Thoughts to Ponder

Be Sober - Revisited

Sometime back near the end of 2006, I wrote three Thoughts to Ponder articles on the subject Be Sober. In those articles I expressed my thoughts that antidepressant drugs were dangerous and because they affect a person's mind, that they could open a person to demonic influence, just like illegal drugs or alcohol could. I made this statement in one of the articles:

"This brings me back to the anti-depressant drugs. I firmly believe they are an opening to the demonic realm. I believe that is why we are seeing so many suicides and homicides committed by people on these drugs. Even those who do not commit overt acts are in danger, if I am right. They are having their senses dulled and are not sober in mind and spirit. God uses our conscience to speak to us; to draw us back to repentance when we sin, and to guide us, but if we are dulled by drugs or anything else that has gained influence over us, are we as capable of hearing His voice? I don't think so."

Sadly, I have taken a lot of flack because of my views. I have been called a bible-thumper. I have been told I don't know what I am talking about. I have been asked if I would also refuse to give my child insulin. I have been told that I am wrong, in friendly and not so friendly terms, by friends and even family, not to mention a multitude of strangers. Yet I will continue to address this subject because I think the issue is too important to ignore.

So here I am again, trying to warn and trying to sound the alarm. Whether you want to believe me or not, whether you think I am some kind of nut or not, I urge you to pray about this and ask God to give you discernment and understanding. If He shows you that I am wrong, then great, but if He shows you that there is a danger, then pay attention and save yourself and those you love from this demonic attack on your souls!

One of the authors I quoted from in the previous three articles has a new book out. I read it because I wanted to know the new information he had, but even I was surprised by some of the things I read. What surprised me is just how much like the statement I quoted that I made in one of those earlier articles some of his statements are.

I want to explain that Doctor Breggin is a Psychiatrist who actively practices psychology. What that means is that he and I disagree on many aspects of psychology and how it is 'used to help' people. But what we don't disagree on is the dangers of antidepressant drugs. However, his disagreement to these drugs is physical and mental while mine is more spiritual, but the bottom line is that we both see these drugs in the same light.

I am going to quote a lot from Dr. Breggin's new book Medication Madness. I urge all of you to get the book and read it. I have quoted a lot but trust me there was so much more that I wanted to share, but I don't want to type out the whole book for this article, so I decided to stop where I did. I will comment at places and then continue after the quotes.

I want to make one cautionary note here: If while reading this you decide that you or someone you love who is currently taking antidepressants should stop, PLEASE DONOT just stop on your own! You need medical assistance in stopping these medications. The most dangerous times are when first starting these medications, when changing doses either up or down, and when stopping them.

Medication Madness by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.

        Nothing like this book has ever before been written. I have evaluated hundreds of cases of drug-induced mental and emotional disturbances, some in my clinical practice as a psychiatrist treating patients, some as a consultant to patients injured by drugs, and many in my role as a medical expert in criminal liability suits against drug companies. The stories in this book are about children and adults who have been emotionally injured and sometimes driven mad by psychiatric medications, many committing horrific crimes. Psychiatric drugs can and do transform the lives of otherwise well-meaning, ethical people, sometimes causing them to act in ways they ordinarily find reprehensible.
        Although I have studied and written about these adverse drug effects for several decades, only in the last year have I grasped and described the unifying concept of the spellbinding effects of psychiatric drugs. Many people who take the drugs become desperately depressed and suicidal, violently aggressive, or wildly out of control without realizing that their medication is causing them to think, to feel, and to act in unusual and otherwise abhorrent ways. (page 1) [Emphases added]

Notice the emphasized quote. "These drugs sometimes cause people to act in ways they ordinarily find reprehensible." Now as a former Police Officer I am pretty hard core when it comes to holding people responsible for their actions. For example a drunk who drives and kills someone, even though the alcohol caused their impairment, they are responsible for their actions. However, when people are 'intoxicated' by the medicine they were given by a doctor and they don't understand that the medicine is causing them to act in a way they would not normally act, I give them a little more benefit of the doubt about whether the medicine caused the actions or not.

This is exactly why I say we are to be sober, so that we are in control of our own actions and our minds, however, there is a big difference between a person taking a medically prescribed medication and a person drinking themselves drunk. This is the reason I am warning people that these drugs also intoxicate!

