14 Lies That Our Psychiatry Professors in Medical School Taught Us

Gary G. Kohls, MD

This Duty to Warn column was originally published in the Reader on January 7, 2016. However, as it contained 4000 words, it was too long to be printed in its entirety in that issue. (It was, however, published in its entirety in the Reader archives, which can be found at: http://duluthreader.com/articles/2016/01/06/6530_14_lies_that_our_psychiatry_professors_in_medical.)
The following contains the second half of that long column, slightly updated.

Myth # 1:
“The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) tests all new psychiatric drugs”

Myth # 2:
“FDA approval means that a psychotropic drug is effective long-term”

Myth # 3:
 “FDA approval means that a psychotropic drug is safe long-term”

Myth # 4:
 “Mental ‘illnesses’ are caused by ‘brain chemistry imbalances’”

Myth # 5:
“Antidepressant drugs work like insulin for diabetics”

Myth # 6:  
“SSRI ‘discontinuation syndromes’ are different than ‘withdrawal syndromes’”

Myth # 7:
“Ritalin is safe for children (or adults)”

Myth # 8:
“Psychoactive drugs are totally safe for humans”

Myth # 9:
“Mental ‘illnesses’ have no known cause”

False. The root causes of my patient’s understandable emotional distress were typically multiple, but the vast majority of my patients had experienced easily identifiable chronic sexual, physical, psychological, emotional and/or spiritual traumas as root causes – often accompanied by hopelessness, sleep deprivation, serious emotional or physical neglect and brain nutrient deficiencies as well…
My practice consisted mostly of patients who knew for certain that they were being sickened by months or years of swallowing one or more brain-altering, addictive prescription drugs that they couldn’t get off of by themselves. I discovered that many of them could have been cured early on in their lives if they only had access – and could afford - compassionate psychoeducational psychotherapy, proper brain nutrition and help with addressing issues of deprivation, parental neglect/abuse, poverty and other destructive psychosocial situations. I came to the sobering realization that many of my patients could have been cured years earlier if it hadn’t been for the disabling effects of psychiatric drug regimens, isolation, loneliness, punitive incarcerations, solitary confinement, discrimination, malnutrition, and/or electroshock. The neurotoxic and brain-disabling drugs, vaccines and frankenfoods that most of my patients had been given early on had started them on the road to chronicity and disability.

Myth # 10:
“Psychotropic drugs have nothing to do with the huge increase in disabled and unemployable American psychiatric patients”

False. Many commonly-prescribed drugs are fully capable of causing brain-damage long-term, especially the anti-psychotics (aka, “major tranquilizers”) like Thorazine, Haldol, Prolixin, Clozapine, Abilify, Clozapine, Fanapt, Geodon, Invega, Risperdal, Saphris, Seroquel and Zyprexa, all of which can cause brain shrinkage…
Of course, highly addictive “minor” tranquilizers like the benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Librium, Tranxene, Xanax) can cause the same withdrawal syndromes. They are all dangerous and very difficult to withdraw from (withdrawal results in difficult-to-treat rebound insomnia, panic attacks, and seriously increased anxiety), and, when used long-term, they can all cause memory loss/dementia, the loss of IQ points and the high likelihood of being mis-diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown etiology).

Myth # 11:
“So-called bipolar disorder can mysteriously ‘emerge’ in patients who have been taking stimulating antidepressants like the SSRIs”

False. In actuality, crazy-making behaviors like mania, agitation and aggression are commonly caused by the SSRIs (Prozac [fluoxetine], Paxil [paroxetine], Zoloft [sertraline], Celexa [citalopram] and Lexapro [escitalopram). That list of adverse drug effects includes a syndrome called akathisia, a severe, sometimes suicide-inducing internal restlessness - like having restless legs syndrome over one’s entire body and brain. Akathisia was once understood to only occur as a long-term adverse effect of antipsychotic drugs (See Myth # 10). So it was a shock to many psychiatrists (after Prozac came to market in 1987) to have to admit that SSRIs could also cause that deadly problem. It has long been my considered opinion that SSRIs should more accurately be called “agitation-inducing” drugs rather than “anti-depressant” drugs.
The important point to make is that SSRI-induced mania, agitation, akathisia and aggression is NOT bipolar disorder, and SSRI-induced psychosis is NOT schizophrenia! (Go to www.ssristories.net, to read over 5000 documented stories about SSRI-induced aberrant behaviors, including 48 school shootings/incidents, 52 road rage tragedies, 12 air rage incidents, 44 postpartum depression cases, over 600 murders (homicides), over 180 murder-suicides and other acts of violence including workplace violence. These cases only represent a tiny fraction of the possible cases, since medication use is rarely reported in the media.)

