America’s Dementia Epidemic

Previously by Gary G. Kohls: Brain-Altering Psych Drugs and the BatmanShooter

Tens of millions of unsuspecting Americans, who are mired deeply in the mental “health” system, have actually been made crazy, homicidal, suicidal and neurologically disabled by the use of or the withdrawal from commonly-prescribed, brain-disabling, brain-damaging neurotoxic psychiatric drugs that have been cavalierly handed out like candy, with false assurance from a co-opted FDA. These synthetic prescription drugs are often prescribed in untested and unapproved combinations by unaware but well-intentioned prescribing physicians who have been under the mesmerizing influence of slick propaganda campaigns bankrolled by obscenely profitable multinational pharmaceutical corporations.

That is the conclusion of a multitude of courageous psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry whistleblowers (see some pertinent websites below), including many authors of books. Most of these whistleblowers have been black-listed by BigPharma, psychiatry, medical journals and even the mainstream media because of the magnitude of the unwelcome information they have revealed. In defense of most prescribing physicians, many of the revelations about the dangers of these synthetic drugs have been intentionally hidden from them. In any case, the whistleblowers' revelations should be shaking up physicians, their drug-taking patients and the drug industry, as well as Wall Street.

I highlight two of these courageous whistleblowers below.

Practicing psychiatrist and scholar Grace E. Jackson, MD has written two important books that should alert psychiatric drug prescribers and the consumers of those drugs about the many dangers of those drugs. Dr. Jackson has done meticulous review and interpretations of the voluminous neuroscience research literature as well as the clinical neuropsychiatric literature and has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how dementia-causing and brain damaging are many of the drugs that the drug industry has falsely reassured us as being "safe and effective".

Drug-induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime

Dr. Jackson's most dramatically ground-breaking book was published in 2009 and was titled Drug-Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime. She has documented the often disastrous consequences of the chronic ingestion of any of the 5 major classes of psychiatric drugs (antidepressants, antipsychotics, psycho-stimulants, tranquilizers and anti-seizure/"mood-stabilizer" drugs).

Drug-induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime presents compelling evidence that any of the psychotropic drugs that target brain and nerve cells can cause microscopic, anatomic, biochemical, clinical and radiological evidence of brain shrinkage and other signs of brain damage, which can result in clinically-diagnosable dementia, premature death and a variety of other related brain disorders that can even mimic diagnosable mental illnesses "of unknown cause". Jackson's first book, Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide for Informed Consent was an equally sobering warning about many of the hidden dangers of psychiatric drugs.

Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

Investigative journalist and health science writer Robert Whitaker has devoted many years of his life researching the serious downsides of psychiatric drugs. He has reported his ground-breaking results in two books, the first of which was titled Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (2002). In that book Whitaker explored the published literature and discovered that, since psychiatric drugs (the first one being Thorazine) began being widely prescribed in the US in the mid-1950s, there has been a 600% increase in the total and permanent disabilities of millions of psychiatric drug-takers in the United States. This uniquely First World epidemic of "mental health" disability has resulted in the life-long, taxpayer-supported, Social Security disabilities of rapidly increasing numbers of psychiatric patients who are now unable to live happy lives or be productive, taxpaying members of society.

In Whitaker's second book Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (2010), he provides additional, overwhelming proof of these sobering realities. He documents the history of the powerful forces behind the relatively new field of psychopharmacology and its major shapers, promoters and beneficiaries, namely BigPharma and the medical and psychiatric industries. Psychiatric drugs, whose developers, marketers and salespersons are all in the employ of the giant drug companies, are far more dangerous than these industries are willing to admit: Psychiatric drugs, it turns out, are fully capable of disabling body, brain and spirit – often permanently.

Jackson and Whitaker have done powerful services to humanity by presenting previously hidden, but very convincing evidence from the scientific literature to support their theses, that it is the drugs and not the so-called "mental illnesses" that are causing the epidemics of dementia and "mental illness" disability in America.

Aware, compassionate physicians and their aware patients should now be motivated to be wary of any synthetic chemicals that can cross the blood/brain barrier from the circulation into the brain. All of them are capable of altering the brain, sometimes permanently, in ways previously unknown to medical science and unsuspected by them and the FDA, especially in cases of polypharmacy and/or long-term or high dose use.

The sad truth is that there are long lists of serious, disabling short-term and long-term toxic effects from each and every of these commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs. And it seems to be the norm that patients do not receive much information warning them about those dangers. One of the common problems is the fact that many of these potent drugs can be addicting (dependency-inducing) and therefore decreasing the dosage of the drug can cause withdrawal symptoms that are different from the original symptoms that brought the patient to the doctor.

