Psychiatrists are killing thousands of Americans with unnecessary prescription, overdosing, and pseudoscience

By Ben Alonzo

There’s news spreading around the world – America has an overprescription epidemic and it now involves astonishing numbers of psychiatric drug prescriptions, even to infants and toddlers. Many doctors are being bribed with cash and gifts to push pills to unsuspecting patients, many of which have no scientific basis for effectiveness or use. It doesn’t seem ethical for a doctor to be showered with gifts and cash just to hook people on drugs and keeping them coming back for more. Every patient has a responsibility to ensure their doctor practices ethical medicine and counseling, but this is hard to do when you’re unfamiliar with the pseudoscience background of psychology and psychiatry. Are you a victim of an unethical psychiatrist? Get informed and spread awareness about the psychiatric drug epidemic in America.

Psychiatric Drugs Killing Americans

Scientists say that psychiatric drugs kill over 500,000 Americans aged 65 and older, annually, and their helpfulness to patients is minimal. Pseudoscience is rampant within psychiatry. Are you a victim of the pill-pushing, victim-manufacturing industry that’s disguised as a legitimate mental health resource? It seems everything is a disorder and there’s a pill for everything, but the dangers of this ideology are becoming more evident. Very few psychiatric drugs have long-term, unbiased testing, and many are being used off-label. Many drugs have potentially dangerous, irreversible, incapacitating side effects, but this is often downplayed or totally withheld information (for the patient).

Appearing in the British Medical Journal in 2015, Peter Gotzsche argues:

“Psychiatric drugs are responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people aged 65 and older each year in the Western world, as I show below. Their benefits would need to be colossal to justify this, but they are minimal.”
“The randomised trials that have been conducted do not properly evaluate the drugs’ effects. Almost all of them are biased because they included patients already taking another psychiatric drug. Patients, who after a short wash-out period are randomised to placebo, go “cold turkey” and often experience withdrawal symptoms. This design exaggerates the benefits of treatment and increases the harms in the placebo group, and it has driven patients taking placebo to suicide in trials in schizophrenia.”
“Under-reporting of deaths in industry funded trials is another major flaw. Based on some of the randomised trials that were included in a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients by the US Food and Drug Administration, I have estimated that there are likely to have been 15 times more suicides among people taking antidepressants than reported by the FDA—for example, there were 14 suicides in 9956 patients in trials with fluoxetine and paroxetine, whereas the FDA had only five suicides in 52 960 patients, partly because the FDA only included events up to 24 hours after patients stopped taking the drug.”

There’s an extended article, if you read the above journal article, which presents two sides of an issue. Be sure to look at the conflicts of interest statement — it should give you some hints as to who’s telling the unbiased truth.

It appears that there are legitimate issues with the validity of many psychology ideas. It’s very troubling that the psychiatry (medical physician) industry has similar issues. It’s not a baseless opinion to state that both of these industries have junk science problems that are harming actual people. Junk science has been accepted for so long that it’s hard for people to come to terms with the fact that such major issues exist or even question their own situation.

Here is an interesting take on the whole psychiatric drug trend, appearing in the Journal of Psychotherapy in Australia (Frances, 2013):

“In this extract from his new book, Saving Normal, Allen Frances, Chair of the DSM-IV Task Force, warns that mislabeling everyday problems as mental illness has shocking implications for individuals and society: stigmatising a healthy person as mentally ill leads to unnecessary, harmful medications, the narrowing of horizons, misallocation of medical resources, and draining of the budgets of families and the nation. We also shift responsibility for our mental well-being away from our own naturally resilient and self-healing brains, which have kept us sane for hundreds of thousands of years, and into the hands of ‘Big Pharma’, who are reaping multi-billion-dollar profits.”

Appearing in the journal Nursing Ethics, here’s an even more damning take from medical professional perspectives (Barker, 2012):

“The enduring psychiatric myth is that particular personal, interpersonal and social problems in living are manifestations of ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental disease’, which can only be addressed by ‘treatment’ with psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric drugs are used only to control ‘patient’ behaviour and do not ‘treat’ any specific pathology in the sense understood by physical medicine. Evidence that people, diagnosed with ‘serious’ forms of ‘mental illness’ can ‘recover’, without psychiatric drugs, has been marginalized by drug-focused research, much of this funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The pervasive myth of psychiatric drugs dominates much of contemporary ‘mental health’ policy and practice and raises discrete ethical issues for nurses who claim to be focused on promoting or enabling the ‘mental health’ of the people in their care.”

