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

  9/15/2011 - Volume 2, Issue 8

In This Issue

Our Second International Empathic Therapy Conference
April 13-15, 2012
Sign up now!

Prozac Turned Teen into Murderer--
Judge Agrees with Testimony of
Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin MD

Evidence of Birth Defects from Paxil, Zoloft and other SSRIs Continues to Mount

New Study: Women Taking Antidepressants While Pregnant have 'Moderately Higher Risk' of Having a
Child with Autism

Defining Self--
Essay and Poem

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
  Dear [Contact.First Name],

We have great news of a precedent setting decision on the part of a Canadian judge. See our story here about how a judge agreed with the testimony of Dr. Breggin that Prozac had turned a teen into a murderer.

Details of our upcoming international Empathic Therapy Conference April 13-15, 2012 are being worked out. This next conference is going to be just spectacular. We have speakers from the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Canada and the United States with fresh and informative topics.  See our news story and sign up now to attend this exceptional event.

Evidence of birth defects from the SSRI antidepressants are continuing to mount. See our article covering some of the latest data.  Another new study offers disturbing preliminary information that antidepressants taken during pregnancy may expose the child to a 'moderately higher risk' of autism.  The article is below.

Finally, a survivor of psychiatric treatment as a child and adult, and a victim of Electroshock (ECT), offers her story and her poem.

Watch for our next newsletter. I am hoping to publishing a second issue in October. The news just keeps flooding in!

Very best, Ginger Breggin, Editor

Dr. Peter Breggin's
Second International Empathic Therapy Conference -- April 13-15, 2012
Sign Up Now -- Be Part of This Exciting Event!

Our Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education and Living is preparing the Second International Empathic Therapy Conference, April 13-15, 2012 in Syracuse, New York State. 

The Power of Empathic Relationship 2012, is the conference theme.  The event is bringing together some of the most exciting and innovative practitioners researchers and specialists in the fields of psychiatry, counseling, social work, psychology, and education. 

Conference topics include both special presentations and workshops exploring aspects of empathic therapy as well as critical evaluations and analyses of psychiatry and misguided reforms.

Topics include:
•    Counseling Those Affected by Traumatic Losses
•    Empathic Approaches to the Elderly and Dementia Sufferers
•    A Critical Analysis of Thomas Szasz
•    Bullying in the Schools: Save Our Children from Peer Abuse
•    The ADHD/Stimulant Drug Fraud Worldwide
•    Involuntary Treatment and Coercion--'The Breggin Gap'
•    Frontiers of Psychotherapy
•    Creating Meaningful 'I thou' Relationships in Therapy
•    A Psychotherapist's Role in Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal
•    Clinical Innovative Approaches to Stress and Trauma
•    Compassion and Love: Approaches from Core Issue Analysis
•    Recreational Therapy
•    Researching SSRI-induced Violence

Three special panels made up of survivors, attorneys, mental health professionals and experts will be part of the Friday to Sunday conference weekend:

•    SSRI Antidepressants: Surviving Tragedy. Cautionary Tales
•    Time to Abolish ECT
•    Facing the Tardive Dyskinesia Epidemic

The Empathic Therapy conference will be offering more than 25 continuing education credits.

Over 40 best selling authors, international experts, professors and educators, attorneys, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers, physicians, researchers, innovative practitioners, and advocates will be presenting a stimulating mix of plenaries and breakout workshops.
Bolster your critical understanding of
biological psychiatry and false reform

Speakers include Joanne Cacciatore PhD on bereavement; Kathryn Douthit, PhD, Chair of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Rochester on the elderly and dementia;  Rachel Bingham, BA MBBS MSc from the UK on involuntary treatment and coercion;  Yolande Lucire, PhD from Australia on SSRI-induced violence; Jock McLaren, MD, psychiatrist from Australia with a critical analysis of Thomas Szasz; Gerald Porter, PhD, Associate Vice president for Academic Affairs with Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, on frontiers in psychotherapy; Charles Whitfield, MD on core issue analysis and addictions; Brian Kean on bullying and peer abuse; Michael Gilbert, PhD on children and family issues and many more.

Saturday evening will include dessert and a special presentation by Peter R. Breggin MD, International Director and Ginger Breggin, Executive Director of the Center for Empathic Therapy: The Power of Empathic Relationship: A Conversation.

Friday evening will have a repeat of the very popular "Meet the Authors" Friday Night Social with the famous chocolate fountain desserts and time to talk with presenters and other attendees.

Register today!

Attend this exciting, forward thinking conference ~
Join Peter and Ginger Breggin and the other conference speakers in Syracuse, New York State, April 13-15, 2012!


