My Daughter and Prozac


A few weeks ago I was having a normal conversation with my 16-year-old daughter about her latest breakup with her boyfriend, when she said, “Well, after I go on Prozac tomorrow hopefully I will feel better.”

Wait, what?!? I must have heard her wrong.

“Honey, did you just say you are going on Prozac? Why would you need to take Prozac?”

“Well, the doctor says I have anxiety and it will help.”

I am not going to lie; I have only been this upset a handful of times in my entire life. My ex-wife and I have joint legal custody, and I had no idea that drugs were even being considered let alone that a decision had been made.

For the most part, my ex-wife and I have co-parented very well. What made this a particularly surprising turn of events was that while our daughter was growing up, my ex-wife treated our daughter’s body like a temple. She was the only kid among her friends not allowed to drink soda or cow’s milk as they might negatively affect her health. But Prozac for mild anxiety? Sure, no problem. I was honestly and genuinely shocked.

My daughter had been struggling with the breakup with her first-ever boyfriend, and was also having some big fights with her mom about everything from her mom’s new boyfriend to whether she had cleaned the kitty litter box well enough. I have had many tearful conversations with my daughter on these and other topics, and while she was having some understandable struggles, they all seemed pretty normal to me and by her own account she was coping with them well. She was still getting As and Bs in school, never missed a practice or game with her competitive field hockey team, and was very active socially and otherwise.

I asked my daughter to hold off on taking the medication, and explained to her that Prozac was a very serious drug and that she was not to take it until I had spoken with her therapist and the prescribing doctor. My daughter promised me that she wouldn’t.

My ex-wife was furious at me for intervening.

I tried to reason with my ex-wife. “Our daughter has always been a person who cares a lot about what people think, and like many kids is insecure about people liking her and doing well in school and sports. That is not a mental illness. That is our daughter’s personality. As she grows up and becomes more confident, this will change. Allowing her to take a pill to ‘fix’ her personality is not a great lesson to teach her. Please reconsider pushing for this. Let’s get her back into therapy and keep an eye on things.”

She responded, “You don’t understand. She is struggling and needs help. I am on Prozac. I don’t see what the big deal is.”

I was only able to get my ex-wife to back down when I reminded her that we have joint legal custody and legally she was not allowed to put our daughter on Prozac without my consent.

From my daughter’s perspective it is totally understandable. One of her parents and her doctor had both told her it was completely fine to take this “medicine” and that it would make her feel better. Since she totally trusted these authority figures, it never occurred to her to question them.

My ex-wife even went so far as to ask my daughter to take the Prozac anyway and not tell me. Fortunately, my daughter is a smart kid and realized at this point that the drugs were far more dangerous than she was originally led to believe.

I asked to speak to the physician that had interviewed my daughter, diagnosed her and prescribed the Prozac. I called the number for my daughter’s pediatric practice and was told the doctor would call me back.

What I understood to be the background was that my daughter had seen her pediatrician in late spring of 2016 for her normal wellness visit, and then again a few months later. At this second visit, the decision was made to put my daughter on Prozac. But the original understanding between the pediatrician and my daughter last spring was that my daughter would first do weekly Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and if that proved ineffective, other treatment options would be considered.

I received a call back from the person I thought was my daughter’s doctor a short while later, and asked her to walk me through my daughter’s assessment and diagnosis. As she did so and I asked a few basic questions, it became clear that the doctor was very inexperienced and not very knowledgeable, particularly about the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety in teenagers. It turned out that the doctor wasn’t a doctor at all. She was a nurse, and an extremely inexperienced one at that. I had no idea that a nurse could prescribe medication like this.

As I probed further, I asked if my daughter had reported self-harming or suicidal ideation, and the nurse confirmed that my daughter had not. The diagnosis was mild to moderate anxiety. I asked the nurse why she was comfortable prescribing Prozac “off label” for anxiety when it was only FDA approved for treating depression in teenagers, and has a black box warning even for a depression diagnosis. She responded that it was not at all uncommon for her practice to prescribe psychotropic drugs “off label” for kids.

I then mentioned to her that the black box warning for Prozac warned of serious side effects including suicidal ideation at the beginning of a course of treatment or when dosage was modified. I asked her whether, in her experience, she had ever seen those side effects in her patients. The nurse said she had never seen those side effects. That seemed odd if she was an experienced nurse, so I asked her how long she had been a nurse that could prescribe Prozac, and she responded, “Only a year.”

I just couldn’t believe that a nurse with barely a year’s worth of experience had prescribed my daughter a mind-altering drug with a terrible side effect profile, without my daughter ever being interviewed by her pediatrician let alone a psychiatrist.

I asked the nurse if other treatment options were considered and exhausted before medication was decided on, and she said that therapy had been considered and exhausted. The nurse told me she had spoken with my daughter’s therapist and believed my daughter had been seeing a therapist weekly for several months. This was incorrect, and I explained that my daughter had only had a few sessions over the past several months and only one session in the last month.

I asked the nurse if she still thought the CBT option had been exhausted, given the fact that my daughter had received much less CBT than she realized. Instead of admitting her mistake, the nurse doubled down and said that the handful of therapy sessions was adequate and she stood by prescribing Prozac. I figured that as an inexperienced nurse she simply felt embarrassed about not being more careful in her conversation with my daughter’s therapist and didn’t want to acknowledge her slip-up. I thought I would just speak with the supervising physician and get things cleared up.

When I talked to the supervising physician (who had spoken with the nurse but had not interviewed my daughter), I started off by saying that I wanted to have my daughter’s records updated so that she could not be prescribed psychotropic drugs without my knowledge and consent. The doctor said that was my problem to work out out with my ex-wife, and that they couldn’t help me and would not amend my daughter’s records as I had requested.

I explained that the nurse had not been careful in her conversation with my daughter’s therapist, and had mistakenly understood that my daughter had received 4x more therapy than she had actually received. I asked the doctor if knowing that this information had been misunderstood would change her level of comfort with the drug being prescribed so quickly. The doctor said it didn’t change her opinion at all, and that she was completely comfortable with what had been decided.

