Holistic Psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD Prescribes No Medications to Her Patients

Holistic Psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD Prescribes No Medications to Her Patients

I’m so happy to be here. I’m sitting with Dr. Kelly Brogan
who is a holistic psychiatrist, formally of New York,
now in Miami, Florida. And it is just such an honor. Since I started WellBe and well before that,
I was interested in the idea of holistic and integrative psychiatry and the idea
of treating mental illness without psychiatric drugs which is,
you know, very… which is not really done these days,
certainly in the U.S. And so, Kelly is just a pioneer in that
and she is one of the few known psychiatrists that takes a non-pharmaceutical approach
to treating mental illness. And so, she is a hero of mine
and it’s a real honor to be with her today. So, I have so many questions. As anybody that knows me
and has been following WellBe knows, a lot of my inspiration for doing this
was based on losing my mom and my mom’s battle through the mental health care system. As her caretaker,
seeing how that all went down was very eye-opening and disturbing
as to a lot of the problems of the system today. Kelly’s book which I’ve read most of talks
a lot about the problems of the system today so I’m going to talk a little bit
about my mom’s case with her and how she may approaches some of these
more serious mental illnesses but also ask her a lot about anxiety
and depression and these things that she sees all the time. First thing I have to say is I know that
you have an amazing story of health recovery through an experience that you’ve had after
you gave birth to your first daughter I believe, and before that was a totally conventional,
pill-prescribing M.D., and so I’d love if you’d that share with us. I feel like that gives a lot of explanation to
why you’re doing what you’re doing today. Absolutely. It’s an important part of the context
for what we’ll speak about is that I was an entirely conventional physician
before I had my own experience bumping up against the glass ceiling of
what conventional medicine has to offer. You’ll find most renegade doctors
have sort of jumped the fence because of our own personal health experiences. You live what your patients are going through
as they are just in the realm of managing symptoms and indentured servants
of this system that they never feel that they can get out of,
and until you experience that yourself, you don’t really have the motivation
to question anything that you’ve learned, also because of
the blood, sweat and tears that you invest in
a medical education and training. It wasn’t until, as someone specialized
believe it or not in prescribing to pregnant and breastfeeding women,
and that’s how much I believed in the pharmaceutical model
that I was one of the first 300 so-called Reproductive Psychiatrists
who specialized in helping to manage the 1 in 4 women of reproductive age
who found themselves either pregnant or looking to conceive. It was in that context
that after my own childbirth experience and postpartum window, prescribing
every day to women just like me, I began to sort of have this funny feeling
that I don’t think I would want to take an antidepressant as a pregnant woman. That’s an inconvenient feeling.
You know. Let’s tuck that under the rug. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed
with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is an exceedingly common,
especially in women, autoimmune condition that is particularly prevalent theoretically
around 10% of postpartum women. I think it’s probably far higher
than is statistically documented. I was diagnosed with that
about nine months postpartum on a routine physical and of course, chalked all the symptoms
that I was having of brain fog and memory issues, flat mood, the feeling of overwhelm,
hair and skin stuff, I chalked it up to new motherhood. We love to make excuses
so we don’t have to actually have to address what our body is trying to tell us. That same sort of feeling cropped up
where I said, “I don’t want to take
a prescription for the rest of my life.” It’s fine for my patients apparently
but I don’t want to do that. I went to a naturopath in New York. It was with her help, Nicole Egenberger,
that I changed my diet, I started some supplements and I watched,
because I’m still a very numbers, science-oriented kind of
a left-brained kind of gal. I watched my antibodies go
from the high 2,000 and a TSH of 20, I watched on paper that resolution
in a space of a year. I said, “Well, wow.” I never learned that diet matters in my Ivy League education. The average medical student
doesn’t have more than one hour of nutrition education
and it’s really like a window dressing. It’s like, “By the way, if your patient’s drinking
like a 32-ounce Pepsi every day, probably just tell them
they shouldn’t do that.” That’s literally the extent of it. I also didn’t learn that
autoimmune conditions, chronic conditions could be put into remission
through lifestyle change. That, just because of my personality,
my Irish-Italian roots, I had like a temper tantrum. I was like, “What?” So much rage about how much I’d invested
and sacrificed to learn only part of the story. I went back to the books. I’m very comfortable on PubMed.gov
and reading primary papers and knowing how to interpret them
and that’s what I did near obsessively for the ensuing years that I unpacked
everything I assumed to be true. Birth control is every woman’s right. Statins should be in the water. Antidepressants are the kindest thing
we can do for patients and on and on and on. Antibiotics and acid blockers and everything
that I just sort of assumed didn’t have a dark side, I went in and investigated it
and what I found was really shocking at worst and interesting at best
and really became the foundation
for a very new way of practicing medicine. Wow. Well, I think all of us tend to be
doing things like this if we have something
that really helps us get there. It’s like you wish
it hadn’t happened to you obviously. Nobody wishes you’d gotten Hashimoto’s
but once you see what came of it, you’re sort of like, “No regrets.
