Honey, They Shrunk My Brain—Study Confirms Antipsychotics Decrease Brain Tissue

"The use of antipsychotic drugs long has been referred to as a 'chemical lobotomy' because they actually can disable normal brain function.  Along with brain shrinkage, antipsychotics also can cause obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes."

by Kelly Patricia O’Meara
September 12, 2013

Antipsychotic drugs cause brain shrinkage. This is the conclusion of yet another study, considered the largest longitudinal brain-scan data set ever compiled, documenting the adverse effects of antipsychotic drugs on brain tissue.

According to the study’s author, University of Iowa professor, Nancy Andreasen, Ph.D., “the higher the antipsychotic medication doses, the greater the loss of brain tissue.”  Andreasen further explained that “antipsychotic treatment has a negative impact on the brain, so…we must get the word out that they should be used with great care, because even though they have fewer side effects than some of the other medications, they are certainly not trouble free and can have lifelong consequences for the health and happiness of the people we serve.”

Andreasen found the results “very upsetting.” With more than six million people, including nearly one million children, (28,000 of them under the age of five), taking Antipsychotics, it’s understandable why the author of the study found the new data “upsetting.”

Anyone in their right mind would find the data upsetting. Brain shrinkage for any reason can’t be a good thing, but it especially isn’t a good thing when it is caused by the psychiatric medication prescribed as a medicinal “treatment.”

Antipsychotic medications, such as Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Geodon are not approved for the treatment of children (18 and under) yet, there are nearly thirty thousand children under the age of five currently prescribed this brain-destructive drug.

Furthermore, the use of antipsychotic drugs long has been referred to as a “chemical lobotomy” because they actually can disable normal brain function.  Along with brain shrinkage, antipsychotics also can cause obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

There also is the side effect called Tardive Dyskinesia, which is a potentially irreversible neurological disorder resulting in involuntary and uncontrollable movements, including slurred speech, tremors, anxiety, inability to sit still, inner restlessness, distress and paranoia.

And the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, requires antipsychotics to carry a “Black Box Warning,” the most serious drug warning issued by the FDA, as the antipsychotics increase the risk of death in elderly with dementia.

Between the FDA and other international drug regulatory agencies, there are no less than 55 warnings on antipsychotic drugs and the FDA, alone, has received more than 120,000 adverse event reports associated with antipsychotic drugs, including diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, tremor and even death.

Professor Andreasen apparently was so surprised by the results of the study that it was held for two years with the belief that the data may be inaccurate. Unfortunately, the data were accurate and Andreasen pondered the effect the data would have on society.

“The impact is painful,” explained Andreasen, “because psychiatrists, patients and family members don’t know how to interpret this finding. ‘Should we stop using antipsychotic medication? Should we be using less?'”

Okay, let’s ponder the answer to this question. Antipsychotic drugs shrink the brain, cause excessive weight gain, diabetes, Tardive Dyskinesia, tremors, anxiety, slurred speech, inner restlessness and a host of other adverse effects.

Seems like a no-brainer. But, maybe, the wrong question is being asked. Maybe the question should be: what exactly is the upside of taking an antipsychotic?

Kelly Patricia O’Meara is an award-winning former investigative reporter for the Washington Times, Insight Magazine, penning dozens of articles exposing the fraud of psychiatric diagnosis and the dangers of the psychiatric drugs—including her ground-breaking 1999 cover story, Guns & Doses, exposing the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills that Kill. Prior to working as an investigative journalist, O’Meara spent sixteen years on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer to four Members of Congress. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland.