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June 12, 2004

Brief Bio

Portrait of Dr. Peter Breggin

Portrait of Dr. Peter Breggin

Dr. Breggin’s complete resume

About Peter R. Breggin, MD.

Peter R. Breggin MD is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former Consultant at NIMH who has been called “The Conscience of Psychiatry” for his many decades of successful efforts to reform the mental health field. His work provides the foundation for modern criticism of psychiatric diagnoses and drugs, and leads the way in promoting more caring and effective therapies. His research and educational projects have brought about major changes in the FDA-approved Full Prescribing Information or labels for dozens of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs. He continues to education the public and professions about the tragic psychiatric drugging of America’s children.

Dr. Breggin has taught at many universities and has a private practice of psychiatry in Ithaca, New York.

Dr. Breggin has authored dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty books, including medical books and the bestsellers Toxic Psychiatry and Talking Back to Prozac. Two more recent books are Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families.  His most recent book is Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions.

As a medical-legal expert, Dr. Breggin has unprecedented and unique knowledge about how the pharmaceutical industry too often commits fraud in researching and marketing psychiatric drugs. He has testified many times in malpractice, product liability and criminal cases, often in relation to adverse drug effects and more occasionally electroshock and psychosurgery. A list of his trial testimony since 1985 is contained in the last section of his Resume.

View Dr. Breggin’s resume and bibliography

Dr. Breggin has also been invited many times to testify before federal agencies and the U.S. Congress, and he has been an expert on psychiatry drug adverse effects for the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). He has also testified many times at FDA hearings.

From Time to the New York Times, his work has been cited innumerable times in worldwide media. He has appeared hundreds of times on TV from Oprah, 60 Minutes, 20/20, Larry King Live, and Good Morning America to the O’Reilly Factor and Doug Kennedy on the Fox News Channel.    

Dr. Breggin’s earliest reform efforts in the 1970s brought an almost complete stop to lobotomy and psychosurgery in the Western World and in the 1990s prevented a eugenic federal project at the nation’s inner city children. Both his anti-lobotomy and anti-eugenics campaigns are described in his book coauthored with his wife Ginger, The War Against Children of Color, as well as in many scientific articles. 

Peter R. Breggin M.D. conducts a private practice of psychiatry in Ithaca , New York , where he treats adults, couples, and families with children. He also does consultations in the field of clinical psychopharmacology and often acts as a medical expert in criminal, malpractice and product liability suits. Before moving to Ithaca in November 2002 he was in practice for nearly thirty-five years in Washington , DC and Bethesda , Maryland . He has written dozens of scientific articles and many professional books, including Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008), and is on the editorial board of several journals.

In 2010 Dr. Breggin and his wife Ginger formed a new organization that continues their emphasis on bringing professional and laypersons together to share their concerns about the hazards of contemporary biological psychiatry while promoting more caring and empathic approaches to personal conflict and suffering. The new organization will sponsor an annual meeting each April in Syracuse, New York (empathictherapy.org).

Many of Dr. Breggin’s accomplishments as a reformer are documented in detail in The Conscience of Psychiatry: The Reform Work of Peter R. Breggin, M.D. (2009). This biographical tribute to Dr. Breggin’s work draws on more than half-a-century of media and more than 70 special contributions from his colleagues, as well as many other sources.

Dr. Breggin’s background includes Harvard College, Case Western Reserve Medical School, a one-year internship and a three-year residency in psychiatry, including a teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School. After his training, he accepted a two-year staff appointment at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has taught at several universities, including a faculty appointment to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Counseling and an appointment as Visiting Scholar at SUNY Oswego in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services in 2007-2008. He now teaches as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at SUNY Oswego.

 

 

   “
Breggin’s  background is
     pure  establishment: 
    Harvard College, Case
    Western  Reserve Medical
    School,  a teaching
    fellowship at Harvard
    Medical School …”

 

Christine Gorman
TIME
Magazine

Since 1964 Dr. Breggin has been publishing peer-reviewed articles and medical books in his subspecialty of clinical psychopharmacology. He is the author of dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty professional books, many dealing with psychiatric medication, the FDA and drug approval processes, the evaluation of clinical trials, and standards of care in psychiatry. A few of the titles include Toxic Psychiatry (St. Martin’s, 1991), Talking Back to Ritalin (Perseus, revised, 2001), the Antidepressant Fact Book (Perseus, 2001) and the Ritalin Fact Book (Perseus, 2002). Others, such as The Heart of Being Helpful (1997), deal with how to help people through psychotherapy and other human services.

Dr. Breggin’s two most recent books are Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: Drugs, Electroshock and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex (2008) and Medication Madness: A Psychiatrist Exposes the Dangers of Mind-Altering Drugs (July 2008).

Dr. Breggin’s work has led to significant changes within the profession. In the early 1970s he conducted an international campaign to stop the resurgence of lobotomy and newer forms of psychosurgery. His reform efforts and his testimony in the Kaimowitz case in Detroit led to the termination of lobotomy and psychosurgery in the nation’s state mental hospitals, NIH, the VA, and most university centers. A public education campaign, including his 1983 medical book, Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the Brain, led the FDA to require a new class warning for tardive dyskinesia in 1985. In 1994 his public education campaign led to the NIH to reform some of its research policies and to end the potentially racist violence prevention initiative aimed at inner city children. The FDA’s recent recognition of numerous adverse reactions caused by the newer antidepressants — including suicidality in children and young adults, and a stimulant profile involving agitation, akathisia, hostility, aggression, and mania — closely follows observations made and publicized by Dr. Breggin over the past ten years.

Dr. Breggin’s scientific articles can be downloaded on this website.  The list can be arranged chronologically or alphebetically.  Many of the papers were well ahead of their time, and several helped to influence the FDA to update the required warnings on all labels for antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.  All of the articles listed here are available to read without charge on this website.