A few days ago, psychologist and educator Michael Corrigan was a guest on my radio show and he brought up some questions about how to communicate with people about psychiatric drugs. Specifically, he asked, “What are the three most important things for anyone to know about psychiatric drugs?” Here is my answer:
Psychiatric drugs are neurotoxins. They poison the brain, injuring brain cells and causing severe biochemical imbalances and potential biological chaos. Because drug companies design them to cross the blood brain barrier and to impair specific neurotransmitter systems, every psychiatric drug is a potent neurotoxin. They cannot “fix” biochemical imbalances because there are no biochemical imbalances in the brains of troubled, suffering people; and more specifically because they are tailored in the lab to disrupt brain function and not to fix it. As neurotoxins, they are bad for the brain with the first dose. They can cause tragic harm, such as suicide and violence early in treatment, and tend to cause brain damage and apathy after longer exposure.
Psychiatric drugs “work” by harming your brain and mind (the brain-disabling principle). Like any form of brain injury, some psychiatric drugs can cause temporary highs; but all cause emotional blunting and loss of touch with oneself and others. They make people care less about their own lives and the lives others. They cause these effects by infiltrating the entire brain, diminishing the overall function, including in the super-sensitive basal ganglia, limbic system, temporal lobe and frontal lobe.
Psychiatric drugs will hide their harmful effects from you (medication spellbinding). Most people who use alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or narcotics are the last to know how much they are being harmed or harming others while “under the influence.” Some people insist these neurotoxins are helpful when the main long-term effect consists of diminished awareness, sensitivity or feeling. The same is especially true of psychiatric drugs, because drug companies tailor them to target and disrupt major neurotransmitter systems like dopamine and serotonin. People taking psychiatric drugs often underestimate the harm and overestimate any good effects. This is “medication spellbinding.”
These three principles of neuropharmacology—neurotoxicity, brain-disabling effects, and medication spellbinding—are the starting point for understanding how psychiatric drugs actually affect the brain and mind, and why to avoid them, whenever possible.
To worsen the problem of exposure to psychiatric drugs, all of them can cause withdrawal symptoms. Some are frankly addictive, like the stimulants given to children for “ADHD” and the tranquilizers given for anxiety and insomnia in adults. Other drugs that do not create cravings, such as the antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, can cause so much emotional havoc and suffering during withdrawal, that people suffer greatly when trying to stop taking them. Reducing or stopping psychiatric drugs outside a hospital should be done cautiously and carefully with experienced clinical supervision and a good support system.
Many studies confirm that psychiatric drugs do more harm than good and should simply be avoided. What can people turn to other than psychiatric drugs?
Research also shows that many non-drug approaches are effective, including psychotherapy, as well as improving overall health through positive beliefs, exercise and nutrition. It is in your best interest to find a therapist or counselor who treats you as someone to be treasured and empowered.
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.