Randomized Controlled Trial Confirms That Antipsychotics Damage the Brain

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry connects antipsychotics with damage to the brain in multiple areas.


In a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, the use of antipsychotics (in this case, olanzapine) was associated with damage to the brain in multiple areas. The researchers used a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) design, which allows them to suggest that the drugs cause the observed effect on the brain. The researchers found “widespread” cortical thinning in those who took the drug versus those who took a placebo.

“Unlike uncontrolled studies, our randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial design provides potential evidence for causation: olanzapine administration may cause a decrease in cortical thickness in humans,” the researchers write.

Exposure to olanzapine for just 36 weeks resulted in a loss of cortical thickness equal to up to four times the loss, on average, over the entire lifespan of someone who did not take the drug.

Previous research supports this finding. The researchers cite studies in rodents and monkeys that found that antipsychotic use resulted in a loss of 10% of cortical volume. Brain atrophy has been reported in children taking antipsychotics, and taking antipsychotics is associated with increased risk of death in children. Antidepressants and antipsychotics have both been associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.

Better outcomes have also been reported for those who stop taking antipsychotics. A recent study showed that adding antipsychotics to psychotherapy for first-episode psychosis did not result in any improvements. Discontinuing antipsychotic use has also been associated with improved cognition.

Study Details

Aristotle Voineskos led the research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada. The study was a continuation of the Study of the Pharmacotherapy of Psychotic Depression II (STOP-PDII) trial. The participants in that trial were people with a diagnosis of “psychotic depression.” They received olanzapine (Zyprexa, an “antipsychotic”) and sertraline (Zoloft, an “antidepressant”) throughout the initial trial.

Those who responded to treatment were randomized into this second part of the trial (those who no longer experienced psychotic symptoms and almost or fully remitted from depression). They all continued receiving sertraline, but half were randomly assigned to continue olanzapine, while the other half received a placebo. The participants had an MRI brain scan conducted at the beginning of this second trial, and at the end, 36 weeks later.


When comparing those taking olanzapine with those on placebo, those in the olanzapine group had more cortical thinning—meaning that the drug was responsible. When the researchers focused on just those who experienced remission from depression, those in the olanzapine group still had more cortical thinning—meaning that remission could not be responsible for the effect. According to the researchers:

“This randomized study in humans controls for confounders present in previous observational studies such as illness severity or other factors associated with illness that influence brain structure (e.g., socioeconomic status, stress, and substance use).”

The researchers note that antipsychotics are increasingly being prescribed to people with diagnoses such as autism and depression. They confirm, as well, that antipsychotics carry a host of dangerous side effects, not least of which is the risk of sudden death—“with risk of unexpected death substantially higher in both children and elderly individuals.”

The researchers confirmed that in this study, the effects of olanzapine on brain structure were more pronounced for older participants.

Other Analyses

The researchers also conducted several “exploratory” analyses, which compared subgroups within their study. These should be viewed skeptically, as exploratory analyses require a confirmation from studies that are designed to test them.

The exploratory findings were as follows:

  • Of those who relapsed, those receiving placebo had more cortical thinning.
  • Of those taking placebo, those who relapsed had more cortical thinning.
  • Of those taking olanzapine, those who remitted had more cortical thinning than those who relapsed

It’s difficult to know how to interpret these findings, especially the last one, which indicates that no longer having depressive symptoms on olanzapine might be worse for the brain than continuing to have depressive symptoms while on olanzapine. It’s also possible that cortical thinning is a poor proxy for overall brain health and other effects.

Additionally, all the participants did take both sertraline and olanzapine and improved before being randomized into either continuing the antipsychotic or receiving the placebo. This could confound the results, as all participants were exposed to potentially brain-damaging medications at some point.

Overall, though, the researchers urge caution in prescribing antipsychotics:

“Given that reductions in cortical thickness are typically interpreted in psychiatric and neurologic disorders as non-desirable, our findings could support a reconsideration of the risks and benefits of antipsychotics.”




Voineskos, A. N., Mulsant, B. H., Dickie, E. W., Neufeld, N. H., Rothschild, A. J., Whyte, E. M., Flint, A. J. (2020). Effects of antipsychotic medication on brain structure in patients with major depressive disorder and psychotic features: Neuroimaging findings in the context of a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online, February 26, 2020. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0036. (Link)


  1. In our time, this kind of research is unethical: we have known for a long time that neuroleptics damage the brain, and new “research” on this subject only harms more people, who are treated like animals.

    Research has already been done, neuroleptics must be banned now, without exposing more humans in studies whose results are known in advance.

    Thanks for the report.

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      • It sounds like you are here to promote a viewpoint. It’s my expectation that a person claiming research needs to provide their own links rather than saying “do a search on Google.” Do you have anything specific? I’m pretty familiar with the literature and any study I’ve seen on “neuroprotective effects” of psychotropics has been refuted or is not replicable. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not going to search for studies that you claim exist. Please provide some links and we can talk.

        As for “side effects,” sure, all drugs have side effects. The question is always whether the risks outweigh the benefits, remembering the Hippocratic Oath to “first, do no harm.” When people diagnosed with “serious mental illnesses” are dying 25 years earlier than the general population, when studies show that people NOT taking antipsychotic drugs do BETTER than those who take them in the long term, even if they had a worse prognosis to start with, when people in “developing” countries do far better in terms of recovery than those who have the “benefits” of modern psychiatry, arguments about “neuroprotectiveness” start to sound pretty foolish.