She went on to tell me how there simply aren’t enough pediatric psychiatrists to serve the huge increase in demand, so pediatricians and even nurses have to fill the void. I informed the doctor that I would be removing my daughter from her practice — she responded by telling me that my daughter would be banned from the hospital she worked at. She then sent a letter to my daughter’s home, indicating that she was being banned from her practice and the local hospital due to me being out of control and inappropriate. Sort of like when you breakup with a girlfriend and she responds, “No, I am breaking up with you.” It would have been funny if it weren’t so tragic. It all still seems so surreal.

The reality of the situation is that drugs like Prozac are being given out like candy. Have a broken heart over breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend? Take a pill. Trouble getting into a good college? Take a pill. Nervous about a big test? Take a pill. Super sad when your grandmother passes away? Take a pill.

But my fight wasn’t quite over yet. My ex-wife, probably in an effort to save face, was insisting that a psychiatrist evaluate our daughter before she would let it go. I let my ex-wife select the psychiatrist (I reserved the right to have my daughter reevaluated by a psychiatrist of my choice if I didn’t like the results), and I got lucky — this psychiatrist agreed that drug intervention wasn’t warranted, given my daughter’s symptoms and diagnosis. The psychiatrist even went so far as to say that my daughter’s therapist hadn’t done her job by not insisting on seeing my daughter before agreeing with Prozac being prescribed for her.

The medical profession has failed us. The pharmaceutical companies have failed us. The government and the FDA have failed us. As parents, we really are the last line of defense in protecting our children. I am a very involved father, and yet a panicked mom, an inexperienced nurse and a careless doctor almost put my daughter on a drug that could have permanently and negatively altered her life. And I almost didn’t realize it until it was too late.

We trust the medical profession far too much. We think they know way more than they do. In a weekend of research, I became more knowledgeable than my daughter’s therapist, psychiatrist and pediatrician combined; at least with regards to SSRIs, their efficacy and adverse side effects. These professionals are human and fallible like the rest of us. The key is to educate yourself and your children. Make sure your kids understand what the real risks are, and be armed to push back when mostly well-intentioned but overworked medical professionals simply take the path of least resistance.

And never, ever miss a wellness visit for your kids.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Dear David

    If only other parents had the background and knowledge that you display through your words. Sadly we only discovered the power and danger of the pharmaceutical/medical industry after our son was put on forced risperidone. Both my wife and I were strongly against the ‘treatment’, but our concerns could not compete with the power of the ‘system’.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us,
    Richard and Elizabeth Fearn

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  2. Dear David:

    I believe that your daughter, with support, will learn how to manage her anxiety without incurring the potentially deadly risks of taking an SSRI. Thankfully, your daughter respects and listens to you and you had the courage to question her diagnosis and treatment directly to the professionals at every point in this slip shod pipeline of legal drug pushers. Your daughter is lucky to have you as her father and protector.

    My daughter has had a terrible experience in the psychiatric system. Once you start down that road, it is very, very hard to get emancipated from the mental health system. It is not uncommon for young adults to start taking one drug, then receive medications to treat the side effects and before you know it your loved one’s diagnosis has ballooned into multiple, more serious diagnoses and they are on polypharmacy. I know, from experience.

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  3. Thank you David. I was once like your daughter and can assure you that support, time, therapy and maybe yoga would be much better choices than an SSRI drug for her teenage anxiety and struggle. I hope her mother realizes that these meds have unpredictable and unknown effects on a teenager’s brain and can make things much worse. Best Wishes to your daughter, you and your ex-wife as you negotiate the challenges and joys that come with adolescence. Hang in there.

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    • ANY intervention has the potential for unwanted effects. Yoga and meditation can have significant adverse effects, especially in the setting of post-traumatic conditions, where they can lead to de-repression of traumatic memories and subsequent destabilisation and crisis (even if there is no previously acknowledged trauma history).

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      • Correct. Many people don’t even know that they are trauma survivors because they’ve repressed the events and memories. The practice of yoga can set things off but can eventually be very helpful in dealing with the repressed trauma if the person has an instructor who knows what they’re doing, and if they have a good talk therapist who is willing to walk with them on working through everything.

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      • For me, every time I am in a group and some “leader” asks the group, “Close your eyes” I am reminded of those groups in the hospitals and I cannot do it, it’s like I have a flashback or something. I also dislike it whenever someone gets all pushy about meditating. Honestly it isn’t the answer for everyone! Pushing it on other people is like pushing a religion on people, or pushing people to go to a gym when they don’t want to, or pushing an ideology. I truly believe in Freedom of Thought in that sense. Meditating is not life-sustaining, not for me anyway, and many live their entire lives very happy without it. I get very angry over this because of past traumas with abusive therapists, and because pushiness is wrong anyway.

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  4. I am so glad to hear you stood up for your daughter. Also, she should know that there are many safe, natural herbal and nutritional options for anxiety- the only choices aren’t suffer or take these horrible drugs. I use them myself for fairly intense posttraumatic stress and other fairly severe anxiety, to take the edge off and calm down a bit- look up passionflower(Solaray makes good capsules, the Republic of Tea makes a tea called “get relaxed”, kava (yogi tea brand makes a good tea), skullcap (solaray makes capsules), and tulsi (try the organic india tea). You can find reviews of all these things on I also do some magnesium supplements from a reputable brand and I stopped drinking caffiene years ago, started focusing on getting great sleep as much as possible, as well as reduced sugar and carbs and added more protein and fat in its place. All these things can help. Dealing with anxiety naturally takes some adjustments but it’s been so worth it for me to avoid these horrible pharmaceuticals. Again, thank you for looking out for your daughter.

