Dr. Peter Breggin's
Center for the Study of Empathic 
Therapy, Education & Living
Bring Out the Best In Yourself!


Dr. Peter Breggin's
Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy,
Education & Living Newsletter

  7/15/2011 - Volume 2, Issue 6  
  In This Issue

Child Psychiatrist and Drug Advocate Joseph Biederman Chastized by Harvard for Not Declaring Millions of Dollars from Drug Industry

SSRI use During Pregnancy Linked to Autism in New Study

Iris Chang "The Woman Who Could Not Forget"

Commentary on the Responsibility of Individuals and Society in the Epidemic of Psychiatric Drug Prescriptions

Final Thoughts: The Tree

Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living

Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living
101 East State St. #112
Ithaca, NY 14850

Subscribe NOW to receive every issue of this newsletter!

JOIN our Empathic Therapy Organization now to help us inform the public about the hazards of psychiatric drugs and diagnosis

REGISTER NOW for the 2012 Empathic Therapy Conference --Public welcome! CEUs available~
  Dear [Contact.First Name],

Lots of news this month! Child psychiatrist Joseph Biederman and his two colleagues have been censured by Harvard University for failing to disclose millions in drug industry funding while they promoted bipolar diagnoses for children to justify an avalanche of new psychiatric prescriptions for these same children. 

A newly released study ties antidepressants taken by pregnant women to an increased number of children born with autism.  Important information for women in their childbearing years.

The mother of renowned historian, Iris Chang, has released a new book about her daughter's work and untimely death through suicide while under the influence of psychiatric drugs. This is another tragic case of Medication Madness. 

Dr. Doug Bower has sent us a thoughtful commentary on issues surrounding psychiatric drugs in the military and for veterans experiencing PTSD.

And my mother, a vibrant woman in her eighties who has seen more than most of us, has shared a poem.

Thanks for reading this issue and tell your friends about our newsletter! 

Very best, Ginger Breggin, Editor

Child Psychiatrist and Drug Advocate Joseph Biederman Chastized by Harvard for Not Declaring Drug Industry Ties

Psychiatrist Joseph Biederman and colleagues Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens, child psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, have been disciplined by Harvard University for failing to disclose industry funds they have received in the last decade.  Biederman is the psychiatrist most responsible for promoting the use of antipsychotic drugs in children and toddlers through his promotion of the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children. 

"One of the world's most influential child psychiatrists, Biederman's work led to a 40-fold increase in paediatric bipolar disorder diagnoses and an accompanying expansion in the use of antipsychotic drugs – developed to treat schizophrenia and not originally approved for use in children – to treat the condition," according to the Nature News Blog of July 4, 2011.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley  identified Biederman and his colleagues as three of a number of influential doctors failing to disclose drug company income while on university staff and receiving grants from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH).  Biederman and his two colleagues eventually confessed to receiving an unreported combined total of $4.2 million from pharmaceutical companies.  Dr. Biederman has had a "vast influence on the field largely because of his position at one of the most prestigious medical institutions," according to the New York Times. 

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin MD was one of the first to publically expose Dr. Biederman 's extensive industry ties: "I first blew the whistle on Biederman's covert drug funding years ago and I'm glad to see further action has been taken.  Biederman has been one of the key figures in making up research to undermine more genuine research demonstrating the dangerousness of psychiatric drugs to children.  He has been the leading figure in promoting psychiatric drugs for children by falsely applying and inflating the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in childhood.  More than anyone else he may be responsible for millions of children being diagnosed bipolar and being treated with drug cocktails that include antipsychotic drugs. He has helped to create a whole population of victimized and psychiatrically abused children." 

Dr. Breggin continued, "The new antipsychotic drugs cause all the old problems such as tardive dyskinesia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome and on top of that they cause enlarged breasts in young boys and girls, obesity, diabetes, elevated cholesterol and heart dysfunctions. They are a prescription for turning a child into a lifelong mental patient suffering from severe drug induced chronicity," said Dr. Breggin.

