'Psychiatry is a pseudoscience': Tom Cruise’s 2005 video divides Internet over his Scientology claims

'These drugs are very dangerous – they're mind-altering, antipsychotic drugs,' Cruise had said in 2005


                            'Psychiatry is a pseudoscience': Tom Cruise’s 2005 video divides Internet over his Scientology claims
The interview between Tom Cruise and Matt Lauer was aired in 2005 (Twitter/@BrettRSmith76, Getty Images/Clive Mason)
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An interview from 2005 featuring Tom Cruise with Matt Lauer, who was hosting ‘Today’ show at the time, has reemerged on the internet recently, showing the two arguing over antidepressants and how helpful they are. During the sit-down, Brooke Shields was brought on in the conversation as they discussed how she had to take ​​antidepressants to deal with postpartum depression following her daughter’s birth in 2003.

Cruise said at the time, “I think [Shields] is a wonderful and talented woman, and I want to see her do well,” before asserting, “And I know that psychiatry is a pseudoscience.” But then Lauer took the actress’ side and claimed as reported by ‘Today,’ “she considered swallowing a bottle of pills or jumping out the window at the lowest point of her depression following the birth of her daughter, Rowan Francis, in 2003. A doctor later attributed her feelings to a plunge in her estrogen and progesterone levels and prescribed the antidepressant Paxil.”

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The ‘Mission Impossible’ star fired back, saying: “Here we are today, where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of electroshocking people against their will; of drugging children without them not knowing the effects of these drugs.” He then went on to question the 64-year-old TV personality, “Do you know what Adderall is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug?”

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Tom Cruise attends the Korea Press Conference of
Tom Cruise attends the Korea Press Conference of "Top Gun: Maverick" at Lotte Hotel Seoul on June 20, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

And, when Lauer said there were actually misuse of prescription drugs too, the 60-year-old actor replied: “Here's the problem, you don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do. All it does is mask the problem. That’s what it does. That’s all it does. You’re not getting to the reason why. There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.”

Cruise stated: “I'm saying drugs aren't the answer. These drugs are very dangerous – they're mind-altering, antipsychotic drugs. And there are ways in doing it without that, so we don't end up in a brave new world,” as he deemed Lauer "glib,” and mocked him for not knowing what “Ritalin is”. He also asked Lauer to educate himself more on Ritalin and then pass on to his viewers as well.

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Tom Cruise attends the Korea Red Carpet for
Tom Cruise attends the Korea Red Carpet for "Top Gun: Maverick" at Lotte World on June 19, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

The old interview’s clip has now gone viral, racking more than three million views on Twitter and a number of comments. It comes as last week, a new study by University College London said that “there is ‘no clear evidence’ that serotonin levels or serotonin activity is responsible for depression.” Professor Joanna Moncrieff, the study’s lead author, noted: “The popularity of the 'chemical imbalance' theory of depression has coincided with a huge increase in the use of antidepressants. Prescriptions for antidepressants have risen dramatically since the 1990s, with one in six adults in England and two percent of teenagers now being prescribed an antidepressant in a given year.”

Moncrieff added: “Our view is that patients should not be told that depression is caused by low serotonin or by a chemical imbalance, and they should not be led to believe that antidepressants work by targeting these unproven abnormalities.”

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Tom Cruise attends the Royal Film Performance and UK Premiere of
Tom Cruise attends the Royal Film Performance and UK Premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick" at Leicester Square on May 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

 

Several commended Cruise for his clarity regarding the antidepressants since a long time ago. A user tweeted, “Cruise was arrogant and condescending, but he was right. The interview became about egos, and Cruise was talking down to Lauer. It's a shame — it makes Tom seem a little unhinged. But his assessment has been proven accurate over time. Even scientologists can be right sometimes.” Another user wrote, “He's 100% right. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult ( 35 yrs old) and was prescribed Ritalin. It was so potent that my husband took one just to see. Needless to say I'm toughing it out.”

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Actor Tom Cruise attends the 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' US Premiere at Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum on July 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
Actor Tom Cruise attends the 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' US Premiere at Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum on July 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

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“Not all that long ago, people were allowed to say these things in America without getting censored or cancelled. Today? Not so much. Still, this file tape survives. @TomCruise,” Journalist Sharyl Attkisson pointed out. Conservative commentator Matt Walsh added: “Tom Cruise has been mocked ruthlessly for this for the past 20 years and yet everything he said was 100 percent undeniably true.”

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But there were a few who did not like Cruise’s argument as Podcast host Erick Erickson shared, “There’s no reason to normalize Tom Cruise’s statements on psychiatry because he is saying what you think.  Cruise’s position comes from Scientology, which very much should not be given credit or normalized.” A person said, “He's not based; he's a scientologist, and wants everyone to pledge themselves for a billion years to Xenu or whatever.” Former staff member of the Church of Scientology Aaron Smith-Levin insisted, “Tom Cruise isn’t making the point you think he’s making. Behind his statement that psychiatric drugs only mask the problem lies his belief that ONLY Scientology can fix the 'real' problem. I.e., the reactive mind and Body Thetans.”

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