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Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Psychiatric Drugs Deadly Time Bombs
Antipsychotic drugs, including both older andnewer ones, have been shown in many humanbrain scan studies and in animal autopsy studiesto cause shrinkage (atrophy) of the brain.
Thenewer “atypicals” especially cause a well-documented metabolic syndrome including elevatedblood sugar, diabetes, increased cholesterol, obesityand hypertension. They also produce dangerouscardiac arrhythmias and unexplained suddendeath, and they significantly reduce longevity. Inaddition, they cause all the problems of the olderdrugs, such as Thorazine and Haldol, including tardivedyskinesia, a largely permanent and sometimesdisabling, painful movement disorder causedby brain damage and biochemical disruptions.
Despite their enormous risks, the newer antipsychoticdrugs are now frequently used offlabelto treat conditions from anxiety anddepression to insomnia and behavior problems inchildren. Two older antipsychotic drugs, Reglanand Compazine, are used for gastrointestinalproblems, and despite low or short-term dosing,they too can cause problems, including tardive dyskinesia.
Nowadays, many patients are given medicationsfor insomnia without being told that they arein fact receiving very dangerous antipsychoticdrugs. This can happen with any antipsychoticbutmost frequently occurs with Seroquel, Abilifyand Zyprexa. The patient is unwittingly exposed to all the hazards of antipsychotic drugs.
Benzodiazepine (benzos), commonly prescribedas anti-anxiety drugs and sleep aids, deterioratememory and other mental capacities.Human studies demonstrate that they frequentlylead to atrophy and dementia after longer-termexposure. After withdrawal, individuals exposedto these drugs also experience multiple persisting problems including memory and cognitive dysfunction,emotional instability, anxiety, insomnia and muscular and neurological discomforts.
Mostly because of severely worsened anxietyand insomnia, many cannot stop taking them andbecome permanently dependent. This frequentlyhappens after only six weeks of exposure. Anybenzo can be prescribed as a sleep aid, but Dalmane,Doral, Halcion, ProSom and Restoril are marketed for that purpose.
“Non-benzo” sleep aids, such as Ambien, Intermezzo,Lunesta and Sonata, pose similar problemsto the benzos, including memory and othermental problems, dependence and painful withdrawal.They can cause many abnormal mental states and behaviors, including dangerous sleepwalking.
Insufficient data is available concerningwhether they lead to brain shrinkage and dementia,but these are likely outcomes consideringtheir similarity to benzos. Recent studies showthat these drugs increase death rate, taking awayyears of life, even when used intermittently for sleep.
It is time to face the enormous tragedy of exposingchildren and adults to any psychiatric drugfor lengthy periods.
All classes of psychiatric drugs can cause braindamage and lasting mental dysfunction whenused for months or years. Although research datais lacking for a few individual drugs in each class,until proven otherwise it is prudent and safest toassume that the risks of brain damage and permanentmental dysfunction apply to every singlepsychiatric drug. Furthermore, all classes of psychiatricdrugs cause serious and dangerous withdrawalreactions, and again, it is prudent andsafest to assume that any psychiatric drug can cause withdrawal problems.
Meanwhile, there is no substantial or convincingevidence that any psychiatric drug is usefullonger-term. Psychiatric drug treatment formonths or years lacks scientific basis. Therefore,the risk-benefit ratio is enormously lopsided toward the risk.
The safest solution is to avoid starting psychiatricdrugs. It is time for a return to psychological,social and educational approaches toemotional suffering and impairment.
Peter R. Breggin, M.D., a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York, has been called “The Conscience of Psychiatry” for his many decades of successful efforts to reform the mental health field. His scientific and educational work has provided the foundation for modern criticism of psychiatric drugs and ECT, and leads the way in promoting more caring and effective therapies. He has authored dozens of scientific articles and more than 20 books.