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          • From the article you link:

            “These results suggested a differential effect of antipsychotic agents on BDNF levels inpatients with schizophrenia. Peripheral BDNF may play a role in the disease process of a subset ofpatients, related to the use of antipsychotic agents”

            The authors are talking about a “differential effect” with SOME patients, and it says it “MAY play a role,” so not clearly established. There is nothing about protection from harm to the brain in this link, so claims of “neuroprotectiveness” are not shown by this link.

            Additionally, we’d need to know what kind of ostensible damage naturally happens in cases of “schizophrenia,” which is, of course, extremely problematic in that there is no objective way to diagnose who “has schizophrenia” and who does not, so any study on “schizophenia” may be and is most likely being done on heterogeneous populations, making any claims of neurological damage due to “schizophrenia” moot, let alone claims of “neuroprotectiveness.”

            Such a well educated person as you must certainly be aware that even mainstream psychiatry has questioned the validity of schizophrenia as a concept: https://theconversation.com/the-concept-of-schizophrenia-is-coming-to-an-end-heres-why-82775

            Of course, we DO know for certain at this point that “antipsychotic” drugs, formerly known as “major tranquilizers” and “neuroleptics,” do actually CAUSE brain damage, in that they create a loss of grey matter over time (on the average): “Viewed together with data from animal studies, our study suggests that antipsychotics have a subtle but measurable influence on brain tissue loss over time, suggesting the importance of careful risk-benefit review of dosage and duration of treatment as well as their off-label use.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3476840/

            I find it a bit hard to see the argument that something which reduces grey matter volume in the brain (the actual NEURONS are less dense!) is somehow “neuroprotective.” In fact, the mechanism of “synaptic pruning” is well known in studies of long-term street drug users, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the exact same process occurs when other psychiatric drugs that mess with neurotransmitter levels are used. Hardly an indication of protection of the brain from damage.

            Sorry, you’ll have to do a lot better than that to have any credibility in this quarter.

            As for your suggestion regarding antidepressants, I can only refer to the best insult in the history of film, from the Wizard of Oz:

            Auntie Em (To Miss Gulch): “Elmira Gulch! Just because you own half the county doesn’t mean you can run the rest of us! For twenty-five years, I’ve been DYING to tell you what I really think of you. And now… well… being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!”

            Hope that’s not too subtle for you to parse out.

            Enjoy your evening!

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          • And I just looked over my last two comments to which you appear to be responding. I see nothing there that sounds the least bit grumpy. Not sure what you’re talking about there. Perhaps you only have hammers and I look like a nail to you?

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          • “Cranky/ an antidepressant might help”. Thank you for exposing what you guys are truly about. You’re taking a person who’s happily leading his life with no drugs, and gaslighting him by saying that he needs an antidepressant because he sounds “cranky” to you.

            Why not simply outline what you want to say and leave it at that?

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        • Alzheimers and BPSD needs treatment.So in your opinion drugs used in dementia are good for nothing?
          As there are no neuroprotective effects according to you.I have seen improvement
          With drugs in patients.As for a link on neuroprotective effects I can recommend standard text books.There are many research papers under relevant topics.You can read Kaplan /oxford/Tasman .Dementia is under psychiatric disorders in ICD.

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          • You really think that any drug that has an effect is somehow neuroprotective???? Improvement is not a sign of neuroprotection. Look it up. Alcohol is very effective at reducing anxiety. Does that mean drinking alcohol is “neuroprotective?”

            I’m not doing your research for you. You obviously don’t have any research to hand and have simply swallowed up what someone wrote or said in your training classes. I’m not interested in hearing quotations from your “abnormal psych” professor. Come up with some real data or drop it.

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        • Hearing for the first time about mainstream psychiatry preaching against schizophrenia.The link you provided actually underlines the diagnosis of schizophrenia and wants to call it as psychotic spectrum disorder ,a better terminology rather than abolishing it.They also want to de stigmatise it by pushing it inside neurology .Very hilarious.Any way the latest ICD 11 and DSM has Schizophrenia as a Valid diagnosis which needs treatment .Psychiatric patients are also human beings.We cannot simply refuse treatment for them just because they wont react if you dont give treatment or are against treatment even if you give treatment.Good evening.

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          • If you’re hearing this for the first time, you’re obviously out of the loop. But I don’t see much point in talking to you, since you want to preach rather than exchanging views. So I’ll be signing off of this conversation, since I pretty much can predict whatever it is you’ll say already.

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          • You have reasoning there, and I wish I could do an email exchange with you. However, I have a feeling I’d feel like I was dealing with a psychiatrist (psychologist? hence your user name?) as a patient (client?) in a psyche hospital, and I have no interest in that. I should probably protect my email as well. But you seem to me like being someone who either needs a good long term debate, or someone who needs love and communication from someone who can competently communicate from lived experience-in this case from a person with a formal diagnosis. If I was treated by you-again as a psychologist?-neither one of those objectives appear possible from what you say. If you ARE a psychologist, I would have no immediate need for the prescriptions that you find so necessary. My guess is you’re so fond of them due to 1: having the appearance of nothing better and 2: from not ever having taken the drugs, I mean medicine—or your ‘treatment’—-yourself. Or are you including your special form of psychotherapy since your a psychologist? It’s hard to tell, and frankly, I don’t care to know. I must admit, human nature is terribly complicated.

