The Case Against Antipsychotics

Robert Whitaker
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At times, I think that I must seem like a dog with a bone, and that I just can’t let this one particular subject—the long-term effects of psychiatric drugs—go. I wrote about this in Anatomy of an Epidemic, and since then I have given many talks and written many blogs on the topic, and more recently, I engaged in a back-and-forth of sorts with Ronald Pies and Allen Frances about this.

But I know that my reason for this obsessiveness is always the same: I want the science to become known. Then perhaps society can have a discussion about what to make of that science.

With this thought in mind, after the last go-round with Pies and Frances, I decided to lay out, in as succinct a manner as I could, the “case against antipsychotics.” I figured the paper  could become part of the drug-info resources on our site, with readers able to download it and find there, in one package, a presentation of the science relevant to this question. Perhaps some readers will be motivated to urge prescribers of these drugs  to read it as well.

The “Case Against Antipsychotics” is organized in a simple fashion. It has four parts:

  • A review of the research cited by psychiatry as evidence for long-term use of antipsychotics.
  • A critique of that research, in terms of whether it provides evidence that antipsychotics improve long-term outcomes.
  • A presentation of a history of science, stretching across six decades, that tells of how antipsychotics, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes.
  • A review of the criticisms of that argument, by E. Fuller Torrey, Pies, Frances and others, and my responses to those criticisms.

Although this may be a review of the scientific literature that I have written about many times, I like to think I learn something new every time I take a swing at it, and that turned out to be true in this case too.

This past December, Nancy Sohler, from the City College of New York, and researchers from Columbia University, wrote that they had put the argument made in Anatomy of an Epidemic to the test: Is there evidence that antipsychotics do more harm than good? They conducted a methodological review of the medical literature to answer that question, and in their published article, they concluded that the literature was “inadequate to test the hypothesis.” They had identified 18 research articles that provided longer-term findings related to antipsychotic use, but they concluded that design flaws and inadequate reporting of data in the 18 studies made it impossible to draw a conclusion one way or the other about the long-term effects of these drugs. New research was needed to “establish a sufficient evidence base to understand its benefit/risk balance for patients with schizophrenia,” they wrote.

Now, from my perspective, this conclusion was both somewhat validating and somewhat of a rejection of the case made in Anatomy of an Epidemic. It was validating in the sense that these researchers agreed that there wasn’t evidence showing that antipsychotics improved long-term outcomes, but they also decided that there was a lack of evidence supporting a conclusion that the drugs worsened long-term outcomes.

Sohler and colleagues published their paper last December, but I didn’t find the time back then to review their work in depth. However, while writing this paper, I reviewed the 18 studies, which proved to be very informative. Their review provides a new addition to the “narrative of science” that makes the case against antipsychotics. I write about why that is so in the paper.

It’s important to note that “The Case Against Antipsychotics” doesn’t challenge psychiatry’s “medical model” conception of schizophrenia as a “disease.” Psychiatry’s research on antipsychotics for the past 60 years has been shaped by that understanding of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and thus the primary focus of its “effectiveness” studies has been on whether a treatment reduces the “symptoms” of the disease, e.g., psychosis. In this paper, I am simply reporting on what psychiatry’s own research has to say about the long-term effects of antipsychotics on this “illness,” which is what I did in Anatomy of an Epidemic.

In short, it’s a review of psychiatry’s own “evidence base” for antipsychotics.

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118 COMMENTS

  1. I was given Zyprexa for anxiety and insomnia, when I tried to quit that motivation and pleasure from life robbery drug the withdrawal gave me a wicked psychosis I never ever had before along with vomiting and unrelenting insomnia from hell

    Then they used those reactions to claim I “needed” to be on it.

    That’s how they keep you sick.

    • Cat, I am very sorry that you were subjected to anything like this. Yes indeed, you were robbed.

      All of us who were robbed in life, we need to figure out how to organize and fight back. For one thing, once one has been so robbed, they are denied a public identity. And so they are always being pressured into accepting this Therapy and Recovery approach.

      But Therapy and Recovery offer nothing. They are just masochism and self abuse. What we need to do is start handling this with attorneys. Whether the abuse came from the family, from foster care, or from psychiatrists and psychotherapists, we need to start publicly establishing an identity. The way we do this is by fighting back, wining civil judgments for ourselves, getting laws changed, and by protecting the children of today.

      Nomadic
      http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/index.php

      • I call it a robbery only because anti psychotics, dopamine blockers, neuroleptics what every you want to call them rob the ability to feel any pleasure from things in life. It just blunts it out. Turn on the radio to favorite music and no want to move good feeling, step on the accelerator up that big steep hill and the engine comes to life and your pressed into the back of the seat but you don’t feel that “Yee Ha” this is fun feeling at all.

        I went to the natural history museum on Zyprexa, that poison called “medicine” expecting to feel that awe and wonder from looking at things like millions of years old giant dinosaur bones and meteorites, wow stones that were floating around in outer space and fell from the sky but the only thing I felt on that poison posing as medicine was “who cares” or so what.

        The slang is “I feel like a Zombie” and that is very accurate because that anhedoinia is like being dead.

        The most diabolical part of Zyprexa is that outside observers will look at a person on that nerve poison and say they look “better” because yes a person that can’t feel does look better to outside observers than a person who is mentally distressed.

        To me all these studies about outcomes are meaningless cause they don’t take into account the robbery.

        As far as fighting back I see all this as an information war. The truth of how they just throw people into the psychiatric wastebasket of a zombified life on drugs Vs the massive lie that treatment is all about “helping people”. Major over simplification but that is pretty much what it is, disabling people with drugs and then calling that disability “better”.

        But anyway the way the “Anatomy of an Epidemic” works is what they did to me.

        Stage one: Reckless prescribing of wicked evil drugs like Zyypexa > Stage two: The victim takes the disabling poison posing as medicine and hates life in tired zombie wasteland > Stage three: The victim tries to stop taking it and has hellish withdrawals, can’t eat, can’t sleep, anxiety and panic attacks and dozens more > Stage four: The army of incompetents otherwise know as the mental health system considers all the withdrawal reactions and damage they do to people “symptoms of the illness” and uses them as proof the person ‘needs’ more treatment and more drugging. I figured it out before these people destroyed my whole life but many if not most people don’t .

        So anyway if you want laws changed and attorneys suing people for doing this the first thing that needs to happen I think is to win the information war and expose how the Anatomy of an Epidemic works or as I like to call it how “keep you sick” works.

      • Nomadic: I am doing my best to stand up to Psychiatry and help the children of today. I am currently trying to get my job back at a Job Corps and at a youth agency. The Job Corps is using the ruse that I need a psych med check-up in order to come back to work-really a ruse to coverup the complaint that I filed against the disciplinary office and the petition I signed in order to get a youth a fair hearing. The youth agency is using my angry remarks in the staff log against me-this after case management failed to follow up on a client using ADHD medication to stay up all night for a night shift-a fellow relief worker logged in eradict behavior and suicidal ideation-which was even discussed in newspaper article about the youth, but never followed up by case management. In another instance a physically disabled youth was left to climb a flight of stairs despite dizziness from psych drug withdraw-this was not treated as an emergency situation.
        In the meantime, during the process of trying to get the note to go back to work at Job Corps, I had a major run in with Psychiatry. First I beat back a mental hygiene petition and then had a restraining order against me by the psychiatrist settled as a mutual restraining order. I am also running for the local House of Delegates with the Green Party affiliated Mountain Party. I think that people need to know that Psychiatry warrants the same degree of scrutiny as the police and the pentagon.

    • The same thing happened to me. I was given anti-psychotics for anxiety when I was 17 years old. I am now 43 and still can’t get off them. Every time I try to get off them, I feel like I’m on speed and become severely psychotic. Then I end up hospitalized and the doctors force me to get back on them. They see the withdrawal as proof that I need them. I was never psychotic in my life until I had been on them for a few years and tried to stop them. I’m afraid I’m going to be on them for the rest of my life. They made me mentally ill. I was never mentally ill until I took them. I was just a troubled teenager who needed someone to talk to. I never should have been prescribed anti psychotics.

      • Anti psychotic withdrawal does feel like being on stimulants, not the good euphoric part but the stimulant comedown, that I am still racing but feel like total absolute hell part of it.

        I had to use benzodiazepines to get off Zyprexa and they were not that easy to get because doctors think they are going to hurt you prescribing the addictive stuff but WTF dependency on addictive downer anxiety pills that feel good is 1000 times better then life on that suck out your soul zombie all day drug.

        And only the sicko psycho pharmaceutical industry would advertise drugs that produce the most hellish withdrawals out of all drugs as “non addictive”. The most slimy dishonorable people on the planet.

        I got off the benzodiazepines, hell ride number two but that’s is what it took for me to get off Zyprexa.

