Psychiatric Drugs: The Bane of Our GenerationCurrent conventional wisdom holds that if someone has a problem of virtually any kind, there is a pill that can fix it. Drug company stocks have created a host of millionaires in the last fifteen years. More “diseases” manufactured by the psychiatrists means more money flowing into the coffers of the pharmaceutical firms. That there is collusion involved between mental health practitioners and the drug manufacturers is a widespread assumption. The two industries feed off of each other.
By J.R. Ensey
There is so much mark-up in the manufacture of drugs that they can afford to place multi-page ads in just about every national magazine. They can sponsor the popular TV shows and hawk their poisonous wares to millions every day. They are shameless in their efforts to keep America chemically dependent. Psychiatrists seem to be little more than pawns as they dutifully write the prescriptions for psychoactive drugs. They seem unfazed by the mounting reports of harm being done by the drugs. Again we would like to refer them back to the Hippocratic Oath to which they once pledged themselves: “First, do no harm.”
Christians seem to be as tempted as others to believe the powerful messages presented in the drug advertisements. The ads picture smiling senior citizens, happy middle-aged parents, and laughing children who are supposedly on their medications—as though using their drugs will also “put a smile on your face and happiness in your life.” Few bother to read the fine print that lists the side effects. The news reports about severe reactions, abnormal or violent behavior, murder and suicide are never printed alongside the ads. Drug manufacturers know most people will not take the time to read negative reports or will merely ignore the risks in order to try for the perfect result. Has gullibility totally displaced our common sense?
A Drug-Crazed Society
I live near the fourth largest city in America. Our newspaper is filled with horrific stories detailing human tragedies every day—mothers drowning their babies, children killing their parents, wives murdering their husbands, fathers abusing their children, and people going berserk in the workplace and shooting their colleagues. These have become common occurrences. Buried somewhere in the reports one usually finds that the perpetrators were on some kind of psychoactive medication. In many court trials it is revealed that these are real-life side effects. If they were not the sole cause of the behavior they likely exacerbated it. Admittedly, not everyone who has taken these medications commits such acts, but psychiatrists never know how the psychotoxic drugs will affect a particular individual. There is no scientific way to accurately predict what reactions may be generated. Many times one pill will be prescribed to offset the side effects of another pill, and then one prescribed to negate the results of that combination, ad infinitum.
Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and similar drugs are used to treat depression and other “mental illnesses.” They don’t cure; they are merely prescribed as a palliative, something to alter one’s mood until their circumstances change. At least that is the hoped-for result. It should also be noted that many people find these drugs to be habit-forming regardless of what the manufacturers say. Some users don’t want to stop taking them and refuse to do so, while continued ingestion only increases the risk of greater harm.
Author Nancy Pearcy, writing on science in World magazine, confirms that doctors are prescribing alarming amounts of psychotropic drugs. She cites former “second lady” Tipper Gore as one of the prime promoters of these drugs. Mrs. Gore was President Clinton’s top mental health advisor. The same month that the White House held its mental health conference in 2000, the Boston Globe revealed that Lilly, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Prozac, had suppressed evidence that the drug produces suicidal tendencies in a number of patients.1
In their book Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Drs. Peter Breggin and David Cohen state that “Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox—the so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—built their popularity as antidepressants on the mistaken belief among doctors and patients that they have fewer serious adverse effects than other anti-depressants. From the very beginning we knew this was false marketing hype created by the drug company, Eli Lilly….Even now many psychiatrists and other physicians are not aware of the increasing catalog of dangers from these drugs.”2
Chemical imbalance or psychiatric imbalance?
The most common diagnosis for which psychoactive drugs are prescribed is “chemical imbalance.” This has become a popular “catch-all” phrase like “You have a virus,” and is employed when certain behaviors or feelings are expressed. The diagnosis of chemical imbalance provides justification for a chemical solution. Virtually every weird and ungodly behavior imaginable can be blamed on “chemical imbalance in the brain.” But the jury is still out on just how the brain operates. Research shows that what we know today is not really known but assumed. Most of what we read about this topic today is subjective theory, just as Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) and Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) were a few years ago.
