Two Alternative Viewpoints: Psychotropic Drugs and Crises (a piece by Loren Mosher, MD)

A piece written by Loren Mosher, MD, psychiatrist and founder of Soteria House, who passed away in 2004.  In it, he addresses psychiatric drugs and psychiatric drug withdrawal, and also what to do in times of crisis.  An excerpt:

“The materials presented on this website make clear some of our views on the overuse and misuse of the psychotropic drugs, in particular the so called “neuroleptics” or “anti-psychotic” medications. These drugs, even the newer so-called “atypicals”, have serious adverse effects and toxicities associated with their use. Some of their toxicities are life threatening (neuroleptic malignant syndrome), while others, like tardive dyskinesia and tardive dementia are usually cosmetically disfiguring, irreversible and result in seriously diminished overall functioning. Numerous other toxicities, both physical and cognitive, are associated with their short and long term use. Hence, if possible, it seems prudent to avoid or minimize (short term, low dose) their use.

As experience has accumulated with the newer anti-depressants (Prozac is the best known one, but there are a number of others) several important facts have emerged:

  • They are only slightly more effective than placebos (“sugar pills”).
  • They cause, in a certain percentage of cases, a very disturbing form of agitation called “akathisia” that can produce violent behavior (suicidality or homicidality), especially when associated with another of their effects, “disinhibition” or emotional indifference.
  • These drugs may also cause psychosis and/or mania severe enough to result in psychiatric hospitalization.
  • They are all associated with withdrawal problems (see below) that are much more common and severe than has generally been acknowledged.

So, the high initial expectations of these “wonderful” anti-depressants (as widely heralded by their makers) are exaggerated. These problems with the anti-depressants should be taken in the context of the fact that there are numerous studies indicating that several types of psychotherapy are as, or more effective, and result in fewer relapses.”

You can read the article in its entirety here.