Cure or Quackery?

                             by Lawrence Stevens, J.D.

Psychiatric drugs are worthless, and most of them are harmful.
Many cause permanent brain damage at the doses customarily given.
Psychiatric drugs and the profession that promotes them are
dangers to your health.


The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry/IV, published in 1985,
says "The tricyclic-type drugs are the most effective class of
anti-depressants" (Williams & Wilkins, p. 1520).  But in his book
Overcoming Depression, published in 1981, Dr. Andrew Stanway, a
British physician, says "If anti-depressant drugs were really as
effective as they are made out to be, surely hospital admission
rates for depression would have fallen over the twenty years
they've been available.  Alas, this has not happened. ... Many
trials have found that tricyclics are only marginally more
effective than placebos, and some have even found that they are
not as effective as dummy tablets" (Hamlyn Publishing Group,
Ltd., p. 159-160).  In his textbook Electroconvulsive Therapy,
Richard Abrams, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Chicago Medical
School, explains the reason for the 1988 edition of his book
updating the edition published 6 years earlier: "During these six
years interest in ECT has bourgeoned. ... What is responsible for
this volte-face in American psychiatry?  Disenchantment with the
antidepressants, perhaps.  None has been found that is therapeu-
tically superior to imipramine [a tricyclic], now over 30 years
old, and the more recently introduced compounds are often either
less effective or more toxic than the older drugs, or both"
(Oxford Univ. Press, p. xi).  In this book, Dr. Abrams says "de-
spite manufacturers' claims, no significant progress in the phar-
macological treatment of depression has occurred since the intro-
duction of imipramine in 1958" (p. 7).  In the Foreword to this
book, Max Fink, M.D., a psychiatry professor at the State Univer-
sity of New York at Stony Brook, says the reason for increased
use of electroconvulsive "therapy" (ECT) as a treatment for
depression is what he calls "Disappointment with the efficacy of
psychotropic drugs" (p.  vii). In his book Psychiatric Drugs:
Hazards to the Brain,
published in 1983, psychiatrist Peter Breg-
gin, M.D., asserts: "The most fundamental point to be made about
the most frequently used major antidepressants is that they have
no specifically antidepressant effect.  Like the major tran-
quilizers to which they are so closely related, they are highly
neurotoxic and brain disabling, and achieve their impact through
the disruption of normal brain function.  ... Only the `clinical
opinion' of drug advocates supports any antidepressant effect" of
so-called antidepressant drugs (Springer Pub. Co., pp. 160 &
184).  An article in the February 7, 1994 Newsweek magazine says
that "Prozac...and its chemical cousins Zoloft and Paxil are no
more effective than older treatments for depression" (p. 41).
Most of the people I have talked to who have taken so-called
antidepressants, including Prozac, say the drug didn't work for
them.  This casts doubt on the often made claim that 60% or more
of the people who take supposedly antidepressant drugs benefit
from them.


Lithium is said to be helpful for people whose mood repeatedly
changes from joyful to despondent and back again.  Psychiatrists
call this manic-depressive disorder or bipolar mood disorder.
Lithium was first described as a psychiatric drug in 1949 by an
Australian psychiatrist, John Cade.  According to a psychiatric
textbook: "While conducting animal experiments, Cade had somewhat
incidentally noted that lithium made the animals lethargic, thus
prompting him to administer this drug to several agitated psychi-
atric patients."  The textbook describes this as "a pivotal mo-
ment in the history of psychopharmacology" (Harold I. Kaplan,
M.D. & Benjamin J. Sadock, M.D., Clinical Psychiatry, Williams &
Wilkins, 1988, p. 342).  However, if you don't want to be lethar-
gic, taking lithium would seem to be of dubious benefit.  A
supporter of lithium as psychiatric therapy admits lithium causes
"a mildly depressed, generally lethargic feeling".  He calls it
"the standard lethargy" caused by lithium (Roger Williams, "A
Hasty Decision? Coping in the Aftermath of a Manic-Depressive
Episode", American Health magazine, October 1991, p. 20).  Simi-
larly, one of my relatives was diagnosed as manic-depressive and
was given a prescription for lithium carbonate.  He told me,
years later, "Lithium insulated me from the highs but not from
the lows."  It should be no surprise a lethargy-inducing drug
like lithium would have this effect.  Amazingly, psychiatrists
sometimes claim lithium wards off feelings of depression even
though, if anything, lethargy-inducing drugs like lithium (like
most psychiatric drugs) promote feelings of despondency and
unhappiness - even if they are called antidepressants.


