Whitaker  Toxic Psychiatry

America's Mental Illness Epidemic: It Turns Out That the Drugs Are the Problem

by Gary G. Kohls, MD
Online Journal
Thu, 26 Aug 2010 00:19 CDT

Tens of millions of innocent, unsuspecting Americans, who are mired deeply in the mental "health" system, have actually been made crazy by the use of or the withdrawal from commonly-prescribed, brain-altering, brain-disabling, indeed brain-damaging psychiatric drugs that have been, for many decades, cavalierly handed out like candy -- often in untested and therefore unapproved combinations of drugs -- to trusting and unaware patients by equally unaware but well-intentioned physicians who have been under the mesmerizing influence of slick and obscenely profitable psychopharmaceutical drug companies, a.k.a. BigPharma.

That is the conclusion of two books by investigative journalist and health science writer Robert Whitaker. His first book, entitled Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill noted that there has been a 600 percent increase (since Thorazine was introduced in the US in the mid-1950s) in the total and permanent disabilities of millions of psychiatric drug-takers. This uniquely First World mental ill health epidemic has resulted in the life-long taxpayer-supported disabilities of rapidly increasing numbers of psychiatric patients who are now unable to be happy, productive, taxpaying members of society.

Whitaker has done a powerful, albeit unwelcome job of presenting previously hidden, but very convincing evidence to support his thesis, that it is the drugs and not the diagnosis that is causing the epidemic of mental illness disability. Many open-minded physicians and many aware psychiatric patients are now motivated to be wary of any and all synthetic chemicals that can cross the blood/brain barrier because all of them are capable of altering the brain in ways totally unknown to medical science, especially when the patients are taking the drugs long-term. .

In Whitaker's second book Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, he goes much further in advancing this sobering reality. He documents the history of the powerful forces behind the relatively new field of psychopharmacology and its major shaper and beneficiary, BigPharma. Psychiatric drugs, whose developers, marketers and salespersons are all in the employ of the giant drug companies, are far more dangerous than the drug and psychiatric industries are willing to admit: These drugs, it turns our, are fully capable of disabling -- often permanently -- body, brain and spirit.

More evidence to support Whitaker's well-documented claims are laid out in two important new books written by psychiatrist and scholar Grace Jackson. Jackson did a beautiful job of researching and documenting, from the voluminous basic neuroscience research (which is uniformly ignored by the clinical sciences) the unintended and often disastrous consequences of the chronic ingestion of any of the five major classes of psychiatric drugs. Her second and most powerful book: Drug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that any of the five classes of drugs that are commonly used in psychiatric patients (antidepressants, antipsychotics, psychostimulants, tranquilizers and anti-seizure/"mood-stabilizer" drugs) have shown microscopic, macroscopic, biochemical, clinical and/or radiological evidence of brain shrinkage and other signs of brain damage, which can result in clinically-diagnosable, permanent dementia, premature death and a variety of other related brain disorders that can mimic mental illnesses. Jackson's first book, Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent was an equally sobering book warning about the many hidden dangers of psychiatric drugs.

This sad truth is that the seemingly knee-jerk prescribing (without very much information being given to patients about the long list of serious long-term adverse effects) of potent and often addicting/dependency-inducing psychiatric drugs has become the standard of care in American psychiatry since the introduction of the so-called anti-schizophrenic "miracle" drug Thorazine in the mid-1950s. (Thorazine was the offending drug that all of Jack Nicholson's fellow patients were coerced into taking at "medication time" in the Academy Award-winning movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.) Thorazine and all the other "me-too" early antipsychotic drugs are now universally known to have been an iatrogenic (= doctor or other treatment-caused) disaster because of their serious long-term, initially unsuspected, brain-damaging effects that resulted in a number of incurable neurological disorders such as tardive dyskinesia and Parkinson's disease.

Thorazine and all the other knock-off drugs like Prolixin, Mellaril, Navane, etc., are synthetic "tricyclic" chemical compounds similar in molecular structure to the tricyclic "antidepressants" like imipramine and the similarly toxic, obesity-inducing, diabetogenic, "atypical" anti-schizophrenic drugs like Clozaril, Zyprexa and Seroquel.