        Sometimes I don’t like how all anti psychotics are lumped together, Zyprexa is one of the most evil wicked things ever to come up to earth from the depths of hell but Seroquel in small doses is kind of like marijuana without the paranoia just a hungry tired and stupid feeling. I think in small doses it works for drug withdrawal insomnia and lack of appetite.

        The whole subject of withdrawal : I don’t know why she swallowed a fly, so she swallowed a spider… It never ends.

        I don’t know, everyone wants to come off drugs pain free, I don’t think it is possible without the ride through total unimaginable hell part.

      • Seroquel might be a way to combat that insomnia during that Zyprexa withdrawal that would keep me awake till my mind failed.

        No pain, no gain. If there was an easy way out it would be all over the internet, instead we just have 1000s of horror stories from people who were never warned of the consequences.

        I paced and vomited and had panic attacks for weeks and it took months to come back from that poison.

        I was taking 10mg, 1.5mg might be an easier ride I don’t know.

    • All excellent testimonials… my w/d from my last neuroleptic, Abilify has been every bit as much a horror as Peter Breggin writes about in his book, “Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal…

      I was on Zyprexa for 11 years, prior to Abilify for about the same length of time, prior to that Navane, Haldol and a few weeks of Thorizine and Stellazine, along with the accompanying other SSRI’s, Benzos, and Sleep drugs…. a total of 3 decades… in my mid to late 50’s, I have no idea who I really am… a Geologist of sorts with a love of earth science and newspaper comments regarding contributions for the reduction of climate alternating fossil fuels and social advocacy, but also out of a chemical haze and “straight jacket,” an ‘experiment’ of sorts by “doctors” in the 80’s. A peer counselor who thinks I’m one sided against psychotropic drugs told me, to supposedly make me feel useful, “the experimentation on you paved the way for better mental health for people like me,” she’s in her early 30’s.

  2. In this paper, I am simply reporting on what psychiatry’s own research has to say about the long-term effects of antipsychotics on this “illness” …In short, it’s a review of psychiatry’s own “evidence base” for antipsychotics.

    Understood in advance, thanks for the heads-up. I look forward to reading it and will not hold you responsible for the medical model. 🙂

  3. I think that, with this report, you have made the science known. Hopefully prescribers will read it and draw the obvious conclusions about these dangerous toxins.

    However, I recently mentioned this off topic to the psychiatrist I am seeing. He considers himself an expert in “schizophrenia” and its treatment. When I brought up the studies of Wunderink and the Open Dialogue results he was agitated and started rolling his eyeballs and stating “those people relapse and go psychotic off the drugs; I have seen it!” (Apparently ignorant about withdrawal…). He the actually said ” antipsychotics are NEUROPROTECTIVE”. I asked him how drugs that shrink the brain and cause tardive dyskinesia could be considered NEUROPROTECTIVE. He told me I knew nothing and was “ignorant”! So there we go- strike out on attempt to inform and educate.
    Guess I will have to drop a copy of your report on his desk along with a copy of “The Bitterest Pills”. Thought the word was getting out- apparently not….

      • Yes, psychiatrists believe all thoughts, gut instincts, and dreams are ‘psychosis,’ according to my medical records.

        Thanks, Robert, for making the case against antipsychotics, so grateful. But I hope you might consider, rather than saying the antipsychotics are helpful in the short run, pointing out that when they are wrongly given to abuse victims (which is the majority of those psychiatrists see), the antipsychotics can actually create ‘psychosis,’ via anticholinergic toxidrome.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

        These are the central symptoms of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome, from drugs.com:

        “Central symptoms may include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures.”

        https://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=2330-1540,1744-1113&types%5B%5D=major&types%5B%5D=minor&types%5B%5D=moderate&types%5B%5D=food&types%5B%5D=therapeutic_duplication&professional=1

        And psychiatrists can not tell the difference between the central symptoms of neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication syndrome, and the positive symptoms of ‘schizophrenia.’ Largely because the only difference is “hyperactivity” vs. “inactivity.”

        And the antipsychotics can also create the negative symptoms of ‘schizophrenia’ via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome, which also often gets misdiagnosed, and mistreated.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-Induced_Deficit_Syndrome

        Given the reality that the neuroleptics can create both the negative and positive symptoms of ‘schizophrenia,’ it’s possible ‘schizophrenia’ is almost completely an iatrogenic illness.

        • We have to start somewhere, and starting by saying the drugs do not work long term is a great place. Why? Because then it will become standard practice to remove people from the medicine/drug. Then in time they will have to question the “correct” amount of time on the antipsychotic.

          • I agree it’s a fine place to start. But it should also be mentioned that the neuroleptics can actually create both the negative and positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” since the medical community does, in fact, already know this. They would not have medical names, and warnings indicating this, if they were unaware.

            And the reality is withdrawing people from the antipsychotics can result in a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis, which does regularly get misdiagnosed by the medical community as a “return of symptoms.” Thus, perhaps the better question is not what is “the ‘correct’ amount of time on the antipsychotic,” but rather should antipsychotics be given in the first place.

            My belief is it is better to not put people on a drug class known to create both the negative and positive symptoms of ‘schizophrenia,’ which the medical community can not distinguish from ‘the classic symptoms of schizophrenia,’ in the first place.

          • I have had the same response. Indeed I had the same response in 1992 when talking to a psychiatrist.

            I am not convinced that debating with psychiatrists is the best tactic though I see no harm in it providing you have a tough skin.

  4. Robert Whitaker, first of all I want to thank you for all of your work, your papers, your books, and your continuing advocacy.

    My own view of the issues has been formed from trying to participate in this forum.

    The work you are doing, showing that there is no medical basis for psychiatric drugs, is essential. But at this point I am also seeing that other things are required. Psychiatric drugs were never developed out of medical need, just as the Psychiatric profession was never formed for medical need, nor was Psychotherapy. All of these things were developed out of the need for social control, and this is inseparably linked with the rise of Capitalism and the Middle-Class Family.

    And then today the situation continues to become more and more serious, as Psychiatry and Psychotherapy are used to create an ever expanding underclass of persons who are subjected to ritual humiliations, and this is needed to maintain the current form of radicalized Capitalism. So many people have zero future, zero place in this world, and people are still having children in order to use them, and then to scapegoat them.

    The main thing I want to let you know is that to me it is clear, you cannot effectively oppose Psychiatry, while still going along with Psychotherapy and the concept of Recovery. These are all rooted in the religious idea of Original Sin, and this is how families scapegoat children. So long as there is Therapy or Recovery, then there is still the rationalization that Psychiatry is still necessary.

    As I know, psych meds and lobotomy and electro-shock were originally seen as needed, because otherwise the patient would commit suicide.

    Today, they are justified for controlling people, and because they are sought as recreational mood alterants.

    That alternative is for people to face their feelings and then act, make legal and legislative reforms, protect children from the middle-class family, and from the ways in which the government reinforces it. Political consciousness and organizing are what we need, not Psychotherapy and Recovery. Once people see this, Psychiatry should be fairly easy to take down.

    Nomadic
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/free-expression-f2.html

    • Nomadic: It seems that there is a divergent view of Psychotherapy here at MIA. Some take a critical perspective like you, others have even worked as therapists. In the situation I described to you in a post above, I work at a youth agency which used to emphasize Maslow’s needs based theory as well as Reality Therapy-William Glasser, the foremost proponent of the theory, is anything but Pro-Psychiatry. So like, you, I am not a big proponent of Psychotherapy, but you might see how, in this instance how it can be used as leverage.

      • chrisreed, of course the drugs you speak of are extremely dangerous, and they do set up addictive traps which are hard to get out of, and their effects are lifelong. And so I am grateful to Robert Whitaker and others for exposing how much harm these drugs do.

        As far a Psychotherapy, it is a gentler version of the same thing. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is interesting and to a degree it can help us to understand human behavior.

        But a Psychotherapist is not going to redress the wrongs which have been done to people before they even got anywhere near a therapists office. Therapists are not lawyers and they are not political activists. They could not be a therapist unless they believed that the problems existed only in people’s heads., And so what they do is try to convince you that you are at fault because you continue to resist. They try to turn angry slaves into happy slaves, and most of all they try to convince people that their abusive childhoods are not important because they were long ago. They try to make people overlook the fact that they do not have a socially legitimated identity unless they go along with denial and worship the Holy Family, and submit to the Self-Reliance Ethic.

        The Psychotherapist has their own interest in this, and that interest is not yours.

        The only way this will change is when we the Survivors of the Middle-Class Family start to organize and act. We must punish abusers, because this is also how we legitimate ourselves in the present. And we must protect the children of today.

        I have suggested that we should be starting our own Foster Care Group Home. The homes which exist today teach children that they are deprived and underprivileged. They have to do this, otherwise they would undermine The Middle-Class Family.

