What an audacious and incredible statement you might say! Psychiatric drugs can actually prevent healing? Really? But millions of people daily take psychiatric drugs supposedly for their benefit, well-being and healing. You take these drugs because “you are supposed to”, a leap of faith. Mental health professionals reinforce the common belief that psychiatric drugs restore correct brain chemistry by fixing a biochemical flaw in people’s brains. Therefore, such drugs restore and heal the brain. But do they really? Could such drugs actually prevent healing – maybe even your healing if you are on a psychiatric drug? Let’s consider the evidence.
Psychiatric drugs cause chemical imbalances in the brain. It has never been demonstrated that they correct any brain function. Considerable clinical and research evidence shows the exact opposite — that psychiatric drugs actually impair normal brain function. Antidepressants in particular can damage the brain, especially if taken long term. Peter Breggin, prominent US psychiatrist and author has referenced numerous studies and research in his 546 page widely-acclaimed book “Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry“, which proves this point beyond question. Breggin goes into considerable detail about how antipsychotics (neuroleptics) cause severe and irreversible neurological syndromes, neurotoxicity, brain damage, cognitive issues, dementia and so much more. There is a growing body of literature around brain abnormalities and other health issues caused by antidepressants. ECT can cause irreversible brain damage. Breggin cites equally disturbing research about medication for ADHD. The book is quite technical, thorough and in many places “chilling” when one considers the implications. The fact that psychiatric medication causes brain dysfunction instead of supposedly fixing it, is indeed a supreme irony. Worse still is that there can be serious long term health issues all caused by the drugs.
Psychiatric drugs have “side effects”. No surprise if these drugs cause chemical imbalances! Most people’s serotonin and other neurotransmitter levels—even when they are suffering from depression for example—are within a normal range as far as anyone can determine. The brain is happily working with its current level of serotonin. Taking antidepressants disrupts the level of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. That’s why many people have side effects. The brain now struggles to adapt and to compensate for the artificially changed serotonin level. When a person stops taking the drug or reduces the dosage, the brain again encounters a “wrong” level of serotonin and works to normalize the level. The side effects and withdrawal effects are best explained by antidepressants messing up a normal serotonin level in one’s brain, rather than restoring a correct balance. This is the brain and body coping with the induced change in brain biochemistry. Don’t forget drug interactions when a patient takes more than one psychiatric drug, as well as withdrawal effects and addictions. Simply put: the medication works against the brain, not with the brain. No surprise since psychiatric drugs are synthetic, toxic substances — an example of toximolecular medicine. Toximolecular medicines do not cure any disease. They disrupt the normal, precise functioning of the human body and cause side effects.
Breggin and Cohen in “Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications“, pages 52-26, discuss many of the side effects of psychiatric drugs. Oddly, they are much like the symptoms that they purport to cure. Depending upon the drug or drugs and your unique body chemistry, you will most likely experience at least one, if not more, of the following: weakened concentration, memory lapses, sluggish mental ability, confusion, less able to handle stress, increased anger and irritability, insomnia, fatigue, sexual issues, flu symptoms, depressed mood, mood swings, reduced self-awareness or self-perception, “out of touch” with self and others, anxiety, euphoria, mania, acting out of character, neurological or muscular problems, headaches, nightmares and withdrawal effects which are often opposite the effects of the drug. This is only a partial list.
Psychiatric drugs present an illusion of healing. But what if say an antidepressant “worked” for you or for someone you know? There are stories of people who “got their life back” with the help of psychiatric drugs. One can’t deny an apparently positive effect, and one can be thankful for whatever benefits were realized. But what really happened? Many people on antidepressants experience more energy, and of course this is a welcome effect. This is largely due to the fact that SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are similar to amphetamines or cocaine, with similar stimulation and side effects. At low prescription-level doses, stimulants have these common effects: increased energy, more focused attention, and brightened mood. These exact same effects have been observed in many research studies with normal, healthy people. Amphetamines and cocaine initially interfere with serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine neurotransmitters, whereas SSRIs initially interfere only with serotonin. It’s like taking a low dose of cocaine for a much lower “high” and energy boost. In fact, in the early history of antidepressant drugs, they were called “psychic energizers”, but that term never caught on since it would not be as “useful” in marketing to the public as “antidepressant”. The term “antidepressant” is misleading since it implies that depression has been treated when instead people have been stimulated and energized. See Mulitze, “Pills for the Souls?“, pages 74-76, for the full discussion and references. For some people, psychiatric drugs become a nightmare.
