Joining us today for the Mad in America podcast is renowned psychopharmacologist Dr David Healy.

David is a psychiatrist, scientist and author. Before becoming a professor of psychiatry in Wales, and more recently in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University in Canada, he studied medicine in Dublin and at Cambridge University.

He is a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and has authored more than 220 peer-reviewed articles and 25 books, including The Antidepressant Era and The Creation of Psychopharmacology and Pharmageddon.

He has been involved as an expert witness in homicide and suicide trials involving psychotropic drugs, and in bringing problems with these drugs to the attention of American and European regulators, as well as raising awareness of how pharmaceutical companies sell drugs by marketing diseases and co-opting academic opinion-leaders, ghost-writing their articles.

David is a founder and CEO of Data Based Medicine Limited, which operates through its website, dedicated to making medicines safer through online direct patient reporting of drug side effects.

In this interview, we discuss the recently held World Tapering Day, a possible relationship between antidepressant treatment and sensory neuropathy and the difficulties that can be encountered when trying to deprescribe.

The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity. Listen to the audio of the interview here.

James Moore: David, welcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me again for the Mad in America podcast. It’s good to catch up and explore where your thinking is at with various issues.

David Healy: It’s good to be here and our conversations have always been great. The issues are probably pertinent to some of the stuff that I was looking at recently linked to World Tapering Day. So yes, lots to pick up on.

Moore: As you say, World Tapering Day was held over the 4th, 5th and 6th of November and it was led by people from the Netherlands who, themselves, have experiences with opioid and antidepressant withdrawal and experience supporting people trying to come off the drugs. I just wondered what your reflection was on World Tapering Day and whether it’s a good thing to get people together around a banner such as this.

Healy: I think it was a great thing from a few different points of view. First of all, I think putting the idea of tapering on the map and having tapering strips gives both patients who may want to get off the drugs and doctors who are faced with the question from patients, “how do I get off these drugs?” the idea that there is a way to do it, which makes it easier for people to recognize the problem.

I think a lot of the problems in both mental health and general healthcare become problems because someone comes to the doctor who has no answers and because they’ve got no answers they don’t want to even hear or see the problem. That adds to the problem, the fact that I’m not being seen, I’m not being listened to and not believed. Even if the doctor hasn’t an answer, it’s great to be believed.

Now, if the doctor and the patient have an idea that tapering strips are a way to move this forward, that’s going to encourage them both to take the chance. A lot of people have problems tapering and I’m sure that the strips help, though some people have very severe problems which may not be just as simple as using a strip.

Looking at the World Tapering Day presentations and the videos that are there now, Peter Groot who is the person who got tapering strips off the ground is very impressive. Not in the way of an expert standing up there and saying, “This is the way, the truth and the light,” much more a case of he’s just painfully honest and decent. He kind of talks about the issues and somehow has a way of getting things that need to be on the radar.

Right at the end of his talk, he said things that are all too true, which is that the pharmaceutical companies brought these drugs on the market and they are all one-size-fits-all and they didn’t have doses that we could step down to and make it easy to get off. He didn’t quite use the word evil but he went very close to it, saying that this is a complete scandal. It means that rich people are fine, they can go to compounding pharmacists and pay double or triple the usual costs or they can buy liquids that are much higher costs to help them get off. Most people who are hooked on antidepressants don’t have these options. If the family doctors refuse to actually prescribe a liquid because it’s going to cost them more, or if they go to a compounding pharmacy and hear, “Yes, we can make that up for you but it’s going to cost a lot more,” it really gets people in a bind.

This is an awful problem which affects millions of people and messes up the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. There is no support for the people that are caught in this bind. Peter, as I say, gave a terribly simple talk but fairly profound and he is quite a remarkable man, I think.

Moore: In my dealings with Peter, I’ve always been impressed by what motivated him to do this, the simple motivation of identifying a problem that he could see a practical solution to and trying to help people. So there was never any talk about money or recognition. It really was simply about trying to fix a problem that he saw that affected him and affected others.
While I don’t suggest the strips are the right tool for everybody, they are another tool in the box and the more tools in the box there are, the more proof there is that this is a pressing problem that needs answers. It does give doctors a way to respond to this problem, as you said, if people are believed. That’s a big issue in itself, isn’t it?
There are a number of things, withdrawal, perhaps chronic fatigue or even long-COVID now where as soon as the doctor hears certain phrases, they stop believing that person. That’s quite a challenge to stand up to your doctor to say, “I know more than this about you. I’ve been living with this.”
I wondered what your experience was of that. Is there anything that could be done to get your doctor on board?

Healy: Yes and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but just to hop back quickly before we go on to getting the doctor on board. One of the other things tapering strips do is even if they are not right for all people, even if—as I think—there’s this group of people who have a sensory neuropathy caused by the drugs and while tapering helps with that, it’s not the complete answer. There are going to be some people that we’re going to have to try and find some way to make the little nerve endings that actually seem to be damaged regrow.
To this day doctors, probably even most of them tell people who want to get off drugs, first of all, there is this group of doctors that say, “You can’t. You have to remain on these for the rest of your life.” That’s a huge group but there is also a group that say to the person, whether that’s an SSRI or a benzodiazepine or whatever, “It’s easy enough, just switch from taking one pill a day to one every two days and then after a few weeks, change one every three days.” This is disastrous. This is very bad advice.

One of the things tapering strips can do, which is good for all people, is to stop doctors saying crazy things like this. I mean, it might sound reasonable to them but we know that it’s just not right and it is actually making things worse.

I have a sense even that people often can’t talk about these things, because the doctor—even though they think he or she is a nice person—may turn nasty and may play the expert card. “I am the expert. When you’ve got 10 years of training in medicine, then we can have a conversation,” or something like that. For me, I’ve learned more from the people who brought problems to me than any of my medical colleagues. Like a lady who taught me that SSRIs can cause you to become alcoholic and told me more about the serotonin system than I knew.

People who have post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) are the ones who come up with all of the research ideas, it’s not me, but equally, there is a further thing that people can do for themselves in groups.

I had a patient who actually looks a little bit like you, about the same height, the same build and the same charming manner, who had bad OCD. This was four or five years ago. A nice man who is an electrician and he had OCD. He had to go fix heating. You have to undo a bunch of wires and then put them back in the right place, which is a nightmare if your OCD is acting up. So they take pictures the whole time of how it was before we changed them and then a picture of how things are now after we changed them. If you go home and you’re not sure you did it right, you can look at the picture and try to reassure yourself. Any time I’ve had people come into the house to fix the heating since and I see them take out a phone you can ask them if they have OCD and they’ll often say, “Yes, I do.”

Anyway, this man says his OCD had acted up and he’d been on SSRIs before and we put him on an SSRI and tried clomipramine which is a bit stronger. Through the whole thing, this is just a nice man who is clearly suffering and OCD can cause terrible suffering and my urgency was I had to help him. I was doing everything I could but things didn’t seem to be working out.

One day, he comes back to the clinic and he knows that I like him and I think he should feel free to say anything to me, but he doesn’t. He has to sound things out and decides yes, I’ll try that, I’ll tell Healy what I’ve done. He says, “Look, the OCD got worse when I stopped smoking and I’ve gone back on smoking. What do you know, it’s a lot better.” I am there thinking this is very interesting. He says, “Look, I’ve Googled this and actually, there are clinical trials of smoking and nicotine patches and the drug for Alzheimer’s called Donepezil, which acts a little bit the same way for OCD and there is evidence for these things have on OCD.” So, there is a lot of research that people out there who could be electricians or whatever do and they come up with the right answers.

I actually called British-American Tobacco on the phone and said look, I’m a doctor in a mental health center and I’m treating patients. I’ll be doing some research on smoking and patches and things like that and it looks like smoking can be good for OCD. Do you know anything about this and is there anything you can tell me about this? There was silence at the other end of the phone. They are not used to people telling them that maybe there is a good use for smoking. So they haven’t ever gotten back. They don’t want to go near it.

The other thing is that most people think SSRIs are good safe drugs. They are prescribed by doctors. Doctors wouldn’t tell you to smoke, but nicotine and alcohol are available over the counter and SSRIs are on prescription because we think they are more dangerous than nicotine or alcohol. The other thing, which needs to come into the frame a little bit is most people figure if you smoke consistently for the next 20-30 years, it’s going to shorten your life. If you drink every day for the next 20-30 years, it’s going to shorten your life. I am sure if you take SSRIs and antipsychotics and combine them every day for the next 10 or 20 years, it’s going to shorten your life and cause you to age visibly. It’s one of the things people need to take into account and doctors need to take into account when they put people on these drugs, not just putting them on but we need to be thinking from the start when and how to get them off, which is not happening.

Moore: That is a fascinating story and it reminds me of the ingenuity of the people to try and find any way through their difficulties. Quite often, people are successful in making changes which are far outside the thing they are dealing with but actually have some beneficial ancillary effect.
I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself, if you go on forums for SSRI or antipsychotic withdrawal, there are perennial conversations about up-dosing to try and dampen down symptoms or to go back on to a tiny bit of what you were on in the hope that it might help. Some people do that and they are helped but there is tremendous shame and stigma associated with people saying, “I feel that I haven’t completed my journey. I feel shameful that I’ve had to go back on,” but if it’s an answer for people, it’s an answer. Isn’t it?

Healy: Yes. Peter Groot raised this, which is that tapering strips work, wonderful, but there are some people who aren’t quite right when they get off and it does seem to be the case for some people that if they just go back on the one-milligram dose it can help. Now there are a few curiosities about this.

One of the things to bear in mind is that quite apart from the fact that we don’t have liquid formulations, which is criminal, when the companies brought the SSRIs on the market they were scared they wouldn’t be able to show that they worked. To get through FDA they really figured they needed to give people an awfully high dose. When you take an SSRI, it’s like driving a sports car through a city center. You are in something that is not built for the environment that you’re in. It can go from zero to 100 in two or three seconds, but you are not going to do that in the city center.

From that point of view, Prozac in a five-milligram dose or even a one-milligram dose is close to as effective in clinical trials as the 20-milligram doses, but they figured let’s make things simple for doctors. They weren’t treating doctors like experts, they were just treating doctors like teenage consumers who need it to be kept simple. This is why they brought the one-size-fits-all dose on, which was much too high.

The older antidepressants came in a 100-milligram dose, a 50-milligram dose, a 25-milligram dose, a 10-milligram dose and a liquid, but that all went out the window. So it’s probably the case that going back on a very, very low dose, we don’t quite know how low, can be effective and there are good grounds to think that it will be beneficial. It’s not that you’re on a terribly low dose, you’re on what in many respects is a reasonable dose. The other dose was unreasonable.

