Drugs and you

Yesterday, I ran into a video series about Chris van Tulleken getting patients off drugs in a TV series. A very laudable undertaking! During his first morning at a GP practice, 39 of the 40 patients seen by one doctor received a prescription for a drug.

Decades ago, I slowly took myself off meds for an extra heartbeat (ventricular extrasystolia; mainly the sign of a very healthy heart but it can put too much strain on a heart if it is too persistent and I suspect it can for example result from drastically diminished physical activity and from certain solvents used in coffee production). I then showed my surprised and somewhat sceptical doctor that I really no longer needed them. The ECG convinced him.

A minute ago, I ran into this video below.

Wasn’t cocaine initially a pharmaceutical drug too, by the way?

I’ve had “psychiatric drugs” three times in my life. (I am 60ish.)

  1. After I was raped by an intruder in my own home and some days later found I couldn’t sleep and was worried that the sleep deprivation was going to put me into a downward spiral, I talked with my GP. She prescribed 10 pills of Valium. Just a few nights of good sleep was all I needed to keep me afloat. And even half a valium could do the trick. I didn’t use up the prescription.
  2. Many years later, when I was getting into a bit of a burnout, I talked with my GP again, a different one this time, and asked if she could give me a prescription. She did, also for just 5 pills or so. It was enough. I also started sending myself on day trips to relaxing destination and made myself take weekends off. (I was a workaholic for a long time.)
  3. Years after that, I once – one night only – used a “genuine” sleeping pill because I was in a very loud hospital environment; it was not what I wanted but I felt I had no choice. That one pill made me feel scarily depressed – I can’t describe the feeling as it was also very physical as if there was now a pit where my stomach used to be – with a deeper despair and emptiness than I had ever experienced, and also a bit as if I was stuck in the middle of cotton fluff. It scared me. It really scared me. This was the most unpleasant feeling that I have ever experienced (and I’ve seen and experienced quite a bit throughout my life). Never again.

I have no idea who this guy in the video is, but if you are talking people OFF drugs and taking on big pharma, you have to be one of the good guys.