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      • Great response Steve McCrea, thanks for responding to “theloniusmonk”.

        Those afraid that some one will take their drugs away, or afraid the chemical restraints placed on a family member might be removed , will defend the drugs as “medicine”.

        For a brain shrinkage positive web link , where a lobotomy is good for your brain “But decreasing brain volume could also be responsible for the beneficial effects of the drugs.” https://www.nature.com/news/2011/110207/full/news.2011.75.html

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      • They are re-proving that which is already known, because somehow the profession of psychiatry has shifted the burden of proof such that detractors need to prove that their “treatment IS dangerous instead of them being responsible for proving it is not.

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    • I was interviewed by a researcher once because I used nutrition to help myself come off neuroleptics, but I couldn’t be used because it was unethical to decrease or stop “anti-psychotics” in “psychotics”. I asked her why it is unethical if I chose it myself? And what if it is unethical not to research stopping these drugs? The scariest part was how blind she was to reality. How unfeeling for the specimens she was collecting and dissecting for “research”. For her pay check. For her potential Nobel Prize!

      This profession of “research” is not just corrupted, it is evil. I’m starting to think “research” is the very foundation of all the systems we are fighting to stop. It is research that led to and made acceptable the worst abuses in history. It is research that says one is broken and one is not. Research is the reason we have POLICE WELLNESS CHECKS! Research is the basis for the legal lock up of abuse survivors and dissidents in the name of treatment.

      It’s is the ultimate predator! Ultimate protection for abusers.

      If a fellow researcher is not free to say “wtf” “this is unethical” “STOP IT!” than what hope does some intentionally brain damaged lab rat have of ever making a difference? I can’t say THIS in any kind of round about stroking stiff upper class white lip way!!!!!

      It is not a tea party. It is an emergency. You will never save a choking victim if you stop to research or insist on pleasantries before action!

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  2. Anyone who prescribes antipsychotics for an “invalid” DSM disorder, or really for any other reason, should be arrested for torture.


    The antipsychotics are torture drugs, that should be made illegal to prescribe. But, of course, this would mean that most of the psychiatrists should be arrested. Which is what would happen, if we lived in a country that functioned within the “rule of law.”

    But America no longer is a country with the “rule of law.” It’s a country that gave the psychiatrists the omni-potent power to play judge, jury, and executioner to any innocent person they could get their hands on.

    And the psychiatric industry is murdering “8 million people” every year, based upon their “invalid” disorders, and with their neurotoxic drugs.


    Let’s hope we may end our modern day, enormous in scale, all Western civilization, psychiatric holocaust soon.

    By the way, all doctors – including the psychiatrists – are taught in med school that both the antidepressants and the antipsychotics can create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome, a medically known way of poisoning a person.


    And the doctors are also taught that the antipsychotics/neuroleptics can create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia” as well, via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.


    And when a “treatment” can create both the negative and positive symptoms of an unproven, “invalid” disorder, like “schizophrenia.” It’s highly likely that the primary etiology of that disorder is iatrogenic, not “genetic.”

    How long will it take before we may say “bye” to “the sacred symbol of psychiatry?”

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      • Your assumption that a “suicidal patient” will die or kill is, of course, a ridiculous one. I have talked to hundreds of suicidal people in my role as a crisis line supervisor and doing involuntary “hospitalization” evaluations and advocating for foster youth and just being a human being encountering other human beings in our crazy culture today. I would suggest that 98% of the people I talked to felt better JUST BECAUSE THEY FOUND SOMEONE WHO WAS INTERESTED IN THEIR STORY. Not once did I ever recommend or require psychiatric drugs to “prevent suicide.” But you might be interested to know that I did encounter a significant number who were suicidal ONLY AFTER they took one of psychiatry’s magic “antidepressant” pills. I met many, many more who found the drugs marginally helpful, utterly useless, or making things worse.

        The message that we are somehow taking a huge risk by NOT drugging a suicidal person flies in the face of massive evidence that a) “antidepressants” do nothing to prevent suicide, b) “antidepressants” actually CAUSE suicidal feelings or actions in a small but significant proportion of those who take them, and c) there are many ways to help a person considering suicide that have nothing to do with giving them drugs of questionable value and unquestionable risk.

        I think you have come to the wrong place if you want to sell the idea that we only have a choice between drugging people and letting them die. We know better. I hope you’ll read some of the stories here and you can learn that there is another viewpoint.

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        • See ,psychiatrists wont prescribe medications to sell it.They are prescribing it to help patients.If a patient is having suicidal ideations due to Alcohol withdrawal,Command hallucinations,agitated depression,panic disorder or Acute stress reaction etc ,they need treatment with medications to save their precious life.Your therapies and counselling wont work in them.I have done therapies and counselling in patients with Adjustment disorder,personality disorders etc.They have better insight and can sometimes lead a better life with or without medications.In fact both view points must be used after judgement.In severe suicidal ideations with psychotic symptoms or psychotic depression,even ECT is needed.No therapy will work as patient will be too agitated to even listen you.I think you know the phenemenology seen in nihilistic delusion.

