America’s Mental Ill Health, Suicide and Dementia Epidemic: It Turns Out That Legal Psych Drugs may be the Problem

Gary G. Kohls, MD

Tens of millions of unsuspecting Americans, who are mired deeply in the mental “health” system, have actually been made crazy, homicidal, suicidal and neurologically disabled by the use of or the withdrawal from commonly-prescribed, brain-disabling, neurotoxic psychiatric drugs that have been, for several generations now, cavalierly handed out like candy, with false assurances from BigPharma and the FDA. These synthetic prescription drugs are often prescribed in untested and unapproved combinations by unaware but well-intentioned prescribing physicians and physicians assistants who have been under the mesmerizing influence of slick propaganda campaigns that are bankrolled by highly profitable multinational pharmaceutical companies.

That is the conclusion of a multitude of courageous psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry whistleblowers (see some pertinent websites below), including the authors of many powerful books on the subject. Most of these whistleblowers have been black-listed by BigPharma, the FDA, psychiatry, medical journals and even the mainstream media because of the magnitude of the unwelcome information they have revealed.  In defense of most prescribing physicians, many of the revelations about the dangers of these synthetic drugs have been hidden from them by the industries who have been making a killing in the past. In any case, the revelations of these whistleblowers’ should – if there is any justice in this world - be shaking up prescribing practitioners, their drug-taking patients, pharmacists and the drug industry, as well as Wall Street.

I highlight two of these courageous whistleblowers below.

Practicing psychiatrist and scholar Grace E. Jackson, MD has written two important books that should alert psychiatric drug prescribers and the consumers of those drugs about the many dangers of those drugs. Dr. Jackson has done meticulous review and interpretations of the voluminous neuroscience research literature as well as the clinical neuropsychiatric literature and has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how brain damaging and dementia-causing are many of the drugs that the drug industry has falsely reassured us as being “safe and effective”.

Drug-induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime

Dr. Jackson’s most dramatically ground-breaking book was published in 2009 and was titled Drug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime.  She has documented the often disastrous consequences of the chronic ingestion of any of the 5 major classes of psychiatric drugs (antidepressants, antipsychotics, psycho-stimulants, tranquilizers and anti-seizure/”mood-stabilizer” drugs).
Drug-induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime presents compelling evidence that any of the psychotropic drugs that target brain and nerve cells can cause microscopic, anatomic, biochemical, clinical and radiological evidence of brain shrinkage and other signs of brain damage, which can result in clinically-diagnosable dementia, premature death and a variety of other related brain disorders that can even mimic diagnosable mental illnesses “of unknown cause”. Jackson’s first book, Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent was an equally sobering warning about many of the hidden dangers of psychiatric drugs.

Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the
Mentally Ill

Investigative journalist and ex-health science writer (for the Boston Globe) Robert Whitaker has devoted many years of his life researching the serious downsides of psychiatric drugs. He has reported his ground-breaking results in two books, the first of which was titled Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (2002). In Mad in America, Whitaker explored the published literature and discovered that, since psychiatric drugs (the first one being Thorazine) began being widely prescribed in the US in the mid-1950s, there has been a 600% increase in the total and permanent disabilities of millions of psychiatric drug-takers in the United States. This uniquely First World epidemic of “mental health” disability has resulted in the life-long, taxpayer-supported, Social Security disabilities of rapidly increasing numbers of psychiatric patients who are now unable to live happy and productive lives.

In Whitaker’s second book Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (2010), he provides additional, overwhelming proof of these sobering realities. He documents the history of the powerful forces behind the relatively new field of psychopharmacology and its major shapers, promoters and beneficiaries, namely BigPharma and the medical and psychiatric industries. Psychiatric drugs, whose developers, marketers and salespersons are all in the employ of the giant drug companies, are far more dangerous than these industries are willing to admit: Psychiatric drugs, it turns out, are fully capable of disabling body, brain and spirit – often permanently.