Linked into that there is another possibility, which is that for a group of people, life is just not quite right and they need to go back on a low dose. I’m not sure it’s working as an antidepressant at that point. One of my hunches is it’s working to manage sensory neuropathy.

In all of us, we’ve got the big nerves that move a body around the place and things like that. We’ve also got a bunch of little nerves which are in our skin and guts and these have what are called small fiber nerves and they are unprotected. The big nerves have a big sheath around them and if that goes wrong you can have awful problems, but the little nerves don’t have anything. They are exposed and one of the things we know is that a lot of the psychotropic drugs we use, particularly for pain, like the antidepressants and the anticonvulsants actually help ease the pain by killing nerve endings. I think that gives rise to the thing I’m interested in, which is post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, where the genitals go numb because the nerve endings in them have got fried. It’s not a brain problem, it’s a peripheral problem.

This is what I think gives rise to things like brain fog that people complain about. It’s not just the sensory input from the genital area but it’s from around the body, from your gut and so on. Your brain is much more attuned to your gut and bladder and genitals than it is to things happening outside you. So when there is no input, this gives rise to the depersonalization, de-realization, brain fog and things like that. When you’ve got that kind of thing happening, I think what we’ve got is not just a withdrawal problem but it’s revealed a sensory neuropathy problem, which is there in some people but not all.

I have a colleague who is a doctor who reported recently that he was on SSRIs for a few years, he didn’t know he could get hooked to them and he had an awful time trying to withdraw but he was determined. He tapered off them and said, “I am feeling better. There are things I can do now that I couldn’t do on the pills and I was keen to be able to do, but I am not that good. They caused me some harm, some damage,” and then he got in touch with me one day, about four years later and said, “Hey, all of a sudden, just a few weeks ago, everything changed in a very short period of time and I came back to normal. It was as though the lights went on. I was feeling back to me.” Now that’s consistent with nerve-endings regrowing and plugging themselves in and the brain getting a lot more stimulation.

So that’s a little bit of what interests me, but there is another angle and this comes back slightly to the nicotine story and smoking. One of the big myths we have is that you want to avoid too many drugs that have an anticholinergic effect. This idea goes back to the mid-1960s when a thing called the catecholamine hypothesis of depression turned up. We said that in people who are depressed, they’ve got lowered noradrenaline levels or lower norepinephrine, as they say, over in the States. Nobody even mentioned anything about serotonin but the idea was if you’ve got a drug that was a pure norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and doesn’t do anything else, it’ll work very well and will be free of side effects. Most of these drugs have an anticholinergic effect also and that causes you to be unable to pass water. It causes you to be constipated. It gives you a dry mouth and blurred vision.

Everybody swallowed that, but it’s not true. A lot of patients called into the hospitals say they will be happy enough if you stopped their antipsychotic drug or lowered the dose, but don’t touch my anticholinergic. That’s the one that’s helping me. Now, it’s helping in two or three ways. One is it’s a feel-good pill. You don’t get hooked to it, as far as I know, but you do feel good on them and people in the past used to brew up herbs that were anticholinergic in order to feel good and euphoric. But here is the thing, 10 years ago there were reports that anticholinergic drugs in a low dose can cause small nerve fiber endings to regrow.

We’ve been told to get people off anticholinergic drugs or reduce their anticholinergic burden but in fact, that may do much harm. There is an increasing amount of evidence that it may be possible not just to let these little nerve fibers regrow, which could take months or years, but to actually promote the regrowth so maybe we could get the job done much quicker.

Moore: I have to say, there are a couple of fascinating posts on about this and the response from readers and their comments back are also interesting. You talked earlier about skin biopsies to see if this kind of damage can be checked for. Should we be going en masse to neurologists to ask for help with withdrawal or sexual dysfunction problems rather than going to a GP who seems largely clueless?

Healy: GPs are awfully good, all things being equal you’ve got a better chance with a GP than you have at a specialist, either mental health, neurology or whatever. They’ve got very boxed in and if the problem you’re having is not totally and directly in their area, they disown it. Whereas a family doctor is more likely to have a slightly broader view and if, as you say, we can turn them around and get them interested to listen and maybe not figure they have to have all the answers themselves but maybe make them more aware that the patient bringing in the problem to them may also have an idea what the answer might be.

If you go in to get off your antidepressants, while I don’t think tapering is the whole answer, a much safer bet is to become an expert on tapering strips. Go and see the World Tapering Day videos and then bring the answer to your doctor who will be there saying, “I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to cross you over from this drug to that drug or at what rate to bring you down.” If you can do the work for him or for her, it’s more likely to work out.

As people who go to Rxisk blogs will see, it’s been people with PSSD and I’m sure this is true for withdrawal as well, a lot of them seem to have antibodies to the cholinergic receptors that seem to be linked into all this. Again, this has been driven by the people who have the problem and who’ve got skin in the game. The average doctor hasn’t got skin in the game. So the trick is how to get him to think it was his idea but you were the one who was feeding it to him.

Moore: You also mentioned in that blog and I can’t remember the exact wording but you talk about tapering revealing a problem rather than causing it. So, again, many people in forums will say, “I didn’t start to suffer until I tapered. So that must mean I tapered the wrong way,” and they blame themselves. So the question is, did the way they tapered cause their problem or would that problem have arisen no matter how they tapered? Is the tapering revealing an iatrogenically caused problem in the body or is it causing it?

Healy: Actually we should come back to neurologists because you asked me about that, should we go to them? When I was training in medicine, I had a big medical textbook and I used to like it because the paper was nice and some of the images they had were great. They had a diagram or two that caught my eye back then. It was showing the peripheral nervous system and the sensory fibers and explaining that there was a problem that then was called causalgia and that meant, essentially, burning feet. They explained that women got this a lot, more than men. It was also linked to alcohol and this was at a stage when, at least as far as I was concerned, women drank less than men. So the idea that they were getting causalgia more was maybe what just caught my eye.

So this burning feet problem was a peripheral neuropathy but no one really understood what was going on. It turns out that not only alcohol and smoking and cancer chemotherapy drugs but prescription drugs can probably cause it too, but there is a great silence about anything else, the ‘good’ drugs causing it.

That’s what I think we’ve got with a lot of the antipsychotics, the antidepressants, the anticonvulsants, the benzodiazepines and things like pregabalin, they are openly marketed for controlling the pain of burning feet. Now, burning feet isn’t just caused by drugs, chemicals cause it.

The extraordinary thing about neurologists though is they are very good on the big nerves that cause a body to move around the place, but when it comes to these little fibers and the sensory things, the things where the neurologist might ask you, “Is this painful here now,” and you say yes, it is, awfully painful and you come back a few minutes later and you say no, it’s not as painful now as it was just a few minutes ago. This is the thing they are often not comfortable with, which is this subjectiveness of it, which is the sensory symptoms can change a lot.

It’s as though you’ve got a fluctuating grid and things aren’t identically the same at every stop in the grid every time you test it. It would be great to seduce them into it and if we can show that terribly common drugs like antidepressants can cause this kind of problem and that there is a way to regrow the nerve fibers, that’s the kind of thing that might really get them interested and happy to help. At the moment, if you go to a neurologist they are not going to be interested.

There does seem to be good evidence that at least some people are affected. It’s certainly not all people who go on antidepressants. It’s probably not even all the people who come off antidepressants that look like they might have a sensory neuropathy. The skin biopsies we do may not show a positive result in all those cases and the antibody tests which have also come on stream lately. This idea that when you get your auto-antibodies tested that you’ve got antibodies to the receptors that probably are the others that control whether your nerve fibers are going to regrow are not.

So, it’s going to take a lot of trial and error. People are going along and getting the tests who really have a genuine condition, but the tests seem to say no, you don’t. What we need to think about are other antibodies. Can we test or should we just stick with taking a skin biopsy down around the ankle, or should we be trying it elsewhere as well?

Moore: This all strikes me as hugely important and a valuable different direction to look for answers. It moves the conversation on from this just being a problem of the brain to a possible problem in the wider body.

Healy: It’s really interesting. We’ve sent questionnaires out to people with the PSSD, asking them what the range of symptoms they have are. People who’ve got PSSD say to us, “Look, you’ve got this all wrong. You’re focusing too much on the genitals only,” and they are right. We only focus on that though because if we can solve this problem about how that bit of skin gets numb, we’ll have the answer to lots of things, but when they report back, we give them the option to report loads of different symptoms and this emotional numbing and things like that, but equally, there is a lot of skin things like itch and allergies and things like that, which what people need to remember is most of the SSRIs come from antihistamines. So it’s not just the serotonin system that’s actually been affected.

If you think of histamine, you don’t think of the brain. You think of skin and guts, which is where a lot of the problems happen when you actually try to withdraw from these drugs.

Moore: Aren’t some antipsychotics antihistamines too? Isn’t that where they originated?

Healy: That is where they all come from. It would be nice to solve the problem with antidepressants, first of all, because they can cause awful problems but it just seems like the antipsychotics can be harder to get off, they are just more heavy-duty.

Moore: Thank you, David. Can we touch on tapering medication burdens?

Healy: Sure and I’ve got an interesting story or two to tell you about that. I’m involved with a group who have created TaperMD and it’s really the other people in Rxisk. There is Dee Mangin, Peter Wood, James Wood and one or two others who’ve been working on this day-in, day-out for a better part of five years at least and it fits in with something that people talk about called de-prescribing, which all sounds good.

Now, the thing is there is a lot of talk about it but in practice, we’re not actually deprescribing. People are ending up on more and more drugs. We are in a polypharmacy world, where a few years ago you were on one or two drugs. Now you are on four or five and it looks like the kids coming through are on four or five to begin with. By the time they get to be as old as me, goodness only knows how many they will be on.

One prescription that you need to save a life, that’s fine. Everybody thinks that’s maybe a reasonable trade-off, but if you’re on a bunch of them and most of them aren’t life-saving, you’re going to die earlier. Actually, the data coming out points that way, but it’s not enough to just be in favor of deprescribing. I’ll explain why in a moment but it’s a system problem.

This is typical of mental health as well, I see young people in clinics these days often who are on eight psychotropic drugs. It’s a delusional belief system. The psychiatrists buy an idea which comes from the pharmaceutical companies, which is if you have a bad reaction to an antidepressant, this means you are bipolar. They might say we shouldn’t have put you on the antidepressant to begin with, or else they’ll say, we’ll add an anticonvulsant to the antidepressant. Once they add the anticonvulsant in, if you’re not quite right, an antipsychotic is also good for bipolar disorder, we’ll add that in. You might say that I don’t have quite as good a focus as I had before, they say you’ve got ADHD, take this rating scale and it shows that you’re not quite as focused as you want to be and they say let’s give you a stimulant, which is pulling the opposite way to the antipsychotic.

