the untold story of what can happen when profit-driven medicine intersects with human beings in distress


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BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE - Woods Hill Film Festival | BEST DOCUMENTARY - The People's Film Festival

Public Health + Medicine • Psychiatry • Mental Health, Psychology + Counselling • Social Work • Physical Dependency + Prescribed Drug Withdrawal • Suicidology • Human Rights • Crisis Intervention

Date of Completion: 2020 | Run Time: 54 & 76 minutes​​ | Language: English | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript Directors: Lynn Cunningham & Wendy Ractliffe | Producers: Lynn Cunningham, Wendy Ractliffe & Muffie Meyer 

One in five Americans takes one or more commonly prescribed psychiatric medications on a daily basis. While these drugs can sometimes provide effective relief, they are prescribed far too often, frequently without discussing with patients the possible alternatives and potential adverse outcomes, both physical and mental. MEDICATING NORMAL follows five people who are harmed by the very medications they believed would help them. It is the untold story of the serious consequences that can occur when market-driven medicine intersects with human beings in distress.

University College London Joanna Moncrieff, Professor of Critical and Social Psychiatry 
Medicating Normal is a powerful and moving film about the damage that is done by the inappropriate medicalisation of human predicaments and the reckless prescribing of psychiatric drugs. The film reveals the harm done to its subjects whose lives were derailed by prescribed medicines, and it shows the courage and determination it took to get off the drugs. Watch it and weep for all the others who have been harmed in this way-I did!”

The University of British Columbia Thomas L. Perry,
Clinical Assistant Professor
“Anyone who prescribes psychotropic drugs should watch Medicating Normal, not once but twice. Then think about whether your patients really ‘need’ drug therapy. What are the chances it will help more than harm? A little knowledge may be a dangerous thing, but this film should cause many to wonder whether patients know more about the drugs than most prescribers.”

Stanford University Medical Center | Anna Lembke,
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Medicating Normal dares to challenge prevailing myths about how psychotropic medications work, or fail to, in our ongoing struggle to treat mental illness. It promises to spark a long-overdue national conversation on the growing problem of overprescribing.”

University College London
Mark Horowitz, 
Psychiatry Trainee & Clinical Research Fellow
“Most psychiatrists know that the studies on which our drugs are approved last just a few weeks. Therefore, we have all, in a quiet moment, asked ourselves, ‘What is the effect of putting people on these drugs for years or decades?’   Medicating Normal is a powerful film that answers this question in a disturbing and eye-opening way. This film should be mandatory viewing for prescribers, patients and their family members. It is a sober redress to the pro-Pharma messaging so prevalent in our society."

Texas Tech University School of MedicineRakesh Jain, Clinical Professor
"Even as a persnickety psychiatrist, I find this documentary to be hugely beneficial as a conversation starter on this important topic. Not everyone will come out of it agreeing with all it says, but I can guarantee it will provoke additional thinking in every clinician, and perhaps even create a shift in our thinking and action on the issue of medication prescribing in America."

Case Western Reserve University | Awais Aftab, Clinical Assistant
Professor of Psychiatry 
"Medicating Normal is a remarkable documentary that illustrates how conversations about the harms of psychiatric medications have entered the public realm. In response to the failure of the medical system to adequately acknowledge these harms, ex-patients/survivors are taking ownership of their psychiatric distress and addressing it on their own terms. These are complex issues and there are no easy answers; the strength of Medicating Normal is that it boldly initiates a societal discussion that has been long overdue.”