Jackson and Whitaker have done powerful service to humanity by presenting previously hidden evidence from the scientific literature to support their theses, that it is the drugs and not the so-called “mental illnesses” that are causing the epidemics of “mental illness” disability, suicidality and dementia in America.
Aware, compassionate physicians and their truth-seeking patients should now be motivated to be wary of any and all synthetic chemicals that can cross the blood/brain barrier from the blood stream into the brain – whether they be prescription antidepressants, antipsychotics, tranquilizers, psychostimulants or so-called “mood stabilizers”, or “synthetic marijuana”, OxyContin, cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin. All of them are capable of altering the brain, oftentimes long term and sometimes even  permanently, in ways previously unknown to medical science and unsuspected by the FDA, especially in cases of polypharmacy and/or long-term or high dose use.

It is getting harder and harder to fly over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Tragically, the prescribing of psych drugs “for life” has become standard mental health “treatment” for many of the 374 mental illness labels in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Putting people on pills for life (and rarely taking them off) has become the community standard of care in American psychiatry - increasingly so ever since the introduction of the so-called “anti-schizophrenic” “major tranquilizer” “miracle” drug Thorazine in the mid-1950s. (Thorazine was likely the drug that Jack Nicholson’s character Randall McMurphy and his psych unit buddies 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 first generation antipsychotic, “zombification” drugs (aka chemical lobotomy drugs”) are now universally acknowledged to have been an iatrogenic (ie, doctor- or treatment-caused) disaster because of their serious long-term, brain-damaging effects that resulted in a multitude of permanent brain damage manifesting as tardive (delayed) dyskinesia, dysmetria, dystonia, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. And now we are seeing the phenomenon being caused by the newer “atypical” antipsychotics. Young children (particularly foster care kids) are being given these drugs off label and some of them are now developing Parkinson’s disease in childhood!
 
Thorazine and all the other “me-too” drugs like Prolixin, Mellaril, Navane, etc, are synthetic “tricyclic” chemical compounds similar in molecular structure to the tricyclic first generation “antidepressants” like Elavil and the similarly toxic, obesity-inducing, diabetogenic, “atypical” “anti-psychotic” second-generation drugs like Clozaril, Zyprexa and Seroquel.
 
Just like most ruthless corporations whose first obligation is to their shareholders, BigPharma has a compulsive drive to make as much money as possible by continuously expanding market share, raising prices and increasing ”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 cunning marketing campaigns. The prescribers get seduced by attractive drug company sales persons of the opposite sex and the free “pens, pizzas and post-it notes” in the office. And the patients get seduced by the unbelievable (if one has intact critical thinking skills) commercials on TV that urge the watcher to “ask your doctor” about the latest unaffordable wannabe blockbuster drug that quickly gloss over the lethal and sub-lethal adverse effects in the fine print. If one gets a prescription for a drug that still has patent protection, prepare to pay anywhere from $100 - $300 per month, no matter if the production costs are pennies per pill.

Why is there no mental health disability epidemic in the third world?

Interestingly, Whitaker points out that there is no such epidemic of mental illness disability in Third World nations. Unaffordable psych drugs are not prescribed as cavalierly as they are in First World nations. Poor people in the third world have no access to unaffordable physicians if they suffer an episode of any serious mental health problem. Rather, they are first comforted, nurtured, fed and cared for by caring families in local communities (and not drugged) and, if drugs are used, they are only used for the short term – before the patient’s brain structure has been significantly altered. Third world psychiatric patients are often cured without the use of any drug whatsoever and therefore those populations have far less chronic mental health problems than their counterparts in First World nations.

Jackson and Whitaker - and any number of other whistle-blowing practitioners and authors who have been questioning the knee-jerk use of potentially neurotoxic drugs - are understandably ignored or black-balled by mainstream entities that benefit from the pro-drug culture. Avoiding brain-altering drugs, although decidedly best for keeping brains healthy, is not good for the prescription drug business or the street drug business.

The good news is that many critically-thinking scientists, holistic practitioners and assorted “psychiatric survivors” are coming to the realization that it is the drugs - and not the so-called “mental disorders” - that are the major causes of our nation’s epidemics of dementia and mental illness disability – not to mention the uniquely American epidemic of school shootings.

