News People Mia Freedman attacked for ‘backing risky drug’
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Mia Freedman attacked for ‘backing risky drug’

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A columnist has strongly criticised prolific media identity Mia Freedman for “spruiking a drug with serious side effects”.

On 23 March, Ms Freedman revealed she had suffered a nervous breakdown.

A negative reaction to fasting, Pilates, reiki massage, ‘chakra realignment facials’ and other methods prompted the popular female writer to visit various therapists, one of whom diagnosed her as having life-long anxiety and prescribed an anti-depressant.

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“[S]he was fantastic too, calming me down, and pointing out that my extreme detox had triggered a severe reaction,” Ms Freedman wrote.

She named the drug, Lexapro, several times throughout the article, prompting a strongly-worded response.

Guy Rundle, a regular Crikey columnist, attacked the lifestyle blogger for her “snake-oil testimonial”.

In his piece, Mr Rundle noted that the drug has various “serious” side effects that make it inappropriate to publicly promote, including a “high” risk of suicide.

Ample evidence now suggests — surprise, surprise — that long-term use of such drugs creates habituation and, via atrophy, a depression that resists treatment. The term now applied is ‘tardive dysphoria’ — pity really, as it would have made a great name for Mia’s weekly newsletter,” Mr Rundle said.

“[W]ould it be too much to ask people writing about whatever this thing is that we call ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ to do a little cursory research before they sound off?

“While trying to work out what’s going on, it might be best to avoid giving one-sided meds recommendations to your fanbase,” he said.

Ms Freedman has responded to the criticism on Twitter.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

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