A Psychiatric Catch-22 (in Three Parts): Psychiatric Drug-centered “Mental Health Care” Can Sometimes Do More Harm Than Good

Brain-disabling Psych Drugs and the Dilemma of a) Never Starting to Take Them, b) Being Sickened by Taking Them and then c) Being Sickened by Going Through Withdrawal Later

Gary G. Kohls, MD

Part One: Psych Drug-related Symptoms are Often Tragically Mis-diagnosed as “Mental Illnesses of Unknown Cause” (and Therefore Tragically Mistreated with More Brain-disabling Medications)  

Catch 22 when it comes to taking psychiatric drugs there is a Catch 22, meaning that you may well be damned if you started taking psych drugs and damned if you stopped taking them (too suddenly). As Joseph Heller, author of the famous anti-war book by that name, wrote about the concept:  

"Orr would be crazy to fly more (World War II bombing) missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and shouldn’t have to fly them; but if he didn't want to fly them he was sane and had to."  

The human body and brain are extremely complex biochemical machines, with chemical reactions and electrical impulses that usually occur in harmony. These reactions happen in specific sequences, in certain quantities, and at exact rates of speed. When a foreign substance such as a psychotropic drug (or vaccine) is introduced into the body these flows and inner workings can be disrupted. The foreign – and synthetic - chemicals may poison and destroy bodily or brain systems – or speed them up, slow them down, dam them up, or otherwise overwhelm them.  

Psychiatric drugs, just like ALL synthetic drugs, produce chemically-induced effects that are especially neurotoxic and psychotoxic, although a few of those toxic effects might give the appearance of being slightly “therapeutic”.   Any drug that can move across the blood-brain barrier from the vascular system can adversely affect brain cells. That is why specially-designed psych drugs are able to produce any effect at all – desirable or not.

The Truth About Psych Drug Dangers Hasn’t Changed Since 2005

   Psych drugs never heal anything, particularly the results of pollution, drugs or economic, political, psychological, nutritional, prenatal or societal deficiencies in one’s life - especially any history of neglect or overwhelming violence.  

The human body and brain are, however, not entirely powerless in their abilities to withstand and respond to such chemical, environmental or psychological assaults.

The various body and brain systems have a certain capacity to process and neutralize foreign chemicals and impurities (including vaccine ingredients), and they have an ability – at least partially – to overcome a certain amount toxic adverse effects from drugs – whether legal or illicit.  

But living cells can only take so much exposure to toxic entities, and eventually the systems will break down.  

Predictable, Iatrogenic, Adverse Effects of Psychiatric Drugs

Adverse psych drug effects include those in the lists below. Be mindful that all prescription drugs or vaccines are fully capable of causing a huge variety of adverse effects – and each one can be identified as an iatrogenic illness - which helps explain why doctors (and the makers and sellers of the drugs or vaccines) are reluctant to have them diagnosed as such – reputations might be besmirched, sales might be negatively impacted and lawsuits might be started.  

(Note that the adverse effects that are bolded below need to be considered as both caused by the drug company that manufactured and promoted the chemical and by the physician that prescribed the drug or vaccine. Therefore these adverse drug effects are usually diagnosed as a so-called “mental illness of unknown cause” and commonly - and tragically – treated with more equally dangerous, equally dependency-inducing, equally brain-disabling cocktails of drugs that will likely cause more adverse effects than the old ones and also cause equally serious withdrawal symptoms when the dose is cut down or the drug discontinued.)   Psychostimulants (including amphetamine-like drugs for so-called “ADHD”)  

Adverse effects of psychostimulants include: nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, hypersensitivity, seizures, sleep-deprivation, weight loss, anorexia, nausea, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, blood pressure, pulse changes, tachycardia, angina, heart attacks, strokes, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss and toxic psychosis. Some children have even developed the involuntary tics and twitching of Tourette’s Syndrome.   “Major” Tranquilizers (including Thorazine, Risperdal, etc)  

These proven-to-be brain-damaging drugs are also known as “anti-psychotics” or ”neuroleptics” but their major effect is deep sedation. They always cause difficulties in thinking, impaired memory, poor concentration, nightmares, emotional dullness, depression, despair and sexual dysfunction. Many of those effects are temporarily useful in a patient that is temporarily psychotic, destructive and out-of-control.   Physically, anti-psychotics can cause Tardive Dyskinesia - sudden, uncontrollable, painful muscle cramps and spasms, writhing, squirming, twisting and grimacing movements, especially of the legs, face, mouth and tongue, drawing the face into a hideous scowl.  

