Part VI: How Adult Society Betrayed Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy

Peter Breggin, MD
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The sixth and final installment in a series of reports on Michelle Carter. See also parts IIIIIIIV and V.

Any suicide is likely to have several causes coming together in an overwhelming fashion. But especially in children and youth, distressed family relationships usually play an obviously central role. Although the DA tried to suppress the information, Conrad Roy’s death was no exception. 

Conrad’s Family Crisis 

Conrad’s family, including his father and mother, publicly stated that they were unaware of their son’s intense emotional suffering so vividly expressed in his texts to Michelle over a period of two years (Public Record 71 in the Michelle Carter Archives). They were also unaware of his extensive research into how to commit suicide, his additional attempts, and his compulsive, continuing suicide planning, all described in texts to Michelle. His parents did not know he had contacted another person, a young man on a suicide prevention site, and eventually convinced him, as well as Michelle, to help him die.  

Conrad must have put on a good face to his family, but his parents very likely missed some signals of despair. His mother and father knew he had decided not to go to college and had been “socially anxious” in the classroom (Public Record 2).  

As Conrad’s mother and I both testified in court, the divorce of Conrad’s parents flared up before his first suicide attempt and hospitalization in 2012. On August 27, 2011, Conrad’s father called the police. When they arrived, he gave them a signed statement that he was having a conflict with his wife about “marital problems” and “she struck me on the right side of the face with an open hand and I proceeded to call the police” (Public Record 72).  According to a newspaper report, she was “charged with domestic assault and battery but not convicted” (Public Record 73). Conrad’s father then obtained a restraining order against his mother. 

The DA claimed the domestic abuse reports were irrelevant and asked the judge not to admit them into evidence. A newspaper report described trial judge Lawrence Moniz as “troubled” by information in the protective order affidavit by Conrad’s father. He accused his wife of attacking him “in front of children.” The judge explained, “In this court, with much of the work we do, we’re mindful of the impact of domestic violence on children.” He allowed the abuse and domestic violence reports to be made available for Michelle’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo. 

On February 19, 2014, less than five months before his death, Conrad called the police to report that his father beat him up. When the police arrived, Conrad wrote a report for them (Public Record 74). 

Told Dad I would put pan of mac and cheese away after commercial of basketball game.  He said do it now. I said no I will do it after commercial. He punched me repeatedly and pinned me down. I couldn’t get up. 5-10 punches to face. His girlfriend said I was a piece of shit. I left and went to neighbor. 

In photographs, Conrad’s father looks much larger and burlier than Conrad looks. He appears capable of physically overwhelming his son.   

Conrad’s Beating Seen Through Michelle’s Texts 

Conrad’s beating was bad enough to shock Michelle when she saw his picture posted on Snapchat. The texts between Michelle and Conrad about her concern for him display a common theme in their interactions—she is deeply concerned for him and he abusively rejects her (Public Record 76).  Michelle’s use of caps was unusual for her: 

Michelle: CONRAD WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU 

              JUST OPENED YOUR SNAPCHAT 

              Omg are you okay??? 

Conrad:  I’m igit.  [In God I trust] 

Michelle: No what happened 

             What happened please tell me 

Conrad:  tbag [slang for a sexual act] 

Michelle: Did you get beat up 

Conrad:  FUCK U 

Conrad frequently expressed this kind of abrupt nastiness to Michelle. He then goes on to throw in another “fuck you” at her. Probably referring to his many sessions with police and child welfare officials, Conrad explained he was irritated because “I said it like 15 times today” and “I’m sick of it.” 

Michelle: I thought you would of wanted to tell me 

Conrad:  Someday 

Michelle: Okay well it just upsets me that I wasn’t one of the first people you told 

Conrad:  You didn’t ask 

This kind of conversation in which Michelle expresses concern or love for him, and he torments her by withholding himself and by insulting her, was common over the two years of their texting.  But he was not always that way…  

Conrad Demoralized by Psychiatric Drugs 

I found objective evidence that Conrad’s personality changed drastically after he attempted suicide, was hospitalized, and then discharged on antidepressants drugs in 2012. The changes in Conrad seem to occur abruptly and shock Michelle. Conrad’s deterioration into antisocial attitudes is documented in the Facebook messages between himself and Michelle beginning July 16, 2012 and continuing into the end of 2013. The Facebook messaging at the end overlaps with their texting.   

Conrad and Michelle sent almost 300 Facebook messages to each other from July 16 through September 5, 2012. There was some teasing back and forth, but Conrad displayed no nastiness and did not torment Michelle. Their messages on Facebook were often playful and at times loving. On August 17, 2012, they wrote to each other:  

Michelle: Coooooooolskiss 

             What so youre charging your phone now? 

Conrad:  Yeah but I’m finding a song for us 

Michelle: Awhhh baby 

Conrad:  haha you find one too  

Michelle: haha okay I will.  wait is yours gonna be like rap? 

Conrad:  Nooo 

Conrad searching for their song and asking her to search displays romantic sweetness and a sharing give-and-take. Conrad will rarely display these qualities after his suicide attempt, hospitalization and start of antidepressant medication. 

A few texts later Conrad texts, “love ya,” a feeling he will ridicule and deny many times once the transformation takes place.  

Three texts later, Michelle writes, “I love you so much” and Conrad replies “lOvE You ToO.”    

These young people lacked experience dating. Michelle turned 16 a week earlier and will soon be entering 10th grade. Carter is a year older and a year ahead of her at his own high school. They both seem somewhat immature, and Michelle is on Prozac, which, like all psychoactive substances, commonly delays emotional maturity.    

Conrad’s Negative Transformation 

The relatively innocent Facebook messaging continues through September 5, 2012.  The next available information is another Facebook message on October 10, 2012, described earlier in this blog series.   

On October 10, 2012, Conrad abruptly announces, “uhhh stayed in hospital last week.”  Michelle asks, “…why” and Conrad replies, “because I’m weak and sensitive and not sure why you even liked me in the first place.”    

Conrad:  Yah I tried to kill myself 

Michelle: you did? Why didn’t you tell me? 

Conrad:  just remember I’m not the person you thought I was 

Michelle: how did you try to kill yourself?  do you still want to? 

Conrad:  no I’m going to 

Michelle: your going to what? 

Conrad:  just letting you know 

             the voices in my head tell me to

Michelle: tell you to kill yourself? 

Conrad:  I’m a freak 

Michelle: youre not a freak 

             you really want to kill yourself? 

Conrad:  I’m gonna later 

Michelle: today? 

Conrad:  sadly 

This series of messages continues, on and off, from 3:34 pm to 10:57 pm, with Michelle trying to change Conrad’s mind about killing himself. Finally, she has to take a break for a school project and when she returns at 10:57 pm, Conrad does not respond to her Facebook queries. Clearly afraid he has killed himself, a frantic Michelle writes to him, “Conrad please answer me right now please.”   

The day’s texting seems to end without Michelle knowing if Conrad is dead or alive, a scenario that will be repeated over the next nearly two years.  

My Michelle Carter Archive contains the entire lengthy Facebook messaging exchange between Michelle and Conrad for October 10, 2012 (Public Record 77). It shows the abrupt change in him and it shows the emotional negativity Michelle will feel compelled to endure from that point on in order to save him from killing himself.   

These messages and the texting shows Michelle as the DA’s Office never wanted you to see her—a young girl, just turned sixteen, who so wants to help Conrad, and who feels so guilty about his desperate condition, that she will endure an overwhelmingly oppressive and guilt-provoking relationship until she breaks down nearly two years later. 

The Harmful Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Conrad’s Life    

His parents’ divorce, his father physically attacking him, his anxiety and depression, and his prior suicide attempts—these and other environmental factors undoubtedly had a strong negative impact upon Conrad, and eventually influenced his committing suicide.     

