Ten Myths About Psychiatric Drugs
- Psychiatric drugs cure mental illness. There are no accurate, objective criteria for “diagnosing” someone as mentally ill, hence there are no accurate, objective criteria for considering someone improved or cured. People who are labeled “mentally ill” have complex problems which cannot be solved by pills or shots. On the contrary, psychiatric drugs add to their problems by dulling the mind, causing physical ailments, and creating dependency.
- Some psychiatric drugs are not just sedatives but actually influence neurotransmission. All psychiatric drugs, including sedatives, influence neurotransmission. So do illegal street drugs. That’s precisely what makes them dangerous and addictive neurotoxic chemicals. Neurotransmission is not something we understand enough about to safely tamper with.
- Depression is caused by too little serotonin./Schizophrenia is caused by too much dopamine. These are corrected by psychiatric drugs. People who are prescribed psychiatric drugs are not tested for levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. Such tests don’t exist. Neurotransmitter levels in the brain can only be determined on sacrificed laboratory animals. Psychiatric drugs are prescribed on the basis conjecture or as a matter of policy.
- Sleeping pills help people fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleeping pills do help some people sleep, however, the effect is only temporary. After a few weeks they stop “working.” When the pills are discontinued, sleeping becomes more difficult than ever. Furthermore, sleeping pills interfere with the normal stages of sleep.
- The government has thoroughly tested all drugs, including psychiatric drugs, knows everything about them, and has proven that they are safe before approving them. The government itself has no laboratories or scientists to do such research. It bases its knowledge on research results that are provided by the manufacturers of the drugs. The manufacturers also control which results are disclosed to the government. Approval of the drugs is as much a matter of political negotiation as of scientific criteria.
- If psychiatric drugs were harmful, they would be recalled, like thalidomide was. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The harmfulness of psychiatric drugs has been known for decades, but unlike the infamous thalidomide, doctors are allowed to, and do, continue prescribing them, even as part of forced treatments. Thalidomide caused public outrage, probably because it so obviously and sensationally harmed infants born to “normal” mothers. The side effects of many psychiatric drugs are equally grotesque, but the general public doesn’t know about them because, when seen, they are not associated with psychiatric drugs, or because the worst victims are hidden away in institutions. Without public outrage, the government is not motivated to act, particularly considering the financial and political interests at stake.
- Drug side effects are rare. If you let them worry you, you can never take any medicines. Referring only to physical side effects, some psychiatric drugs, in particular the neuroleptics, have ADR (adverse drug reaction) rates of 50% during the first year of use. After long term use the rates rise to nearly 100%. Psychiatric drugs are not comparable to medicines prescribed for somatic ills because a) most medicines are taken only a short period, whereas psychiatric drugs are continued indefinitely; b) most medicines do not cross the blood/brain barrier nor affect the central nervous system whereas all psychiatric drugs do; c) side effects from medicines commonly disappear when the drug is discontinued, whereas many side effects from psychiatric drugs are irreversible. In fact, some side effects from psychiatric drugs emerge after the drug has been discontinued. The physical side effects of psychiatric drugs can be highly disfiguring and debilitating, not to mention the damage to mental functioning.
- There are pills to treat drug side effects. These pills are in reality more of the same. They may suppress side effects temporarily, but in the long run, they make them worse.
- When a psychiatric drug causes side effects, it can be discontinued or replaced by another. By the time an ADR appears, the brain may be conditioned to the drug (addiction). Discontinuing the drug abruptly will cause serious, often highly dangerous physical as well as behavioral reactions, possibly resulting in involuntary commitment and forced drugging. At that point the drug will be interchangeable only with a similar drug, which will cause the same side effects.
- If psychiatric drugs were really all that harmful, doctors wouldn’t prescribe them. Unfortunately, doctors do not always act in their patients’ best interests. This is particularly the case in psychiatry, where
- no effective medical treatments exist;
- patients’ complaints are often not taken seriously;
- side effects are commonly mistaken for a presumed mental illness;
- the interests of a third party may take precedent to the interests of the patient;
- doctors themselves are often misinformed because their knowledge about the drugs they prescribe is derived from the manufacturers’ marketing campaigns.