Episode 04: The myths of the chemical imbalance and the chemical cure for psychiatric disorders

Episode 4


Professor of Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London, Joanna Moncrieff, is co-founder of the Critical Psychiatry Network based in the UK and has advocated for far less use of psychiatric drugs for decades, in scientific articles and books.

In this episode, Peter C Gøtzsche discusses with Professor Joanna Moncrieff what critical psychiatry is about; why psychiatric drugs are much overused and based on false premises; and how the disease centred and the drug centred model for psychiatric drugs can help explain the predicament we are in.


Moncrieff J. The bitterest pills: the troubling story of antipsychotic drugs. Palgrave Macmillan; 2013.

Moncrieff J. The myth of the chemical cure: a critique of psychiatric drug treatment. Palgrave Macmillan; 2007.

Moncrieff J. A straight talking introduction to psychiatric drugs. PCCS Books; 2013.

Demasi M, Gøtzsche PC. Presentation of benefits and harms of antidepressants on websites: cross sectional study. Int J Risk Saf Med 2020;31:53-65.

Gøtzsche PC. The Norwegian Psychiatric Association propagates dangerous misinformation about their specialty. Copenhagen: Institute for Scientific Freedom 2023; Aug 30.

Coupland C, Dhiman P, Morriss R, et al. Antidepressant use and risk of adverse outcomes in older people: population based cohort study. BMJ 2011;343:d4551.

Whitaker R. Anatomy of an epidemic, 2nd edition. New York: Broadway Paperbacks; 2015.

Horowitz MA, Taylor D. Tapering of SSRI treatment to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Lancet Psychiatry 2019;6:538-46.

Moncrieff J, Cooper RE, Stockmann T, et al. The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence. Mol Psychiatry 2022; July 20.

Moncrieff J, Cooper RE, Stockmann T, et al. The serotonin hypothesis of depression: both long discarded and still supported? Mol Psychiatry 2023; June 23.

Gøtzsche PC. Critical psychiatry textbook. Copenhagen: Institute for Scientific Freedom; 2022. Freely available.

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8 months ago

Dear Peter
Many thanks for this work which I think can reach many people
For now I have seen your interview to Joanna which I find excellent

Enric Garcia Torrents
8 months ago

Wonderful materials. Much needed counter-balance to the, still, dominant discourses that contribute to the suffering of always too many. Keep it on, Peter!

8 months ago

Thankyou so much for your podcasts. They are valuable in providing insight into the true facts of the research which is often presented to the public without any balance. I appreciate being able to hear the voices of those who have scrutinised the papers and are able to provide coherent explanation about the flaws in the interpretation of results, often used to support the theories of those who will most benefit from certain viewpoints. We need those who are not afraid to speak out and allow us as the public to make up our own minds.