This article is written by Charles Whitfield, MD, a psychiatrist, who has recognized the trauma these drugs can create for a very long time. It’s clearly an important read.
In working with thousands of people in withdrawal it seems to me that many of us with severe withdrawal syndromes are in large part suffering from additional traumatization from the drugs…which in turn exacerbates pre-existing PTSD which many who are given psych meds have. Trauma histories become compounded once the drugs are added to the mix.
Here is the link to the PDF. Below are the very brief excerpts.
Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma by Charles L. Whitfield MD
Legal drug toxicity: How might psychiatric drugs make you worse?
Just because a drug may be legal, i.e., approved by the FDA or the equivalent worldwide and readily available from the medical and psychiatric system (physicians, nurses, pharmacists and the like) does not make them any less toxic than the illegal drugs listed above. In fact, some of the legal psych drugs are as or more toxic [1, 6, 7, 26, 33–35, 44, 49–51]. Psychiatrist and psycho-pharmacologist Peter Breggin wrote in 2008 [6, 7], “People commonly use alcohol, marijuana and other non-prescription drugs to dull their feelings. Usually they do not fool themselves into believing they are somehow improving the function of their minds and brains. Yet when people take psychiatric drugs, they almost always do so without realizing that the drugs ‘work’ by disrupting brain function, that the drugs cause withdrawal effects, and that they frequently result in dangerous and destructive mental reactions and behaviors.”
Ranking the psych drugs in decreasing order as I did above for the illegal drugs, ﬁrst are 1) the antipsychotic drugs, which are generally so disabling and toxic that they have been shown to cause early death [6, 7, 46, 47]. Second are 2) the antidepressant drugs, which share many toxic effects with the antipsychotics and often cause an increase in suicidal thoughts and completed suicides, as well as homicides, when compared with placebos [6, 7, 19]. Next are 3) the stimulants of the methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine type (which are nearly all amphetamines of one sort or another). Then 4) the benzodiazepine sedatives (“benzos”) whose main toxicities are over-sedation and emotional numbness (similar to the antipsychotics and antidepressants) and probably having the most painful withdrawal syndrome of all legal and illegal drugs for most people. Next, 5) the anti-convulsants, cleverly called “mood stabilizers” for marketing purposes, although they have little to do with mood and they commonly cause numerous toxic effects and an often painful withdrawal [6, 34]. I summarize major risks and toxicities of both the illegal and legal psychoactive drugs in Table 2.Here follows a selection of references for a more detailed summary of these drug effects [6, 8, 19, 20, 26, 33, 46–51]
Charles Whitlock has also written the book Not Crazy: You May Not Be Mentally Ill that helps people understand the trauma they may need to heal that perhaps was labeled mental illness and then excacerbated with neurotoxic medication. He has many ideas to help support people in non-pharmaceutical methods — much of which is in keeping with strategies often shared on Beyond Meds.
Please do not withdraw from drugs without educating yourself: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
I found the psych meds compounded my pre-existing PTSD issues. This work confirms my suspicions.
More posts I wrote about the PTSD-like phenomena I experience as a result of drug withdrawal and iatrogenesis. This shows that the understanding I have has been an evolving experience:
*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page.
updated Jan 2013