More Alternatives To Conventional Psychiatry

A body of evidence has been growing for some time on the harm that is done to people through the use of neuroleptic drugs. Neuroleptic drugs, also called antipsychotic drugs, are the drugs most often used in the treatment of schizophrenia, often used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, and sometimes used in the treatment of depression. Neuroleptic drugs cause changes in brain structure. Neuroleptic drugs shrink the frontal lobes, and swell the basal ganglia. The effects neuroleptic drugs have on the thought process resemble that of a lobotomy. In short, these drugs damage the brain, our organ of thought.

The newer atypical neuroleptic drugs, developed to be less irritating to the taker than the original neuroleptic drugs, have been found to cause metabolic changes in the body. These metabolic changes can be responsible for the development in the taker of a number of serious and potentially fatal health complications from diabetes to heart disease. This newer class of neuroleptic drug has been credited with contributing to the average age at death for people in mental health treatment being 25 years younger than the general population as a recent study has revealed. 25 years less of life on this planet is not the kind of improvement I would look for in my medicine cabinet.

People, from federal penitentiary inmates to one’s next door neighbor, should not be forced to take these damaging drugs against their wishes and will. When a person’s life is cut short, his or her human right to life has been violated; when a person has been given these poisons by force, and against his or her will and wishes, that person’s human right to liberty has been violated. People should be entitled to good health, at least, and harming that health, in opposition to an individual’s expressed wishes, should neither be tolerated nor legally sanctioned. Criminal offenses can be taken care of by the criminal justice system; predicting criminal offenses remains in the realm of science fiction.

Any and every place needs alternatives to the conventional mental health treatments that employ the use of these powerful psychiatric drugs. Soteria type houses, safe houses, crisis respite centers, holistic treatment facilities—the world is not without examples of alternative environments for people in crisis that have been successful, in some cases much more successful than conventional treatment facilities where non-drug methods of treatment are virtually unheard of. These residents and environments should be established everywhere it is possible to do so. We need to make it possible for people to live full, eventful, and productive lives rather than further limit, debilitate, and destroy those lives through paternalistic treatment methods, and the excessive use of harmful chemical agents that goes along with those methods.