However, most clinicians who have experience with psychoactive drugs will tell you that drugs are by far the most common factor in the abrupt worsening of a teenager’s character and personality. These discussions usually focus on non-prescription psychoactive drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines and myriad other drugs. Consistent with this, Conrad’s texts to Michelle show that he was smoking marijuana at times, although we do not know how often or how much.   

As the earlier blogs demonstrated in detail, and as the reader can easily confirm by going to my Antidepressant Resource Center www.123antidepressants, the antidepressant drugs are also “psychoactive substances.” The resource center provides dozens of well-organized, searchable scientific papers and related publications confirming the widespread harmful effects of these drugs on all ages. 

Antidepressants can produce all the antisocial behaviors caused by the worst street drugs.   Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy were both victims of their psychiatric medications.  When a child or young adult takes psychoactive drugs, such as marijuana or alcohol, the immaturity of their brains leads to a particularly neurotoxic effect. All psychoactive drugs, including prescribed ones, are neurotoxins that can turn decent youngsters into individuals prone to antisocial behavior, often to the bafflement of their parents. Antidepressants are among the worst. 

One of the most damning studies comes from the heart of the psychiatric drug establishment at Harvard Medical School. Based on a review of their own clinic records, they found these following percentages of children and adolescents afflicted with psychiatric disorders caused by their antidepressants:   

sleep disorders, 35% 

emotional disorders, 21%  

psychotic disorders, 10% 

behavioral disorders, 5% 

Based on their messages and texts, and on Michelle’s medical records, Michelle and Conrad suffered from every category of antidepressant-induced mental disorder.   

In the Harvard study, the median time of exposure before these adverse events was 91 days, which in Michelle’s case is the exact time span between starting Celexa and her negative personality transformation prior to Conrad’s suicide.  

In my testimony, and in my scientific articles and books, I have cited antidepressants as specifically causing antisocial behavior. One of the most distressing antisocial behaviors in children is serious irritability—overreacting aggressively to minor or nonexistent provocations. In the Harvard study, 15% of children developed “irritable” behavior. When Michelle begins to encourage Conrad to carry out his suicidal plans, she displays classic antidepressant-induced irritability when he fails to follow through.   

Manic behavior is also very destructive because it includes disinhibition, aggressiveness, grandiose self-centeredness, criminal behavior and a host of other antisocial behaviors. In the Harvard study, a huge 6% of the children became manic due to antidepressants. Michelle’s behavior, as I testified in court, was manic-like to a delusional level. She believed she was doing right by helping Conrad go to heaven. She was convinced that they could fulfill their commitment to communicate with each other while he was in the afterlife. She was sure she could make everything work out fine for his bereaved family. Afterward, as she began to face the reality of his death, and as her manic-like stated abated, she would feel aghast and guilt-ridden over what she had done.  

recent epidemiological study has specifically linked antidepressant usage in youth to conviction for violent crimes:  

Antidepressant use (both overall and for SSRIs) prior to violent crime was more common among those convicted than among those without convictions. Among boys with repeated violent crimes, it was also more common than among boys with non-violent crimes. 

My book Medication Madness provides dozens of stories and extensive scientific information confirming that psychiatric drugs do in fact cause suicidal, violent and criminal behavior.   

There is no excuse for the continued failure of many prosecutors, judges and so-called medical experts to acknowledge the damaging psychiatric or psychological effects of antidepressants on all age groups and especially children and young adults. In Michelle Carter’s case, my report (Public Record 63) and its many scientific appendices (Public Record 64) show how antidepressants temporarily transformed her personality and character for the worse.  

In addition, in Michelle’s case, because of her age in combination with her anorexia and then bulimia, as well as liver dysfunction, no sane standard would condone her being put on antidepressants. Even the FDA, which depends on the financial generosity of payments from the drug companies, has not approved antidepressants for the treatment of children with Michelle’s eating disorder, let alone with her complicating conditions.       

