Peter R. Breggin, MD, has been called “The Conscience of Psychiatry” for his many decades of successful efforts to reform the mental health field.
Peter R. Breggin M.D. conducts a private practice of psychiatry in Ithaca , New York , where he treats adults, couples, and families with children. He also does consultations in the field of clinical psychopharmacology and often acts as a medical expert in criminal, malpractice and product liability suits. Before moving to Ithaca in November 2002 he was in practice for nearly thirty-five years in Washington , DC and Bethesda , Maryland . He has written dozens of scientific articles and many professional books, including Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008), and is on the editorial board of several journals. Dr. Peter Breggin's scientific and educational work has provided the foundation for modern criticism of psychiatric drugs and ECT, and leads the way in promoting more caring and effective therapies. He has authored dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty books including the bestseller Talking Back to Prozac (1994, with Ginger Breggin), Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008), and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: a Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families (2013). In 2010 Dr. Breggin and his wife Ginger formed a new organization, the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, that continues their emphasis on bringing professional and laypersons together to share their concerns about the hazards of contemporary biological psychiatry while promoting more caring and empathic approaches to personal conflict and suffering. The Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy maintains a critical analysis of biopsychiatry while exploring and promoting more effective empathic approaches in mental health, education, and living. Many of Dr. Breggin’s accomplishments as a reformer are documented in detail in The Conscience of Psychiatry: The Reform Work of Peter R. Breggin, M.D. (2009). This biographical tribute to Dr. Breggin’s work draws on more than half-a-century of media and more than 70 special contributions from his colleagues, as well as many other sources. Dr. Breggin’s background includes Harvard College, Case Western Reserve Medical School, a one-year internship and a three-year residency in psychiatry, including a teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School. After his training, he accepted a two-year staff appointment at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has taught at several universities, including a faculty appointment to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Counseling and an appointment as Visiting Scholar at SUNY Oswego in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services in 2007-2008. He later taught as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at SUNY Oswego. In the early 1990s Dr. Breggin was appointed and approved by the court as the single scientific expert for more than 100 combined Prozac product liability concerning violence, suicide and other behavioral aberrations caused by the antidepressant. In 2001-2002, he participated as a medical expert in a California lawsuit whose resolution was associated with a new label warning for Paxil concerning withdrawal effects. Recently Dr. Breggin was the medical expert in the first psychosurgery malpractice suit and also the first ECT malpractice suit ever won in court. He has been a medical expert in many courtroom victories for individuals injured by medications, including numerous cases of tardive dyskinesia caused by neuroleptic drugs. Dr. Breggin has been approved as an expert and testified in more than 90 court cases since 1987, including criminal, malpractice, and product liability. See Dr. Breggin's resume on his website at www.Breggin.com for a list of cases since 1987. These cases often involve psychopharmacology and adverse drug effects, neuroleptic-induced tardive dyskinesia, SSRI-induced violence and suicide, and psychosurgery and ECT-induced brain damage. Some of the suits in which Dr. Breggin has been involved, and some of research he have published, resulted in changes being made in the FDA-approved labels for neuroleptics and SSRI antidepressants. Dr. Breggin has also been a consultant to the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) on the adverse effects of psychiatric drugs on pilots.