My friend Dr. Peter Breggin has released another of his outstanding videos designed to help people better understand and evaluate the harmful effects of psychotropic medications. This week’s video is on medication spellbinding, a term that he uses to synthesize some of the unique patient experiences, expectations, and attributions as they apply to medications often prescribed to patients by physicians today. You can learn a lot about medication spellbinding by checking out Dr. Breggin’s video below:
I, like Dr. Breggin, worry about the movement we are currently witnessing in the United States where our medical community (largely pushed by pharmaceutical companies and corporate hospitals) seems to be getting away from traditional cognitive/behavioral approaches to treating mental illness and instead looking to prescription bottles for the answer. There is a big, booming business in taking care of people with emotional and physical problems, as 60 Minutes illustrated in a fascinating segment last night. It is this “perfect storm” of events where pharmaceutical companies push largely untested and unknown medications to patients, coupled by hospitals racing to hit benchmarks for getting otherwise healthy patients admitted that is at the crux of this dangerous paradigm shift being witnessed today.
Breggin’s views on medication spellbinding are vitally important, especially to those directly or indirectly touched by cognitive and emotional problems. Often when I talk about the reasons why people turn to street drugs and/or alcohol to cope with their stress I mention how they do so because it is an effective way to deal with their problems (effective in the sense where they no longer stew over their problems — the drug provides a brief respite to their thinking). But when I delve deeper into the effectiveness of drinking (or becoming numb on psychotropic medications as Breggin talks about), these approaches are really not effective beyond helping a person forget about their problems as the problems still remain (and often become worse!). In fact, one of the most interesting points Dr. Breggin makes in the video is how so many people make false attributions to the disorder (or some other reason) being at the root of their issues while they use psychotropic medications, when in reality it is the medication they are using that is largely responsible for the problems experience!
While Dr. Breggin doesn’t explicitly talk about empathic healing on this video, I do hope that you will investigate his books and resources on empathic healing to learn the many ways in which this approach can be used to help others experiencing emotional distress. Empathic healing is not limited to professional mental health workers, as we can all work a little harder to better understand the unique stressors loved ones in our lives are experiencing, and we can comfort them with our genuine friendship and care for their well-being.
If you, or someone you know, is currently being prescribed a medication for depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, or any of the other many disorders that seem to have a magic pill out there that is advertised to fix your issues, please watch this video and pay special attention to the warning at the end. While it is important to understand the pros and cons of these medications, it is also important to work closely with your physician if you are interested in stopping the prescription and trying new ideas to help with your distress. The reality is there isn’t a pill that fixes everything, and that stress, frustration, adversity, and failure are part of the human experience — we shouldn’t look to numb these things, but instead learn better, healthier means for coping and resiliency.
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