Psychiatry and Accountability

Psychiatry and Accountability
By Colin Taufer
January 2017

“Your son needs medication to control his impulsive behavior in my classroom.”

These words, or some variation of them, are the ones that begin millions of our nation’s children down a destructive path filled with unfortunate consequences. One such effect, usually lost sight of, is the insidious damage such diagnoses do to the child’s sense of personal responsibility. After all, the most important people in the child’s life, his parents and teachers, have agreed that he cannot control his own behavior. They’ve concluded that self-control is not something he is capable of, let alone responsible for. Further, with this analysis stated as “fact”, the teacher and parent are comforted to know that it wasn’t their fault the child acted that way. A tacit agreement develops absolving all involved. After all, he must have a chemical imbalance in his brain. It’s a “disease”.

“When children are told they have ADHD and need medications, they are given the idea that they cannot control their behaviour. The diagnosis of ADHD discourages personal responsibility. This almost inevitably disrupts emotional growth and renders the child less able to grow up into a mature adult.” Those are the words of psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin, a tireless advocate for reform in the field of mental health.

What happens to these same children who’ve been indoctrinated to the idea that their poor self-control has nothing to do with them but a nebulous “imbalance of brain chemicals”?

They become adults with the same problems:

“I can’t focus because of my adult-ADHD.”

“My anxiety medication helps me to cope with my stressful job.”

“I keep my desk very orderly. I must have OCD.”

We also get Big Pharma and their billions recruiting celebrities such as Maroon 5’s Adam Levine shilling for “adult ADHD”. In a typical interview from 2014 Levin cunningly excused his inability to focus on his “disease”, “People notice my ADHD as an adult on a daily basis. When I can’t pay attention, I really can’t pay attention.” Speaking of celebrity endorsements, Big Pharma marketing executives must have cartwheeled around their offices in joy when photos of Carrie Fisher’s ashes being carried in a porcelain Prozac pill hit the media in December 2016.

Beyond the false diagnosis of “it’s not your fault”, the medication itself compounds the problem. For all psychiatric drugs have debilitating side effects that further reduce one’s ability to exercise accountability within one’s own control or power: aggression, anxiety, abnormal behavior, fatigue and depression — just a few of the most commonly reported side-effects of psychopharmaceuticals. Responsibility for their actions lies even further beyond their awareness when these mind-numbing drugs are mixed in.

In the hands of psychiatry the moral child, the moral adult, the moral society all become amoral at best, immoral at worst.

Colin Taufer

Colin Taufer


Welcome to my monthly column. I am a career educator, writer and lifelong advocate for human rights. With each article, I hope to shine a light into the dark world of psychiatry to make stronger champions of human rights, to stir into action, to enlighten. As always, I appreciate feedback from readers. I can be reached at