“Chemical imbalance” are beloved words to the drug corporations and a convenient term for the psychiatrists to use. Once a person is on a psychiatric medication like Prozac or Zoloft, it is difficult to find a place to stop.3 The results are coming in fast now from fifteen or twenty years of Prozac use and they are shocking. The manufacturer has begun marketing another form of it under a new name (Serafem) and making other changes because they have discovered that it has many more side effects than originally thought.4 One is that it can produce symptoms that act just like Alzheimers. The path of trying to fix all of our behavior problems by mood and mind-altering drugs is very dangerous. It is the world’s way and should not be the Christian’s way. A psychiatrist’s claim of “chemical imbalance” should be taken with “a grain of salt”—not as an absolute fact.
Dr. Paul Rubenfarb, an insider in the industry, joins others in calling this relatively new diagnosis a hoax.5 He follows with these discerning and perceptive observations:
Our breakthrough scientific tool in exposing the drug industry-sown hoax biochemical model which attributes mental illness to brain chemical imbalances (allegedly normalized by psychotoxic pills) are recent micro MRIs which, after even five days of Haldol, Ritalin or Prozac genre of psychotoxic pills, photographically reveal many meters of killed-off (disappeared, permanently eradicated and unregenerable, just as severed fingers) brain cell synaptic branches. All anthropoid (frontal lobal) cerebration: intelligence, vocabulary, memory, libido, dissent, disagreement, and individualism are irreversibly lowered…A hundred vocabulary words, a hundred childhood memory scenes and one IQ point per month are amputated from the human psyche by universally toxic psychiatric “medicines” which kill-off serotonin, dopamine and noradrenergic cell branches not just in the brain, but in the genitals, digestive organs, glands and muscles throughout the body (depredating nutrition, growth, metabolism, erectility/coital pleasure, heart rhythm, etc.). After five years of psychiatric “medicines” (toxins) 40% of patients contract the morbid spastic neurological diseases of tardive dyskinesia, tardive akinesia, dystonia and dozens more.6
The MRIs Dr. Rubenfarb mentions are said to prove that psychoactive pills are “toxic drugs incapable of curing any mental disorder.”7 A number of sources have reported on the fraudulent “safety trials” conducted by the drug companies, rubber-stamped by the FDA to license the pill for marketing.8 By well-funded advertising campaigns, the public has been convinced that virtually all antisocial or dysfunctional feelings and behavior are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. They have been made to think of psychomedicines as something like an additive for the fuel tank of their car or a solution to regulate the pH balance of the soil in their garden. This is exactly what the drug companies want them to think.
How are intelligent persons seduced into using these drugs? There must be a dozen ways chemical dependency is foisted on our society. Many companies and businesses have a psychologist or psychiatrist on staff who interviews all applicants for employment and is available during working hours to counsel “troubled” employees. Numbers of people are introduced to drugs through these company shrinks. Increasingly, insurance companies pay for psychiatric drugs so people who have a relationship crisis or experience a “blue day” can experiment with them. School children are introduced to psychological counselors (sometimes as “school nurses”) at all grade levels. These counselors or nurses routinely dispense Ritalin or similar drugs to school children who are deemed to be bored or active. It becomes a starting point of long-term involvement.
When there is a local tragedy, such as a major industrial accident where several people die (especially in a strange or different way), or an attack on a classmate at school or colleague at work, crisis counselors are rushed in to help people “cope” with the situation. Industrial accidents usually prompt management to encourage all employees and their families to “get counseling.” Hundreds, perhaps thousands of professionals were speeded to New York to counsel relatives and colleagues of those involved in the 9/11 attack. Events like these provide a door into the world of psychological dependency. It gets one accustomed to thinking that crisis points in life demand a “counselor” to get them through, and medication to ease the psychological pain. It has become chic among celebrities and the more wealthy to have a shrink on retainer. To be on Prozac has come to be a basis for boasting.