Prozac Turned Teen into Murderer--
Judge Agrees with Testimony of
Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin MD

The headline from the Winnipeg Free Press in Canada tells the story: "Judge Agrees Prozac Made Teen a Killer." Provincial court judge Robert Heinrichs listened to expert psychiatric testimony  for the defense by Peter R. Breggin, MD and weighed it against testimony for the prosecution by a Canadian psychiatrist. 

On September 16, 2011 the judge issued his opinion in regard to the sixteen-year-old who stabbed his friend to death.  The judge determined, "His basic normalcy now further confirms he no longer poses a risk of violence to anyone and that his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac." Also consistent with Dr. Breggin's lengthy report and testimony, the judge observed, "He has none of the characteristics of a perpetrator of violence. The prospects for rehabilitation are good."

This was the first criminal case in North America where a judge has specifically found that an antidepressant was the cause of a murder.

In his written  opinion in the case of "Her Majesty the Queen and C.J.P" (Citation #2011 MBPC 62),  Judge Heinrichs concluded, "Dr. Breggin's explanation of the effect Prozac was having on C.J.P.'s behavior both before that day and in committing an impulsive, inexplicable violent act that day corresponds with the evidence" (p. 18).   He also found, "there is clear medical and collateral evidence that the Prozac affected his behaviour and judgment, thereby reducing his moral culpability" (p. 20).  The judge's complete opinion is available at Dr. Breggin's professional website,http://breggin.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=295

The case involved a teenage high school student with no prior history of violence who, while chatting in his home with two friends, abruptly stabbed one of them to death with a single wound to the chest.  The boy had been taking Prozac for three months, during which time his behavior deteriorated.   He became impulsive and unpredictable, and suicidal. He also began to talk at times as if fantasizing about violence. He seemed to become a different person to his distraught parents. Dr. Breggin testified that his primary care physician and his parents alerted the prescribing psychiatric clinic to the boy's deteriorating condition, but the clinic continued the Prozac and then increased it. Seventeen days after the increase in dosage, the teen committed the violence.

Starting approximately 2005 to the present, the FDA-approved labels for all antidepressants as found in the annual Physician's Desk Reference includes the following information under the section titled WARNINGS-Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk:

"All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric."

This list of adverse effects—" anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania"—is a prescription for violence.  The teen in this case suffered from most of these dangerous effects which worsened during the time of his exposure to Prozac.

The Canadian drug regulatory agency, Health Canada, has warned that Prozac is not authorized for use in children and that it can cause "self-harm or harm to others." According to a warning issued in 2004 by the drug manufacturer, Eli Lilly, and Health Canada:

"There are clinical trial and post-marketing reports with SSRIs and other newer anti-depressants, in both pediatrics and adults, of severe agitation-type adverse events coupled with self-harm or harm to others. The agitation-type events include: akathisia, agitation, disinhibition, emotional lability, hostility, aggression, depersonalization. In some cases, the events occurred within several weeks of starting treatment."

Dr. Breggin wrote in his report and testified that the boy's symptoms were consistent with a Prozac (fluoxetine) Induced Mood Disorder with Manic Features and that he would not have committed the violence if he had not been given the antidepressant. He also testified that the teen had improved dramatically when removed from the Prozac after a few months in jail and that he was no longer a danger to himself or others. He brought numerous independent scientific studies to court confirming that a large percentage of youth exposed to the newer antidepressants will develop these hazardous adverse drug reactions. He also noted that the observations and even the wording of his own earlier scientific publications had been included into the information now found in the official FDA-approved labels.  Dr. Breggin's scientific articles concerning antidepressants can be found on his website on his 'Antidepressants information' page.

The original hearing was to determine whether or not the now 17 year old should be sentenced as a minor, in which case his maximum jail time would be limited to four years. The prosecution wanted him tried as an adult. On September 16, 2011, Judge Heinrichs decided that the boy would be tried as a minor and that his deterioration and violent behavior was caused by Prozac. On November 4, 2011 the judge will determine how much of the remaining four years the teenager will serve.

The judge's decision represents an enormous step forward in society recognizing that the newer antidepressants can cause violence.

Digging deeper? See these links, including scientific references by Dr. Breggin:

Antidepressant-Induced Suicide, Violence and Mania

Intoxication Anosognosia (Medication Madness)

Suicidality, Violence and mania caused by SSRIs: A Review

Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (2008):
Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex

The Canadian judge's written opinion is available here.


Evidence of Birth Defects from Paxil, Zoloft and other SSRIs Continues to Mount

Birth defects from the SSRI antidepressants, including Paxil, Zoloft and others are being further documented. 

Recently a former executive of GlaxoSmithKline, testified that the company admited that its SSRI, Paxil was the likely cause of a birth defect reported in 2001 and to the company. 