They also can induce akathisia, a severe restlessness that studies show can cause agitation and psychosis. A potentially fatal effect is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, which includes muscle rigidity, altered mental states, irregular pulse or blood pressure and cardiac problems.  

“Minor” Tranquilizers (especially Benzodiazepines like Valium)  

These highly addictive drugs can cause lethargy, lightheadedness, confusion, nervousness, sexual problems, hallucinations, nightmares, severe depression, extreme restlessness, insomnia, nausea and muscle tremors.   Epileptic seizures and death have resulted from suddenly stopping the use of minor tranquilizers. Thus, it is important never to stop suddenly or without proper medical supervision, even if the drugs have only been taken for a couple of weeks.   Sedative/Hypnotics/Sleeping Pills  

These drugs frequently cause the same side effects of Benzos plus a hangover effect, apparent drunken state, lack of coordination (ataxia) and skin rashes.   Tricyclic Antidepressants   Any so-called “antidepressant” can cause sedation, drowsiness, lethargy, difficulty thinking, confusion, poor concentration, memory problems, nightmares, panic attacks, extreme restlessness, delusions, manic reactions, delirium, seizures, fever, lowered white blood cell count (with risks of infection), liver damage, heart attacks and strokes.  

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) = Second generation “anti-depressants” (like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc)  

SSRIs can cause headaches, nausea, anxiety and agitation, insomnia and bizarre dreams, loss of appetite, impotence, confusion and akathisia. It is estimated that between 10% and 25% of SSRI users experience akathisia, often in conjunction with suicidal thoughts, hostility and violent behavior.  

7. Antidepressant Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms that can be Easily Mis-diagnosed and Mis-treated as So-called “Mental Illnesses”   Psychiatric drug withdrawal symptoms that can be mis-diagnosed as a “mental illness” include the following symptoms that reveal the toxicity of any of the many drugs that can adversely affect both the central and peripheral nervous systems: Depressed mood, low energy, crying uncontrollably, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, agitation, impulsivity, hallucinations, dizziness, vertigo, muscle incoordination, numbness, tingling, electric-shock-like sensations, lethargy, headache, tremor, sweating, appetite loss, nightmares, excessive dreaming, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, suicidality and violent urges. Conclusions  

If you are worried about something—a problem in life such as a relationship with friends, parents or teachers, or how your child’s school grades are going, you are NOT mentally ill and taking any drug, illegal or legal, isn’t going to solve the problem.  

If a drug is used to make you feel better when you are understandably depressed, sleep-deprived, sad or anxious, the relief is drug-induced and will only last for a short while. If the situational problem is not fixed or helped you will often feel worse than before.  

As a drug’s hoped-for neurotoxic effects wear off, whatever unresolved pain, sadness, anxiety, discomfort, upset, or relationship issues that were there before starting the drug could actually become worse, which may only make you mistakenly feel that you need to keep taking the drug.  

Part Two: Thoughts on Withdrawing from Dependency-inducing (Addictive) Antidepressant Drugs (Like Paxil and Zoloft) Adapted from Angela Bischoff – 3-1-2005 (955 words)  

http://greenspiration.org/how-to-withdraw-safely-from-antidepressant-drugs/   (Note to readers: The bolded terms below are drug-induced signs or symptoms that can be mis-diagnosed – and mis-treated - as a symptom of a so-called “mental illness”.)  

In The Antidepressant Solution (2005), Psychiatrist and author Dr. Joseph Glenmullen gives a step-by-step guide to safely overcoming antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, dependence and addiction.

