If you read the drug information included with any medication a doctor prescribes for you, there is usually a long list of possible side effects, including some that make you wonder if taking the medication is worth the risk. In recent years, anti-depressants have come under attack for their overuse for various disorders and associated risks in various groups. Jason Hartman interviews psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Breggin about how pharmaceutical companies have promoted that depression and anxiety attacks and many other mental disorders and illnesses are based on chemical imbalances and that this pill or that pill will take care of the problem.
Dr. Breggin talks about how our own internal resources for overcoming challenges are discarded in exchange for a pill. He expresses that happiness and optimism are key elements in successfully facing life’s difficulties, but in this day and age, apathy from being over medicated is setting in and restricting people’s ability to manage their own emotions. Studies have shown that anti-depressants have long-term risks. Dr. Breggin claims drugs given for bi-polar disorder are nothing more than a scam. He goes on to explain that the way the drugs are supposed to work actually creates a chemical imbalance that the brain does not like, leading to unnatural changes, basically causing damage to the brain. Dr. Breggin’s focus is teaching people the high risks of medications that alter the brain’s natural functions, and helping people to learn to take control of their own mind to overcome depression, panic attacks and other mental disorders. He points out that the brain is so complex that it even has a blood/brain barrier that is supposed to keep out things that can alter the psyche of the brain, meaning psychiatric drugs have to be tailored to sneak past it.
Peter R. Breggin M.D. conducts a private practice of psychiatry in Ithaca , New York , where he treats adults, couples, and families with children. He also does consultations in the field of clinical psychopharmacology and often acts as a medical expert in criminal, malpractice and product liability suits. Before moving to Ithaca in November 2002, he was in practice for nearly thirty-five years in Washington , DC and Bethesda , Maryland . He has written dozens of scientific articles and many professional books, including Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008), and is on the editorial board of several journals. Dr. Breggin’s work has led to significant changes within the profession. The FDA’s recent recognition of numerous adverse reactions caused by the newer antidepressants — including suicidality in children and young adults, and a stimulant profile involving agitation, akathisia, hostility, aggression, and mania — closely follows observations made and publicized by Dr. Breggin over the past ten years.
In 2010 Dr. Breggin and his wife Ginger formed a new organization that continues their emphasis on bringing professional and laypersons together to share their concerns about the hazards of contemporary biological psychiatry while promoting more caring and empathic approaches to personal conflict and suffering. The new organization will sponsor an annual meeting each April in Syracuse, New York (empathictherapy.org).
Dr. Breggin’s two most recent books are Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex (2008) and Medication Madness: A Psychiatrist Exposes the Dangers of Mind-Altering Drugs (July 2008).