Bloomberg reported:


Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Officials of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the U.K.'s largest drugmaker, said in 2001 that a birth defect in the fetus of a woman taking its Paxil antidepressant likely was linked to the drug, according to court testimony.
After analyzing a 2001 e-mail from a Paxil user who aborted her fetus because it had a heart defect, Glaxo officials noted in company files they were "almost certain" the drug was related to the problem, Jane Nieman, a former Glaxo drug-safety executive, told a Pennsylvania jury.
"I don't know who made that assessment, but it's there," Nieman testified in a videotaped deposition played yesterday for jurors. Nieman's testimony came in the trial of another Paxil user's lawsuit over birth defects suffered by her now 3-year-old son.
The state-court trial in Philadelphia is the first of more than 600 cases alleging Glaxo knew Paxil caused birth defects and hid those risks to increase profits. The drug, approved for U.S. use in 1992, generated about $942 million in sales last year, 2.1 percent of Glaxo's total revenue.
The family of Lyam Kilker claims Glaxo withheld information from consumers and regulators about the risk of birth defects and failed to properly test Paxil. Lyam's mother, Michelle David, blames Paxil for causing her son's life-threatening heart defects.

Separately, patient advocacy law firms are increasingly providing information via the internet and television advertisements to families who may have children suffering from birth defects from in-utero exposure to an SSRI.  Here is one website with extensive information about the potential birth defects.  The Zoloft Center Site states in part:
Researchers in the United States and Europe have linked SSRI drugs like Zoloft to serious birth defects like skull deformities, defects of the brain and spine, heart defects, lung defects, abdominal defects, club foot and facial cleft deformities.

In many cases, scientists found that SSRI drugs such as Zoloft increased the risk of severe birth defects by as much as 600%.

Unfortunately, Zoloft has been taken by hundreds of millions of people and the makers of the drug gave no warning about the serious health risks like Zoloft birth defects. They have continued to sell it to patients around the world earning billions of dollars per year.

If you took Zoloft and have given birth to a child with birth defects, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. The time to recover for your child's condition is limited.

For further information on SSRI related birth defects see:

Exposure to SSRI Antidepressants In Utero Causes Birth Defects, Neonatal Withdrawal Symptoms, and Brain Damage"  by Peter R. Breggin MD and Ginger R. Breggin, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 10, 5-9, 2008

New Study: Women Taking Antidepressants While Pregnant have 'Moderately Higher Risk' of Having a Child with Autism

The 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 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.

See the Wall Street Journal article here.

Defining Self

by Anonymous

As I struggle to heal from the after effects of psychiatry, with the continuous support of a knowledgeable priest, I feel I can begin to tell my story.  I am a  person in her fifties who has been a psychiatric survivor twice during my life span. 

With my most recent inter-face with psychiatry, I came to experience the thirty-eight ECTs that I am aware of.  As well, there were the ever changing psychiatric labels and drug therapy combinations. 

My story begins in 1994, when two tragic events occurred within several months.  The first was the horrific rape of my young child and shortly thereafter, the death of a significant other.  At that time, I was a single parent of five children, a full-time student at University, living in poverty and planning a move to begin my studies in a masters program in Bio-Ethics. 

ECT has robbed me of ten years of memories, inflicted numerous cognitive impairments which denied my prospect of returning to my passion and left me in shatters.  In 2008, I suffered from Neuroleptic Syndrome which was the culminating factor that lead me to decide that I had suffered enough abuses, done to my being at the hands of psychiatry.

My earliest psychiatric victimization began when I was seven years old until the age of fifteen.  It is only now, that I can grapple with re-defining who I am apart from psychiatry.  Out of this struggle came these words:
Defining Self
At times I inhibit the masculine,
     But at other times I am definitely the feminine.
At times I am the grandmother who teaches,
     But I also want to be the child who reads Dr. Seuss.
I am the academic,
     But also one who transverses into the grade one scholar.
I will sit with society's deviant,
     But I also walk with the spirits.
I am the griever,
     But also the grieved.
Twice psychiatrized,   
     But more sane in my humanness than those who control locks.
I am the sufferer,
     But I can laugh at the crazy bird with the pointed beak.
I am black,
     But have also come to enjoy colors.
Most often I prefer to walk alone,
    But at times will seek out company.
I find comfort with the marginalized,
     But will visit the words of a wise priest.
I am able to think great thoughts,
     But have very little memory.
I have a knowing,
     But know very little.
I am the 'then' and the 'now'.
This Is Who I Am



 Thanks for reading through our newsletter!  Remember to sign up now for the Empathic Therapy Conference, and Dr. Breggin and I look forward to seeing you there.

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