        -When taking SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Celexa - and more commonly during withdrawal from the drugs - individuals frequently cite indescribable mental and physical pain inside their heads as their greatest source of unendurable distress. Because most of these antidepressants are relatively short acting, more than half the drug is eliminated from the body in less than a day, so that people can go into withdrawal between doses. Harry's painful feelings inside his head could have resulted from direct toxic-drug effects, from interdose withdrawal effects, or from a combination of both.
        Typically, the pain is both physical and emotional, making the individual feel tortured from the inside out. Sometimes the unbearable sensations are compared to "shocks" and "electricity" or to "impulses," often localized inside the head but sometimes spreading throughout the body. Two days after one of my patients began tapering off her last small dose of Paxil, she endured several days of throbbing headaches like "knives stabbing into my brain," as well as dizziness and depression with fits of inexplicable, uncontrollable weeping.
        When patients attempt to describe the "weird feelings" caused by antidepressants, frustration often sets in. There is no adequate vocabulary to communicate the bizarre internal experience. Unsympathetic or uninformed physicians often fail to realize that the prescribed medication is causing this torture. Instead, the doctors blame the patient's "craziness" and increase the dose of the offending agent, too often with tragic consequences. Or, the misinformed doctors attribute the mental deterioration to an "unmasking" of the patient's supposedly underlying mental illness, and then add yet another mind-altering drug to the treatment regimen. (page 14) [Emphases added]

Again, take this as a warning not to stop these drugs on your own, seek medical assistance!

        Some of these bizarre sensations meet the diagnostic criteria for akathisia, a drug-induced neurological disorder that is known to drive people to suicide and violence, and to madness. Akathisia means the inability to sit still and the syndrome is usually but not always associated with a compulsive need to move about in a futile attempt to stop the torment. Several people observed that Harry was agitated and restless in the days before he assaulted the policeman. Because the Paxil had caused such obvious agitation and maniclike behavior in Harry, in my initial evaluation and report I did not focus on this more subtle clinical syndrome - but his case nonetheless provides an example. (page 15)

        The official American Psychiatric Associations' Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV), is the diagnostic bible of psychiatry. It discusses akathisia at length in both of the two most recent editions (1994 and 2000). This conservative, establishment textbook specifically warns, "Akathisia may be associated with dysphoria, irritability, aggression, or suicide attempts." Dysphoria is painful emotions; irritability is overreacting with anger or hostility; aggression and suicide speak for themselves.
        This heavily relied-upon diagnostic authority further warns that akathisia can lead to "worsening of psychotic symptoms or behavioral dyscontrol." Behavioral dyscontrol means loss of impulse control. Almost the entire description applies to Harry Henderson, as well as too many other cases in Medical Madness.
        After describing the horrific symptoms of akathisia, the diagnostic manual makes a key observation: that the newer SSRI antidepressants can cause akathisia with all its associated adverse effects.
        You might assume that such a dreadful and potentially deadly adverse drug reaction must be relatively rare. To the contrary, we have known for nearly two decades that akathisia is commonly associated with the newer antidepressants, like Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexa. The watershed year was 1989, when investigators reported five cases of akathisia caused by Prozac. They reviewed the scientific literature, found rates of 9.7 to 25 percent for Prozac-induced akathisia, and concluded that Prozac "and perhaps other antidepressant drugs as well, may produce the side effect of akathisia fairly frequently." In 1990, the Public Citizen Health Research Group followed up with an estimated rate of 15 to 25 percent for Prozac-induced akathisia. While studies of SSRI-induced akathisia vary greatly in the frequency with which this disorder is observed, the weight of evidence confirms that it is common. (pages 15-16)

        Medical spellbinding describes how drugs mask or hide their harmful mental and emotional effects from the people who are taking them. Under the influence of drugs, many people feel better when in reality they are doing worse. Some become desperately depressed or violently aggressive without realizing that their medication is causing it.
        Every psychiatric drug impairs the brain function and can, therefore, cause spellbinding. (page 18) [Emphases added]

Medical spellbinding; notice he makes the statement that the patient is 'under the influence of drugs' and they often think they are doing better even though in reality they are doing worse. A drunk will often think they are driving better than when they are sober, but of course it is an illusion brought on by the alcohol!