They are building up a bunch of drugs rather than figuring that the antidepressant we gave you in the first instance is not right. Doctors have a terrible bias towards thinking anything that’s going wrong is linked to the condition, whether it’s blood pressure, mental problems, it’s linked to the condition.

If you get worse, if things go wrong, it means you have a worse condition, which means we need to give you more drugs and you can see this. The extraordinary thing for me is when people began talking about this first around 2004-2005, they were trying to sell drugs for bipolar disorder but also they sold the opportunity, when the SSRI and suicide thing came up, to say, “You should be taking anticonvulsants,” but if you said to them, if I give SSRIs to healthy volunteers, totally healthy, normal people, they can become suicidal, don’t you think it’s the drug causing this? They say, “No, these people must have had a latent bipolar disorder.” They are saying normal people aren’t real, we just didn’t know it until we gave this drug.

Let me give you a feel of where this can go. When I came over here to Canada first, I was working in a place called Guelph. I was doing a clinic there and I was part of a family mental health team who were taking up referrals that came from 70 family doctors in the area.

The patients they referred were very good referrals, they were people who’d been on antidepressants and maybe they weren’t working all that well after about 10 years. The doctor may have tried to add one or two other things in and the things went bad. So the question to me then was what do we do now? Are they people who they figured they might have ADHD and the referral was maybe because the doctor felt they weren’t absolutely sure and they wanted some expert input, me to say yes they do have ADHD, or whatever.

Anyway, things were going well and it was in the middle of the pandemic and for me, being in the clinic was great, to be with the real Canadians, because you weren’t meeting them anywhere else. I was doing a few things that were a little unorthodox that I’d been doing in the UK for a long time, which was when you write a letter on the person to the doctor who has referred them I was copying the person in. I checked with them and said look, this is what’s going to go into your record, do you want to read it and if there are things wrong, you can point that out the next time we meet. The other thing was when I emailed things to people, they had my email and if they had problems they could get in touch with me over the weekend. Some people were trying to withdraw from drugs and things like that.

I wasn’t trying to get everyone off their drugs. When people were on eight or nine drugs, I was trying to get it down by one or two drugs, all things being equal, slowly, without trying to push it. I was also saying things like we need to recognize you’ve been on this SSRI for 10 years. Some of the problems you’re talking about are that you are withdrawing from the drug even though you’re on it and there is no easy answer for this. No one has an answer, there is no drug approved for that.

The potential problem is, if you write a note like that to the patient and doctor, the doctor may feel they made a mistake. They are being accused of putting the person on the SSRI when they shouldn’t have done so. Almost always I have said, with this person’s problem, if I had seen them 10 years ago, I would have done exactly the same thing. We all have a problem. You, me and the patient, we all have a problem we need to work on.

One day, at the end of the year, I had an early morning Zoom meeting with the management and they said to me, “You are fired.” I was asking why and I didn’t believe what they told me to begin with. I thought it has to be all sorts of other things. There were all sorts of other things that sounded like reasonable hypotheses about what was going on, but in essence, what they said to me was, “What you’re doing is great if you’re doing it in private practice. If you had a shingle up in the door telling people that you’re open to getting them off the drugs they are on, not getting rid of them all but just paring it down and that you’re maybe open to the fact that drugs may be causing half of the problem they’ve got and people chose to come along that’d be great, but we run a public service and we don’t have the staff to stream patients, the ones who want to get off drugs to you and the ones who want more drugs to the other doctors.”

Essentially, the system was geared toward the sense that some people and some doctors want people to get more diagnoses and more drugs. So that’s what happens for all people. Most of the feedback that I was getting from the doctors or the patients I saw was this is great. We’ve talked for an hour and you haven’t told me I need drugs. This is a big surprise, but it turns out there were two or three doctors, probably four or five patients and I haven’t been told the figure, but everyone else, all of the other doctors and all of the other patients are trapped. They are in a system where they are going to be given more diagnoses and more pills whether they like it or not.

So, while there is a bunch of us talking about deprescribing and reducing medication burdens and TaperMD is the thing we’ve created to try to help with that, that’s not the way the tide is going. The tide is not going out, it’s still coming in, where most people are going to get more labels and more pills and there are some people who will be unhappy if they don’t get more diagnoses and more pills.

Moore: David, I am so sorry you had that experience.

Healy: It tells people how things are going. It’s not unique to me, I’m sure, but it really does point to the kind of situation we are in to which there is no easy answer.

Moore: This issue of polypharmacy, David, what is driving it? Do you think it’s because doctors generally believe that the drugs are benign and they can prescribe whatever they want with no problem? Or do you believe it’s because there is an unwillingness perhaps to question the medication burden already established?

Healy: It’s very hard to know and we’ve got the Green Party and Greta Thunberg talking about the pollution of the environment but equally, even the Green parties and young people of Greta’s generation seem to almost want to pollute their inner environment, more than ever before, which is an extraordinary contrast.

So, it comes back to this certain amount of insanity in the mental health system. One of the myths that turned up 20-odd years ago was that antipsychotics are neuro-protective. We can see with our own eyes that we’ve got people ending up with tardive dyskinesia and problems like this who have severe neurological problems. How on earth anyone can think that these drugs were neuro-protective, I don’t know, but they do. They actually think it intensely and if you ask them for the evidence they can’t actually provide it. This is delusional.

It’s hard to know how to solve it. We are working hard on this TaperMD approach, which seems to make sense. It’s recognizing that doctors don’t want to recognize the harms they do. That they just want to think that they are doing good.

Moore: Which you can sympathize with. If there are only so many levers that you can pull, you’re going to pull the easiest one, aren’t you?

Healy: Sure, but what we’re trying to do is to say look, if you’re going to do good, as much good as you can, you’re not doing more and more good every time you add a pill in. It looks like and all the evidence points to the fact that once you go much above three pills, you’re beginning—even if you’re putting the person on the drug for a condition that they have and the pill might have, once you get beyond three, you’re likely doing harm and you’re going to cause them to die earlier. When you’re trying to reduce medication burdens again, the evidence is that they are less likely to go into hospital and less likely to die earlier and actually just feel better.

So, there is a real issue and it’s trying to appeal to the sense of judgment of you are the doctor and you are the patient, as well, because they are actually part of the problem too. We are part of the problem too. It’s not a crime to want to help with things but what we need to recognize is we’ve got to make choices. Once you’re on too many helps, they are going to kill you. So, the trick is to sell the idea that to do the best amount of good, we need to control how many drugs you are on.

Moore: In terms of the increasing creep of the number of people on medications there has been a big focus on the elderly. I’ve seen articles from Canada reporting that in old people’s homes, 75% of the residents are on antipsychotics, not because they’ve ever had a psychotic experience but because it keeps them quiet and sedated, which is just dreadful to read.
Recently here in the UK, it’s been reported that children are being prescribed antidepressants in GP surgeries at very young ages. I could be wrong but I think there is only OCD that’s indicated for antidepressant treatment in youth. I wondered if Canada was similar and what you felt about it.

Healy: Yes, it is. You’ve got teenagers who are keen to go on these drugs and it can be a tricky problem. I can think of one person I saw, a terribly nice young man with a very nice mother who had tricky things to deal with that made him anxious an antidepressant would help. I told him about the risk of problems and he said, “Sure. No, I can see that. I can see that that’s a good case for not having them,” and things like that and he didn’t come back to see me.

He was there in the clinic with his mother and she was also a very reasonable, very nice woman. He didn’t come back to see me and he went elsewhere to get an antidepressant. My hunch was, one of the things linked to it was his mother was on one as well. So, it’s one of these cumulative things where if you’ve got parents who are on antidepressants who say, “Look, I am on them and they are okay. They are not causing all the awful things that that guy said they could cause,” you’re going to have a situation where if the child doesn’t go on them, it’s making the mother look bad, why is she on them kind of thing.

Talking about Peter Groot, there is also Peter Gøtzsche whom people listening to this will have heard of. Just last week, Peter had an article out which is reanalyzing the Prozac trials in kids. We all hear the whole time that Prozac is the one SSRI that works well in youth. It doesn’t. The FDA internally concluded when they approved it that it didn’t work in the trials that they were looking at, but they agreed to approve it anyway. It remained approved despite the fuss that blew up about paroxetine after the Panorama program (“The Secrets of Seroxat”), so they couldn’t approve that but everybody said, “At least you can use Prozac because that’s approved for kids who are depressed.” Exactly the same kind of results, it should not have been approved, but once they had approved it they weren’t going to go back.

It’s not that SSRIs are totally useless for kids, as you said, in OCD they can help but we have a system as well which feeds into this. One more point and it’s a political point, which is that systems can make good people bad.

I think what you see in all of health, but mental health in particular is you see some people who become part of the management system who end up doing terribly vindictive and inhumane things to people who don’t respond the way they should do. Rather than going back and saying we need to take more care with you, we need to look at this, not do the things we used to do because they are clearly making things worse. It’s at this point the delusional belief that everything that goes wrong is your condition. So if you’re not getting better, we’re just going to give you more of the same.

So, they are doing that as part of the system but also because above them is a group of managers who we didn’t have 20-30 years ago. Their job is to squeeze the system, so it’s using less money and saying to the bosses and the politicians who are above them, we’re getting better and better ourselves for less and less money. That’s putting pressure the whole way down to the system, which the person who comes along for help ultimately feels that the doctor or the nurse treating them is not in a position to deal with them as a human being. They are in a position, which is, if I don’t get you to tick the right boxes, my job is at risk. It’s a very toxic environment.

Moore: That tick-box culture is causing an awful lot of harm, isn’t it, because it’s not based on outcomes for the patients, it’s based upon things you can actively and easily measure as a throughput. We’ve dispensed X number of drugs or we’ve administered X number of procedures for people, rather than asking people how they feel.

Healy: Yes, and the system will work a lot better if we let people drive it, rather than trying to drive them.

