Reader responses to “An Open letter to Doctors” Vitality Magazine April 2012


Julia Woodford, Editor:

We also carry a horror story this month, submitted by a woman whose insomnia diagnosis led her in to the dark world of prescription drug addiction.  Seeking help from her psychiatrist, the woman ended up on a mixture of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and Oxycontin, which ultimately left her a blithering idiot in a psychiatric ward.  The moral of the story – prescription drugs can be dangerous enough to ruin your health, your mind and your life.  Don’t read the story unless you have a strong stomach.


John M Grima, Toronto:

I had some trouble believing this woman could be so ignorant of one’s health.  I can understand that when we go to a doctor, we can expect a prescription.  But I cannot understand how this woman kept trusting and receiving ALL those prescriptions from her ignorant Doctor ... Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Lori Farquhar-Bryenton, Toronto:

I was saddened by this letter but it’s all too prevalent these days.  People get caught up in this and they don’t realize the harm being done to them until it’s too late.


Crystal Hawk, Toronto:

I’m so glad this is finally seeing the light of day so others can read it and learn hopefully not to let this happen to themselves.  Thanks for sharing this very difficult story.  Hopefully it will make a difference for many others.


Toni B. Rhodes, Atlanta, GA:

I went through something similar to your experience, with doctors piling up psychotrophic drugs to find the ‘right med’ for me.  Now, 5-1/2 years benzo free, I’m starting to feel better but still have protracted benzo w/d syndrome.  I pray both of us will eventually heal.


Elizabeth K. Ellis Moorhead, MN:

Excellent, excellent article.  So full of reality.


Patrice Campion, Ireland:

Thank you for sharing your personal story.  We are grateful for courageous people like you who step out from behind the shadow of shame, and tell the world about your experiences, so others may avoid this same life experience.  May you continue to remember, even if it is better to forget.  God Speed. x


Mary Maddock, Cork, Ireland:

An excellent article!  It is so heartfelt and so honest. Yes doctors can do outrageous harm.  Many people have been crucified by psychotrophic drugs in the name of ‘help.’ People live in fear of receiving them against their will when they know they have caused them serious harm. THANKS for writing this article!


Iianne Knight, Canada:

Living by the Laws of Life and the Laws of Nature, historically, from ancient times forward, have restored many to vibrant wellness without any drugs.  Surgery or radiation.  I hope that you will be able to rise to this personal challenge that you have received to study the masters and become one of our finest teachers.


Pamela St. John, Chapel Hill, NC:

What an amazing, well written and powerful article you have given the world….I am so glad you are writing a book!!  I keep your story as inspiration for the work that must continue for changing these horrendous conditions, pray for your continuing return to full health, and give thanks for your passion to help others along the way.  I read Peter Breggin’s book, Toxic Psychiatry, when it came out and felt very supported by that in my own growing beliefs around ‘mental health.’  Your evidential experiences will be tremendous back up for those in the field who have tried to speak out.


Altostrata, California:

Heartbreaking, but all too common.  There are posts by patients all over the Web with similar stories.  To the enduring shame of medicine, few doctors recognized adverse effects of the drugs they throw out like candy.  Even fewer know anything about gradual, individualized tapering off these medications to minimize withdrawal damage.  There are maybe a dozen Web sites run by patients – NOT doctors – offering support.  I run one of them,, but I would gladly shut it down if medicine stepped up to its responsibility to patients to get them safely off these drugs.


Anonymous, Oregon:

I was started on Prozac in 1992 for PTSD after an assault.  I lost the 20 years of my life that followed, to a parade of psychiatric drugs, all prescribed for the effects of the drugs before.  Now it’s taking me another five or six years to safely get off them.  I’ve lost the best years of my life – not only lost, but I can’t describe the suffering I experienced during those years.  I wanted to die most of the time.  My children lost their mother.  I have no savings to retire on.  I have no partner and at this point it looks like I’ll spend the rest of my life alone.  Thank you modern medicine.  I no longer see doctors.  I don’t believe in any of your ‘interventions.’  You have no idea how much damage you are doing, and you don’t want to listen when we try to tell you.


Toni Rhodes, Atlanta:

This story is heartbreaking.  I went through a similar experience – getting hooked on a benzo that a doctor prescribed.  Fortunately, my husband intervened; otherwise, my doctor would have given me ECT.  I went through a horrific withdrawal process and now have protracted benzo withdrawal syndrome, which is awful but not as bad as being on the drugs.  I wrote a letter to my HMO describing all the ways I was mistreated by doctors in the system, and I actually got a call from one of the doctors, who said he would take my case before a board to see if changes could be made in procedures.  Maybe doctors in this country are beginning to see how wrong they have been.  Too many of us have had to suffer!