Psychiatric drugs are an anaesthetic of the soul. In the psychiatric paradigm, feelings of fear, shame, guilt, depression, panic, anger and so forth, with their resulting behaviors are considered “the problem”. Those feelings must be medicated and eliminated. Psychiatric medication is thus all about symptom management. So if you feel suicidal or depressed, and with medication you no longer have those feelings, there is that sense of relief. But you won’t feel much joy either. The result is a “numbing of the soul”, a “chemical lobotomy” of the mind. Some researchers use the term “emotional blunting”. Part of your soul and personality is sacrificed to avoid the negative feelings. But what if the negative feelings are communication, “indicators of the soul”? What if those feelings and the emotional pain are actually one’s “cry of the soul”, wanting attention and deep healing? When the ability to feel is blocked, one’s healing is hijacked. Taking psychiatric medication long term often amounts to remaining in an emotional prison. You are basically blind or out of touch with the state of your soul and spirit. Dr Ty Colbert, in his very readable book, Rape of the Soul: How the Chemical Imbalance Model of Modern Psychiatry has Failed its Patients, sums it up well:
“All psychiatric drugs act by blocking out emotional pain and thereby inhibiting the healing process and furthering the violation of the raping process.” (pg. 18)
“Many clients have shared that they have a hard time crying or feeling sadness when on Prozac. They can sense that the sorrow is there, but it seems ‘out of reach’ for them.” (pg. 71)
“Depressants lower brain function so that awareness of pain is lost or at least distanced … By disabling the brain, what the drugs really cause is further dissociation from the pain.” (ppg. 144-145)
“Psychiatric drugs do not heal. At the very minimum, they block out the awareness of the wounded soul. In millions of cases they bring about a more permanent emotional death of the soul.” (page 160)
Psychiatric drugs block real healing. Recently I replaced the smoke alarm detectors in my house. I decided to spend a few more dollars and get the latest ones that also have a built-in carbon monoxide detector. When the alarm sounds, it even has a recorded voice in English and French! Quite remarkable, and of course apart from testing the alarms, I hope to never hear them. Now suppose I lost my hearing (as my wife claims happens occasionally!) as well as my sense of smell. Should there ever be a fire or carbon monoxide, the alarms are useless if I am deaf to the communication. While few analogies are perfect, this one highlights a major problem with psychiatric medication. When you are dissociated from your pain, and find it hard to remember and feel, real healing becomes difficult. Real healing is far more than symptom management and obliterating the negative or unwanted emotions – it is going deeper to find the source, what is behind the “cry of the soul” (Psalms 42:5, 11). Listen to Jacqueline’s story as one very moving and articulate example of real healing.
Psychiatric drugs can unwittingly compromise future health. Taking psychiatric drugs long term means that your health may well be compromised by other illness later in life. Why? By delaying real healing, “toxic waste” in one’s soul which is entangled with lies, shame, fear, woundedness, guilt, anger, rage, and so forth, continues its damage. From psychosomatic medicine and studies about chronic illnesses, we know that deeply buried emotions (especially anger) can cause serious long term health problems. Some people end up in nursing homes all too early because the toxic waste of their soul was never dealt with. That can be the consequence of not uncovering and resolving what is behind the painful emotions and memories.
The inescapable conclusion is this: psychiatric drugs do, in fact, prevent healing. This is probably an understatement considering the long term health hazards and issues caused by these drugs. The role of caring psychiatrists, truly hormonal or organic causes of mental illness, and whatever help or relief can come from psychiatric drugs does not lessen the validity and relevance of the points above. Instead of numbing the soul we need to listen to the soul, to the cry of the heart and find our healing in a loving Presence.