Antipsychotics: A Euphemism for Neurotoxins

I guess everybody knows by now that Robert Whitaker spoke at the NAMI conference in San Antonio last Saturday (June 29).   You can view an outline of his speech, The Case for Selective Use of Antipsychotics here.  He spoke about the fact that for people who have been assigned a “diagnosis” of “schizophrenia,” long-term outcomes are better among those who took relatively little of neuroleptic drugs, and worse among those who took relatively more.

NAMI traditionally is a strong supporter of bio-psychiatry.  For years, Fuller Torrey was their champion and the psycho-pharmaceutical industry was their bank.  I’m told that they’ve recently distanced themselves from Dr. Torrey and have stopped taking pharma money, but I haven’t seen these reports confirmed.

Anyway, the reception to Robert Whitaker’s address was predictably mixed, and there has been a good deal of discussion on the ‘net.

This morning, thanks to Monica on Twitter, I read a comment that was written by Kathy Brandt concerning Robert’s speech.  Kathy is a former president of NAMI and served on their board of directors for six years.  She has a son, whom she says has “…been on and off antipsychotics for more than ten years to treat the psychosis that comes with his bipolar episodes.”

Kathy’s response to Robert’s speech is very balanced, e.g.:

“Most difficult for those with mental illness and their families, me included, was the fear that the medicine we have relied on was damaging and that we had put our trust in the wrong hands.”

In her comment, Kathy raised a number of interesting questions.  Here’s one of them:

“And how on earth do we treat people who are psychotic if not with antipsychotics?”

The fact is that neuroleptics are not antipsychotic drugs.  They are actually neurotoxic major tranquilizers with devastating side effects, including tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, and loss of brain tissue.

These products are called antipsychotics by psychiatrists and by the pharmaceutical industry in order to create, and maintain, the false impression that these drugs somehow target psychotic thinking.  In fact, they do have a suppressing effect on psychotic thinking in some individuals because they suppress all cognitive activity.

Using the term “anti-psychotic” to describe these toxic products is blatant and deliberate deception, but it has tragically become the norm in psychiatric circles.

Kathy – and this is not a criticism – bought the orthodoxy, and her question makes obvious sense.  After all, don’t we treat infections with antibiotics; hypertension with anti-hypertensives; fungus infections with anti-fungals, etc…?

Why wouldn’t one treat psychotic thinking with antipsychotics?  The only problem is that the drugs in this case are not antipsychotics.  (And, of course, psychotic thinking is not an illness, but that’s a different issue.)  The fact that Kathy phrased her question the way she did is a tribute to pharma marketing spin.  These guys really know what they’re doing!

Again, I stress, this post is not a criticism of Kathy.  She’s worried about her son and struggling to do what’s best.  But she has been cruelly deceived for ten years by the profit-driven psychiatry/pharma consortium.  My heart goes out to her.

Incidentally, in recent years these drugs are being widely used to control temper tantrums in children.  It will be interesting to see if psychiatry/pharma changes the name again to spin this development: “anger-abatement antipsychotics” perhaps?

And let’s not forget that these drugs are also being given to returning soldiers for “PTSD.”  “Anger-abatement, anti-painful memories antipsychotics”?

It’s time, I think, to call a spade a spade.


  • cledwyn bastardo

    Some of us are really stuck between Scylla and Charybdis on this issue. On the one hand, if we come off the drugs, not only will we have the nightmare of withdrawal, but it’ll unmask the tardive dyskinesia, for which the causal agent is also the treatment, absurdly.

    On the other hand, if we stay on them, more damage will be done, and we run the risk of getting tardive akathisia (which I all ready have), tardive dementia, tardive dystonia, and all the terrible pulmonary, metabolic and cardiac problems.

    No matter which way you turn, you are gonna get a shit-pie in your face. Oh, the agony of choice….

  • Phil_Hickey


    Yes. There truly is no human problem that psychiatry can’t turn into an absolute disaster. Other medical specialties make occasional mistakes and patients suffer.

    But psychiatry is one big mistake!

  • Rohan Zener

    Bear in mind that epilepsy is also among those side-effects!

  • Circa

    I developed seizures as a result of the combination of vast amounts of Risperdal together with generous helpings of ECT. Treatment stopped — symptoms stopped. I have no other conclusion to draw.

  • all too easy

    Dearest Circa Breaker,

    If you have any proof that taking massive doses of Risperdal combined with ECT caused your seizures, please provide it. All you have done so far is speculate.