Wellness, Ontario

Add me to the list of victims.  Addicted to sleeping pills in 3 weeks.  I was getting panic and anxiety attacks from the interdose w/d.  They threw the whole drug catalog at me and diagnosed me with so much stuff.  I’m 16 months off my last dose of benzodiazepine and still very ill.  Psychiatry is a profession gone bad.  If I had my way they would be lining up for the unemployment line.


Harmedbydoctors, Toronto:

I have a similar story.  I am called a Psychiatric Survivor.  I have refused to ever use those drugs again (now they say SSRI’s don’t work) I know they don’t work … 20 years ago.  I went through 6 years of nothing but drugs and baloney, no help, nothing.  After many hospital stays and crap, one day the “dr” threw me away and said I could not be helped and would end up killing myself.  This “person” still practices but I plan on writing and posting my experiences online.  Somewhere, someday, naming names.  I have struggled but found success in alternative therapies.  I now fully confront any “dr” who needs confronting and I don’t care what is about or what is written down in my ‘file”.  I have a file now on doctors.  Do no harm?  Everyone of us should be able to sue for damages.   I agree, psychiatrists et al should be sent to Mars or if there is a hell, hopefully there is a special place for doctors who harm, injure, destroy and yet make quite a good living at our suffering.


Anothervictim, USA :

Another victim here.  I am so sorry for this lady.  I went from relatively mild situational anxiety to psychosis on drugs.  I was polydrugged (14 drugs over a 4-month period) since doctors used drugs to treat adverse effects from other drugs.  I am now 7 months free of all drugs and my body and brain still feel like when I was on the rugs, meaning that the (hopefully temporary) chemical brain damage that was caused by the drugs remains.  I have no idea when I’ll be healed and able to restore my normal life.  I was an amazing sweet mom and wife and an MIT graduate with a perfect GPA and on the worst of my withdrawal I had slurred speech and could not even recognize a tube of toothpaste  … Cannot feel love for my family either.  This is what these drugs do, a chemical lobotomy.  That feeling of agitation is called akathisia or “Hell on Earth”, psychiatrists dirty little secret … and 7 months later I still have it.  For those who feel good on the drugs and are able to get on and off of them without issue, beware, your brain will not stand the beating forever and sooner or later will rebel.  So if you’re one of the lucky ones that has a ‘sturdy’ brain be thankful.  IMHO, these drugs should only be used in extreme cases where the risk significantly outweighs the benefit, not because you’re depressed that your dog ate your LV purse.


OneMore, California:

I too am a victim/psychiatric survivor.  I was a teacher who became a jailbird after I was given Risperidol, Haldol, and Seroquel.  I had no family near.  There was no empathy for me after I lost my baby, you see.  I got pills instead of empathy.  All I needed was some empathy.  I was strong.  I could have made it.  Instead of comfort, the medications and actions it caused me to lose roughly 10 years rebuilding my life and establishing a new career.  They almost killed me.  After starting the medications – I lost my life.  Now all I have is the new one I’m building.  My integrity as a person was shattered.  I explain things one way to myself – but in another way to others. What a shadow the ordeal cast on what was once a clean slate that was called my life.


Roberto, Idaho USA:

This is just an amazing story and hard to believe, but never the less it is TRUE.  Millions of people TRUST their doctors blindly because this is all they know to do.  Some doctors have a way to win your TRUST to the point that NO matter how your health keeps on declining you will still TRUST their judgment like this lady did for the many years until it is too late.  Some people really believe that thee DRUGS are a godsend, but in reality they may help for a while until something else goes wrong and you begin to experience hell on earth ...


Medical Journalist:

The article is hair-raising.  I’d like her permission to use her story in my book.  My husband cried when he read her story.  My husband is a physician.


Young Intern:

This story should be required reading for all medical students.  It’s sobering.


‘Open Letter to Doctors’ posted in Dead Man’s Vitamin


Lori Farquhar-Bryenton, Editor:

I came across this story today and felt I had to share it with others.  Although I have spoken with many people with similar stories, I have never come across such gross negligence.


Gross negligence: n. carelessness in reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, which is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people’s rights to safety. It is more than simple inadvertence, but it is just shy of being intentionally evil.  If one has borrowed or contracted to take care of another’s property, then gross negligence is the failure to actively take the care one would of his/her own property.  If gross negligence is found by the trier of fact (judge or jury), it can result in the award of punitive damages on top of general and special damages. Also:


Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property or both.  It is conduct that is extreme.


