This is another groundbreaking and insightful book from psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin. In Reclaiming our Children: A Healing Solution for a Nation in Crisis, Breggin makes the case that society has, over time, begun to invest less and less in the support and attention that is given to children. Parents have become too busy, and as a result less involved in their children’s lives. Then children begin to seek that support they are longing for through behaviors such as violence, frustration, humiliation and anger.
Breggin felt moved to write this book after the events surrounding the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. He was disturbed by the response of government, which used biological psychiatry as an explanation for mental states that lead to these events, and subsequently pushed psychiatric drugs as a solution. Biological psychiatry attributes a chemical imbalance in the brain as the cause of rebellion, violence and misbehavior in children, as opposed to what is going on in their environment and how they are responding.
Breggin does an excellent job of presenting evidence, through his own counseling experiences, that psychiatric drugs can lead to aggression, and potentially even be the cause, not the solution, to events like Columbine. He says that you cannot fix all these behaviors by trying to fix a child’s brain. Often, aggressive, violent and other unruly behaviors are often a response by the child to being mistreated, by their parents or others in society.
About the Author
Peter R. Bregg, M.D., is a a psychiatrist who is very well known for helping set the stage for modern criticism of psychiatric treatments and psychotropic drugging. He has promoted so much success in the field of mental health that he has acquired the nickname “conscience of psychiatry.” HIs reform efforts began in the 1970s, and resulted in almost a complete cease in the use of procedures like lobotomy and psychosurgery in the Western World. Then in the 1990s, he and his wife Ginger were able to stop a federal eugenics project that was planned on America’s inner-city children. You can find more details about this in the book he co-authored with Ginger, The War Against Children of Color.
Breggin has been a full-time consultant at NIMH, as well as for the FAA. He has published over 20 books and numerous scientific articles. Some of his books include Toxic Psychiatry, The Antidepressant Factbook, and Talking Back to Prozac. His latest book is Covid-19 and the Global Predators: We are the Prey. Dr. Breggin is also the founder and director of The Center for the Study of Emphatic Therapy, Education and Living. He attended Harvard, and currently resides in Ithaca, NY. Find out more on his website, www.breggin.com.
Douglas A. Smith, from the organization Antipsychiatry.org:
“By giving the reader an understanding of children’s thinking, he illustrates the stupidity of the underlying assumption of biological psychiatry, namely, that children’s (and adult’s) problems are caused by abnormalities of their brains, which in turn, to the ignorant, justifies the use of psychiatric drugs.”
Gwen Broude, in the article Scatterbrained Child Rearing from Reason.com:
“It is trivially true that all of a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior are a product of what is going on in the brain. But when people begin to see every inconvenient behavior as a disorder, and when they then propose, on the basis of the so-called new brain science, that we fix the child by fixing his brain, we have got a problem. Breggin targets this recent tendency on the part of educators, psychiatrists, and policy makers to view children’s behaviors as dysfunctions when they depart from the norm and then to advocate medical treatments for those supposed dysfunctions.”