Conrad’s Mother Blames Herself and then Accuses his Father 

In the weeks and months after Conrad’s death, including when Michelle sent her text to her friend saying she was responsible for Conrad’s death, Michelle was not the only one filled with self-accusations. After a suicide, it is common for professionals, family members and friends to go through periods of blaming themselves. As in Michelle’s case, self-blaming is a profound expression of feeling guilty and typically does not reflect the reality of what happened surrounding the suicide.  

Conrad’s mother and father apparently never resolved their differences. Three weeks after Conrad’s death, his mother Lynn Roy sent a revealing text to Michelle in which she swung from blaming herself to blaming her ex-husband who was Conrad’s father (Public Record 75). She starts out by texting Michelle, “I am angry with myself because I think maybe if I would have told him [Conrad] to stay away from his dad’s family maybe.…”   

Conrad’s mother then goes on to blame Conrad’s extended family: “There is so much anxiety that I have because I believe some of his Dad & his family members have blood on their hands.” 

How the DA Ignored the Abuse and Turmoil in Conrad’s Family 

Conrad’s father might not have known that his former wife, Lynn Roy, had texted Michelle that he and his family had “blood on their hands.” Yet the DA surely was aware of this glaring text in their possession. Furthermore, both the DA and the father knew that the police had charged him with assault for beating up Conrad four months before his son killed himself. It is part of this tragedy filled with deceit and hypocrisy that the DA paraded the father as the innocent, loving man whose son was brutally taken away by a seventeen-year-old girl.   

No suffering on Earth is worse than the sudden, traumatic loss of a child. Conrad’s father remains entitled to his grief and we should feel empathy for him. He may also have been a loving father. He was, however, not innocent.  

Judge Moniz, who deals with domestic violence in juvenile court, himself confirmed the harmful effects on a child of witnessing domestic violence in a family. In most cases, being beat up by one’s own father would be at least as harmful as watching one’s parents fight.   

How the DA Distorted the Entire Narrative 

The DA conducted the case as if the relatively innocent Michelle was the evil one who cast her shadow over everything else that happened to Conrad. Here is some of what the DA left out of the narrative in its pretrial publicity, during the trial, and in its post-trial complaints about the relatively mild sentence:  

  • Conrad’s serious family trauma, including watching violence between his parents, going through their angry divorce, and then being severely beaten up by his own father four months before his suicide. 
  • His prior psychiatric hospitalizations. 
  • His prior multiple suicide attempts. 
  • His failure to tell any family members about his chronic suicidal plans and actions, or his persistent sense of despair and hopelessness. 
  • His failure to tell his therapist about his suicidal compulsions, plans and acts (Public Record 85, p. 1472).
  • His recent decision on his own to restart his antidepressant, creating a special hazard for suicide and other negative effects on his brain and mind. 
  • His actions in grooming vulnerable Michelle to help him commit suicide, and his crushing her spirit through constant negativity and suicidal threats. 
  • His decision to enlist yet another person in addition to Michelle online to help him carry out his suicide. 
  • His use of marijuana, which in itself can cause a drastic negative change in the personality and character of young people. 
  • His two years of rejecting Michelle’s plans to get him professional help.  
  • His two years of rejecting her offers to visit her and her family for support. 
Creating a Witch Hunt and Vendetta 

Facebook messages and texts in themselves document these facts and leave no doubt about the complexity of influences surrounding his suicide, including his compulsive determination to die.  

The irony is that the Bristol County DA is the one who used words (and the power of its office) to cause irreparable harm to a helpless victim. The DA turned a wounded, vulnerable seventeen-year-old girl into the object of a public witch hunt and a personal vendetta.   

A witch hunt occurs when authorities heap unfounded accusations upon someone or a viewpoint that is unpopular or easily victimized. Witch hunts almost always have unspoken political motivations, such as gaining personal and political power or suppressing a competing religious or political movement. A vendetta is a blood feud in which the family of a murdered person seeks vengeance on the murderer or the murder’s family. The District Attorney himself was related to Conrad and to Conrad’s grandmother. Part V in this series documents how the DA has been conducting both a witch hunt and a vendetta.
The District Attorney’s office also sacrificed Michelle to the destructive power of the drug industry and psychiatry, and made her one more victim of society’s callous neglect of our children and youth. The DA’s office was not guided by a search for justice but by its own blind ambition. 