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  5. This article beautifully describes one of the biggest side effect of the drugs that you don’t find on the black box warning: heightened family dysfunction from disagreeing about the drugs. Been there, seen it, done it. Hate it. I almost envy the author for having this quarrel with his ex-wife and that his daughter is under 18. Imagine having to duke out these disagreements 24/7 with the person you’re married to and hope to stay married to. The topic of ‘medication’ is never far from anyone’s lips. And, you’ve got a “child” over 18 who’s supposed to know enough (but doesn’t) to make these decisions independently. “Medication” was like a neutron bomb dropped into our family. It flattened us but left the institutions intact.

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    • Honestly this was by far the hardest part for me. I knew this was going to put my daughter in a difficult position. It was made worse by my ex-wife calling my daughter’s ex-boyfriend and asking him to call my daughter and convince her to go against my wishes take the pills.

      When my daughter got the letter from her prior doctor’s practice she was really upset with me (which I am sure was the doctor’s intention). Fortunately I had recorded my conversation with the practice (with their knowledge and consent) and I let her listen to the recording so she could hear I wasn’t “out of control and inappropriate.”

      But sometimes you have no choice. When we all went to my daughter’s therapist together she was mad at both of us. I told her it really wasn’t fair that she was in the middle but I simply had no other option.

      The morning after the session I had this text exchange with my daughter:

      Me: “…I know I reacted super strongly but I hope you know it was only because I was really afraid for your well being. Those drugs are no joke and I was terrified. I know it upset you and put you in a really difficult position. I feel awful about that but I didn’t see what choice I had. I hope you can forgive me.”

      Daughter: “I am not upset with you dad. I’m happy you stepped in otherwise I would be on them right now without knowing anything. I love you (heart emoji).

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      • If these doctors really understood the havoc on the home front they cause re psych drugs, maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to prescribe them. Your story really captures the complexity of the problem. Glad to hear that your intervention caused your daughter to rethink this one.

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        • If the doctors were sensitive or thoughtful enough to even consider the impact they were having on the family, none of this would happen. The kind of extreme bullying behavior and rank dishonesty the author experienced is not reflective of a lack of understanding, but of a lack of empathy and a desire and need to be “right” at all costs and to punish anyone challenging her authority. He was very fortunate, indeed, to have landed with a sane psychiatrist who recognized the difference between normal teen angst and an actual medical condition. I’d estimate that 90% of psychiatrists would have backed the family doctor to the hilt.

          It is most definitely a case of “caveat emptor” – “Let the Buyer Beware!”

          —- Steve

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        • Absolutely, kudos to you, as a well informed parent, David. Thankfully, I was also a well informed parent, by the time I had lunatic social workers wanting to drug up my well behaved child because he surprised our school system by getting in the top 100% on his state standardized tests.

          Although only after learning about the iatrogenic illnesses the psychiatric drugs create personally, since my husband and parents were not well informed on that particular subject, and so bought into today’s psychiatric industry’s lies.

          Absolutely, “The medical profession has failed us. The pharmaceutical companies have failed us. The government and the FDA have failed us.” The “mental health professionals” are currently trying to drug up all the very smart US children, which is not actually in the best interest of this country.

          I agree, “We trust the medical profession far too much. We think they know way more than they do.” But now, we know more than they do, according to people who have interviewed me, and a couple doctors who have suggested I go into the public health field.

          The DSM “bible” is a description of the iatrogenic illnesses created with the psychiatric drugs, not a description of any genetic “mental illnesses.”

          I totally agree, “These professionals are human and fallible like the rest of us. The key is to educate yourself and your children.” I’ve done that to the best of my ability. But it breaks my heart it takes so long to change an appalling system. And I’m pretty certain the people that set it up, and are still working to maintain it, are “going down.” “All the right friends in all the right places, oh yeah, we’re going down.” Hope they wake up more quickly.

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      • David, stand your ground, man….my story, my beautiful, funny, happy, talented daughter had her son 18 years ago and soon after got post partum depression, not knowing this as she was having marriage problems too, i thought her bad moods and unhappiness was from that. little did i know she was prescribed paxil and i believe took it for 2 years….after it was too late i had read about paxil in a class and begged her to get off it, her moods were horrible, no humor or laughing from her anymore, i did not understand the connection to the drug, now 18 years later, she seems worse really, her husband committed suicide 4 years ago, he was on a lethal cocktail of antidepressants from his doctor, she remarried last year and still i do not know this girl i raised, she is like a stranger to me and lashes out about the tiniest things…..i now know that those 2 years of drugs ruined my daughters brain chemistry for good, she died then and someone else appeared, after researching these drugs i now know the truth!

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  6. I love this story. From what you say, here, you deserve the Father of the Century award. A hardy congratulations for getting your daughter out of all that before it even started, the hell of psych drugs dependence.

    So, to recap, your ex is on Prozac and so she thought, in turn, it wouldn’t be a big deal for your daughter, and this was all happening behind your back, and then she wanted her to LIE to you about it, to your face.

    Then, you speak with a nurse who did not know the side effects, nor did she even have curiosity about this, and she was the medical representative for your daughter. Then she becomes defensive and cannot own her mistakes–a medical professional.

    Then, you speak with a physician who sounds like a brick wall, has a huge ego flair-up while you’re trying to discuss the welfare of your daughter, and who is vindictive–all because you want clarity for the sake of your daughter’s well-being.

    ALL this defensiveness, lying, and stonewalling, simply to defend a drug. Too many red flags to count, here. Thank you for shining such a bright and articulate light on all of this.

    And I’m very glad to hear the psychiatrist agreed with you. You’re an example of clarity, awareness, and taking responsibility. Cheers!

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  7. Thanks to everyone for their comments. One of the things that strikes me as interesting, even odd, is that almost everyone feels like anxiety is something to be cured. Anxiety is a protective adaptation that is part of what makes us human and even helps us to be effective.

    If I don’t get anxious before a big presentation then I don’t prepare as well. If I don’t get anxious about an upcoming race then I don’t train as hard. If I didn’t get anxious (and trust me I was VERY anxious) about this nightmare with my Daughter and Prozac I would not have been the most informed person I could possibly be. There have been 39 studies done on Prozac. I have reviewed them all.