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          • Once again, your views are equated with scientific truth. Just saying things don’t make them true. If we want to have dueling personal experiences, I have helped people who have “severe suicidal ideations” to huge turnarounds in their lives with no assistance from any drugs whatsoever. I’ve also talked to many people who have taken drugs and become MORE suicidal, or suicidal for the first time ever in their lives, and it went away when they stopped.

            The scientific evidence is strong that antidepressants DO NOT prevent or reduce suicides, and they likely increase the probability on the average. Perhaps you simply lack the skills to help these people, which is not a black mark for you, just a fact. But claiming that the fact you can’t help them means that nobody else can is very much an arrogant and self-centered viewpoint. A little humility might be a good starting point, rather than simply stating your opinions louder and louder when actual scientific data goes against your viewpoint.

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          • “Nihilistic delusion”, “personality disorder”, “adjustment disorder”. Good god, such nauseating language typical of psychiatric institutions, their workers and patient supporters. It’s like a DSM AI bot.

            Personally, I have no problem with someone ingesting something that’s helping them and causing them no harm (as they see it). It is your method of help that is putrid.

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      • Hi Psychologist,

        Thank you for your common opinion. There was a really good article here recently about the reliability of suicide risk assessment. https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/06/suicide-candy-corn/

        If you want to know whether psychiatric drugs reduce or increase crime, don’t search Google, read Dr. Peter Breggin’s Medication Madness. Pharmaceutical companies have even paid out multi-million dollar judgments resulting from psychiatric drug induced homicide and suicide. They don’t care about the loss of lives and the lives destroyed. They consider it the cost of doing business, as it is only a tiny fraction of what they make in profit.

        As Steve has pointed out, psychiatric drugs do not prevent suicide, but may sometimes cause it. Would you risk it?

        I don’t know why you’re pushing a pro-drug agenda, but your assertion that psychiatric drugs make bad people good, and suicidal people hopeful simply isn’t true. The value of psychiatric drugs to the user depends on the individual, the actual effects of the drugs, as well as the circumstances surrounding the drug use. Psychiatric drugs are really no better than cocaine or heroin in that some people like them, but they also carry great risks. But the average “depressed” person would never think to solicit illegal drugs from a street dealer. Some people do feel they benefit from heroin or cocaine, but hopefully, as a society, we recognize that people deserve better than to seek relief from their pain through drugs, and risk everything for the sake of a drug. People deserve better than psychiatric drugs too.

        When there is genuine love and concern, which sometimes includes practical help, people’s emotional states can vastly improve.

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      • Why do they want to die or kill? Just the label of “bpad”? Or is there more to it? Did something happen to the person or he wants to off himself for no reason? Did he express “I wish I could kill him” because he was simply out of it or because the opposite person did something terrible to him? Why did you label him as “bpad”? Could you not have helped him without doing that?

        I could never be a shrink simply for the fact that I would not want to do that to someone else irrespective of their suffering. I could see a child rocking back and forth and eating dung off the road and I would STILL keep him/her out of the system and find another way of help. But it’s all put under the rubric of “science” these days and you’re a “crank” or “in denial of illness” or an “anti-vaxxer” or a “scientologist” for having the common sense to not put yourself or someone else in harm’s way.

        I wouldn’t mind offering a human being methods of help that I could think of with whatever knowledge I have or get someone more knowledgeable, but I have enough awareness to know that the shrink SYSTEM is best avoided.

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      • I had a zoom call with a mental health group yesterday. A psychiatrist said we all need to learn from our mistakes and do a better job going forward. This is admittedly difficult. Suicide is no joke and could be a bold exclamation point or question mark to a very long sentence. It appears that everyone has a role to learn more, do better, and find a new way. The person most in need of education is the educator. I support Steve and Caroline’s responses and value their work. I’ve had enough of this. I won’t respond to any more.

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  3. Layperson: A non-ordained member of a Church. (I don’t want to belong to your church.)

    Layperson: A person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject. (Believe me, no one has specialized knowledge of psychiatry, psychology and pharmaceuticals like those with lived experience. Years served in hospital and/or treatment should be respected the same way years served in school is. I have a PhD in psychiatric services. My thesis was on the Real World Reality of Ethics and Research as a Tool for Systems to Protect Predators and Cover up Abuse. I paid dearly for my education and am still paying.)

    Professional: engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. (huh. I’m a professional too.)

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  4. I was prescribed Risperdal and Zyprexia for OCD anxiety. I am so, so glad that I read about the effects of the medication and was able to make the informed choice not to take them. I feel like I dodged a bullet with that one.

    I am still on Paxil, Anafranil, and Paxil, but it would have been so much worse with the other two medications included.

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  5. I was forced to take Mirtazapine and Olanzapine for severe depression and anxiety for a couple of years from 2004. They left me a total zombie, unable to think, sleep, or coordinate my movements properly, and with an uncontrollable urge to eat sugar and fat.

    Whenever I was able, I stored them in my cheek and spat them out, but if given the dissolving on tongue variety this was not possible.

    As soon as I was released from the treatment order, I gradually weaned off them…withdrawal took months of true hell.

    I cannot even imagine nastier drugs, and can fully understand that they cause permanent brain damage. I still have problems with memory and co-ordination, and occasionally the weird muscle stiffness I had when on them.

    They should be banned.