        Our home by contrast would graduate a revolutionary vanguard.

        Nomadic
        http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/on-the-family-t301.html

  5. As always, thank you SO MUCH, Mr. Whitaker, for your good work and for caring about this issue. I would like to humbly request that you make the link to your paper a bit more prominent so that readers can easily find it. In case folks missed it in the body of Mr. Whitaker’s blog entry, here again is the link to his 46-page paper entitled “The Case Against Antipsychotics: A Review of Their Long-Term Effects.”
    https://www.madinamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-Case-Against-Antipsychotics.pdf

  6. Bob,

    A faithful hound can be very useful!

    I appreciate that you put a note at the end of this piece cautioning about the issue with “schizophrenia” not being a disease… as you know the nonvalidity of the disease model conception of “schizophrenia” is an important point of contention that we – antipsychiatrists and former prisoners of the system – have with psychiatry. More importantly, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that a discrete brain disease called schizophrenia exists.

    I will go now to read the whole paper.

  7. And I will continue to feed that dog with as many ones as possible by repeating all of your work over and over and over again to everyone I know and as just as many that I don’t know. I do it even more about ECT, which is my particular bone, and will continue until the end of my life which I hope is a long time away.
    In the face of ALL the evidence those supporting psychotropic drugs of ALL kinds, and Electroshock, have such an ability to suspend disbelief to a delusional degree that I guess must it be admired. I have at times listened to a mad person or two who has strange beliefs resistant to reason, and to religious people who also are resistant to reason and/or other ideas, and not a few astrologists and paranormal believers, but I think psychiatrists, with the “ubiquitous propensity to seek out and selectively interpret evidence consistent with our hypotheses and to deny, dismiss, and distort evidence that does not,” take the cake. The Pies and Frances’ of this world cannot maintain a reasoned discussion, and almost invariably descend to using at least a few if not all the criteria for pseudoscience, including conspiracy theories and attacks on the messenger. But they have the ear of the establishment, at least that part of it that isn’t completely buried, not in sand, but in concrete, so the message has to be repeated, repeated, repeated. Thank you Robert Whitaker and PLEASE keep on going!
    Pseudoscience: The aim of pseudoscience is to rationalize strongly held beliefs, rather than to investigate and find out what’s actually going on, or to test various possibilities.
    1 – Hostile to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction

    2 – Works backward from desired results through motivated reasoning
    (`Schizophrenia’ must be caused by dopamine issues because the drugs affect dopamine issues.)
    3 – Cherry picks evidence
    
4 – Relies on low grade evidence when it supports their belief, but will dismiss rigorous evidence if it is inconvenient..

    5 – Core principles untested or unproven, often based on single case or anecdote
    6 – Utilizes vague, imprecise, or ambiguous terminology, often to mimic technical jargon
    (Discussions involving lots of anatomical terms with vague references to neuroscientific processes and attempting to link the two without support.)
    7 – Has the trappings of science, but lacks the true methods of science
    (Lots of anatomical jargon and `science speak’, but no control groups, vague or no standardised reporting procedures, poor if any control of significant variables, manipulated or no statistics, small numbers etc.
    
8 – Invokes conspiracy arguments to explain lack of mainstream acceptance (Galileo syndrome)
    (i.e. media misinformation. the hostile Anti-psychiatry movement and Scientologists.
)
    9 – Lacks caution and humility by making grandiose claims from flimsy evidence
    (“The schizophrenia gene”)
    10 – .base their claims on incompleteness of information, rather than on what is known at present.
    11. – often pretends to be one side of a legitimate scientific controversy…to pretend that “the jury is still out,” and that “further research” is needed to clarify the validity of their beliefs. This is essentially never the case…
    12. Makes extraordinary claims and advances fantastic theories that are in contradiction to what is known about nature. e.g. Neurological evidence proves ECT causes significant brain injury, and this is denied.
    The degree of denial is directly and proportionately linked to the threat of loss of income, power and prestige, so psychiatry will never yield any more than the church did.

    • Now that Mr. Whitaker has published this comprehensive 46 page review and more studies confirm what he is saying, it would be great if he took a break and chewed on the bone Deirdre speaks of- ECT.
      Who better to investigate and “show the science” regarding this human rights violation/lunatic procedure?

  8. Ominous the Columbia review of long-term studies articles. Usually “design flaws”are what you hear from people who don’t agree with your research conclusions making one wonder about the motivation behind Nancy Sohler and cohorts. Are they the latest PR maneuver for the defense of organized psychiatry, or something more scientifically sound, and ethically innocent? One has to wonder. That’s my two cents.

    I’ve had enough interaction with the mainstream mental health system to know how entrenched this psychiatric prescription drug culture actually is. It’s like these shock treatments that are being billed as a ‘safe and effective’ treatment for depression. If you can buy that one, I’ve got a bridge in New York that I just know you will love, and well within your price range, too..

  9. Yet another excellent work and response to criticisms. I completely understand why there is a backlash against Whitaker, no one is going to like ideas that upset the status quo within psychiatry. I am sure so many doctors need to believe that they are helping rather than harming, after all didn’t the profession manage to legitimate itself as ‘medical’ when the antipsychotics first came on the market? I’d like to see better solutions developed to help people with psychosis or schizophrenia, it really saddens me to know what these drugs are doing to people. Parkinsonisms, tarditive dyskenesia, obesity, slow cognition, the list goes on… unacceptable and hard to fathom how anyone can think that drugs that create iatrongenic diseases like these are somehow reversing an inherent imbalance. I have been recently looking into the work of Dr. William Walsh, and I think he might really be onto something with his research. His focus is on epigenetic factors, nutrient imbalances, methylation cycle imbalances, and heavy metal toxicities, which he posits as explanations for pscychosis, schizophrenia and other various disorders. The so called chemical imbalances may not be what we thought they were all this time, and maybe we have been looking in the wrong place (imbalances occuring in the brain may be a downstream effect of something else). He has developed one of the largest biochemical databases on mental disorders in the world, and so his work is quite compelling. He makes the case for a simple panel of tests which can help to sort out the underlying cause of many of these disorders, and will offer up a solution that does not involved medications (nutrient therapeutics). It is actually quite shocking to me that as of yet, no biochemical tests are standard for assessing people who are presenting with mental illnesses. For instance, if we know that various metals can induce all sorts of psychiatric symptoms than why are people not routinely screened in order to rule these factors out?? The same is true for deficiencies/ overloads in various essential minerals. Once again, doctors are simply not looking and writing out prescriptions for people without given any thought to these possibilities.

  10. Any review of the medical literature will be incomplete because it misses those people who stop their meds against advice, and then vow to stay the hell away from psychiatrists for the rest of their born days. Dr Frances paints a scary picture of these poor unfortunates  “shamefully neglected in prison dungeons or living on the street”, but is that really true? My own hunch is that most of them successfully make their way in life, seamlessly blending in with the rest of us.

    BTW, Bob – if you are looking for illustrations to brighten up your presentations, feel free to make use of any of my cartoons. This one, showing how Psychiatry and the FDA collude with Big Pharma to keep the antipsychotic gravy train on the rails, seems particularly apt…

    http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com/Auntie%20Psychiatry.html#rigging

      • For all of psychiatry’s rhetoric of “treating” and “curing” “mental illness”, they really only guarantee one thing – you’ll be fried-up and drugged-up, or else you’ll be locked up. “Functional” or “dysfunctional”, “healthy” or unhealthy, happy, miserable, or numb, YOU WILL BE “TREATED” BECAUSE THEY WANT TO CONTROL YOU! Psychiatry is the ONLY branch of medicine (using the word *very* loosely, people) that has NO goals *other than* administering (TOXIC) drugs and other “treatments”. I, for one am grateful as can be for Mr. Whitaker’s “dogged” refusal to let the public live and die in ignorance. He’s saved FAR many more lives than the sickening and lethal racket of psychiatry!

    • Six years ago, against medical advice, I weaned myself off of my medications. My ” time in dungeons and on the streets” occurred while I was on medication. Since going off of my medication, I have been able to go back to school, work full time, and become a productive member of society. I am one of those who will never see a psychiatrist again.

  11. Are you suggesting that we should force people who are experiencing the worst fears imaginable of unexplained sounds and sights to not be shown the mercy of Antipsychotic medication?

    Who made you God to pass such judgement?

    You people need to be more compassionate and pragmatic in your criticism since it is destructive, and not constructive criticism.

    How about a suggestion of a solution like the Russian studies where fasting helped eased the symptoms of schizophrenia, just a thought.

    • You have to ask first before giving drugs/medication. Does the person want the drug/medication?

      You are making the judgement the person needs drugs, not medicine.