Thorazine, incidentally, was originally developed in Europe as an industrial dye. That doesn't sound so good although it may not be so unusual in the closely related fields of psychopharmcology and the chemical industry, especially when one considers that Depakote, a popular drug marketed initially as an anti-epilepsy drug but now is being heavily used as a so-called "mood stabilizer." Depakote, known to be a hepatotoxin and renal toxin, was originally developed as an industrial solvent capable of dissolving fat -- including, presumably, the fatty tissue in human livers and brains.

Some sympathy and understanding needs to be generated for the various victims of BigPharma's compulsive drive to expand market share and "shareholder value" (share price, dividends and the next quarter's financial report) by whatever means necessary. Both the prescribers and the swallowers of BigPharma's drugs have succumbed to BigPharma's cunning marketing campaigns, the prescribers having been seduced by attractive drug company representatives and their "pens, pizzas and post-it note" freebies in the office, and the patients being brain-washed by the inane and unbelievable (if one has intact critical thinking skills) commercials on TV that quickly gloss over the lethal adverse effects in the fine print while urging the watcher to "ask your doctor" about the latest unaffordable wannabe blockbuster drug. .

For a quick overview of these issues, I recommend that everybody with an open mind read a long essay written by Whitaker that persuasively identifies the source of America's epidemic of mental illness disability (a phenomenon that doesn't exist in Third World nations because costly psych drugs are not prescribed so cavalierly as in the US).

Whitaker and Jackson (among a number of other ground-breaking and whistle-blowing authors who have been essentially black-listed by the mainstream media and mainstream medical journals) have proven to most critically-thinking scientists, alternative practitioners and assorted "psychiatric survivors" that it is the drugs -- and not the so-called "disorders" -- that are causing our nation's epidemic of mental illness disability. The Whitaker essay, plus other pertinent information about his books can be accessed at Mad In America. A recent interview on Wisconsin Public Radio can be accessed at www.wpr.org (at their radio archives link) and a long interview with Dr.Joseph Mercola can be heard here.

After reading and studying all these inconvenient truths, mental health practitioners must consider the medicolegal implications for them, especially if the information is ignored or if the information is dismissed out of hand by practitioners who might be tempted to not take the time to study this new information. Those people who are hearing about this for the first time need to pass the word on to others, especially their prescribing healthcare practitioners who should be equally concerned. This is important because the opinion leaders in the highly influential (for good or ill) psychiatric and medical industries have been marketed into submission without hearing the all the facts (which may have been intentionally hidden from them. If that is the case, they cannot be automatically blamed for. proceeding in a practice that some day might represent malpractice. It shouldn't have to be pointed out that is the solemn duty of ethical practitioners who are in positions of authority to fully examine potential malpractice issues and then warn others, especially their patients, of the dangers.

Sadly, it must be admitted that most of the over-worked, double-booked care-givers in medical clinics have not yet heard the news that most if not all of the brain-altering synthetic chemicals known as psychotropic drugs (which are treated as hazardous waste unless they are packaged in a swallowable capsule!) have been marketed as safe and effective -- but only for short-term use. The captains of the drug industry know that the psychotropic drugs that they present for the FDA-approval have only been tested in animal trials for days and in clinical trials for 6 weeks. They also know -- indeed they hope -- that patients will be taking their drugs for years (despite no long-term trials proving safety and efficacy) as the only "treatment" for mental ill health. They know that their brain-altering drugs are also dependency-inducing (aka addicting, causing withdrawal symptoms when stopped), neurotoxic and increasingly ineffective (a la "Prozac Poop-out") as time goes by.

The truth is that the people diagnosed as "mentally ill" for life are often simply those unfortunates who find themselves in acute or chronic states of crisis or "overwhelm" due to any number of preventable, curable and treatable (without the use of drugs) bad luck accidents such as poverty, abuse, violence, torture, homelessness, discrimination, underemployment, brain malnutrition, addictions/withdrawal, brain damage from electroshock "therapy" and/or exposure to neurotoxic chemicals in their food, air, water or prescription bottles.

