Neuroleptics do much more harm than good and should not be used

By Peter C Gøtzsche
Professor and Director
Institute for Scientific Freedom

This is the accepted chapter 4 in Psychological Interventions for Psychosis: Towards a Paradigm Shift, edited by Juan Antonio Díaz-Garrido, Raquel Zúñiga, Horus Lafitte and Eric Morris, published in 2023 by Springer. The book is available online at

Read the whole book chapter here.

Abstract: The current paradigm in psychiatry is that psychosis should be treated with neuroleptics as first-line therapy. Neuroleptics should not be used at all. Randomised trials have shown that they kill many patients and do not have clinically relevant effects but cause permanent brain damage in most patients treated long-term and prevent them from coming back to a more normal life. If an acutely disturbed patient feels that a drug is needed, benzodiazepines work faster than neuroleptics, are much less toxic, and are also what virtually all patients prefer if asked. Psychiatry seems to be the only area in society where the law is systematically being violated all over the world. We need to respect the patients’ rights and the law, which will also lead to better outcomes.