Others are brought into the psychological fold through the publication of lists of possible symptoms of “mental illness.” Depression symptoms in particular are often listed in magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet. Everything from loneliness and lack of motivation to PMS will be listed, with one of them bound to be a part of almost everyone’s experience at one time or other. These lists, with the accompanying urgent advice to “seek treatment,” may sound altruistic—as though “we really care for you.” It is more likely that the primary purpose is to get people into the psychiatrist’s office for the first time. Once there, a series of visits, and possibly drugs, will be recommended to provide the “treatment” needed to cope with one’s “feelings.” What a gold mine for therapists!
Illegal drugs became popular in the 1960s, but today it is the legal drugs that are taking the day. Many “addicts” take a pill to get going in the morning, another to “stay focused” during the day, and another to enable them to keep partying in the evening. Drugs have become an American way of life—and the pharmaceutical companies love to have it so. It does not seem to matter how many lives are ultimately ruined, how many children are abused, or how many commit suicide—the almighty dollar rules.
Antipsychotic medications won’t cure emotional disorders. Otherwise, drug sales would diminish as people get well. To keep someone “stabilized” by taking the drugs is the goal. For example, the instruction sheet accompanying Seroquel, a “member of a new category” of antipsychotic drugs, states: “Although Seroquel is not able to cure your condition, continuous treatment can help manage your symptoms and help you feel better. For this reason, it is very important to take your doses of Seroquel every day, even once your symptoms go away and as you’re feeling better.” (Italics theirs. Note the emphasis.) In other words, whatever you do, don’t stop taking our drug—that is the message they want the user to get. That is like giving the pharmaceutical companies a license to print money.
Doesn’t Anyone Care About Kids Anymore?
One of the Columbine school shooters, Eric Harris, was on Luvox, a drug in the family of mood medications like Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac, when he killed several classmates and then himself. Did those chemicals affect his judgment in a negative way? Perhaps we will never know for sure, but it is obvious they did not provide a positive input. Like Eric, thousands of other adolescents and children are being prescribed daily doses of mind-altering drugs by doctors who are not sure just what effect the drugs may have on their behavior. Doctors William Beardslee and Stuart Goldman of Harvard Medical School writing in a recent issue of Newsweek magazine said, “Prozac and the other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)…require careful monitoring because they don’t work for everyone and make some depressed kids feel worse. With preteen children the benefits are less clear.”9
We do know that these and similar drugs are being pushed on our children to treat all kinds of “disorders.” Paxil has been promoted as a sanctioned treatment for such minor social problems as shyness. Call shyness a social disorder or phobia and psychiatrists can prescribe drugs for it with the insurance companies picking up the tab.10 That is why the drug companies are so elated about every attitude or behavior being classified as a “disorder” or “disease.” These antipsychotic drugs have not been approved by the FDA for all the reasons for which they are being prescribed, but doctors are free to prescribe them for anything they like.11
News reports and court cases involving psychotropic drugs and kids continue to trouble us. A U.S. News and World Report article entitled “The Perils of Pills”12 documented a number of cases where children became violent after taking Ritalin. Ritalin is the drug of choice for children who are diagnosed as having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). One report in that article involved a thirteen-year-old boy who hanged himself after being on Zoloft, a chemical cousin of Prozac, for only a week. The authors claim that psychiatric medication of children is dangerously haphazard. One girl age seven was diagnosed as having ADHD and Ritalin was prescribed. “But Katie’s temper and aggression only intensified. The grade schooler pulled a butcher knife on her older sister and gave her stepfather a black eye…Most drugs are not approved by the FDA for pediatric use. Almost nothing is known about how antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs affect a child’s developing brain.”
