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July 6, 2021 60 mins
Meet the director and main subject of the award winning 2020 documentary, Medicating Normal, a brave and honest film which focuses on the harmful effects of psychiatric medications. It follows the journeys of a newly married couple, a combat veteran, a waitress and a teenager whose doctors prescribed psychiatric drugs for stress, mild depression, insomnia and trauma. These people went on to suffer serious physical and mental side effects as well as neurological damage from taking these medications as prescribed and severe complicated withdrawal when they attempted to stop. Filmmaker and director, Lynn Cunningham, describes the motivation behind the documentary, advocating for millions of people world-wide who suffer because of the epidemic of overprescribing. These are people, she says, who didn't feel right on their medication, believed they were getting worse and were not believed by their doctors or families. Cunningham felt that this is a story that has to be told. She objects to people with manageable human problems being put in a category of mental illness and created the documentary to create a forum for discussion. Angie Peacock, a main subject in the film and war veteran, returned from war torn Iraq in her early 20's. Suffering from trauma, she was immediately overmedicated by psychiatrists, and given multiple psychiatric diagnoses. And the whole time, she felt she was getting worse. No doctor ever told me that it could be my meds that were making me sick. She describes years of excruciating withdrawal from benzodiazepines and other medications and how she managed to survive. Angie describes the loss of community, our culture's tendency to pathologize normal human problems of anxiety, depression and loss and offers advice to people looking to taper off their psychiatric medication.
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