In a related story, Approval of national ADHD guidelines in Australia have been delayed by Australia's National Health and Medical Council since 2009 while awaiting the result of  investigations in the US Senate and by Harvard University into conflicts of interest by key drug advocates Joseph Biederman, and his colleagues Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens.   Further review and possible revision is being considered at this time given the determination by Harvard that conflict of interest policies have been violated.
Read more about the Harvard University discipline of Joseph Biederman and colleagues here: 




SSRI use During Pregnancy Linked to Autism in New Study

mother with infantThe Wall Street Journal has reported "a preliminary but provocative new study finds women who take antidepressants during pregnancy have a moderately higher risk of having a child with autism," according to a paper published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Another study, published in the same issue of the journal and examining autism in pairs of identical and fraternal twins, finds that environmental factors play a greater role than previously believed in the development of autism, underscoring the need to understand nongenetic causes of autism.  The research on antidepressants and autism is thought to be the first to look for and identify such a link. Results indicated a doubling in risk of autism for the infant if the mother filled a prescription for antidepressants at any point in the year before delivery. The risk tripled if she filled the prescription during the first trimester of pregnancy ."

 "Until 1990, less than 1% of pregnant women used antidepressants in the first trimester," the Wall Street Journal revealed, also reporting that antidepressant use by pregnant women grew  from 5% in 2000-2002 to 7.5% of pregnant women in 2006-2008.

In 2008 Dr. Peter Breggin and Ginger Breggin published a Scientific article detailing risks for an unborn child associated with SSRI antidepressants in pregnancy.   The Breggins stated "Pregnant mothers should avoid taking SSRI antidepressants—they are hazardous to the developing fetus, cause withdrawal symptoms in the newborn baby, and induce biochemical and morphological abnormalities in the brain. If pregnant mothers need help with sad or anxious feelings, they should seek counseling or psychotherapy, especially family therapy involving the child's father, as well as other sources of emotional support."  Download the pdf of the full scientific paper here.

Iris Chang "The Woman Who Could Not Forget"
by Ginger Breggin

Iris Chang was an internationally known historian who delved into some of the most horrific episodes of the 20th century.  She was considered gifted and brilliant.  She killed herself using a gun at age 36 while on Depakote and Risperdal.  She left drafts of 3 suicide notes.  Her third suicide note stated "I will never be able to escape from myself and my thoughts. I am doing this because I am too weak to withstand the years of pain and agony ahead."  I believe this is witness to the ongoing struggle she was having with the memories and vivid stories she had collected witnessing atrocities.
Iris Chang was a young historian who was taking on the examination and exposure of some of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century.  Her second book, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (1997), documented atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Chinese Capital city of Nanking, including her grandparents' escape at the time. 

While researching her fourth book : Bataan Death March, she went to Louisville, KY as part of her research, interviewing veterans who had survived.

This young woman spent her entire adult life staring into the face and examining details of human evil and atrocities.  In Louisville, Kentucky in August, 2004 at age 36, her work and the horrors caught up with her. She had a breakdown and was institutionalized. Doctors put her on Depakote and Risperdal and she returned home to California. 

Wikipedia describes further: quote:
On November 9, 2004 at about 9 a.m., Chang was found dead in her car by a county water district employee on a rural road south of Los Gatos (California) and west of State Route 17, in Santa Clara County. Investigators concluded that Chang had shot herself through the mouth with a revolver. At the time of her death she had been taking the medications Depakote and Risperdal to stabilize her mood.

It was later discovered that she had left behind three suicide notes each dated November 8, 2004. "Statement of Iris Chang" stated:

I promise to get up and get out of the house every morning. I will stop by to visit my parents then go for a long walk. I will follow the doctor's orders for medications. I promise not to hurt myself. I promise not to visit Web sites that talk about suicide.

