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Psychiatric Drugs: Thorazine

"People's voices came through filtered, strange. They could not penetrate my Thorazine fog; and I could not escape my drug prison." - Janet Gotkin, testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on the Abuse and Misuse of Controlled Drugs in Institutions (1977) 

"It's very hard to describe the effects of this drug and others like it. That's why we use strange words like "zombie". But in my case the experience became sheer torture." - Wade Hudson, testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on the Abuse and Misuse of Controlled Drugs in Institutions (1977) 

"Frequent Effects: sedation, drowsiness, lethargy, difficult thinking, poor concentration, nightmares, emotional dullness, depression, despair . . ." - Dr. Calagari's Psychiatric Drugs (1987)

In 1954 the neuroleptic drug, Thorazine, began flooding the state mental hospitals. The neuroleptics are synonymous with tranquilizers and antipsychotics. The neuroleptics are the drug most commonly given to schizophrenics. The psychiatrist would like us to believe that drugs such as Thorazine "cure" the patient by repairing or altering "bad" brain chemistry (whatever that means. . .). But the truth is the drug involves a strong dulling of the mind and emotional functions, and that this is what acts to inhibit or "push the symptoms into the back ground". According to Jerry Avon, M.D.: 
"My concern is that people are having their minds blunted in a way that probably does diminish their capacity to appreciate life". (Boston Globe, 1988)
To fully understand the nature and effects of drugs such as Thorazine, it is useful to go back and see what the early research psychiatrists themselves had to say about the drug. The two pioneers of Thorazine, Delay and Deniker, said about small doses of the drug in 1952: 
"Sitting or lying, the patient is motionless in his bed, often pale and with eyelids lowered. He remains silent most of the time. If he is questioned, he answers slowly and deliberately in a monotonous and indifferent voice; he expresses himself in a few words and becomes silent". 
In 1954, Canada's Heinz Lehmann described the "emotional indifference" and specifically called it the "aim" of the treatment. Like Deniker and Delay, he found "the patients under treatment display a lack of spontaneous interest in the environment. . .". Contrary to today's psychiatric PR, the early pioneers plainly stated there was no positive cure or reduction of the patient's delusional symptoms or hallucinatory phenomena. With stronger dosages, there is a marked dulling and blunting of the patient's overall awareness, motor control and "thereness". A 1950 textbook candidly reported the "lobotomylike" impact of Thorazine, and in 1958, Noyes and Kolb summarized in Modern Clinical Psychiatry
"If the patient responds well to the drug, he develops and attitude of indifference both to his surroundings and to his symptoms".
The common factor is that the drug strongly reduces awareness and interest with the result the patient doesn't lose their symptoms, they lose interest in them. 

Thorazine has been called a "chemical lobotomy" because of the similar effects it creates. Briefly, a lobotomy destroys partially or completely all functioning of the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are unique to human beings and are the seat of the higher functions such as love, concern for others, empathy, self-insight, creativity, initiative, autonomy, rationality, abstract reasoning, judgment, future planning, foresight, will-power, determination and concentration. Without the frontal lobes it is impossible to be "human" in the fullest sense of the word; they are required for a civilized, effective, mature life. Without this "human" aspect a person is incapable of living a rewarding, happy and responsible life. 

While the neuroleptics are toxic to most brain functions, disrupting nearly all of them, they have an especially well-documented impact on the dopamine neurotransmitter system. As any psychiatric textbook explains, dopamine neurotransmitters provide the major nerve pathways from the deeper brain to the frontal lobes and limbic system - the very same area attacked by surgical lobotomy. The disruption in the functioning of the frontal lobes results in the same effect - a greatly reduced person with dementia and reduction of awareness of self and the environment. They become "vegetables" - a body with very little mind or personality left. 

While American psychiatrists continue to deny the obvious reality of chemical lobotomy, many European psychiatrists often acknowledge it openly, even in public and to the press. They can argue and play word games all they like - Thorazine is an extremely dangerous drug which does chemically what a lobotomy does surgically. 

"The blunting of conscious motivation, and the inability to solve problems under the influence of chlorpromazine (Thorazine) resembles nothing so much as the effects of frontal lobotomy. . . Research has suggested that lobotomies and chemicals like chlorpromazine may cause their effects in the same way, by disrupting the activity of the neurochemical, dopamine. At any rate, a psychiatrist would be hard put to distinguish a lobotomized patient from one treated with chlorpromazine." - Peter Sterling, neuroanatomist, article Psychiatry's Drug Addiction, New Republic magazine (March 3, 1979)
Like surgical lobotomy, chemical lobotomy has no specific beneficial effect on any human problem or human being. It puts a chemical clamp on the higher brain of anyone. Therefore, the drugs can be used to subdue anyone. 

