More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Setting the Record Straight: Responses to the Tom Cruise ?Today Show? Interview
The Center for Reintegration

It should have been a typical interview to promote Tom Cruise?s new movie, War of the Worlds. Instead, Cruise?s comments on the Today Show during an interview with host Matt Lauer on June 24th became known as a ?rant? against psychiatric medication. Although Cruise is not an expert on psychiatry, his popularity as an actor gave his remarks widespread public attention, and, consequently, more than usual potential for widespread misinformation.

Prior to the interview, Cruise had publicly criticized actress Brooke Shields for taking medication to treat postpartum depression, which she described in her book, Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. When Matt Lauer asked Cruise to explain his comments about Shields and her medication, Cruise expressed his belief that psychiatry and its pharmaceuticals are ?pseudo-science.? When Lauer observed that many consumers, including Shields, appear to have benefited from medication, Cruise grew agitated and, some would say, rather irrational.

Thus began the ?rant,? as Cruise emotionally denied the existence of chemical imbalances and disparaged the use of drug therapies. ?All it does is mask the problem?there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance,? Cruise said. He went on to reject the legitimacy of psychiatric medication, claiming that vitamins and exercise alone can solve problems of mental illnesses, such as postpartum depression.

The Today Show interview sparked extensive, often angry rebuttals from other celebrities, medical professionals and the general public alike?mostly refuting Cruise?s claims in the form of articles, letters to the editor, and statements from national organizations.

The intensity of the outcry showed that Cruise touched a raw nerve. On the celebrity front, Brooke Shields was one of the first to respond in an Op-Ed piece appearing in The New York Times on July 1st, called, ?War of the Words.?

?To suggest that I was wrong to take drugs to deal with my depression, and that instead I should have taken vitamins and exercised shows an utter lack of understanding about postpartum depression and childbirth in general,? wrote Shields.

War of the Words provoked additional commentary from women (and men) who suffered or know someone who suffered from postpartum depression or other mental illnesses. ?There may be times when medication is handed out like candy, but for Mr. Cruise to insinuate that it is all the time is just wrong,? wrote Amber Conley in her letter to the editor of the New York Times on July 5th. ?He?s making a blanket statement that leaves a lot of very ill people out on a limb with no help.?

?Mr. Cruise thinks his truth is the only one, and anyone who doesn?t agree with him doesn?t know the ?real story.? I wonder if he has any idea of how foolish and shallow he makes himself look,? wrote Sandra Sizer in another letter to the Times editor.

Reactions were quick to circulate on the internet, too. Karen Ledbetter, Adoption Editor at ?Bella Online?The Voice of Women,? issued a statement about Cruise?s declarations; she included general information on postpartum depression, post-adoption depression and medication.

?Despite the irresponsible opinion of Mr. Cruise and others like him, there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help and taking medication for the treatment of postpartum/adoption depression. The real tragedy is not seeking professional medical treatment for fear of being stigmatized,? wrote Ledbetter.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), two of the most respected sources of information on mental illnesses, teamed up to issue a joint-statement in response to Cruise?s comments.

?While we respect the right of individuals to express their own points of view, they are not entitled to their own facts,? said the NAMI/APA statement. ?Mental illnesses are real medical conditions that affect millions of Americans.?

APA Medical Director Dr. James Scully, Jr., NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick, and the National Mental Health Association President Michael Faenza further clarified misconceptions with a series of FACTS on the NAMI website. They wrote, ? FACT: Over the past five years, the nation has more than doubled its investment in the study of the human brain and behavior, leading to a vastly expanded understanding of postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Much of this research has been conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the nation?s leading academic institutions.?

NAMI and the APA also addressed Cruise?s rejection of drug therapies. They wrote, ?FACT: Medications can be an important and even life-saving part of a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan.?

?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,? wrote NAMI. Furthermore, NAMI representatives called Cruise?s comments ?irresponsible,? noting that he used his movie publicity tour to ?deter people with mental illnesses from getting the care they need.?

APA Medical Director Dr. James Scully concluded, ?We know that treatment works. And since safe, effective treatments are available, Americans can have what everyone wants?healthy minds and healthy lives.?

Tom Cruise?s interview showed once again how celebrities can bring visibility to an issue such as mental illness and reintegration. But the interview also showed how mere visibility is insufficient if the non-experts? opinions are misinformed. Cruise brought negative attention to the issue, threatening to damage the work of consumer advocates struggling to correct misinformation and end stigma. Thankfully, the general public and the mental health community alike reacted swiftly and forcefully to set the record straight.


You know, I never saw the interview, and earlier asked the members here what the fuss about Tom Cruise was about, because I wasn't really following, but I gathered he was strongly anti-psych, anti-medication, etc.

When I read the transcript of the interview (at that time) it didn't seem to me he was doing other than exercising his right to express an opinion -- whether the opinion is extremist or not. A lot of people I know are stark anti-medication, and I think it's also been fueled by the fellow who has that naturalcures dot com site and comes on the TV every now and then.

However, when people told me what the interview was like to have actually seen it, it sounded like it was pretty heated, and that Cruise (and maybe even the other fellow?) both got out of line.

All I know is, the whole thing is making me want to take an anti-depressant. ;)


And people like james dobson and john rosemond get away with it.

this guy's pretty bad, but he's not worse.

if you know what I mean.


Tom Cruise and his wife are both scientologists,where the book " Dianetics" written by founder L Ron Hubbard is their bible.The "church" has a huge actor/actress fan base,whereby donations are happily accepted

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
The "church" was founded after a night of drinking where Hubbard decided to found his on church on a bet to prove that people would flock to any self-described church or religious leader no matter how lame its tenets.

Evidently he was correct. Especially in California, where they have a history of embracing the latest new fashion or cult.

For more on this charming fellow, see L. Ron Hubbard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I just read a bit of mr hubbards biography and it stated and I quote "L. Ron Hubbard did not stop at Dianetics. Yes, he had solved the riddle of the human mind" Egotistical does not begin to describe it.

Perhaps I should say that I have found the cure for panic disorder and start my own church and call it"jillentology"
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