are psychiatric drugs the culprit behind tragic mass shootings ?

Peter Breggin Fox businessLet’s really talk…

A slightly different message from most of those you’ll hear today and this week as part of “Let’s Talk”.

Here’s Psychiatrist Dr Peter Breggin talking with Fox Business’  Tom Sullivan , about  the association between acts of violence and those taking psychiatric medications.


Psychiatrist Dr Peter Breggin on Fox Business channel’s Tom Sullivan Show…

Tom Sullivan:

“In the wake of mass shootings in Tuscon, Arizona; Aurora Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama and gun control advocates called for  a clamp down on assault weapons.
But is it really the guns that are the problem? Mental health professionals have said that in all these cases the shooters were on some kind of prescription medication.

My next guest says it might just be the pills that are the problem.”

Psychiatrist, author of Medication Madnessthe role of psychiatric drugs in cases of violence suicide and crime, Dr Peter Breggin.

Dr Peter Breggin:

“Well there’s no doubt that psychiatric drugs can cause violence and eth most widely used ones including the anti-depressants – the newer ones like Prozac, Paxil and  Celexa; and also the benzodiazapines, the tranquilizers like Xanax and Clonapine and then also the stimulant drugs we give to children .

All of them have a significant association with violence.”

If you take a look at all the reports to the FDA about drug violence – all the drugs that we use : most of them the vast majority have no association  with violence.

..and then those three  groups I mentioned – the psychiatric drugs – have many, many more times the reports of violence. It’s clearly established.”

Tom Sullivan:

“But you have a lot of people come to you who are mentally ill – what do you do? A lot of doctors will just get out the old prescription pad and write a prescription. I’ve heard you talk about the fact that you’ve been doing this for decades and that you have cured a lot of mental illnesses with zero drugs.”

Dr Peter Breggin:

“I don’t think in terms of curing mental illnesses as much as I think in terms of helping people overcome their problems….Helping people overcome their anguish, their pain, their anger, their suffering,

and in my experience – and this is the absolute truth- what really helps people is a good,  solid, caring relationship with somebody  and a therapist or psychiatrist [I’m a psychiatrist] who says in effect:

“you can take charge of your life, you can be responsible for your life; you can learn how to handle your emotions, you can learn to live by better values”

but that’s not the current approach in psychiatry.

You’ll hear nothing in psychiatry that’s about taking charge of your life, taking responsibility , or living by values. Instead psychiatry turns people into machines and says

‘you have a biochemical imbalance’ which is not true.

‘we’ve got a drug that can cure the biochemical imbalance’ which is untrue.

and those things help people feel more helpless and more out of control.

“So I think we need to get back to good, solid human relationship as a way of helping people.”

“Psychiatry now is just a handmaiden now of the pharmaceutical industry. If you go to one of the big psychiatric meetings its like going to a drug company carnival: they pay for everything. The journals are paid for by the drug companies; meetings are paid for by the drug companies, and we make a lot of money by doing ten minute med checks. You do a lot more, financially that way than by sitting and talking with somebody.”

Psychiatry has lost it’s way.”

The two then cite several examples of cases of people who committed violent acts whilst taking psychiatric meds.

Dr Peter Breggin:

“There’s no lack of cases about this and I’ve looked at them in-depth – in Medication Madness – I have fifty cases where I’ve seen the medical records and interviewed people where suicide and violence was a major theme. These are very serious problems. I think we need less ‘psychiatry’.”


Op Ed

Certainly if this is all that the profession of Psychiatry has to offer, then the whole world and the whole human race needs much less of it.

We think that it is time for the profession of Psychiatry -and those others built from hanging to it’s coat tails – came to recognise a simple truth: that that it has been wrong, so very wrong; that it has has been behaving in a way that is detrimental to it’s own and others’ health; lacks insight into the extent of its own hand in its own downfall; finds itself in denial and lost in a state of existential crisis, learned helplessness and spiritual despair… ; and that it  needs to learn to take responsibility for its own future.


There is, though,  hope for a better future for The Profession of Psychiatry….. but it does need to begin learning to choose a different course.

Choosing more of the same – pretending that a different outcome can emerge from more of the same – more drugs, nore lies, more coercion, more advertising, more talk of stigma and more blaming patients when, not allways, but so often,  the drugs don’t work – is simply a delusion of the highest order and of the grandest construction. Indeed, it ranks as one of the greatest and grandest delusions in all human history.

Choosing -literally- to “stick to its guns” and claiming propriety over sole rights to the truth of human experience and stuffering, whilst accepting bribes to expand the market of poisons has not much to with helping people heal.


The patient [the Profession of Psychiatry] clearly needs to discover insight  into what the rest of us can clearly see – the future lies along a  more compassionate, more human path.

Psychiatry seems terrified to change yet needs let go only of it’s own hangups and neuroses: those pertaining to it’s own need to live in false certainty of diagnosis, to fix the rest of us in order it can feel good about itself,  and to save the world from daemonic delisions of chemical imbalances.

The Profession of Psychiatry will, when it is ready, come to accept that it needs first learn how to heal itself, become well in it’s own self  – so it can then  offer us real support in learning how to heal ourselves…..

Psychiatry: in recovery

It is time for an intervention – The Profession of Psychiatry needs to wean itself off its own dependence on pharmaceuticals. Like any other short term protection mechanism this chemical dependence can help in the short term , but when it becomes the only way of coping – or when it becomes the way of life –  then that can itself become the problem…
The Profession of Psychiatry has talked itself into the corner of believing and that only its  members can see that every human is broken, only they an understand this and we all need them to fix us with their drugs.

It’s time for the Profession of Psychiatry to enter into it’s own  recovery...

whatever that means to them, of course … 

Take it or leave it – your choice always – we do know a few folks who might be able to share some insights.





About recoverynetwork:Toronto

We believe people can and do recover from "mental illness" - because we are living it. We believe in the power of supporting each other: learning from and with each other. You are welcome to join us..
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4 Responses to are psychiatric drugs the culprit behind tragic mass shootings ?

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  2. I was my worst on psych meds. They made me not just violent but suicidal and homicidal. It is scary, I understand that, but if we remain ignorant the chemicals we put into our body don’t have a risk of negatively affecting us then mass shootings, or suicides or murder/suicides or whatever are going to keep happening at an unbelievable rate.


  3. christinef says:

    There is so much truth in that medications can be and is the problem not the solution. Then there is so much talk of patients and choice, yet if a patient refuses meds due to side effects they are seen in noncompliance and treated so unjustly. I shake my head at the professionals who seem to think that meds and their script pads are the only solution to mental illness.


    • Hi Christinef.
      Yes, is it not time for medical professionals to be challenged about the epidemic rotting at the core of healthcare: their own learned helplessness and dependence on prescribing chemicals as the sole way of coping ?

      And is it not also time that Doctors -and other professionals who take their lead from them- stopped lying on behalf of drug companies and for the sake of their own easy life, and started advocating for their patients and client?


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