Moore: It makes me think about when I had my interaction with my psychiatrist who prescribed to me and if I could go back and change that. What I would have liked her to say to me is, “James, if we prescribe you these drugs, they will make you feel different. That different might feel better or it might feel worse. So, come back in six weeks and we’ll talk about whether that is a better feeling or a worse feeling for you,” but there was no discussion whatsoever. It was just a “you will improve on these drugs, no question” and when I did go back and say I wasn’t, all of a sudden I wasn’t believed, as you mentioned earlier.
If we could have more honest discussions with people that the drugs do make you feel different, they can have an effect, but that effect might put you in a better place or it might put you in a worse place. I can’t help thinking that that would be more healthy.

Healy: Sure, but also to add into that, the key extra thing is you need to know that you are the expert on what’s happening to you.

We’re in a strange world, where if someone says, “Look, I’ve taken up smoking recently and it’s really helpful,” 99.5% of doctors would say, “I’m not going to treat you anymore if you keep on smoking,” but in fact, this is the world we are in, which is you can treat nervous problems with alcohol and smoking if you are a good doctor and patients are treating themselves often very successfully.

We need to take into account that there isn’t the good book and the bad book, or the good drug and the bad drug. These things are all tricky and to get a good outcome needs cooperation. Both the person who is going to take them and the person who says, “Look, what about this option?” You all need to be cooperating and open to change. I’ve learned something out of this, something that I didn’t expect has happened.

Moore: It’s rather like the dietary advice that we’ve been given for probably two decades now to avoid fat in our diets, but no mention at all of sugar and that’s primarily because there is an industry lobby body for sugar but not one for fat.

Healy: It’s exactly the same. We have been herded along by lobby groups and that’s what’s happening to us. We are in a herd, we are being herded along particular paths and when it’s inconvenient, but when the lobby groups aren’t making money out of that path, they will switch us over to maybe the psychedelics, or whatever.

Moore: David, it’s always a pleasure and an education to get to talk about these things with you. I have to say that the articles on Rxisk about PSSD and neuropathy are fascinating and I do recommend people go and read them, not just for the blogs but for the response from commenters too. It’s the idea of picking up the rugby ball and running with it, which is fantastic to see.
Before we wrap up, I do just want to acknowledge that I am so grateful to you because you are one of the few doctors who will get down in the weeds with people like me who have experienced difficulties and have an eye-level conversation with people about their experiences and what they might have learned.
There is so much humility in doing that that’s missing from many doctors that I’ve interacted with who just put themselves on a pedestal. Also, your long history of curiosity and of looking at these things through a fresh lens and a different perspective.



  1. Thank you very much for this crucially important interview with Dr. Healy. Quick question: Does anyone know the status of the freedom of compounding pharmacies to continue to do business in different states and the efforts to thwart them?

    The best interests of patients who have been damaged by allopathic psychiatry and who benefit from evidence-based-natural supplements are at risk. What arrangement can be introduced to improve this serious situation? Some type of business cooperative?

  2. Late in the saga, the state hospital doctor told us that the type of gradual tapering we were requesting for our daughter would not be approved. What did we do next? That’s a good question; I don’t remember, but we had been generally discouraged and feeling obstructed by the system for years. It looks as if we lacked confidence, faith, hope… and love? Is it pure love that will not accept the negativity that must be the predisposition for failure? …Better information all along the way would have helped. Freedom of information is lacking in allopathic psychiatry.

  3. “he said things that are all too true, which is that the pharmaceutical companies brought these drugs on the market and they are all one-size-fits-all and they didn’t have doses that we could step down to and make it easy to get off” Healy

    Prozac comes in different doses, doesn’t it?

  4. How does psychiatry justify the following claim? ” Antidepressants of the tricyclic and monoamine oxidase inhibitor classes can induce mania in patients with pre-existing bipolar affective disorder.” (taken from an online search) How would you refute that claim? Are there any comparisons from the medical specialties that expose the faulting reasoning? Is the claim simply a deception that exploits the general ignorance of the toxicology and physiological changes that are possible among users who are genetically different in their metabolic processes? Has anyone provided laboratory evidence of what is really happening?

    • It is just an unsupportable claim, the sort the industry makes all the time. There are plenty of people who have no history of “bipolar” diagnosis who get manic on ADs, and it’s even worse for SSRIs or SNRIs. Aside from which, there is no way to actually determine if someone does or doesn’t “have” “bipolar disorder.” So they can (and often do) claim after the fact that the REASON the person became manic on their drugs is because they WERE ‘bipolar’ but didn’t know it. I recall specifically the rhetoric that “the drugs uncovered a latent underlying ‘bipolar disorder!'”

      The fact is, these drugs can make ANYONE act in a manic manner, it’s simply an adverse effect, and no one has EVER drawn a connection between such a reaction and “bipolar disorder,” except anecdotally and after the fact. In other words, it’s bullshit!

          • “Because Graham is finding out the antidote to his problems, is pure poison to everyone else” lol


            I think the way my reaction to being ‘spiked’ (poisoned) was documented as being the illness that required me to be forcefully administered the drug which had caused the problems in the first place says it all. “Negligence is an extreme thing” (Hagakure), though very useful for manipulating outcomes in medicine.

            I think the way that Grahams step mother figured out that she was being poisoned at the point when she could no longer communicate is a place that many ‘psychiatric survivors’ know well.

          • Well, Brett and Steve

            Now that you mention it, there are indeed drug companies who produce BOTH “anti-psychotic” drugs (major tranquilizers,) AND drugs that treat diabetes.

            Just as there are ALSO pharmaceutical corporations who both produce opiate type pain killers AND the alleged drugs that are meant to “treat” opiate addiction, like suboxone etc. HOW CONVEEENIENT! said the “church lady.”

            Oh, capitalism, what a simply wonderful system!!!


          • And now the drug companies can create Tardive Dyskinesia and then sell you a “treatment” for it! TD was a big secret no one talked about, until they were able to make money off of it, now it’s on national TV!

          • You’re right Richard, it’s “wonderful,”

            Same as the drug companies have uncovered whole fields, terraces and valleys of otherwise undiscovered mental illnesses, thanks to their epidemic, also conjuring treatments for that and the other biological problems occurring; Bezos and Tesla (his name escapes me… oh yeah Musk, like that perfume) have uncovered whole swathes of dysfunctional behavior known as homelessness and other factions of such thanks to their economic trends. Soon the whole planet will become an asylum, the ones with enough $$$$$$ will take off to other planets to echo the White flight of the 60s and 70s. JUST half a century later….. Whoever has enough $$$$$$ takes off to…..

            I took a walk through a patch of forest near by, noticed tents and improvised encampment attempts, and then all of the trash. Picked up two recyclables, and went to a nearby store where I mentioned needing two trucks to pick up all of the trash, and calling the local jail: “Could you have the convicts come over and pick up all of the trash in the forest? I know….. some of them will escape but the real criminals are in the military and the police killing people…..” didn’t even mention the court system or the jails, actually, or even asylums. Did mention how homeless people were dotted along a nearby hill up towards where the railroad runs, and how I recently ran into an Angel Amongst us (13.2), who I first thought was homeless. It was kind of funny, they couldn’t wake him up, not knowing that it’s like trying to move a mountain, which exists because of other rules than man with his desire to “change” things or control them. And how I couldn’t tell “whoever” was making an attempt at waking him up what that was, which I didn’t realize at the time, I simply had asked whether they couldn’t just leave him alone, as he was hurting no one, etc….. I couldn’t even show empathy towards the angel without receiving discriminatory evaluation that was quite off, let alone….

            Life is crazy, if you think it’s sane you truly aren’t paying attention….

    • Uh-oh.

      If OCD is a thing — rather than an oversimplification of multiple environmental, subjective and brain factors — then throwing nicotine at the problem is a very, very dark alley to go running down.

      First off, patches… As far as I am able to be aware, there are no long-term studies into the effects of long-term patch use. However, what we do know are that there are multiple systems in the brain, including a nicotinergic system, and that all of those systems interact in ways that are only rudimentarily understood. What we definitely know is that no human being has a big gland on their arm or shoulder or wherever that constantly pumps nicotine into their bloodstream. In fact if by some quirk of mutation someone did have such a nicotine pumping gland, they would be taken to a surgeon, and he’d slice it off.

      And finally, there is some emerging evidence that nicotine patches induce skin cancer.

      On a loosely related topic, there is also emerging evidence that antihistamines play a role in the onset of dementia.

      And also that the psychoactive drug that few people recognise as a psychiatric drug, paracetamol, has numerous psychoactive effects including marked increases in impulsivity and dangerous, risk-taking behaviour.

      Lesson therein is that you tinker with your brain at your peril, and that every psychoactive has a sting in the tail, often deadly.

        • And flu shots reduce what?

          I was in a rush when I wrote the above and so missed the profundity of my conclusion.

          What I was really angling at was that, despite the fascinating ruminations of Dr Healy, the actual true landscape of polypharmacy is that we are not originally multiply drugged up by psychiatrists, we are multiply drugged up even if we don’t have anything to do with them. We are multiply drugged up long before the psychiatrists enters stage.

          Everyone presents themselves to psychiatrists as a polydrugged individual. The poly-ness doesn’t begin with psychiatrists, it is merely extended by them.

          Many of the people in my life do not know what it means, for example, to live for 7 days without using the drug caffeine. In fact many of them will experience such harsh withdrawal effects that after day 2 they are drooling and begging and behaving like children.

          It gets even uglier when we demand some people skip white sugar and artificial sweeteners.

          People present to psychiatrists as already deeply troubled drugged-up beings. All of the so-called evidence-base ignores this simple observation.

      • OCD is a description of a way of behaving. No one has ever said that such behavior doesn’t exist, only that it is not a valid medical “diagnosis” of a “disease state” or “disorder,” as labeling a set of behavior “OCD” does nothing to identify either cause or appropriate “treatment,” as any good diagnosis must do, of course. You seem like a bright fellow and that difference should be VERY easy for a bright fellow like you to understand. And the idea that drugs can induce or exacerbate a particular kind of behavior should also not be surprising to anyone with the slightest education in the area. I’m sure you can think of some examples.

        I get the distinct impression that you are not really interested in understanding the answers to your questions. It seems you are trying to provoke people or prove “us” or Whitaker wrong. Am I wrong?