      If someone is experiencing “the worst fears” , you don’t ask how they got into that position.
      When a heroin or meth addict is in withdrawal , what kind of thoughts and feelings do they have? Is the solution more Heroin and Meth?

      • ‘This article is saying that symptoms do get reduced in the short term, but in the long term, being on antipsychotics correlates with progressively worse outcomes over time.” Unless, of course, the antipsychotics were given inappropriately to a crime victim who was not suffering from ‘psychosis.’ In which case the antipsychotics can create the positive symptoms of ‘schizophrenia,’ via anticholinergic toxidrome, or the negative symptoms of ‘schizophrenia,’ via neuroleptic induced deficit disorder, both of which regularly get misdiagnosed by the medical community.

        “You people need to be more compassionate and pragmatic in your criticism since it is destructive, and not constructive criticism.” How is pointing out that the neuroleptic drugs are already medically known to create both the positive and negative symptoms of ‘schizophrenia’ “destructive, and not constructive criticism.” Unless, of course, you’re a psychiatrist who wants to cover up this fact, and continue defaming and torturing child abuse victims and people who have been wrongly defamed and drugged to cover up easily recognized iatrogenesis, due to religious and medical greed? Which an ethical pastor confessed to me was “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

    • This was just posted above your post by Christopher J:

      “ChristopherJ
      on July 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm said:
      Six years ago, against medical advice, I weaned myself off of my medications. My ” time in dungeons and on the streets” occurred while I was on medication. Since going off of my medication, I have been able to go back to school, work full time, and become a productive member of society. I am one of those who will never see a psychiatrist again.”

      What do you have to say to Christopher? Is he not standing proof that your assumption that those taken off antipsychotics will deteriorate into street people is not necessarily true at all?

      —- Steve

    • liberalminority, yes facing one’s pains is very hard. It can feel like your bones are being eaten in acid. But unless people do it, they are dangerous to others, because they are living by denial.

      Maybe we should allow psych meds to be plain wrapped and sold under the same rules as decriminalized street drugs, I don’t know.

      But the real remedy is to interdict and punish familial child abuse, as this is where it starts.

      Nomadic
      http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/

      • They already are. I know Seroquel is `Quell’ and the ADHD stuff does a roaring trade on the streets. I suspect not a few of the more entrepreneurial kids are now very well behaved in class because they’re working on their marketing strategies. My school teacher sister reckons that a lot of Ritalin/Dex etc are often being taken (or marketed) by the parents.

    • They may not know about Nikolayev fasting. The only reason I know is because I read an article about it by Allen Cott, a shrink who was in contact with Nikolayev around 35 years ago. Most people only know about Russian psychiatry as the KGB mentally crippling dissidents, using those old phenothiazines to make them twitching zombies.
      They may not know about testing for food and inhalant allergies after a 4-8 day water fast, a technique pioneered by Theron Randolph, an allergist, back in the 1950’s.

  12. I think there is a typo on p 17 of your report. You state in the fifth paragraph that the outcomes were better in the developed countries (which surprised me when I read it). And then in the following paragraphs you say that the outcomes were better in the developing countries.

  13. I must say, liberalminority, that you seem to be rather a connoisseur of the ‘coup de grace’. Have you ever had the honour of accepting the forced ‘mercy of Antipsychotic medication’? Or is this all liberal speculation? Sort of euthanasia at large…

    Thanks Robert for this article and for being a voice for those who have been so ‘kindly’ treated to silence by the philosophers of liberalism.

    • anothervoice,

      As I like to remind people, as evidenced by the 422-2 Murphy vote in favor of its passing, neither political side is a friend of ours. And even before this dreaded legislation passed, mental health abuses have taken place in both liberal and conservative states.

      That aside, Liberal Minority’s only intent seems to be to troll this site and not engage in a serious discussion with posters. At least in the past, when people have posted differing opinion, they made some attempt to respond to what people comment on. Not LM.

      I also thank Robert for this article.

    • Probably not, but I have. Fortunately it was Stelazine, back in the antipsychotic Jurassic Era, prior to the Age of Addiction and Weight Gain. I didn’t find 15 hours of sleep a day very therapeutic or refreshing, so it didn’t last long, once I was out of the hospital.

  14. It seems like we all encounter the same defensive reaction and it is evidence resistant. Very frustrating. But in the face of all the harm its tragic and criminal.
    The “mental health” industry is insulated by the same lack of evidence they use to
    justify what they do. Specifically you can’t test for, or measure, or test against any of the diagnosis. Therefore whatever outcomes happen are “better” then what would have happened had we not pumped a person full of drugs.
    I think the one area they are completely exposed is informed consent. Once they have evidence they are forced to do some really fancy footwork to justify ignoring it.

    • Specifically you can’t test for, or measure, or test against any of the diagnosis. Therefore whatever outcomes happen are “better” then what would have happened had we not pumped a person full of drugs“. I am always appalled when I hear psychiatry making that claim. Prior to going on medication, I was miserable, but at least I could hold down a job, socialize and sustain housing. Once I went on drugs, I felt so awful that maintaining a “normal” lifestyle was impossible. The three times I attempted suicide were when I was under the influence of psychotropics. Is that psychiatry’s idea of a “better” outcome?

  15. As always – thanks so much for your caring and persistence. It has really helped as we try to support and help navigate the best course for our loved one.

    I think the reason why you feel like a ‘dog with a bone’ is because your critics either can’t or won’t really listen, consider and give the proper weight to your arguments.

  16. Thank you for your diligent work on this very important topic!

    Antipsychotic medications are horrible for some people. I recently witnessed first-hand all the problems they can cause when someone close to me was prescribed an antipsychotic. I happen to be a clinical social worker and I could recognize the problems that the medications were causing vs. thinking the symptoms were any confirmation of any mental health problem. I can see how an untrained person may not be able to differentiate the two.

    Psychiatrists are so entrenched in their belief system that they can not see the obvious either. Sometimes you have to trust your gut instinct and go it alone. No one wants to have a transient problem turn into a chronic one because of medication over use.

    The problems with psychiatric medications are HUGE. Psychiatrists aren’t the only misinformed medical professionals. Primary care doctors are just as bad. They all want to write a quick prescription and move on to the next patient. No one seems interested in getting to the root of the problem and working on true healing which is much more complex than writing a prescription.

    Please, please keep up the good work. Change takes a LONG time, but lives are at stake. Anyone with a voice or a story needs to keep talking and educating anyone they come in contact with. Prescription medication over prescribing is a serious human rights issue and many people are still blindly trusting doctors and being harmed. Most doctors never mention the possible harms or any alternatives to medication.

    • I just don’t get how a doctor that has never taken a particular psychoactive drug could be considered and authority on how they work. No description using words found in any book can come close to the knowledge that comes from taking the stuff and feeling it for yourself.

      • Cat- it’s fashionable to be ignorant. Ignorance is at the core of the double-blind method for establishing drug efficacy- that neither doctor nor patient know whether they’re giving/getting the real substance; whether it works or not will be determined by statistical analysis afterward. Of course, this method has never been subjected to any independent analysis to see if it works as it’s supposed to.

  17. This just appeared in my emails from the Psychiatric Times:
    “How Antipsychotic Medication May Save Lives
    June 01, 2016 | Couch in Crisis, Major Depressive Disorder, Psychopharmacology, Schizophrenia
    By Ronald W. Pies, MD
    How Antipsychotic Medication May Save Lives
    Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Rise of the Consumer Movement
    COMMENTARY
    One way anti-psychiatry groups trivialize psychosis and marginalize psychiatry is by emphasizing the adverse effects of antipsychotic medications while denying or minimizing their benefits.1 To be sure, the well-recognized metabolic, neurological, and cardiovascular risks associated with many antipsychotic medications must be taken very seriously. Moreover, antipsychotics (APs) are often used when they are not needed; eg, for the treatment of anxiety disorders2; for “agitation” in nursing home patients; and for “acting out” in adolescent populations. (I spent many years as a psychopharmacology consultant trying to get doctors to reduce their over-reliance on antipsychotics.) On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that in patients with chronic schizophrenia, APs play a crucial role in maintaining remission, averting relapse, improving quality of life, and—importantly—reducing overall mortality.”

    Again the pseudoscientist’s hostilty to criticism via the invocation of the conspiracy against the beleaguered hero as he opens with an attack on the messenger, the straw man argument -that the anti psychiatrists `trivialise psychosis’ – the little dodge sideways AP’s used `when not needed’ as he attempts to be the voice of reason and fails completely in the last sentence.
    As Tavris and Aronson, 2007; Lilienfeld, 2010 say.. “one can conceptualize science as a toolbox of finely honed tools designed to minimize mistakes, especially confirmation bias – the ubiquitous propensity to seek out and selectively interpret evidence consistent with our hypotheses and to deny, dismiss, and distort evidence that does not”. Dr Pies’ `confirmation bias’ is showing and he appears to have little insight, and is fast losing all credibility as a man of science and moderation. His stance looks more and more like a sop the big pharma and does him no credit whatsoever. But despite his constant invitations to be exposed, this is a very influential man as he continues to prop up the delusional, quasi religious organisation called psychiatry.
    (These are other questionable pieces – Ron loves being in print)
    Linked Articles
    Depression: A 5-Minute Seminar for Patients –
    Physician-Assisted Dying for Adolescents With Intractable Mental Illness? (WOW! Is Ron losing it?)

