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The common sense way to get off of antidepressants

an open letter to Frederick S. Barrett, Ph.D., cognitive neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 23, 2024

ear Dr. Barrett:

My name is Brian... and I am a 65-year-old chronic depressive who has been on Effexor for the last 30 years. I was initially excited by the psychedelic renaissance when I read about it over a decade ago now, but I soon found out that it had nothing to offer me. It turned out that, due to liability issues surrounding a rare side effect known as Serotonin Syndrome, antidepressant users like myself were ineligible for all the benefits of psychedelic medicine, whether from stateside clinical trials or from overseas retreats.

I personally feel that psychiatric science has a debt to folks like myself, for I would contend that we have been turned into eternal patients thanks to the war on drugs, which outlawed for us all obvious mood-improving substances, shunting us off instead onto SSRIs and SNRIs, which turn out to cause strong chemical dependence and some of which can be harder to quit than heroin (Julie Holland). Thus 1 in 4 American women, in my view, have been turned into wards of the healthcare state.

But I am not writing to slam materialist medicine but rather to suggest a way that it can undo some of the harm that it has caused by turning folks like myself into eternal patients.

Could we please meet for an hour -- or at least a half-hour -- so that I can outline a suggested clinical trial to test a withdrawal process for SNRIs & SSRIs, one which is designed to take advantage of the mind-focusing and incentivizing qualities of psychedelic use in order to strengthen the withdrawing person's resolve to "stay the course" and get off of the antidepressants in question -- and to stay off them thanks to the follow-up use of entheogens and psychedelics?

I fear that such a protocol will not be looked kindly upon by Big Pharma, but perhaps we could at least discuss it. It also depends on common sense psychology like anticipation, something that I fear that materialist science tends to pooh-pooh, in the same way that Dr. Robert Glatter maintained in Forbes magazine in 2021 that he was not sure if laughing gas could help the depressed! In my opinion, this distrust of "merely" subjective results, such as laughter of all things, makes scientists think and reason like Dr. Spock of Star Trek, completely ignoring the truths of common sense psychology.

I am available to meet with you on the day, time and location of your choice. I am also ready to be your first guinea pig in such a clinical trial as I propose, should it become finalized and approved. I am even ready to relocate if necessary to become part of such a study.

I am not writing out of an abstract interest in psychedelic science, but rather because I have "skin in this game." That is, I wish to enjoy and study the effects of psychedelics before I die, for reasons of a psychological, spiritual and philosophical nature (bearing in mind that William James himself urged us to study altered states). I also want to finally become free of antidepressants so that I no longer have to experience those humiliating and expensive tri-monthly visits to a mental health clinic in which I am urged to divulge the details of my psychological life to someone who is one-third my age.

Given that 1 in 4 American women are also dependent on the daily use of antidepressants, I would suggest that someone in the psychedelic renaissance has a duty to help this demographic of eternal patients. Otherwise, the benefits of the psychedelic renaissance will remain unavailable to precisely those who need and deserve them the most.

Please let me know if we can meet so that I can present the outlines of a clinical trial, one that will help veteran antidepressant users like myself to get off of these dependence-causing drugs with the psychological and spiritual support of psychedelic and entheogenic medicine, medicine to be monitored such that Serotonin Syndrome can be avoided and/or quickly treated should its symptoms present.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to your response!

Next essay: I'll See Your Antidepressants and Raise You One Huachuma Cactus
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William James Tweets

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

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You have been reading an article entitled, The common sense way to get off of antidepressants: an open letter to Frederick S. Barrett, Ph.D., cognitive neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University, published on April 23, 2024 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)