March 3, 2013
Rogue Cop Christopher Dorner and Prescription Psychotropic MedicationsBy Charles Gant, MD
With the Christopher Dorner case, the role of prescription psychotropic drugs in mass killings has again come to the forefront. Numerous articles have approached the role of so-called "psych meds" in causing depraved and indifferent violent behavior, but one in particular deserves attention because it highlights the fact that among psychiatric professionals there is no coherent understanding of what needs to be done after we take people off of drugs that are prescribed for their psychiatric illnesses.
The article -- Jon Rappoport's "Is Christopher Dorner Another Psychiatric Killer?" -- makes a number of important points about the former Los Angeles police officer's mental health. Dorner had been treated for severe depression since 2008, and Rappoport correctly proposes that the drugs Dorner was prescribed to treat his depression were almost certainly among the causes of his seeking violent revenge against members of the Los Angeles Police Department.
But there are problems with Mr. Rappoport's article that need to be addressed. Contrary to his assertion that brain chemistry is not a key to developing psychiatric illnesses, mood disorders and other psychiatric illnesses are in fact directly connected to the brain's ability to produce key neurotransmitters, including the relaxant serotonin, painkilling endorphins and enkephalins, anxiety-preventing GABA, and feel-good catecholamines such as dopamine. When the brain does not receive the necessary nutrients to enable neurons to assemble these neurotransmitters, or when other factors cause neurotransmitter production and transmission to break down, illnesses including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar illness, among many others, often result. When prescription psychotropic medications are used to treat these conditions, frontal lobe damage often ensues. Recently, the term "frontal lobe syndrome" has been brought into use to describe the effects of prolonged prescription psychotropic drug use that damages this portion of the brain and increases our propensity to act violently and with depraved indifference.
But beyond Mr. Rappoport's misconceptions about neurotransmitters, I want to point out that there's a disturbing disconnect among mental health professionals who understand that so-called psych meds invariably do more harm than good to their patients. While professionals like Drs. Peter Breggin and David Healy, to whose work Rappoport refers, correctly discourage the use of prescription psychotropic drugs designed to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder and depression, they provide no effective alternative methods to treat the underlying biophysical factors that cause mental disorders beyond talking therapies.
In most cases, taking people off of prescription psychotropic medication without diagnosing and treating the underlying conditions that are the true causes of their psychiatric disorders does more harm than good.
Let me explain further.
The best psychotherapy in the world is not going to deliver enough oxygen to a sleep apneic patient's brain to overcome the daytime depression.
All the empathy on the planet will not restore testosterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormone deficiencies causing insomnia and anxiety.
Stress reduction exercises are therapeutic, but if Lyme spirochetes are eating up patients' white blood cells and neurons and causing depression and memory loss, no amount of counseling will restore patients to normalcy.
To let patients suffer with the horrifying symptoms of psychiatric illness without either attending to the underlying biophysical causes that are invariably present in such cases or -- alternatively -- to palliatively medicate the symptoms with psychiatric medication is, in my opinion, gross negligence.
Anyone who knows me or has been a patient of mine for the last 35 years would be surprised to hear me make this case for psychotropic medications: Don't mess with the meds if you don't know a truly effective way to treat the condition you're medicating.
In other words, if you take your patient off of psychiatric medications and do nothing more than counseling, you're actually increasing the chances that they'll never be able to recover.
Much of my professional life has been devoted to providing real solutions for the problems that cause mental illness and assisting in detoxification from medication. Very simply, those solutions must include diagnosing and treating the dozens of metabolic, toxic, nutritional, infectious, hormonal, immune, and genetic risk factors for psychiatric disorders.
If you don't perform what I see as responsible medical diagnosis and treatment, you will greatly limit your efficacy in assisting your patients to be free of the need to take toxic psychiatric medications that are addictive and cause brain injury.
My diagnoses of psychiatric patients invariably finds underlying causes to their conditions that include some or all of the following causes that severely compromise normal brain function:
I now test for all this and more in every patient, and when I discover the biochemical imbalances that are at the root of their condition, I treat them with intensive nutritional and non-drug-based detoxification therapies.
After the biophysical causes of mental disorders are corrected and patients have tapered off their medications, I often provide psychotherapy if issues such as cognitive dissonance or PTSD remain.
A word of caution to psychotherapists: If your livelihood depends on your patients' needing such therapy, you might look for a new line of work. That's because I've found that once you've restored your patients' brains to healthy and normal functioning by following the diagnostic and treatment method outlined above, your patients will be doing very well without the psychobabble.
People with healthy brains almost invariably find they no longer need to discuss their "issues." It's called the indomitable human spirit, and it's present in every human I've ever treated whose brain function has been restored to normalcy through the testing and nutritional rebalancing I've described above.
During his tenure as head of the Tully Hill Hospital, a 56-bed JCAH-approved rehabilitation facility near Syracuse NY, Dr. Gant achieved a greater-than 83% recovery rate among his patients two years after they completed treatment. Dr. Gant is co-author (2ith Dr. Greg Lewis) of End Your Addiction Now, the book which presents Dr. Gant's proven program for eliminating the need for psychotropic substances through biophysical rebalancing.
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