    It took this experience for me to understand how completely brainwashed we have all become not just about taking a pill to cure things but that our emotions are not something that require a “cure” in the first place.

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    • I think this is the most compelling argument of all. Our emotions guide us to where we want to be. And strong emotions are loud guidance–as in, we better pay attention to what our emotions are saying to us. When we can’t, we become lost, because we cannot hear what our heart is telling us. That happens via our feelings, our inner voice.

      On the drugs, however, the emotions are repressed, which, in and of itself is harmful and dangerous–not just to an individual, but also those around that individual, as repressed emotions can lead to all sorts of projections and self-justified sabotaging behavior. So not only do our bodies and minds become ravaged with toxic chemicals on the drugs, we also suffer from profound repression, which is totally unhealthful.

      I think the answer is a combination of love, nature, and perspective. In a safe, reasonable, and mature society, there is no need for these drugs, I’m sure of it. The problem is, this is not what we have (as evidenced in this story). We live in an extremely defensive, toxic, double-binding, and highly judgmental society where people are left longing for “acceptance,” rather than simply paying attention to following their path and living their dreams, as everyone should be entitled to do.

      I don’t think it’s a conundrum, however. We could always choose to grow in awareness and centeredness, as well as to demonstrate unconditional respect for others. That would make the drugs obsolete, once all of that caught on.

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    • David

      Great blog; great father; great outcome.

      Two interesting parts to this story that could be of some significance and remind me of a similar story within my extended family that did not have such a favorable outcome (In this case a young 13 year old girl may still be on Zoloft and it makes me so angry and fearful.

      First, it is interesting that the mother was in favor of her daughter going on this drug because she, herself, was on this particular SSRI. We can speculate as to the way Prozac was making her feel (that is what parts of her personality and being were possibly suppressed by the drug) and how she, in turn, wanted her own daughter to experience the same response. Of course, we know that one major side effect (or main effect) is suppression of libido and desire to bond with others. This makes one question whether or not there was a conscious or unconscious agenda on the part of the mother connected to these effects.

      Equally interesting was the fact that the ex-boyfriend was also encouraging the daughter to defy the father and take this drug. Were both of these people advising the daughter in a certain direction merely because they have been duped by Big Pharma and Biological Psychiatry about the so-called benefits of these drugs, or was there some other additional hidden agenda? This is all part of the very complicated family/social dynamics triggered by the introduction of these toxic substances on the human brain.


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    • “The medical profession has failed us. The pharmaceutical companies have failed us. The government and the FDA have failed us. As parents, we really are the last line of defense in protecting our children.”

      Very, very true. Your daughter is very fortunate to have you. The “black-box warnings” do not come close to identifying the manifold risks of giving antidepressants to teenagers or children. Antidepressants are a major driver of the bogus bipolar epidemic that is littering the landscape and that has led to the drugging of children and destruction of young lives. It is great that you are able to support and protect your daughter from psychiatric harm, even as your daughter learns that it is OK to feel bad sometimes; it is a perfectly normal reaction to life’s losses and curve balls. Drugs are not the answer; there are much better ways to get through the rough spots.

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  8. david- bravo!

    for me the years-long fight was with my husband insisting he was “ill” and needed these “medications”. ( he’s awakened and clean now 17 months)

    as an activist, i point out that there is NO difference between drugs purchased downtown on a street corner and those given to you by a doctor in a white coat. only difference is who is collecting the profits! never, ever call these mind-altering drugs “medication”. and correct everyone who does.

    one point about therapy. it’s ok for someone to learn from a therapist tools to navigate his/her life. but spending endless hours digging into every aspect of one’s past and dealing with a therapist who believes in diagnoses is very damaging as well.

    keep up the great work and many blessings to you and your teenager. not easy- i have two of them !


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    • Erin321:

      I agree with you that the legal drugs are mind altering and have unpredictable effects which puts them on par with street drugs but I think it’s a tad bit irresponsible to fail to point out one major difference between street drugs and legally prescribed psychotropic medications. Their uniformity in production standards. You know exactly what you are putting in your system. Street drugs may be cut with all sorts of additives, many of which are harmful. If we activists use this kind of hyperbole our words will be turned against us and mainstream (status quo) advocates will be less likely to listen to the scientific data we are trying so hard to get into the national awareness

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      • hi, madmom. point taken.

        of course, in the end, it all evens out. dangers with illegal drugs include the fact that they could be laced with something.

        dangers with illegal drugs include the fact that many people are forced to take them, even if they are literally killing those people. (nobody is forced to take an illegal drug! )

        let’s keep working together to fight the dangerous false narrative in this world…

        all the best,


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    • This is a good point, though, “dealing with a therapist who believes in diagnoses is very damaging as well.” I really hope the US psychologists, social workers, therapists etc. will overcome their brainwashing by the psycho/pharmaceutical industries soon, and distance themselves from the scientifically invalid DSM. It’s really sad you cannot get talk therapy today in the US, without running the risk of being sent to a psychiatrist to be poisoned.

      And I understand your point, madmom, but as to, “You know exactly what you are putting in your system.” This is not true, because the psychiatrists and the mainstream medical community are misinforming and/or outright lying to their patients in the current system.

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      • yes, someone else.

        the labels and the diagnoses are sooo harmful. even putting the drug issue aside.

        in my family, with our healing, we realize that we all have weaknesses and fears, struggles and issues. we drop the “d”. you can have trauma because of an event- so you have post traumatic stress. that’s understandable. but NOT a disorder. you can experience obsessions -and compulsions to tackle those obsessions- most people do. but drop the d. not a disorder. not a label. not a disease.

        we are all on the “spectrum of humanity”- with our fears and quirks and hurts and struggles and oddities and passions…

        best to all,


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  9. Be sure and watch out for the school psychologist too. They’re infamous for trying to get students on the toxic drugs.