The next note was a draft of the third:

When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day — but by the minute. It is far better that you remember me as I was — in my heyday as a best-selling author — than the wild-eyed wreck who returned from Louisville... Each breath is becoming difficult for me to take — the anxiety can be compared to drowning in an open sea. I know that my actions will transfer some of this pain to others, indeed those who love me the most. Please forgive me. Forgive me because I cannot forgive myself.

The third note included:

There are aspects of my experience in Louisville that I will never understand. Deep down I suspect that you may have more answers about this than I do. I can never shake my belief that I was being recruited, and later persecuted, by forces more powerful than I could have imagined. Whether it was the CIA or some other organization I will never know. As long as I am alive, these forces will never stop hounding me.

Days before I left for Louisville I had a deep foreboding about my safety. I sensed suddenly threats to my own life: an eerie feeling that I was being followed in the streets, the white van parked outside my house, damaged mail arriving at my P.O. Box. I believe my detention at Norton Hospital was the government's attempt to discredit me.

I had considered running away, but I will never be able to escape from myself and my thoughts. I am doing this because I am too weak to withstand the years of pain and agony ahead.

Reports said that news of her suicide hit the massacre survivor community in Nanjing hard.  In tribute to Chang, the survivors held a service at the same time as her funeral, held at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cupertino, California on Friday, November 12, 2004.
End Quote

Iris Chang's mother, Ying Ying Chang, has written the book, "The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond 'The Rape of Nanking'."  She is direct in stating that she believes the psychiatric drugs her daughter was taking were responsible for her daughter's suicide.  

Iris Chang, brilliant historian, may have also had a 'Hemingway' experience of wondering where her mind had gone while on the powerful psychiatric drugs, Depakote and Risperdal as both of these drugs suppress cognitive function and blunt the emotions. Risperdal commonly causes extremely distressing neurological conditions like akathisia and Parkinsonism that can lead to suicide.  Chang thus became a victim of another atrocity: that of the millions who have been injured, damaged or who have died due to exposure to psychiatric drugs.  She is another gifted voice forever lost to the false promise of help from psychiatric 'medications.' 

Iris Chang said before she died: "Please believe in THE POWER OF ONE.  One person can make an enormous difference in the world. One person — actually, one idea — can start a war, or end one, or subvert an entire power structure. One discovery can cure a disease or spawn new technology to benefit or annihilate the human race. You as ONE individual can change millions of lives. Think big. Do not limit your vision and do not ever compromise your dreams or ideals."

Iris Chang, you left us too soon.  But while here, you demonstrated the power of One.  Thank you.

For more information about Iris Chang, see her memorial website: http://www.irischang.net/about/

For information on her mother's newly released book about Iris Chang:  http://www.irischang.net/events/

For further Wikipedia information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris%20Chang

Commentary on the Responsibility of Individuals and Society in the Epidemic of Psychiatric Drug Prescriptions
by Doug Bower, PhD

Editors Note:  Dr. Bower wrote this commentary following the interview Dr. Breggin conducted on the Dr. Peter
Breggin Hour radio show with investigative reporter Bob Brewin, concerning the growing reliance by the military on psychiatric drugs.  Readers can listen to Dr. Breggin's radio interview with Bob Brewin through the Progressive Radio Network via their internet archive here:
Listen to the 5/16/11 interview.

With Dr. Peter Breggin's intense interview with investigative reporter, Bob Brewin concerning the use of psychiatric medication in the military, I had found I had several general concerns. I don't know if the drug industry is perpetuating the myths about the use of medications in order to trigger desire or not. It may be exploiting the demand of clients or patients who want to be fixed. I am not prepared to say society is some victim, helpless before the power of the drug industry. People have responsibility for their actions even if they lose confidence in themselves. The drug industry is responding to a demand. It probably isn't creating the demand, but it sure is saying loudly it can meet the demand. It is saying clearly and lopsidedly that it can fix problems or at least treat those problems with medication.