It is getting nearly impossible to fly over the Cuckoo's Nest

Tragically, the prescribing of psych drugs "for life" has become synonymous with standard mental health "treatment" for almost every one of the 374 fabricated mental illness labels in the last version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. And putting people on pills (and rarely taking them off) has become the community standard of care in American medicine – increasingly so ever since the introduction of the so-called "anti-schizophrenic" "major tranquilizer" "miracle" drug Thorazine in the mid-1950s. (Thorazine was probably the drug that Jack Nicholson's character Randall McMurphy was coerced into taking at "medication time" in the Academy Award-winning movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)

Thorazine and all the other first generation antipsychotic, "zombification" drugs are now universally known to have been an iatrogenic (ie, doctor-caused) disaster because of their serious long-term, brain-damaging effects that resulted in a multitude of permanent brain damage manifesting as tardive (delayed) dyskinesia, dysmetria, dystonia, dementia and Parkinson's disease, all of which are commonly caused by antipsychotic drugs, even the "atypical" ones. Young people on such drugs are now developing Parkinson's disease in childhood!

Thorazine and all the other "me-too" drugs like Prolixin, Mellaril, Navane, etc, are synthetic "tricyclic" chemical compounds similar in molecular structure to the tricyclic first generation "antidepressants" like Elavil and the similarly toxic, obesity-inducing, diabetogenic, “atypical" "anti-psychotic" second-generation drugs like Clozaril, Zyprexa and Seroquel.

Thorazine was originally developed in Europe as an industrial dye. That doesn't sound so good although it may not be so unusual because Big Chemistry and Big Pharma both deal in synthetic chemical compounds. One only has to consider Depakote (valproic acid), a popular drug initially approved as an anti-epilepsy drug that was originally developed as an organic solvent. One could predict that Depakote, capable of dissolving fat, would be toxic to organs that contain fatty tissue, including human livers, pancreases and brains – as indeed it is. And yet it is still widely prescribed world-wide in the treatment of seizures, although, because so many infants and toddlers died from it, Depakote is relatively contraindicated in children below the age of 10.

Just like most ruthless corporations, BigPharma has a compulsive drive make as much money as possible by continuously expanding market share and increasing "shareholder value" (share price, dividends and the next quarter's financial report) by whatever means necessary.

Both the prescribers and the swallowers of BigPharma's drugs have succumbed to cunning marketing campaigns. The prescribers get seduced by attractive drug company representatives of the opposite sex and the free "pens, pizzas and post-it notes" in the office, and the patients get brain-washed by the inane and unbelievable (if one has intact critical thinking skills) commercials on TV that urge the watcher to "ask your doctor" about the latest unaffordable wannabe blockbuster drug while quickly glossing over the lethal and sub-lethal adverse effects in the fine print. If one gets a prescription for a drug that still has patent protection, prepare to pay anywhere from $100 – $300 per month, no matter if the production costs are pennies per pill.

There is no mental health disability epidemic in the third world

Interestingly, Whitaker points out that there is no such epidemic of mental illness disability in Third World nations because costly psych drugs are not prescribed as cavalierly as in First World nations. Third World poor people with first episodes of any serious mental health problem are not seen by psychiatrists. Rather, they are first nurtured and cared for by caring families in local communities (and not drugged) and, if drugs are used, they are only used short term – before the patient's brain structure has been altered. Third world psychiatric patients are often cured without the use of any drug whatsoever and therefore those populations have far less chronic mental health problems than their counterparts in First World nations.

Jackson and Whitaker – and any number of other whistle-blowing authors and practitioners who have been questioning the knee-jerk use of potentially neurotoxic drugs for decades now – are understandably widely ignored by mainstream entities that somehow benefit from the highly profitable, pro-drug culture. Avoiding psychiatric drugs, although decidedly best for keeping brains healthy, is not best for the prescription psychiatric drug business.

The good news is that many critically-thinking scientists, holistic practitioners and assorted "psychiatric survivors" are coming to the realization that it is the drugs – and not the so-called "mental disorders" – that are contributing to our nation's epidemics of dementia and mental illness disability.

Cognitive dissonance and the medicolegal risks of not obtaining fully informed consent before prescribing potentially dangerous drugs

Mental health practitioners who prescribe these drugs must seriously consider the medicolegal implications of continuing to follow the current community standards of care that should be changing with the new information noted above. Partly because of the common phenomenon of cognitive dissonance, many practitioners will initially refuse to allow themselves to be exposed to new truths. Some practitioners will briefly look at the new information and – even then – dismiss the new information that challenges or disproves their old belief systems. Some will reluctantly and belatedly consider the new truths and forget all about it, and others will, with some distress, try to adapt to the new information. And patients will often sort it out in a similar fashion, even though some patients may have brains that have been so cognitively impaired that they will be unable to recognize their impairment.