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      • Hey Psychologist; 😀
        How’s it going? I haven’t seen you here before. What brings you in? 😀

        Why don’t you start by telling me how you chose your name? It’s pretty. You’re safe here. I only want what is best for you. Just a quick note about confidentiality… oh right, you know the drill. Silly me! 😀

        There a lot of sick people here who have come off medications against medical advice. How does that make you feel? You look nervous. 😀

        How have you been sleeping? 😀

        Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with mental illness?

        Why NO, my smile isn’t fake. 🙁 Why would you think such a thing? Do you have trouble trusting people? Do you often feel that other’s are unreal? 😀

        Have you ever had thoughts of harming yourself? 😀

        Have you been in touch with your psychiatrist lately? Are you taking your meds? It’s nothing to be ashamed of Psychologist. It’s like diabetes. Yes there are some temporary side effects, but nothing to worry about. Whatever you do don’t google it, it will only cause your imagination to create weight gain and tremors and worse. 😀

        Oh, you don’t want medication! Oh, you are a medical professional? Oh, I see. Are you sure? Is there someone I can call to verify? No? You don’t think you have a problem? mmmm, I’m really worried about you. 😀

        You seem angry, agitated. No you can’t leave now. It’s not safe! You are not medicated. What if you kill someone or yourself? I can’t let that happen! 🙁 I only want what’s best for you! 😀

        You are going to leave anyway? 😀 Against advice. I don’t think so. (SECURITY!) I can’t let that happen. I am a professional and I have an obligation to make sure you get the care you need. (SECURITY!) (ambulance transport … yes … … Query bpad … MANIA … … Aggression… running away… … anosognosia… query bring sedation… … police back up… … possible psychosis … )

        You’ll feel better in no time Psychologist! I promise. These nice men are only holding you down because you keep trying to get away! See how upset you are? I’m so worried about you. You’re safe now. In good hands! 😀

        But, the nice doctor’s will help you. You just need a little rest. The ambulance is here. 😀

        Great first meeting Psychology! Oh it doesn’t matter if I get your name wrong now, if that really is your name. Welcome to care! We’ll have a long talk when you get out whether you want to or not! 😀

        (Dark humor aside… Welcome Psych! I’m one of those “bpad” non-compliant folks. So far I haven’t killed anyone. Stay a while, you make me laugh! And not even in that Hollywood bipolar off meds maniacal MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH kind of way. It just caught me so off guard, your comments, that I giggled out loud. Almost posted: Are you for real?)

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      • Psychologist, I have been off all prescribed psychiatric drugs and without psych or shrink “support” for over 10 years and have been far better off without drugs or a shrink’s “support”. I had not attempted suicide before being put on psychiatric drugs and have not attempted suicide since being off them.

        As far as I am concerned shrinks and their drugs are quite simply EVIL. I do not need to keep in touch with a shrink and neither should I have been locked up and drugged…and certainly not without my fully informed consent….the whole saga was extremely traumatic.

        Please read the article and about the negative effects of anti-psychotics! They are dangerous, mind damaging drugs, and certainly should not be considered as therapeutic medications.

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      • “Keep in touch with your psychiatrist”.

        Wonderful. The reason your ilk is best avoided is not because people don’t suffer. People do suffer from depression, anxiety or what have you. But your method of “help” involves labelling people with derogatory labels, making incessant behavioural observations in files transferred from person to person in your systems. Add to that the fact that drugs are controlled substances, it’s a recipe for long term revolving door syndrome. Sorry to single you out, but do you people have any idea what this stuff does to people?

        “Keep in touch with your psychiatrist”. Most people here do not WANT to keep in touch with shrinks or come anywhere near them or many of their patients. People have gone to great lengths to escape psychiatry and obliterate it from their lives. They have fled from places, lived in anonymity and isolation and what not.

        I don’t think you people truly realise the social implications of what you do, even if your aim is to help and there is no ill-will behind it. You know. But only in the sense that a person blind since birth “knows” that there is something called colour, despite the fact that he will never see it.

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        • Something that’s even worse is, when people act out of a natural impulse to defend themselves, they are sometimes labelled as “treatment resistant” and “personality disordered” (the entire concept is legally sanctioned defamation irrespective of a person’s behaviour) not necessarily only by shrinks but even by members of the common populace. Psychiatric terminology is used as a tool to gaslight and invalidate people. It is misused by the common populace, socially, legally and it creeps into one’s life in nasty ways. And you have labels for all kinds of things including being defiant of authority, having strong opinions and what not. You are lucky to not have the experiences of someone on the other side of the table.

          I don’t wish to be harsh but we have to protect ourselves.

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          • They are also frequentely accused of assault and sometimes charged criminally, especially in institutional settings, when they react defensively to what is actually an assault by the staff. Any time a staff person lays hands on a person, any defensive reactions should be considered expected and understandable efforts to defend one’s person from attack. It is a manifestation of the power imbalance between patient and staff that the staff can assault patients with impunity and yet any attempt by a patient/resident to defend him/herself is automatically considered an assault.

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        • “People have gone to great lengths to escape psychiatry and obliterate it from their lives. They have fled from places, lived in anonymity and isolation…”

          Yes, I think it’s important to make that clear, to state it and re-state it, especially to the many people who are completely clueless about why it might be necessary for an ex-psych patient to move or go into hiding. And they may need to do this without any social support and when their bodies and minds have been badly compromised by drugging and other forms of psychiatric torture.
          I think that deserves a bit of respect.
          And, as O.O. pointed out, the experience of being a psych patient is an education and what we have learned in that “schooling” should be respected as well. Instead it’s not even acknowledged by most people.

