Family talks about prescription trials — (News 14 Carolina)

Original article no longer available

Time Warner Cable News Charlotte

2/5/2006 6:01 PM

By: Brittany Morehouse, News 14 Carolina

Prescription Madness

A Charlotte woman has written a book about the violent reaction her son had to prescribed depression medications.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The controversy over antidepressant medications and their side effects has been either at the center or on the sideline of many high-profile cases.

From the Christopher Pittman defense, where a 12-year-old boy was convicted of killing his grandparents, to the more recent suggestion by family members that David Crespi was struggling with a new prescription when he allegedly stabbed his twin daughters to death.

Now a Carolina mother is sharing her story in a new book. She said she’s leaned a lot from her son’s trials with many pill treatments.

Dale and Joy Hancock sat down Sunday to talk about their son’s struggle as a teenager. They said they are relieved 22-year-old Chris is still alive.

Dale and Joy Hancock talk about their son’s behavior while on prescribed depression medication.

“He was actually at a friend’s house one night and called us and said he was going to blow his brains out,” Joy said.

Joy titled her book “Prescription for Madness” because the Hancocks believe their son’s two-year experimentation with many medications caused him to feel crazy.

“It turned him from a loving child into a monster; it was violence,” Dale said.

“He tried to kill me one night – actually tried to choke me and Dale had to step in and stop him,” Joy said.

The problems started when their son was 16 and going through a break up. He was sad so a doctor prescribed Zoloft. When that didn’t work he switched Chris to Wellbutrin and then Paxil.

All of the drugs he tried for an average of one month at a time.

“The problem was his reactions were so severe,” his mother said. “Instead of anything calming him down, he was just getting sicker and sicker and sicker.”

Zoloft is just one of several drugs that Chris Hancock tried while struggling with depression.   At one point the teen was admitted to a psychiatric facility where he was prescribed three more medications. The Hancocks said they even had Chris see between four and six doctors.Eventually – on his own – he decided to stop taking all prescription pills.

“After about three, four months he just calmed right out, went right back to before all this was started,” his father said.

The Hancocks’ story may be a rare one, however. Two recent studies sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that antidepressants combined with close doctor supervision are a winning combination for people with depression.

In fact, one study even showed that suicide rates dropped because of medications.

“I wish they had a way they could check and say, ‘This is going to react poorly,’ because I do think medication does help some people. There are some people that need the medication,” Joy said.

Christopher Hancock said he applauds his mother’s decision to write a book about their horrible experience. He said the pain for him is still too recent, however, for him to speak about it himself.