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Prescription drugs giving many people chemical lobotomies

Psychiatric drugs

(NaturalNews) In a fundamental way, psychiatry has not changed from the days in which patients suffering from mental distress were given frontal lobotomies, alleges psychologist Steve Taylor of Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, author of Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of Our Minds.

For decades, lobotomies were standard procedure in U.S. and European psychiatry, even though there was practically no evidence that they were effective, but abundant evidence that they caused severe side effects, including brain damage and suicide. Success was achieved when a patient had become emotionally numb and docile.

Much the same could be said about modern psychiatric drugs, Taylor says; they expose people to horrific side effects and numb their ability to engage with the outside world, with little evidence that they provide any benefit.

Chemical lobotomies

Approximately one in 10 U.S. residents is currently taking an antidepressant drug, while a similar proportion of children between the ages of 5 and 17 have received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – and most of those children are being given psychiatric drugs as well.

Much like lobotomies, antidepressants carry a list of well-proven and severe side effects, including serious weight gain, emotional detachment, loss of personality and increased risk of suicide. Additionally, the drugs are notoriously hard to stop taking, with 63 percent of patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms – including mood disorders that are often interpreted by doctors as "relapse."

Also like lobotomies, the effectiveness of antidepressants is highly dubious. The most widely prescribed class, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, have been shown in numerous studies to be no more effective than placebo, particularly for the minor and moderate forms of depression that comprise the majority of diagnoses.

In fact, the major evidence for the effectiveness of SSRIs is simply the theory that depression is caused by low serotonin levels in the brain. But there is likewise very little evidence for this theory, either. According to psychiatrist David Healy, the idea itself was largely invented by drug companies in the 1990s, but has now been accepted as fact by psychiatrists and laypeople alike.

The 'chemical imbalance' myth

The "serotonin deficiency" hypothesis is only an example of a much larger problem, Taylor says: the entire "chemical imbalance" myth of mental illness. Under this increasingly discredited model, mental illness is caused solely by physiological brain disorders, and as such is best treated with pharmaceutical drugs.

"In fact, the blanket treatment of psychological conditions as if they are medical problems, and the consequent massive overprescription of psychotropic medication, has had a much more harmful effect than lobotomies, because it is so much more widespread," Taylor writes.

But as Taylor notes, conditions such as depression are manifestly related to a wide variety of environmental factors, including but not limited to the social environment, frustration of key needs (such as belonging or self-esteem), lack of meaning or purpose in life, unfair treatment or oppression, unhelpful thought patterns, lack of contact with nature, lack of exercise and poor diet. These factors cannot be addressed by drugs.

Indeed, one of the most effective treatments for mild and moderate depression is actually cognitive therapy, which teaches people to engage in healthy thought patterns rather than indulging in pessimistic thoughts that undercut their ability to cope with life's problems.

Taylor also alleges that ADHD is wildly over-diagnosed, with children being labeled as neurologically imbalanced who are actually suffering from a deficient home environment, a lack of time for creative play, a lack of concentrative training, a poor diet or lack of contact with nature. Additionally, many restless or impulsive children are being labeled as "hyperactive" because of age-inappropriate expectations that they should be able to sit quietly in a classroom for hours at a time.

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