If this is not a case of gross negligence then what is?  Why can’t we hold psychiatrists responsible for the harm they cause?  Why is this being allowed to continue?


With no due recourse and nowhere to turn, this lady can only endure what has been done to her by mental health “experts.”



Thanks.  Gross negligence?  It goes beyond negligent and it’s way beyond gross.



How are we supposed to taper “under supervision”?  I can only do it on my own.  When I asked for help with it, the doctor wanted to “add a little bit of Abilify”!  I write notes to myself:  You feel bad because you are in withdrawal.  It will be over before long … because otherwise I might start to believe them again.  There is nothing wrong with my brain.  My list of diagnoses went from schizophrenia to paranoia to chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia to schizotypal PD to schizoaffective to bipolar personality disorder.  If I had never seen a psychiatrist I would never have had any of these labels or the hundreds of pills and the almost ruined life.  I am still tapering.  On.  My.  Own.



Psychiatrists kill.



“Open letter to Doctors” Posted in Gaia Health


Heidi Stevenson, Editor:

This woman’s health was taken over and devastated by creatures who call themselves doctors.  Anyone’s life can be destroyed in this system that dares to demand it be the only approach to health.


Robert Bonan:

Wow!  I just finished reading this amazing testimony and my heart goes out to this person who survived the ordeal. This is the part I read that just blew me away “A psychiatrist asked:  is she still alive?” meaning that she had taken so many pills that she should have died.



A shocking and tragic story.  Sadly, there are thousands of people annually who have their lives destroyed due to psychiatric drugs prescribed by cynical psychiatrists.


Doctors may look side effect up but are rarely interested in interactions between drugs but, yet they do occur.  The shocking cocktail which the poor woman was given is criminal.  Several of the drugs were undoubtedly taken at the same time.  Many in the list interact with each other resulting in for example increase in effective concentration, increasing toxicity, reduction of blood pressure etc.


The open letter, so excellently formulated, so vividly describing the disgraceful, unethical and low level to which much of psychiatry has sunk, should be widely spread.  It is also a perfect example for workshop discussions for medical students, in the hope that they will not be tempted to fall into the culture of greed and corruption which symbolizes psychiatry’s situation today.


Debby Bruck:

Shocking.  Sad.  Criminal.



I read this with tears in my eyes.  I watched a similar thing happen to my sister after horrific vaccine damage at age 12.  She died a year and a half ago at age 40.  Doctors offered no hope for her ‘rare’ condition that they had absolutely had ‘no idea’ where it materialized from.  They treated her with such disrespect and disgust those last days … as if she were somehow at fault …  I think they know deep down.  If they allowed themselves the thought that what they are doing is harming people, children, to the extent that it really is, well, maybe a few would just want to go jump off a bridge.  We could only hope…


Amita Durgaprasad:

EXCELLENT post!  It’s appalling how completely the medical community has abandoned the tenet “First do no harm” in favor of  “Protect the MAXIMUM profits & best interests of Big Pharma AT ALL COSTS, and NO MATTER the extent of ‘collateral’ damage from injury & death of innocent people.


Comments from Facebook groups as the story continued to spread





Jana Brown:

My heart goes out to the author.


Jennifer Bryant Roeder:

I am horrified of what you went through and am amazed you survived.  I am so sorry.  It’s unbelievable how psychiatry destroys so much of our minds and our lives.  Thank you for sharing your story.


Julia Deborah:

Wow.  Amazing story, beautifully written.  Thanks for sharing.


Name hidden:

“I’d like to drive a dagger through the heart of psychiatry, but I can’t find a heart.”  Irish psychiatrist Michael Corry (1948-2010) the above quote is part of a poignant piece at the link   I venture to say, we can’t find a brain either.


Name hidden:

I completely agree with everything you wrote.  If I wasn’t afraid of jail and going to hell my psych doctor would be in serious danger.  Bottom line:  if there was any justice in the world my psych doctor would be in jail.


Name hidden:

I have no doubt we will reach a tipping point soon and then the tide will turn.  Word is getting out. 


Name hidden:

My experience is similar in so many ways to that of the writer … But it is so sad that in spite of the work of the likes of Peter Breggin and Robert Whitaker these drugs are continuing to be prescribed and people are blithely taking them.  And I wish somebody would tell Woody Allen to stop subliminally advertising benzodiazepines in his films.


Name hidden:

I just read your story.  Omg I am so sorry.  I hate psychiatry with a passion.