    • I don’t “trivialize psychosis and marginalize psychiatry … by emphasizing the adverse effects of antipsychotic medications while denying or minimizing their benefits.” The antipsychotics, as well as the antidepressants, have for a long time been medically known to cause ‘psychosis,’ via anticholinergic intoxication syndrome. And such a drug induced ‘psychosis’ sucks, big time.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

      The problem is the psychiatrists create ‘psychosis’ in their patients with their drugs, but the psychiatric industry denies this reality. And now Pies advocates “assisted suicide” for those who have noticed this or suffered from such a medically known iatrogenic psychosis? Wow, but I’ve already survived 14 such attempted murders at my life, all with various forms of anticholinergic toxidrome poisonings.

      I’m quite certain psychiatrists and doctors who attempt to murder patients, like this now FBI convicted former doctor of mine:

      https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/oak-brook-doctor-convicted-kickback-scheme-sacred-heart-hospital

      Because some people suffer from these medically known adverse effects of the antidepressants and antipsychotics, rather than being helped by them, are the morally wrong. And the fact my former doctor was finally arrested for defrauding the government, and having lots of patients medically unnecessarily shipped long distances to himself, then medically unnecessarily “snowing” patients, and performing unneeded tracheotomies on patients for profit, is the problem.

      Killing all the patients who do not react well to the psychiatric drugs is not the morally proper solution. Psychiatrists admitting to the known adverse reactions to their drugs is. Wake up, Dr. Pies.

      The “conscience of psychiatry” is stating the same thing:

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/05/psychiatrists-playing-god/

      How shameful it is that today’s psychiatric industry has for a long time been in the business of covering up easily recognized iatrogenesis for the incompetent doctors and covering up child abuse for the religions. It’s time for “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” to be put to rest.

    • Actually, apologies to Ron Pies for any suggestion that he might support Physician Assisted Dying, for anyone, he doesn’t.
      There is a reference in the above piece from a Swedish team, ” Tiihonen and associates13 carried out a large observational study (N = 21,492) of patients with schizophrenia. The study found that antipsychotic use was associated with substantially lower overall mortality and very significantly reduced rates of completed suicide across the entire dosage range (low to moderate to high) when compared with no antipsychotic drug use (10% of the entire sample). Maximum anti-suicide benefit was seen with the higher antipsychotic doses.”
      I’m not a subscriber so can’t access the full text. Does anyone lknow anything about this, and how it might impact on the `early death’ figures?

      • Dee, why does that sound substantially FUDGED to me? That many? That many in Sweden? Aw, really? I think that might be the total of pregnant women in Sweden. Or maybe the total of different types of snowflakes. Total with sz willing to comply with a study in a tiny country? Doubtful.

        Maybe those that didn’t succeed in killing themselves were behind locked doors and tied in restraints? So that’s success….. Otherwise I do not believe those figures…..OH,, I know they did the study on DEAD PEOPLE!!! That’s just “negative symptoms.” You know, they don’t talk much, doc….Stiff from the drugs…..

    • What is this about Dr. Pies saying antipsychotics MAY save lives? I thought according to those shrinks that was a given. Along with how “mental illness” kills people.

      Apparently all those biochemical imbalances in the brain (metaphorically) cause the victim’s head to spontaneously combust. When was the last time you heard about someone’s head exploding?

      Oh yes. Dr. Quackenbush says that no longer happens because of all the safe and effective treatments on the market.

      Back to Planet Earth….

  18. I think neuroleptics/major tranquilizers/ “antipsychotics,” along with “schizophrenia” are psychiatry’s golden cows (I seem to recall a Szasz book about this same issue…). De-institutionalization was underway in some areas before Thorazine and friends hit the scene, but shrinks insist the miracle pills paved the way for “schizophrenics” to live in the community.

    I think its difficult for psychiatrists–both as individuals and as a group, as a profession– to take a long, hard look at their “life saving” tranquilizers and rethink what they’ve been taught (and assumed) for so long. I think some people do well on neuroleptics long term (probably low dose). Others only take the tranquilizers in times of stress. Others taper and never look back. Some should never, ever be on neuroleptics; the risks and problems far outweigh any benefits.

    Point is…I think admitting that the miracle meds have serious limitations, that much of the supporting data isn’t very high quality, and that standard practice is not always in the best interest of those “treated” requires a level of humility that psychiatry lacks, at least in the US. I think shrinks find it easier to label all serious criticisms (even serious questions) as “anti-psychiatry” than to address the questions and concerns that many people have raised and are raising.

    Of course…calling questions and criticisms “anti-psychiatry” may be somewhat effective now, but…my best guess is that the stigma attached to “anti-psychiatry” has lessened, and is lessening, which means that the psychiatrists will eventually have to deal with people and groups who question their practices, tools, beliefs, etc.

    • People who call anti-psychiatry a label don’t tend to be anti-psychiatry.

      At this point you’ve got psychiatrists claiming a “stigma” against psychiatry. I imagine that’s where this “stigma” against anti-psychiatry nonsense comes from. There is, to my way of thinking, no more “stigma” accruing to anti-psychiatry than there is to non-psychiatry, anti-psychiatry, basically being the promotion of non-psychiatry, and with it, as well, the non-promotion of psychiatry.

      Anti-psychiatry, on the other hand, is accused of “stigmatizing” people said to have “mental illness” by denying the existence of any such “mental illness”. There are people, after all, who have been sold a bill of goods. There are people who have made an investment in the idea of “mental illness”. There are people who want the government to pay their way. You’ve got these psych-drugs to chemically cripple people, and if they take them long enough, to destroy their health, even kill them. Chunking this bill of goods, rejecting treatment, getting a life, abandoning the “mental patient” career and lifestyle, etc. right there, you’ve got anti-psychiatry, and it looks like a pretty good strategy to me.

      I’m opposed to psychiatry, and other forms of torture, euphemistically referred to as “mental health treatment”. The less of it the better, at least as far as I’m concerned. If “mental health” were defined as a ‘lack of mental health treatment’…Physical health is definitely just that. Well then, you start to get my drift.

      • Perhaps I could clarify a little.

        Nobody is calling psychiatry a label. Psychiatry is a profession.

        Anti-psychiatry in itself is not a label. Anti-psychiatry is certainly not a label to those people who identify as, and with, anti-psychiatry.

        Anti-psychiatry is a label as applied by authoritarian bio-psychiatry to all critics of psychiatry in an effort to suppress criticism. Criticism of psychiatry in itself is not anti-psychiatry. Likewise, critical psychiatry and anti-psychiatry are not the same thing, although there may be some overlap.

        • How can antipsychiatry be a psychiatric label? It’s pretty much an OPINION, right? A choice. Such as “I choose to live on the first floor of a building because I think it’s safer.” Or, “I’d rather live in the city.” Or, “I’d rather ride a bicycle.” Are cyclists a label? “I’d rather see an endocrinologist.” “I’d rather forgo a mammogram unless I find a lump.” “I’d rather not see a psychiatrist. EVER.”

          In fact, the thought of ever seeing one again makes my stomach turn. Over my dead body. Which I suppose the coroner would tag with a label. I’ll be okay with that one so long as I’m laughing on the way out.

  19. Actually I’m leaving a list of comments from PLUs and saying exactly that, and this: If anti-psychiatry exists as an `evil conspiracy setting out to `get at’ psychiatry’, one must ask why? Is there an anti-oncologist movement? They fail many people and the treatments can be diabolical. Is there an anti dermatologist movement? They also fail to help many. Is there an anti any other part of the medical profession? Many practitioners are being hauled up for corruption, incompetence, and other, sometimes criminal behaviour, but there is NO “anti”.
    Of course none of them can force treatment on their patients so that might be a factor, and most have a fairly firm basis in science as a fall back position which, of course, psychiatry doesn’t.
    The beauty of the Psych Times site is that they publish first THEN pull it, so sometimes my more aggressive stuff gets out there for a little while at least. So some of those smug cretins just might get a twinge before they shut the door against their cognitive dissonance. But then, maybe one or two might have a bad dream. You never know.

  20. Dear Bob Whitaker, Thanks so much for this very comprehensive report. We can use this as fuel any time we need to back an argument. All the data is right in a package right here.