In Tranquilizing of America (1979), Richard Hughes and Robert Brewin state: 

"When used on a large population of institutionalized persons, as they are, they can help keep the house in order with the minimum program of activities and rehabilitation and the minimum number of attendants, aides, nurses, and doctors".
Again, there is no hiding the obvious real purpose of the drug. It saves money for the institutions and makes the people more manageable. Neuroleptic use is not rare or unusual. In fact, 
"On many psychiatric wards the neuroleptics are given to 90 to 100 percent of the patients; in many nursing homes, to 50 percent or more of the old people; and in many institutions for persons with mental retardation, to 50 percent or more of the inmates. Neuroleptics are also used in children's facilities and in prisons." - Peter Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry
Neuroleptics have been used in the Soviet Union to quell political dissidents. Russian poet, Olga Iofe, was imprisoned and forcibly drugged. She was singled out for "treatment" after protesting against the resurgence of Stalinism. In Soviet Psychoprisons, says political scientist Harvey Fireside, "The massive drugs she was forcibly given were, in Dr. Norman Hirt's opinion, 'in fact a chemical lobotomy', in light of reports that, on her release, Iofe 'appears to be permanently damaged, an altered person' ". 

On February 16, 1976, U.S. News and World Report quoted another Russian dissent who had been forced to take neuroleptics, in this case Haldol, "I was horrified to see how I deteriorated intellectually, morally and emotionally from day to day. My interest in political problems quickly disappeared, then my interest in scientific problems, and then my interest in my wife and children". The reader might assume he was given mega-doses of some especially deadly drug. On the contrary, "I was prescribed haloperidol (Haldol) in small doses." 

The neuroleptics are also used in tranquilizing darts for subduing wild animals and in injections to permit the handling of domestic animals who become viscous. The psychiatrists continue to attempt to explain the mechanics of the neuroleptics as an alteration, for the better, of bad brain chemistry. The veterinary use of neuroleptics so undermines their antipsychotic theory that young psychiatrists are not taught about it. 

Peter Breggin, M.D., psychiatrist, points out clearly that the purpose of Thorazine is to alter and disable normal brain functions. It is actually the HARM caused by the drug which produces the effect. 

"The brain-disabling principle applies to all of the most potent psychiatric interventions - neuroleptics, antidepressants, lithium, electroshock, and psychosurgery. . . the major psychiatric treatments exert their primary or intended effect by disabling normal brain function. Neuroleptic lobotomy, for example, is not a side effect, but the sought-after clinical effect. Conversely, none of the major psychiatric interventions correct or improve existing brain dysfunction, such as any presumed biochemical imbalance. If the patient happens to suffer from brain dysfunction, then the psychiatric drug, electroshock, or psychosurgery will worsen or compound it."
The psychiatrists continue to promote and attempt to educate the public into believing Thorazine and other drugs "help" correct a mental disease. This is so far from the truth. That they even believe this themselves is meaningless. Whether or not some psychiatric patients have brain diseases (which has still never been verified - it's only a theory) is irrelevant to this brain-disabling principle. Even if someday a subtle defect is found in some mental patients, it will not change the damaging effect of the current treatments in use by psychiatry. Nor will it change the fact that the current treatments worsen brain function rather than improving it. If, for example, a person's emotional upset is caused by a hormonal problem, by a viral infection, or by ingestion of a hallucinogenic drug, the impact of the neuroleptics is still that of a lobotomy. The person now has his or her original brain damage and dysfunction plus a chemical lobotomy. 

In summary, Thorazine, and all neuroleptics, cause chemical lobotomies with no specific therapeutic effect on any symptoms or problems. Their main impact is to blunt and subdue the individual. They also physically paralyze the body, acting as a chemical straightjacket. Additionally, these drugs are the cause of a plague of brain damage effecting up to half or more of long-term patients. Psychiatry refuses to accept these criticisms despite a large amount of evidence to the contrary. The psychiatric industry cannot tolerate dissemination of the truth as this strikes at the very core of their theoretical foundation (which is largely false). 

As mentioned in other articles in this site, psychiatry and modern psychology have redefined the meaning of the word "psychology", and completely ignore addressing the person's actual problems they have with life and their own minds. The entire realm of personality, including thought, concentration, intention, imagination, goals, hopes, and dreams are omitted from the psychiatric approach. Dealing with these areas directly through counseling, support groups, religion or alternative methods such as meditation or visualization techniques, has been forgotten. The result is a complete attempt to control behavior ONLY, with absolutely no regard for the person themselves. It should be no surprise psychiatric methods actually inhibit and harm the basic aspects of the human personality which it's very nomenclature ignores and denies.. 

Psychiatry is a modern day belief system not dissimilar to the religious structures of the Spanish Inquisition. The psychiatrists are the High Priests, they tolerate no criticisms, will never alter their views despite all evidence to the contrary, and will fight relentlessly to maintain their positions of power and authority. What makes it worse though is that psychiatric theories, parading as "science", have insinuated themselves in nearly all aspects of modern society - government, law, medicine, sociology, social services, and education. Their influence is dulling the overall awareness and ability of the entire society. 

(Much of the information in this article came from chapter 3 of Peter Breggin's classic expose on psychiatry, Toxic Psychiatry.) 

Suggested Reading:

Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry : Drugs, Electroshock, and the Role of the FDA Today! by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. 

Toxic Psychiatry : Why Therapy, Empathy, and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the New Psychiatry by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. 

The Manufacture of Madness : A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movements by Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., Professor 

Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry : An Inquiry into the Social Uses of Mental Health Practices by Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., Professor 

Bedlam : Greed, Profiteering, and Fraud in a Mental Health System Gone Crazy by Joe Sharkey 
 
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