    You point out an interesting point that many people miss. More psychotropic drugs are prescribed by GP’s and nurse practitioners than by psychiatrists. And the only information that they have about the toxic drugs that they’re handing out like candy is handed to them by drug reps, who have a vested interest in the form of bonuses and vacations in getting as many doctors as they can to prescribe the drugs.

    Thank God your daughter has you to watch out for her best interests.

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    • A yes, the school psychologist. Tried to get my youngest son on Ritalin, and she’d never observed him in the classroom. Luckily, my husband and I were on the same page on that one! The decision not to drug was a no brainer compared to our later being confronted by the scarier diagnosis of “schizophrenia” in my oldest son. School psychologists can usually be outwitted, but psychiatrists bearing drugs and warning about brain damage if left ‘unmedicated’, is a challenge, to say the least.

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      • Right. The word of psychologists doesn’t carry as much weight as the word of the psychiatrists. Your last statement reminded me of something that I witnessed a few weeks ago on one of the units of the “hospital” where I work. The psychiatrist was so happy because he’d been able to convince a young man on the unit that his brain would be increasingly damaged if he didn’t decide to go on the Haldol “for life” . I almost blurted out what hogwash that was but I remembered that I must keep a low profile so that I can carry on my clandestine activities of undermining the system. It’s amazing the outright lies that the clinicians feed people, both in the “hospital” and outside in the general public.

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    • “Be sure and watch out for the school psychologist too. They’re infamous for trying to get students on the toxic drugs.”

      Yes, and what’s really rather sick is it’s my understanding our federal government is essentially bribing the schools with money for each child they drug up. This needs to end.

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      • You are correct. And they’re trying to get early screening for “mental illness” into all the schools so that they can enlarge the net to trap tens of thousands of kids so they can be turned into zombies. It truly is too bad that there are not more parents like Mr. Guttman. The drug companies will only stop when everyone in the nation except them are drugged to the gills.

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  10. Good call.

    Anti-depressant use is at an all-time high. 13 % of the people in this nation are now on anti-depressants according to the latest studies. Doctors and all sorts of mental health professionals are pushing pills. A little nudge, and you could have ended up with an insomniac daughter labeled bi-polar due to the iatrogenic effects of the anti-depressants. What’s more, she’s an A/B student. All in all, she doesn’t sound like someone we would want any psychotropic drug to “fix” if it could do so.

    I think it’s wonderful that you had the success that you did in keeping her off these drugs. Your story underlines, with your ex’s drug problem, the kind pressure that is put on people over these matters. Anti-depressants happen to be the psychiatric drugs that receive the most complaints from the people put on these substances. These drugs are addictive, and they ultimately induce rather than reduce depression. People need to be informed, and wary, very wary. Drugs are drugs, and they shouldn’t be doled out as if they were candy, especially to children and young adults.

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      • John,

        Think about the potential profits and the manner in which these will be extracted.

        The SSRI s were a promotional success – but they have created a big sick population. These drugs are now going off patent, so the next move will have to be around the corner.

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      • If I remember correctly, the profits combined for all the major drug companies is about $35 billion per year. Drug companies are the largest profit grabbing group in the U.S. right now. And they cry that they have to charge such high prices for their drugs because it takes so long to develop them when in reality they actually spend more money on advertising and promotion than anything else. They are nothing but one large group of robber barons and they know it and are allowed to get away with murder. It’s disgusting.

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    • Yes, there is way too much prescribing of antidepressants in this country. I went to the hospital not long ago because of heart pain, thankfully, it was just a stressed muscle due to too much exercise. But absolutely, out of the blue, they asked if I was depressed, wanting to put me on an antidepressant. I was rather disgusted, and told them I was allergic to the drugs that cause anticholinergic toxidrome. That shuts doctors up pretty quickly.

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  11. Here’s something else you can tell your daughter and ex-wife.

    Antidepressant makes bones weaker by slowing down new growth

    By Andy Coghlan

    New Scientist, 5 September 2016

    Quote: “It’s a puzzling question,” says Patricia Ducy at Columbia University, New York. But her team have now found that giving mice fluoxetine – the active ingredient in Prozac – for six weeks causes them to lose bone mass.

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    • Wow, So this is new research? They very often give Prozac to kids with eating disorders. Anorexia in particular will cause lowering of estrogen, stopping of periods and subsequent thinning of bones. Both males and females can be affected but for kids, growth is affected. Bones grow unevenly, kids don’t grow, bones can be so fragile that they break even when a person hasn’t fallen. So adding Prozac may worsen the problem…..I myself had severe bone thinning from Risperdal due to Prolactin increase. It’s the same thing that causes male breasts. Imipramine will also increase prolactin. I took that and noticed the prolactin problem but stopped after less than a year.

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      • I have learned that “malpractice” is a buzzword. Do not ever say it. It is as bad as the S word, which is the recipe for the security guard. Malpractice gets you labeled paranoid. Unless you are talking to an attorney, don’t use the word. But think it plenty and if you see something, say something……. On yelp, on Facebook, in your blog, here on MIA, in a TED talk, but not in the presence of a mandatory reporter.

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  12. I sent a link to your wonderful post directly to my own 16-year-old, so he realizes that I’m not the only parent who wants to ‘Just Say No To [Deadly, FDA-Approved, MD-Prescribed Psychotropic] Drugs’.

    Many thanks for telling your great story to MIA.

    Liz Sydney

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  13. A wonderful story with a very happy ending. I`m so glad your daughter was spared from Prozac. When I was in my early twenties, I basically ended up in front of a psychiatrist because I stagnated as a swimmer. She very quickly concluded that I was suffering from depression. I didn`t feel depressed at all, but I trusted her judgement since she was a psychiatrist. She prescribed me Prozac right away. I really hoped this psychiatrist had the answer to why I was not performing in the pool, and that Prozac would cure this depression that was holding me back. As I closely monitored how I did in my daily swim practices, I did not realize that I began to change in ways that were only obvious to those around me. I became hypomanic. I don`t think that lasted too long, but then one day, out of the blue I decided to cut my left forearm with an exacto knife. After that day, cutting became a habit. My psychiatrist responded by upping my dose of Prozac, and eventually my cutting was so bad that I had to use towels to clean up the blood afterwards. I ended up in a mental hospital for a week, where I was given Effexor and diagnosed with `severe depression`. That didn`t change anything, except at that point I actually began to become depressed. A while after I was discharged from the hospital, I stopped taking anti-depressants. I think I actually felt that they didn`t change anything. After that, my cutting stopped, and I have never intentionally hurt myself again.

