Dr. Anna Loves:
Anxiety Rx by Russell Kennedy, MD
I interned at the Greater Victoria Hospital Society with Dr. Russ Kennedy in 1991.
Back then I didn’t know much about Russ other than he was a good looking guy going through the rotating internship with me. It was a year of hands on experience at the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospitals when 20 of us ran around the hospitals in what is the role of “hospitalists” at a fraction of the salary.
I went on to specialize in Anesthesiology in Vancouver and Russ became a family doctor in Victoria. Years later I heard that he left medicine to work as a stand up comedian with the likes of Robin Williams. I didn’t think much of it except that clearly he had lost his mind…lol.
32 years later we have reconnected and I learned more about Russ’s personal life and his reasons for leaving medicine and now working to help people heal their childhood trauma and chronic anxiety.
This book is a must read for anyone who suffers from chronic worry, from a physician who has treated hundreds of people, and dealt with anxiety first hand.
Like me he doesn’t believe much in pharmacotherapy and says “you have to feel it to heal it”. Some of his suggestions are not at all “mainstream” medical therapy as seen in the documentary Dosed and Dosed 2: The Trip of a Lifetime featuring Dr. Gabor Mate and Dr. Rob Sealey. Dr. Kennedy’s book is NOT medical advice but certainly worth reading, for those of us that worry about things that are simply out of our control. The problem with a quick fix like taking a “little pill” to help with anxiety and panic attacks are that most of the studies are very short term 6-8 weeks without looking at the long term side effects. There is an up regulation of GABA receptors and these pills are physiologically addictive. Withdrawal and discontinuation of medications like SSRI’s, neuroleptics, and benzodiazepines can be very challenging. A wonderful resource is Dr. Anna Lembke, Stanford Psychiatrist, on YouTube.
Has the Drug-Based approach to Mental Illness Failed? (Scientific American)
The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs (The New Yorker)