I wouldn’t change anything.” Absolutely. That’s what now
I think is part of the mindset that… really predicates any work that I do with patients is until you understand
that the body doesn’t make mistakes, it’s not here to bother you and break down on you,
and that these health crises, whether we identify them as hormonal
or mental/emotional or gastrointestinal or oncological, whatever it is,
it’s your life invitation to wake up and to begin to really align with who you are,
how to take care of yourself, what you’re going to do
and anyone who’s recovered or put a condition into remission or beat the odds so to speak
will tell you the same thing. They wouldn’t trade it for the world
and it was the moment of choice to say yes to it
and walk towards it, walk through it, rather than just try to continue
with business as usual, papering over your symptoms in an endless
hamster wheel of trying to stay ahead of them. I want to ask you about treating these
more serious things when it goes from trying to stay ahead
of symptoms to full breakdown because I think there’s starting to be more
or a little bit more or at least because I focus on this it seems that way, our little echo chamber
of people talking about foods for depression and that there are things that you could do
related to anxiety and depression that aren’t so out to lunch
but then there’s this wall up when it comes to any kind of a manic…
– Yes, severe. Severe, and it’s just like nothing
that you could do in your own life could ever have any effect
on something like that happening nor could you do something afterward
to heal the brain besides just a palm full of drugs. That’s what I saw and I furiously searched Google
for somebody like you as I was going through that, I remember bringing in McLean Hospital in Boston,
acclaimed, good hospital, asking about weird things I’d found on PubMed
for experimental fish oil injections and stuff like that
and they just looked at me like, “Get out.
You are not going to bother me with this. I have another patient in five minutes.
Be on your way. I know what I’m doing.” And so, how do you deal with cases
when it gets to be a more manic situation or these other bipolar, schizophrenia,
schizoaffective disorder, how do you just begin with that?
– Yeah. It’s so funny because
I can imagine myself being one of those doctors. I was one of those doctors who couldn’t
contain the eye roll about these questions we don’t have time for
about your natural remedies and something you read on a blog. These are the hallowed halls
of legitimate medicine. Please take your concerns elsewhere. I absolutely get what it is to defend something
that you’ve invested so much in and it’s really a religion in the end. My mentor, Dr. Nicholas Gonzales,
always talked about, he worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering
for a time and he said, “You know, it’s got all the trappings of religion.” The white coat costumes and the priests
with their special language and the doting, worshipping patients
who come to pay their respects, and there isn’t the room for conversation
about what’s right for each given individual, and that’s already a red flag, right? Whenever the science is settled
or whenever there’s not room for inquiry, we’re dealing with dogma
and what’s often been called scientism, which is the worship of
a certain kind of approach to science as if it’s a destination
rather than a process. I have that sort of in my mind
and I feel so passionately about this subject that I hope I don’t start spitting on you
get like red in the face because I’m criticized in many, many ways publicly
but one of the ones that does get me hot and bothered
is this implication that lifestyle medicine is fine for the worried well,
but what about the really sick people? That’s probably why I’ve devoted
my career to showcasing and publishing. Right now I have a team of
15 clinical volunteers who are devoted to publishing these cases
in the medical literature. We have five published so far. We have a randomized trial underway
just for fun, because why not? Just put it in black and white,
that severe and recidivistic mental illness is also amenable to lifestyle intervention
and maybe preferentially so. One of the outcomes we are publishing
is out of Scotland. It’s a young man who
was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia. He’s in his 20s. He was on medications that are reserved
for the severely ill, often require repeated blood draws
because they’re not unlike chemotherapy, so toxic that they could induce a medical crisis. He was so sick and his quality of life
was so compromised that his mom actually thought about taking him
to Belgium for euthanasia. For a mom to consider that,
you can imagine for that to be the most compassionate intervention,
like what the state of affairs really was. I never have met these folks. They participated in an online program
that I offer which is essentially a replication of what I do in clinical practice. They did it entirely on their own
and within two weeks, he went from totally non-functional
to seeking employment, within two weeks. I have many, many of these cases. When it’s that dramatic, like miraculous,
spontaneous remissions, typically the first thing I think of is,
“Wow, this was what’s called like gluten enteropathy.” This was a case of a brain allergy to
a very specific kind of protein found in commonly processed foods
and that’s all it took. I have another woman, Trudy,
