A great hour with British child psychiatrist Sami Timimi. We focus mostly on children but since all of us were once children, everything is also relevant to adult life. We examine the hazards of calling “unhappiness” or “despair” by a medical term such as “depression” and then prescribing drugs to children. Ultimately we address being a human being, and what children and adults alike really need–trusting, loving relationships. You will learn and be inspired by listening to Dr. Timimi.
My guest Danish physician Peter Gøtzsche is the cutting edge of psychiatric reform in Europe. Although an internist and highly respected researcher in general medicine, he has now turned his attention to psychiatry and been dismayed. He is devoting himself to stopping psychiatric oppression and to promoting better alternatives. A researcher, educator, and politically astute man, he is turning his critique into live action on the political stage and in the delivery of services. A rousing, don’t-miss exchange between the two of us!
When I found myself without a guest, I delivered a spontaneous hour on my latest thinking about psychiatric drugs. I start out talking about antipsychotic drugs and tardive dyskinesia, and how the “miraculous revolution” in psychopharmacology began with psychiatrists and drug companies promoting neurotoxins as cures. Then I go on to examine the common neurotoxic effects of all psychiatric drugs, finally declaring that all psychiatric drugs are “not caring drugs.” With some subtle variations, psychiatric drugs as a group “work” by causing apathy, loss of interest, reduced spontaneity, and lack of caring. Because of medication spellbinding, individuals often do not realize how their personalities and experience of life have been transformed for the worse, but they feel the relief of no longer caring as much about their emotional suffering, and about the people and activities in their lives. Sometimes the personality changes are subtle in the form of mild indifference and at other times very gross in the form of apathy, catatonia, and withdrawal. Because the medicated individuals no longer care about anything as much as they once did, they often become more docile and “easier to be with.” When their families, teachers, doctors or hospital caretakers find them “improved,” it is often because the drugged patients have become disengaged from themselves and their lives, hence displaying less suffering, and causing less conflict and difficulty. Psychiatry and drug companies, now with the cooperation of all medicine, and many societal institutions, are producing an epidemic of chemical encephalitis with disastrous effects on individuals and society.
My guest Ryan Melton PhD directs a statewide Oregon program for the identification and treatment of early psychotic disorders called the EASA Center for Excellence. Within the psychiatric reform movement, there are concerns about such programs stigmatizing youth and exposing them to toxic psychiatric drugs; but I believe that Ryan Melton’s program is headed in the right direction. Together we explore what does and does not work in early interventions, as well as the field of early interventions in general, and avoiding the pitfalls created by organized psychiatry. The Oregon program is a good beginning in the direction of providing genuine human services to people who are struggling or in psychological crises.
I love this hour with my friend Jeanne Stolzer and hope you will, too. We unexpectedly spent the show talking about what psychiatric drugs, alcohol, and marijuana (and all potent psychoactive drugs) are doing to the personal lives of individual children and adults and to society, and what life would be like without these toxic chemicals. The conversation inspired me to take notes as I was listening and talking. Jeanne is a professor of child and adolescent development, and brings an enormous heart and equally enormous intelligence to questions surrounding human life.
Richard “Red” Lawhern is a brilliant, passionate, hardworking nonmedical advocate for pain patients. Listen to this show and you will never look at pain medications in same light. Unlike psychiatric drugs, we both find that opiate and opioid pain medications are often under-prescribed. The under-prescribing of opiates is partly because of the fear of addiction, and partly because drug companies push more expensive drugs that do not work as well and cause more harm. Richard explains how the DEA has intruded into the practice of medicine, setting standards for doctors that are robbing patients of adequate medication coverage for pain, sometimes causing these patients to resort to street drugs with the risk of death by unintentional overdose. Having lost the War Against Drugs, has the DEA attacked a softer target, making a War on Doctors and their Pain Patients? Maybe so.
My guest Dawn R. Nelson has a PsyD as well as a Masters in Divinity, and comes from a rich background of thoughtfully providing human services. She conducts her private practice based on principles similar to my Guidelines for Empathic Therapy and will inspire other therapists to practice true to themselves and their ideals. She exemplifies a growing consensus that therapists should be genuine and caring, as well as informed about the importance of childhood and nurturing in respect to who we are as adults. She renews my faith in the future of psychotherapy.
Deborah Haas MS Ed has decades of experience in the addiction field and works for the Pennsylvania board that sets standards for addiction counselors. Deborah’s personal experience with addiction goes back to age 12 and she provides important insights into the complexities of trying to understand why people become addicted. She describes the harm done in treating people as if they are “broken” or suffering from “biochemical imbalances,” and the inherent contradiction in taking people off one set of drugs only to push them to take another set produced by the Pharmaceutical Empire. She fights the erosion of good therapy by the legal drug dealers. Deborah loved the four-part series of interviews that I did with Danish researcher Peter Gøtzsche, so this a reminder to search for those on www.breggin.com. Meanwhile, you will enjoy getting to know Deborah Haas, who is a shining light in the field of addiction treatment.
David Mielke teaches psychology and sociology in a California high school, where he educates young men and women in the truth about psychiatry. Many of these high school students are taking psychiatric medication, many are diagnosed with ADHD, and some have been told they are too disabled to do routine projects like taking notes from a board. He gives vivid examples of the disabling effects of the diagnoses and how they push young people toward learned helplessness and self-doubt. He describes how the principles of good teaching run smack into the bad teachings of modern psychology and psychiatry. He explains how teachers can empower students to learn and to have more confidence in themselves. This was a very interesting hour for me and should be so for everyone interested in our nation’s youth and in education.
After I give a 15 minute introduction about how the FDA may be doing more harm than good, Kim Witczak, consumer representative on the FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee, joins me to delve deeply into how the FDA too often betrays its mandate to serve and protect the public, and instead serves and protects the drug companies. Specific topics include the recent unprecedented FDA action of removing a lengthy Black Box warning from the smoking drug Chantix about its severe psychiatric adverse effects including suicide; and the FDA’s present consideration of drug company requests to allow them to market drugs to doctors for purposes that are not approved by the FDA. We also talk about direct to consumer advertising. Evermore, we cannot trust big government; evermore we cannot trust big business; and we cannot trust the legal system either. This hour examines evil without finding an easy way to combat it. On the bright side, it offers inspiration in Kim Witczak and her work as a self-made, highly dedicated and effective reformer!