Sometimes you’re damned if you take them and damned if you quit them

Research has shown that when patients abruptly stop antidepressants, (or tranquilizing drugs, antipsychotics, psychostimulants, sedatives or anti-seizure drugs, for that matter), they have high rates of withdrawal reactions, which vary depending on the particular drug, but generally affect between 60% and 78% of users! With tens of millions on antidepressant drugs worldwide, withdrawal and dependence are major problems, although the profiteers in Big Pharma and Big Medicine never bring up the issue.  

A study that was published back in 1997 found that 70% of family doctors were unaware of the antidepressant withdrawal epidemic even though that group of physicians write the majority of prescriptions for these drugs!  

There is no sign that the ignorance about psych drug withdrawal among primary care providers has improved over the decades.  

Drug companies also don't advise doctors of potential withdrawal reactions from their high-profit psych drugs.  

In fact, these drugs are commonly falsely advertised as "non-habit-forming" or "not associated with dependence or addiction" even though both anecdotal evidence and even Big Pharma company-performed clinical trials prove otherwise.   In Europe drug companies are forbidden to falsely claim non-addictive status for their drugs, but they are allowed to do so in North America, where the FDA has allowed their Big Pharma partners-in-crime to change the more accurate term “withdrawal syndrome” to the intentionally-misleading term "discontinuation syndrome" - while the drug’s victims on both continents suffer the same withdrawal effects, which can be serious and even life-threatening.  

In fact, up to 80 percent of people that tried to discontinue certain antidepressant drugs experienced symptoms such as the following: Dizziness, vertigo, muscle incoordination, tingling, numbness, electric-shock-like sensations, lethargy, headache, tremor, sweating, appetite loss, insomnia, nightmares, excessive dreaming, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability anxiety, agitation or low mood. Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are divided into two main categories: psychiatric and physical symptoms, which often overlap.  

The psychiatric symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal include depressed mood, low energy, crying uncontrollably, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, agitation, impulsivity, hallucinations, suicidality and violent urges.  

The physical symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal include disabling dizziness, imbalance, nausea, vomiting, flu-like aches and pains, sweating, headaches, tremors, burning sensations or electric shock-like zaps in the brain.  

Almost all patients who have been on antidepressants for more than one month should use a tapering program to go off the drugs, which psychiatrist Dr Joseph Glenmullen is careful to advise, should be closely supervised by a drug-literate practitioner, which may be hard to find in today’s highly propagandized, high-productivity, 10 minute office call clinic environment.  

Also, specific dosage reductions may need to be carefully and thoughtfully adjusted depending on one’s constitution and nutritional status. Every patient is different and will respond differently to a drug or a cocktail of drugs as well as to the withdrawal of the drug or drugs.  

To reduce both the incidence and severity of withdrawal reactions, a conservative rule of thumb – again ideally under the close supervision of a highly-informed health professional.  

Children are much more vulnerable than are adults to antidepressant withdrawal reactions. Smaller dosage reductions and closer monitoring is recommended.  

It is usually not recommended to skip dosages as a way of tapering; this can result in roller coaster episodes of withdrawal symptoms.   Blunting withdrawal symptoms with other pharmaceutical drugs (addictive pain killers such as opioids, for example) is also not recommended because it distorts and obscures the true stress the body is undergoing, a valuable gauge. Even after patients no longer need potent or addictive drugs to blunt their original symptoms, their brain cells need time to readjust or readapt to stopping the drugs, and that takes time.  

The fact that the antidepressant withdrawal process can mimic a patient's original psychiatric condition is a cruel irony.  

Both doctors and patients need to be well-informed about distinguishing antidepressant withdrawal from so-called “relapse”. This can be done by

(a) noticing when the reaction occurs,

(b) knowing that physical reactions are generally withdrawal reactions,

(c) noticing if the symptoms peak and then clear in the predicted timeframe and

(d) noticing if the symptoms disappear quickly if the patient is given a test dose of the antidepressant.  