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  14. I would like to inform anyone who is outraged by the psychiatrization and drugging of young people and children that the Senate version of Murphy — which, outrageously, is being SUPPORTED by NCMHR and other so-called “advocates” — calls for psychiatric intervention in the lives of children as young as 3.

    According to Chris Murphy’s own promotional statement, the bill “establishes a grant program focused on intensive early intervention for children as young as 3 years of age who demonstrate significant risk factors recognized as related to mental illness in adolescence and adulthood.”

    Please express your outrage at NCMHR’s position to them directly, join discussions of Murphy on the Organizing Forum, and call your senators to request they vote AGAINST SB 2680, with or without amendments, but no matter how they vote to reject any amendment to attach Assisted Outpatient Treatment (A.O.T.)

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  15. Yes, this casual attitude toward drugs, prescription, but maybe street too, is distressing. People need to feel their painful feelings, otherwise they don’t grow.

    The doctors passing out stuff like this, should be put out of business.


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  16. As a psychiatrist, I would like to say: good for you. Too many of our patients, whose depression and anxiety would be more appropriately treated with counseling/therapy and lifestyle changes are instead placed on antidepressants, frequently by a PCP with limited understanding of the risks of these medications. There is enough blame to go all the way around for this sorry state of affairs, but a big part of it is down to the insurers, who limit access to therapy.

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    • While I agree, as a psychiatrist I think you are morally bound to do more. The practice of psychiatry has a deplorable track record and things have never been worse.

      If it was my profession that was partly responsible for the irresponsible drugging of our children I would be outraged. The process of using our children as guinea pigs on these drugs of dubious clinical value and clearly significant adverse side effects cannot go on and I would stand up and be counted.

      One of my favorite quotes, ““The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

      The lack of knowledge from the psychiatrists I have met is appalling. The fact that I know more about the studies than people that went to medical school and have sworn an oath to protect their patients should be criminal.

      The only way I can think to fix this is there needs to be legal reform. GPs and psychiatrists that don’t know what they are doing need to be sued out of business. If I got in my car, got drunk and killed someone I am going to prison. If I am just a careless therapist that drugs a few kids to death it is all in a day’s work. Not only don’t I go to prison but I get to bill for my “services.”

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      • Please TELL them Loud and Clear. You have so much more power than we survivors do. We’ve been called crazy. You haven’t (yet).

        Essentially, David G, you and I are two reasonable human beings, maybe even close to the same age (I’m likely older). You didn’t get suckered into it. I did. We’re both intelligent, have common sense, and are educated people. I have tons of college behind me, as I am sure you do. Yet I have no credibility due to my (ahem) history of my dealings with those shrinks.

        Therefore, your word, as above, holds far more weight than mine, or any of ours, those of us who got nabbed. Tell them! Tell them just how incompetent they are. Tell them their guesswork cannot be used on us anymore. Tell them their playtime is up. If they are going to keep Guinea Pigs, they cannot keep maiming, poisoning, shocking, torturing and killing us. Why? Because they feel more powerful torturing furry little creatures? Please call the Great Humane Society in the Sky Deus Ex Machina on these delinquents before more Guinea Pigs die. Or…Heavens, the Guinea Pigs actually start a Revolution.

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  17. mommd,

    I agree that PCPs are responsible for alot of patients being placed on antidepressants for normal life stresses. But psychiatrists are definitely not blameless in this situation.

    Many times, patients in this situation are referred to one of your colleagues because of medication “failures”. Unfortunately, there isn’t any revaluation of the situation that led to the meds and drugs continue to be piled on to the patient leading to what I call psych med roller coaster h-ll.

    I am also very tired of the insurance companies being blamed as one who has a very negative opinion of them. If doctors know that drugs aren’t appropriate to be prescribed, the prescription shouldn’t be written.

    And if doctor’s offices have the time and money to prescreen patients for depression, they can definitely find the same ability to come up with counseling resources. It is simply a matter of attitude which is easier said than done in this “drug is the answer to everything” practice by many medical practices.

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  18. “We trust the medical profession far too much. We think they know way more than they do. In a weekend of research, I became more knowledgeable than my daughter’s therapist, psychiatrist and pediatrician combined; at least with regards to SSRIs, their efficacy and adverse side effects. These professionals are human and fallible like the rest of us. The key is to educate yourself and your children. ”

    Reading these words, which in fact sum up about what I tell my friends and my readers just about daily, is so validating to me, especially as written by a non-patient who hasn’t been “labeled” as “crazy” as I have. It doesn’t take rocket science nor magic to understand this stuff. Doctors are not gods on high. They need to quit acting like Gods on High, too. I have personally witnessed exactly how they make decisions. I have even watched them flipping through the PDR looking at pretty pill-photos and then, picking out shiny ones for each of us as if they are ordering from a Sears Roebuck Catalog. They are not gods. They are not geniuses.

    It doesn’t take the all-holy MD degree, which somehow gives them magic Legal Indeminty Above All (they’re right no matter what) to figure this stuff out. Just because a doctor acts all haughty and claims to be an “expert” only means he’s arrogant and is charging you money.

    That is why I encourage people to take their bodies back and stop being slaves to doctors.

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    • Randall,

      You’re kidding right? I can recite chapter and verse of the TADS study as well as anything Healy, Whitaker or Gøtzsche ever said or wrote about it.

      But it occurs to me that part of what I had to do to educate myself was to synthesize an enormous body or work, watch endless hours of YouTube videos and read 3 complete books.