    What I didn’t see I know there must have been studies on. What happens if AD drugs, either the newer generation ones or the older Thorazine-type ones are given to a person who is not psychotic nor manic? I ask because this was my situation and was (as I see) the situation of many others. These were either given knowingly off-label for “anxiety” or “insomnia” or, as they were given to me, simply picked out of the Physician’s Desk Reference because burnt orange was the color of the day (anyone my age or older knows that one). No, really, they didn’t know what to do with me, so they gave me T-zine, called my parents and told them “We have just the pill for her” and I kept wondering why it didn’t do anything for my eating disorder. So I said “it doesn’t work,” and they gave me more and more that didn’t work!

    Maybe 40 different failed med trials later…..At one point on three antipsychotics, all on the highest possible doses…..What happens to those of use who were not ever psychotic nor manic to begin with?

    Common sense tells me we get immune to the sedation.

    Can’t sleep anymore.

    However, I didn’t see that in the report. I didn’t see a thing about relentless insomnia. I am wondering if maybe this wasn’t monitored or maybe the study simply overlooked that when patients “relapsed” it was due to not sleeping.

    Not sleeping causes mania in many people. It causes psychosis in some people too, especially if you’re young or medically compromised or drunk or doing drugs or not eating as well. Poor sleep quality has the same effect. None of this takes rocket science. We’ve known this since high school biology drilled this one into our heads (or high school health class). If you do not sleep you will either go nuts or be very very sorry. In my case I was a very bad grump for five long years. I lost my temper with everyone (for which I apologize). Please know that all that was due to not sleeping. I honestly had no desire to be short-tempered like that. I only wanted rest.

    Now they’re using drugs like Abilify as “add-on” drugs with the antidepressants so we will see more and more people taking these anti-d drugs who aren’t psychotic. This is so scary. Although Abilify isn’t sedating for most…I fear the other drugs will seriously do people in in terms of insomnia, never mind the rest of the long list of consequences.

  21. I’m coming from 40+ years of direct, LIVED experience with the LIES of the pseudoscience drug racket known as “bioipsychiatry”….The last ~20yrs. shrink-free, and (mostly) psych-drug free…. The longer I stay away from the psychs and their poison pills, the more whole, healthy, and happy I become….
    I still see some “drug zombies” – victims of the local “CMHC” – who are STILL on psych drugs after decades. How are they doing? They’re DRUG ZOMBIES. That’s not an insult. Simply the most accurate descriptor. many of my friends have DIED over the years, at least partly because of psych drugs…. Long-term use of psych drugs at high (typical) doses ALWAYS results in worse outcomes….
    It’s amazing, that with well over $1Trillion spent on psych drugs in the last 1/2 Century, there’s so LITTLE ACTUAL RESEARCH on long-term outcomes…. Gee, I wonder why….????….
    ~B./

  22. I’m curious about the paradox between anti-psychs increasing dopamine levels in the brain while also being effective in the short-term with bringing down a mania or psychosis. We know the latter is correct; it must mean that either the former is incorrect or, more plausibly, dopamine has little to do with sleep and mania. Or maybe there is a third explanation?

    Also, does anyone know what gives anti-psychs such a sedative effect? From my own experience, I cannot sleep as a mania intensifies, which in a circular fashion causes the mania to escalate further. Either an anti-psych or benzo enables me to sleep, lessening the effects of mania.

    If the sedative effect is what makes anti-psychs effective in the short-term, there are a host of alternatives that are safer, that should work with what I believe are similar efficacy levels to anti-psychs.

    But what do I know – I didn’t’ spend six years in evil medical school!

    • Actuallyy dopamine has a lot to do with sleep. It is involved in regulating the sleep/wake cycle, as people who go off drugs that have interfered with dopamine soon find out. It is also involved in the immune system and almost everything else. 2 years after finally ceasing quetiapine (a dopamine antogonist) I still have dreadful insomnia, though my immune system has mostly come back up. Good luck all ye who embark on this voyage.

    • Vlado,
      The neuroleptics are also not always effective in the short-term. For example, I was neither manic nor psychotic when first given an antipsychotic, but I was suffering from the common symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS). And when you try to “cure” the symptoms of ADS by adding a child’s dose of an antipsychotic, well, in my case I suffered a ‘first episode psychotic break’ on that child’s dose of Risperdal within two weeks, exactly when the “med was to kick in.”

      So the bottom line is the antipsychotics can cause a psychosis, when wrongly given to non-psychotic people, in the short term.

      • I was given Thorazine and I, too, was not psychotic nor manic. The Thorazine caused me to appear “schiz” because it caused pacing and restless legs. I also shook all over and had a reddish complexion, basically the typical bad skin of a schiz patient. For all intents and purposes, I appeared just as “schiz” as anyone who might have been psychotic for any reason (often I saw people who were reacting to or coming off street drugs which I knew only in hindsight) since I had those side effects just like any other patient who was there. So they called me schiz. What the heck, I sure played the part by the time Thorazine got done with me. Plus it made it hard to think straight after a while. What a terrible thing to do to a music major in the prime of her life.

  23. Of course the anti-p drugs are effective. They are so effective at making it obvious when people are on them. I can spot one in a crowd. The big belly. The foot tapping, or, sadder still, wiggling tongue or shaky hands. I can tell if someone is on SSRI’s, too. Often they do not know what to do with their hands. They wring them, fidget constantly, or even pull their hair out. Weight gain is the most common with the neuroleptics. Often people cannot walk properly after long-term use. After only a few weeks on this drug, they are UNEMPLOYABLE. If they were in college before, they won’t be allowed back. If they had relationships before, they don’t now. Many do not go out unsupervised. They go out with their parents, or a sibling, or in groups, or in “vans” watched over by nurses or “staff.” They speak with slurred speech or not at all. Some can’t seem to stop their arms and legs from twitching and some shout out at random, “Help me, help me, help me…..” if only someone will listen.

  24. You’re a journalist — and, according to most reliable and honest people, a pretty good one. You were even part of a team that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, right? Of course, I have a couple of those in the family, so I know what they actually mean, but hey? At least you got that much.

    One wonders why, after fifteen or twenty years of studying this subject, and reading all those medical reports and all those drug studies, and being paid large sums to trot all over the globe and give big speeches to all those audiences, why you haven’t yet reached a fairly obvious conclusion — one that should be fairly obvious to a big-time, almost-Pulitzer winner like you who runs this big investigative website.

    Which would be: Maybe the studies are designed NOT to reveal the information you’re looking for.

    I mean, you know David Healy and everything, right? So maybe you could have noticed — and maybe even pointed out for everyone in your really big audience that’s so impressed by your really, really big brain — that maybe all those studies you like to talk about (over and over and over and over again) don’t contain the information you’re looking for because . . . they’re deliberately designed not to reveal those things?

    Wow. What an idea! Would a major company — like a big pharmaceutical company, say? — actually HIDE what their drugs do?

    Are you a student of history, Mr. Whitaker? Because I’m pretty sure that there’s another guy down there in Boston, also affiliated with Harvard, who wrote a book called “The Cigarette Century”, in which he described how Big Tobacco — “a specialized part of the pharmaceutical industry”, in their own words — used their so-called research and published information to cover up what they were doing.

    Hmm. Maybe it’s time to be a little less timid about your conclusions and start asking why the studies don’t seem to supply the relevant information.

    You might even get that Pulitzer if you did. Then you could run around and shoot your mouth off even more and even get higher fees for your speeches, and use even more psychiatric conferences as stops on your book tours.

    • Oh, but damn. It only just occurred to me.

      While it’s probably great for you to make thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars from giving all your speeches (look at the top of the website for Robert Whitaker’s speaking schedule!), I guess that there hasn’t yet been enough of my people who are poisoned and killed by metabolic syndrome, and whose lives are rendered painful and meaningless before that happens, for you to get off your lazy ass and actually do the real reporting.

      The reporting that actually takes guts. I know, it’s really hard to cross swords with Allen Frances and Ronald Pies from a position of privilege, cause that must be really, really hard. I know it is, because you spend so much time telling us all about it that it must be a really, really big thing for you. Cause that’s the most important thing for us all to hear about. While millions of my people die. Millions and millions of them. Metabolic syndrome — you know what that is, right? Weight gain that distorts your body and makes life miserable. High blood pressure, and hyperlipidemia, and diabetes. Hey, if you’re lucky, you might even have them cut off your legs and even go blind before you die of a heart attack or a massive infection, twenty-five years before your time! But thank God that Robert Whitaker got to wear the black hat in his debate against Ronald Pies or Allen Frances! And now we can all hear about it again!

      Thank God that Mr. Robert Whitaker is on our side! He’s so bold and courageous. He hasn’t actually held anyone to account yet, but he’s a really tough customer. He even almost won the Pulitzer once.