People need to understand that there’s damning evidence, which is well-cited, showing that both psychology and psychiatry are using junk science in much of their research and practice areas. This becomes especially problematic when the medical arm of psychiatry begins to use junk science to treat patients. One could cite journals all day long that detail these facts, but there will be some that refuse to accept the truth. Many people have been impacted by junk science, as evident from the massive lawsuits won, and there is an overprescription epidemic – the direct result of junk science and associated marketing pressures. Since junk science hurts real people, it was complementary to include some of their stories in this article. You will see some links to various interviews where people describe the hell junk science put them through. People need to see what junk science does and just how out of control things can get.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2015 data says drug overdose deaths from prescription drugs rose 11%, to 52,404. This is more than vehicle crash deaths (37,757), gun, suicide, and homicide deaths (36,252). Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for people under 50 in America. This has also been covered by CBS and The New York Times.

It’s estimated that at least 70% of Americans are on some kind of prescription drug, which is ridiculous and astonishing. Deadly interactions between prescription painkillers and psychiatric drugs, such as Xanax, account for around 30% of deaths.

Read this story from Medium about a lady that was put on 40 different medications by psychiatrists, which almost killed her. Is the industry doing more harm than good?

It’s hard to find a good, ethical doctor these days, especially in the mental health industry, which is plagued with pseudoscience and the unethical influence of bribes from the pharmaceutical industry. Whether we look at the fact that most psychological studies can’t be reproduced, drug companies fund junk research findings, the largest medical fraud in mental health history, drugging infants and toddlers, being fired for unethical practices, and failing to admit to participating in junk science, there’s overwhelming, damning evidence that psychiatry is in need of reform and a renewed focus on sound science.

Junk science can even make into reputable science journals, unfortunately. Psychology and psychiatry are full of junk science. In fact, recently, scientists tried to replicate 100 psychology studies, but fewer than half actually replicated. Basically, this means most of it isn’t actually scientific. If something isn’t scientific, we should not pretend it’s scientific and harm unsuspecting patients.

Doctors and pharmaceutical companies work together to get people hooked as soon as they’re born, or so it seems. As of 2013, according to IMS Data, over 274,000 infants (0-1 year olds) and some 370,000 toddlers (1-3 years old) in the U.S. were on antianxiety (e.g. Xanax) and antidepressant (e.g. Prozac) drugs. Why are so many toddlers on drugs? This number was unprecedented.

It is disgusting that a psychiatrist would push drugs on patients that don’t fully understand the risks. Psychiatrists are aware that serious, damaging, even deadly outcomes can occur from psychiatric drugs, but they often don’t tell patients on a level of more complete disclosure. For example, according to the American Medical Association Journal, use of antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, even after considering maternal depression. Boukhris et al. (2016) make this blatantly clear such that it should be enough to concern a parent or pregnant patient.

Discover Magazine had a quote from two top figures in psychology and psychiatry, regarding the DSM, which is the “Bible of Psychology.” They basically resigned in protest because the DSM is full of unscientific, subjective, hypocritical, confusing complexities that is being pushed by a body (psychology and psychiatry industry) that refuses to incorporate scientific evidence to support its content.

Roel Verheul and John Livesley, a psychologist and psychiatrist who were members of the DSM-5 work group for for personality disorders, found that the group ignored their warnings about its methods and recommendations. In protest, they resigned and explaining why in an email to Psychology Today. Their disapproval stems from two primary problems with the proposed classification system: its confusing complexity and its refusal to incorporate scientific evidence.

“The proposal displays a truly stunning disregard for evidence. Important aspects of the proposal lack any reasonable evidential support of reliability and validity. For example, there is little evidence to justify which disorders to retain and which to eliminate. Even more concerning is the fact that a major component of proposal is inconsistent with extensive evidence… This creates the untenable situation of the Work Group advancing a taxonomic model that it has acknowledged in a published article to be inconsistent with the evidence.”

The New York Times interviewed Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, regarding the DSM and psychiatry. The title of the piece was “Psychiatry’s Guide Is Out of Touch With Science, Experts Say.”

When most of your “scientific studies” cannot be reproduced, why call it scientific at all? When you’re prescribing unnecessary, dangerous drugs to infants and toddlers, can you call yourself a doctor? Is it ethical to accept bribes in exchange for changing the diagnoses of your patient and prescribing unnecessary dangerous drugs? When scientists successfully argue the case (and present overwhelming evidence) that the DSM “Bible of Psychology” is beyond flawed, full of junk science, completely subjective, is it worth even using such a text for any operational purpose?

Ironically, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. Whenever psychiatrists are faced with the truth, damning facts, wrongful death lawsuits, top psychiatrists pointing out pseudoscience practices, overprescription, unethical behavior, and junk science, much of this industry resorts to deflection, blame, and then denial, as if they had anything to do with anything unethical or pseudoscience.

