Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex, Second Edition

Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex, Second Edition

by Peter R. Breggin
     
 

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From the author of Toxic Psychiatry and Talking Back to Prozac:

"Peter Breggin is the conscience of American psychiatry. Once more he updates us on the real evidence with respect to the safety and effectiveness of specific psychiatric medications and ECT. This information is needed by all mental health professionals, as well as patients

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Overview

From the author of Toxic Psychiatry and Talking Back to Prozac:

"Peter Breggin is the conscience of American psychiatry. Once more he updates us on the real evidence with respect to the safety and effectiveness of specific psychiatric medications and ECT. This information is needed by all mental health professionals, as well as patients and families."
--Bertram Karon, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Michigan State University, Author of The Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia

"Nowhere does false medical thinking do more harm than in the modern psychiatric argument that mental illness is easily diagnosed and then cured by a side-effect free drug. Nowhere is the correct psychiatric thinking more evident than in the books by Peter Breggin."
-- William Glasser, MD, psychiatrist, author of Reality Therapy

In Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, renowned psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., presents startling scientific research on the dangerous behavioral abnormalities and brain dysfunctions produced by the most widely used and newest psychiatric drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor, Xanax, Ativan, Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Strattera, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Geodon, Abilify, lithium and Depakote.

Many of Breggin's earlier findings have improved clinical practice, led to legal victories against drug companies, and resulted in FDA-mandated changes in what the manufacturers must admit about their drugs. Yet reliance on these drugs has continued to escalate in the last decade, and drug company interests have overwhelmed psychiatric practice.

This greatly expanded second edition, supported by the latest evidence-based research, shows that psychiatric drugs achieve their primary or essential effect by causing brain dysfunction, and that they tend to do far more harm than good.

    New scientific analyses in this completely updated edition include:

  • Chapters covering every new antidepressant and stimulant drug
  • Twenty new guidelines for how to conduct non-drug therapy
  • A chapter describing how to safely withdraw from psychiatric drugs
  • A discussion of "medication spellbinding," explaining how patients fail to appreciate their drug-induced mental dysfunctions
  • Documentation of how the drug companies control research and the flow of information about psychiatric treatments

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is the second edition of this contentious book written by the controversial anti-psychiatry psychiatrist Peter Breggin, who throughout his career has been a critic of biological psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and electroconvulsive therapy. His main thesis, in this edition and in his previous books, is that there is no biological basis of mental illness and that biological treatments such as antidepressants, neuroleptics, lithium, and ECT exert their therapeutic action by inducing brain damage/dysfunction in patients. In addition, he asserts that when and if patients do have an apparent effect, it is not truly an improvement but "iatrogenic helplessness and denial and, more specifically, intoxication anosognosia (medication spellbinding)." The author does make some valid points regarding problems in psychiatry and medicine in general: the validity problems with the DSM, the influence of the drug companies on physicians, the reflexive prescribing of drugs by doctors, the biases of clinical trials sponsored by drug companies, the hiding of pertinent data by drug makers, among others. The major flaw in his arguments is his apparent categorical thinking. The so-called facts that he lists in his book contain no shades of gray. His categorical thinking is of the Cartesian dualism variety with such statements as on page 19: "I believe that the concepts of mental illness and mental disorder are misleading and that none of the problems commonly treated by psychiatrists are genetic, or biological in origin." His categorical thinking invades such concepts as disease, disorder, authenticity, treatment effects, illness effects, informed consent, brain damage, and addiction.
Purpose: The purpose is to convey the author's contention that "(A)ll of the currently available biopsychiatric treatments - drugs, electroshock, and psychosurgery - have their primary or 'therapeutic' effect by impairing or disabling normal brain function, causing iatrogenic helplessness and denial and, more specifically, intoxication anosognosia (medication spellbinding)."
Audience: The intended audience is patients whose serious psychiatric problems the author treats with understanding "the life story of each individual - his or her personal biography - in all its subtle complexity. Often, I involve loved ones and family to help them understand each other. On this basis of genuine understanding, instead of cookie-cutter diagnoses, I am far more able to help individuals lead more satisfying, successful lives." Unfortunately, this treatment recommendation gives false hope to patients and their families that "genuine understanding" is sufficient in itself to treat serious mental illness. The author's apparent dualism blinds him to the notion that if indeed "genuine understanding" was in some way therapeutic, he has changed that individual's brain structure and brain function and his brain manipulation has no more intrinsic moral worth than any other treatment, be it mental or physical. His treatment paradigm is also subject to the same criticism that he applies to drugs and ECT. For, if a patient's outcome is dependent upon the author's "genuine understanding" technique, doesn't that suggest to patients that they are helpless, dependent and will become addicted to his (Dr. Breggin's) expertise in eliciting this "genuine understanding?"
Features: The 16 chapters cover the so-called "brain-disabling" effects of psychiatric drugs such as neuroleptics, antidepressants, lithium, stimulants, anti-anxiety agents. The chapter covering ECT deserves special mention since it highlights the Sackeim et al. study (Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007 Jan;32(1):244-54) of the cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy in community settings and states that the study "provides proof that ECT causes brain damage." First, the study is on cognitive outcome, not a pathological study of the participants' brains. More importantly, the author does not mention that there are major research methodological flaws in the study, including lack of random assignment to treatment (ECT vs. antidepressants vs. placebo), lack of a control group of patients matched on all variables but treatment, and lack of raters and research participants blind to which treatment they received. He does not tell readers that without these essential experimental ingredients, there are serious doubts about the validity of the study and that the variability in outcome of the (cognitive status) participants has anything to do with the treatment (ECT).
Assessment: I find little of redeeming value in this book. All treatments and interventions, including his "genuine understanding," have their benefits and risks, including the risks and benefits of providing ineffective or no treatment. The few important and valid points Dr. Breggin does make are eclipsed by the same reasoning flaws he levels at mainstream psychiatry.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826129352
Publisher:
Springer Publishing Company
Publication date:
12/17/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
576
File size:
1 MB

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for the first edition:

"Breggin has written the definitive text for professionals and the public alike who really want to know the hazards, inadequacies and illusions of psychopharmacology. this book will be a foundation for those who specialize in medication-free treatment.
--Kevin F. McCready, PhD, Clinical Director, San Joaquin Psyuchotherapy Center

"This book proves once again that Peter Breggin truly is the 'conscience of American psychiatry.' Breggin shows that the brain-disabling hypothesis of organic psychiatric treatments is overwhelmingly confirmed by clinical experience and the scientific literature. With astounding numbers of elderly, adults, and children on prescribed psychoactive drugs, [this book] should be required reading for all medical interns, practicing physicians, and mental health professionals."
--David Cohen, PhD, Professor of Social Services, University of Montreal

"Once more, Dr. Breggin updates us on the real evidence with respect to the safety and effectiveness of the range of specific psychiatric medications and ECT. This information is needed by all mental health professionals, as well as patients and families, but it is never completely available in textbooks or drug advertising."
--Bertam Karon, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Michigan State University

"Peter Breggin, MD, a scientific-Hippocratic physician, does not for a moment overstate the danger posed by the psychiatric-pharmaceutical cartel."
--Fred A. Baughman, Jr., MD, Fellow, American Academy of Neurology

Meet the Author

Peter R. Breggin, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former full-time consultant at NIMH. He is in private practice in Ithaca, New York, and the author of dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty books. Some of his many books include Toxic Psychiatry, Talking Back to Ritalin, The Antidepressant Fact Book, and The Heart of Being Helpful: Empathy and the Creation of a Healing Presence, and, with co-author Ginger Breggin, Talking Back to Prozac. His most recent publications include Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide, and Crime (2008) and Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex, Second Edition (SPC, 2008). Dr. Breggin is the founder and director of The Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education and Living (EmpathicTherapy.org) His professional website is breggin.com.

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