Dr. Breggin and Bob Brewin are among a minority of people who understand the dangers of such drugs. The issues of severe side effects, including the dependency that occurs from drugs that aren't supposed to be addicting, are often accepted as part of the treatment. A blind eye is turned to those side effects in the name of treating mental behaviors. Certainly, the profiteering of the medication industry has to be considered as causing this blindness. I encounter few practitioners who are alarmed by the side effects. In fact, most of my colleagues in counseling and psychotherapy will refer clients to psychiatrists for medicine. They lose power and authority in the treatment of their clients when they do so.

Dr. Breggin is also among those few in psychiatry who see "the damned if you are on drugs and the damned if you come off them" problem. The severe side effects for being on antidepressants and coming off them are virtually the same: depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations or behaviors (successful or unsuccessful), the stupor, helplessness, etc, etc., etc. are shared between those taking the drugs and those withdrawing from the drugs. Yet, there is tremendous amount of acceptance of the use of drugs in spite of the problems.

It also strikes me that the issues Dr. Breggin raises are also associated with illegal drugs. Both legal and illegal substances mess with human behavior. In my experience they diminish the human capability to find ways to have positive self generated human experiences. Positive experiences can be artificially produced, but they diminish the person's ability to create those experiences themselves. People on drugs lose touch with how to have positive experiences without drugs.
Positive relationships, by contrast, cause positive experiences (though obviously negative relationships also trigger negative experiences). I have yet to have negative side effects of depression, anxiety, psychotic breaks while having positive relationships. Thus I have found no negative side effects from being in good relationships. Thus I espouse finding and being in good relationships with people.

It is troubling to observe the growing dependency on drugs being imposed on those who are serving our country. Unfortunately, it reflects what is going on in general with mental health treatment.

Doug Bower, Ph.D. is a licensed professional counselor and a United Methodist minister. In addition he is a Registered Nurse who worked psychiatry, recovery room, and post-op surgical care. He presently offers consultations in counseling and psychotherapy through Counseling Ministries which he founded in the 1980s. He also is on a circuit with the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church serving as pastor and pastoral counselor for Burts and Glade United Methodist Church. Dr. Bower has been influenced by the Person-Centered Approach which was originally presented by Carl Rogers.  He has prepared two book projects: The Person-Centered Approach: Applications for Living, and Person-Centered/Client-Centered: Discovering the Self One Truly Is. A third book project Revising the Person-Centered Approach: Pushing on the Envelope, but not too Hard which is in its final stages of submission for publication. He held an adjunct faculty position in the Counseling Psychology department of Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgian from 2000-2005. He is a member of the Association for the Development of the Person-Centered Approach. Dr. Bower is a Life Diplomat and Fellow with the American Psychotherapy Association and is Board Certified in Counseling through the American Psychotherapy Association. He serves the Athens Georgia area in the Kiwanis Club of Athens, the Special Needs Committee of the North Georgia Annual Conference Host Committee, and Native American Concerns of the Athens-Elberton District Connectional Ministries.

Final Thoughts:
The Tree

by Jean Ross

A lone tree
grows on the barren, rocky slope
sending its roots deep
into the fissures of the rock
surviving the winter winds
to emerge into the spring alive,
bent, but not broken.

We are all like that tree,
tacking and adjusting
to the vicissitudes of life
as we meet our daily challenges,
some small,
a few traumatic and life changing;
yet through it all
we emerge alive
bent, perhaps, but never, ever, broken.


Watch for our next newsletter, already in production.  It will have more news and the details on how to obtain your copy of the DVD set of talks from our first Empathic Therapy Conference that was a wonderful success in April 2011. 

Very best regards,
Ginger Breggin, Editor

WARNING -- Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems. In short, it is not only dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs, it can also be dangerous to stop them. Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. Methods for safely withdrawing from psychiatric drugs are discussed in Dr. Breggin's books, Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex (New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2008) and Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008).

Peter R. Breggin, MD is no longer affiliated with the Center for the Study of Psychiatry, informally known as ICSPP and now ISEPP, which he founded and led from 1972-2002,
and Dr. Breggin is no longer involved in its conferences.

Copyright 2011

Peter R. Breggin, MD