If a child is said to be “on the go,” or “squirming in [his/her] seat,” or “interrupts or intrudes on others,”13 he or she may be given Ritalin at school, or parents will elicit a prescription from a family doctor or psychiatrist. Most symptoms of this “disorder” (ADD/ADHD) were traditionally overcome by discipline—in the home and in the school. But as discipline has broken down and has virtually become a practice of the past, antisocial behavior has noticeably increased. Drugging instead of parenting has become the order of the day.
In a great many of the cases where ADD is claimed, the schoolteacher has diagnosed the problem and wants the children to be drugged. Dr. Leonard Sax, a family doctor and psychologist, interviewed four hundred child psychiatrists, pediatricians and family doctors in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland and found that “in the great majority of cases, teachers were the first to suggest the diagnosis. Doctors are busy; they’ve got a room full of patients and very seldom do their own investigation. They just take a paper from the school saying, ‘We think Justin has ADD. Would you please prescribe Ritalin?’ And doctors do it. The doctors are acting as a rubber stamp for teachers,” Dr. Sax said.14 One doctor who did his own evaluation concluded that the child did not have ADD, but the principal of the school then called his superior, angry, and said how dare the doctor question the school’s diagnosis, insisting that the doctor be disciplined. The doctor was actually called into the medical director’s office to defend his action. Other physicians have described similar situations. Dr. Sax found that the initial diagnosis of ADD came from the teachers in more than half the cases, from parents in 25% of cases, and from the primary physician in only 10%. The rest of the time ADD was identified by a psychologist, neighbor or friend. He added that in four states teachers have been prohibited from recommending a diagnosis of ADD. This restriction is due to concerns that children are being overmedicated to control their behavior, when often it is just a case of the child not hearing a soft-spoken (female) teacher.15 Drugging children in such situations is nothing less than child abuse.
A distraught mother recently called a consumer advocacy group with a story that would touch anyone’s heart. Here is what she said:
My daughter was a beautiful girl, spontaneous and active, but school personnel complained she was too active and pressured me to have her evaluated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I resisted for years but then she became so bored at school and also suffered from asthma and kidney problems. She became restless and I eventually gave in and took her to a psychiatrist. After 30 minutes and no tests or physical exams, she was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed a psychiatric drug, and later, two more. She became agitated, gained weight and was retaining fluid. One day I received a phone call from the school nurse who said that she had suffered a slight seizure and had fallen out of her seat. I rushed my little girl to her pediatrician. While I was signing us in, she had another seizure and fell to the floor. I screamed and ran to her. She died in my arms.
That little girl was only ten years old! Imagine for a moment being the mother in this situation, pressured by both the school psychologist and teachers—the “experts”—to drug your “ill and suffering” child with an FDA-approved drug which “authorities” say is completely “safe and effective.”16 Pastors and Christian counselors, are you listening? Parents should refuse to allow school counselors and nurses to drug their active children.
Are children more naturally antisocial today? Probably not, but we have thrust them into blended families, removed their normal parental covering and security, exposed them to daily doses of violence on TV and in video games, and put them into abusive situations. Only 29% of American families are said to be traditional—those consisting of a husband and wife with their children. Other environments are boyfriend/girlfriend cohabitation, blended families with stepfather/mother or other relatives, unmarried parents, and gay couples. It is quite amazing that some kids are as well adjusted as they are. The current cultural climate is sowing the wind and we are destined to reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). Isn’t it mind-boggling that sociologists, psychologists, and practitioners in the mental health field can’t seem to figure out why kids today appear anxious, oppositional, bored, and moody? Thrust into today’s environment of non-traditional, disastrous home life and fed a constant diet of television fare featuring divorce, sexual abuse, rebellion, violence, and every form of antisocial behavior, how can the average child develop properly? Parents and pastors must raise the red flag of alarm, dust off the Bible, return to God, and make the commitment to see our children saved at all costs. The theaters are filling up, the nightclubs are filling up, the bars are filling up, the tattoo parlors are filling up, the rock concerts are filling up, and so are the psychiatrists’ offices, mental hospitals, and prisons. It is time for our churches and our altars to fill up!