        Medical spellbinding in technical language is intoxication anosognosia - the inability when intoxicated by drugs to recognize the mental and emotional impairment caused by the intoxication. Medication madness is an extreme expression of medical spellbinding, leading people to behave in ways that they would otherwise reject as hazardous or wrong. Some feel falsely empowered as they compulsively pursue bizarre, dangerous, and even violent actions. Others feel overwhelmed and inexorably compelled toward despair and suicide. Typically, these victims of spellbinding are acting in ways that would ordinarily terrify and appall them. Throughout, they remain unaware that they are drug impaired and display little or no awareness of the disastrous consequences that lie in store for themselves and others. (page 19) [Emphases added]

He calls it intoxication! If the drug intoxicates then you are no longer sober!

        Hardly anyone thinks of antibiotics as potentially dangerous psychoactive drug but many of them are. Pennsylvania attorney Derek Braslow told me about the case of a thirty-nine-year-old police officer with no history of mental disturbances who became psychotic while taking Levaquin for a cold. Within days of starting the drug he became paranoid and manic, and entered his neighbor's home where he held three children hostage at gunpoint while under the delusional belief that they were involved in gang activity. Thinking he was doing the right thing, the deluded policeman even called the police to report what was going on. The otherwise upstanding citizen had become the victim of antibiotic-induced psychosis with paranoid and manic features. As a result, he was sent to jail and he lost his career in law enforcement.
        Levaquin is a member of the quinolones family of antibiotics, a group that is known to cause severe emotional reactions. The WARNINGS section of the label of Levaquin, as reprinted in the 2008 Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR), states that convulsions, increased pressure in the brain, and toxic psychosis have been reported in patients taking these antibiotics. It more specifically warns about "central nervous system stimulation which may lead to tremors, restlessness, anxiety, lightheadedness, confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, nightmares, insomnia, and rarely, suicidal thoughts and acts. These reactions may occur following the first does." That little string of words reflects untold numbers of nightmarish personal experiences. These reactions are consistent with the overstimulation of the brain and the mind that appear in many of our cases of medication madness.
        If something as seemingly innocuous as an antibiotic can cause spellbinding medication madness, how much are psychiatric drugs more likely to cause similar emotional disasters that are even more frequent and more intensive? (page 22-23)

        The acne treatment Accutane (isotretinoin) contains a strong warning about its capacity to cause suicide and other psychiatric disturbances. Directly under the WARNINGS headline, the FDA-approved label reads.

Psychiatric Disorders
        Accutane may cause depression, psychosis and, rarely, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, suicide, and aggressive and/or violent behaviors. (page 232)

        As illustrations of the overall brain-disabling principle, the apathy or euphoria created by antidepressants is misinterpreted as an improvement in depression - the blunting of all emotions and self-awareness caused by antipsychotic drugs is seen as an improvement in the psychosis; and the generalized sedation and suppression of brain function caused by antianxiety drugs is viewed as a treatment for anxiety. In reality, no specific improvements have occurred in the underlying depression, psychosis, or anxiety. Instead, the brain has been partially disabled, artificially changing the individual's mood and rendering the patients less able to feel, to perceive, or express their underlying mental condition or outlook.
        Psychoactive drugs, including psychiatric medications, not only impair the individual's ability to perceive their adverse effects but also impair the individual's ability to perceive his or her emotional problems. Under the influence of psychiatric drugs, the individual lacks awareness of both drug-induced mental dysfunction and his or her psychological problems. This dual impact is one of the main reasons why people persist in taking psychoactive agents, including prescription psychiatric drugs. In an extreme example, during routine electroshock "treatment," the individual often dutifully submits to continued shocks over a period of many days while the trauma to the brain produces so much brain dysfunction that the befuddled victim has no idea what has happened to him.
        Do psychiatric drugs ever "help" people? As I describe in scientific detail in Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (2008), this depends on how brain-disabling effects are perceived by the patient, the patient's family, and the doctor. For example, sometimes the patient will feel helped by the drug-induced emotional anesthesia or euphoria. The doctor and the family may also see this as an improvement. At other times, the patient may resent the mind-numbing effects of a drug, but the doctor and the family may feel relieved to have the patient "under control." But drugs cannot provide genuine help in improving brain function or in enhancing mental function; they always impair the activities of the brain and mind. (pages 27-28) [Emphases added]

Please read that again: "But drugs cannot provide genuine help in improving brain function or in enhancing mental function; they always impair the activities of the brain and mind." Any perceived benefit is due to a mind numbing or intoxication. People often tell me I am wrong because the drugs have helped them, but sadly they only think they are being helped as the drugs befuddle their brains and mask the true problems they are experiencing.