Origins of Michelle’s Suicide Attempt and Subsequent Emotional Suffering 

Turning to Michelle Carter’s family, there was no information to indicate serious family conflicts contributing to her suicide attempt in 2012. Her medical records confirm that she was reacting to the death in quick succession of two much-loved grandparents, after which she developed an eating disorder with anxiety and “depressed feelings” which might better have been called “normal grief.” Her attempt, by standing on a stool with a noose around her neck, came soon after restarting Prozac, a drug known to increase suicidality and a broad range of negative behaviors, especially in young people. Fortunately, she got off the stool without harming herself. 

The death of Michelle’s grandparents, poor medical care that did not include family therapy, the misguided prescription of psychiatric drugs, the dangers created by social media, Michelle’s own dire need to help people, and the persistence of Conrad in her life were among the most potent negative influences in her life. 

The Role of Family in Michelle’s Life  

Michelle, like many young people, kept her emotional struggles away from her parents. One of the great lessons from the story of Michelle and Conrad is the high risk parents take when they allow their dependent children unsupervised social media communication with their peers.    

I do not blame parents who want to respect the privacy of their children, including their social media, diaries and letters. I used to feel the same way. Unfortunately, in today’s society, social media have created private worlds in which children and youth turn inward toward each other while excluding their parents. Like Michelle and Conrad, they turn to peers who are in as much or more emotional turmoil than they are.   

Addicted to turning toward their peers, parents and other adults can become distant figures to children and youth. As a result, I now believe that parents should monitor their children’s social media and limit it whenever necessary. This should be treated not a punishment but as protection. In addition to that, busy parents in today’s world must spend individual time with their children on a regular basis, developing personal relationships with their children that promote family life and improve communication. 

How the DA Tried to Destroy Michelle with Words 

In a dreadful irony, the DA accuses Michelle of killing Conrad Roy with a few brief words “ordering” him back into his truck—words that no one can prove she ever spoke. By contrast, for three straight years the DA’s Office has tried destroy Michelle, and persists in trying to destroy her, with a torrent of systematically planned words. After the trial, when I had written the first two installments of this blog, they went after me, attacking me in an emergency hearing where I could not be present, again using carefully planned words in a false and misleading fashion. 

The DA’s office in Bristol County Massachusetts bears full responsibility for the ongoing tragedy in the life of Michelle Carter and her family and loved ones.  They should not have charged Michelle with anything.  Michelle was already feeling guilty and remorseful before they charged her—that is why she blamed herself for his death.  She needed help in understanding what happened to her and to Conrad that changed both their personalities.  She needed the relief of knowing that antidepressants commonly transform the personality and character of young people for the worse. 

In a society that truly cared about and for its children, on discovering the two years of texts, police or the DA would have referred Michelle to her parents with encouragement to seek counseling and family therapy. Instead, the DA’s Office decided to destroy Michelle in the media and in trial for its own ambitions—self-serving and aggrandizing motives of a personal and political nature documented in last week’s report in this series.   

I have been testifying in legal cases involving psychiatric drugs for at least 25 years, and in a variety of other cases going all the way back to early in my residency 45 years ago. Over the years, I have seen an increasing tendency in attorneys defending doctors and drug companies, and in prosecutors in criminal cases, to reject common decency, ethics and justice in the name of winning. Increasingly, courtrooms have become theaters upon which prosecutors strut and declaim, and manipulate facts, to win at all costs, to gain national recognition and to promote their careers. Someone observing a criminal trial for the first time would be likely to conclude that winning-at-any-costs was the guiding ethic for the behavior of DAs.  

