OVERVIEW OF ZAPPED BY PROZAC                    


      In 1991, after suffering life-threatening and debilitating toxic reactions from the antidepressant drug Prozac, I started a tape-recorded chronicle of what happened to me.  I ended up dictating a total of 23 “Prozac Tapes” on microcassettes.  My nonfiction book, ZAPPED BY PROZAC, recounts my fight for survival and 20-year electric odyssey through hell, examines the warning signs that went unheeded, and exposes the dark side of antidepressant drugs and psychiatry from the inside point of view of a patient, victim and survivor.  I believe it tells a powerful and compelling story, but not necessarily because it is my story.  I have dared to speak truth to power, and to speak for the millions of powerless victims of antidepressant drugs and psychiatry.  I am one of them.        

      ZAPPED BY PROZAC is a tape-by-tape, and then year-by-year, account of my odyssey.  From 1988-1991, I was prescribed several different antidepressants for a mild depression.  I had adverse or toxic reactions to all of them.  In 1991, after five months on Prozac, the new SSRI "wonder drug," I was debilitated and living in a dysphoric dream world.  My judgment was so impaired that I did not realize I was on the edge of death, until I read a newspaper article questioning the safety of Prozac.  When I stopped using it, electric-like sensations “exploded” inside my head and shot throughout my body, together with many other devastating adverse reactions.  Some of these remain as chronic conditions to this day.

     ZAPPED BY PROZAC takes the reader with me every step of the way on my odyssey.  Many verbatim quotes from the actual recorded tapes are interwoven into the fabric of the book.  Along the journey, I expose and examine the ignorance, incompetence and arrogance of the psychiatrists and other doctors who treated me; the early warning signs that were ignored; the dangers associated with psychiatry and antidepressant drugs; the subsets of the population most likely at risk; the sociopathic nature of the pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma); the corrupt and incestuous partnerships between Big Pharma, psychiatry and the FDA; the unconscionable frauds that have been perpetrated on an unsuspecting public; and the remarkable similarities between illicit street drugs and prescription antidepressant drugs. 

     When it was first marketed to the general public in January of 1988, Prozac was hailed as the new miracle drug to treat depression.  It was the first sales “blockbuster” in a new class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.  Prozac even made the cover of Newsweek magazine in March of 1990.  A few years later, these new-generation antidepressants were expanded to include serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs.  Prozac and its SSRI and SNRI progeny have become the dominant and pervasive drugs of choice by the medical profession to treat depression, and a host of other maladies, for the last two decades.  However, for many thousands of people, perhaps even millions, the dream of a miracle cure has turned into a nightmare.  I am one of these people--an unsuspecting victim of the toxic effects of Prozac and other antidepressants.         

    Tragically, many victims of Prozac and other new-generation antidepressant drugs have not survived.  A number of notorious shooting massacres at high schools, colleges and elsewhere are a bitter testament to the profound dangers and risks associated with the use of SSRIs and SNRIs (see the Internet website, www.ssristories.com).  For more than 20 years, Big Pharma and its incestuous partner, the psychiatric profession, have been spewing out half-truths and outright lies regarding the safety and efficacy of these new-generation antidepressants.  Recent comprehensive research studies have exposed the magnitude of the fraud that has been perpetrated by this psycho-pharmaceutical cartel.  These studies have concluded that new-generation antidepressants work no better than placebo in treating depression.  They are one of the great medical frauds of our time.

     ZAPPED BY PROZAC allows the reader to follow my odyssey after I was debilitated and almost died from toxic reactions to Prozac and other antidepressant drugs prescribed by my doctors for what was initially a mild depression.  In Part I, my own contemporaneous words and thoughts, recorded and chronicled during a five-year period on 23 microcassette tapes, tell a powerful and compelling story.  In Part II, the story continues year-by-year, up to and including 2009.  Immediately following Part II, all of the drug and non-drug therapies I tried throughout Parts I and II to treat my devastating antidepressant-induced symptoms are summarized.  ZAPPED BY PROZAC also provides the reader with discussions and analyses of many thought-provoking and controversial subjects associated with antidepressant drugs and psychiatry, particularly in the Prologue and Epilogue, and in the “Looking Back” sections at the end of each Prozac Tape “subchapter.”  Throughout the journey, the reader will gain invaluable knowledge and insight into the devastating consequences that have befallen not only me, but also countless other victims of new-generation antidepressants. 

     I am not a medical doctor or other medical professional.  This fact is perhaps my greatest asset and most legitimizing qualification in regard to my story and the subjects covered in ZAPPED BY PROZAC.  I have not been brainwashed and duped by Big Pharma and the psychiatric profession, like the vast majority of the medical community and general public.  Rather, I have been on a relentless quest to find help, answers and the truth about what Prozac and the other antidepressant drugs I was prescribed did to me.  After 18 years of extensive research and study, I have become a self-educated expert on antidepressants, other psychiatric drugs and street drugs.  This knowledge is coupled with an additional 20 years of prior “street cred” from my own personal life experiences in the counterculture of the mid-1960s to mid-1980s.  ZAPPED BY PROZAC is written from this perspective and that of an antidepressant victim and survivor--a unique combination that presents a perspective unlike other books challenging the safety and efficacy of antidepressant drugs.

   My main purpose and aim is to expose the inherent dangers and the dark side of antidepressant drugs and psychiatry.  In recounting my own unfortunate odyssey, I impart critical knowledge and information about the early warning signs of toxic reactions, and the potential catastrophic consequences for patients when these warning signs go unheeded.  The book examines and discusses in great detail dozens of drug and non-drug therapies that I tried, over a period of more than 15 years, to treat the debilitating adverse effects and chronic conditions produced by Prozac and the other drugs I was prescribed.  My message is an admonition and warning to all medical patients and the general public, an educational seminar for those in the medical community willing to listen, and a personal hope that nobody else need or should suffer a similar fate.

     ZAPPED BY PROZAC is a very timely book.  It is estimated that over 20 million adult Americans suffer from clinical depression.  Approximately 10% of all Americans, or 30 million people, take antidepressant drugs daily.  They were the third most prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. in 2008, with 164 million prescriptions written, accounting for $9.6 billion in sales--about half of worldwide dollar sales.  In 2008, the tragic massacre at Northern Illinois University, and comprehensive studies concluding that new-generation antidepressants work no better than placebo, further fueled the contentious debate over the safety and efficacy of these drugs.       

    Although there are a number of books on the market challenging the safety and efficacy of antidepressant drugs, ZAPPED BY PROZAC is unlike any of these books.  Almost all of them are by doctors or other medical professionals, not antidepressant victims, and are certainly not based on personal tape-recorded chronicles.  I have great respect for many of these medical professionals and authors.  I have cited and referred to their books and expertise in various sections of ZAPPED BY PROZAC.  However, none of these books is similar, or written from a similar perspective.  I cannot stand in the shoes of these other writers and hope to compete on their turf, and I do not attempt to do so.  Conversely, none of them can stand in my shoes, or compete on my turf.  As intelligent and accomplished as the authors of these other books are in their respective professional fields, they cannot write books from my unique perspective, or really understand what I have been through and endured.  ZAPPED BY PROZAC is the 20-year memoir of a victim and survivor of antidepressant drugs and psychiatry, containing invaluable medical and scientific analyses and information; and all interwoven with knowledge and conclusions based on considerable personal experiences and 18 years of extensive research and study.

B. R. Madison

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