      It seems like putting together a series of clear and concise presentations targeted at parents (one for each of the most common diagnoses) that would do four things:
      1. Provide in one easy to digest and understand place the important background knowledge to understand the diagnosis and treatment options
      2. Links to key research and studies done on subject with short and easy to understand description of what was done, key findings
      3. Questions to ask doctor, therapist and / or psychiatrist to test their knowledge and also put them on notice you can’t be fooled with medical BS and buzzwords
      4. Links to further reading for those people that feel they need a grasp of every detail

      I could do this but I don’t know how to best get it into the hands of parents that need it. Thoughts anyone?

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      • In my opinion, David, to answer your question, kids should be kept away from all mental health labeling. I think the emphasis should be very basic at a young age, like at toddler age. DO NOT LABEL. This includes any name-calling, such as the ones we know well like slow-poke, class clown, lazy….as these imply permanence, like they are disorders. Many of the words we use in common language are actually euphemisms for mental illness, such as “negative,” “bad energy,” “bad karma,” and also, “energy vampires,” by the way, NONE OF THIS IS REAL…..To tell someone this is so harmful. It is only a statement meaning “I do not like something about you.” Why don’t people just say it outright? Or not at all. Using a harmful label is bigotry. This should be taught to very young kids. They should be taught that “bipolar,” “schiz,” etc, these are also harmful labels and no one should be called these. a
        Very young children should be taught that feelings such as grief are not diseases, even though you can feel sad when you are sick with a cold or flu. All these will pass. Because it will pass, you do not need pills to change a feeling. Kids should be told at a young age that bad and good feelings aren’t diseases.

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        • I am not sure what question you are answering. To be clear, I wasn’t talking about me labeling anyone. But if a parent goes to their kid’s pediatrician and hears that the doctor thinks their child is ADHD (or whatever diagnosis) I want to be able to arm them with the necessary information to fight the label…not give the label.

          And let me respectfully disagree a little bit on names/labels. Part of growing up is learning to deal with adversity. Being called names happens to just about every kid I have ever met at some point. With regard to medical labeling (not just mental health) I totally agree with you.

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          • I was answering your question about what to do about it, that’s all. I sure wasn’t accusing you of labeling. Of course not! But labeling and psych labeling, these are very close to each other. There are ways to call a person “mentally ill” but use alternate terms that are just as harmful, and just as discriminatory.

            For instance, if an employer perceives an employee as mentally ill, then that employer might fire based on perceived mental illness, but it’s illegal to do so under the ADA. But how to do this and pass off as legal and okay?

            That employer might use vocabulary such as, “We can’t have your negative energy here.” It’s a way of saying, “We perceive you as personality-disordered but we don’t want to admit it, (and you’re fired).”

            When I was a kid my parents taught me not to call other kids names. Believe it or not, I learned from that. I learned that name-calling of all types was wrong. I took that very seriously. It’s a good lesson to teach any child. And why not?

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  19. The author points out a very important point in one of his answers to a response to his article. He knows more about the studies dealing with the drugging of children in this country than most of the clinicians that he dealt with. I find the same thing in the “hospital” where I work. I, a former patient, know more about the effects of the so-called “anti-psychotics” than the psychiatrists pushing them on the “patients” in the units of the “hospital”. I know about the studies done about the effects of the so-called “antidepressants”. I mention these studies in talking with them and I get blank stares of incomprehension and non-recognition. These people are the clinicians. I expect them to know about the latest things appearing in their area of supposed expertise. How is it that an uneducated bumpkin like myself, a former “patient”, knows more than the clinicians about their own specialty? Something is badly wrong here.

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  20. Stephen, I found the exact same thing in 1982. My ow mother went and did research. I went to my doctors and mentioned this research and not only did I get blank stares but they were unable to spell the terminology! I had to dictate the spelling to them so they could look these studies up themselves. Decades later I was still spelling various words to nurses, such as anorexia and bulimia. And if I say diabetes insipidus they never hear Insipidus and insist on a finger stick. Hey, it’s not mellitus…… I don’t understand why I, a music composer (originally) can figure this stuff out so quickly and easily, and they were just so clueless for all those years.

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    • My suspicion, and it’s mine and I’ll take responsibility for it, is that they don’t want to know.

      If they became aware then they’d have to admit to themselves that they’ve done harm to people under the guise of “good treatment”. All of this involves their egos, their bank accounts, and their lifestyles. Their entire lives would have to change if they were aware and actually cared about the very people they say they want to help.

      Many of these studies have been around for a long time when you look back to the work of Courtney Harding and the World Health Organization studies. How can anyone not be aware of this body of work? But they claim no knowledge. The other day I gave a copy of Dr. Nancy Andreasen’s studies on how the “antipsychotics” shrink the frontal lobes of people forced to take the drugs to a psychiatrist where I work. She is a biopsychiatrist who denied that the drugs do anything to peoples’ brains. She believed that it was the so-called “schizophrenia” that shrinks peoples’ brains and started out in her studies to prove this. She proved just the opposite and then sat on the results for a couple of years because she believed that if people knew the end results they would stop taking the drugs. She finally released her findings, which I have to give her great credit for. Anyway, her studies were done in 2007 and this psychiatrist had never heard of her and her work, supposedly. He still wants to maintain that the untreated “schizophrenia” is what shrinks peoples’ brains. I often wonder who are the truly crazy and delusional people.

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    These drugs do not make people safer they cause people to “Act Out”.


    From The Link (above):-
    “…..For example, a study published in 1982 reported that when a group of patients with schizophrenia were each given 20 mg of fluphenazine, the difference between the highest and lowest blood level of the drug was 40-fold.5….”


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  22. My father felt the same way about psychiatric drugs for children — or anyone else. When the quacks approached him with their pharmaceutical “solution” to my “behavior problems”, his three word response to them was “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER”. But, then he died and I got drugged. I can only wonder about how much more I’d have in life today, had I NEVER started taking psychiatric drugs. Mr. Guttman, you’ve saved your daughter’s future and, possibly, her life. You are her hero, whether your family admits it or not.