Ethical Standards for Prosecutors 

According to the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Standards, Prosecution Function, a prosecutor’s role does not consist of simply getting convictions. To the contrary, the prosecutor’s role is to seek justice:  

The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, an advocate, and an officer of the court; the prosecutor must exercise sound discretion in the performance of his or her functions. 

The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict. 

When inadequacies or injustices in the substantive or procedural law come to the prosecutor’s attention, he or she should stimulate efforts for remedial action. 

Although I have no evidence for this in Michelle’s case, the influence and presence of the drug companies has been obvious in many criminal trials. In one case where an antidepressant caused a manic episode with a robbery, a representative of a drug was passing notes to the prosecution. In several criminal cases, the cross-examination has been based on themes I recognized as coming verbatim from cross-examinations in much earlier cases against drug companies.   

In the Michelle Carter trial, the strategy was to ignore the mountain of scientific material that I presented in my reports and testimony at the hearing and the trial. The DA’s office did not produce an expert psychiatric witness of its own to contradict me. They wanted to avoid the inevitable—a devastating cross-examination of their psychiatrist based on the science. Without citing any one particular member of the DA’s office, I believe the information in the Michelle Carter blogs and archives raises substantial questions about whether the DA’s Office of Bristol County Massachusetts was seeking justice or compulsively seeking a conviction. I believe they are responsible for destroying the life of a 17-year-old minor who needed the caring intervention of responsible professionals.   

Under therapeutic conditions, without being terrorized, Michelle would and hopefully will someday have the opportunity to further assess and to understand her actions. A young deer in the headlights of a roaring Mack truck does not have a chance to make mature judgments and to grow in wisdom.  

My previous blog documented how winning the controversial Michelle Carter case led to Assistant DA Rayburn receiving nationwide recognition and to the governor recently nominating her for a judgeship. I believe the DA’s office also conducted a successful hate campaign against Michelle Carter for the specific purpose of poisoning the jury pool in her county of 550,000 residents.   

Confidentiality does not allow me to share anything I might know about the defense’s decision to forsake a jury trial in favor of a bench trial. I can share that I was also in favor of a bench trial. Judge Moniz seemed even-handed during the initial hearing in which he found that I had the necessary credentials and sufficient scientific evidence to testify as an expert in psychiatry and psychopharmacology. Given that the DA’s hate campaign was conducted so vigorously that even people in Europe read and believed the negative view of Michelle generated by the DA’s office, what chance did she have with the citizens of Bristol County who were the main target of that propaganda? On hearing the judge’s guilty verdict, I was as surprised and distressed as many other experts and legal authorities (Public Records 81-84 on the Michelle Carter Archive).

One Last Word about Michelle Saying “Get Back in the Truck”

Earlier in this series, I documented how the Bristol County DA’s Office of Massachusetts had no way of proving that Michelle ever told Conrad to “get back in the truck” filled with fumes. Michelle herself reported that she had said those words to Conrad, but it was two months after his death amid delusional efforts to get in touch with him in heaven as he had promised.    

Michelle as a teenager often reported different perspectives on the same event, at one time texting a friend that Conrad tried to push her into sex but she had refused out of uncertainty about loving him. She had never had sex with anyone. Yet she told another friend Conrad had forced her to have sex. The DA frequently called Michelle wholly unreliable as a reporter, saying almost anything to “get attention.”   

Yet the same DA got away with claiming that, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” Michelle had told Conrad to go back into the truck to finish his suicide and that these words, never recorded anywhere, killed him. I found it ironic that the DA never allowed for the possibility that Conrad had raped Michelle, given that she had also texted this to her friend, but was nonetheless adamant in the extreme that Michelle had killed Conrad by telling him to get back into the truck, given that she had texted it to a friend.  

Freedom of Speech 

Because the press understands the risk of censoring speech, the media have been somewhat critical of Michelle’s conviction for manslaughter. There is fear that treating words like lethal weapons will ultimately lead to increasing censorship, not only on the internet but everywhere that words are spoken. This will be a central appeal in Michelle’s case and I am not needed to add my voice to the many others criticizing the verdict on the basis of free speech. 