who is again from an online program, so not a patient, right,
because you could say I do some kind of voodoo in my practice and are all these fancy people
who come to me and it’s highly selected. I don’t select or screen any of these people. This woman participated online,
made these lifestyle changes. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder,
had electroconvulsive treatment, very, very ill for many, many decades,
developed diabetes as a result of medication, related adverse effects, and she is
symptom-free coming off all her medications and went back to her psychiatrist
and he said, “Well, I guess –“ I mean, I’m animating it but he said,
“I guess your bipolar disorder was caused by gluten.” For a conventional doctor to acknowledge that,
it takes a lot. I really admire that openness. I actually believe that there are
a couple of significant ingredients to facilitating this kind of change
in this severely ill population because as you can potentially imagine,
I’m often the last stop. I wish I was more often the first stop,
but at this stage I’m not. People come to me
when they’re headed to state hospital, when they’ve been on five meds for 25 years,
when they have done electroconvulsive therapy, when nothing has worked
and they’re cycling through psychosis and mania or they’re chronically suicidal,
they’ve had multiple attempts. I have another patient, Allie,
who’s a very vocal advocate for this work now. She had five very serious suicide attempts,
had been in and out of in-patient hospitals, had severe self-injury and hers
was hormonally-related symptom flares and within two menstrual cycles,
she was in remission. She’s been off meds years now. Part of it is desperation. It’s a great motivator. I find that the outcomes
that are most dramatic that I see are with the sickest people
that I work with or that I have the privilege of interacting with
through my online program and that is
… I don’t do anything. They bring that.
They bring that readiness. That readiness is very difficult to quantify. You cannot induce it in someone. It has to organically emerge within them. Another critical ingredient is the mindset piece. It’s the belief system. Because I love data and science,
I got into the bad habit of trying to convince people, my colleagues,
skeptical family members or even patients, of the power of these interventions,
the power of sending the body a signal of safety from all of these different directions
and letting it recalibrate itself. We don’t know how to do it.
We don’t know what we’re doing. That’s an unfortunate truth. The editor of the BMJ will admit it as much. This isn’t like a quacky kind of claim
from a holistic fringe practitioner. From the hallowed halls of within
American and Western medicine, we are admitting that our data has been fudged. It’s rife with conflicts of interest
and the majority of what we call gold standard practice instead
is just actually consensus medicine, which means it’s just
what we’re doing so we’re doing it. We really don’t know what we’re doing. If we have a means of allowing
the body to take the wheel so to speak, then who are the appropriate patients
for that kind of medicine? I would argue everyone except for I know
that this mindset piece, it can’t be bought, right? So, that
has to come because I have work… I don’t think I’ve ever changed anyone’s mind. I could throw… data at you all day long
because that’s how I came to this, was through the science itself and a good
amount of motivation to discover that science. You cannot change minds and so instead,
what we can do with this information is stir awake a knowing that already exists. It’s like a remembrance. That’s really what it feels like
for most of the folks that I work with. It feels like,
“Oh gosh, that makes so much sense. How did I forget that?” Or like, “I always knew that these
gut problems were something I should’ve paid attention to.” or even I got to interview Kelly Gores.
– Yes. I know that you were in that film as well
and ended up doing some EFT work after that because I was so curious. I figured, I did six months of therapy
after my mom passed away, but there must be some more in there. Maybe a little, so I learned a lot of really
fascinating things from that but what I saw was like this level of
emotional trauma is almost like having a parasite. The effect on your body – You’re drained.
… it just lingers and drains and creates so much chronic inflammation.
– Yeah, absolutely. That’s the interesting thing about inflammation. It’s such a buzzword now
and I think most of us have heard of it and we think it’s this bad thing
that we want to get rid of. The more we can think about the body
as being inherently and innately wise, the easier the process of healing is because instead
inflammation, it’s just a messenger that is indicative of a need to balance. This is literally physiologically all it is. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not a good thing. There are elements that if
they become chronic can degenerate the body. There are elements that are regenerative,
but what’s interesting about it in the research that I’ve explored is that
the body doesn’t discriminate, so your psychological stress,
your emotionally suppressed arenas, your deeper spiritual questions
and your physical exposures, artificial foods and toxicant exposures
and lack of sunlight, lack of movement, it all registers the same.