Myth # 12:
“Antidepressant drugs can prevent suicides”

False. In actuality, there is no psychiatric drug that is FDA-approved for the prevention of suicidality because these drugs, especially the so-called antidepressants, actually INCREASE the incidence of suicidal thinking, suicide attempts and completed suicides. Drug companies have spent billions of dollars futilely trying to prove the effectiveness of various psychiatric drugs in suicide prevention. Even the most corrupted drug company trials have failed! The fact remains that all the so-called “antidepressants” actually increase the incidence of suicidality.
The FDA has required black box warning labels about drug-induced suicidality on all SSRI marketing materials, but that was only accomplished after over-coming vigorous opposition from the drug-makers and marketers of the offending drugs, who feared that such truth-telling would hurt their profits (it hasn’t). What can and does avert suicidality, of course, are not drugs, but rather interventions by caring, compassionate and thorough teams of care-givers that include family, faith communities and friends as well as psychologists, counselors, social workers, relatives (especially wise grandmas!), and, obviously, the limited involvement of drug prescribers.

Myth # 13:
“America’s school shooters and other mass shooters are ‘untreated’ schizophrenics who should have been taking psych drugs”

False. In actuality, 90% or more of the infamous homicidal -  and usually suicidal - school shooters have already been under the “care” of psychiatrists (or other psych drug prescribers) and therefore have typically been taking (or withdrawing from) one or more psychiatric drugs.  SSRIs (such as Prozac) and psychostimulants (such as Ritalin) have been the most common classes of drugs involved. Antipsychotics are too sedating, although an angry teen who is withdrawing from antipsychotics could easily become a school shooter if given access to lethal weapons.
The 10% of school shooters whose drug history is not known, have typically had their medical files sealed by the authorities - probably to protect authorities such as the drug companies and/or the medical professionals who supplied the drugs. The powerful drug industry and psychiatry lobby, with the willing help of the media that profits from their advertising revenues, repeatedly show us the photos of the shooters that look like zombies. They have successfully gotten the viewing public to buy the notion that these  adolescent, white male school shooters were mentally ill rather than under the influence of their crazy-making, brain-altering drugs - or going through withdrawal.
Contrary to the claims of a recent 60 Minutes program segment about “untreated schizophrenics” being responsible for half of the mass shootings in America, the four mentioned in the segment were, in fact, almost certainly already being “treated” with psych drugs – prior to the massacres - by psychiatrists who obviously are being protected from public identification and/or interrogation by the authorities as accomplices (or at least witnesses) to the crimes.
Because of this secrecy, the public is being kept in the dark about exactly what crazy-making, homicidality-inducing psychotropic drugs could have been involved. The names of the drugs and the multinational corporations that have falsely marketed them as safe are also being actively protected from scrutiny, and thus the chance of prevention of future drug-related shootings or suicides is being squandered. Such decisions by America’s ruling elites represent public health policy at its worst and is a disservice to past and future shooting victims and their loved ones.
The four most notorious mass shooters that were highlighted in the aforementioned 60 Minutes segment included the Virginia Tech shooter, the Tucson shooter, the Aurora shooter and the Sandy Hook shooter whose wild-eyed (actually “drugged-up”) photos had been carefully chosen for their dramatic “zombie-look” effect, so that most frightened, paranoid Americans are convinced that it was a crazy “schizophrenic”, rather than a victim of psychoactive, brain-altering, crazy-making drugs that may have made them do the evil deeds.
Parenthetically, it needs to be emphasized that many media outlets profit handsomely from the drug and medical industries. Therefore those outlets have an incentive to protect the names of the drugs, the names of the drug companies, the names of the prescribing MDs and the names of the clinics and hospitals that could, in a truly just and democratic world, otherwise be linked to the crimes. Certainly if a methamphetamine-intoxicated person shot someone, the person who supplied the intoxicating drug would be considered an accomplice to the crime, just like the bartender who supplied the liquor to someone who later killed someone in a car accident could be held accountable. A double standard obviously exists when it comes to powerful, respected and highly profitable corporations.
A thorough study of the scores of American school shooters, starting with the University of Texas tower shooter in 1966 and (temporarily) stopping at Sandy Hook, reveals that the overwhelming majority of them (if not all of them) were taking brain-altering, mesmerizing, impulse-destroying, “don’t give a damn” drugs that had been prescribed to them by well-meaning but too-busy psychiatrists, family physicians or physician assistants who somehow were unaware of or were misinformed about the homicidal and suicidal risks to their equally unsuspecting patients (and therefore they had failed to warn the patient and/or the patient’s loved ones about the potentially dire consequences).
Most practitioners who wrote the prescriptions for the mass shooters or for a patient who later suicided while under the influence of the drug, will probably defend themselves against the charge of being an accomplice to mass murder or suicide by saying that they were ignorant about the dangers of these cavalierly prescribed psych drugs because they had been deceived by the drug companies that had convinced them of their benign nature.

