Do Psychiatric Drugs Destory Brains? Dr. Lehrman wrote: submitted for publication in the Nw York Times 217 words "Beautiful minds can be reclaimed" (op-ed, March 10) - if our medications don't destroy them. Dr. Courtenay M. Harding says these drugs reduce painful symptoms in about 60% of cases, but do little else
. In reducing symptoms, however, psychiatric medications dull patients' emotionality, thus impairing their ability to function socially. These drugs were originally introduced as "chemical lobotomies," a forgotten description which remains accurate. A 1998 University of Pennsylvania study showed that standard anti-psychotic medications cause significant brain abnormalities. Long term studies show that drugs are associated with markedly worsened schizophrenia treatment results. A 1994 Harvard study showed worsening outcomes over the past 20 years, so they are now no better than 100 years ago. In undeveloped countries, where the drugs are little used, nearly two thirds of patients are doing fairly well five years after initial diagnosis and about 40% have basically recovered. Other studies show that most recovery occurs in the first year or two. And Hillside/Long-Island Jewish Hospital, a leading psychiatric drug research center, which also provides the best in social services, now reports that two years after admission of first-episode schizophrenic patients - who have the best prognosis - only 18% were functioning at pre-illness levels. Whatever the conditions are which bring people into psychiatric care, do the drug treatments they get create new brain damage?
Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D.,****************, ****************, ************; Clinical Director, Retired, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, Brooklyn NY