Unfortunately, when the DA’s office tried to get the trial judge to enforce prior restraint on my right to publish my blogs, I heard not a peep of protest. Not a single media outlet called me to sympathize, show support, or even to cover the issue as anything out of the ordinary. 

Why is the media, usually so devoted to freedom of speech, not rising to defend my freedom of speech as they have on occasion done in the past? For several decades now, the media has been increasingly keeping off the air critics of psychiatry and the drug companies. Why? Because even more than protecting freedom of speech and press, they want to protect the Pharmaceutical Empire. Drug companies are among the richest, most broadly connected and most power influences in modern society, as well as being big spenders on media.

I will not go further into the power of the Pharmaceutical Empire for fear of obscuring the overall importance of the Michelle Carter trial. The reader now has many sources to choose from in evaluating these issues, including my books like Toxic Psychiatry and Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry,  Second Edition; Robert Whitaker’s Madness in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic, and most recently, Peter Gøtzsche’s Deadly Psychiatry and Organized Denial 

The Wider Tragedy 

The story of Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy is not only a tragedy within itself and for all those involved with them, it is emblematic of the situation faced by millions of young people in the western world and increasingly around the entire planet. It is also illustrative of the situation faced by their parents, teachers, coaches and anyone else who cares about them. Despite their making bad choices for themselves and each other, I believe that placing significant blame on either Michelle Carter or Conrad Roy is a mistaken emphasis. They were dealing with demoralizing stressors that were almost unheard of a few decades ago in America.   

Illegal drugs began plaguing our schools in the 1960s and early 1970s. Increasing numbers of children were diagnosed with ADHD and put on addictive stimulant drugs in the mid-1970s. In the 1990s until now, drug companies have focused their energies on marketing the most toxic adult psychiatric drugs to children. 

As all that has been inflicted on our children, we encouraged them to cast traditional morals aside, and sexual promiscuity became rampant. Movies, TV and then video games increasingly exposed them to sex and to horrendous violence on a daily basis. Then social media turned children and youth inward on themselves, often pushing parental influence from their lives. 

Suicide, in the past a remote reality for children, has become the theme of endless media, and has been rising among children. 

And finally, the nuclear family became the exception rather than the rule, and working mothers increasingly left their children to the care of others.   

All of these trends have been disastrous for our children and as a society we have yet to begin to deal with the results and with how to remedy the situation. Instead, we send our children to doctors to get psychiatric diagnoses and drugs. 

Final Words about Psychiatric Drugs 

In my psychiatric practice, I routinely treat children who, as a result of psychiatric drugs, have become so depressed and angry that they assault their parents, drive away their friends, and withdraw socially.   

When we started tapering these children off these drugs, their parents always see a dramatic improvement in their behavior even before the withdrawal is completed. The parents often explain, “Jane is back again,” or “I haven’t seen Joe laugh in years” or “I was beginning to give up on my own child but not anymore.”   

These successful stories in my practice require the participation of responsible parents who support the drug withdrawal and who are willing to learn new and better ways of relating to their children. However, the dramatic transformation of the children, which makes it possible for them to respond to improved parenting, comes as their brain recovers from the psychiatric drugs.    

Parents should refuse to have their children put on any psychiatric medication, and instead seek help in how to improve their relationships with their children. While not all of a child’s problems emanate from their upbringing, improving parenting is by far the best hope for any child. Overall, parents need to retake responsibility for their children and, when necessary, to seek non-medical, non-psychiatric professional help from specialists in child-rearing and family life, including properly trained or knowledgeable social workers, psychologists, counselors, marriage and family therapists, teachers and ministers. Psychiatry and psychiatric drugs do infinitely more harm than good in the lives of children. 

