Peter Breggin, MD: The Conscience of Psychiatry (part 2)


This week on MIA Radio we have part 2 of our interview with Dr Peter Breggin.

Dr Breggin is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former Consultant at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has been called “The Conscience of Psychiatry” for his many decades of successful efforts to reform the mental health field.

His work provides the foundation for modern criticism of psychiatric diagnoses and drugs and leads the way in promoting more caring and effective therapies. His research and educational projects have brought about major changes in the FDA-approved Full Prescribing Information or labels for dozens of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs. He continues to educate the public and professions about the tragic psychiatric drugging of America’s children.

He has authored dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty books, including medical books and the bestsellers Toxic Psychiatry and Talking Back to Prozac. His most recent three books are Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions; Medication Madness: the Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Murder; and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families.

As a medical-legal expert, Dr Breggin has unprecedented and unique knowledge about how the pharmaceutical industry too often commits fraud in researching and marketing psychiatric drugs. He has testified many times in malpractice, product liability and criminal cases, often in relation to adverse drug effects and more occasionally electroshock and psychosurgery.

Dr Breggin has taught at many universities and has a private practice of psychiatry in Ithaca, New York.

For a career as long and distinguished as Dr Breggin’s we have decided to devote two episodes to hearing him speak. The first part covered Dr Breggin’s career, his views on psychiatry and psychiatric drugs and also recent developments in the trial involving Michelle Carter.

Part 2 of the interview focuses more on recent events surrounding the trial and alternatives to psychiatric drugs.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • That Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz sentenced Michelle Carter to a two-and-a-half-year term, with 15 months in jail and the balance suspended plus a period of supervised probation.
  • How Judge Moniz granted a defense motion to stay the sentence, meaning she will remain free pending her appeals in Massachusetts.
  • That if Michelle lost all of her appeals in 2-3 years time, Michelle may be facing custodial time.
  • That attempts to limit Dr Breggin’s right to blog about the trial were stopped and the Judge’s final order in response to DA makes no criticism or censorship of Dr Breggin.
  • That Dr Breggin reviewed thousands of text messages between Michelle and her friends and between Michelle and Conrad Roy, but that one particular part of a text exchange formed the central plank of the case against Michelle.
  • That Dr Breggin is keen to show, through the Michelle Carter blogs, what is happening to our children when they become involved with psychiatry and psychiatric drugs.
  • That Dr Breggin appreciates the suffering of the family of Conrad Roy because he kept hidden how bad his mental health difficulties were.
  • How Dr Breggin also appreciates how Michelle had been tormented and attacked by the press during the trial.
  • How the authorities went to extremes to exclude the role that psychiatric drugs may have played in the events surrounding Michelle and Conrad.
  • How Dr Breggin has observed that many that he has helped that have been wounded by psychiatry, have shied away from becoming reformers themselves.
  • How, when working with clients, Dr Breggin makes sure he takes the time to ensure that potential clients know who he is and how his approach differs to mainstream psychiatry.
  • That Dr Breggin feels that the hostility towards those who question the use of psychiatric drugs has reduced over the last 10 to 20 years.
  • How Dr Breggin feels that the psychiatric drugging of our children is tantamount to organised child abuse because the child cannot make a judgement for themselves.
  • That many children end up taking the drugs to please their parents.
  • That the drug that Michelle Carter was taking (Celexa/Citalopram) was not approved by the FDA for treating children.
  • That Dr Breggin’s view is that emotional or psychological difficulties often are precipitated by childhood trauma.
  • How people often then react to the current world as if it were the world that they found traumatic and difficult as a child.
  • That good therapy has much in common with coaching in sport or certain aspects of religion or good teaching.
  • That all psychoactive substances, including psychiatric drugs, have a general effect on the brain and often this intoxication affects a persons ability to relate emotionally to family and friends.
  • How helping people with their mental health comes down to loving, caring, relationship, coaching and guidance.
  • That these principles have much in common with good religion or philosophy.

Relevant Links

Peter Breggin’s personal website

Peter’s blogs on Mad in America:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Michelle Carter Blogs and Archives

The handwritten note from the DA to the Judge about stopping Dr Breggin’s blog

Judge’s Final Order in Response to DA Makes No Criticism or Censorship of Dr Breggin

Toxic Psychiatry

Talking Back to Prozac

Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions

Medication Madness: the Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Murder

Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families

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© Mad in America 2017