The body doesn’t actually know. You could have a psychosocial stress
or a physical stressor and it reads the same on the cytokine level. To me, that’s fascinating because we like to,
in conventional medicine, think of them … well, there’s the mental/emotional,
that’s kind of over here but really what we’re here for is the body. I do think, the way I think about it,
is in terms of a triage. I do think like a Maslow’s hierarchy. There is an order of operations.
That’s my bias. I am also a passionate supporter of
energy medicine and shamanism and many other more indigenous modalities
that offer us the closest to a quick fix we could ever hope for with no side effects. In my sort of more biologically-based approach,
I do think… okay, so… let’s pick the low-hanging fruit
of the physical realm first because if you have blood sugar imbalance
or caffeine is just not a good fit for you, or alcohol is throwing you all over the place
or you have gluten or dairy antigenicity or you have a B12 deficiency.
It’s just simple stuff. The body is so forgiving. Within weeks you could literally be
a different person, also known as more yourself. Let’s start there because it may turn out
that you don’t have to go on a psycho-spiritual quest to
the motherland of your inner child, And it may. You may liberate energy
that allows you to look at toxic relationships and whether or not
you’re living purposefully and experiencing adequate
amounts of joy in your life. The physical release of the holding of
those kinds of chronic symptoms, of malaise really does liberate energy for you
to bring the rest of your life into focus, including neglected areas like relationships
and vocation and money sort of dynamics, etcetera. I sort of like to think everyone deserves one month
of their life, adult life let’s say. It’s one month of your life, it goes like this,
where you conduct an experiment on yourself and you really explore, what is my baseline? Who am I in this body, right? Do I really have anxiety?
Do I really have insomnia? Am I really struggling with chronic headaches
and bloating and constipation? Is that who I am or can I sort of peel back
some of the layers and really get a clear image of what’s at the core? That’s really where I like to start. Starting sort of with the physical
and primarily with food but there’s other components of that,
taking out toxic products and things like that and… is your approach, whether
it’s a slight depression or a manic episode. I mean, that’s fascinating.
– I know, I know. That’s why when I started to do this work,
really dedicating myself to taking people off of medications that I had,
through my research, learned had the capacity to induce chronically, exactly what is
that people went to them for acutely. That’s the unfortunate, dirty secret of
almost all pharmaceuticals, is what it is that you’re looking to resolve
will now become a chronic problem for you. The person who really turned me on to this… scientific reality is Robert Whitaker
who is an investigative journalist whose book Anatomy of an Epidemic
changed my life. Literally there was a before
and after in 2010 when I read it and you know… I get Mad in American newsletters.
– Yes. He’s a… He’s a very intrepid soul
and he’s not stopped yet. He’s really dedicated and he exposed me
to 16 studies that I had never heard of and I was a science nut remember,
so it’s not that I wasn’t reading the papers. I was, and no one ever told me
about this non-industry funded literature that, you know, demonstrates some of the acute
and chronic concerns about these medications across all categories: mood stabilizers,
antidepressants, benzodiazepines, meds for ADHD, all of them. Again, no carve outs for schizophrenia,
no carve outs for bipolar diagnoses and what he argues is that the epidemic
of mental health disability worldwide, where depression for example is the number one
cause of disability according to the WHO, is not some like
faulty gene that’s now merging in every single 1 in 16 Americans. In fact, it is seemingly what we call iatrogenic,
which means doctor-induced, not intentionally, and in fact, as someone who prescribed it,
like I said, to pregnant and breast-feeding women, was I doing that out of malice?
Of course not. It’s just incomplete information. It’s the nature of our system
that is largely subsidized and sponsored by the very industry that seeks to profit
from prescribing behaviors. It’s really that simple. When you learn more about these medications,
the informed consent process would be very different,
where you really talk about the potential that these medications have to
induce impulsive violence against self and others,
including suicide and homicide. Induce in people who otherwise
would not engage those kinds of behaviors, and the possibility that these medications
are extremely habit-forming, in my opinion, and this is something I have some degree
of expertise in having devoted my entire practice to this for 10 years,
taking women off of these medications, I’m not sure there’s
a more habit-forming chemical on the planet than your run-of-the-mill
psychiatric medication. I mean, I don’t see the need to go down
by a thousandth of a milligram a month with alcohol, crack cocaine or OxyContin, right?