What If…  

If Michelle Carter never took a psychiatric drug, she would not have been thrust into such a dark place where she came close to suicide and experienced nightmares and hallucinations about the devil trying to kill her. Instead, with or without therapy, she would have recovered over time from her mourning period following the death of her grandparents and gradually recovered from her eating difficulties. 

If drugs had not driven Michelle into her emotional calamity, Michelle would almost surely have rejected her grossly self-destructive relationship with Conrad Roy. Today, instead of being tortured for years by unjust charges and now facing incarceration, she would instead be at college. There she would continue to be known as one of the most sensitive, loving and inspiring members of her community. 

If Conrad Roy never took a psychiatric drug, and if he stayed away from marijuana, he would have eventually recovered from the painful feelings engendered by his parents’ divorce. He would never have become so compulsively suicidal. Rather than living with his dad and working for him, he would have found the strength to go off to college. His great sensitivity, and his bent to think introspectively, would have found good application in his studies, and he would be thriving today.    

Join me in calling for a ban on giving psychiatric drugs to children. Neurotoxins are not and can never be the solution to the problems faced by our children in the increasingly complex and hazardous world they will be facing.  

As a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and educator, I have learned what our children really need—more dedicated, present adults in their lives. They do not need pills; they need more of us! 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Dr Breggin,

    Great article again and thank you for your contribution. I would like to join you in removing medication prescribing for anyone under 18, please just inform us on how to do this because that seems to be the wall that prevents us from accomplishing this task.

    Too bad the mainstream media will not tell the truth about this issue. But you are more than correct, those Pharma advertising dollars would disappear fairly quickly for anyone who dared to publish your articles.

    But the endgame that I would like to see, is that all psychotropics be banned. They are a public safety issue and do not benefit the patient at all.

  2. This series of articles and the work he has done on this case, once again affirm Dr. Breggin as an anti-medical model super hero, at least to me. The series leaves me with many questions that I hope Dr. Breggin and others might be kind enough to answer.

    I have waited ’till the end of the series, to see what he would say about how an extremely dangerous legal precedent has been set with this case. Unfortunately, this is only very briefly mentioned in a few words. Even if Michelle Carter did encourage Conrad by texts to kill himself, wasn’t Conrad ultimately responsible for his own suicidal behavior, not Michelle?

    My paranoid mind thinks that beyond the blood vendetta and and political maneuvering was support for the use of cell phone social media texting to be used in future court cases, and that the encouragement of suicide be called murderous. Any ideas on this?

    As for the use of cell phone texting and social media, a psychologist well known in the media, Jean M. Twenge, goes on at length citing hundreds of thousands of interviews to show the damage of this activity to teens. The book title says a lot: “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us.” It was published just last August.

    Here is my last question. This is only mentioned, but it is there twice in the article:
    “His decision to enlist yet another person in addition to Michelle online to help him carry out his suicide. ”
    And this: “His parents did not know he had contacted another person, a young man on a suicide prevention site, and eventually convinced him, as well as Michelle, to help him die.”

    I assume that these two statements in the article are related.

    A man on a suicide prevention site helped Conrad to die? Is this a correct statement? I am confounded as to how anyone in suicide prevention could help someone to commit suicide. Can you please help me understand this? I’d say that man (a professional?) might be put on trial, too. What’s going on here?

    Thanks for reading my concerns, and I hope Dr Breggin can provide answers.

  3. I can easily join Dr Breggin in a call to ban the prescribing of psychiatric drugs for children.

    However, any rationale for keeping them out of children applies to adults of all ages, but especially to adults for whom decisions are made by others, including many of the elderly.

    There is nothing about a brain that’s been in use for 18 years and a day that guarantees immunity from the problems caused psychiatric drugs.

  4. You mean SSRI’s can make you mean and nasty? I have noticed my Mom becoming cold and selfish since she began dosing herself with Cymbalta and other crap. Claims it helps her “nerves.”

    Glad I went off the stuff. My family kept criticizing me for selfishness. The drugs made it impossible to feel for others the way I normally would. So it wasn’t my MI but the pills after all. What a relief!