By Tom Cowan, M.D.
I have had an uneasy relationship with psychiatry virtually my entire medical career. Soon after I opened my practice in a small town in New Hampshire in the late 1980s, I started to work with a couple of local Camp Hill Villages. One was just starting a program to house young men and women who were diagnosed with a mental illness and would otherwise have been shut away in a mental health hospital. This Camp Hill Village was situated on an organic farm, and the idea was that through living in a stable family setting and doing real farm and gardening work, some residents could not only heal their mental illness but also learn useful life skills. I became the consultant physician for this initiative and advised the community about such things as diet.
At the time, I was still doing what I would call classic anthroposophical medicine, which includes a pharmacopeia of natural medicines for virtually every situation. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophic medicine, talked often about the etiology of schizophrenia as a “loosening” of the soul and spirit from the physical and etheric bodies. He suggested that this loosening could happen in each of three realms. When it happens in the metabolic region, we get diarrhea. When it happens in the rhythmical/blood realm, we get hemophilia, and when it happens in the head/thinking domain, we get schizophrenia. For each of these situations, he proposed a medicine from the crystal called stibium, which he said knitted together the various bodies of the human being, counteracting the underlying cause of these three diseases.
One of our first patients was a young man in his early 20s who had florid psychosis as part of his schizophrenia. His parents were adamantly against conventional psychiatric treatment and so brought him to us to live and be treated. In my initial encounter with him and his parents, I explained the anthroposophical view of schizophrenia and its treatment, intravenous stibium. They consented to this treatment, and I gave him the medicine. A week or so later, both his parents and the Camp Hill workers called to tell me about the remarkable improvement this young man had experienced. They said he was much clearer in his thinking, more cooperative, less agitated and able to participate in the life of the village more fully. I asked them to bring the young man for a second injection in one month.
When I saw him a few weeks later, he was still doing well, and he talked about the wonders of the injection. Unfortunately, I had run out of the 10 cc ampules I had used initially and instead used a few 3 cc ampules for his next injection. It was the exact same medicine, just in different ampules. For whatever reason, this young man got stuck on the belief that I was giving him a different medicine. He claimed the “new medicine” didn’t work and begged me to give him the original formulation. As soon as the new shipment arrived, I called them back and gave him an injection using the original-size ampule.
Again, for whatever reason, every time he saw me from then on, he claimed I was not giving him the miracle first preparation, that I was deliberately undermining him and withholding the real medicine. Nothing I said or showed him made any difference. He became fixated on this change, slowly got worse and worse, until one night I got a call that this young man had been killed by a motor vehicle as he was wandering around naked in the middle of the night. This experience was so devastating, I never quite recovered from it. At the time, I felt as if I never wanted to treat another person with a serious mental illness ever again, and for the most part, I didn’t.
As time went on, I began to read more and more about the failure and nonsense that is the basis of modern psychiatry. I read Thomas Szasz’s “The Myth of Mental Illness,” Robert Whitaker’s “Mad in America” and my favorite, John Modrow’s “How to Become a Schizophrenic.” Each of these books, as well as other articles and excerpts I read, told the same story: Mental Illness is not a chemical imbalance; psychiatric drugs do not address the underlying causes of mental illness and are among the most toxic substances a human being can ingest; and, most shockingly, effective, safe and well-documented treatments and actual cures exist for most mental illnesses and have been used in some cases for more than a century.
My uneasiness about mental illness was that, similar to heart disease, vaccines/pediatrics, and cancer, I knew the modern understanding of these illnesses was deeply flawed, the treatments often did more harm than good, and a better way forward could be found. However, I didn’t want to have anything to do with psychiatry, and I couldn’t bring myself to even consider writing such a book. The good news —and the real point of this blog — is that now I don’t have to write the book, as Kelly Brogan, M.D., has done it for us.
In her new book, “Own Your Self,” Brogan meticulously dissects the fallacies and flawed thinking of modern psychiatry. She provides proof that the commonly held beliefs by both modern psychiatrists and modern psychiatric patients are not only factually inaccurate but also trap patient and doctor into a system of toxic medicine that inexorably leads to the deterioration of the quality of life for the patient. In spite of her training as a board-certified psychiatrist, she still has the courage and integrity to see the edifice of psychiatry as the house of cards that it is.
Brogan, thankfully, doesn’t stop there. She not only gives her readers a step-by-step blueprint for how to get off toxic psychiatric drugs, but she also guides them in all aspects of how to regain total health. I encourage anyone with a mental health condition or anyone interested in mental health or psychiatry to get this book and not only read it, but use it. “Own Your Self” is a much-needed call and very wise and doable plan to pull our country and world back from the clutches of the misguided and toxic psychiatric quagmire.