Duty to Warn

new-logo25kohlsGary G. Kohls, MD



The readers of my weekly Duty to Warn columns know that I often write about some of the concerns that I have regarding the once honorable medical profession that, for 40 years, I called my own.

Actually, my major concerns haven’t been solely about physicians, but about the for-profit systems that have arisen since I was a medical student. Most of the med school friends that I knew seemed to be serious about their desire to do good in the world. I sincerely believed that most of us took seriously the Hippocratic Oath (“first do no harm”) that we all swore to adhere to when we got our medical degrees.

I was naively grateful to Eli Lilly when that drug company gave us reflex hammers, stethoscopes and a doctor’s bag during our second-year clinical rotations. I still have them and, although the rubbery parts are getting pretty brittle now, the chrome plating is still shiny.

The reputation of Lilly since the 1960s, however, has been increasingly grimy on its ethical inside but somehow still somewhat shiny on the outside – when it comes to corporate profits.

Ever since 1989, there have been thousands of lawsuits (originating in every state of the union) that have been brought against Lilly just from its block buster (so-called “antidepressant” drug Prozac. Prozac received FDA approval for marketing in 1987 and it didn’t take long for surprised and alarmed psychiatrists all over the world to start seeing dramatic increases in suicide attempts and suicidal thinking among the patients that they had naively recommended taking the new, heavily advertised drug.  One set of Prozac class action suits settled for $1.5 billion.

To mention another example of Lilly’s dangerous line-up of psychotropic drugs, the company settled a class action lawsuit in 2007 with 18,000 psych drug-injured patients because it had misrepresented the serious (and sometimes lethal) adverse effects of its next block buster drug, the major tranquilizer (aka “antipsychotic” drug) Zyprexa. The suit cost them a half a billion dollars, which is actually chump change for Big Pharma corporations like Lilly. More Zyprexa civil and criminal lawsuits are yet to come over the obesity, diabetes and heart problems that are known to be caused by the drug. Lilly never took either drug off the market. Nor did the FDA.

In a third example of a dangerous Lilly drug, it should be mentioned that there are hundreds, if not thousands of lawsuits against Lilly because it has been established that Lilly intentionally mis-represented the incidence of what has come to be known as the Cymbalta Withdrawal Syndrome. Lilly claimed a 1% incidence whereas other studies found significant withdrawal symptoms in 40% – 50% of long-term Cymbalta users.

Beware of Salespersons Who Come to Your Clinic Bearing Gifts

I could go on and on with other data detailing Big Pharma’s malfeasance. Those three Lilly drugs mentioned were easy targets because a number of my patients had been harmed or hooked on them. But Lilly is not – sadly – atypical when it comes to lawsuits and legal damages against Big Pharma corporations. The large numbers mask the immensity of the suffering that I don’t have space to mention. I saw the damages first hand, but none of my damaged patients ever found a lawyer who was willing to take their case.

For most of my medical career, I have been suspicious of drug reps that came bearing gifts. I did politely listen to them, and I also ate an occasional lobster and steak dinner while having to endure a lecture from some drug company-affiliated academic physician who had been paid thousands of dollars (on an all-expenses paid tour) just to give a short talk about a specific disorder or drug. It wasn’t hard to figure out what was the real message.

These same drug reps would often show up at my clinic, “generously” bringing free pens, pizzas and post-it notes. Before they left, they would stock the clinic’s drug sample room with colorful pills in little boxes that were to be given out free to my unaware (and often naively grateful) patients, thus saving them a little money at the start of their “treatment”, but with the high likelihood of their becoming dependent on the new, very expensive and potentially addictive drug, which would eventually cost her or her insurance company a ton of money.

Little did I realize how cunning were the intentions of the pseudo-magnanimous Eli Lilly and Company (not to mention all the other Big Pharma companies) that were obviously, in retrospect, trying to buy my loyalty so early in my career.

Because I spent the last decade of my career providing holistic, non-drug, mental health care to patients (who sometimes identified themselves as “psychiatric survivors”), I became increasingly aware of the dark side of the psycho-pharmaceutical industry.

In taking careful, time-consuming histories from my patients (who knew they were being sickened by their drugs), I learned that most of what had been previously diagnosed as a permanent “chronic mental illness” (“of unknown cause” but still “needing life-long medication”) was in fact just a temporary affliction that just needed good counseling and a brain-healthy diet and not brain-altering, potentially addicting, life-long medications.

Virtually all of my patients had been initially – and wrongly – diagnosed with a new mental illness diagnosis, and then, after they had tried to cut down on their drugs, had again been wrongly diagnosed as having a “relapse” of their “mental disorder” rather than suffering with a dangerous drug-withdrawal syndrome – an iatrogenic disease (a doctor-caused or treatment-caused problem).

Rather than suffering from mental illnesses “of unknown cause”, virtually every one of my patients was actually suffering from identifiable emotional stresses “of known cause” (and therefore preventable and also more logically treatable).