– Right. Something’s going on. We just don’t know anything
about these chemicals and that doesn’t mean that the effects that they induce
might not be desirable for some people. If you’re in need of a sedative
and you take Paxil, it makes you sleepy, you might like that
but let’s not be confused into thinking that it’s correcting
an underlying imbalance. When we call them antidepressants,
even in the subliminal languaging, the implication is they are resolving a disease. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Again, many people have, Peter Breggin
and Joanna Moncrieff and Irving Kirsch have been screaming from the rooftop
about this for many decades and I just happened to synthesize
a lot of their work at a moment when I think there is a growing population
that’s just kind of had enough and wants and knows there’s a better way, so the question, is it appropriate
for people who are really sick? I would say it’s really the only thing
that’s appropriate for people who’ve tried everything else and have been turned
into patients they wouldn’t otherwise be. Yale study shows that in 23 people
who take antidepressants develop a bipolar diagnosis out of the void
because of the antidepressant. We are manufacturing patients
who wouldn’t otherwise exist. That’s very true for the pediatric population too,
where 13% of kids are now medicated with stimulants and then we have them
with diagnoses of bipolar and psychotic illnesses, oppositional diagnoses that are induced
by the fact that they’re taking methamphetamine. Let’s not forget, right? Just because it comes in a prescription bottle,
let’s not forget that these are substances that induce alterations in states of consciousness
not different from what we call street drugs. Part of your practice is tapering women off,
or not just women, all of your patients, off antidepressants. I wonder, do you also have experience doing that
with antipsychotics and is it the same experience because that’s kind of all I got to know
with the lithium and Risperdal and stuff in my mom’s case
and I was really afraid to have her go off of them because the couple of times that she tried,
she would end up, I mentioned to you before we started filming,
like running away and hiding and doing whatever and thinking
she might hurt herself and these kinds of things. I just wish I could’ve had
this conversation two you years ago, but how do you taper somebody off
of an antipsychotic? So that’s a great question
and it gives me the opportunity to address a couple of different points. The first is that I had an experience
in my clinical practice after I finished Whitaker’s book
where I went back literally the next day, after closing the last page,
crying on the subway and I said I will never start a patient on medication again
and I haven’t because I felt that convinced by the data that this is indefensible. I had already had my experience
resolving my Hashimoto’s so I knew I had some tools to work
miracles here and they were very basic and very accessible
and that they worked quickly. I began to sort of marry the two
but in a kind of almost half-hearted way where I said,
“You might consider making these changes in your diet
and you might think about meditating and are you exercising?” I started focusing really
on learning how to taper. We’re not taught how to do that. I studied all of these bulletin boards
and chat rooms and learned from patients because there’s no… to this day,
it is barely acknowledged by the APA that this is something
that we need to start talking about. The conversation is starting
but this is years later and I learned the hard way
what it is to come off these medications. I was running what looked like
an outpatient rehab, being paged around the clock
and filling out medical disability forms for my patients who couldn’t work any longer
because it could literally look like acute onset AIDS
where all of their latent conditions are flaring. They’re bleeding, their hair is falling out,
they’ve stopped menstruating, they have all sorts of gastrointestinal issues,
they have rashes, they have joint pain, muscle aches, they can’t move. I mean, you would not believe this
if you didn’t see it. Sometimes I think the greatest form of activism
I could provide the world is just… to put a video camera on some of these women
I work with in the depths of withdrawal. Thankfully these days
it’s a different experience for me because that’s how and why I learned
that for grounding this experience of resiliency induction, let’s say. This month-long experience, no cheating,
no exceptions, like a hardcore commitment to this preparatory month seems to be enough
to change the tone of the entire experience where I have found that it offers
a level of physical stability that gives us room to work with the emotional,
psychological and spiritual stuff that does come up
because when you have been saying no to your experience as a human being,
which is essentially in my opinion what taking a psychiatric medication is. Taking really any medication is a way of saying no
to your body, to your heart, to your mind. What you’re doing, I don’t like it.
People don’t like it. We don’t think of it that way
but there is a messaging. Every time you open that bottle,
it’s got your name on it, there’s some part of you that says,
“I’m broken. I’m messed up. I need this chemical.” We have to undo that.
We have to undo that, and that takes time. Mercifully, these tapers take time,
so you have this process of being born. It really is that, a rebirth,
but physically the foundation is set. I have the same protocol,
whether you’re coming to me because you have symptoms
and you’ve never touched a med or you’ve been on five meds for 25 years. It’s the same “don’t pass go, start here”
kind of a thing and that’s why I can put it in a book, I can put it online. I could offer it as a template for you to begin
to land in your body and start the journey from there. I do not touch medications during that month. You mean they stay on?