FDA approval doesn’t mean a drug has been safe or effective long-term
 
I know that most health caregivers working for modern medical facilities are over-worked, often double-booked and therefore devote too much of their attention to BigPharma’s paid academics to absorb the sobering news related above. But this issue is too important to ignore. After all, these drugs are potentially lethal substances that are administered in sublethal doses and many of them (maybe most?) are known to accumulate in brain tissue. In a 4 week animal study from the 1990s, for example, Prozac was found to accumulate in the brain at concentrations 20 times higher than its concentration in the bloodstream! And yet, these drugs are still being deceptively marketed as non-toxic, non-addictive, safe and effective.

The captains of industry know that their patented psychiatric drugs, when they are presented for FDA-approval, have only been tested in animal labs for days or weeks and in clinical trials on human subjects for an average of only 6-8 weeks! They also know that many clinical trials use current drug-treated psychiatric patients who will then be in the process of going off - and therefore withdrawing from - their previous drugs. Industry executives also know that long-term trials of most psych drugs are never done prior to being granted marketing approval by the co-opted FDA.

The fine line between “normal” and “mentally ill”
 
The truth is that people diagnosed as “mentally ill” for life are often simply those unfortunates who have found themselves in acute or chronic states of potentially reversible crises or temporary “overwhelm” due to any number of preventable, treatable and even curable situations such as being in bad company, or being a victim of poverty, abuse, violence, torture, homelessness, discrimination, underemployment, malnutrition, addictions/withdrawal, electroshock “therapy” and/or exposure to neurotoxic chemicals in their food, air, water or prescription bottles.

Those labeled as the “mentally ill” are not much different from those of us who call ourselves “normal”. But perhaps we “normals” are just lucky enough to have not yet decompensated because of some yet-to-happen, desperation-inducing life situation. And thus we may not have yet been given a billable diagnosis of some so-called mental illness that has a billable code number, and therefore we have not yet been prescribed some prescription drug that could put us on the road to a drug-induced or electroshock-induced permanent mental health disability and/or institutionalization. In other words, if we are lucky enough to remain unlabeled, we are also likely to remain off brain-altering drugs; and therefore we may remain away from the clutches of “the system”, within which it is very difficult to “just say no to drugs.”

My experience with over a thousand “mentally ill” patients has led me to agree with Jackson’s and Whitaker’s assertions. I fully agree with their warnings that the chronic use of brain-altering drugs is a major cause of cognitive disorders, dementia, loss of memory, loss of IQ points, loss of creativity, loss of spirituality, loss of empathy, loss of energy, loss of strength, loss of impulse control and a multitude of metabolic adverse effects (like psych drug-induced obesity, hypertension, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia). There is no question in my mind that these drugs can sicken the body, brain and soul by causing adverse drug effects such as insomnia, somnolence, memory loss, increased depression, mania, anxiety, delusions, psychoses, paranoia, etc. So before filling the prescription, I strongly urge pill-takers to read the product insert information under WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE EFFECTS, CONTRAINDICATIONS, TOXICOLOGY, OVERDOSAGE and the ever-present BLACK BOX WARNINGS ABOUT SUICIDALITY.
 
America has a drug-induced dementia, suicide, violence and mental ill health epidemic on its hands that is should be obvious to every critical thinker that looks at the evidence. But because there are not many in the medical professions willing to look at the evidence, the epidemic is continuing to worsen, not because of the supposed increase in “mental illness” labeling, but because of the continued chronic use of neurotoxic, non-curative drugs that are, in America, erroneously used as first-line “treatment.”
 
For more information on these extremely serious topics check out these websites: www.madinamerica.com, www.breggin.com, www.cchrint.org, www.drugawareness.org, www.psychrights.org, www.mindfreedom.org, www.benzo.org.uk, www.quitpaxil.org, www.endofshock.com, and follow the links.

Dr. Kohls warns against the abrupt discontinuation of any psychiatric drug because of the common, often serious (even life-threatening) withdrawal symptoms that can occur in patients who have been taking any dependency-inducing psychoactive drug, whether illicit or legal.  Close consultation with an aware, informed physician who is familiar with treating drug withdrawal syndromes, who will read and study the appropriate literature and become aware of the dangers of psychiatric drugs and the nutritional needs of the drug-toxified and nutritionally-depleted brain.