My patients were actually undiagnosed victims of psychological trauma in childhood or adolescence, domestic abuse or military trauma. Therefore I did a lot of teaching about the reality of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how easy it is for health caregivers to make erroneous diagnoses of “mental illnesses of unknown etiology” if not enough time is taken in the initial interview. I also taught my patients and their concerned families about the physiology and pathophysiology of the brain at the synapse level, the mechanisms of action of the various drugs and the molecular structures of the drugs that were sickening them.

But the most time-consuming and difficult part of my practice was the process of helping them slowly taper down and hopefully off of their offending brain-altering medications. Success at drug withdrawal is difficult to predict because psychiatric drug-afflicted patients may have been on their medications for years or decades, in bewildering numbers of cocktail combinations (none FDA-approved or tested for safety even in the rat labs). Most of my patients had become dependent/addicted to the offending drugs, so adverse withdrawal effects were common.

My purpose here is not to try to outline the multitude of ways that patients can be helped to get off of their psych drugs; each case was unique and therefore each case had to be individualized. Any attempt to generalize about how patients can be helped to get through drug withdrawal syndromes is difficult or impossible, because of the many variables involved.

Among the variables that need to be considered are age, gender, intrauterine (maternal) drug, vaccine or alcohol exposures, breast-feeding (or not), infant or childhood vaccine-induced neurological damage, history of family-rearing traumas that would include neglect or sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual traumas, physical health, prior and current drug use (both illicit and prescription), past or current nutritional deficiencies, past or present toxic food ingestion, exposure to environmental toxins (pollutants in air, water, soil or food), history of head trauma, history of adolescent vaccine-induced brain damage, etc.

Therefore it is impossible to outline how any given psychotropic drug-wounded and mis-diagnosed psychiatric patient can be helped to reverse the damage, but I do feel it is my duty to warn as many people as I can so that they can become aware that there are alternatives to psychotropic drugs or electroshock.

In summary, the major themes that I have dealt with in many of my past Duty to Warn columns have included: 1) the known dangers of the synthetic drugs that are commonly prescribed for often temporary emotional problems; 2) the serious, often life-threatening withdrawal syndromes that can result when these drugs are stopped or tapered down too rapidly (thus indicating that the drugs were addictive); 3) information about brain nutrient therapy for brain-malnourished folks who may actually be neurologically-impaired and not simply mentally-impaired; 4) safer, non-toxic, non-drug alternative approaches to mental ill health; 5) information about the reality of combat and non-combat-induced psychological traumas (PTSD) as causative factors in mental ill health; and 6) the large variety of aspects of PTSD that have been mis-diagnosed as “mental illnesses of unknown origin”.

My experience dealing with psychiatric survivors is unique. My writings were informed by my clinical experience at a mental institution full of psychologically traumatized and then drugged-up patients and as an independent holistic health care practitioner with over a thousand patients who came to me with drug toxicity and mental ill health issues.

I’m also just one of a number of black-listed whistle-blowers world-wide who have been “crying in the wilderness”, with no money from Big Pharma sugar daddies who arrange the many mainstream media appearances of a host of well-paid, pro-drug, academic psychiatrists. There are no industry lobbyists or corporations that are interested in helping us whistle-blowers to refute – with good science to back up the message – the copious propaganda that comes from the mega-corporations that are in the drug game primarily for their next quarter’s profit report and increasing shareholder value, not to mention the reputation of their highly paid lobbyists, their ad agencies, their spokespersons and their spin doctors.

American corporations have no legally enforceable obligation to work for the benefit of the patients who will be taking sub-lethal doses of their potentially toxic products for the rest of their lives. And, in the same vein, it needs to be mentioned that American vaccine manufacturers are legally immune from prosecution for injury or death because of their neurotoxic vaccines. Brain damage from over-vaccination programs and the over-prescribing of psych drugs is hard to prove in court, especially with the power of the Big Pharma’s multi-million dollar legal teams.

As mentioned above, I took the Hippocratic Oath the day I received my medical degree, as did the honorable psychiatrist-authors Peter Breggin, Loren Mosher, Joseph Glenmullen, David Healy, Grace Jackson and any number of other courageous and altruistic whistle-blowing physicians who have regarded it as their sacred duty to warn unsuspecting others about the hidden dangers of synthetic prescription drugs that are contaminating the brains and bodies of hundreds of millions of unsuspecting humans. Those brave psychiatrists also took their oath seriously, even though they were risking the wrath of their employers and members of their own profession. Each of them had their careers threatened for rocking the boat. It seemed that none of their good deeds went unpunished.

George Orwell understood the whistleblower’s dilemma well when he said: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” And that is where the concept of cognitive dissonance comes in, being willfully blind or ignorant when being confronted by new truths.

Considering the “heretical” authors mentioned above and the “heretic” Orwell’s profound truth, I feel that I have been in good company.

Posted at: Duluth Reader


DISCLAIMER: Readers who are interested in reducing their psych drug use should consult their prescribing physician and not suddenly stop them. Stopping drugs suddenly can be more dangerous than starting them. They should consult a physician knowledgeable in neuroscience, brain nutrition and with experience in helping people safely discontinue psychiatric medications.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic, non-drug, mental health care for the last decade of his family practice career. He now writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.