Myth # 14:
“If your patient hears voices it means he’s a schizophrenic”
False. Auditory hallucinations are known to occur in up to 10% of normal people; and up to 75% of normal people have had the experience of someone that isn’t there calling their name. (http://www.hearing-voices.org/voices-visions/). It doesn’t mean you are crazy.
Nighttime dreams, nightmares and flashbacks probably have similar origins to daytime visual, auditory and olfactory hallucinations, but many psychiatrists don’t necessarily think that they represent mental illnesses. Indeed, hallucinations are listed in the pharmaceutical literature as potential side effects or withdrawal symptoms of many drugs, especially psychiatric drugs. These syndromes are called substance-induced psychotic disorders which are, by definition, neither mental illnesses nor schizophrenia. Rather, substance-induced or withdrawal-induced psychotic disorders are temporary and directly caused by the intoxicating effects of malnutrition or brain-altering drugs such as alcohol, medications, hallucinogenic drugs and other toxins.
Psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions, can be caused by substances such as alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogens, sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics, inhalants, opioids, PCP, and the many of the amphetamine-like drugs (like Phen-Fen, [fenfluramine]), cocaine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, and, of course, agitation-inducing, psycho-stimulating drugs like the SSRIs).
Psychotic symptoms can also result from sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation and the withdrawal from certain drugs like alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, anxiolytics and especially the many dopamine-suppressing, dependency-inducing, sedating, and zombifying anti-psychotic drugs.
Examples of other medications that may induce hallucinations and delusions include anesthetics, analgesics, anticholinergic agents, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, antihypertensive and cardiovascular medications, some antimicrobial medications, anti-parkinsonian drugs, some chemotherapeutic agents, corticosteroids, some gastrointestinal medications, muscle relaxants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and Antabuse.
The very sobering information revealed above should cause any thinking person, patient, thought-leader or politician to wonder: “how many otherwise normal or potentially curable people over the last half century of psych drug propaganda  have actually been mis-labeled as mentally ill (and then mis-treated as mentally ill) and sent down the convoluted path of therapeutic misadventures - heading toward oblivion?”
In my mental health care practice, I personally treated hundreds of patients who had been given a series of confusing and contradictory mental illness labels, many of which had been one of the new “diseases of the month” for which there was a new psych “drug of the month” that was being heavily marketed on TV or by the drug company sales staffs.
Many of my patients had simply been victims of unpredictable and unforseeable drug-drug interactions (far too often drug-drug-drug-drug interactions) or simply adverse reactions to psych drugs which had been erroneously diagnosed as a new mental illness. Extrapolating my 1200 patient experience (in my little isolated section of the nation) to what surely must be happening in America boggles my mind. There has been a massive iatrogenic (doctor- or drug-caused) epidemic going on right under our noses that has affected tens of millions of suffering victims who could have been cured if not for the drugs.
The time to act on this knowledge is long overdue.


(Authors and books that I used as background for the assertions in the above article)
Toxic Psychiatry; Your Drug May Be Your Problem; Talking Back to Prozac; Medication Madness: by Peter Breggin;

Prozac Backlash; and The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and “Addiction”: by Joseph Glenmullen;

Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill; and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America:  by Robert Whitaker;

Soteria: Through Madness To Deliverance: by Loren Mosher and Voyce Hendrix; Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare: by Peter Goetzsche;

Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent; and Drug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime: by Grace Jackson;

The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It: by Marcia Angell;

Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical  Industry and Depression; and The Antidepressant Era: by David Healy;

Blaming the Brain: The TRUTH About Drugs and Mental Health; by Elliot Valenstein;

Selling Sickness; How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients: by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels;

Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs: by Melody Petersen;

Excitotoxins: by Russell Blaylock;

The Crazy Makers: How the Food Industry is Destroying our Brains and Harming our Children: Carol Simontacchi;

Dr. Kohls is a retired family physician who practiced holistic (non-drug) mental health care. His patients came to see him asking for help in getting off the psychotropic drugs to which they were addicted and which they knew were sickening and disabling them. He was successful in helping significant numbers of his patients get off or cut down their drugs using a thorough and therefore time-consuming program that was based on psychoeducational psychotherapy, brain nutrient therapy, plus a program of gradual, closely monitored drug withdrawal. Dr. Kohls warns against the abrupt discontinuation of any psychiatric drug because of the common, often serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur in patients who have been taking any psychoactive drug, whether illicit or legal.  Close consultation with an aware, informed physician who is familiar with treating drug withdrawal syndromes is important.

Dr. Kohls is a past member of MindFreedom International, the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He is the editor of the occasional Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter which has been emailed in the past to some of his old patients and also to others who have expressed to him an interest in alternative, non-drug, approaches to mental ill health.