“The vast pharmacological experiment on America’s children raises larger questions of whether behavior is a medical or social issue.”17 That is an obvious truth, but all will acknowledge that medical problems do exist which can affect behavior. These problems are relatively few, but are focused on in order to justify putting the rest of the children into the same mix. The medicalizing of behavior perpetuates the psychology industry and keep their couches full, mostly paid for by the insurance companies—ultimately us, in the form of higher premiums. Children become pawns in a game where the industry seems to write its own rules. And the age at which they are being diagnosed as mentally ill is getting lower all the time. Dr. Tana Dineen describes situations in which children too young to talk are being diagnosed on clinical “instinct” (which seems strangely close to mind reading).18 “As they watch children play,” Dr. Dineen explains, “clinicians look for something called anhedonia, a psychobabble word not to be found in most dictionaries, which means the lack of ability to experience pleasure.” Joan Luby, an assistant professor of child psychiatry at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, says this is one of the “clear indicators” of depression in pre-schoolers.”19 In the minds of psychiatrists, if a child is not experiencing pleasure he or she is depressed.
Advocacy groups, such as Zero to Three, have been formed to support the new notions that children as young as four months manifest symptoms of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Infants and small children are viewed as miniature adults prone to the same types of disorders identifiable in their parents. Zero to Three has published a handbook for psychiatrists and psychologists to strengthen their position and support their practice. Dubbed Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Development Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood, it lists all possible (and imaginable) diagnoses and their symptoms.20 Some of these “disorders” are evoking prescriptions for drugs, including Prozac, which are given in tiny dosages in pabulum. One could easily suspect that the psychology industry and the drug companies have collaborated to create infant mental illness as a niche, a new area in which to claim expertise.
More sober practitioners posit that antisocial or strange behavior in young children is usually linked to a major upheaval. “In kids under five, it’s marital discord, divorce, witnessing violence,” says Glen Elliot, director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. “A pill won’t help. The daunting solution is to change family life or move from a dangerous neighborhood.”21 Most parents seem to be unwilling to make sacrifices in favor of their children’s welfare. It always seems to be the children who make the greatest sacrifices. The drugs that are forced on them often make virtual zombies of them, depending on the dosage. Some doctors will prescribe high doses and others more moderate amounts. None of them really know how it will affect a specific individual. Jarred Victor, a sixteen-year-old boy from Escondido, California was taken to a family physician. After a brief visit, he was given a three-week supply of the anti-depressant Paxil. Ten days later he stabbed his grandmother sixty-one times. He was convicted of first degree murder and is doing life without parole.22 Paxil now carries warnings that a small percentage of patients may experience side effects which include abnormal dreams, agitation, hostility, suicidal thoughts, and delusions. How many stories like Jarred’s are we going to read before we rise up and say, “Enough!”?
Exactly what role these drugs play in the heinous crimes being committed is not known for sure, but recent studies have shown that kids with the same symptoms taking antidepressants are far more prone to suicide than others who were taking placebos.23 Matt Miller of Overland Park, Kansas was given samples of Zoloft by his physician. His parents were not given printed information, but were merely told that Matt “might get a bellyache and have trouble sleeping.” His father said they were told that there was “a pill that…could fix Matt.”24 Seven days later, Matt’s mother went to collect laundry from her son’s room and found him hanging inside the closet. The Millers sued Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician and author of Running on Ritalin, says that society’s increased demands on children make it harder for them to cope and forces teachers and parents to consider drugs for troubled children.25
Regardless of how the drug companies cry “peace and safety,” or how loudly they deny the risks and dangers of their products, real-life experiences confirm that psychoactive drugs carry grave consequences for both children and adults. An Associated Press report dated June 20, 2003 is titled, “Paxil increases suicide risks in kids,” and begins by stating that “no one under age eighteen should be prescribed the drug Paxil for major depression because the adult antidepressant may increase a child’s risk of suicide, the government said Thursday.” Great Britain issued an even stronger warning along the same lines. The report goes on to say that the FDA has never approved the use of Paxil for children or teens, but some doctors prescribe it anyway.”26 Prescriptions for antidepressant psychiatric medicine “soared” among children and teenagers between 1988 and 1994.27
If we as parents have drugged our children, or allowed them to be drugged at school, rather than providing loving direction and discipline, will God say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)? If we have made shipwreck of our own lives through rebellion, unfaithfulness, adultery, and divorce, thereby setting a course of confusion and insecurity for them, will we be held guiltless? I plead with my Christian brothers and sisters to give serious thought to the factors involved in turning to psychiatry and drugs.