In any case patients and their loved ones may need to do their own research. After all, it is highly likely that in some day in the near future, prescribing brain-damaging drugs without obtaining fully informed consent from the patient might be considered malpractice.

FDA approval doesn't mean a drug has been well-tested or is safe or effective long-term

I know that most health caregivers working for modern medical facility businesses are over-worked and often double-booked and therefore may be too busy giving their attention to BigPharma and its paid academics to absorb the sobering news related above. But this issue is too important to ignore. After all, these drugs are potentially lethal substances but are administered in sublethal doses and some (maybe most?) are known to accumulate in brain tissue. In a 4 week animal study from the 1990s, for example, Prozac was found to accumulate in the brain at a concentration 20 times higher than its concentration in the bloodstream! And yet, these drugs are still being cleverly marketed as non-toxic, and "safe and effective" (but only marginally so and only in short-term studies).

The captains of the drug industry know that their patented psychiatric drugs, when they are presented for FDA-approval, have only been tested in animal labs for days or weeks and in clinical trials on human subjects for only 6-8 weeks. They also know that many clinical trials involving psychiatrists use current drug-treated psychiatric patients who will then be in the process of going off – and therefore withdrawing from – their previous drugs. Industry executives also know that long-term trials of most psych drugs are never done prior to FDA marketing approval.

On top of that, the results of any failed or equivocal human trials are usually locked away and only the one or two trials with positive results are presented to the FDA. These executives also know that their drugs will likely be eventually discovered to be addictive and therefore may cause the patient to remain on the expensive drug forever or have potentially serious withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.

The fine line between "normal" and "mentally ill"

The truth is that people diagnosed as “mentally ill” for life are often simply those unfortunates who have found themselves in acute or chronic states of potentially reversible crises or temporary "overwhelm" due to any number of preventable, treatable and even curable bad luck situations such as being in bad company, or being a victim of poverty, abuse, violence, torture, homelessness, discrimination, underemployment, malnutrition, addictions/withdrawal, electroshock "therapy" and/or exposure to neurotoxic chemicals in their food, air, water or prescription bottles.

Those labeled as the "mentally ill" are not much different from those of us who call ourselves "normal". But we "normals" have just been lucky enough to have not yet decompensated because of some yet-to-happen, desperation-inducing life situation. And thus we may not have yet been given a billable diagnosis with a billable code number, and so we have not yet been prescribed some unaffordable prescription drug that could put us on the road to permanent disability and institutionalization. In other words, if we are lucky enough to remain unlabeled, we are also likely to remain off brain-altering drugs; and therefore we may remain away from the clutches of "the system", within which it is very difficult to "just say no to drugs."

My experience with over a thousand "mentally ill" patients has led me to agree with Jackson's and Whitaker's assertions. I fully agree with their warnings that the chronic use of psychiatric drugs is a major cause of cognitive disorders, dementia, loss of memory, loss of IQ points, loss of creativity, loss of spirituality, loss of empathy, loss of energy, loss of strength, loss of impulse control and a multitude of metabolic adverse effects (like psych drug-induced obesity, hypertension, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia). There is no question in my mind that these drugs can sicken the body, brain and soul by causing adverse drug effects such as insomnia, somnolence, increased depression, mania, anxiety, delusions, psychoses, paranoia, etc. So before filling the prescription, I strongly urge pill-takers to read the product insert information under WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE EFFECTS, CONTRAINDICATIONS, TOXICOLOGY, OVERDOSAGE and the ever-present BLACK BOX WARNINGS ABOUT SUICIDALITY.

Dr. Peter Breggin ( has warned us in his writings about a new syndrome that he calls psychiatric drug-induced Chronic Brain Impairment (CBI). It is caused by the chronic usage, especially with large doses or with combinations of psychotropic drugs. CBI could also be regarded as a chemically traumatic brain injury (cTBI). In medical school, we half-joked that Thorazine and Haldol caused "chemical lobotomies" in its victims. Little did we know how close to the truth we actually were. Chemical lobotomy is a useful way to conceptualize the serious issue CBI or cTBI, because such brain-altered patients are often indistinguishable from those who have actually suffered a physically traumatic brain injury (TBI) or have been subjected to "ice-pick" lobotomies (which were popular in the 1940s and 50s before the drugs came on the market and rapidly replaced that entire dastardly industry).

America has a dementia and mental ill health epidemic on its hands that is so obvious but so grossly misunderstood, and because of that blindness, the epidemic is worsening, not because of the supposed progression of "mental illness", but because of the continued chronic use of neurotoxic, non-curative drugs that are, in America, erroneously used as first-line “treatment.”

For more information on these extremely serious topics check out these websites:

and follow the links.

A long interview with Whitaker can be heard here.

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