The mental health industry is profiting off of millions of unsuspecting patients. In a way, this industry is manufacturing victims, diagnosis, its own version of science, flawed guides (DSM), in order to maintain its own relevance. There is significant friction between junk science psychiatrists and sound scientists, however, due to the fact that thousands of scientists are speaking out against this, writing about it, bringing legal action, and educating the public. It is the duty of a sound scientist to point out junk science to the public – not only for educational purposes, but because junk science is directly harming patients.

There are a variety of ways to track medications and overdoses. One such way is the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). According to it, there were 427 million psychiatric prescriptions in 2013, which jumped over 117% from 197 million in 1999. Death rates from psychiatric medications jumped to over 240% in 2013, compared to 1999.

Polypharmacy means the prescription of two or more drugs. When this happens, the chances of side effects, longer hospital stays, internal damage, and death increases. People on psychiatric drugs are at increased risk for all of this because the drugs are taken so often, long-term, and side effects are often the driving factor to be put on even more drugs, according to Kingsbury and Lotito (2007). This is basically a tangled web that is started by a psychiatrist, ultimately causing significant harm to the patient, and even death.

Kukreja et al. (2013): “While evidence for the added benefit of psychiatric polypharmacy is limited, there is growing evidence regarding the increased adverse effects associated with such combinations. Concerns with polypharmacy include not only possibilities of cumulative toxicity and increased vulnerability to adverse events but also adherence issues which emerge with increasing regimen complexity.”

There are instances where off-label prescribing is based on sound published scientific evidence, but this is not so in the vast majority of cases. Radley et al. (2006) found that only 4% of off-label psychiatric prescriptions had strong scientific support. Ali and Ajmal (2012) report that off-label prescribing carries clinical risks, such as adverse effects and unproven efficacy. Also, Mojtabai and Olfson (2011) report that 72.7% of antidepressant prescriptions in 2007 were written in the absence of any psychiatric diagnosis

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, between 1999 and 2014, white female deaths from opiate overdoses exceeded 400% with a growing share of anti-anxiety drugs, known as benzodiazepines, killing at least 54,000 during the period. Experts believe this number is much higher because of a sparse reporting record.

All drugs have side effects, some are very serious, even deadly. Taking multiple drugs can be even more serious and complicated because of known and unknown interactions. In many cases, taking a psychiatric drug can alter a person’s thinking, memory, and behavior in a way that can cause themselves or others great harm. There is ample evidence that psychiatric drugs, in most cases (not all), do more harm than good to the patient. It’s not just the patient, but the friends and family members that get to experience the terrible side effects, loss of personality, ambition, memory, tremors, mood swings, drug-induced depression, and much more. Unfortunately, and not rare, death can be the result of overprescription of unnecessary medications. When a patient is already on another prescription drug, such as a painkiller, and they take psychiatric medications with it, their risk for short and long-term damage and death is greatly increased, based on an overwhelmingly strong majority of medical science research.

Money is likely one of the key motivators behind pushing this epidemic, but it also includes a combination of lack of education of the patient, doctor, and rampant pseudoscience.

Pharma Bribing Doctors

The psychiatry industry is inundated with big pharmaceutical influences, which include cash, gifts, traveling, and luxury resort stays. There’s even a website where you can check to see some of the gifts and money your doctors accepts from pharmaceutical industry sources. In fact, pharmaceutical companies often offer free continuing medical education courses, which are often taught by their staff, are heavily biased towards prescribing their products, and gain the influence of thousands of prescribing doctors. This is incredibly unethical and is no different than a judge being bribed to favor an outcome of a court case.

Somehow, this is acceptable in the medical industry, especially as the government partakes and looks the other way. There’s no conspiracy theory, it’s well-documented, and it continues to happen every day. The worst thing about this unethical practice is the millions of unsuspecting patients that get caught up in a web of unnecessary prescriptions, drug addiction, and even death.

Hooked on Drugs

Unfortunately, we have an overprescription crisis in America. This is obvious and even kills thousands of people every year. It turns out that many drugs being pushed in the mental health industry are addicting, hard to discontinue, and patients hate the side effects from stepping down. Some drugs cannot be discontinued immediately, which means that any effort to quit must come with the continued oversight of a qualified physician.

Thankfully, there are some demanding professional responsibility and holding the doctors that do this liable for their actions. Doctors can be charged with murder, if they knowingly overprescribe medication and kill their patients. Concerned family members of patients should pay close attention and take legal action, if they believe a doctor is guilty of purposely overprescribing drugs and enabling his/her patients to overdose. This is exactly what happened to psychiatrist Narendra Nagareddy, a doctor from Georgia. He had killed over 38 patients, which all died from drug overdoses he prescribed to them. This should be an alarming reminder that there are bad doctors and patients must be aware of the dangers of drugs and overdosing. All drugs have side effects, especially psychotropic drugs.

You can become hooked on prescription drugs. Be careful and aware. Run away from any psychiatrist that tells you medications have no side effects or that they are “rare” because you are now informed and can look up the data yourself.

