Psychiatric Drug Adverse Reactions (Side Effects) and Medication Spellbinding | Print |  E-mail

Dr. Peter Breggin’s new concept of medication spellbinding provides insights into why so many people take psychiatric drugs when the drugs are doing more harm than good. Psychiatric drugs, and all other drugs that affect the mind, spellbind the individual by masking their adverse mental effects from the individual taking the drugs. If the person experiences a mental side effect, such as anger or sadness, he or she is likely to attribute it to something other than drug, perhaps blaming it on a loved one or on their own “mental illness.” Often people taking psychiatric drugs claim to feel better than ever when in reality their mental life and behavior is impaired. In the extreme, medication spellbinding leads otherwise well-functioning and ethical individuals to commit criminal acts, violence or suicide.

The concept of medication spellbinding is a unifying theme in Dr. Breggin’s book, Medication Madness (2008), which describes dozens of cases of otherwise self-controlled people who became spellbound by psychiatric drugs, leading them to perpetrate bizarre acts, including mayhem, murder and suicide. Dr. Breggin’s medical book, Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (2008), presents the science beyond the concept of medication spellbinding in great depth. These concepts are updated in Dr. Breggin’s most recent book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families (2013).

In the long run, all psychiatric drugs tend to disrupt the normal processes of feeling and thinking, rendering the individual less able to deal effectively with personal problems and with life’s challenges.  They worsen the individual’s overall mental condition and produce potentially irreversible harm to the brain.

Most recent books by Dr. Breggin:
Most Recent Peer-Reviewed Publication
An overview of all categories of psychiatric drugs and a discussion of basic principles of psychopharmacology:
Rational Principles of Psychopharmacology for Therapists, Healthcare Providers and Clients
Categories of scientific papers by Dr. Breggin:
  • Stimulants and ADHD
    Ritalin®, Concerta® Adderall®, amphetamines and other stimulant medications

Special Topics:



Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems. In short, it is not only dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs, it can also be dangerous to stop them. Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. Methods for safely withdrawing from psychiatric drugs are discussed in Dr. Breggin's new book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients, and Their Families.