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

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About the Film

We made this film to help audiences understand what is happening in mental health treatment and why.

Directors’ Statement
Team Bios
Film Synopsis


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“[the pharmaceutical industry] wants to disease-ify every single experience because they want to sell their pills to treat it”

– Anna Lembke, MD
Associate Professor, Stanford University Medical Center
From the film Medicating Normal

Praise for Medicating Normal

An official selection for multiple international independent film festivals, the film is a must-see for audiences involved in mental health and prescribing, including medical students, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists concerned their treatments are causing harm. It’s also a film every American with any connection to psychiatric medication urgently needs to see.

Christopher Lane

Side Effects, Psychology Today July 23, 2020

Medicating Normal vividly calls attention to how, many times, these medications are overprescribed, taken in greater dosages, or for much longer than they should be, resulting in more harm than good. There has barely been a day since I have seen this powerful film a month ago that it has not come up as a warning light in conversations with colleagues, friends, and relatives. Thank you for bringing this important topic so powerfully to our attention

William Weisberg

Executive Director, Forestdale, a non-profit agency that provides foster care, preventive and other family services in New York City

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.

Anna Lembke, MD

Associate Professor, Stanford University Medical Center

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!

Professor Joanna Moncrieff

University College London, London, UK

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.

Thomas L. Perry, MD, FRCPC

General internist/clinical pharmacologist, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

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.

Dr Mark Horowitz, BSc MBBS MSc PhD

Psychiatry trainee and clinical research fellow, University College London, London, UK

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.

Rakesh Jain, MD, MPH

Clinical Professor, Texas Tech University School of Medicine - Permian Basin, Private Practice, Austin, Texas

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 and address these harms, ex-patients/survivors and others have been left with no choice but to take up the mantle themselves. These individuals have lost trust in the ability of psychiatric diagnoses and medications to provide relief. Armed with their own personal experiences, these individuals are taking ownership of their distress. 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.

Awais Aftab, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

This film should be seen by anyone interested in psychiatric care in our society. It powerfully tells of how we have organized our thinking and care around a pro-pharma marketing story, rather than good science, and how that is doing great harm.

Robert Whitaker

Science journalist and author of Anatomy of an Epidemic

Medicating Normal is the best mental health film in the last 10 years.

John Read

Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London

Highly recommended.

Video Librarian

Medicating Normal is an incredibly interesting film for any academic library and acts as a warning to be more aware of what people put in their body. Old advertisements from drug companies are juxtaposed with pertinent longitudinal statistics and information from medical experts and real-life stories. Its themes of mental health, psychology, and the pharmaceutical industry are hot button topics for the classroom. In addition to the film, there is an accompanying discussion guide for instructors.

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) highly recommended Medicating Normal

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