Peter Breggin Lays his Axe to the Root of the Tree

From Medication Madness

The New Ultimate Resource

The last ten to twenty years have seen a drastic change in viewpoint regarding the ultimate resource of moral and psychological guidance: Regardless of their religion or philosophy, many educated and informed people have come to believe that psychiatry and psychiatric drugs provide the best last resort for themselves when in psychological distress. Indeed, such drugs are increasingly the first resort. It appears that we have replaced reliance on God, other people, and ourselves with reliance on medical doctors and psychiatric drugs. The ultimate source of guidance and inspiration is no longer life itself with its infinite resources but biopsychiatry with its narrow view of human nature.
This view of ourselves is a most astonishing one. It suggests that most if not all of our psychological, emotional, and spiritual problems are “psychiatric disorders” best treated by specialists who prescribe psychoactive drugs. Our emotional and spiritual problems are not only seen as psychiatric disorders, they are declared to be biological and genetic in origin.
The propaganda for this remarkable perspective is financed by drug companies and spread by the media, by organized psychiatry and individual doctors, by “consumer” lobbies, and even by government agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). As a result, many educated Americans take for granted that “science” and “research” have shown that emotional upsets or “behavior problems” have biological and genetic causes and require psychiatric drugs. Indeed, they believe they are “informed” about scientific research. Few if any people realize that they are being subjected to one of the most successful public relations campaigns in history.”


The Traveling Medicine Show and Prozac and Paxil for “Whatever ails ya” pt. 1

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the United States experienced a forgettable and embarrassing phenomenon. This was the time of the traveling medicine show. A salesman would come to town, along with an entertainer, or otherwise famous person and set up a portable store in a prime location. This was the era of patented medicine. Without a formal regulating body, medicine was created and sold to a populace eager for relief from various afflictions. Outlandish claims were often made. Shamefully, sometimes the local preacher would even be recruited to add credence to the huckster’s claims.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Website contains pictures and descriptions of some these patented medicines. Here is a description of one of them.
Bromo Soda:  For sick and nervous headache, indigestion and insomnia, sleeplessness, excessive study, dyspepsia, acute migraine, nervous debility, mania, depression following alcoholic and other excessives, mental and physical exhaustion, brain fatigue, sea sickness.

Date made: 1906-1908

The Smithsonian web site sums up the practice of patented medicines, “Unscrupulous manufacturers greatly exaggerated the curative powers of their remedies, selling them as “panaceas” or “cure-alls.” The aptly named Swaim’s Panacea purportedly cured all “blood diseases” including scrofula, chronic rheumatism, ulcers, old sores, boils and carbuncles, diseases of the spine, catarrh, and wasting.”

We would never be so gullible today would we? We are far more advanced than those backwards folks from 120 years ago, aren’t we? Sadly, we are not. Despite our advances in technology, and education, we can be just as gullible as that crowd gathering around to watch the juggling act prior to that salesman’s pitch. However, we do not have to leave the confines of our own home to experience such marketing. It comes to us via our televisions, radios and computers. Even though the physical setting has changed, many of the sales techniques have remained the same. Some of those techniques which are employed today are: an appeal to science, an appeal to a trusted authority, the use of technical language, or the use of a celebrity. Isn’t it both amusing and sad how much people are influenced simply because a famous person suggests to them that they should use a product, even though that person may have no qualifications whatsoever to speak as an authority on the given subject.

One Harvard Professor recently wrote that, “Prozac and the other Serotonin boosters–Zoloft, Paxil, and Luvox–have been the panaceas of the past decade.” Page 13. Joseph Glenmullen, Prozac Backlash. Clinical Instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and on the staff of Harvard University Health Services.

The first potent antidepressants of the modern era were cocaine elixirs, introduced in the late 1800s. (PB, 12).