Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma by Charles L. Whitfield, MD

Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma by Charles L. Whitfield, MD

Excerpted from: The International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 22 (2010) 195-207
DOI 10.3233/JRS-2010-0508

IOS Press

Volume 22, Number 4, 2010
Private Practice of Trauma Psychology, Psychiatry, and Addiction MedicineConsultant and Research
Collaborator at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3462 Hallcrest Dr., Atlanta,
GA 30319-1910, USA and Board of Directors of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse
& Interpersonal Violence, Baltimore, MD, USA
Tel.: +404 843 3585; E-mail:

Abstract. Drawing on the work of numerous psychiatrists and psychopharmacologists and my own observations, I describe how most common psychiatric drugs are not only toxic but can be chronically traumatic, which I define in some detail throughout this paper. In addition to observing this occurrence among numerous of my patients over the past 20 years, I surveyed 9 mental health clinicians who had taken antidepressant drugs long-term. Of these 9, 7 (77%) experienced bothersome toxic drug effects and 2 (22%) had become clearly worse than they were before they had started the drugs. Based on others’ and my observations I describe the genesis of this worsened condition which I call the Drug Stress Trauma Syndrome.

These drug effects can be and are often so detrimental to the quality of life among  a  distinct but significant minority of patients that they can no longer be considered trivial or unimportant. Instead, they are so disruptive to many patients’ quality of life that their effect becomes traumatic, and are thereby agents of trauma. These observations and preliminary data may encourage others to look into this matter in more depth.