Although the author goes overboard in arguing against the use of any psychiatric medications, this guide nonetheless raises worthwhile, challenging questions about inappropriate and excessive medicating. It also offers sound, careful—and hard to come by—guidelines on how to safely discontinue the various meds. Psychiatrist Breggin (Toxic Psychiatry, 1991, etc.) and Cohen, a social work professor at the University of Montreal, feel strongly that psychiatric medication is overprescribed and misused, partly as a result of marketing efforts by pharmaceutical companies. The basic question they pose is "What are our ultimate resources in life—the places and persons to whom we turn for help, direction, and inspiration?" Faith, connection with others, creative outlets, enjoyment of nature, and physical activity are among the available appropriate resources to encourage personal growth. But instead, the authors argue, more and more people are relying on "a psychoactive or mind-altering substance." Since we have an extremely limited understanding of brain function, they further point out, we have only a vague notion of how these medications work. And in the authors' experience, suppressing feelings and estranging patients from their own emotions seriously hinders therapy. Brogan and Cohen alert readers to the long list of side effects of such drugs, and set out stringent recommendations for discontinuing them (too rapid a withdrawal can cause very serious medical problems). Overall, these are thought-provoking, generally well-based arguments, coupled with valuable advice.
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