Seratonin Syndrome

My wife is also a blogger, and I certainly do not want to tell her story. She is fully capable of doing that for herself, and I earnestly hope that she does. But I will tell my own story.

My life has been basically derailed for more than a year by a shocking (at least to me) medical issue. It seems that two of my wife’s doctors (a psychiatrist and a gastroenterologist) failed to effectively coordinate with each other well enough to avoid prescribing two of the same class of drugs called SSRIs. The result of this medical error was a well-known, potentially life-threatening problem called Seratonin Syndrome in which you have excessive amounts of seratonin in your brain. Effectively, these two physicians prescribed a potentially deadly toxic overdose of prescription medications to my wife.

In the process, my wife and I have spent thousands of dollars (still counting), innumerable hours, and enormous emotional energy for about 17 months, none of which we will ever get back. The stress on me was incredible at times: There were moments when I completely cratered and fell apart. Thankfully, our friends and family were there to support us. Otherwise, I don’t know what we would have done.

The emotions going on inside me right now are complex. As a result of the diagnosis and treatment (consisting of tritrating off of the offending meds), my wife is now feeling a lot better. She is eating, resting, and all that perfectly. She is fine. The way I respond to that is ebullience: I am giddy with happiness.

My other emotion is a bit darker, though: Rage. Two medical doctors, a psychiatrist and a gastroenterologist, committed serious malpractice, and in the process they severely injured my wife. In fact, if I had not gone completely postal in the shrink’s office last week, it is entirely possible that we would still be stuck in this quagmire, and my wife might very well have died. My response to that is wrath: You cannot hurt me, or my family, without incurring a great deal of of my rage. And these two doctors have certainly done that.

More later.

3 thoughts on “Seratonin Syndrome

  1. Pingback: Health Care | Scars Upon the Earth

    • Nausea, extreme weight loss, passing out, vertigo, etc. Classic overdose type symptoms. I was not nearly assertive enough on this one. I kept saying that I believed all of her symptoms were accounted for by the *&^%’ing meds. But it took an MD to actually make that stick.

      In terms of the drugs involved, first was Zoloft (generic Sertreline) and the other was Metropolol, a common med for digestive issues like GERD. Also involved was Tramadol, which is a pain med. All of these are SSRI or related meds. Together, they combined their effect, with the result that they overdosed my wife, causing a seratonin shortage. This is the common form of seratonin syndrome.

      SS is a big deal. It is defacto malpractice to have a patient have this. There are entire law firms who specialize in nothing but SS cases. I have talked to these attorneys. There is no doubt in my mind that my wife was not given adequate care by her MDs.

      Having said that, we are not into suing, and it is doubtful that we will sue the medical folks at this point. However, I do believe based upon this experience, that the science behind SSRIs is complete crap. The drugs work (in the sense that they alleviate common forms of emotional distress like depression and anxiety), but the mechanism may be completely unrelated to serotonin from what I can tell. And I have personally reviewed a lot of the core science. There certainly is not a test to determine if you have a serotonin imbalance. It is all purely subjective, and the folks doing the subjective judgment calls have a strong financial incentive to prescribe. Hence, in my opinion, these drugs are wildly over-prescribed, and they certainly were in my wife’s case.

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