Among the most widely used psychiatric drugs are the ones called
minor tranquilizers, including Valium, Librium, Xanax, and
Halcion.  Doctors who prescribe them say they have calming, anti-
anxiety, panic-suppressing effects or are useful as sleeping
pills.  Anyone who believes these claims should go to the nearest
library and read the article "High Anxiety" in the January 1993
Consumer Reports magazine, or read Chapter 11 in Toxic Psychiatry
(St. Martin's Press, 1991), by psychiatrist Peter Breggin, both
of which allege the opposite is closer to the truth.  Like all or
almost all psychiatric drugs, the so-called minor tranquilizers
don't cure anything but are merely brain-disabling drugs.  In one
clinical trial, 70 percent of persons taking Halcion "developed
memory loss, depression and paranoia" ("Halcion manufacturer
Upjohn Co. defends controversial sleeping drug", Miami Herald,
December 17, 1991, p. 13A).  According to the February 17, 1992
Newsweek, "Four countries have banned the drug outright" (p. 58).
In his book Toxic Psychiatry, psychiatrist Peter Breggin, speak-
ing of the minor tranquilizers, says "As with most psychiatric
drugs, the use of the medication eventually causes an increase of
the very symptoms that the drug is supposed to ameliorate" (ibid,
p. 246).


Contrary to the claim major and minor tranquilizers and so-called
antidepressants are useful as sleeping pills, their real effect
is to inhibit or block real sleep.  When I sat in on a psychiatry
class with a medical student friend, the professor told us "Re-
search has shown we do not need to sleep, but we do need to
dream."  The dream phase of sleep is the critical part.  Most
psychiatric drugs, including those promoted as sleeping medica-
tions or tranquilizers, inhibit this critical dream-phase of
sleep, inducing a state that looks like sleep but that actually
is a dreamless unconscious state - not sleep.  Sleep, in other
words, is an important mental activity that is impaired or
stopped by most psychiatric drugs.  A self-help magazine advises:
"Do not take sleeping pills unless under doctor's orders, and
then for no more than 10 consecutive nights.  Besides losing
their effectiveness and becoming addictive, sleep-inducing medi-
cations reduce or prevent the dream-stage of sleep necessary for
mental health" (Going Bonkers? magazine, premiere issue, p. 75).
In The Brain Book, University of Rhode Island professor Peter
Russell, Ph.D., says "During sleep, particularly during dreaming
periods, proteins and other chemicals in the brain used up during
the day are replenished" (Plume, 1979, p. 76).  Sleep deprivation
experiments on normal people show loss of sleep causes
hallucinations if continued long enough (Maya Pines, The Brain
, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973, p. 105).  So what
would seem to be the consequences of taking drugs that inhibit or
block real sleep?


