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Entries from March 2013

Christopher Dorner and Prescription Psychotropic Drugs

March 3rd, 2013 · No Comments

Here is an article by Dr. C.E. Gant that appeared in the American Thinker magazine today.

With the Christopher Dorner case, the role of prescription psychotropic drugs in mass killings has again come to the forefront. Numerous articles have approached the role of so-called “psych meds” in causing depraved and indifferent violent behavior, but one in particular deserves attention because it highlights the fact that among psychiatric professionals there is no coherent understanding of what needs to be done after we take people off of drugs that are prescribed for their psychiatric illnesses.

The article — Jon Rappoport’s “Is Christopher Dorner Another Psychiatric Killer?” — makes a number of important points about the former Los Angeles police officer’s mental health. Dorner had been treated for severe depression since 2008, and Rappoport correctly proposes that the drugs Dorner was prescribed to treat his depression were almost certainly among the causes of his seeking violent revenge against members of the Los Angeles Police Department.

But there are problems with Mr. Rappoport’s article that need to be addressed. Contrary to his assertion that brain chemistry is not a key to developing psychiatric illnesses, mood disorders and other psychiatric illnesses are in fact directly connected to the brain’s ability to produce key neurotransmitters, including the relaxant serotonin, painkilling endorphins and enkephalins, anxiety-preventing GABA, and feel-good catecholamines such as dopamine.

When the brain does not receive the necessary nutrients to enable neurons to assemble these neurotransmitters, or when other factors cause neurotransmitter production and transmission to break down, illnesses including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar illness, among many others, often result. When prescription psychotropic medications are used to treat these conditions, frontal lobe damage often ensues. Recently, the term “frontal lobe syndrome” has been brought into use to describe the effects of prolonged prescription psychotropic drug use that damages this portion of the brain and increases our propensity to act violently and with depraved indifference.

But beyond Mr. Rappoport’s misconceptions about neurotransmitters, I want to point out that there’s a disturbing disconnect among mental health professionals who understand that so-called psych meds invariably do more harm than good to their patients. While professionals like Drs. Peter Breggin and David Healy, to whose work Rappoport refers, correctly discourage the use of prescription psychotropic drugs designed to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder and depression, they provide no effective alternative methods to treat the underlying biophysical factors that cause mental disorders beyond talking therapies.

In most cases, taking people off of prescription psychotropic medication without diagnosing and treating the underlying conditions that are the true causes of their psychiatric disorders does more harm than good.

Let me explain further.

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Tags: Drugs and Brain Disorders