Ron Unger, chair of MindFreedom Lane County affiliate, is a full time mental health counselor, who has raised concerns about the way the neuroleptic or “antipsychotic” psychiatric drugs have been linked to shrinkage of brain tissue.
While MindFreedom is pro-choice about what mental health care people prefer, including prescriptions, to have real choice one must have full, truthful information. MF Lane County chair Ron Unger looks at the latest news on how the main family of drugs used for a diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’ – the neuroleptics or ‘antipsychotics’ – can cause brain shrinkage.
Medical Study Confirms: “Antipsychotic” Psychiatric Drugs Shrink Brain Tissue
Brain Shrinkage Is Good For You?
by Ron Unger
According to a recent news article (Bloomberg, 2/7/11) about a scientific study, it’s going to be a lot harder for anyone to deny what some of us have been saying for quite a while:
That antipsychotic medications frequently result in shrinkage of the brain.
The study, in the Archives of General Psychiatry (2/11), found that over seven years “More antipsychotic drug treatment, including duration and intensity, was linked to greater declines in brain volume. Severity of disease, alcohol and illegal drug use had no effect.”
Despite this seeming damming evidence, the lead researcher didn’t want to come off as critical of the medications, no doubt because he knows where most of the research money comes from, so he was careful to caution everyone not to “jump to the conclusion” that this was “bad.”
Well, when researchers find evidence that suggests that “schizophrenia” makes a brain shrink, they somehow never imagine that it might not be bad. But here they found that severity of “disease” seemed to cause no shrinkage, and the medications did cause shrinkage.
Yet we shouldn’t “jump to the conclusion” that this is bad. I can almost see the spin the drug salespeople will be putting on this a few weeks from now: “Well actually you see we are now thinking that the drugs only shrink the unbalanced part of the brain, so the overall result is good!”
I hope this news leads to a lot more pressure for non-drug alternative approaches. And for programs to help people who have been dependent on these drugs to try carefully phasing them out in safe ways, with good support.
I also wonder how it will affect the ways antipsychotics are prescribed for almost everything these days: depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, kids that misbehave.
Maybe some people will have second thoughts?
– Ron Unger has a web site on non-drug alternatives for a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
MindFreedom International maintains a folder of some of the many studies in the medical literature about brain damage – including brain shrinkage and persistent involuntary muscle movements – caused by neuroleptic (antipsychotic) psychiatric drugs.
See the folder via “Related Content” link below.