        Medication spellbinding is a biological effect that promotes drug taking by disguising the harmful effect of the drug , as well as by masking the individual's underlying psychological or real-life problems. But medication spellbinding is by no means the only reason why people persist in taking drugs that do more harm than good. Especially in regard to psychiatric drugs, patients take them because they have faith in "science" and faith in their doctors. They may get some relief from emotional anesthesia caused by the blunting effects of many drugs, or they may get a brief mood elevation from drug-induced euphoria. The mood-elevating effects are almost always short-lived but they encourage the individual to keep hoping that one or another drug will finally provide sustained relief from suffering.
        Many people receive a placebo effect, especially early in their first treatment. In studies comparing placebo and antidepressants, the placebos tend to do almost as well in relieving depression in six- to eight-week-long trials. If the placebo produces side effects such as dry mouth or blurred vision, mimicking a potent medicine, the placebo becomes as effective as an antidepressant. A very important review examined all the controlled clinical trials submitted to the FDA for the approval of the newer antidepressants. When all the studies were evaluated, it turned out the antidepressants were no more effective than the sugar pill. Put simply, there is little evidence that antidepressants work, other than as placebos.
        Increasingly, social and family pressure is brought upon patients to take prescribed drugs. Patients can be forced by the courts to take medications as a condition of staying out of jail. In many states, if a mental patient refuses to take medication, he can be involuntarily committed as an outpatient. Mental-health workers can actually invade the individual's home to force long-acting injections of highly toxic drugs into his or her body. These oppressive laws are highly favored by the American Psychiatric Association and by groups that lobby on behalf of the psychiatric authorities such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). (page 32) [Emphases added]

        -While different people will react in different ways to the same psychiatric drug, one fact remains incontrovertible: In double-blind controlled clinical trials where patients and observers are kept in the dark about who is getting a psychiatric drug and who is getting an inactive sugar pill, individuals receiving the psychiatric drug will experience more frequent and intense emotional and behavioral disturbances than the same or similar individuals given a sugar pill. Even when these drugs are given to "normal volunteers," they will experience the same kinds of adverse emotional reactions as patients with psychiatric diagnoses. Put simply, psychiatric drugs are proven to cause bizarre, unwanted, and dangerous mental states. (page 33)

        Finally, in 2001, in a Wyoming case, attorney Andy Vickery of Houston, Texas, went to trial against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a Paxil product-liability lawsuit in which I was not involved. Sixty-year-old Donald Schell suffered from an episode of depression but had never before been violent or suicidal. After taking only two doses of Paxil, Donald went on a murderous rampage, killing his wife, his daughter, and his granddaughter before killing himself. The judge found sufficient scientific basis for permitting expert testimony implicating Paxil in murder and suicide, and the jury returned a 6.4-million-dollar verdict against GlaxoSmithKline. Because the drug companies have avoided going to court in the vast majority of cases, including all of mine since 1994, Vickery's case remains the first and only victory in an antidepressant product-liability trial.
        How did GlaxoSmithKline react to the jury verdict? Did the company remove Paxil from the market? GSK didn't blink. It didn't even put a warning in its label and instead went on with business as usual, selling more and more Paxil to the public, while quietly settling additional cases as they came along. More recently, as we'll see, GSK felt compelled to issue a "Dear Healthcare Provider" letter warning that Paxil causes suicidality in children and adults. Yet, in a recent deposition in which I was testifying against GSK in a Paxil suicide case, company lawyers continued to spin their way out of admitting what the company itself had declared in the letter.
        Meanwhile, the FDA continued to lag behind and to this day the most powerful psychiatric and pharmaceutical interest groups continue to reject the reality of antidepressant-induced violence and suicide. (pages 38-39)

        On March 22, 2004, about six weeks after the first public hearing, the agency [FDA] issued a Public Health Advisory on "Cautions for the Use of Antidepressants in Adults and Children." In its accompanying press release, the agency declared that it is "known" that antidepressants are associated with "anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania." (page 43)