Even as harmful as psychiatry's (so-called) antidepressants and
lithium and (so-called) antianxiety agents (or minor tranquiliz-
ers) are, they are nowhere near as damaging as the so-called
major tranquilizers, sometimes also called "antipsychotic" or
"antischizophrenic" or "neuroleptic" drugs.  Included in this
category are Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Mellaril, Prolixin (flu-
phenazine), Compazine, Stelazine, and Haldol (haloperidol) - and
many others.  In terms of their psychological effects, these so-
called major tranquilizers cause misery - not tranquility.  They
physically, neurologically blot out most of a person's ability to
think and act, even at commonly given doses.  By disabling
people, they can stop almost any thinking or behavior the "thera-
pist" wants to stop.  But this is simply disabling people, not
therapy.  The drug temporarily disables or permanently destroys
good aspects of a person's personality as much as bad.  Whether
and to what extent the disability imposed by the drug can be re-
moved by discontinuing the drug depends on how long the drug is
given and at how great a dose.  The so-called major tranquilizer/
antipsychotic/neuroleptic drugs damage the brain more clearly,
severely, and permanently than any others used in psychiatry.
Joyce G. Small, M.D., and Iver F. Small, M.D., both Professors of
Psychiatry at Indiana University, criticize psychiatrists who use
"psychoactive medications that are known to have neurotoxic
effects", and speak of "the increasing recognition of long-
lasting and sometimes irreversible impairments in brain function
induced by neuroleptic drugs.  In this instance the evidence of
brain damage is not subtle, but is grossly obvious even to the
casual observer!" (Behavioral and Brain Sciences, March 1984,
Vol. 7, p. 34).  According to Conrad M. Swartz, Ph.D., M.D.,
Professor of Psychiatry at Chicago Medical School, "While
neuroleptics relieve psychotic anxiety, their tranquilization
blunts fine details of personality, including initiative, emo-
tional reactivity, enthusiasm, sexiness, alertness, and insight.
... This is in addition to side effects, usually involuntary
movements which can be permanent and are hence evidence of brain
damage" (Behavioral and Brain Sciences, March 1984, Vol. 7, pp.
37-38).  A report in 1985 in the Mental and Physical Disability
Law Reporter
indicates courts in the United States have finally
begun to consider involuntary administration of the so-called
major tranquilizer/antipsychotic/neuroleptic drugs to involve
First Amendment rights "Because...antipsychotic drugs have the
capacity to severely and even permanently affect an individuals's
ability to think and communicate" ("Involuntary medication claims
go forward", January-February 1985, p. 26-emphasis added).  In
Molecules of the Mind: The Brave New Science of Molecular
, Professor Jon Franklin observed: "This era coincided
with an increasing awareness that the neuroleptics not only did
not cure schizophrenia - they actually caused damage to the
brain.  Suddenly, the psychiatrists who used them, already like
their patients on the fringes of society, were suspected of
Nazism and worse" (Dell Pub. Co., 1987, p. 103).  In his book
Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the Brain, psychiatrist Peter
Breggin, M.D., alleges that by using drugs that cause brain
damage, "Psychiatry has unleashed an epidemic of neurological
disease on the world" one which "reaches 1 million to 2 million
persons a year" (op. cit., pp. 109 & 108).  In severe cases,
brain damage from neuroleptic drugs is evidenced by abnormal body
movements called tardive dyskinesia.  However, tardive dyskinesia
is only the tip of the iceberg of neuroleptic caused brain dam-
age.  Higher mental functions are more vulnerable and are im-
paired before the elementary functions  of the brain such as
motor control.  Psychiatry professor Richard Abrams, M.D., has
acknowledged that "Tardive dyskinesia has now been reported to
occur after only brief courses of neuroleptic drug therapy" (in:
Benjamin B. Wolman (editor), The Therapist's Handbook: Treatment
Methods of Mental Disorders,
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1976, p.
25).  In his book The New Psychiatry, published in 1985, Columbia
University psychiatry professor Jerrold S. Maxmen, M.D., alleges:
"The best way to avoid tardive dyskinesia is to avoid
antipsychotic drugs altogether.  Except for treating schizophre-
nia, they should never be used for more than two or three
consecutive months.  What's criminal is that all too many
patients receive antipsychotics who shouldn't" (Mentor, pp. 155-
156).  In fact, Dr. Maxmen doesn't go far enough.  His character-
ization of administration of the so-called antipsychotic/anti-
schizophrenic/major tranquilizer/neuroleptic drugs as "criminal"
is accurate for all people, including those called schizophrenic,
even when the drugs aren't given long enough for the resulting
brain damage to show up as tardive dyskinesia.  The author of the
Preface of a book by four physicians published in 1980, Tardive
Dyskinesia: Research & Treatment,
made these remarks: "In the
late 1960s I summarized the literature on tardive dyskinesia ...
The majority of psychiatrists either ignored the existence of the
problem or made futile efforts to prove that these motor abnor-
malities were clinically insignificant or unrelated to drug
therapy.  In the meantime the number of patients affected by
tardive dyskinesia increased and the symptoms became worse in
those already afflicted by this condition. ... there are few
investigators or clinicians who still have doubts about the
iatrogenic [physician caused] nature of tardive dyskinesia.
... It is evident that the more one learns about the toxic
effects of neuroleptics on the central nervous system, the more
one sees an urgent need to modify our current practices of drug
use.  It is unfortunate that many practitioners continue to
prescribe psychotropics in excessive amounts, and that a consid-
erable number of mental institutions have not yet developed a
policy regarding the management and prevention of tardive dyski-
nesia.  If this book, which reflects the opinions of the experts
in this field, can make a dent in the complacency of many psychi-
atrists, it will be no small accomplishment" (in: William E.
Fann, M.D., et al., Tardive Dyskinesia: Research & Treatment, SP
Medical & Scientific).  In Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the
psychiatrist Peter Breggin, M.D., says this: "The major
tranquilizers are highly toxic drugs; they are poisonous to
various organs of the body.  They are especially potent neurotox-
ins, and frequently produce permanent damage to the brain. ...
tardive dyskinesia can develop in low-dose, short-term usage...
the dementia [loss of higher mental functions] associated with
the tardive dyskinesia is not usually reversible. ... Seldom have
I felt more saddened or more dismayed than by psychiatry's
neglect of the evidence that it is causing irreversible lobotomy
effects, psychosis, and dementia in millions of patients as a
result of treatment with the major tranquilizers"(op. cit., pp.
70, 107, 135, 146).
         Psychiatry professor Richard Abrams, M.D., has pointed out
that "Tricyclic Antidepressants...are minor chemical modifica-
tions of chlorpromazine [Thorazine] and were introduced as poten-
tial neuroleptics" (in: B. Wolman, The Therapist's Handbook, op.
cit., p. 31).  In his book Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the
, Dr. Breggin calls the so-called antidepressants "Major
Tranquilizers in Disguise" (p. 166).  Psychiatrist Mark S. Gold,
M.D., has said antidepressants can cause tardive dyskinesia (The
Good News About Depression
, Bantam, 1986, p. 259).
          Why do the so-called patients accept such "medication"?
Sometimes they do so out of ignorance about the neurological
damage to which they are subjecting themselves by following their
psychiatrist's advice to take the "medication".  But much if not
most of the time, neuroleptic drugs are literally forced into the
bodies of the "patients" against their wills.  In his book
Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the Brain, psychiatrist Peter
Breggin, M.D., says "Time and again in my clinical experience I
have witnessed patients driven to extreme anguish and outrage by
having major tranquilizers forced on them. ... The problem is so
great in routine hospital practice that a large percentage of
patients have to be threatened with forced intramuscular injec-
tion before they will take the drugs" (p. 45).