        • I value your comments about OCD. Forced medication produced something horrible in our child that possibly fit the description of OCD , but it was not about excessive hand washing or things like that. I believe that it rapidly produced Super-Sensitivity (SS) of the Dopamine Receptors because behaviors that had not previously characterized her then developed. She developed excessive climbing preoccupation. You can imagine my remorse to read of climbing behaviors in rats in psychiatric research. The following is not necessarily about SS but you will read that clomipramine caused increased motor activity that in rats presented as climbing in a cage. Our poor daughter, it is painful to recall what she was forced to become with toxic drugging. Next is an excerpt of the study: “Frequency of climbing behavior as a predictor of altered motor activity in rat forced swimming test”

          October 2008Neuroscience Letters 445(2):170-3



          Project: Ethological evaluation of the forced swimming test (nº: 2008.0319)

          • From a search page: “Is OCD related to dopamine or serotonin?
            In obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the success of pharmacological treatment with serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and atypical antipsychotic drugs suggests that both the central serotonergic and dopaminergic systems are involved in the pathophysiology of the disorder.Oct 30, 2005”

          • I think it’s a scientific fallacy for them to suggest that success of “pharmacological treatment” with a particular drug equates to some “pathology” of a “disorder.” They made that assumption for “ADHD” (that insufficient dopamine was indicated because increasing dopamine “helped”) and this was found to be false. They assumed low serotonin caused depression based on response to SSRIS/trycyclics affecting serotonin. Recent publications have finally put this idea to bed. They assumed that psychosis is caused by TOO MUCH dopamine, because of the response to dopamine inhibitors. Again, they have been proven completely wrong on this. I’m sure the same would be true of OCD. It’s undoubtedly FAR more complex than such simplistic answers want us to believe.

          • “Frequency of climbing behavior as a predictor of altered motor activity in rat forced swimming test”


            Hmm, so they put rats into water, and are surprised when they try to climb out? And they notice an increase in the behaviour if they give the rats methamphetamines?

            “Amphetamines a cure for drowned rat syndrome research shows” lol

          • “Frequency of climbing behavior as a predictor of altered motor activity in rat forced swimming test”

            This “research” is a ghastly practice (animal torture) and gives me reason to believe my hunch that those who engage in “psychiatric drug research” are indeed sadistic.

            Someone needs to ask these “researchers” how they’d react if they suddenly found themselves forced to swim for their lives.

      • When bankers bankrupt a country, or an Industry creates more of the problem it says it’s eradicating with its treatment; and yet an innocent old lady with a house full of stuff but hurting no one, and also has accumulated cats, she then has OCD!?

        Where is the problem, and again, if you are going to look for a solution, you might try to avoid the treatment correlating in the spike, either that or you might understand the lady with the cats better (possibly)…… if you ever get so far as to be “OCD,” in the sense that you understand the lady, who really in comparison is hurting no one…..

        And then we have the bankers to understand, if you could give us any insight, that would be helpful. Truly…. No joke……Any insight at all might be helpful…..

          • boans how are you doing? I’m sorry I read how you expressed feeling rather put out that your issues regarding how falsely you were labeled and put in the mental health system weren’t more acknowledged. So many of us have had this. I haven’t experienced anyone being committed without there being a plethora of lies (also even when someone puts themselves in voluntarily, they know how to exaggerate), and then there’s cases like yours where someone is spiked (or who is the guy that was on Charlie Rose and also actually advised families to turn over the furniture when they wanted a family member committed, to make it look like they were violent), added to that how often when the initial interim of “symptoms” being suppressed by psychiatric drugs and further problems occurring because of the drugs that then instead of acknowledging the problem because of the drugs it’s denied, whether this is spiking or not; or how much FDA approved stuff is spiking, actually, when said commodity makes too much money for the effects to be reported. And people are absolutely crazy when they think someone is “crazy,” how paranoid and often devious they respond. As if there’s such a danger they don’t even have to follow legal protocol, make up stuff, lie, and then beyond that if it was held to the letter asylums wouldn’t be legal, given the true science of the damage psychiatric drugs do to the brain, let alone statistically the result to society….

            I think that with the older Quaker asylums that Whitaker talks about in his books, where there was recovery before the bio-chemical model usurped the idea of asylums, those places helped, as do Healing Homes of Finland, Soteria House and others. Of course there are people that were helped by psychiatry and being committed to a “modern” asylum, but how much is that avoiding what the symptoms are expressing, and finding ways of finding stability by being assimilated? There’s a difference between dressing oneself up to be normal and sanity. The sad part is that people lose their spirit the way they have to dress themselves up just to not get points against them from the system.

            I’ve never been committed this incarnation, although “Nijinsky” who “died 1950 was, but my heart goes out to anyone who has. I think any of you who have been through that are amazing that you still survive. Please just do that! Survive, Enjoy life as much as you can, without anyone making your feel differently about it.

            Some of the responses here by people advocating for all of that, I simply freeze up, the level of fundamentalist fantasy going on. Indoctrinated publicity catch phrases used to dismiss scientific and statistical data. Science becomes scientism, and morality become moralism. When someone is such a soldier to help others that in supposedly doing so they need to ignore what the true effects are……

            One has to deal with machinery of thought in a system telling you how to think, machinery that’s not working in order to not be abused more, but you can’t point out what’s wrong with the machinery!?

            Who is the doctor and who is the healer? The patient or…..

          • “Boans how are you doing?”

            Not so good to be honest Nijinsky.

            I appreciate what you write, and sure I understand that me complaining about public officers conspiring to arbitrarily detain and torture needs to be covered up. I just had no idea they were allowing people to be killed to meet that desired end……. and of course what a problem when I was still alive and could actually prove it……. blabbing away here at MiA where surely someone had the intelligence to notice that what I was saying might….. just might be true?

            “I haven’t experienced anyone being committed without there being a plethora of lies”

            Lies aren’t against the law…. well, there is of course the situation where you knowingly lie to police for example, “Create a False Belief”. And well, it’s also a problem when you commit offences to make what would be unlawful, appear to be lawful. Compounding offences…. so you ‘spike’ someone with date rape drugs and then conspire to conceal that offence with fraudulent documents…..

            Personally I don’t care if they want to abuse human rights and then kill anyone who complains…. their knee jerk reaction to me having the proof of their arbitrary detentions and acts of torture showing how little they can be trusted….because the attitude is that the State is authorising ANYTHING they need to do in order to keep the facility functioning. If that means conspiring to pervert the course of justice, acts of fraud, killings…… anything goes.

            They aren’t the first, and won’t be the last.

            Happy to sit down with anyone with a little legal knowledge and discuss the matters openly and honestly in the interest of seeing how they can do this better. That is, in my instance it would have been better to allow the people who attempted to kill me, to actually do the deed before interrupting them (though would that make the Prof who so rudely interrupted complicit?). And make sure you retrieve the documents showing the crime before allowing my lawyers to forge and utter with a letter of response from the Chief Psychiatrist. See, I though that you could trust the people at the hospital FOI Office (despite them threatening my wife, and having her issue threats to my daughter)…. and so when the Law Centre tried to find out if I still had the documents, I ASSUMED they had been provided with what they had a right to examine….. not a fraudulent set of documents used to unlawfully release my confidential medical information in a slanderous manner.

            These are not just lies, they are crimes against the community (not just me), and some of them carry very hefty penalties (mandatory prison terms should police ever decide to accept the proof of the offending rather than unlawfully refer me for ‘treatment’ to enable them to pervert the course of justice, despite the false claim that they are unaccountable…….. not the case for some of these police I have dealt with. Though I really don’t understand what actually happens when an officer is ‘restructured’. is that anything like being ‘unintentionally negatively outcomed’?)

            I think your point about ‘help’ being available is a valid one, and in fact the reason I got in deeper was as a result of me seeking out such ‘help’. I spoke to a psychiatrist/psychologist pair about the documents which I had managed to hold on to (despite the attempts by police and hospital to retrieve them before sending out the fraudulent set). They actually helped, and I’ve no doubt that I was in a very bad way when I first spoke to them. But of course once the State realised that I still had the documents, had been discussing their contents with people who had a knowledge of the system, and that the Law Centre had forged and uttered with the letter from the Chief Psychiatrist…… and that I was wandering around showing the proof of these criminals to people with a duty to act, (but who also have families that can be ‘fuking destroyed’ by the State), then the pair of them (psychiatrist/ psychologist AND the social worker who witnessed police trying to ‘refer’ me for speaking the truth and having the proof of the crimes all became afraid …. and rightly so when the State is allowing convenience killings to be done to cover up their misconduct right?).

            Not that they all agree with such conduct, the person who interrupted me being snuffed said he didn’t have the stomach for it….. and he sticks his hands into peoples open chests and does stuff to their beating hearts (that takes stomach from my perspective, so it must have been pretty horrible what they had planned for me)

            And that little exercise happened before ‘they’ thought ‘they’ had retrieved the documents and covered up the offending. I put ‘they’ in quote marks because it was actually two groups of people both operating within the cloak of State sanctioned abuses. Both committing offences, but one group entrapping another and then covering up their abuses for them to keep them in place to commit further offences….. eg unlawful release of medical records from a Private Clinic (or the University Counselling Service) for the benefit of certain individuals within the State mechanism. See for example the use of Defense Lawyers as ‘confidential informants’ by Victoria Police …… Imagine having a Clinic Psychologist accessing the reports for Defense Attorneys from a Private Clinic? Might explain the overturning of the conviction of a Member of Parliament I sat next to in the ‘waiting room’? Bit rough when the State has that sort of advantage in the Court process, that is having access to confidential reports?

            Lies? Someone could check…. oh wait, they already did and found…….. they had to steal my laptop to find out who else knew what they had been up to, and pretend they knew nothing about what had been going on (which is very ‘gaslighting’ when cops are getting fidgety when you tell them how someone attempted to murder you, and they can see the motive for the killing right in front of their own eyes)…. and ensure that I was not allowed access to a lawyer to get divorced and leave this filthy shit hole that is torturing and killing people for nothing more that trying to access the protection of the law….. and not just avoid the consequences of a few lies.

            The hypocrites of course, look, and then run away. I should have expected as much, it even says that they will do this in the Quran….. these Muslims who “hold together by the rope of Allah, and become not divided” …..Well, I suppose if the State wants to call torture ‘medicine’ and allow doctors to use police as their own personal thugs……. who are we to complain?

          • “if you say something and it isn’t true, that’s a mistake. If you say something and you KNOW it isn’t true, that’s a lie” Charlton Heston to Bill Clinton.

            So lies? Well, the legal protection for people who are considered “patients” (that is as defined in s. 3 of the Mental Health Act, someone with a treating psychiatrist) is the Form 1 statutory declaration, which is the equivalent of sworn court testimony.

            There are 9 items listed on my Form 1 which was completed after I had been jumped in my bed by police and forced into an interrogation with a Community Nurse claiming me as his “Outpatient” (this being an offence under our Criminal Code of procuring a person not suffering from a mental illness; penalty 3 years prison).

