A Project of the Empathic Therapy Center is an online library and newspaper project of the 501c3 nonprofit Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living, founded by Peter R. Breggin, MD and Ginger Breggin, working toward replacing the biological theories, diagnoses and treatments of "modern" psychiatry with better therapeutic and educational approaches

Peter R. Breggin, MD Websites

Antipsychotic Drugs and Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs

also called neuroleptics

Neuroleptic or antipsychotic drugs disrupt frontal lobe function, causing a chemical lobotomy with apathy and indifference, making emotionally distressed people more submissive and less able to feel. 


Does treatment of schizophrenia with antipsychotic medications eliminate or reduce psychosis? A 20-year, multi-follow-up study
Harrow, M, Jobe TH, Faull, RN, Psychological Medicine 2014 doi:10.1017/S0033291714000610

Conclusions. The 20-year data indicate that, longitudinally, after the first few years, antipsychotic medications do not eliminate or reduce the frequency of psychosis in schizophrenia, or reduce the severity of post-acute psychosis...


Does Long-Term Treatment of Schizophrenia With Antipsychotic Medications Facilitate Recovery? by Harrow, M and Jobe, T Schizophrenia Bulletin March 19, 2013

"...evidence on long-term (10 or more years) efficacy of antipsychotics is mixed...Data shows not all schizophrenia patients need continuous antipsychotics for a prolonged period, providing extensive evidence of samples of medication-free schizophrenia patients with favorable outcomes..."  


Long-term Antipsychotic Treatment and Brain Volumes: A Longitudinal Study of First-Episode Schizophrenia
Beng-Choon Ho, MRCPsych; Nancy C. Andreasen, MD, PhD; etal Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(2):128-137

     Viewed together with data from animal studies, our study suggests that antipsychotics have a subtle but measurable influence on brain tissue loss over time, suggesting the importance of careful risk-benefit
review of dosage and duration of treatment as well as their off-label use.


Changes in Cortical Thickness During the Course of Illness in Schizophrenia
van Haren, N etal, Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(9):871-880

     In schizophrenia, the cortex shows excessive thinning over time in widespread areas of the brain, most pronounced in the frontal and temporal areas, and progresses across the entire course of the illness. The excessive thinning of the cortex appears related to outcome and medication intake.


"Do antipsychotic drugs affect brain structure? A systematic and critical review of MRI findings" Navari S., and Dazzan P., Psychological Medicine (2009) 39, 1763-1777

     Conclusions: Antipsychotic treatment potentially contributes to the brain structural changes observed in psychosis. Future research should take into account these potential effects, and use adequate sample sizes, to allow improved interpretation of neuroimaging findings in these disorders.


Intoxication Anosognosia (Medication Spellbinding)

"Intoxication Anosognosia: The Spellbinding Effect of Psychiatric Drugs", Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 8, 201-215, 2006.

     ABSTRACT: Why do so many individuals persist in taking psychoactive substances, including psychiatric drugs, after adverse mental and behavioral effects have become severe and even disabling? The author has previously proposed the brain-disabling principle of psychiatric treatment that all somatic psychiatric treatments impair the function of the brain and mind. Intoxication anosognosia (medication spellbinding) is an expression of this druginduced mental disability. Intoxication anosognosia causes the victim to underestimate the degree of drug-induced mental impairment, to deny the harmful role that the drug plays in the person’s altered state, and in many cases compel the individual to mistakenly believe that he or she is functioning better. In the extreme, the individual displays out-of-character compulsively destructive behaviors, including violence toward self and others


"A Conversation With Nancy C. Andreasen: Using Imaging to Look at Changes in the Brain" The New York Times, By CLAUDIA DREIFUS, Published: September 15, 2008

"the more drugs you’ve been given, the more brain tissue you lose." Dr. Nancy Andreasen


Progressive Brain Changes in Children and Adolescents With First-Episode Psychosis, Celso Arango, MD,et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2012 69 (1): 16-26

"Some of the progressive brain changes could be secondary to antipsychotic exposure"


Life expectancy and cardiovascular mortality in persons with schizophrenia.
Laursen TM, Munk-Olsen T, Vestergaard M., Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2012 Mar;25(2):83-8.


To assess the impact of cardiovascular disease on the excess mortality and shortened life expectancy in schizophrenic patients.

Patients with schizophrenia have two-fold to three-fold higher mortality rates compared with the general population, corresponding to a 10-25-year reduction in life expectancy. Although the mortality rate from suicide is high, natural causes of death account for a greater part of the reduction in life expectancy. The reviewed studies suggest four main reasons for the excess mortality and reduced life expectancy. First, persons with schizophrenia tend to have suboptimal lifestyles including unhealthy diets, excessive smoking and alcohol use, and lack of exercise. Second, antipsychotic drugs may have adverse effects. Third, physical illnesses in persons with schizophrenia are common, but diagnosed late and treated insufficiently. Lastly, the risk of suicide and accidents among schizophrenic patients is high.

Schizophrenia is associated with a substantially higher mortality and curtailed life expectancy partly caused by modifiable risk factors.


"Antipsychotics: is it time to introduce patient choice?" Anthony P. Morrison, et al, British Journal of Psychiatry, 2012 201:83-84.

Summary: Evidence regarding overestimation of the efficacy of antipsychotics and underestimation of their toxicity, as well as emerging data regarding alternative treatment options, suggests it may be time to introduce patient choice and reconsider whether everyone who meets the criteria for a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis requires antipsychotics in order to recover.  Read more here.