        To compound the problem, these drugs can cause severe withdrawal problems, including a variety of neurological symptoms, agitation, and a worsening of depression. A substantial portion of my psychiatric practice involves working with patients who suffered frightening and sometimes agonizing withdrawal symptoms before coming to me for help in stopping the drugs. Sometimes, these withdrawal symptoms persist for months or even years after stopping antidepressants.
        It bears repeating that antidepressants are dangerous to start taking and dangerous to stop taking, as well as ineffective. The best advice is to stay away from them. In forty years of psychiatric practice, I have never started a patient on an antidepressant, although I do prescribe them during the withdrawal process or if the patient is unable to go through withdrawal. Although good fortune undoubtedly plays a role as well, I believe my refusal to start patients on these drugs has contributed to my success in never having a suicide in my practice. (page 54) [Emphases added]

Not to beleaguer the point but if you or someone you know wants to stop taking these drugs, please get medical assistance in stopping them.

        Individuals suffering from medication-induced mania are always profoundly spellbound. They have no idea that the drug is causing them problems, they typically feel better than ever, and they commonly take humiliating, dangerous, and even violent actions that would otherwise have appalled them. Drug-induced mania is the ultimate expression of medication spellbinding and medication madness. (page 72)

I have stopped at page 72, because that should be enough to convince you that you need to do some due diligence on this subject. This isn't just a side issue; not when "there are more than 200 million psychiatric drug prescriptions written annually." (taken from the cover of the book) These drugs are intoxicating and as the author shows in the book they cause people to do things they would normally not do. He never mentions demons or demonic openings, but he quotes stories of people who were under the influence of these drugs and many of them say things to the effect that they felt forced to do certain things (commit suicide, or kill someone else). They were not in control, something, whether it was the drug itself or a demon was acting for them and controlling them. Yet while it was happening they weren't able to comprehend the true significance of these compelling thoughts.

You can't be sober and give control of your mind over to any being or substance, you have to choose one or the other. You have to be the advocate for yourself. I trust my doctor, but I never take any medication that I don't first research. Doctor's get much, maybe even most, of their information from the very drug companies who supply the medications. Is it any wonder that they often don't know or understand the true impact some of these medications have on their patients? And in the case of antidepressants, if the patient is medically spellbound and thinks they are doing better, it just reinforces for the doctor and even the family that these drugs help, when in fact they do more harm than good.

1 Cor. 15:34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

1 Thes. 5:6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

1 Thes. 5:8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

2 Tim. 4:5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

As you see the Bible tells us to be sober in mind and in spirit. I want to address just one of the things that people attack me with; the question of whether I would allow my child to take insulin (or any other medicine they needed). My answer is simple, NO if that medicine would cause them to lose their soul for all eternity! Of course insulin doesn't cause intoxication, except in high doses or if the person doesn't eat, so it is a moot point. But don't miss the fact that I would refuse my child anything that would cause him or her to be separated from God for all eternity. Jesus asked what would a man trade for his soul? I can't think of anything that would be worth that price!

We all go through tough times in this life. That is part of living in a fallen world. I believe that often we turn to what the world has to offer us rather than what God has to offer. We want the instant 'feel better' solution of medications because it doesn't take any work on our part. God offers no instant 'feel better' solutions other than for our sins. But He does offer us relief if we are willing to allow Him to work in our lives. First we have to understand that struggles are part of this life and we will never be totally free from them, it is how we handle them that makes the difference.

Acts 14:19-22 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. [20] But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. [21] After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, [22] strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, [2] through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; [4] and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; [5] and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

James 5:10-11 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. [11] We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

The above passages show that we will have struggles and that we are to persevere. But God doesn't just leave us on our own, He will help us if we are willing to do what it takes and allow Him to do what it takes.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. [29] He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. [30] Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, [31] Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. [29] "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

When we are in the wilderness and feel alone, it is hard to remember some of these promises, that is why we are one body, that is why we are to come along side those who are suffering and comfort them. Even though I might disagree with some of the approaches Dr. Breggin uses, I agree with his basic premise which is that people who are normally given antidepressants will do much better with someone who is willing to spend time with them, listen to them, encourage them and show them that someone cares about them. Boy if that isn't what a Christian brother or sister has to offer then I don't know what is. But instead we are all too quick to give our brothers and sisters the number of our counselor who will probably give them mind dulling destructive drugs. That is Spiritual Madness!

E-Mail Ralph

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March 2009