They stay on, everything. Birth control, everything. It’s after that month
that we begin the process of tapering and then it’s initially determined by me
where we’ll do like a 10% dose decrease and see how that goes over about
two to three weeks, but very quickly thereafter, it’s patient-led. They will know, are we going too fast?
Do we need to change the pace? Do we need to change the dose decrement? And there is a developing
school of thought that says if these medications are toxic,
you wouldn’t taper rat poison, right? You just stop it. In the taper/withdrawal community,
that’s like heresy but I’m always interested in things that people
don’t want to hear about or talk about. It’s like, “Tell me more.” It’s not how I’ve done it
but it’s not what I would recommend, certainly not without this protocol. I saw in black and white,
stark contrast what it was in my practice to not do that versus do that upfront. I also just want to say, we don’t know. We’re learning, but this is
the most serious endeavor you will ever undertake as an adult
and it needs to be treated that way. It’s not something you just do
because you feel like maybe, let’s see how it goes. This is orienting and turning towards
the second chapter in your life and you walk through it
as if you’re literally walking through a fire and that’s the mentality you bring to it,
because what can come with withdrawal, many conventional doctors, including myself,
were trained to call relapse. What you might have seen with your mom,
you might have said, “Well, look how sick she is. My god, she can’t come off meds.” But it’s just the nature of the neurochemistry
that when you stop these meds, sometimes even if you stop them
appropriately, strategically, slowly, there is a rebound that is way worse than anything
you ever came to them with, way more intense
and traumatic and dysregulated that can look like relapse if you don’t know better
and if you don’t know the literature and if you’re not inside
the patient’s experience saying, “No, I’ve never felt this before. I never went nine months without sleeping before,” and in fact, this is medication-induced,
protracted and complicated withdrawal. If you don’t have that context,
then you will misinterpret and you will say, “Oh, this is evidence that I am sick
and I do need medication.” In fact, it’s evidence that the medication
has been quite a toxic burden to your body and now we have to heal that. In Healing, if anybody hasn’t read your book
or done your program that’s watching this and is thinking about themselves
or somebody that they love that has some kind of a mental illness or personality disorder,
whatever the heck that term means, anxiety or depression are the most common
or something more on the bipolar/schizophrenia side, I think you’re going to say you start with food, but what have you seen to be
the most effective things to kind of do first and whether it’s in a program
or just like wake up tomorrow and try to start something.
– Yeah. This is not my forte. I’m not a baby steps kind of gal. I’m learning to be and in fact,
we are about to release a membership for people who want baby steps.
I had to get to a place. I had to evolve to a place where I could offer that
because I have this more aggressive approach, let’s just be honest, and I have found
that the results that I enjoy, shedding disease labels for life, releasing people from any relationship
to prescription, anything for good, that feels like I just liberated an angel.
It feels like that and… the requirement for that has seemed to be
this deep uncomfortable commitment, like where you’re spending
two and a half hours every day taking care of yourself, who’s ever done that? Your whole life is mandated
to be restructured around you and your self-care is not like
some window dressing. It is the core of your existence for 30 days,
and yes it’s dietary and relatively hardcore although the diet I recommend
is not terribly unique. It’s food, tastes good.
It’s not a juice fest or water fest for 30 days. It’s a daily contemplative practice commitment,
it’s a meditation commitment, not long but 30 minutes but it has to be every day,
not missing a single, single, single day, and then the rest of it
is really detox-related which is pretty important for people
who find themselves in this kind of position. Can I ask you a follow up question
about the detox, unless there was another part to that that you were about to say?
– No, that’s… yeah. Because I think detox
has a really weird connotation to some people. I remember actually when I was told
I had some thyroid issues and I have an integrative gynecologist
in New York who actually knows you I think and she said something to me about detox
and I felt so like, “What the heck does that have to do with –?”
I didn’t know and she didn’t explain it. Now I’ve read a little more about it
and I kind of get why that is a part of disease recovery
but I think a lot of people think of it as just you’ve been boozing for December
and you detox in January. That’s just helpful to me to know
how people think about it. Yes. Explain what you mean by that.