Those labeled as the "mentally ill" are just like us "normals" who have not yet decompensated because of some yet-to-happen, crisis-inducing, overwhelming (however temporary) life situation. And thus we have not yet been given a billable code number (accompanied by the seemingly obligatory -- and unaffordable -- drug prescription or two signifying we are now chronically mentally ill. Unlabeled, we are likely to remain off prescription drugs but with a label and in "the system," it is hard to "just say no to drugs."

The victims of hopelessness-generating situations like simple bad luck, bad circumstances, bad company, bad choices, bad government, big business, and a competitive society that generates a few winners but mostly losers. America tolerates, indeed celebrates, punitive and thus fear-inducing social systems resembling in many ways the infamous police state realities of 20th century European totalitarianism, where people who were different or just dissidents were thought to be abnormal and therefore "disappeared" into insane asylums, jails or concentration camps without just cause or competent legal defense. And many of them were and are drugged with disabling psychoactive chemicals against their will.

The truth is that most, if not all, of BigPharma's psychotropic drugs are lethal at some dosage level (the LD50, the lethal dose that kills 50 percent of lab animals, is calculated before efficacy testing is done), and therefore the drugs must be regarded as dangerous. The chronic use of these drugs is a major cause of cognitive disorders, brain damage, loss of creativity, loss of spirituality, loss of empathy, loss of energy, loss of strength, fatigue and tiredness, permanent disability and a multitude of metabolic adverse effects that can readily sicken the body, brain and soul by causing insomnia or somnolence, increased depression or anxiety, delusions, psychoses, paranoia, mania, etc. So before filling the prescription, it is advisable to read the product insert labeling under "WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE EFFECTS, CONTRAINDICATIONS, TOXICOLOGY, OVERDOSAGE and the ever-present BLACK BOX WARNINGS ABOUT SUICIDALITY."

Long-term, high dosage or combination psychotropic drug usage could be regarded as a chemically traumatic brain injury (TBI) or, as drugs like Thorazine were known in the 1950s and 60s, a "chemical lobotomy." That is a useful way to conceptualize this serious issue, because such chemically brain-altered patients are often indistinguishable from those who have suffered a physically traumatic brain injuries or been subjected to ice-pick lobotomies which were popular in the 1940s and 50s -- before the drugs came on the market.

America has a mental ill health epidemic on its hands that is grossly misunderstood because it is worsening, not by the supposed disease progression, but because of the neurotoxic, non-curative drugs that are somehow regarded as first-line "treatment."

For more information of these extremely serious topics check out these websites:

MindFreedom International, Psychiatric Drug Facts with Dr. Peter Breggin, ICSPP~ for Empathic Human Sciences and Services, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), The International Coalition for Drug Awareness, Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, Benzodiazepine Addiction, Withdrawal & Recovery, Paxil Withdrawal, Coalition for the Abolition of Electroshock, Dr. Mercola, Mad in America and follow the links.

Dr. Kohls is a family physician who, until his retirement in 2008, practiced holistic mental health care. His patients came to see him asking for help in getting off the psychotropic drugs that they knew were sickening and disabling them. He was successful in helping significant majorities of his patients get off their drugs using a thorough and therefore time-consuming program that was based on psychoeducational psychotherapy, brain nutrient therapy, a drastic change away from the malnourishing and often toxic Standard American Diet (SAD) plus a program of gradual, closely monitored drug withdrawal. Dr. Kohls warns against the abrupt discontinuation of any psychiatric drug because of the common, often serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur with the chronic use of any dependency-inducing psychoactive drug, whether illicit or legal. Close consultation with an aware, informed physician who is hopefully familiar with dealing with drug withdrawal syndromes (starting with the original prescribing physician), who will read and study the above books and become aware of the previously unknown dangers of these drugs and the nutritional needs of the drug-toxified and nutritionally-depleted brain.

Dr. Kohls is a member of MindFreedom International and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. He is the editor of the occasional
Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter.