FIONA French makes very pertinent points in her letter (December 13). It seems that the medical profession is spellbound by medicine, unable to see that medicines, by their very nature, are toxic and must be understood as such and used with extreme caution.

Psychiatry (backed by the pharmaceutical industry) has been very keen to encourage use of psychiatric drugs; also to encourage the public, via campaigns such as Defeat Depression and countless anti-stigma initiatives to visit their GPs for diagnosis and treatment ... usually with “safe and effective” (sic) antidepressants, apparently being all that GPs now have in their “toolkit”.

Psychiatrists seem to have little interest in helping people to safely taper off the prescribed drugs and GPs are left coping with, and having to take responsibility for, management of the ongoing resulting perplexing consequences.

Fiona French writes: “We need to discuss the toxic effects of the drugs, the impact on the brain and body and the possibilities for appropriate testing to ascertain the level of damage”. Indeed: this is desperately needed.

It so happens that the 3rd International Conference on Functional (Psychogenic) Neurological Disorders took place over three days in Edinburgh in September.

The programme for this event makes for unexpected reading, when it appears that much of what was being discussed, described and debated was highly likely to be neurological damage sustained as a result of over-prescribing of neurotoxic medicines.

Now it seems that there is a concerted effort to persuade us that it is all “psychogenic”. The British medical Journal article Christmas 2017:Time and Place, Different Shell, Same Shock’ was actually the topic of the opening lecture at this recent Edinburgh event.

The article includes the following statement: “It is increasingly accepted that beliefs about bodily dysfunction can trickle down the hierarchical neural architecture of the brain to produce expected symptoms beyond the conscious control of patients.”

And so it seems that the specialism of neurology, instead of being engaged in helping to explore and understand what neurological dysfunction and/or damage has been sustained and why, is busy trying to find all manner of guises to explain it away as “psychogenic”.

Shell shock and toxic drug effects?

This is frankly astonishing and deeply disturbing. George Orwell would, I believe, certainly recognise what seems to be happening.

Marion Brown,