Why I Never Recommend Psychiatric Medications

by Douglas C. Smith, M.D.

I no longer recommend psychiatric medications to anyone.

This seems radical in this country because we are in the midst of the "biological revolution."  Everyone seems to assume medications are are specifically effective for various mental illnesses which are at least in part chemical or genetic in origin.  I believe the science behind this is seriously flawed.  It is based on false assumptions that lead to self-perpetuating mythology (and huge profits for drug companies).

I first gave up on tranquilizers, then antidepressants, then all psychiatric drugs.  I learned that there are certain general principles that govern all psychoactive substances and biologic treatments.

General Principles:
(1) "Mental illnesses," even severe ones, are relational (I'd say spiritual as well).  Psychiatry, by focusing almost exclusively on biology, is making itself increasingly irrelevant.
(2) Psychoactive substances provide at best, temporary relief, but always make things worse in the long run.  They make things worse directly (chemically) and indirectly by distracting from the real issues.
(3) All psychoactive substances have rebound and withdrawal-related problems.  "Relapse" rates, in general, during withdrawal from psychiatric drugs, are about 10 times higher than would be expected if the drug had never been taken.
(4) "All biopsychiatric treatments share a common mode of action -- the disruption of normal brain function" (Peter Breggin, M.D., Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Springer Pub. Co., 1997, p. 3).  Drugs never correct imbalances.  They never improve the brain.  They "work" by impairing the brain and dampening feelings in various ways.

THE AUTHOR, Douglas C. Smith, M.D., graduated from Indiana University (1982 - Phi Beta Kappa) and Indiana University School of Medicine (1986) and completed his psychiatry training in 1990 and is board certified in psychiatry.  He also has had additional training in psychoanalysis.  He currently lives and practices in Juneau, Alaska.  He is on the board of the National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology.  This article is from Dr. Smith's former website, www.skepticalpsych.com, and is reproduced here with his permission.  (Note: Dr. Smith should not be confused with Douglas A. Smith, the webmaster of this website.)

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