An interview with Tom Cruise from nearly 20 years ago has resurfaced and sparked a new debate about antidepressants and Scientology.
A 2005 interview between Cruise and Matt Lauer – the then-host of the “Today” show – has recently gone viral. In the interview, the topic of actress Brooke Shields taking antidepressants to deal with postpartum depression was broached.
Cruise declared, “I think [Shields] is a wonderful and talented woman, and I want to see her do well. And I know that psychiatry is a pseudoscience.”
Lauer advocated for Shields – who said 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,” according to “Today.” Shields said she overcame her suicidal thoughts after being prescribed the antidepressant Paxil.
Cruise rebutted, “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.”
Cruise asked Lauer, “Do you know what Adderall is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug?”
Lauer admitted that there are abuses of prescription drugs.
“Here’s the problem, you don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do,” Cruise proclaimed.
“All it does is mask the problem,” Cruise said of the use of antidepressants. “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.”
“I’m saying drugs aren’t the answer,” the action star said. “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.”
Cruise calls Lauer “glib,” and says the talk show host “doesn’t even know was Ritalin is.”
Cruise then challenges Lauer to find out more about Ritalin to educate his viewers.
The video went viral on Twitter last week, racking up more than 3.2 million views.
The Tom Cruise interview about antidepressants garnered much attention last week after a new study questioned whether antidepressants actually help people with depression.
Researchers from University College London released a study last week that concluded that there is “no clear evidence” that serotonin levels or serotonin activity is responsible for depression.
“The popularity of the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of depression has coincided with a huge increase in the use of antidepressants,” said professor Joanna Moncrieff, the study’s lead author. “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.”
“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,” Moncrieff noted.
Many online commentators praised Cruise for cautioning against antidepressants 17 years ago.
Podcast host Michael Knowles remarked, “This interview has aged like a fine wine.”
Conservative commentator Matt Walsh said, “Tom Cruise has been mocked ruthlessly for this for the past 20 years and yet everything he said was 100 percent undeniably true.”
Journalist Sharyl Attkisson added, “Not all that long ago, people were allowed to say these things in America without getting censored or canceled. Today? Not so much. Still, this file tape survives.”
However, other online commentators argued that Cruise’s position against antidepressants and psychiatry is the same stance as Scientology.
Podcast host Erick Erickson tweeted, “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.”
Former staff member of the Church of Scientology Aaron Smith-Levin explained, “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.”