– It’s not necessarily like a correction. It’s an alignment with an awareness of
what the body needs and wants to thrive. Right? So, if you have a plant and you’re using… I don’t know, toilet water
and you’re dumping your ashtray into it and you put it in a corner
where it doesn’t get any sunlight, you’re not going to be confused
and surprised when it wilts and dies. We don’t have that awareness. We’re not raised in our bodies. We’re raised to become functional minds
that click into the corporate system. The understanding that
our body communicates with us all day long is something that is a later-life development
for most of us, myself included, and to read your body’s language,
your body is this like refinement tool that is translating energies for you
and that’s what symptoms are. They’re not mistakes. They’re not errors. To understand how symptoms emerge,
part of that is understanding that the, I don’t know, 100,000 unstudied toxic chemicals
in our environment thanks to unregulated industry,
it’s not meant to be that way. The natural world and your physical body
are going to gently, gently remind you. Tap on your shoulder
and until they start screaming. And so, the detox is largely related to
synthetic compounds that we, in our great wisdom, have created and exposed the natural world to
including our bodies that… really don’t have mechanisms for managing
or dealing with these pre-chlorides from your dry cleaner for example,
so medication would be included in that. You cannot patent a natural chemical. Everything that you take, by prescription
… I should say everything unless it’s a bioidentical hormone,
is going to be a compound that your body did not evolve to recognize. It’s like jamming a key into a lock
that doesn’t really totally fit. That’s how birth control works, for example,
with synthetic progestins. The liver is really chiefly in charge
of managing that. One of the detox tools
that really changed my practice I learned from my mentor
and without going on a flourish about him, there’s never been anyone like him
as far as I know in the history of medicine who had the outcomes over
27 years of degenerative illness and terminal cancers with totally
natural lifestyle-based changes, long term outcomes that have
never been matched with conventional treatments. This is not equal to.
This is superior to. He taught me about
the power of the coffee enema, now notorious. The internet loves me and Gwyneth Paltrow
for what we have to say about that. I mean, it definitely
makes people like, “What?” I know and I absolutely
would’ve said the same thing, like what stupid blog did you read that on? And if I hadn’t learned it
from a pedigreed clinician that I revered who showed me the paper
from the New England Journal of Medicine of schizophrenic patients
who were hospitalized for two weeks with no interventions save for coffee enemas daily,
who were discharged symptom-free, then I would’ve been skeptical
and then I would’ve seen… I saw through him that these were in the Merck Manual
until they were taken out in the ‘70s for space considerations and now of course
with pharmaceutical orthodoxy dominating everything, there’s no room for this kind of inclusion. Really, what it is is a self-administered method
for relieving the liver of its burden, and to think we can just waltz around the world
and not engage detox practices, whether it’s using a rebounder
or dry brushing or different Ayurvedic practices or saunas, you can take your pick,
but the hubris of thinking that, we don’t have to do anything to counteract
what we’re doing to this planet. It’s just a form of being asleep
and you can be asleep until you choose to wake up. Or you pretend to be asleep after that. Well, I know that you detailed a lot of
the different things that are kind of causing toxins to accumulate in the brain
and have these symptoms in your book so anybody who is interested
in this topic should definitely get it. It’s called “A Mind of Your Own”. My last question for you,
because I could talk to you all day. I can’t believe we’re out of time,
is beyond what you sort of devised or suggest that people do when they start
on this program is a mix or dietary, a mix of detox and a mix of meditation practice, what do you do every single day
to keep yourself well? I get WellBe
by committing fiercely to my self-care. It is my number one priority. My children know that,
my partner knows that, my family knows that. Everyone really who touches my life
is aware that my self-care comes first and that involves a daily, pre-dawn meditation
which I do not miss ever, under any circumstances,
which pulls me to bed by 9:00. I’m a sleep Nazi and I am because I used to
stay up as a workaholic till 2 AM every morning and when I committed to meditation
which of course I did out of desperation when my mentor suddenly passed
and I realized I had to start going to bed earlier if I was going to be getting up
at 5:30 in the morning, this wasn’t going to work
if I was burning the candle at both ends. I started going to bed earlier
and it changed my entire life. My productivity exploded. I was able to lose five hours a night
that I otherwise would’ve been up my computer and somehow just like be in flow all day long, getting things done in ways I never… knew could be so effortless.
I’m very passionate about that. I spend about 45 minutes to an hour
in different kinds of meditative practices ranging from Kundalini yoga to Qigong
to using yoni egg to listening to binaural beats to different kinds of
physical practices, asanas, every morning and I don’t know where I’d be
without that commitment. It doesn’t always feel magical but it’s,
at this point, like taking a shower, brushing my teeth. And then I dance every day which was
a part of reprioritizing my… self-care on this level
and part of my move… out of New York,
out of the vortex of New York where I was constantly saying,
“I don’t have time, I have to commute.” There’s a way to really take a leap in your life
where you put your joy first and I never really understood
what people meant by that until I began to see that my fear
was keeping me locked a victim. With my patients or in my own life,
I’m always scanning like a lighthouse for that victim mentality. Any time, in a relationship, in life circumstances,
in your medical experience, you feel like you are
a victim of something you can’t control. It’s an illusion. You’re creating it.