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      • Such condescension, Psychologist, and do you regularly diagnose people you’ve never met? I’ve read that is considered “unethical.”

        And just an FYI, going off psychiatric drugs results in a drug withdrawal induced “super sensitivity manic psychosis,” not a “relapse” of an “invalid” disorder.


        Welcome to the conversation, however.

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  6. Wow. I usually dont chime into much of anything, but I found these comments stimulating. I am a trained psychiatrist, just finished residency. I think the use of neuroleptics/antipsychotics is obviously not a perfect solution to mood instability, aggression, psychosis, however can be effective. There are side effects and these do need to be weighed.

    I believe what’s most important is caring for a person, listening to what their experience is and helping them through that. Before Thorazine, from my understanding, we had insulin shock therapy, induction of coma, and other treatments that were discarded as ineffective or inhumane. Yes, there is a down-side to medications we have today, like in other aspects of medicine treating cancer, end stage renal disease, et cetra.

    It’s hard. Very hard. I hope that we can continue to understand and develop treatment that is more effective. I agree with all of you in part. I appreciate the passion and would like to continue this conversation. It is these types of conversations that will drive us to a better future. We are in interesting times. Take care.

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    • To MSIDHU who wrote”down-side to medications we have today, like in other aspects of medicine treating cancer, end stage renal disease”

      Choices versus diseases….

      Dr. Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) wrote
      “In physics the same laws are used to explain why airplanes fly and why they crash. In medicine the same principles are used to explain why people live and why they die. In psychiatry, however, one set of rules is used to explain sane behavior and another set of rules is used to explain insane behavior: sane behavior is attributed to reasons (choices), insane behavior to causes (diseases).”

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    • @MSIDHU

      You are likely not evil. Most certainly you are a decent person and an upstanding citizen.

      Becoming a doctor in general is demanding and carries risks.

      That aside, you write that you’ve just completed your residency in Psychiatry. In your career, you will go onto label possibly 1000s of people as OCD, ODD, ADD, ADHD, BPD, BPAD, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective etc. You will make incessant observations of people’s behaviour in files that they will have hardly any power over. Every label that you put on a human being could destroy them in ways you might only superficially know. And not only them, but anyone who is biologically related to them as the initially labelled will go onto become their family histories.

      Please consider the career you are about to have. Ask yourself, if you will ever be able to ACTUALLY help a person who is suicidal because of financial problems by donating money to him/her in a personal capacity so he could start a business, or rescue a kid from an abusive family, or help someone like a human being the way a decent mother or a father would ordinarily help their child or whether the scope of your help will be limited to labelling, recording observations in files, using people’s personal information to collect statistics so you can publish a paper/make a case study, prescribe drugs that will make people dependent on you even if they don’t want that.

      Both those things are very different. One involves fulfilling an occupational position. The other involves possibly jeopardising your own career to do the right thing.

      A doctor could always switch to doing things like stitching wounds, fixing broken bones, diagnosing and treating infections etc.

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    • Thanks Psych! I’ve read some of Stahl’s psychopharm and had access to and read a lot of textbooks in the staff library at the Psych hospital. Honestly it wasn’t the medications that hurt me, it was how they were used. Taking a tranquilizer in a crisis a few times is much different then life long drugging, but there isn’t much point talking is there. I was a medical professional before psychopharmacology in the form of an antidepressant for (assumed somatic) shoulder pain, After that my underlying condition flared right up. (Or so I’m told.) 13 years later and my life RUINED I came off meds against advice. NOW some doctors say I must have never been sick at all. hmmm.

      So yeah I’m pretty hurt and angry. My time is valuable too, but no one listens once your labeled. No one will ever have to listen again. I’m glad you stopped in. Listen to your patients, Psych. Listen carefully with an open heart. Listen when they complain about no energy or weight gain or feeling like they aren’t their best. Listen! PLEASE! And use your power for good. You found MIA for a reason. Medications are just a tool among tools. (a power tool) Not a cure.

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  7. As someone prescribed Olanzapine for suspected “hypomania” (a misdiagnosis; I actually had a life crisis, perimenopause, and a vitamin B-12 deficiency…but I digress) I can confirm the stuff is poison, even after being on it for only about two weeks in 2008. Feeling somewhat calmer soon gave way to losing control of my memory and physical coordination, then worse and I wound up in the ER. Was told never to take it again; I dodged a bullet.

    Peter Simons, did the paper discuss the possible role of withdrawal in the subjects receiving placebo? (Withdrawal from the Zyprexa they had been on before being randomized into the control group.)

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    • One person is diagnosed as having Stroke.No one is bothered about it .There is no stigma.Another person is diagnosed as having a psychotic disorder.Suddenly stigma appears from nowhere.Actually it is the society which needs correction in its viewpoints.It is the society which is biased and needs correction.Even psychiatrists are stigmatised just because they treat their patients.

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      • I agree with you, stigma and discrimination do emanate from the society at large, and the society needs correction. Unfortunately, psychiatrists, on the whole, rather than helping demystify and normalize emotional distress and behavioral difficulties, appear to have doubled down on labeling and stigmatizing those who don’t “fit in” to our society. There is scientific proof that assigning biological causation to “mental illnesses,” as you are clearly promoting, INCREASES stigma and discrimination, while framing them as reactions to stressful events DECRASES stigma and increases empathy for the victims of trauma and social stresses.