Life Challenges

Life can get hard and people can react differently to various environmental stressors. Events, people, and places can have a lasting effect on an individual. Ideally, if necessary, counseling was a way to include things like cognitive behavior therapy styles and discussion to work with an individual, helping him or her deal with – and get past – something, without the inclusion of dangerous drugs. Today, there’s a culture of manufacturing victims, perpetuating past events, and reinforcing a sense of traumatization, helplessness, and depression that makes an individual think they are not capable of getting through something without a psychiatrist and drugs. The end result is a growing amount of public that is being programmed to be less resilient to average life events and an overprescription epidemic that is killing millions.

There are countless things that can send an individual into various levels of depression. Of course, in very limited cases, where a patient was in immediate life-threatening suicide, medications were not to be a first-resort solution. Medications work when they are used appropriately (scientifically). Most cases of depression stem from environmental factors, which include a person’s surroundings, life events, etc.

Some of our life challenges are getting more complicated because mental health professionals often make them more complicated. Instead of addressing increased resilience, there is a reliance on victimization, reinforcing trauma, and prescribing psychotropic drugs. The results of this ideology and practice are blatantly evident today: overprescription, loss of resilience, and death. Most patients are not adequately informed about drug side effects, wrongful death lawsuits, and the pseudoscience within the mental health industry. Getting on drugs that introduce terrible, potentially irreversible side effects, losing your mind, memory, personality, freedom, and general health make things much more challenging – in addition to what’s already going on in your life.

Patient Power

A good patient is smart. Get educated about pseudoscience, drug side effects, and investigate your doctor before scheduling an appointment. Is your doctor practicing ethical medicine or pushing pills because he or she is being showered by the pharmaceutical industry? Did your doctor tell you there are no side effects or they are so rare you “don’t have to worry about it”? What are the side effects? As hard as life might be, you must ask yourself if you really need drugs with potentially dangerous side effects in your life right now. Are you doing everything you can to get through depression? Have you consulted another physician for a second opinion? Have you tried cognitive behavior therapy from another mental health practitioner first? You can even read about cognitive behavioral therapy at home and try working on positive reinforcement ideas. Suicidal people should never hesitate to reach out to a professional healthcare provider.

Becoming informed means you can make informed decisions about doctors, medications, and empowers you to make your own decisions. Always weigh the benefits and cons from an unbiased, informed perspective, before asking for or accepting mental health prescription drugs. Even the advice of the mental health industry may be wrong. You should take advice and drug prescription suggestions seriously and get informed, which is in your best interest. Being a smart patient is even more important when you’re the parent of a child that you’re being told might need to see a mental health professional. Based on strong evidence, the psychology and psychiatry practices (mental health industry) are in dire need of total reform to address lack of scientific evidence and validity.

Thankfully, we have Google and this means millions of free informative resources from credentialed health experts on things you can do to make it through another day, become more resilient, stronger, smarter, healthier, and happier.

Legal Bit: This article was provided for educational and information purposes and is not intended to be used for medical advice. Consult a physician about your condition or medications. Some of these medications are so dangerous that you cannot just stop taking them. Do not start, discontinue or modify any prescription medication use without first consulting your doctor. By using our site, you agree to our Terms of Service.

More Reading: Psychiatry and Psychology’s Epidemic of Junk Science, Overprescription, Misdiagnosis, Subjectivity, and Pharma Marketing (sources linked in blue to scientific journals, click and read)

More Reading: There’s an interesting organization (CCHR) that monitors the psychiatry industry and provides documentaries and reports about the data they find. Don’t become the next victim of this flawed industry. Do your research, get informed, fight pseudoscience, and promote good science. Check it out:

Has your health professional received drug company money? This is a free search tool to see if your doctor is accepting money from pharmaceutical companies. URL:

Author:Ben Alonzo is one of the world’s most unique science and tech experts. He founded ULTRA TechLife and is the CEO of the tech firm Storm Sector, LLC. Ben holds an MS in Information Technology, MS in Geoscience, MS in Health & Nutrition, and a BS in Geoscience. He is a highly rated professor that teaches a wide variety of college courses within earth and environmental sciences as well as within computer sciences and public health. His diverse background spans information technology, cybersecurity, healthcare, weather forecasting, consumer electronics, graphic design, web development, and business leadership. He holds numerous professional licenses and certifications, ranging from information technology to healthcare and emergency medical technician. Ben is a tech entrepreneur and is business partners with multiple restaurants. He is a fitness pro, health scientist, a licensed private pilot that loves flying, and enjoys independent filmmaking. He has written about science and tech for over 10 years. You can see some of his past articles on the Houston Chronicle, Heart, and other networks. In his free time, he likes scuba diving, storm chasing, traveling, making music, and drones.
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