HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Tom Cruise Update

Here is a follow-up to our June 25 posting.  As you will recall, actor Tom Cruise appeared on the June 24 "Today" show to plug his new movie, "War of the Worlds."  Host Matt Lauer later asked the actor about his recent criticism of actress Brooke Shields, who has publicly described taking the antidepressant medication Paxil to treat her postpartum depression.

Mr. Cruise, who ascribes to Scientologist beliefs, responded with a tirade of criticism for psychiatry and pharmacologic treatment. After calling the psychiatry a "pseudoscience," Mr. Cruise stated, "There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance ... These drugs are very dangerous. They're mind-altering, antipsychotic drugs."

The American Psychiatric Association, an organization of nearly 36,000 mental health physicians (full disclosure: I’m a member), has responded by calling Mr. Cruise's behavior "irresponsible." A June 27 statement issued by APA President Dr. Steven Sharfstein criticizes Mr. Cruise for using "his movie publicity tour to promote his own ideological views and deter people with mental illness from getting the care they need. ... Rigorous, published, peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates that treatment works. It is unfortunate that in the face of this remarkable scientific and clinical progress that a small number of individuals and groups persist in questioning its legitimacy."

You can read a transcript of the Today show interview with Mr. Cruise at:

(His comments about psychiatry appear in the second half of the interview.)

You can find the American Psychiatric Association's response at:

This excellent post is from Douglas Mossman, Professor and Director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Wright State University School of Medicine, an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton School of Law, and, much to my great benefit,  a current visiting professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and administrative director of the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry.  Dr. Mossman's e-mail is:  [email protected].  His webpage is available here.

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