How is it that physicians and the public have not been warned about probable withdrawal?   Clearly, pharmaceutical companies and medical clinics have protected their profits above all, and regulatory agencies are so in bed with Big Pharma that theyusually do their bidding.  

Studies for drug approval typically only last six to eight weeks (!!), even though most patients are on these drugs for years or decades. Two months is far from being long enough to prove long-term safety or efficacy, as is also true with the current over-use of the multitude of vaccines that are being implicated in so many neurotoxic, psychotoxic and autoimmune disorders that are so common in America’s over-vaccinated populations and so rare in the minimally-vaccinated.   But that alone doesn't explain why the regulatory agencies, such as the US CDC, the FDA, the AAP, the AMA and even Health Canada, have let them get away with the scam, to the peril of millions of psych drug users and the over-vaccinated.   Thoughtful hesitancy (by the physicians that once upon a time deserved our trust) to just keep from starting down the over-diagnosing, over-prescribing and over-vaccinating path seems warranted.

Part Three: Both Involuntary and Voluntary Psychiatric Drugs Can Cause Brain Damage   Excerpted from a David Oaks article from 9-18-2007 (1160 words)  

www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psychiatric-drugs/antipsychotics/neuroleptic-brain-damage/   Any serious debate in 2007 about the topic of involuntary psychiatric procedures ought to include the following reality:  

“For years, many studies have indicated that long-term, high-dosage antipsychotic drugging may induce structural brain damage. This damage can include actual shrinkage of areas of the brain associated with higher-level functions (what makes us human).” – David Oaks  

Proponents of involuntary psychiatric drugging seldom explain clearly to colleagues, the public, patients or their families, the full implications of these procedures. It is undeniable that involuntary psychiatric procedures almost always involve psychiatric drugging, and that the so-called “antipsychotic” drugs (aka “neuroleptics” or “major tranquilizers”) are commonly used in such circumstances.   Therefore, the impact, risks and efficacy of antipsychotics are relevant. There are debates about these topics, including that there are effective alternatives other than antipsychotics.   In the last decade or two, countless medical articles have raised warning flags that long-term high-dose antipsychotic drug use is associated with structural brain change.  

But MindFreedom International is a pro-choice organization. Many of its members choose to take prescribed psychiatric drugs, including neuroleptics, others do not.   But all members are united in speaking up for basic human rights, and a fundamental human right for patients, their families and society itself is the right to know. It is a horrible medical catastrophe that knowledge about neuroleptic-induced structural brain damage is today largely confined to the medical field itself – and the innocent drug-taking patients and their loved ones are left out of the discussion.  

As a human rights activist for the past 31 years, and as an individual who personally experienced involuntary neuroleptic drugging, Oaks maintained that this disaster amounts to a kind of "Greenhouse effect" of the mind, and someday the public will want to know why they were not informed.  

Similar to the controversy about the environmental Greenhouse effect, there are industry defenders who are sowing doubt about the claims made in this essay, that long-term high-dosage neuroleptic use is associated with structural brain changes. Even though there are brain scan and autopsy studies showing these very changes, some still try to deny these changes by claiming the underlying "mental illness" must be reasonable for the brain changes.  

“These apologizers for the psych drug industry, however, do not explain why medical studies on animals can replicate similar structural brain change. Did these animals all miraculously have ‘mental illnesses’? Of course not, and neither do many human victims of psychiatric drugging.” – David Oaks

Why is Anti-Psychotic-Induced Structural Brain Damage so Important?

Try a simple thought experiment. If any medical authority recommended that thousands of individuals out in the community receive involuntary psychosurgery - actual surgical destruction of healthy brain tissue to change behavior- there would be automatic outrage.  

Why? Because when force is combined with a procedure that is so profoundly intrusive and irreversible and damaging to the core part of our being as psychosurgery, the general public intuitively understands that coercing these procedures would be unethical.  

Today, there are many studies showing that long-term high-dosage anti-psychotics can actually result in such severe structural brain changes, that these changes can include shrinkage of the parts of our brain associated with high-level cognition.  

As anyone who is knowledgeable in this field is aware, there are many such studies showing that long-term high-dosage anti-psychotics are associated with structural brain change.  

