Antipsychotics Reduce Frontal Brain Volume

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In a survey of the scientific literature, German researchers find evidence for grey and white matter volume changes of the frontal brain which cannot be explained by disease severity, but are “very likely a manifestation of long-term effects of antipsychotics.” Considering the contribution of antipsychotics to changes in brain structure, the article states, “which seem to depend on cumulative dosage and can exert adverse effects on neurocognition, negative and positive symptoms and psychosocial functioning, the guidelines for antipsychotic long-term drug treatment should be reconsidered.”

Aderhold, V., Weinmann, S., Hägele, C.; HeinzFrontale Hirnvolumenminderung durch Antipsychotika? Der Nervenarzt. May, 2014

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

10 COMMENTS

    • That’s certainly great news for all these kids with “bipolar” too.”

      And I say this as someone who has been dependent on SSI his entire adult life: The numbers of people receiving SSI for mental illness needs to go down at least 80% in the next ten years. No reasonable person could argue with Whitaker’s conclusion from AOAE, especially now that so many more studies have come out since then that have supported the evidence. Studies like, like many of the studies he cited to begin with, were BIASED IN THE OTHER DIRECTION AS THEY WERE TRYING TO FIND SUPPORT FOR DRUG TREATMENTS!

      Most of the people “disabled” by mental illness are really only disabled by DRUG INDUCED BRAIN DAMAGE, if truly disabled at all. There’s no reason the tax payers should keep having to pay these bills now that so much evidence is out there that it is psychiatry and the drug companies fault. A focus from here on out should be merging those on SSI off of it via new restitution laws that would pay them instead through drug company and psychaitry profits.

      • JeffreyC
        Exactly, the overall spending needs to go down by at least 80% and the overall performance needs to be improved. I was on a disability cheque between 1980 and 1984 while I cooperated with Psychiatric treatment, and have been fully productive since I stopped.

        There were non drug solutions to my problems, but the drug treatments were causing the disability the taxpayer was paying for.

  1. “Considering the contribution of antipsychotics to changes in brain structure, the article states, “which seem to depend on cumulative dosage and can exert adverse effects on neurocognition, negative and positive symptoms and psychosocial functioning, the guidelines for antipsychotic long-term drug treatment should be reconsidered.”

    Because of course a little bit of brain damage is no big deal, right? These people are sick.

      • This is a summary of the negative potential of the treatment I stopped in 1984.

        There is considerable variation in the individual response of patients to this depot fluphenazine and its use for maintenance therapy requires careful supervision.

        Manufacturers’ Warnings In Clinical States:
        Severe adverse reactions requiring immediate medical attention may occur and are difficult to predict. Therefore, the evaluation of tolerance and response, and establishment of adequate maintenance therapy, require careful stabilization of each patient under continuous, close medical observation and supervision.

        The prevalence of TD greatly varies; when the mildest symptoms are included, prevalence can be 70%, whereas severe symptom rates are around 2.5%. The frequency and severity of TD increases with age, particularly in females.

        There is no known treatment for established cases of TD, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if neuroleptic treatment is withdrawn. However, neuroleptic treatment itself suppresses the signs and symptoms of the syndrome thereby masking the underlying disease process.

        CNS: Extrapyramidal Symptoms: The side effects most frequently reported with phenothiazine compounds are extrapyramidal symptoms including pseudoparkinsonism (tremor, rigidity, etc.), dystonia, dyskinesia, akathisia, oculogyric crises, opisthotonos, and hyperreflexia. Fluphenazine decanoate produces a higher incidence of extrapyramidal reactions than the less potent piperazine derivatives or the straight-chain phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine.

        Rare occurrences of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) have been reported in patients on neuroleptic therapy.

        The possibility of liver damage, lenticular and corneal deposits, pigmentary retinopathy and the development of irreversible dyskinesia should be borne in mind when patients are on prolonged therapy.

  2. I hope for proper reparations for all who’ve been harmed by the psycho / pharmaceutical industries’ belief they had a right to take over the world with their fictitious “disorders” and major tranquilizers. Because the psychiatrists only got trust from patients because they promised to “first and foremost, do no harm,” and had malpractice insurance intended to properly compensate harmed people, after all.

      • B,

        That reminds me of a 2008, I think, physical I had. The doctor walks in and hands me a prescription, prior to even speaking to me. I asked him what it was for, he told me heartburn. I said, “I don’t have heartburn,” and refused the prescription.

        We chatted a little more, and my primary “medical” flaw is I smoke (the “medicalization” of legal activities). So, of course, I was then handed a prescription for Chantix. But I knew in my gut (this was prior to my finding the actual medical proof) that since Wellbutrin had CAUSED my supposed “bipolar,” Chantix wasn’t likely going to work well for me. I took the prescription, but told the doctor I’d research the drug to see if I thought it’d work well for me. He told me NOT to research the drug.

        And that was the totality of “medical care” given for a supposed complete physical – no blood work ordered, no blood pressure taken, nothing. God knows how much my insurance company was charged for this joke called “medical care.”

        Mine is a story about how, due to greed, the mainstream medical community is rendering itself “irrelevant to reality” because they don’t actually do their jobs properly and when they do do something, they cause more harm than good. But my story helps explain why medical mistakes are the third largest killer of Americans. It does not, however, explain why doctors have such delusions of grandeur and god complexes – to the contrary, it appears they’ve turned themselves into nothing but a bunch of psychotropic drug pushers, while lying about the actual effects of their drugs.

        When will America learn it’s unwise to put doctors at the top of their “caste system.” The doctors are not “insightful” enough to be at the top, they’ll just “medicalize” everything, and run around like lunatics majorly tranquilizing away their multitude of mistakes.

        • I know what you’re talking about. Problem with psychiatry is though that when you walk out of a standard doctor you can simply tear the prescription to shreds and try to find a better practitioner. When you get into hands of psychiatrists you’ll often be an involuntary patient and have no say whatsoever.
          That’s actually a double whammy – not only you have nothing to do in terms of your medical care which is too often disastrous but also they are totally immune to any negative feedback, even compared to other doctors (and yeah I know how hard is to actually prove a medical error or malpractice – but in psychiatry it’s 1000X worse). So the arrogance and self-righteousness reaches cosmic levels.