Luke Montagu still suffers the effects of using antidepressants, even though he stopped taking them six years ago. The nerves in his body ache constantly, which feel like burning needles and pins. Due to the pain that he suffers from all the time, he constantly feels unnerved and loses his temper often. He also suffers from tinnitus and sometimes experiences muscle twitching throughout his body. His symptoms are further aggravated if he drinks alcohol, caffeine or sugar.
Even though things like his memory are improving, he is still not the same as he was before he started taking the antidepressants. The only reason he made it so far was thanks to the support of his mother, wife and the rest of his family.
Luke’s story is an example of how a perfectly normal individual may get wrongly diagnosed of illnesses they do not actually suffer from and be prescribed medications like antidepressants and sleeping pills that they do not really need. Luke is not the only patient to have had such an experience. Not only have these people been wrongly misdiagnosed, the doctors and institutions involved refused to accept their responsibility for the misdiagnosis.
At the age of 19, Luke underwent surgery to treat his chronic sinusitis at a Harley Street clinic. He was expecting to be pampered for a few days following the operation, but the moment the gained consciousness, he had a severe headache. The headache, which persisted for a couple of weeks, not only raised his anxiety but also prevented him from doing anything other than staying in his bedroom. While the headaches became less frequently, the continued to persist and Luke felt like he was losing touch from reality.
All of that led him to believe that the operation was responsible for his symptoms. Although these cognitive problems can be linked to the general anaesthesia that Luke received, his consultant refuse to acknowledge that the operation had anything to do with his symptoms. So, he decided to get diagnosed by another doctor, who concluded that Luke apparently had a “chemical imbalance” in his brain’s limbic system. The fact of the matter is that there has never been any proof to support the highly controversial “chemical imbalance” theory.
Yet, Luke was prescribed amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, for his “chemical imbalance.” Apart from giving him a dry mouth, it did not really work, so the same doctor then prescribed him Prozac, which is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI). Even then, his symptoms just kept coming and going, and over a period of less than one year, Luke was prescribed four different antidepressants, one after the other, simply to determine which one would work.
Next, Luke was referred to a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with conversion disorder, and his psychiatrist concluded that his headache was a manifestation of some repressed, deep-rooted childhood emotion. Much like his doctor, his psychiatrist also kept prescribing one drug after another, while he had to bear some really terrible side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
To this day, Luke Montagu continues to struggle with those side effects and continues to recover, with his symptoms gradually improving. All of this has lead him to believe that mainstream psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry are in collusion. He came to realize that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance that can cause a mental illness. Consequently, drug treatments being touted as capable of correcting this imbalance are harmful and unnecessary because this imbalance does not exist and barely has any proof to support it.
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