“But Drugs Make Me Feel Better When I Am Down.”
It is common knowledge that one can take drugs and feel different. Millions of Americans since the 1960s have experimented with them. Some chemical mixtures are taken to make one feel “high,” and then another is ingested in order to “come down.” Other chemicals will make one feel like assuming a fetal position and crawling into a dark hole. Still others may make a person feel invincible and tempt him to walk in front of an oncoming train. Even after drying out, some never regain full control of all their faculties. There is little difference in the recreational drugs consumed by “addicts” and the mind-altering drugs prescribed by psychiatrists. In fact, Ritalin is in the amphetamine category of drugs. It is very similar to cocaine in how it affects brain chemistry and function. Their purpose is the same: to make one act or react differently within his or her environment. That may sound like a justifiable reason in some circumstances, but is it really? What will be the long-term effects?
The effects of drugs has had a measurable effect on family life in the last forty years. Countless homes have been ripped asunder by those who have insisted on drugging themselves into warped thinking and unnatural behavior. Some people take drugs on the promise of enhancing their libido (a fantasy, for sure) and wind up losing their potential to enjoy a normal marital relationship.28 Weirdness has become normal, just as homosexuality was once considered a mental illness but is now culturally acceptable. Heinous crimes committed by persons on drugs are almost excused since those persons are “addicted.” Drug addiction is today considered a “disease.” How twisted the postmodern mind!
Something is permanently lost from the brain with every dose of an antipsychotic drug. Despite this fact and all of the other downside problems associated with psychiatric drugs, their use is on the rise, especially among those who feel that they are in a “crisis” period of their lives.29 Many experts warn against this concept. Dr. Peter Breggin, eminent psychiatrist and author of several best-selling books on the negative impact of the psychology industry, adds this: “There is another major reason not to turn to psychoactive drugs in emotional crises or emergencies: All psychoactive drugs exert their therapeutic influence by impairing the function of the brain…Conversely, none of these agents improve brain function…They also take the edge off mental processes in general, reducing to some degree intellectual functions such as abstract reasoning, judgment and insight. [Users] are often rendered unable to accurately judge the drug’s effects or their overall mental condition. Individuals frequently choose to diminish their mental functions in order to ease suffering.”30 I add that most psychological “suffering” is generally induced by sinful behavior (selfishness, lust, divorce, lack of self-control, et al.), or a wrong response to the behavior of others, and could be alleviated by correcting one’s course and/or changing one’s environment. Treating the symptoms is the focus of psychiatry; treating the cause is the goal of biblical counseling.
Breggin continued, “Even if some emotional crises are in part caused by a defect in the brain, all currently available psychiatric drugs further impair brain function. None of them improve brain function or correct a specific biochemical imbalance and psychiatric disorder. None of them can do anything to ameliorate the effects of a presumed abnormal genetic endowment. Overall, there’s no compelling evidence for the efficacy of psychiatric medications in emotional crises, let alone in emergencies created by real-life stressors, such as divorce, bereavement, life-threatening illness, or loss of a job.”31 It is easy to see the wisdom of avoiding psychiatric drugs in treating situations involving distress in a Christian’s life. Numbing the brain with drugs is the world’s way, not the Christian way.
