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Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Drugs Paperback – Bargain Price, August, 2000

98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Psychiatric drugs are prescribed to more than 20 million Americans. This book aims to convince us to stop taking these drugs, and to show us how to do it safely. The authors contend that after 15 minutes with a physician or psychiatrist, Americans are prescribed medications that we may take for years or a lifetime, which can do more harm than good. We're irritable, anxious, emotionally numbed, physically fatigued, and mentally dulled. Yet when we stop taking the drugs, we encounter a whole new set of problems and setbacks.

The book lists the adverse medical reactions you may encounter, plus additional personal, psychological, and philosophical reasons for limiting or rejecting psychiatric drugs. About half the book covers withdrawing from your drug--how to do it carefully and slowly, what to expect, and how to get help--with specifics for certain drugs and a chapter on easing your child off them as well.

If you suffer from depression or another condition that warrants taking prescription drugs, you might refute the authors' contention that "the degree to which we suffer indicates the degree to which we are alive. When we take drugs to ease our suffering, we stifle our psychological and spiritual life." Certainly it would be lovely if we could "find a way to untangle that twisted energy and to redirect it more creatively," but is this really possible in all cases? The authors blame our dependence on drugs and psychiatry on big pharmaceutical-company bucks, psychiatric organizations, and even government agencies. Certainly we are an overmedicated society--but is the answer to take everyone off drugs? This provocative book says yes, and it's bound to be controversial.

Of course, do not go off any prescribed medication without working closely with the medical professional who prescribed it, and do not use this book as a substitute for professional help. --Joan Price --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In his previous books (Toxic Psychiatry, Talking Back to Prozac), psychiatrist Breggin laid the groundwork for his battle against what he sees as American psychiatry's harmful overdependence on prescribing medication. This time out, he reiterates his primary tenets and, having teamed up with David Cohen, a professor of social work at the University of Montreal, provides practical advice for those who are considering stopping medication. According to the authors, psychiatric drugs have replaced religion, spirituality, human relationships and introspection as the solution of first resort for the suffering endemic to a full human life. Because scientists know very little about the brain, Breggin and Cohen argue, the much-touted theory that depression and mental illness arise from chemical imbalances is "sheer speculation" and the propagandistic cornerstone of a massive public relations campaign by drug companies. In a well-researched argument that suffers from a somewhat dogmatic tone, they contend that, rather than improve the brain's functioning, these drugs actually create such imbalances, causing immediate and sometimes irreversible damage. In place of medication, Breggin and Cohen recommend therapy, as well as a commitment to religious, spiritual or philosophic ideas, and offer a step-by-step approach to ending dependence on medication, to be undertaken only with medical guidance. Although the authors warn readers against feeling pressured to forgo medication, they never explore the alternatives. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738203483
  • ASIN: B000YFH3QK
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,385,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter R. Breggin, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former full-time consultant at NIMH. He is in private practice in Ithaca, New York, and is the author of dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty books. Some of his many books include Toxic Psychiatry, Talking Back to Ritalin, The Antidepressant Fact Book, and The Heart of Being Helpful: Empathy and the Creation of a Healing Presence, and, with co-author Ginger Breggin, Talking Back to Prozac. His most recent publications include Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide, and Crime (2008) and Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex, Second Edition (SPC, 2008). His two newest books are Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families (SPC, 2013) and Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions (Prometheus, 2014). Dr. Breggin is the founder and director of The Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education and Living ( His professional website is