  25. But I agree with you there is more that needs to be done. The question is “what now”? We know psychiatry sucks. So now what? Organize a protest outside biederman’s office? Try to get some media attention? Bob what do you suggest? This paper is a great addition to the already robust body of work you have produced. But now what?

  26. Dear Bob – Thank you for “sticking with it.” I view your work in some ways as a bit of justice for the life of someone close to me, which was taken by Eli Lilly executives for the sake of profits for their “blockbuster” drug, Zyprexa. There has been no other justice thus far.

    I envision this battle as like an ocean liner turning around slowly in a narrow space. Inch by inch, one day it will be headed in the right direction and vulnerable people will be fully valued for themselves alone, not for what worth they might bring to shareholders if preyed upon for their health care “dollar”.

    I’m glad you are like a dog with a bone.

  27. I’m a retired psych nurse who belatedly started reading the scientific literature (inspired by Robert) & became appalled at myself for colluding in a brutal regime. Like Randall I understand Eric being pissed off but I don’t understand why his anger & scorn are directed at Robert. I waited to see how Robert would respond & I very much respect his response. He admits he doesn’t know what’s to be done to change societal narratives “away from commerce & guild interests towards science & the lived experience of individuals”. In the meantime he’s doing his best to make the scientific research public so that “patients” can make an informed decision about their “care” & ignorant workers in the mental health industry can think again about their participation in this mess.

  28. In a recent article on you Mr. Emil Karlsson has written:

    “Whitaker believes that schizophrenia is caused by antipsychotic medications. However, there have been millions of people with schizophrenia before the discovery of antipsychotics starting in the 1950s, so this effectively disproves the core premise of Whitaker’s anti-psychiatry nonsense.”

    https://debunkingdenialism.com/2016/08/08/anti-psychiatry-and-the-anatomy-of-a-non-epidemic/

    Apparently you believe that antipsychotics cause schizophrenia. This is such an outright lie, that it’s laughable. Shame. I used to read Mr. Karlsson’s blog every now and then. I think I will completely avoid it from now.

    • “..Whitaker believes that schizophrenia is caused by antipsychotic medications….”

      I belive this as well – that schizophrenia As We Know It (today) is caused by psychiatric drug treatments and not by underlying “illness”.

      Once a person goes on psychiatric drugs and stays on them for a length of time they become psychiatric and it is near enough impossible to come off them.

      My “good luck” was that the drugs were causing very distressing and disabling side effects and that I was able to withdraw carefully and get suitable psychotherapy to help with the withdrawal syndromes.

      I also saw an opportunity to get back into the system and I was able to grab it.

    • No, Whitaker doesn’t believe that. He is very aware, I think, the research strongly linking abuse/trauma/neglect/poverty to getting a psychotic diagnosis (John Read). These associations are very strong.

      I think Whitaker talks about how being withdrawn from antipsychotic drugs too quickly can cause a recurrence of psychotic experience (this is true), and how when one is on them for a long time, the brain adapts to them and needs them to function, and then it’s hard to get off without experiencing hallucinations/delusions etc again. But he wouldn’t think about it simplistically like that blogger thought. That blogger is just a guy with a vendetta who creates a straw man.

      Oldhead is also correct below that schizophrenia is not a valid diagnosis, and in a meaningful sense there is no schizophrenia. There is a continuum of more or less severe psychotic states that people have for different reasons, at different times, to greater and lesser degrees… and always in individual ways.

      • BPD,

        I generally speaking agree with you. The psychotherapy I received involved dealing with whatever problems I had that were effecting my ability to function at the time.

        But I suppose my main problem was the “High Anxiety” syndrome Robert Whitaker mentions in his writings. I found CBT good for this as it provided practical solutions.

        From what I’ve heard other people get on better with other solutions. But the main thing is that they do recover and join normal life again.

          • Bradford, Eating disorders don’t have one cause, but many find that food allergies contribute. Also, many therapists do not take into account food likes and dislikes, how food is viewed culturally, things like that. Many patients go for years and food isn’t even discussed! In fact, many times they don’t even let you mention food! Many times, the therapists are uncomfortable discussing it themselves, and are totally clueless in fact, they don’t know a damn thing, or they’ve got very serious eating issues themselves. It is rarely caused by “bad mother,” as was traditionally thought, though a few of us (as proportion to the general population) do have bad mothers. Sadly, therapists try that route first. They might bully you into confessing you’re a perfectionist, when in fact, again, we aren’t any more perfectionist than anyone else. It’s only a stereotype.

        • I found that diagnosis on its own, even well before drugs, for me, completely took me out of what I was doing, out of the very successful student life I had, and put me into the mental patient ghetto immediately. It took only months. I had exposure to drugs, but was not given them. I saw people who had taken them and saw that there was such thing as “mental illness.” I had not heard of this before nor thought about it before. Suddenly, I was made into a patient. I never composed music again.

          They hadn’t given me a “mental illness” diagnosis right away. In fact, at first they verified that I had an eating disorder but clearly didn’t know jack shit about ED. So they fumbled around in the dark. I was the only one there who had ED and not some other dreaded disease, supposedly. When people complained of other problems I didn’t know how to react except to comfort them, and wonder why and how I fit in to all this. I wondered why therapy wasn’t helpful at all. I didn’t know what to do except go along with it and hope it might “work.” I hoped for a “better therapist” but could never find one. Ever.

          Then after a few years I figured my only hope was drugs. Then they said drugs don’t help ED. If I wanted drugs, I’d have to fake some other problem, so I did, just to get drugs that might help ED. That turned out to be a very bad idea. Guess I acted well. I even fooled myself.

          • “ED” = Erectile Dysfunction. wtf?….
            Julie, I’m pretty sure you don’t intend “ED” to mean “erectile dysfunction”, but that’s all I can find here that it *could* mean!?
            OH! – do you mean “ED” = “eating disorder”? Isn’t “eating disorder” really just another version of “mental illness”? Using the label “eating disorder” *MIGHT* have some value in a psychotherapy setting, I think any “ED” would be the RESULT of other, earlier conflicts and traumas. That both “ED” *AND* so-called “mental illness” are NOT the “disease” itself, but rather *symptoms*, if you will, of larger problems, issues, conflicts, traumas, etc.,….
            Tell Puzzle I said WOOF!

  29. Mr. Whitaker. Just know that I (like many others) am very grateful for what you do.

    You were the first person to properly address the queries I had about antidepressant induced mania and people subsequently being diagnosed as bipolar due to mania caused by antidepressants. Hardly any psychiatrists could answer the questions I had properly and some were unwilling to get into it at all. They wondered why it mattered to me so much, but it is amazing to believe that people that society considers as experts on the mind cannot understand that being labelled with a major psychiatric disorder due to side effects of pills (manias which would never have happened if not for them) is something that would concern any sane person. Such labelling is deleterious in other ways too.

    The psychiatrist who prescribed antidepressants which caused my mania left on sabbatical. I had another one who was a fool, who despite me telling him that antidepressants caused my mania, kept pressing me about my family history of bipolar disorder, only for me to find out that this family member of mine was also labelled bipolar due to antidepressant induced mania. I have taken SSRIs thousands of times. I know how they feel like the back of my hand. My original psychiatrist has come back and corrected the error in any case. But it may not have been possible without the help of this site.

    Your website has actually had a positive real life impact on me, in more ways than one.

    It is a very good thing you do here. And far from being a “menace to society”, you have given a voice to people who would otherwise be dismissed as “disgruntled patient groups”.

    Hell, I don’t even live anywhere close to America. Not even the same continent. And it has still been useful.

    Thank you for all you do sir.

    • RFTS, I have been there and done that. Weird how disputing your diagnosis is used as proof that you are crazy. Frankly, I think not wanting to be demonized, drugged, segregated, and permanently reduced to a state of childish dependency is a sign that you are normal.

      I wonder how a shrink would respond if they were trapped in this situation. Would they calmly comply and be good little mental patients? Or protest, earning the additional stigma of agnosognosia as punishment, thus signifying their double nutter status?

  30. None of us are denying that psychosis exists. Many of us have experienced it. Most of us here do not call it a disease. Why should it be called that? We all agree that some experience it more than others, far more. Still, most here would not call those people diseased, though we do not deny that their experience happened. Some are suffering. Some are not.

    Sometimes a person hears voices as a result of an actual physical change happening, which COULD be a disease, such as encephalitis. But that person has the disease called encephalitis. Many adolescents hear voices from hormone changes, but adolescence isn’t a disease, either. If I stop eating I will get very confused and I can’t think straight. That is due to malnutrition, not mental illness. A person in alcohol withdrawal or affected by one or several of many types of drugs, including steroids, will probably become psychotic, and I have known many who were. Many who are called “SZ” after many years it is discovered to be another thing altogether. And yet no one here is denying that all of the above very well may present what appears to be psychosis, and may be perceived as SZ by a clinician.

