you come off the drugs. If you take a copy to your doctor to ask for support to reduce or withdraw, the protocol may be helful to create awareness.  A common mistake is people feeling better than before, start to titrate the drugs to withdraw too quickly from SSRI, SNRI, Mirtazapine/Zispin, or other drugs. The withdrawal effects may be very unpleasant and doctors often mistake withdrawal effects as new or returning illness.

If you have excluded the cause of your low feelings being a possible adverse reaction, or withdrawal effect of medication or due to withdrawal from a life style stimulant or alcohol, then take a look at your life style.

Even if you can't change your work or relationship situation and if you are grieving, you can still try these tactics.

Look at the following:

  • Nutrition is important as the food you eat and what you drink has an effect on your brain. Vitamins listed below taken as supplements may help too.
  • Exercise is necessary for good mental as well as physical health. Endorphins are released with have a 'feel good' factor when you exercise (including dancing and walking) or singing.
  • Walking in a park, in the countryside or by the sea improves our feelings of wellbeing.
  • Learning to cope with anxious feelings by taking up Mindfullness meditation, learning to be 'in the moment' is a really good way to stop panic attacks and anxiety. Also if you want to breathe deeply, first blow out as if trying to put out a candle, then you will automatically take a deep breath afterwards.
  • Yoga, pilates, autogenic training and many other activities help in the same way. Singing or taking up a sport helps many and I met a young woman artist who told me how painting helped her through a 'breakdown' or break-out' as she called it. Without resorting to medication.
  •  An artist told me painting helped her regain her health through a total mental breakdown, she termed as a 'breakthrough!


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