    According to the recent Annual Toxic Exposures Survey from the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poisoning and Exposure Database in 2008, there were more than 20,000 reported aspirin and non-aspirin, salicylate exposures, 64% of which required treatment in a health care facility. Of these exposures, 50% were reported as intentional overdoses, and 60 patients died (Herres 2009).” EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS MONTHLY

    You are lucky to be alive

  • all too easy

    BTW, it isn’t clear at all to me why I’m responsible for correcting the plethora of mistakes, lies and false information posted here when there are others who are better trained and educated whose job it is and who have in addition a moral responsibility to do so.

  • Circa

    Seizures are listed as a known side effect of Risperdal. Implicating ECT as raising the risk is a reasonable speculation and one, I hasten to add, that is shared by my neurologist.

    By the way, don’t you ever get bored? Do you have a job by any chance? Hobbies? Friends? Any kind of life at all?

  • Circa

    Yes, by all means, it’s time for you to retire.

  • all too easy

    Who is your neurologist? Who prescribed massive doses of Rispersal to you? Of course you are speculating, which makes sense. You have no proof, however, which is what I said. Why do radical anti-modern medicine zealots have so much trouble reading and comprehending? I should be charging you for the fantastic, sound medical insights I offer for free.

    I have 3 lives, 27 hobbies, hundreds and hundreds of friends, an abundant life, boredom eludes me and a wonderful career. Why do you ask?

  • Circa

    You want my neurologist’s name? Do you want my home address too? It was my psychiatrist(s) who prescribed the Risperdal, among other drugs. No, there isn’t proof (nor is there proof that my grandfather’s smoking caused his lung cancer) but there’s a very good chance that my hypothesis is correct and this is confirmed by my neurologist – a real doctor, not a drug pusher.

    I ask about your life because you spend way, way too much time trolling this site. Your hostile and antisocial behaviour would raise a red flag for most psychiatrists. Please get help from a therapist and stop throwing your life away.

  • Rohan Zener

    I must really be wise beyond my years!

  • Rohan Zener

    So am i. I was made to take various antipsychotics myself, and yet even escaped the fate of developing epilepsy by convincing the doctors that i was indeed already experiencing seizures.

  • Rohan Zener

    We are “anti-modern medicine” for various reasons; my reason is my rediscovery of the ancient medical technology of nutrition to manage health. That’s to say, i would only eat food, never take drugs nor supplements, to keep myself in tip-top shape and intricate balance. It is still as effective as it was five thousand years ago.

  • Rohan Zener

    As well, the drugs preferred in modern practices have backed totalitarian agendas.

  • all too easy


    Joe can’t pay attention. Joe takes Ritalin. Joe pays attention. No other conclusion to draw except Ritalin helps people pay attention.

    Fellating the mass phallus and lil Buddhastevie are extremely hilarious.

  • all too easy

    And fellating mass phalluses

  • Circa

    The most parsimonious (big word for you, I know) explanation is that Ritalin helped Joe pay attention. That’s not to say that it’s the ONLY possible explanation.

    Likewise, based on available evidence (no history of seizures prior to the ECT/Ritalin, no family history, seizures are a known side effect of Ritalin and ECT induces seizures), my explanation remains the most likely one.

    I must say your comments are increasingly juvenile and tedious and I won’t be responding to you any further. (You, of course, will attribute my silence to defeat. You will be wrong.)

  • all too easy

    Golly! Forced you say. Who did that to you? Watch this. You can’t recall? That was tough. I spot these lying fools so easily, I don’t amaze myself. See ya Aron you Jerk

  • Rohan Zener

    His name was Peter Chauvel. Later on another doctor pulled a similar ploy over me; his name was Harold Skerritt.

  • Rohan Zener

    Ritalin made me unnaturally aggreßive. I nearly went to gaol as a result of its effects. As this was back when this bullshit about helping people pay attention, was accepted as Gospel Truth, thereby increasing accountability in its takers, instead of reducing it as should be.

  • Rohan Zener

    Bottom line: ancient medicine is infinitely superior to modern medicine. Nutrition was also a technique of ancient medicine.

  • doppelganger

    Poor “all too easy.” He tries SO HARD to be a master baiter, no doubt in order to compensate for his teensy, weensy, impotent pud.

    Jerk away, little buddy. Jerk away.

  • Cesca

    As the author of this blog wisely pointed out to me, such trolls just reinforce anti-psychiatry’s position. This is all the other side has got for ammunition – their position is indefensible and they are reduced to proving the point by such ranting and raving. They can safely be ignored or, if you prefer, provide entertainment. But in any event, please don’t let them bother you.

  • Rohan Zener

    Proof positive that prehistoric and ancient medicine still reign supreme in terms of effectiveness.

  • doppelganger

    the troll doesn’t bother me. He’s a pathetic joke.

  • Rohan Zener

    Then you should discern as liars who preach to us about autism as a contemporary Gospel; those are the worst liars of all time!