            This Form 1 statutory declaration MIUST meet the standards set out in s 16 (1) of the Oaths, Affidavits, and Statutory Decalarations Act;

            “The validity of an oath, affirmation or statutory declaration is not affected by the fact that the person taking or making it does not use the exact words required as long as the words actually used do not materially affect the substance of the exact words and are not likely to mislead.”

            This legal protection for the community against the corrupt practice of ‘verballing’ is important. No telling lies in this instance as it’s a criminal offence to do so?

            Well, not only was the Form 1 completed by the Community Nurse likely to mislead, I have written confirmation from the Chief Psychiatrist that it ACTUALLY misled him into a false inference….. one which resulted in his failure to report suspected misconduct to the Corruption watchdog. This being an offence under the Corruption watchdog Act which requires the IMMEDIATE reporting of suspected misconduct.

            Lies? On the statutory declaration? I have offered to allow the best defense attorney to defend this document in court as I know it does not stand the test of the Oaths Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act….. and significantly SO DOES THE STATE.

            So they exercise their right to obstruct and pervert the course of justice. Denial of the right to legal representation not really much of a human rights abuse on top of the killing of complainants….. a bit like charging a murderer with failing to render assistance once they had stabbed their victim 17 times lol.

            Significantly, the United Nations made a decision regarding the police beating of a young woman named Corrina Horvath. The State claimed that they were not responsible for offending by public officers. The U.N. disagreed and found that the State IS responsible for the criminal conduct of their officers….. and thus the negligence to enable the use of this criminal conduct by public officers means that, if it can be demonstrated that they were aware of the offending, they are engaged in a conspiracy should they fail to act.

            So were they aware that there were plans afoot to have me ‘unintentionally negatively outcomed’? Because they were most certainly aware of the offences which had occurred to have me ‘assessed’ by a psychiatrist….. that is conspire to stupefy and commit an indictable offence (20 years) namely kidnapping (20 years). Forge and utter with false statutory declarations. Procure the apprehension or detention of a person not suffering from a mental illness as defined in the Mental Health Act (ie I was NOT an “outpatient” of the hospital as claimed by the Community Nurse to Police. The false prescription concealing the ‘spiking’ with date rape drugs (made my “Regular Medications” by the Senior Medical Officer) to conceal other offences…. Compound or conceal evidence of a criminal offence. Conspire to pervert the course of justice…….

            Lots of lies in among this of course, but the offences have been thoroughly documented, and then “edited” once it was realised that if my ‘legal representatives’ actually examined what they had a right to (legal protections of ‘mental patients’ under the Convention against the use of Torture) AND did their duty rather than conspire and forge and utter with a letter from the Chief Psychiatrist I might actually have had a complaint dealt with fairly, rather than having the State try to snuff me with my wifes assistance, and end up loosing everything I ever worked for including my family. Not that ‘they’ care when they place such little value on human life.

            Quite clever of the Mental Health Law Centre to draft a complaint to the Chief Psychiatrist as a means of identifying what evidence/proof I had, and once they had informed the State that I no longer had the proof, they could then forge the response from the Chief Psychiatrist based on the “edited” version of reality provided from the hospital FOI Officer instead of allowing them to examine the documents they requested……that is, the ones showing I had been ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs and tortured… them being ‘human rights defenders’ would be aware of how that works. And they are n ot up for providing assistance to anyone tortured by the State, that’s where their funding comes from right?

            Oh wait, no they aren’t as I wrote to them and explained…… the ARE the reason the State is being allowed to subject citizens to acts of torture…. and go ahead and fuking sue me you filthy dogs……because the truth is a defense ….. and never mind that I would be provided with an opportunity to present my case to the Court….. They most certainly wouldn’t want their ‘work’ in that matter being examined by a competent legal authority.

            Yep, lots of lies….. when the fog of war descends, things tend to get strange. Having mental health services smash my head in for the original lies was the best move they could have made. In fact, I have suggested a ‘first strike’ policy as being the best in these sorts of matters…. because once these dogs start savaging someone, they simply know it’s best to not stop until the victim is dead. Ask the Operations Manager who has no doubt been involved in a number of deaths which have occurred at that same facility. My wife will explain her modus operandii….. the release of personal medical records being one of her weapons And quite open about her right to ‘fuking destroy’ people and their families with powers provided by the State, and the corrupt police they are working with to conceal their acts of torture..

          • You’ve got to admit it’s quite an impressive list of offences for Police to be providing assistance to ensure that they DIDN’T have to do anything about?

            I mean we all make mistakes and when we do, it’s just natural we want to ensure that our mistakes are not to be held against us, so making the further mistake of trying to kill someone to conceal it should result in assistance from Police?

            My wife particularly helpful in that regard,

            And you can imagine the panic when it became clear I still had the documents proving what I had been saying?

            Me blabbing away not only here, but actually sitting for an hour and a half showing a Member of Parliament how the fraudulent set of documents worked (Do you really call this “editing”?) Police then in need of information about “Who else has the documents?” and thus is possibly aware of the ‘assistance’ to these criminals, by other criminals?

            All kind of blew up in their faces, as these things tend to do……. though they have managed to scrape through and deny reality for more than ten years now, and well, not a lot of people prepared to step up and provide any ‘assistance’ to the victim (s) [and there are more than just me]

            I suppose the Police were a bit pissed about the Private Clinic psychologist and her Shock Doc husband having to flee the State…. given the ‘relationship’ which had been formed between them as a result of their mutual interest in seeing me dead, and the “edited” reality being the accepted one.

            The good news is they managed to ensure that virtually no one was held to account, and mental health services can go on providing arbitrary detention and torture services for the State ….. and the little problem of ‘joint enterprise’ has now been resolved by passing Euthanasia Laws to ensure that doctor can provide material assistance with cover ups, and the “editing” of paperwork post hoc will ensure that the buck stops wayyyyy before the Minister. Wouldn’t want conspiracies to conceal these sorts of matters ending up on his/her desk requiring action.

            Minister telling me “you better get yourself a lawyer” after I explained the conduct of the Head of the her in writing. I the explained I actually had a lawyer, but that they had been provided with a fraudulent set of documents, and were thus unable to help me with any legal matters…. and that the Chief Psychiatrist had misrepresented the legal protections afforded the community in his letter of response which my lawyers didn’t have time to read…. which was really lucky for the criminals because a lawyer would know what a burden of proof was etc…….

            Oh wait, I get it. The Chief Psychiatrist didn’t actually write that letter…… he isn’t that much of an incompetent to fail to recognise the protection afforded the community by the law, especially given his the person responsible? Or is he really prepared to utter with a known forged document, in writing for all to see? because whilst it wouldn’t be obvious to anyone who hadn’t seen the Triage documents unredacted, it is patently obvious if you do.

            Hence the panic when they realised I still had the documents…….. and Police were havig great difficulty refusing to take the proof that I was subjected to a long list of crimes, and human rights abuses (ie tortured by them after the Community Nurse had finished torturing me to bring me under the powers of the Mental Health Act and make what was torture look like ‘medicine’ [“inherent in or incidental to lawful sanction” Article 1 of the Convention against the use of Torture)

            All pretty messy when you think about it, especially for the police who were working hard to ensure their fingerprints weren’t on any of this ‘filth’ that was coming out of the hospital, and people trying to conceal their offending as being lawful because a doctors name is in there somewhere.

      • “job job” When you give someone a drug that causes the behavior that you label as a disease and someone points out that what YOU label as a disease comes from the drug then because they point out cause and effect they denied that the disease exists? Are you interested in recovery or just have the right to labeling people as being diseased? However things are “labeled.”

        “job job,” you didn’t know that drugs could and have caused the very condition labeled as OCD? Do you care to be honest enough about caring that what you label as a disease goes away when those medications are stopped? You labeled it a disease, you say drugs heal it, but when it’s clear drugs cause it and its pointed out clearly with scientific evidence regarding how said drugs effect the brain, then what!? Do you care about healing or just that you have the right and the ability to call it a disease, and when someone points out a solution that doesn’t support your method, suddenly there’s something wrong because you can say they’re not calling it a disease.

        And psychiatric drugs correlate with an extreme spike in the occurrence of the diseases, does this mean that anyone pointing this out is saying that those aren’t diseases when alternative method don’t correlate with the spike?

        Steve clearly pointed out the correlation between behaviors and observation. You instead label something as a disease in order to create such concern and/or alarm that you can tack on treatments and ignore statistically the results.

        You stated this, earlier from here “Millions find relief from terrible suffering due to the care of these doctors and the drugs developed by the pharmaceutical industry. As Nathan says, there’s risk in everything. Discuss those tormented souls who perished under the best efforts of therapists who refused drug treatment. Why not mention them, Robert? ”

        Statistically the drug companies method correlates with a spike in the disease, if it’s proven that drugs can cause OCD are YOU going to acknowledge the source!?

        And then this statement: “Discuss those tormented souls who perished under the best efforts of therapists who refused drug treatment. Why not mention them, Robert?” When drug treatments work for some people, but statistically have caused more of the problem you think you can decide that souls who perished receiving no drug treatment would have fared better. Then you mention therapists who supposedly refused drug treatment. What’s true is that anyone has the choice to take drug treatment or not. But that’s not the case for people who do not want a drug treatment, if you are going to talk about what’s refused and what isn’t. That could be the case that drugs could help someone, but there’s no correlation or proof there that the reason they suffered or perished is because they weren’t given drug treatments, in fact statistically it’s the opposite. There’s also the spike in mass shootings while anti-depressants have been forced to have the warning label stating they can cause such behavior. But that only occurred after it was going on for years, the drug companies suppressed that.

        Is it OK that anyone points out cause and effect there, or are they then not calling it a disease, because anywhere it occurred without drugs means drugs are the answer, although the drugs actually correlate statistically with more of the problem!?

        And the drug companies with all of their clout, money advertising abilities, there’s question regarding the finances of this site because it has a fraction of 1% of such finances? So that’s also suspect, apparently. From you: “Why not mention the profits you make from your books? Your speaking engagements, from this your subsidized advertising resource, funded by many who can’t afford it. Oh no! Not you. No trace of of anything impure about you.”

        Whitaker responded really clearly to that so how much are you earning a year “job job?”

    • Let me preface my comment by saying, I love the writing and interviewing that James Moore does at MIA, including the majority of this piece with David Healy. HOWEVER, someone MISSED talking about the enormous “elephant in the room.”

      James’ very last comment above COULD HAVE BEEN the necessary tough (and sugary) introduction to an essential question by a truly fearless journalist.