Forced administration of a psychiatric drug (or a so-called
treatment like electroshock) is a kind of tyranny that can be
compared, physically and morally, with rape.  Compare sexual rape
and involuntarily administration of a psychiatric drug injected
intramuscularly into the buttocks, which is the part of the
anatomy where the injection usually is given: In both sexual rape
and involuntary administration of a psychiatric drug, force is
used.  In both cases, the victim's pants are pulled down.  In
both cases, a tube is inserted into the victim's body against her
(or his) will.  In the case of sexual rape, the tube is a penis.
In the case of what could be called psychiatric rape, the tube is
a hypodermic needle.  In both cases, a fluid is injected into the
victim's body against her or his will.  In both cases it is in
(or near) the derriere.  In the case of sexual rape the fluid is
semen.  In the case of psychiatric rape, the fluid is Thorazine,
Prolixin or some other brain-disabling drug.  The fact of bodily
invasion is similar in both cases if not (for reasons I'll
explain) actually worse in the case of psychiatric rape.  So is
the sense of outrage in the mind of the victim of each type of
assault.  As psychiatry professor Thomas Szasz once said, "vio-
lence is violence, regardless of whether it is called psychiatric
illness or psychiatric treatment."  Some who are not "hospi-
talized" (that is, imprisoned) are forced to report to a doctor's
office for injections of a long-acting neuroleptic like Prolixin
every two weeks by the threat of imprisonment ("hospitalization")
and forced injection of the drug if they don't comply.
        Why is psychiatric rape worse than sexual rape?  As brain
surgeon I. S. Cooper, M.D., said in his autobiography: "It is
your brain that sees, feels, thinks, commands, responds.  You are
your brain.  It is you.
 Transplanted into another carrier,
another body, your brain would supply it with your memories, your
thoughts, your emotions.  It would still be you.  The new body
would be your container.  It would carry you around.  Your brain
is you"
(The Vital Probe: My Life as a Brain Surgeon, W.W.Norton
& Co., 1982, p. 50-emphasis in original).  The most essential and
most intimate part of you is not what is between your legs but
what is between your ears
.  An assault on a person's brain such
as involuntary administration of a brain-disabling or brain-dam-
aging "treatment" (such as a psychoactive drug or electroshock or
psychosurgery) is a more intimate and morally speaking more
horrible crime than sexual rape.  Psychiatric rape is in moral
terms a worse crime than sexual rape for another reason, also:
The involuntary administration of psychiatry's biological "thera-
pies" cause permanent impairment of brain function.  In contrast,
women usually are still fully sexually functional after being
sexually raped.  They suffer psychological harm, but so do the
victims of psychiatric assault.  I hope I will not be understood
as belittling the trauma or wrongness of sexual rape if I point
out that I have counselled sexually raped women in my law prac-
tice and that each of the half-dozen or so women I have known who
have been sexually raped have gone on to have apparently normal
sexual relationships, and in most cases marriages and families.
In contrast, the brains of people subjected to psychiatric
assault often are not as fully functional because of the physi-
cal, biological
harm done by the "treatment".  On a TV talk show
in 1990, psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, Ph.D., said he hopes those
responsible for such "therapies" will one day face "Nurnburg
trials" (Geraldo, Nov. 30, 1990).


