Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Rational Principles of Psychopharmacology for Therapists, Healthcare Providers and Clients

  • Peter R. Breggin
Original Paper


Because the epidemic dispensing of psychiatric drugs is based on misinformation, it is important for all health professionals, consumers, and most citizens (including patients and their family members) to have a more rational understanding of how psychiatric drugs actually “work.” Instead of enforcing authoritarian “medication compliance” in obedience to the prescriber’s orders, informed therapists and healthcare providers have an ethical duty to provide scientific information about the real effects of psychiatric drugs. Instead of naively accepting whatever the doctor prescribes to them, consumers need to educate themselves about all medications, but especially about psychiatric ones, which are consistently misrepresented and oversold. This review focuses on three principles of rational psychopharmacology. The first is the brain-disabling principle, which states that all psychoactive substances work by causing dysfunctions of the brain and mind. It further observes that no psychiatric drugs work by improving or correcting biochemical imbalances or any other presumed biological malfunctions. The second principle is intoxication anosognosia (medication spellbinding) which states that all psychoactive substances tend to cause a subjective over-estimation of their positive effects while masking their harmful ones, sometimes resulting in extremely harmful behaviors such as mania, violence and suicide. The third principle is chronic brain impairment (CBI)—that exposure to psychoactive substances, especially long-term, results in impairments of the brain or mind that can become persistent or permanent, including atrophy (shrinkage) of brain tissue. Not only are psychiatric drugs likely to do more harm than good, there are more effective and infinitely safer proven psychosocial approaches for treating the whole spectrum of “psychiatric disorders” from “ADHD” and “major depressive disorder” to “schizophrenia.”


Psychopharmacology Psychiatric drugs Adverse psychiatric drug effects Psychosocial alternatives to psychiatric drugs Ineffectiveness of psychiatric drugs Critical analysis of psychiatric medication 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of Empathic TherapyIthacaUSA

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