    I am very sad that people suffer. I am sadder still that people are blamed and called “sick.” I am sad that people are treated with bigotry, denied a social life, denied housing, denied a college education, denied a normal family life, and treated like crap because they are perceived as “mentally ill.” I am sad that so many people believe they ARE mentally ill and fall prey to this deceit. Many are cornered by their own families to be the “designated patient.” In fact, some families find it intolerable to learn that their family member might not be sick and dependent and unemployable and disabled after all! Ooops! What now? The entire family structure will need to shift, undergoing radical change, and many families cannot adapt to this, so they’d rather keep the designated patient dependent and medicated, even if it means early death. Yes, even that.

    You can hear family members saying this if you talk to them. “I’d rather he take the pills, even if it means he dies younger.” We need to consider the control problems that these family members have, and address them, too.

    • Julie – Many families do not hear enough of another narrative….how many “Mad in America” blogs make it to homes in “flyover country” ?
      I suggest that a book worth writing would have narratives from families such as mine who lost their family member, who lost their son or daughter or husband, to Zyprexa or another atypical antipsychotic. Let families read of the ongoing sorrow, the anger that there has been no justice. There has been exactly ONE book written by a mom who lost her son to Zyprexa, Kay Sexton’s painful “Not Just Another Mother’s Son”, encased in a deliberately black cover. She wrote it so that others would know; a cautionary tale. If you meet a family in which pills are the “desired” approach, even if the pills cause “early death” (in Kay’s case, her only child/only son died in his twenties), perhaps a copy of the book might make the family, and the person taking the drugs, think twice. Those dying young this way are usually exceptionally bright and shining stars, cut off at the knees before they ever really had a chance.

  31. Another thing we need to insist upon (now that I think of it) is when these deaths do occur, NO MORE COVERUP. It happens more often than anyone wants to admit. Of course the institutions rush to blame the patient, or “just bad luck.” Or call it suicide, or slow suicide, or claim the person “didn’t take care of himself” or just brush it off as another casualty. Oh well. And hope no one says much. Often families are too busy grieving and don’t want to think about technicalities. They do not want to think about bodies. They want to think about the living person, not their dead body. However, autopsies often reveal the real cause of death. Many times learning this is so painful that we would rather not know! So even the families avoid this and don’t want to know. Yes, it was those drugs…..Or yes, it was suicide (from the drugs or from patient abuse). Or yes, it was not what it appeared to be. The tables have now turned. And what can we do? How can we unify and take action and stop this? Often they refuse to allow an autopsy because they do not want to open a can of worms. Actually I wonder if we patients can put measures into place NOW, while we are still living, donating our bodies to science so that our organs can be examined for damages after our deaths. That way, there cannot be coverup if we die. The damages will be found, and exposed.

  32. “Sohler’s review also reveals that there is an absence of research that tells of
    medications that improve functional outcomes over the long term. This absence,
    given the obvious desire by psychiatry to report such positive results, is compelling
    43
    evidence on its own that these medications, when it comes to affecting aggregate
    outcomes, do more harm than good.” ~from Whitaker’s paper.

    Mr. Whitaker, I must call you out here. You state that there is an “*obvious* desire to report (such) positive results…”, on the part of psychiatry. To *WHOM* is it “obvious”? Wouldn’t it be far more accurate to say that there is a “*supposed* desire” for the shrinks to show positive results. I think your statement, and your conclusion, is far too timid. The evidence clearly shows that overall, especially long-term, psych drugs tend to do more harm than good. Yes, sometimes, some people DO do better, for some length of time, on some (usually lower) dose of drugs. But, long-term use almost always results in worse outcomes. The ONLY obviously inescapable conclusion here is that psych drugs have been GROSSLY OVER-prescribed for decades. Psych drugs have been grossly over-prescribed for decades. How does you paper NOT prove that….????….
    *** Iatrogenic Neurolepsis ****
    I am very grateful to you, Mr. Whitaker. Please, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

  33. Thank you Mr. Robert Whitaker for enlightening people about the fallacies of psychiatry! Anti-psychotic drugs are an imperfect solution to an ill-defined problem. Psychiatry itself is suffering from acute schizophrenia. It’s “chemical imbalance” theory does not stand evidence and, on the basis of such fallacious hypotheses, it’s coming up with newer and newer medicines to treat so-called “ailments”.

  34. Logical Errors of the Whitaker Arguments Directly Against Present Antipsychotics and Indirectly Against the Biological Model of Psychosis:

    1) “A critique of that research, in terms of whether it provides evidence that antipsychotics improve long-term outcomes.

    Long-term outcomes are statistically quite irrelevant, when the most severe end of the acute psychosis spectrum includes extreme delusional violence and disfunction that would result in death or imprisonment before any long-term trial of antipsychotic drugs could be accomplished. You are combining many vastly different brain diseases in one statistical comparison, lumping non-severe psychoses in with severe psychoses. This generates the appearance that positive long-term outcomes for less-severe psychoses are causally commensurable to the counterfactual supposal that people suffering from severe psychosis would do better without antipsychotic medication. In fact, the logical conclusion to be drawn from a more precise division of psychosis types by severity is that dangerous severe psychosis absolutely requires some kind of coercive intervention and drugging to restore some functionality for these people to have any life at all, and that less-severe psychosis never needed antipsychotic treatment in the first place, so of course they do better long-term without them. They always had the potential to have a long-term outcome; people suffering from severe psychosis never had much of a chance of having any long-term outcome since these diseases are not understood, and the medications are primitive.

    2) “At initial assessment, the 24 patients off medication were doing better than the 46 patients on antipsychotics: they were much more likely to be working, more likely to be in remission, and had better clinical outcomes.”

    Again, because their diseases were less severe from the start. They can function off medication because they can! Most on medication could not, and they are therefore predisposed to having worse outcomes anyway, drugs or not. But people suffering from the most severe psychoses would certainly not survive a single day without some medication. I know. I’ve seen the frozen bodies of the severely delusional; I’ve seen the severely delusional who are free and untreated kill parents, siblings, wives, children, neighbors, and strangers. And why shouldn’t they be more likely to do these things? Patients who can’t even believe their own mothers are not actors in a hostile conspiracy cannot choose to receive fruitful psychotherapy!

    Please, do not compound the often dishonest discourse of mainstream psychiatry with even more dishonest criticisms. The fact is, no one knows what psychosis is and how to fix it, and unless the real victims of these horrible diseases establish a completely non-political honest space to solve this problem, millions of people will continue to suffer, lose their loved-ones, and remain hopeless like me.

  35. Dear Mr Popper, Have you ever been called severely mentally ill? If so, we’re you prescribed the usual cocktail? Are you still on your cocktail? Many of those who post here were categorized as “severe, ” myself included. Who determines which of us are Walking Wounded and which are Hard Cases enough to be called severe? Which factors determine this distinction? I was on three antipsychotics simultaneously, each at its highest dose or superclinically prescribed.

    Of those of us called Severe, we fall into one of several categories. 1. We were misheard or misinterpreted, 2. Our severe states were (or would have been) temporary, 3. Our status as severe was drug induced, 4. Our severe status was exacerbated by physical factors (malnutrition, hormones, tumors, viruses), or 5. We learned to embrace our experience.

    Agreeably, many suffer. I doubt that the degree of one’s suffering has much to do with severity as determined by the psychiatric profession.

    Personally, my observation tells me that Severe is determined by number of admissions and the financial burden the patient places on the attending institutions, and of course, number of pills he dutifully takes each day.

    Many of us that post here were called Severe and beyond hope. I got news for you. The Doctor was Wrong.

  36. Schizophrenia
    The infamous >>mental<<illness.How we can end insanity of psychiatry here?
    Very simple.On real biological level Schizophrenia can be only triggered by some
    hallucinogenic substance in human brains.Dopamine or glutamat aren't in group
    of hallucinogenic substances.This is what Robert forget to mention.Sadly MIA act
    as supporter of Mental Health system in some way.Up to 3 millions of people die
    each year,because of this system insanity,across the world.I learned already,
    that most of system policies,are dictated from your NIMH.Only change will ever
    happened,if you will start with new movement-Occupy NIMH.Only when 10 000+
    people will occupy outerior of this cursed building and prevent them work there,
    some mainstream media cover,will finnaly inform entire world,of Mental Health
    system insanity.

    This is real-life activism,if anyone agree or not.

  37. Thank you for your valuable contribution. In order pasients to benefit from this knowledge I think that National professional guideline for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of individuals with psychotic disorders should be updated: Knowledge- and research-based liquidation of current harmful psychiatric medication in favour of evidence-based practice to promote recovery (sorry for poor Google translation): http://home.broadpark.no/~wkeim/files/open_letter_knowledge.html