The awesome implications of tampering with the brain are not generally being faced by the medical profession or told to the public. All psychiatric drugs produce their effect by causing brain dysfunction. The same drugs which American psychiatrists prescribe for treatment were used by Soviet psychiatrists for torture. It is sometimes mistakenly suggested that taking drugs to change the brain’s function is no different from taking insulin. There is one huge difference: Insulin operates below the neck, while psychoactive drugs affect the brain. And remember, no one knows exactly what these drugs do to the brain nor how harmful they may be even beyond the many cases of violence, including suicide and murder, which court cases claim were caused by various prescription drugs.
A word of caution: We are not advocating that anyone now taking medication should abruptly stop. Psychiatric drugs can be addictive, and to stop suddenly after taking them could have serious consequences. Any change in medication should only be under the supervision of a physician. We are simply pointing out that no one really knows how drugs work nor the full range of their effects. Many drugs prescribed by doctors were highly praised for years before the damage they produced was properly assessed and they were removed from the market.
Even LSD was touted by many psychiatrists as a “miracle drug” and was in use for years before it was banned by the government in 1966. Some M. D.s still petition for its restoration. In April 1990 the United States General Accounting Office reviewed all drugs approved by the FDA between 1976 and 1985:
“It found that 102 or 198 approved drugs turned out to have ‘serious postapproval risks’—adverse reactions that could lead to severe disability, or death. The rate was even higher for psychiatric drugs: Nine of fifteen recently approved medications developed serious postapproval risks, including one that had to be withdrawn from the market.”
For a physician to prescribe Prozac (or Ritalin, or other similar drugs) is not like a mechanic fine-tuning an engine. The prescription is not based on a diagnosis of the brain but on a behavioral profile. Prozac is not given to “balance” the brain, but rather to artificially improve one’s feelings about oneself.
Breggin is not the only psychiatrist to criticize “biological psychiatry”—i.e., the use of drugs to adjust the mood. There are many others. There have been critical articles in professional journals of psychiatry and psychology. The efficacy of these drugs is open to question, a question that has not been settled.
In pursuing a chemical solution, science ignores what ought to be the first priority: getting right with God through Jesus Christ. His incarnation united with God and man in His own Person; and He brings that reconciliation and union within the human spirit when He is received as Savior. Christianity is not a set of rules for one to follow. Only Christ can live the Christian life, and He will live it in and through those who believe in Him. Paul said: “But when it pleased God…to reveal his Son in me” (Galatians:1:15,16). Christianity is the revelation of Christ in our lives through the power of God!
To those who trust Him and obey His Word, Christ becomes their very life. As the apostle Paul declared: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians:2:20). Obviously the Spirit of Christ within needs no help from psychotherapy or drugs. Nor does Christ promise an easy path. The Christian life is beset by trials and temptations and conflicts allowed by God to test us to see whether or not we will really trust and obey Him.