Name hidden:

Wow.  It is unbelievable how you were treated – what happened to you is criminal and it just boggles the mind that these doctors can be so callous, careless, cruel and (seemingly) ignorant of the adverse effects of all these drugs and treatments and get away with it because it is the ‘standard of care’.  The psychiatrist who pushed all these drugs on you was worse than the worst drug pusher – except psych drugs are more dangerous.  Your statement – “one should not have to survive going to a doctor’ nails the ‘irony’ and tragedy of what is happening in mainstream medical model health care.  I will share this with family and friends.   


 Anne Woodlen, writer, social activist, psychiatric survivor


Dear God. Your words are triggering an adrenalin rush in me.  The horror – the horror, of what we've been through.  It's hard for me to read because it brings up memories that I've moved away from.


I think – hope – that what you've written will be a punch in the face to "civilians" – people who think the psychiatric system is beneficial.  You write with simple, direct clarity.  Facts.  No howling or whining, just a strict report of events, which is very, very powerful.


I've had it bad in the psych system, but not as bad as you.  (Jesus, there ought to be criminal indictments against all these people who call themselves doctors.)  Your story ought to be required reading for all students preparing to engage in mental "health" treatment.  Would you consider letting me publish your writing on my blog?  It is important, it matters, and I feel a terrible sense of urgency about it.


I am reminded of the Book of Job where Satan destroys everything Job has.  After each crop is destroyed or each flock of animals dies, a servant comes to Job and says, "I alone am left to tell you."  You, alone, are left to tell us.  You survived with enough of your brain intact to tell us the damage that psych meds cause.  You are one of the reasons I believe in God.  Bless you. 


David Healy MD/Psychiatrist/author/Pharmageddon/


This is an extraordinary list of meds. This is definitely something we need to showcase but in the early days of getting Rxisk up and running I'm trying to get as many general health issues into the frame as I can first.  There are some equally terrible things from mainstream medicine  so keep an eye on the Rxisk blog when we get it going.


Robert Whitaker/author/lecturer/Mad in America/Anatomy of an Epidemic

Your story is one that tells of how this system of "care" we have can take people down an ever-downward path.  This is much of what I wrote about in Anatomy of an Epidemic, which is how an initial small problem gets converted into a much bigger and more lasting problem.  I am so sorry that you have suffered in this way, and I hope that you can continue to recover in the time ahead.

Paula Caplan/Harvard psychologist/author/They Say You’re Crazy/When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home


Oh, God, this is a nightmare! Your story is indeed terrifying and so, so sad.  What a tragedy to see how you were being fed all those awful drugs and then, when you reported the negative effects, told they proved how sick you were!  You are a miracle for having gotten out of it and for being so brave to try to help others.   


Ginger Breggin/Peter Breggin MD/psychiatrist/Your Drug May be Your Problem


I am so sorry for your ordeal. Stay strong and keep building your support network!  (Great idea about the ECT speakers group! Bravo!) 


Sir William Osler (1849-1919)

 Canadian physician known as ‘the father of modern medicine’


“The battle against polypharmacy, or the use of a large number of drugs (the action of which we know little, yet we put them into the bodies … the action of which we know less) has not been fought to the finish … Do not use rashly every new product of which the peripatetic siren sings.  Consider what surprising reactions may occur in the laboratory from the careless mixing of unknown substances.  Be as considerate of your patient and yourself as you are of the test-tube.”


“It is only too true, as you know well, that a most successful – as the term goes – doctor may practice with a clinical slovenliness that makes impossible for that old friend, Dame Nature, to cover his mistakes.”


“It is astonishing with how little outside aid a large practice may be conducted, but it is not astonishing that in it cruel and unpardonable mistakes are made.”

“The daily round of a busy practitioner tends to develop an egoism of a most intense kind, to which there is no antidote.  The few setbacks are forgotten.  The mistakes are often buried …”


“Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.”



David Healy MD/psychiatrist/author/Pharmageddon/


“No one knows a drug’s side effects like the person taking it.” 





Neither Dr. C., nor the CPSO, nor the Independent Opinion, nor the “expert tribunal” ICRC (Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee) chose to listen to the patient.    Decisions were based on Dr. C’s records, records which were described by the CPSO as lacking:  “Put simply - the documentation of the treatment of this patient is impossible to follow.”  Dr. C. was reprimanded on many counts.  Of the above-mentioned people, Dr. C. is the only one who met me.  A group who never met me, never asked questions of me, decided I was mentally ill on the basis of Dr. C.’s notes.   Hopefully the HPARB will listen to the patient.  (PENDING since November 2012)