You’re creating it. To really do hygiene on your life
and figure out all those places where you feel victimized in different
relationships is a very empowering practice even if you feel like
it’s blaming the victim initially, to take responsibility for it.
– I feel this is very relevant to me right now but… do you recommend people
who are sort of realizing, “You know what, I think maybe
I am acting like I’m a victim.” Oh, we all do it.
We do it all the time. I mean, working with somebody in that circumstance,
just kind of trying to figure it out on your own. Do you think you kind of need
somebody else for that? Not necessarily. I’m a big believer in different kinds of therapies
and family therapy and energy medicine and EFT. However, in the end, it’s your own personal…
you’re your own personal accountability buddy. You’ll start to notice it
because anywhere you’re saying, “This isn’t fair.” It’s like your inner child,
this is not fair. It’s not fair that he’s like that
or it’s not fair that I have to do this. It’s always the voice of it and you’ll see it like it’s
not fair that I’m the only… doctor in New York who does this
and I have to go to my office every day. It’s like this martyr kind of vibe. In relationship it’s very prevalent. Whenever we feel hurt,
we would rather think that somebody did that to us out of carelessness
than we co-created that and maybe even are maintaining it. When you get the emotional signature of
what in this world is called a trigger, when you recognize what your triggers are,
you’ll see they always have a victim story attached to them. This is one of my most passionate advocacies,
is helping patients out of their victimhood and into personal empowerment
and I see that I write these victim stories for myself all the time.
It’s natural. It’s part of becoming
an emancipated adult, an actualized adult, to understand that our child wounds
and patterns are those of victimization and in part because almost all of us
were in some way victimized by incomplete love and attention. And worse, abuse and neglect
and we’re still letting that child drive our car. Part of the work that my patients
have to do and I do… once they’re off medications, or in my case, just as a part of my awakening process is to
really just understand that you’re the adult here. That’s all way distant, history,
and you can handle these emotions. I could talk to you all day
but I know you’ve got a busy life of things to do so we will wrap up and just thank you so,
so much for having me in your home and for everything that you do.
Your work is so inspiring to me and so important. I hope that you are also
inspiring a lot of providers, young medical students to think differently
because I’m here trying to spread awareness and bring people who have seen both sides
into the WellBe communities that they can see how brilliant you are
and that their perception of a doctor and what’s medicine could be turned on its head. I also really hope that people
who are going to practice medicine start to … I think you doing trials
with your course and your community is a wonderful way for that to happen because I know there’s other data
and science junkies like you who will appreciate that
and be able to take it to the powers that be and say,
“This is why I’m going to be doing this differently,” or just do it differently. We’ll see, we’ll see
because I love that Bucky Fuller quote that you can’t change the existing system from within
… I’m paraphrasing… you have to… create a new system that makes it obsolete
and I really believe in that. I believe in grassroots change
and I even believe in a medicine-less world where we don’t need a doctor. Again, I’ve seen it dozens and dozens
of times through my program. No doctor involved. These recoveries are just activating
your own internal healing toolkit. Maybe you need inspiration,
but do we really need doctors? I’m not so sure.
– Or you are your own doctor. You are the best doctor or whatever it is…
– Yes, 100%. … a quote I’ve heard over and over and over
and I think you’re absolutely right. For some sort of viral infection that’s about
to take you down, go seek that doctor. But otherwise, you have everything
you need kind of within you. Thank you for sharing all of that with us and yeah.
– Yeah. thank you. It’s a pleasure.

2 Replies to “Holistic Psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD Prescribes No Medications to Her Patients”

  1. Great interview and good job asking the tough questions about really tough conditions like schizophrenia. I found it interesting that Kelly said "in some cases this (holistic) route is preferential to conventional." It almost sounded like the first time Kelly has made an omission that in certain conditions meds can be "better?" Such a tough topic. Kelly might not be perfect (IMO) but I think she's light years ahead of traditional, wanna-be-science psychiatry and modern psychology. Psychiatry may have its place in some instances, but its a bloated and self absorbed field. Thanks for the video.

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