Quite often we hear arguments against the above statements which usually begin with, “Yes, but….” And many who are having difficulties love to hear those arguments. People tend to want things to change for the better without any effort on their part—without repentance, or forgiving anyone, or the sacrifice of their lifestyle—and drugs seem to offer such people a way to achieve some semblance of change. I have personally counseled many who wanted God to somehow “make everything right” while they continued to wallow in their immorality, their selfishness, their spiritual apathy, their greed, or their disobedience. They wanted God to magically change their health, their relationships, their financial circumstances, or their social status while committing nothing to the Lord themselves. “Change things, change others, but leave me as I am” is a prayer that is unlikely to receive an affirmative answer.
Not a few attempt to make a case that if one takes drugs to correct a problem below the neck, what’s wrong with taking them to correct a problem perceived as merely being “above the neck”? If there is an organic and medically verifiable malfunction in the brain itself, that is one thing. Taking drugs to correct wrong thinking, or to change one’s emotional feelings, is something else. We should remember that psychoactive drugs are dispensed to make one feel better, not necessarily be better. They don’t “fix” or “repair” anything; actually they do the opposite. I have never heard anyone say, “Drugs saved my marriage,” or, “Drugs helped me get in touch with true spiritual healing,” or, “Drugs made me a better person.”
The following is a true story. Jim (not his real name) and his wife, “Sheila,” were going through a particularly difficult time in their lives when some changes were taking place. Sheila was struggling to deal with the stresses that were accompanying those changes. A well-meaning but ill-informed minister suggested that she see a psychiatrist. Against his better judgment Jim relented. On the very first visit Sheila was given a prescription for above average doses of Prozac. In less than a month she was into mood swings to the extreme. Jim said that every emotion—positive or negative—was multiplied by one hundred times. The deepest depression would give way to the highest high, and then the cycle would be repeated. This continued for months, and the months turned into years. Sheila’s situation was similar to that of the woman described in Mark 5:26 who “had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” By this time, however, she was hooked and did not want to get off the drugs, even though Jim pled with her to do so. The drugs did not help her to “cope” with her problems; rather, they exacerbated them. During this period she reportedly became involved romantically with another man, or men, of the type who would ordinarily have held no attraction for her. Today Jim and Sheila are divorced. He lays the lion’s share of the blame squarely on the psychiatric drugs. He sees her visit to the psychiatrist as the gate to the path which ultimately led them to the divorce court. As does the path to the house of the prostitute, trusting in the arm of flesh rather than the living God guides many to spiritual doom.32
It is time for Christians to employ common sense in the effort to maintain sound minds in an unsound world. Spiritual wholeness will not be found on the couch but at the cross. When one is troubled or confused, he or she should go to the Lord who knows and understands all human situations. That is done by repenting when necessary, lining up one’s behavior with the revealed will of God, and getting into the Word—reading, studying and meditating on the wisdom of God.33 If human counsel is necessary, go to a man of God. He is called to help people think right so they can live right. He will point the way to true spiritual wholeness because he knows that someday he will stand before God to give an account for those to whom he gave advice.
1. Nancy Pearcy, “Drugs on the Brain,” World Magazine, 10/21/00; 23.
2. Peter R. Breggin, M.D. and David Cohen, Ph.D., Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications by (New York: Perseus Books, 1999); 105
3. The author recommends the book Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. and David Cohen, Ph.D. (See #2)
4. For a partial list of some of the side effects of these harmless drugs, see chapter 4 of Breggin and Cohen, Your Drug May…
5. Paul Rubenfarb, Guest Editorial, International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology Newsletter, NY, NY; Spring, 2000 edition; 1