These very same brain-damaging (so-called) neuroleptic/antipsy-
chotic drugs are routinely administered - involuntarily - to
mentally healthy old people in nursing homes in the United
States.  According to an article in the September/October 1991
issue of In-Health magazine, "In nursing homes, antipsychotics
are used on anywhere from 21 to 44 percent of the institution-
alized elderly... half of the antipsychotics prescribed for
nursing home residents could not be explained by the diagnosis in
the patient's chart.  Researchers suspect the drugs are commonly
used by such institutions as chemical straightjackets - a means
of pacifying unruly patients" (p. 28).  I know of two examples of
feeble old men in nursing homes who were barely able to get out
of their wheelchairs who were given a neuroleptic/antipsychotic
drug.  One complained because he was strapped into a wheelchair
to prevent his attempts to try to walk with his cane.  The other
was strapped into his bed at night to prevent him from getting up
and falling when going to the bathroom, necessitating defecating
in his bed.  Both were so physically disabled they posed no
danger to anyone.  But both dared complain bitterly about how
they were mistreated.  In both cases the nursing home staffs
responded to these complaints with injections of Haldol -
mentally disabling these men, thereby making it impossible for
them to complain.  The use of these damaging drugs on nursing
home residents who are not considered to have psychiatric
problems shows that their real purpose is control, not therapy.
Therapeutic claims for neuroleptic drugs are rationalizations
without factual support.


Studies indicating psychiatric drugs are helpful are of dubious
credibility because of professional bias.  All or almost all
psychiatric drugs are neurotoxic and for this reason cause symp-
toms and problems such as dry mouth, blurred vision, lightheaded-
ness, dizziness, lethargy, difficulty thinking, menstrual irregu-
larities, urinary retention, heart palpitations, and other conse-
quences of neurological dysfunction.  Psychiatrists deceptively
call these "side-effects", even though they are the only real
effects of today's psychiatric drugs.  Placebos (or sugar pills)
don't cause these problems.  Since these symptoms (or their
absence) are obvious to psychiatrists evaluating psychiatric
drugs in supposedly double-blind drug trials, the drug trials
aren't really double-blind, making it impossible to evaluate
psychiatric drugs impartially.  This allows professional bias to
skew the results.


Despite various unverified theories and claims, psychiatrists
don't know how the drugs they use work biologically.  In the
words of Columbia University psychiatry professor Jerrold S.
Maxmen, M.D.: "How psychotropic drugs work is not clear" (The New
, Mentor, 1985, p. 143).  Experience has shown that the
effect of all of today's commonly used psychiatric drugs is to
disable the brain in a generalized way.  None of today's psychi-
atric drugs have the specificity (e.g., for depression or anxiety
or psychosis) that is often claimed for them.


It is often asserted that taking a psychiatric drug is like
taking insulin for diabetes.  Although psychiatric drugs are
taken continuously, as is insulin - it's an absurd analogy.
Diabetes is a disease with a known physical cause.  No physical
cause has been found for any of today's so-called mental illness-
es.  The mode of action of insulin is known: It is a hormone that
instructs or causes cells to uptake dietary glucose (sugar).  In
contrast, the modes of action of psychiatry's drugs are unknown -
although even advocates of psychiatric drugs as well as critics
theorize they prevent normal brain functioning by blocking neuro-
receptors in the brain.  If this theory is correct it is another
contrast between taking insulin and taking a psychiatric drug:
Insulin restores a normal biological function, namely, normal
glucose (or sugar) metabolism.  Psychiatric drugs interfere with
a normal biological function, namely, normal neuroreceptor
functioning.  Insulin is a hormone that is found naturally in the
body.  Psychiatry's drugs are not normally found in the body.
Insulin gives a diabetic's body a capability it would not have in
the absence of insulin, namely, the ability to metabolize dietary
sugar normally.  Psychiatric drugs have an opposite kind of
effect: They take away (mental) capabilities the person would
have in the absence of the drug.  Insulin affects the body rather
than mind.  Psychiatric drugs disable the brain and hence the
mind, the mind being the essence of the real self.

THE AUTHOR, Lawrence Stevens, is a lawyer whose practice has
included representing psychiatric "patients".  His pamphlets are
not copyrighted.  Feel free to make copies.




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