      First, I will provide James’ words and then add my own in Italics:

      “Before we wrap up, I do just want to acknowledge that I am so grateful to you because you are one of the few doctors who will get down in the weeds with people like me who have experienced difficulties and have an eye-level conversation with people about their experiences and what they might have learned.
      There is so much humility in doing that that’s missing from many doctors that I’ve interacted with who just put themselves on a pedestal. Also, your long history of curiosity and of looking at these things through a fresh lens and a different perspective.”

      {But I must now ask you a question on a very controversial and serious topic. For years you have been a major advocate and torch carrier for an often highly condemned and criticized so-called “treatment” for depression. Over the last decades reams of new evidenced (including significant numbers of personal horror stories) have emerged citing the extreme dangers of electro-shock, including long term or permanent brain damage, especial severe memory loss and processing issues.
      David, are you willing to be self-critical at this time about your past support for electro-shock, AND also,would you be willing to take the lead in calling for a moratorium on this form of so-called treatment, while a new comprehensive AND independent scientific evaluation could be done on the overall safety, and/or dangers of electro-shock?
      Isn’t this form of self evaluation in keeping with the need for true scientific rigor and upholding a doctors’ pledge “…to do no harm.”}


      • Hello, Richard, I can see the reasonableness for your suggestion for a pivot point in James article, however, I think that what followed in your suggestion would have been too much for most people to swallow. How about something more open-ended? On the other hand, I myself have trouble being straight-forward / direct. I think that in good faith it is important to stick to the topic that was agreed upon in advance. Dr. Healy knows that MIA is already a hornet’s nest of opposition to ECT. ….So how can we elicit from him his help and cooperation to address the contexts of harm from ECT?

  5. When is someone in this discussion, either MAD or a professional (I say with great disdain)–thanks commentators for the added bit about the subject supporting electro shock so called therapy–going to mention the media celebrities who push DSM labels and allude to taking these drugs? How much more damage do Selena Gomez, Kanye West and Ben Affleck due to so called mental health care and the rates of diagnosis and drugging when they support the nonsense of psychiatry with all the support of the mainstream press? They do more damage, I fear, then MAD will ever be allowed to do good.

    • Now the NFL is including a link at their website for ways to support mental health initiatives in education. What is that all about? What paradigm are they promoting? I doubt that all the football players know anything about it. WHO decides HOW the platform of professional football will be leveraged?

  6. In the end he names the true elephant in the room, corporatist, managerialused, profit driven medicine. Healy got sacked because his employer wanted him to prescribe more drugs and add more diagnosis and stick to the manual.

    We are all cogs in a machine now and Prozac is the drug that number us to the drudgery.

  7. A big thank you to Dr. Healy for this interview re: The Perils of Polypharmacy and for the specific analogy:” Polluting Our Internal Environment”, which I think needs to be relayed many times around the globe. Our revered Myth-Busters have been describing this problem so patiently for years, but in technical language that remains daunting for many lay people who need of a handle on basic truths about health in order to avoid deception by the exploitative interests, and to “spread the word”. We need to be mindful of the brainwashing and grooming that has taken place in public education and the community, the “just-so” sound bites, that continually nudge stressed parents and youth to the allopathic psychiatric wards, and often under pressure from support-service providers that could result in a Child Protective Referral.

    • A big thank you to Dr. Healy for this interview re: polypharmacy and for the specific analogy: ” Polluting Our Internal Environments”, which I think needs to be emphasized continually in creative ways such as he has done. Our revered Myth-Busters have been describing the problem of drug toxicity so patiently and faithfully for years, yet possibly the technical discussions alone remain daunting for many lay people who need a handle on basic truths that activate their sense of self-sovereignty and survival instinct, and that help them “spread the word” among peers and among the next tier above them which is their local service providers.

      I think that technical elucidation needs to be further translated into dialogue that the lay person can use. We need to be circumspect of the brainwashing and grooming that has taken place in public education and the community. Marketing “just-so” sound bites continually nudge stressed parents and youth in the direction of the allopathic psychiatric wards, and often under pressure from support-service providers that could result in Child Protective Referrals. We survivors and advocates are challenged to be heard. The delay to effect systemic change is beyond frustrating. Motivating others to see ourselves as part of the environment deserving of protection is wise and necessary.

  8. Speaking of ECT: The culture surrounding the use of ECT has displayed to our family so much secrecy, betrayal, defamation of patients and family, exploitation, ignorance of the patient and therefore of her best interests, trauma, damage; presumably disconnectivity of important brain voxels needed for self awareness and integration of thought-feeling-will-self control that results in loss of the holistic person and her functional social life; and lucrative reward for the hospitals and staff and lack of accountability and professional advancement for the doctors; that I don’t see how it can be represented as a legitimate therapy. I would LOVE for Dr. Healy to be on a review board for my daughter’s case to give a totally objective review of what happened to her, if and only if we could both have total access to the sealed records and the doctors’ notes. Her case would be a bio-social autopsy of a hijacked kid who never had a chance among”hungry” (as John Grisham uses the word) and professionally ambitious so-called doctors with conflicts of interest.

  9. I think it’s fair to call out Healy for supporting ECT, or even prudent to remind us of that, because I often forget myself. But it’s no reason to write off everything he writes, or assume that he’s fatally compromised (I’m not sure anyone here is doing that, BTW). The uncomfortable reality is that sometimes even brilliant clinicians have a single terrible idea that they become invested in at one point in their career– and what’s more, I believe that’s quite common.

    I don’t see how you avoid that– mental health is an enormously frustrating field, and if you’ve been at it for a while, it’s impossible to avoid some kind of delusional thinking because you’re surrounded by it. “My God, many of my colleagues in this field are far more seriously disturbed than the people I’m treating.” That can lead you to some very dark places– and oddly, that’s a part of Healy’s interview I really connect with: The systemic dysfunction. It does make good clinicians bad. You can be as well adjusted as you like, have perfect self care, meditate until you levitate, but sorry, no one can help internalizing some of that dysfunction.

    This is the reason why I got into the field so late in life myself: There’s less time for me to be corrupted, and hopefully I’ve accumulated enough wisdom and street smarts to avoid the problem for 25 years or so instead of the usual 15, 10, or 5. It’s like managing the risk from riding motorcycles by saying, “I’ll only do it for five years, between age 35 and 40.”

    What I really connected with was the basic message: Polypharmacy is inherently dangerous; it introduces risks that can multiply exponentially. If we could even just reduce or eliminate THAT risk, we would have made an enormous stride forward.

    I’m fascinated by the role of the microbiome, and intrigued by the role of the small nerves in PSSD, but let’s not forget that PSSD is more than just genital numbing, so while sensory neuropathy may play a very important role for some PSSD patients, for those with arousal disorders, it may be another process entirely– something much more subtle involving many different systems. My own PSSD occurred after a very short course of SSRIs, lasted for three or four years, and then remitted entirely during a single group therapy session during clinical training, and never returned. I never had the numbing, but one of my very best friends did– and fortunately, his PSSD remitted as well, though it took many years.

    I should also note that not all young people are desperate to start SSRIs. In fact, I work with many who have never been exposed to them, who seek to avoid them at all cost. I’m seeing far lower rates of prescribing than even four or five years ago. And I see many young adults who come to me because they’re very worried about how much cannabis they’re using, how much online media they’re consuming, and not only want to stop, but want to understand WHY they started– both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors, biological and psychosocial.

    And it’s just as Healy says: “My” best ideas? They usually come from “them” — the people I work with. And what’s great about not being published is I can give them attribution, if only anonymously: “You know, it’s one of your peers who came up with that idea. I can’t tell you who, or tell you whether it was five minutes or five years ago, but there’s a group of you who have started trying this technique, and seem to be getting good results.”

      • Steve, last year I wrote a memorial article here about my good friend Jay Mahler who was a psychiatric survivor and human rights activist. He had survived shock treatments that were so harmful that he couldn’t remember his own name for a long time. Psychiatry is a failed medical specialty that injures those it claims to help- it’s “treatments” cause victims to die decades before the national average as you know. Jay told me that he believed the injuries he received from psychiatry contributed to his early death.

          • Steve I’ve never believed psychiatry is a legitimate medical specialty because it’s false underlying disease model theoretical paradigm is based on a scientifically unproven big lie, as I described here on MIA in my article- “Eyewitness to psychiatry functioning as a conspiracy theory based cult.” My article is based on my 28 years working as a PhD level licensed psychotherapist alongside psychiatrists everyday in the public mental health sector.
            But to your question above, with me not equating victims of psychiatry whose concocted diagnoses like schizophrenia and bipolar are not because of a truly physical illness like cancer- just imagine if the patients treated by the medical specialty of oncology had a 25 year earlier death rate than cancer patients who never had seen a cancer specialist and received chemo, radiation, surgery etc.?
            The headline would read- “If you get treated for cancer, you’ll die 25 years earlier than other folks with cancer who got no treatment.”
            In the year before he died, as his body was increasingly racked with multiple physical medical conditions that he believed had been caused by his nonstop injurious shock treatments and forced injections of massive doses of haldol for many months in the psychiatric hospital, Jay Mahler told me- “Michael, I really didn’t want to die prematurely, to be a statistic fatality of what psychiatry did to me.”

          • I think it was Hemmingway who said of psychiatry, “The operation was a success, but we lost the patient.” And for every fatality, there are a hundred or a thousand more damaged in various ways that are often not even noticed. It is baffling to me that they continue to get away with it.

          • Steve wrote “It is baffling to me that they continue to get away with it.”

            Pastor Martin Niemöller
            “Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables” The second group written in Niemöller’s source text.

            First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
            Because I was not a socialist.
            Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
            Because I was not a trade unionist.
            Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
            Because I was not a Jew.
            Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

            When Pastor Niemöller was put in a concentration camp we wrote the year 1937; when the concentration camp was opened we wrote the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers. Who raised their voice, maybe the Confessing Church? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians – “should I be my brother’s keeper?”
            Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. – I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it’s right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn’t it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? — Only then did the church as such take note. Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. Can we say, we aren’t guilty/responsible? The persecution of the Jews, the way we treated the occupied countries, or the things in Greece, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia or in Holland, that were written in the newspapers. … I believe, we Confessing-Church-Christians have every reason to say: mea culpa, mea culpa!

            We can talk ourselves out of it with the excuse that it would have cost me my head if I had spoken out.

          • Being one of the humans sacrificed to this godless and science less endeavor and reading the plain talk discussion about how I will die sooner because of so called medical providers who should be in jail for actual violations of the state of Michigan mental health code?

            Psychiatry causes mental torture is so many ways.

