“Story of Antipsychotics is one of Myth and Misrepresentation”


Joanna Moncrieff, author of “The Bitterest Pills,” recounts the history of antipsychotics, concluding “The way antipsychotics have been misrepresented, their benefits inflated, their dangers minimised, illustrates how what is presented as neutral and objective ‘science’ may in fact conceal a whole array of political and commercial interests. The psychiatric profession wanted to present a new image to society and politicians wished to replace costly mental institutions with cheaper community care. All of this has helped transform antipsychotic drugs from dreaded chemical straight-jackets to modern-day soothers, lining the coffers of the pharmaceutical industry along the way. It’s time we woke up.”

Article →


  1. Although I had admired Dr. Joanna Moncrieff’s work on “critical psychiatry,” I abhor her constant claims that the lethal neuroleptics she describes as toxic and brain damaging are still “useful” for psychosis. I think this negates much if not all of her work exposing the fraudulent paradigm of biopsychiatry since these drugs are lethal and useless for everyone.

    Experts like Dr. Loren Mosher who advocated non-drug treatments in his Soteria project made it all too clear that schizophrenia and psychosis stigmas along with lethal neuroleptics mostly forced on many young people were guaranteed to destroy the lives of these people via stigma, brain damage, ostracism, permanent unemployment and marginalization not to mention destroyed brains and health with early death of 25 years on average. His program like other non-drug treatment paradigms saved countless lives.

    I believe Dr. Moncrieff is still stuck in the deadly mainstream paradigm of biopsychiatry with her exposing the horrific effects of the toxic neuroleptic drugs on the one hand while still falsely claiming they are essential for anyone suffering psychosis. I was appalled to hear her make this claim at the Vatican conference on a video, which makes her anything but a reform psychiatrist. Rather, she remains a mainstream biopsychiatrist of the worst kind in that she pretends to be a reformed psychiatrist advocating for human rights while advocating for the same deadly, bogus mainstream biopsychiatry paradigm of neuroleptic drugs as required treatment for “psychosis.”

    I am disgusted with this article by her as much as I was by her horrific advocacy of neuroleptics for so called psychosis at the Vatican conference and elsewhere. I also do not think she should be viewed as anything but a mainstream biopsychiatrist and part of the problem rather than the solution. I hope she retires soon if she can’t change her life destroying, bogus, mainstream paradigm views of advocating for these lethal drugs for so called psychosis or schizophrenia.

    I think this article and her book condemn her all the more in that she is knowingly advocating the poisoning of innocent people who could otherwise recover from the natural, nondrug, therapeutic programs known to work.

    Report comment

    • Donna, chill. 🙂 She has done and is doing most useful work for our case.

      I had pre-ordered the book The Bitterest Pills a long time ago, but I cancelled it because of some passport/id card issues. I’ll order it again as soon as I can, shame it is not available as an ebook.

      Report comment

    • Donna,

      There was some cautious, limited use of psychiatric drugs by Dr. Loren Mosher in the Soteria Project. Dr. Abram Hoffer used them in very small amounts, for a limited period of time.

      I understand your passion, but wanted to point this out in fairness to Dr. Moncrieff. There are very *few* purists out there.


      Report comment

  2. I liked this description of self-experimentation in Joanna’s article:

    “For the first hour I didn’t feel too bad. I thought maybe this is okay. I can get away with this. I felt a bit light-headed … [After being asked to fill in a form] I couldn’t have filled it in to save my life. It would have been easier to climb Mt Everest … It was accompanied by a feeling that I couldn’t do anything, which is really distressing. I felt profoundly depressed. They tried to persuade me to do these cognitive tests on the computer and I just started crying.”

    Here’s another self-experiment:

    The Israeli researchers [Belmaker and Wald’s (1977) letter to the editor](http://schizophreniaresearch.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/hpinnormals.pdf) of the British Journal of Psychiatry reporting their personal experiences of haloperidol:

    “Haloperidol is an effective antipsychotic agent which is a relatively specific blocker of dopamine transmission in the brain (Anden et al, 1970). As part of the preliminary trials in a study of possible dopaminergic mechanism in affective disorder, the two authors each were given haloperidol 5 mg intravenously in a two-minute push. The effect was marked and very similar in both of us: within ten minutes a marked slowing of thinking and movement developed, along with profound inner restlessness. Neither subject could continue work, and each left work for over 36 hours. Each subject complained of a paralysis of volition, a lack of physical and psychic energy. The subjects felt unable to read, telephone or perform household tasks of their own will, but could perform these tasks if demanded to do so. There was no sleepiness or sedation; on the contrary, both subjects complained of severe anxiety.

    The present experience was similar to that previously reported of neuroleptic effects in normal subjects (DiMascio et al, 1963; Heninger at al, 1965), though previous studies used neuroleptics which block both dopamine and noradrenaline receptors (Anden et al, 1970).We used a relatively specific dopamine blocker, haloperidol, and experienced profound cognitive and emotional restriction. Dopamine blocking by neuroleptics may function to restrict cognitive and emotional processes in normals as well as in schizophrenics and thus it is possible that it does not specifically antagonize schizophrenic pathology. In the presence of psychotic anxiety or delusions, such cognitive or emotional restriction may be desirable and therapeutic. However, the restrictive effect may be a general one…”

    These days neuroleptics are prescribed very easily for all kinds of patients. Psychosis, insomnia, anxiety, depression, behaviour problems in elders and young people, etc, etc. If doctors are ready to give these drugs to all of these people, why don’t they more often test the same drugs on themselves to see how they actually work from a subjective point of view? That would probably help them to understand their patients better. In a way, I have much better understanding compared to doctors of what dopamine antagonism, etc, does, because I’ve done it for a long time, observed its effects, and then came back to the experience of not having these drugs in my body. Are doctors so much cowards that they dare not to try the drugs they prescribe daily to their patients for just one day? So that they’d understand much better how these drugs actually work?

    It’s like a person who has never taken any alcohol trying to describe the effects of alcohol from what he has read about it.

    Report comment