There is no tyranny so great as that
which is practiced for the benefit of the victim.C. S. Lewis
This volume is devoted to a topic that is the subject of a great deal of misguided thinking these days. We live in the era of a pill for every ill but too little attention has been devoted to the pills given specifically to affect our psyches. What does it mean to medicate the soul, the self, and the mind? Websters dictionary defines psyche in all three ways. Are not these chemicals (psychotropic drugs) interfering with the very essence of humanity? Should not great care and thought be given to this process? If begun, should it not be continuously monitored? Since all threesoul, self and mindare at the core of each human being should not he/she determine whether these drugs should be taken based on her/his own subjective experience of them? The answer is, of course, a resounding yes.
Now lets get real. Since there are few objective indicators of the effects of these drugs the patients own reports are critical. Do the psychiatrists and other physicians prescribing psychotropic drugs listen carefully to each patients personal experience with a particular one? The answer to the question vries of course but if you speak a different language, are a member of a minority, poor, seen as very ill or forcibly incarcerated in a mental hospital the likelihood of being really listened to falls dramaticallyalthough it is not very high for anyone.
Hence, the focus of this bookthe stories of persons who were not listened to as they suffered torment of the soul, self and mind from psychotropic drugsoften given against their will, is very important. They are the stories of courageous decisions made against powerful expert doctors (and sometimes families and friends)and the torment that sometimes ensued. Stopping medications began to restore their brains physiology to their pre-medication states. Most had never been warned that the drugs would change their brains physiology (or, worse yet, selectively damage regions of nerve cells in the brain) such that withdrawal reactions would almost certainly occur. Nor were they aware that these withdrawal reactions might be long lasting and might be interpreted as their getting sick again. They are horror stories of what might happen (but does not have to happen) when attempting to return brains to usual functioning after being awash with therapeutic chemicals. Unfortunately, the suffering was usually necessary in order restore soul, self and mindthe essence of humanity.
However, because the drugs were given thoughtlessly, paternalistically and often unnecessarily to fix an unidentifiable illness the book is an indictment of physicians. The Hippocratic Oathto above all do no harmas regularly disregarded in the rush to do something. How is it possible to determine whether soul murder might be occurring without reports of patients experiences with drugs that are aimed directly at the essence of their humanity? Despite their behavior, doctors are only MDs, not MDeitys. They, unlike gods, have to be held accountable for their actions.
This book is a must read for anyone who might consider taking or no longer taking these mind altering legal drugs and perhaps even more so for those able to prescribe them.
Dr. med. Loren R. Mosher (1933-2004)
Director, Soteria Associates
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
University of California at San Diego
School of Medicine
August 26, 2002
Much of the conventional wisdom about psychiatric drugs is wrong. Psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry have successfully convinced much of the public, through the media, that psychiatric drugs are safe and effective in treating mental illnesses. Let us look at each of these words in turn:
Safegenerally accepted to mean that they cause no harm, despite many known negative effects such as movement disorders, changes in brain activity, weight gain, restlessness, sudde