9. William R. Beardslee, M.D, and Stuart Goldman, M.D., “Living Beyond Sadness,” Newsweek, September 22, 2003; p. 70).
10. Michael D. Lemonick, “Beyond Depression,” Time Magazine, 5/17/99; 74
11. Ibid.; for example, Prozac by another name, Sarafem, is now being prescribed for PMS.)
12. Nancy Shute, Tony Lacy, Douglas Pasternak, U.S. News & World Report, 3/6/00; 47
14. Quoted by Julie Smyth in The National Post, August 28, 2003; 49
16. Citizens Committee on Human Rights Newsletter, Los Angeles, CA November 2002
18. Tana Dineen, quoted in “Losing Our Sanity, From Cradle to Couch,” PAL Newsletter, July-August 2003; 1
19. Ibid., 8
21. Smyth; 49
22. Ibid.; 50
23. “Paxil Increases Suicide Risk in Kids,” Houston Chronicle; 4/20/03
24. Shute, et al.; 50
26. “Paxil Increases…,” Chronicle; 4/20/03
27. “Depression drug use up for youths,” Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, c. 4/03
28. There are so many ads in the media today for correctives of sexual dysfunction that one wonders if the drug culture has not created a generation of middle-aged persons incapable of achieving satisfying relationships. Coupled with the proliferation of pornography, many men have forfeited their manhood, being unable to perform sexually in a normal manner. The law of diminishing returns suggests that the more one looks at pornography, created primarily by using models in unrealistic settings, the more bizarre the images must be in order to arouse him. This overlaps the intimate relationship and spawns many problems that plague marital harmony.
29. Today there seems to be a crisis around every corner, either in the community, the nation, the world, or in one’s personal life. The shocking news that is fed into our minds daily by the media makes some feel justified in turning to chemical relief.
30. Dr. Peter Breggin, “Psychotherapy in Emotional Crises Without Resort to Psychiatric Medications,” The Humanistic Psychologist, 1997, Vo. No. 1; 6. This may account in part for the anecdotal testimonials some people give in favor of drugs. Their judgment about the matter is impaired, plus there are other circumstances which come into play over time which may affect the outcome. It should be added that Dr. Breggin, after becoming a psychiatrist, recognized the abuse that is rampant in the industry, and has spent most of his professional life exposing the dangers therein, particularly in the area of prescribing psychiatric drugs. He heads the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP) and publishes widely heralded works opposing the procedures and abuses of practitioners in the field of psychiatry and psychology. Every minister, doctor, or interested layman would profit from reading his books, especially Toxic Psychiatry, Talking Back to Ritalin, and Talking Back to Prozac.
32. Of the prostitute the Bible says, “For her house leads down to death, And her paths to the dead” (Proverbs 2:18 NKJV). In her blockbuster book, Whores of the Court (New York: Harper Collins, 1997), Dr. Margaret A. Hagen plainly calls the practitioners of the psychology industry who testify in court trials as “expert witnesses” for the drug companies, or for persons who have committed some crime while on psychiatric medication, whores of the court. The reason for that nomenclature seems obvious.
33. The following statement was sent to me by Rev. David Huston via email to underscore the fact that the Word of God is not silent on this issue: The root of our modern word “pharmacy” is the Greek pharmakeia (Strongs 5331). This word is defined as “medication,” i.e. (by extens.) magic (lit, or fig.). The noun form means “a spell-giving potion.” In other words, pharmakeia can refer to any mind-altering drug. In the New Testament it is translated “sorcery” and “witchcraft.” In Galatians 5:20 Paul listed pharmakeia among the works of the flesh and warned that “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Revelation 9:21 says, “And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries (pharmakeia).” This verse clearly teaches that the practice of using mind-altering drugs is something that needs to be repented of. (The Scriptures make no distinction between those that are legal and those that are presently not legal under our present laws). Revelation 18:23 says, “For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery (pharmakeia) all the nations were deceived.” These are the only three uses of this word in the New Testament. Draw your own conclusions about whether or not believers ought to use such substances.