        GIven that there is not one “mental disorder” that has a physical cause or even a physical CORRELATION associated with all or most “cases,” and given that these “disorders” are all defined by social criteria which are based on the very social assumptions and stigma you are trying to elminiate, it seems a lot more sane to frame “mental disorders,” if we need to define them as such, as common reactions to stress and trauma.

        Since we know that the current system supports and increases stigma and discrimination, what do you suggest be changed in the system to ameliorate that? Can you see ways in which psychiatry itself is contributing to the stigmatization?

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  8. Rather than labelling Psychiatry as a stigma and psychotropics as toxins,strive towards improving the compounds.Create a compound with no side effect.Do research and save patients.Talking wont work in all psychiatric disorders.Atleast I am 100% convinced about that.

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    • “When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.”

      No one here is labeling psychiatry as a “stigma.” Psychiatry is stigmatizing its own clients by labeling them based on socially sanctioned/unsanctioned behavior.

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  9. Wow, psychologist, watch out you don’t give a bad name to your profession! Why don’t you go ahead and identify yourself? That’s the general expectation for people here who aren’t patients or ex-patients.

    From what I can tell, the deeper the symptoms, the less it has to do with brain/body biochemistry. Personality disorders, which can be long-lasting and very dangerous, are considered almost entirely untreatable with drugs, which is why they are not actually classified as “illnesses.” So, what causes them? When is the profession (psychology; psychiatry doesn’t care) going to get some realizations on this problem that move things forward?

    Most of us here at MIA seek to rein in psychiatry (and dream of eliminating it!). But we could use some help from psychology with better theories and better therapies based on real observations. I have run into a lot of psychologists (and a few psychiatrists) who are not content with today’s state of theory and practice and are actively seeking something better. Why would anyone in the system be content? What’s good about the system as it currently exists? CBT? Really? Is that all modern thought can offer us on this subject?

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    • “So, what causes them? When is the profession (psychology; psychiatry doesn’t care) going to get some realizations on this problem that move things forward?”

      Most often, according to the medical evidence, what causes the distress that gets labeled as “mental illness” is child abuse. The problem is that both the psychologists and psychiatrists, and their many “mental health” minion, are systemic child abuse cover uppers and profiteers.


      And all this systemic child abuse covering up is by DSM design, since no “mental health” worker today may ever bill any insurance company for ever helping any child abuse survivor ever, unless they first misdiagnose them.


      And all this systemic child abuse covering up by our “mental health” workers – who are also aiding, abetting, and empowering the pedophiles – has helped to create a “pedophile empire.”


      No doubt, confessing to the systemic child abuse covering up crimes of the “mental health” industry would be embarrassing for both the psychologists and psychiatrists, since covering up child abuse is illegal. But this is why neither the psychological nor psychiatric professions want to confess. Both industries want to maintain their multibillion dollar, primarily child abuse covering up, iatrogenic illness creating, scientifically “invalid,” “mental health” system.

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      • OK Someone Else. Child abuse is an important problem around the world. But it’s basically just a criminal behavior. The abused can react in various ways which might often manifest as what have been known as “mental illnesses.”

        But in my little discussion above, I’m talking about “personality disorders” or in other words, the abusers. What is causing that? The answers to those types of questions go much deeper than what happened to them when they were children. And that is because personality goes much deeper than one lifetime.

        This is what society has to catch up on, and is very unlikely to any time soon, as most people who contribute to this forum don’t even recognize the significance of research in what is currently called “parapsychology” to the understanding of what is currently being called “personality disorder.” We can’t get anywhere on many of these issues because this subject is a total brick wall for most people.

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  10. Does anybody know a trustworthy legal representative? I have been completely powerless for 20 years. No family support, surrounded by menacing social workers and drs, who completely fabricated this whole thing. With the police as always readily doing their bidding. I mean, i don’t even trust the legal process or courts, but it’s worth a shot. It is dire.

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      • Taking help from CCHR is another complication. The more one takes help from them, the more psychiatry and the public have an excuse to use the Scientology card which simply solidifies psychiatry even more. Nasty situation.

        If a person is down in the dirt with no resources and no power, they will take help from wherever they can get, even if it means turning to Scientology funded groups, no matter how nasty or cranky Scientology itself may be.

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  11. I know these drugs cause psychosis. So does stress and trauma. Mitigation of psychosis seems to be where we get it wrong.

    Looking at Covid, it appears everyone wants to get back to a normal. Can the same be said to psychosis and psychiatric prescriptions?

    I think the stigma stems from a want to return to “normal” asap that often overlooks the well being of the patient dealing with psychosis, stress, or trauma.

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    • The best example I know of out there that deals with better ways to “return to normal” is the “Open Dialog” experience in Finland. What I can say about it is that it’s just a saner response to the problem. They say they deal with psychosis all the time, using little or no drugs, and have great success. All they are doing is being sane, helpful, and letting the “patient” participate in “getting well.” Having a care financing system that does not get in the way of good care or incentivize “short cuts” is also helpful. But they are the only hospital in Finland using that system. So even a workable system is not readily accepted by psychiatry. Psychiatry, essentially, has too many insane assumptions built into itself. Only a few have broken away from those toxic thinking habits.