Oaks mentions one such study, because it involved both an older-type anti-psychotic and a newer atypical anti-psychotic.  

In the study, three groups of monkeys each were given haloperidol, olanzapine or sham for a 17 to 27-month period. There was an 8 to 11 percent reduction in mean fresh brain weights in both drug-treated groups compared to sham.  

The differences were seen in all major brain regions, especially in the frontal and parietal regions in both gray and white matter. There was a general shrinkage effect of approximately 20% and a highly significant variation in shrinkage across brain regions.  

Oaks says: “When I have raised concerns about studies like this with defenders of coerced psychiatric drugging I have been surprised at the response. One hypothesized that perhaps such brain shrinkage is helpful. Another hypothesized that such shrinkage is not literally "damage." Still another hypothesized the brain would snap back afterwards.  

“All of these debaters, despite the absurdity of their defense, miss the main point. To repeat, yes, I understand some may still choose to take an anti-psychotic despite these risks; if they are fully informed and offered a range of alternatives, but that is not the issue here. However, any debate about the ethics of involuntary psychiatric procedures must include a discussion about the fact that long-term high-dosage anti-psychotics literally have a similarity to chemical psychosurgery.  

“The fact that any large library has the information I am discussing on its medical side, but not in the popular media side, is an indictment of the core values and ethics of the entire medical profession. This is a human right’s emergency and calls for immediate attention.  

“In the 1800's, a medical model was utilized to help consolidate power of those leading the mental health system. It is time now for democracy to get more hands on with the mental health system. We cannot continue to abandon mental health policy to rule by a small group of experts.  

“There are many other arguments against forced psychiatric procedures, especially on an outpatient basis, but I am focusing upon this central point about neuroleptic structural brain change because it is so important and is so frequently totally ignored by those defending forced psychiatric drugging.  

“For decades psychiatry has searched for proof of a "chemical imbalance" for any major psychiatric disorder. While they have not found proof of any chemical imbalance, those of us in the human rights field have discovered an enormous power imbalance. People on the "sharp end of the needle" in the mental health system are among the most silenced, disempowered, and oppressed in society. Due to decades of community organizing among thousands of psychiatric survivors and our allies internationally, the powerless clients are finding ways to speak out.  

“I applaud the president of the World Psychiatric Association, Dr. Juan Mezzich, who has recently joined with us in calling for open mediated dialogue between organizations representing psychiatric survivors and psychiatric professionals. We will never be silenced again.”  

Sincerely, David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International www.mindfreedom.org  

Medical study source: The Influence of Chronic Exposure to Antipsychotic Medications on Brain Size before and after Tissue Fixation: A Comparison of Haloperidol and Olanzapine in Macaque Monkeys, by Dorph-Petersen KA, Pierri JN, et al. from University of Pittsburgh.- Neuropsychopharmacology 9 March 2005   A Dr Gary G. Kohls is a retired family physician who practiced holistic (non-drug) mental health care during the last decade of his professional career. His patients came to see him asking for help in getting off the cocktails of psychiatric drugs to which they had become dependent upon (addicted) and which they knew had sickened them and disabled their brains and bodies. Dr Kohls was successful in helping significant numbers of his patients get off or cut down on their drugs using a time-consuming program that was based on psychoeducational psychotherapy, brain nutrient replacement therapy and a program of gradual, closely monitored drug withdrawal.  

He warns against the abrupt discontinuation of any psychiatric drug – legal or illicit - because of the common, often serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur in patients who have been taking such drugs. It is important for withdrawal syndromes to be treated by an aware, informed, caring physician who is familiar with treating drug withdrawal syndromes and brain nutritional deficiencies.  

Dr Kohls has had his Duty to Warn columns re-published around the world. Here are a few of the websites that have archived them: http://duluthreader.com/search?search_term=Duty+to+Warn&p=2; http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/gary-g-kohls; http://freepress.org/dutytowarn/; and https://www.transcend.org/tms/search/?q=gary+kohls+articles

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of the Reader Weekly.