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

166 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Bill Butler on November 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was presribed Valium for 30 years. It's beneficial effects rarely last more than 4 months. But I trusted my doctors. The effects have been devastating and disastrous for me and my family. I have suffered from severe depression for 30 years and finally turned to alcohol to reduce what is commonly called the "Benzo Blues". Valium has also been referred to as "Blue Death". When I questioned one clinic about this drug, the reply was, "We must deal with the depression first!" So they kept me on this dosage for 3 more years while prescribing Prozac. Obviously, this did not help except to deaden my brain worse. So they doubled the Prozac. That did not work. So they quadrupled the Prozac to it's maximum! In desperation, I called my church, and they said to follow my doctor's orders so that I was even more convinced that what I was doing was right. Finally, the climax came and I started going on alcoholic benders to alleviate the depression. Now, the clinic stated that I must take the Valium and Prozac in order to treat my disease of alcoholism! I finally ended up in a psychiatric hospital for one week. A psychiatrist there told me that what had been going on was insane. That she has been desperately trying to get the elderly off of Xanax and Valium which their doctors had addicted them to. If you are a counselor, or simply a concerned citizen who is definitely concerned about crime in this country, you simply must read
this book and discover what the medical profession and the pharmaceutical companies have been doing in order to make money. I am now under a slow withdrawal program with a qualified psychiatrist and therapist. But I am taking care now of my own medical care in all regards. Readers, please refer to the PDR also ("Physician's Desk Reference") and read all the side effects of all drugs that you are taking. And put this one under the pillow of your bed.
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138 of 145 people found the following review helpful By DrakeScott on January 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Having spent the better part of the last 12 years on a virtual A(tenolol)to Z(oloft) tour of drugs prescribed to treat my symptoms of low self-esteem, generalized and social anxiety, and depression, I began to suspect these pretty, candy-like pills--so quickly prescribed interchangeably by psychiatrists and GP's alike--were not only affecting me in the short-term, but also manifesting long-term (if not permanent!) changes in my body--most notably a reduction in sex drive and function and excessive sweating--all without an appreciable, lasting reduction in my original symptoms. Therefore, when I stumbled across this book on, I was intrigued; what I found in it's pages left me with mixed feelings of horror, relief, knowing, and suspicion. Not only did I recognize the myriad of side-effects and withdrawal symptoms from my own experience, but Drs. Breggin and Cohen portrayed with uncanny accuracy my attempts at enlisting the help of practitioners unwilling to comply with my wishes to de-medicate. Too many times I have entered my psychiatrist's office ready to reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of medications I take, only to emerge twenty minutes later with a prescription for an ADDITIONAL drug, often with the intent to treat the side-effects of the first! This book has given me additional tools and strategies with which to broach the subject at my next appointment. Am I afraid of the probable return of the original emotional difficulties that brought me there in the first place? Absolutely. Am I dreading the all-too-familiar onslaught of dizziness, nausea, restless legs, headaches, depression, and intense emotional suffering that accompanies withdrawal? No question.Read more ›
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162 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Peter C. Dwyer on July 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a licensed clinical social worker who supervises other clinical social workers in a well-respected Treatment Foster Care program. I know for a fact that psychiatrists often prescribe Ritalin, anti-psychotic drugs and powerful anti-depressants to seven and eight year old children. Once the prescribing begins, it often escalates and rarely does a child get taken off meds. These are not "occasional" psychiatric practices - they are the rule, not the exception, with this population.
Before reviewers claim Breggin and Cohen are "narrow minded" or "extreme," they need to read eight or ten other source books (among them:From Placebo to Panacea, by Fisher and Greenberg; Blaming the Brain, by Valenstein; Talking Back to Prozac, by Breggin and Breggin; The Tripple Helix, by Lewontin). These are writers of substance, with well-documented arguments. They present clear pictures of the gaping holes in the biopsychiatric model and the shoddy, self-serving research that allegedly supports that model.
Several of these books present detailed indictments of the degree to which huge financial interests dominate psychiatry and drug research; they present clear and verifiable information (of which most psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers seem unaware) about the questionable effectiveness and all-too-common dangers of these drugs.
I don't doubt that a number of people have felt their lives saved by these drugs. But there is much research to support psycho-social interventions which do at least as well as psychiatric meds, without the dangers and side effects. This research is hard to find in the U.S.
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