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    • Your kinds thoughts are really appreciated. I am sorry for what you went through and for your loss. While I guess no one would mind being a hero, I am just so relieved my baby girl is safe. I now feel compelled to help others avoid the pitfalls my daughter almost fell into.

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      • yes, david, please do !

        those of us who have known for years the truths that you now hold know too it is our mission to inform others.

        i have lost friendships and other relationships, business and the respect of others because i have spoken the truth. but i know the hell my family went/goes through is given meaning and purpose every time i safe a life.

        we won’t necessarily know who will need to hear the truth at the exact moment we share it. or whose life has been spared.

        keep shouting from the rooftops!


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  23. I TOTALLY agree with you. I am currently undergoing therapy and my therapist recommended that I see a psychiatrist and consider medication. I just came out of my appointment infuriated because I was similar appointed a NURSE practitioner who practically tried to diagnose me on the spot and said “Hmm. You can’t focus sometimes? That is a symptom of depression. I would recommend Prozac.” I’m like, are you kidding me? I have one small symptom. It was as if it was my roommate trying to diagnose me by reading symptoms on WebMd.
    I’m also writing a paper on this topic to explore how fucked up this system is in America for treating mental illness. Could I potentially hop on a call with you to learn more about your research/experiences?

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  24. Man, I wish I had a father like you. I’m a 16 year old girl, living with my mother (she divorced my dad when I was twelve and I’m not allowed to visit him), and my mom’s trying to force me to take Lexapro (another SSRI)… even though I don’t have depression or anxiety. It’s really terrifying for me, my mum has some issues herself and she is always seeing medical conditions in my siblings and I that aren’t really there… a few years ago she believed I had various autoimmune diseases, and so I was put through rounds of rigorous testing that involved blood testing often enough to make me iron deficient (I had to take iron supplements to avoid anemia). When the doctors concluded that I was healthy, she was stumped and moved on to my brother, believing that he had anorexia because he had recently lost his baby fat. She didn’t seem to understand that IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL for fourteen year old boys to be on the skinny side. Now, after a brief stint where I had symptoms of *mild* depression, she believes that I am incapable of looking after myself and has tried to have me locked up in a psych ward. Ironically enough, this sent me into a panic attack that ended in her taking me to the hospital and me having to argue with the doctors for five hours before they agreed to let me go home.
    Even though my depression is completely gone, my mother is still pushing for me to be put on antidepressants. I have no faith in the doctors to keep me safe anymore, after the psych ward incident. My mom spoke to several doctors about me, and without even meeting me they all concluded that I needed antidepressants and prescribed me double the dose of Lexapro first recommended. I refused to take it, obviously, so now my mom’s on a waiting list to see a child psychiatrist to try and get me locked up, OR dose me with Lexapro. I’ve spoken to the school counsellor about this and she agreed that I wasn’t depressed and shouldn’t be on medication, she even spoke to my mother about it but my mom decided that if she didn’t see depression in me she must just be a bad therapist. I am genuinely scared that I’m going to end up being sectioned for noncompliance or something, and it’s not like I can just take the drugs and then go off them as soon as I’m a legal adult, because once you go on those drugs you don’t come off them without paying hell for it.
    I don’t know what to do, I’m completely lost. Every therapist that I’ve spoken with face-to-face has told my mother that I don’t need drugs, and she just writes them off as unprofessional? Seriously? The school counsellor said they can’t legally lock me up for not taking the drugs, but they almost did already. Seriously, it was sheer luck and my debating skills that got me out of it last time. My mom won’t let it happen again. If she wants me in a hospital, she’ll see that I end up there. I’m so scared…

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      • Yes, I’m 16. And my mother is my legal guardian. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s much I can do until I’m 18. Where I live at least, once you’re an adult you can’t be forced to take drugs unless you’re ‘at risk of harming yourself’, which I’m definitely not. However because I’m a minor, the laws are even more vague. Apparently my mom will need to get a court order against me, which… well, I don’t know if she’s going to do it, but if she does, I’m basically screwed. Oh well, hoping for the best.

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        • Bummer!! Two years can feel like a VERY long time!

          Where I live (West Coast USA), there is an organization that does legal advocacy for teens in difficult legal situations. Have you looked for that kind of service near you? The “age of consent” is generally regarded to be around 14-16 in most states, so you may have a legal right to decide this for yourself. I would definitely recommend you talk to an attorney in your area and find out the laws in your state. Of course, a parent can always claim that you are “a danger to self or others,” but from what you’ve said, you’re not threatening to kill yourself or anyone else, and are obviously rational and articulate enough to care for your own basic needs, by a very long margin. Who knows? Maybe you can win this one!

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  25. David! All I’m compelled to say is …. GOOD FOR YOU!! I just came across this story, so I know it’s been a little while know but hope you and yr family have come through this in grace. Thanks for sharing and…. I think we met a LOOOOOONG time ago. Anyway,blessings to you and yrs…

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  26. All I have to say is….. GOOD FOR YOU!! I know it’s been a little bit since you shared your story but I just now have come across it. Hope you all got through this in grace. By the way I think you and I met a LOOOOOONG time ago. Blessings to you and yours….

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  27. Thank you for this carefully drafted story, that is so relevant to my current dilemma. Since your post so many studies have come out that further demonstrate the lack of efficacy and the unacceptable risks to teens. I am officially in hell. I now have a letter from a psychiatrist to my ex, stating that my 15 year old should be on prozac. I have shared the latest cochrane review, and an Australian study you may not have seen that is absolutely devastating ( Like you I have read so much and am gobsmacked that the evidence base is unequivocal, but the professionals in the field are uninterested. When I sent through this info, she replied with an out of date Cochrane review and an incomplete study funded by the company that manufactures the drugs. I am almost certain it could get very messy and that my son will end up on this medication. Its a slow moving train wreck for me. I have returned to this post a number of times, and although it may not ultimately save my situation, it helped to read something that I could relate to and I am certain it will have saved others.

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