Brain Damage Caused by Neuroleptic Psychiatric Drugs

In the past two decades, countless medical studies have shown that use of neuroleptic psychiatric drugs (also known as antipsychotics) is associated with structural brain changes, especially when taking high dosages for a long time. These brain changes can include actual shrinkage of the higher level parts of the brain. The shrinkage can be seen in brain scans and autopsy studies. In response to industry defenders who claim that this shrinkage is from the “mental illness,” studies show neuroleptics lead to similar brain changes in animals. While the medical side of large libraries has this information, the public media side of the library does not. In other words, the public, patients and their families are not being informed about what medicine has long known.

News Item Ron Unger: Latest News on Brain Tissue Shrinkage from Antipsychotic Drugs
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.
Page Neuroleptics shrink brains in monkeys
In this study, both an older neuroleptic (Haldol or “haloperidol”) and a newer atypical neuroleptic (Zyprexa or “olanzapine”) caused significant shrinkage in the higher level parts of the brains in monkeys. Source: Neuropsychopharmacology 9 March 2005
Page Medical articles on neuroleptic brain damage
These are a few of the many mainstream medical articles indicating that using neuroleptic psychiatric drugs (also known as antipsychotics) can lead to significant structural brain damage.
Page Scientific article: Neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs may cause cell death.
This medical research revealed that the neuroleptics (also known as antipsychotics) may not only shrink the brain, but cause actual cell death.
Link Neuroleptic psychiatric drugs apparently impact brain cell numbers.
Here’s a follow-up study to the other study of monkeys given neuroleptics (see related content below), “Effect of Chronic Exposure to Antipsychotic Medication on Cell Numbers in the Parietal Cortex of Macaque Monkeys”
Link More about how neuroleptics are shown to harm monkey brains.
More about neuroleptic damage to monkey brains from Biol Psychiatry 2008 April 15: “Effect of chronic antipsychotic exposure on astrocyte and oligodendrocyte numbers in macaque monkeys”
Article A Conversation With Nancy C. Andreasen
The New York Times reports an extremely important discussion with psychiatrist and neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreasen. In he conversation, Prof. Andreasen speaks out about her findings that neuroleptic psychiatric drugs (also known as “antipsychotics”) are leading to significant brain atrophy — or shrinkage — in patients.
Article Robert Whitaker on Neuroleptic “Brain Damage” Debate
In the “climate crisis” controversy there are deniers, people who are putting out misinformation to cloud the debate about the greenhouse effect. The same thing is true in the debate about brain damage caused by the neuroleptic drugs, also known as antipsychotics. Some scientists, instead of warning the public about the many studies regarding massive brain changes induced by neuroleptics, are hypothesizing – based on fragmentary and contradictory research – that neuroleptics somehow help prevent brain damage. Here Robert Whitaker, in his Mad in America blog, analyzes some of these claim as aired on the PBS national television show, PBS.
Folder Permanent muscle twitching from antipsychotics: Tardive Dyskinesia and Tardive Dystonia
It’s been known since the 1950’s that the family of psychiatric drugs called antipsychotics — also known as neuroleptics — can lead to involuntary muscular movements that can often be permanent. Among these are the “TD’s,” which stands for both Tardive Dyskinesia and Tardive Dystonia. Since the 1990’s, the psychiatric industry has reassured the public that newer neuroleptics cause far less TD. However, now that the data is in, more recent medical studies show that the rate for TD caused by newer antipsychotics is “more similar” to the rate by the older antipsychotics than the the medical field generally believed. That means that the mental health industry has falsely reassured millions of people since the 1990’s that their risk of TD is lower than reality. TD can range from mild twitches, to extremely disfiguring spasms.
File Archives of General Psychiatry: Neuroleptics Shrink Brain Volume
An article in the February 2011 Archives of General Psychiatry, “Long-term Antipsychotic Treatment and Brain Volumes” by Ho, Andreasen, et al. describes a study that points to antipsychotic drugs as a major cause of brain shrinkage. The study found that over 7 to 14 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.”
Link Bob Whitaker on Nancy Andreasen finding that neuroleptics (antipsychotics) lead to brain shrinkage
Journalist Robert Whitaker blogs here on Psychology Today web site about what he calls the “bomb shell” of researcher Nancy Andreasen: That neuroleptic (antipsychotic) psychiatric drugs can lead to brain shrinkage of the frontal lobes, the part that makes us human.
Link The Traumatized Brain: Investigating injury, recovery, and repair
Psychiatrists often argue that to prove “brain damage” from a psychiatric procedure, whether psychotropic drugs or electroshock, we’d have to prove masses of brain cells dying. Whether or not there are studies about certain psychiatric procedures leading to mass brain cell death, here is one of the latest theories about the mechanism of brain damage following enormous blasts from “improvised explosive devices” to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. It turns out that brain damage even from a large bomb can result in far more complex changes than cell death to one of the most complex networks in the known universe: the brain. Excerpt: “During a blast, a quick pressure wave rips through the air; the question is what happens when that wave meets brain tissue. Parker says many people assumed that blast-induced TBI damages the brain by ripping small holes in brain cells, causing them to die. He had a different theory: that the mechanical forces of a blast might trigger a chemical shake-up within the cells, initiated by proteins called integrins at the cell surface.” The below is a link to an from article by Courtney Humphries published in the Features section of Harvard Magazine – May/June 2012, pages 36 to 41.
Link Antipsychotic brain damage in those with dementia (especially Lewy Body)
People diagnosed with dementia are especially sensitive to neuroleptics (also known as antipsychotics). In a way, these folks are the ‘canary in the coal mine,’ because an antipsychotic can cause rapid and significant brain changes, including neuroleptic malignant syndrome (which can be fatal). Especially hypersensitive are those with a variety of dementia where the brain has something called “Lewy Bodies” (which are visible under microscopic examination of the brain. More than one millions Americans have Dementia with Lewy Bodies, or DLB. Here’s a UK General Practice Notebook plainly explaining the dangers of neuroleptics and dementia. These dangers can apply to everyone, but they are especially pronounced with people who have DLB.
Article Brain shrinkage seen in those taking antipsychotic medications
The well-respected Los Angeles Times ran an article about a scientific study indicating that taking neuroleptic psychiatric drugs – also known as ‘antipychotics’ – may shrink the brain.

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