Psychiatry, Mental Illness and Brain Drugs, or Why I Wrote the Book,
"Warning, Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health"
By William Glasser MD, President, The William Glasser Institute, Board Certified in Psychiatry
When our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence it included the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," I believe they meant for the government to be the major provider of life and liberty. But pursuing happiness was each citizen’s individual problem. In my more than forty years of psychiatric practice, the problem of every person who came to see me could be summed up with one word: Unhappiness. Either they were unhappy themselves or they were unhappy because an important person in their lives was not behaving the way they wanted him or her to behave. Yet when I also saw some of those people I found they were also very unhappy. What I have discovered over the years is that people can learn a lot about how to become happier when they are unhappy. But there is no drug that can make us happy. To become happy we need close satisfying relationships with the important people in our lives. Addicting drugs can make us feel good. But there is no happiness in pills.
In all the years I have practiced, I have successfully counseled almost all the people I have seen. I have never prescribed a drug. Since we are by nature social beings, I have worked to make a positive, trusting relationship with the people I see. Mostly I succeeded and through this relationship convinced them to examine their lives and start the process of getting along much better than they did with their husbands, wives, children, parents, teachers and bosses. If they had no one, I tried to teach them how to find someone with whom they could relate. When they did this, they became happier. Like magic their pain and symptoms disappeared.
But in the last twenty years, my profession, psychiatry, has changed. Psychiatrists, aided and abetted by huge drug companies with their advertising clout, will convince you that your unhappiness is a mental illness. If you suffer from some of the common symptoms of unhappiness like depression or anxiety almost all the psychiatrists you or your family members will see, will diagnose you with a mental illness you do not have, treat you with possibly harmful brain drugs for this nonexistent illness and tell you there is nothing you can do to help yourself.
These and more are the hazards of psychiatry. What they won’t talk to you about is what you most need to know: How to improve your mental health.
Supported by reams of evidence, my book will explain that you are not mentally ill, there is no pathology in your brain and you can do a lot to help yourself. Psychiatrists are the only physicians who diagnose illness when there is no pathology to support their diagnoses. There is no medical test to prove the existence of pathology in any of the 465 mental illness they claim exist. And no matter how unhappy you may be there is clear information in my book that you can use to help yourself or teach to members of your family so they can help themselves. I am a different kind of psychiatrist. I focus on what you need to know, mental health. I do not use that term as a cover up for mental illness. In clear, easy to understand language, I explain how you can learn to make the choice theory I have created a part of your life. When you do, you will become happier and mentally healthier than you are now.
When you are overweight and easily fatigued and go to a competent doctor, he will examine, test and most of the time tell you that you are not physically ill, you are out of shape. Eat less, exercise more and you’ll be physically healthy again. When you read my book, you will find out that when you are unhappy, or "mentally out of shape," you are not mentally ill. Choice theory becomes the mental exercise you need to restore your mental health. Over the last twenty years thousands of people have learned choice theory or one of its close precursors and no one has ever been harmed. When you get closer to the important people in your life, you can only help yourself.
To do what I suggest, you do not have to stop anything you are doing now including taking brain drugs. And unlike dieting and exercising adding choice theory to your life is a very pleasant change. The more you do it, the more you want to do it. Of course, I don’t say that there are no people who suffer from brain pathology and are treated by neurologists not psychiatrists. Examples of proven diseases of the brain are Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease or epilepsy.
Finally, I want to say that the William Glasser Institute has been focusing on mental health and teaching choice theory along with its major precursor, reality therapy, for over thirty years. During that time we have trained over 55,000 counselors and teachers in the use of these ideas. We have programs in many countries around the world. I have written twenty books that are translated into many languages that are listed on this website. What convinced us we are on the right track is that thousands of people who have taken even one week of our three weeks of training have told me or their many instructors how surprised they were when they discovered that what they learned to use in their profession had helped them as much or more in their personal lives.