            Death would be better.

            Catholic god of St Mary Merciless human trafficking mental ward in Livonia Michigan run by Trinity Health violate me dead already. Stop the torture!

            All I can do is document the hell that’s been made of my life, not a damn thing to stop it. Or free myself..


            This human world is hell.

  10. Steve I believe there is a deep and abiding need in our male dominator, top down, social Darwinism culture to have a cadre of people tasked with the control of deviance from the entrenched, reactionary societal values and norms, about the open expression of emotion. The 25,000 psychiatrists gladly and lucratively have claimed that role. Psychiatry couldn’t exist as a grossly failed medical specialty that actually kills it’s patients if it wasn’t serving a very basic but inhumane, warped need of society. When Jay got disruptive at college they locked him up and shut him up.
    When 5 year old Mary throws tantrums she is medicated and shut up.
    Of course Pharma and the guild interests of psychiatry, and corrupt research of academia all collude with this oppression out of self interest. Our class system and economic system require punctual, quiet workers to punch in and be good employees.
    So, those who go to far with their anger or sadness or fear get sent to HR or get fired or get meds to stay on the job. It’s dystopian and it’s only getting more chaotic everyday, because as the prophetic Yeats said- “The center will not hold.”
    To that, Psychiatry smiles it’s friendly fascist smile and says- “No, we got this- just increase the daily dose until compliance and silence are restored.”

    • “Psychiatry couldn’t exist as a grossly failed medical specialty that actually kills it’s patients if it wasn’t serving a very basic but inhumane, warped need of society.”

      Hence the need when someone turns up with the proof that this is precisely what it is being used for, that the politicians need to separate themselves from the ‘offending’ by forcing through Euthanasia Laws. The ‘joint enterprise’ (RICO) nature of enabling this function to exist, a serious issue should they ever be exposed for the “editing” of the legal narrative post hoc in one of their ‘unintended negative outcomes’. (the buck stops where without these laws?) Such concealment makes them co conspirators…… fact. Anyone care to take a look at the letter that was forged by the Law Centre purporting to be from the Chief Psychiatrist to conceal arbitrary detentions, torture, and then …. well, best we don’t talk about that right? How easily these ‘human rights lawyers’ find it to throw their own ‘clients’ under a bus with the blessing of the State huh?

      Josef Hartinger caused the very same problem for Himmler with the two deaths at Dachau he investigated, and Himmler resolved it in EXACTLY the same way as our State government has…… make it possible to ‘dispose’ of people for their ‘potential’, and then “edit” the documents to create the illusion of it being ‘voluntary’……. and thus the ‘treatment; was effective Bob

      markps2 writes;

      “We can talk ourselves out of it with the excuse that it would have cost me my head if I had spoken out.”

      Even asking a simple question (will this ability of the State to “edit” legal narrative to conceal human rights abuses be available with the Euthanasia Law Minister? The answer after a patient was sent to the morgue before being declared dead providing me with the answer I required. Could you back date the Death Certificate Doctor?) will result in you being threatened with forced treatment (and with laws changing killing to a ‘treatment’ with post hoc “editing”? I can prove the uttering with the fraudulent set of documents, but that fact doesn’t seem to suit the authorities so…….. they deny me access to legal representation. I can’t even divorce to have my property returned to enable me to leave).

      Oh how I wish I could be allowed to live in a place where speaking the truth would not see you ‘fucking destroyed’ by the people you elect, and who pass laws which create the appearance of protections whilst those with a duty to act simply neglect that duty (refuse to take documented proof, and then declare “insufficient evidence” while the ‘hospital’ resolves their problem with a ‘hotshot’), and the documents get “edited”.

      The ‘dark corner’ required to have absolute political control has already been realised, but we seem too busy worrying about the human rights abuses of others to see what is occurring under the shadow of our own noses. Our Politicians most certainly aware of the ‘function’ given the way our ex Treasurer fled the State when it looked like he was about to be ‘referred’ by Police for ‘mental health treatments’……. and the Premier needing to cover up the attempt by citing ‘confidentiality’. Lets make a deal huh? You keep your mouth shut, and we’ll leave you with more than jello for a brain?

      I’m unsure if labelling citizens as “Outpatients” (unseen) and then dispatching police to detain them is possible in the US of A. We have laws making it a crime, but for some reason police never seem to take the proof before the “Outpatients’ are ‘chemically restrained’ and subjected to ‘forced treatments’.

  11. A lot of education and information in this interview but I could not help make few observations.

    One of them (and there are many):
    “The average doctor hasn’t got skin in the game. So the trick is how to get him to think it was his idea but you were the one who was feeding it to him.”

    How exhausting not only one is depressed and anxious and afraid for their lives but; on the top of that, one also has to worry about the doctor’s ego and status in the society.

    Think of power structure like this like racism, sexism and classism…why would the powerful entity give up their power or even care about you?

    Imagine thinking this way about your surgeon! Does not work?

    We really have to stay at the base: the power structure of psychiatry is the root of the issue…everything else seems to me peripheral.

    Just my personal opinion on this article. I did learn a lot about the pharmaceutical issue but was blinded by the underlying issue.

    • I agree. Folks who are looking for help don’t need another person whose ego they need to protect. Most of the time, that’s what got them into the trouble they are in, having to take care of people who were supposed to be taking care of them. It is ridiculous for a professional to create this kind of expectation, consciously or not. It’s not the client’s job to make them feel good about their work.

  12. Hi James,

    Thanks for this insightful interview with David Healy – great questions and overall a good discussion. Yes the elephant in the room is ECT but that’s another different battle.

    Given that David Healy is prepared to go out on a limb to preserve his integrity (to the point of losing his job and he lost a previous prestigious academic post because of a stance he took on the RCT’s ((I think)), I do find his stance on ECT interesting. This is a man who appears to have some degree of moral integrity; he seems to have found that ECT worked for his patients. Why would you advocate ECT given that he does not advocate drugs if he had not found that ECT worked to some level? He is not the first clinician (of my own acquaintance) that has found it so.

    My own guess is that ECT works because it destroys memory. One of the worst aspects of having a distressed brain is the constant rumination and the triggering of very traumatic memories by small daily occurrences like the scraping of a kitchen plate. ECT destroys memory so it perhaps wipes away those traumatic memories – even temporarily. Human Givens therapy tries to do something similar by using hypnotherapy specifically the rewind technique which was absolutely useless in my case.

    I have met people who have had ECT who told me that it worked in peer support groups. I have never had it myself – I do accept that it is extremely dangerous. The people I met who had it (the ones for whom it did and for whom it did not work) also unfortunately told me that they had permanently impaired memory function as a result.

    Overall the whole mental health system badly needs more honest clinicians like David Healy who are prepared the take on the system and suffer as a result. There’s very few whistle blowers in this world. I am grateful to have read the interview. I was one of the many in the early 90’s who was told that I had ‘latent bipolar disorder’ which was triggered by the high dose of anti depressants I was left on for a year and a half but i left the psychiatrist shortly afterwards and refused to take the Lithium she was pushing on me. Only for finding Peter Breggin’s book ‘Toxic Psychiatry’ at the time and but for the support of a local GP, I would probably have ended up on it and have non functioning kidneys by now.

    • maedhbh,

      You have concluded correctly about electroshock treatments, the treatment cognitively impairs the patient so they can no longer ruminate, which eliminates most forms of both anxiety and depression. This is why they produce efficacy, along with endocrine responses that may make you feel euphoric. But as we all know the cost is horrible, it is self evident in the benefit that it is only possible through harm to the brain and central nervous system which is a one way street and also not disclosed to or described to patients.

  13. job job wrote: “And flu shots reduce that possibility.”

    thomas Schnell wrote: “I think he was referring to data that suggests taking the flu vaccine reduces the chances of being afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Wild, isn’t it?”

    Thanks for the clarification. It’s wild until you dig down past all the rumour, exaggeration, mights perhaps and maybes. Then it isn’t wild. It’s a disturbing yet-again involving fully-grown adults torturing defenceless little animals, for dubious ends.

    So it goes that a neurotoxin called MPTP “[introduced to mouse brains] causes damage to […] dopaminergic neurons as seen in [human] Parkinson’s disease”.

    And then it also goes that if we poison the mouse brain with MPTP, and also give the mouse a mousey form of H1N1 flu, then the Parkinson’s-like brain damage will worsen in the mouse. By about 20%.

    It stands to reason then that a flu shot protects against Parkinson’s disease?

    Well.. no, it doesn’t. What a flu shot might do is lessen the damage of neurotoxins in the environment that make it to the human brain, or it might not… because the person’s brain that is being damaged by a neurotoxin won’t experience increased damage due to contracting the flu… assuming they don’t catch a variant of the flu that the jab missed.

    the combination of the neurotoxin MPTP and the flu virus H1N1 significantly increased brain damage in genetically altered mice held captive in a torture lab. Please form an orderly queue and announce your extrapolations loudly in turn…

    So… good news for genetically altered, vivisection mice.

    At best avoiding catching the flu might slow down the progress of Parkinson’s disease in people that already have the disease.

  14. TLDR:

    If you want to reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease, then first and foremost avoid neurotoxins that cause brain damage (from things like heavy industry, cars, power plants, forest fires, volcano eruptions and microplastics). Additionally, try and avoid getting the flu.

    There is a similar germination of a rumour into fact in the interview with Dr Healy when he waxes lyrical about nicotine and OCD. Given that nicotine is the most addicting substance on the planet, and causes compulsive behaviour, surely the only reason it could make someone attracted to the OCD label feel better, is because it will most likely override many other compulsive behaviours with the situational compulsion to spark up a cigarette?

    This is how bullshit grows from a seed of silliness to a full-grown oak of socially normalised oddity.

  15. It’s a shame they haven’t booked Lou Reed for the closing ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar.

    Lots of pointing of fingers, though I note that my State government had to rush through legislation (yesterday) to ban ‘conversion therapy’ to get in on the condemnation of the host Nation. A “gratuitous Islamophobic Premier” (Aust. Fed. of Islamic Councils) wouldn’t want to miss out on such an opportunity. It would seem that the ‘treatments’ (ECT, chemical castrations) Lou sings about may have actually killed more gays than the hangings?

    I also note the comment by Mesut Osil regarding the treatment of Uighurs by China……. a comment I, and many others, can relate to. “Looking back, it is not the torture of the tyrants that will be remembered, but the silence of the Muslim brothers”.

    Ever get the feeling that the ‘advocates’ are not the voice they claim to be? There’s a reason for that, and it isn’t an ‘illness’.