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      • I think the psychiatric industry is deeply threatened by anything that actually has a chance of working, and the more it humanizes the “mentally ill,” the more threatening they seem to find it. Their response to “Open Dialog” is pretty solid proof of this. 80% success without drugs should be considered a miracle, but it is relegated to a fringe approach that no serious psychiatrist can take seriously without being attacked by his/her compatriots. I think that says a lot about the actual purposes of the psychiatric “profession.”

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  12. So I took Zyprexa right out of college. My p-doc said it was the wonder drug that helped all sorts of different diagnoses.

    But I felt utterly stupid and couldn’t do anything that required “higher critical thinking.” Which means that even with a college degree, I might as well ended up flipping burgers.

    At this point, all I want to know is a direct answer: Does Zyprexa do permanent damage?

    Someone please let me know and calm my anxieties.


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    • Sadly, and predictably, no one really ever studies the long-term effects of these drugs. So it’s hard to say. But most people I’ve talked to who take these drugs, especially if it’s not for a long period of time, report at least some significant recovery after stopping. There are exceptions to that, but most get back to some semblance of “normal functioning” over time.

      What issues are you struggling with that you think may be related to the Zyprexa?

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      • Well, I’ve been on pmeds since the early 90s for depression. Within the first few months, pdocs put me on AD and AP combo.

        I took Zyprexa in the early 2000s for at least 4 years. I had recently graduated from college. I’m not sure whether I was on Zyprexa near end of college or right after it.

        But my pdoc had me routinely take a liver function and cholesterol test, every month or something.

        I was doing menial temp work. I slept a lot. I felt emotional numb and intellectually blunted. My mind was usually foggy. I could not articulate sophisticated thoughts. I had very short attention span, especially when it came to trying to read books, even though I was a Lit major. Basically, I felt and sounded like a zombie.

        After those 4 years or so, I saw another pdoc. By then, I was given the cocktail. Another 5 years I get around reading Whitaker’s book; I was intrigued by this exposition. By the time I read about the cocktail—I was fully convinced about his message. (That, and Dr. Hyman, and the details about how AD leads to BP diagnosis to other stuff.)

        But yeah… Still on most of the pmeds. Stuck in limbo, esp. during this quarantine.

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  13. And to think, when I was a kid and young adult, I was naïve enough to think that if my observation and knowledge of the fact that these drugs caused brain damage ever became proven, then it would be “game over”.

    *sigh* … Even in children. “So what? Is that like, a bad thing or something?” Or “What if the damage, like, cures the disease or something?” and ultimately, “What do you know, you’re not a doctor!”

    https://youtu.be/XAfOycUHuaY – these people are. They ought to build statues of them at this point considering how acclaimed they are. I’ve noticed that even Whitaker is too afraid to write about them.

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      • You need to see it. It’s there. It’s still going on. And I somehow caught a European documentary of child drugging at Biederman’s co. and now you need to see it.

        Child drugging marches on. Now imagine nurse Ratchet smiling and then a cutaway to a kid rocking back and forth and grunting and drooling then back to nurse Ratchet smiling again except this time she sticks her nose up as if superior beyond comprehension.

        Then imagine a narrator voice say’s :

        “Whatever has happened to the child, whether right or wrong, only the most intelligent of specialists will know and understand if it was the right thing to do.”

        Now just imagine if MIA or anyone had a documentary that had children writhing in agony from dystonia and parents crying and so on and so forth regarding the experience of child psychiatry. That is nowhere to be found. As always, the winners are winning. Because protesting and trying to maintain a publishing career, etc, are the best ways to combat this atrocity. /sarcasm

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        • Also notice in that documentary when the girl takes her risperdal, she opens her mouth in a way to bloat it and stick her tongue out and everything to show that she actually swallowed.

          Think about that. Was there ever a point where she was cheeking the drug? Does the camera ever lie?

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        • I did watch it. The whole agonizing thing. I believe you are saying that we should really have zero tolerance for this drugging BS. If that’s your point, I agree. The film was almost bizarrely inconclusive but basically confusing. My group promotes zero tolerance, but they call us crazy. Do we have to return to the Stone Age just to get rid of psych drugs?

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  14. I would love for someone who had been on this drug for several years to take this article to their GP and just compound the fact they have a serious brain damage, ask about stem cells, demand imaging, etc. Lay down the fact that this is serious and must be treated as a priority health problem. It’s what everybody should be doing. Take it all the way up the ladder; file a complaint with your health care provider that your doctor is refusing to treat you for drug induced brain damage if he’s not referring you to neurologists for scans and trying even the most expensive of state-of-the-art treatments for people with traumatic brain injury. THE BRAIN IS BYFAR THE MOST IMPORTANT ORGAN IN THE BODY! Any damage to it must be considered serious, and anything that damages the brain should not be considered “behavioral health” medicine!

    I guarantee you that if a very important person stumbled upon taking this or any other neuroleptic drug, got the brain damage and all the negative effects we know about these drugs “side effects”, which are essentially the same as a combination of huntingsons disease and parkinsons disease albeit arguably worse, it would be a serious matter. The mic would drop like a bomb. Shame on psychiatry. The profession itself is an assault on humanity and needs to be abolished. They don’t help people. They help people get rid of people or make them more manageable if there is ever a problem in the social fabric of family and society. It’s a crime against humanity.

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