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This book should be required reading for all doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, medical students, etc, etc. throughout the world, as well as the general public.


It informs us of the deadly, and at least, harmful consequences of using psychiatric drugs of questionable benefit.


“Psychiatric drugs are so harmful that they kill more than half a million people every year among those aged 65 and over in the United States and Europe ---. This makes psychiatric drugs the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.”


Many psychiatric drugs not only increase total mortality but also the risk of suicide and homicide, “while no drug agency anywhere has approved any drug as being effective in preventing suicides”. (Lithium is an exception since it might possibly reduce suicide.)


Widespread overdiagnosis and overtreatment is another serious issue.

The author believes we could reduce our usage of psychotropic drugs by 98% and at the same time improve people’s mental health and survival.


Patients are erroneously informed that their mental disorder is caused by a chronic imbalance in the brain.


Psychiatrists lie to their patients, to themselves and to the public. Official statements exaggerate the benefits of psychiatric interventions by five to ten times and by a similar factor underestimate the harmful effects.


Gøtzsche constantly refers to “silverbacks”, which is his name for those “at the top of the hierarchy” who keep others away from absolute power and give themselves money and fame.


These suffer from “collective, organized denial” and refuse to see the damage they cause despite the overwhelming evidence.


Gøtzsche debunks, among other things, the following MYTHS:

  • psychiatric diagnoses are reliable;
  • the usage of psychiatric drugs reflects the number of people with mental disorders;
  • people with mental disorder have a chemical imbalance in their brain and psychiatrists can fix this imbalance with drugs, just like endocrinologists use insulin for diabetes;
  • long-term treatments with psychiatric drugs is good, as it prevents recurrence of the disease;
  • treatment with antidepressants does not lead to dependence;
  • treatment of children and adolescents with antidepressants protect against suicide;
  • depression, ADHD and schizophrenia lead to brain damage;
  • drugs can prevent brain damage.


We have created a huge epidemic of drug overuse with just as many drug addicts on SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, an antidepressant) as on benzodiazepines.


The way we currently use psychiatric drugs and the way we practice psychiatry cause more harm than good. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, electroshock and admission to a psychiatric ward are more often harmful than beneficial. It is the psychiatrists that think their drugs are effective, not the patients.


We should use psychiatirc drugs “very little, in low doses” and always with a plan for “tapering them off”, Our citizens would be far better off we removed all psychotropic drugs from the market.


“Silverbacks” usually speak with the same voice as the drug industry because it so generously supports them financially.


The author writes well; although the subject is absolutely serious, his style is amusing/ironic/sarcastic, and we are left in no doubt as to his views and the depressing state of affairs within the field of psychiatry, and the harmful/deadly influence of the drug industry on psychiatric patients throughout the world.


“Why is it that leading psychiatrists can’t get enough? Isn’t this behaviour so bizarre, abnormal --- that in accordance with the psychiatrists’ own way of thinking it would be legitimate to invent a diagnosis for it? An appropriate name could be Obsessive Compulsive Disease Mongering Disorder, OCDMD, which could also be short for Obvious Common Desire for Money-making Diagnoses. The diagnostic criteria could be a disturbance of at least six months during which at least five of the following are present:


  • Has been on industry payroll within the last three years.
  • Is willing to put his or her name on ghost-written manuscripts.
  • Believes that getting a diagnosis cannot hurt.
  • Believes that screening cannot hurt, as the drugs have no side effects.
  • Believes that people with psychiatric disorders have a chemical imbalance in the brain.
  • Tells people that psychiatric drugs are like insulin for diabetics.
  • Believes that depression and schizophrenia destroy the brain and that drugs prevent this.
  • Believes that antidepressants protect children against suicide.
  • Believes information from drug companies is useful.


Gøttzsche is supported in his views by many other leading experts throughout the world. He informs us of the dangers of antidepressants, ADHD drugs, antipsychotic drugs and all other psychotropic drugs,  together with the perils of electroshock, We learn what happens in the brain when people are given these treatments,


We learn about the ineffectiveness of antidepressants, the flaws of placebo-controlled trials and the flagrant lies told by the drug companies.


The negative factors of the book are that it has seemingly been primarily written for psychiatrists and thus in places can be difficult for the layman to understand. “Randomised trials” and other such things have not been adequately explained for the layman’s benefit.


I found the book to be an absolutely essential read. Millions of lives could be saved if this book were to be read, taken seriously and acted upon.