How to Break Free of Fear Addiction

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by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Breaking Free of Fear Addiction- Interview with Dr. Mark McDonald


  1. In his book “United States of Fear,” psychiatrist Mark McDonald diagnoses the U.S. as suffering from mass delusional psychosis, driven by an irrational fear of what is now a rather innocuous virus
  2. The fearful overreaction didn’t have its origin in what happened in 2020. Government, corporations and powerful individuals have engaged in a systematic “grooming” effort toward irrational fear addiction for decades
  3. Without fear, they cannot rob us of our freedoms
  4. The underlying motivation of this psychological campaign has been an attack on the core structures, foundations and institutions of society in order to nurture a sense of dependency on government
  5. To overcome their addiction to fear, a person must still have a sense of curiosity and be willing to look at new information. If they’re not, they’re not treatable and cannot be stopped from trading their (and our) freedom for a false sense of security. So, the key is finding those who are still open and receptive to new information, so that we can reach a tipping point where there are more fearless people than fear addicted ones

Dr. Mark McDonald is a psychiatrist in the Los Angeles, California, area. He’s written a book called “United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to Mass Delusional Psychosis,” which is the topic of today’s discussion. Around April 2020, McDonald actually made the brave decision to “fire” patients who refused to accept his stand on certain realities and truths. 

“LA is a very politically-charged climate,” he says. “A lot of my patients, particularly those who would not identify as either conservative or even sincerely independent, tend to react in a very emotionally-charged way when they work with somebody who does not share their value system, and then it becomes difficult to work with them. I can’t help them …

I noticed that there was something bigger than just politics at play with the whole rise of the pandemic. About 10 to 20% of my patients, they either left abruptly without saying anything … or they argued with me. Some of them actually attacked me personally and condemned me.

A few threatened to report me to the medical board for saying such ‘horrible’ things as children should be able to breathe without a mask on their face. What I concluded after seeing the fallout from this is that those who left, those who attacked me, they really are no longer people that I can help, because really good therapeutic work, at least the work that I do, starts from a position of truth and reality.

Now, I’m not claiming to have the monopoly on truth or reality, but I certainly value it so highly that I’m not willing to sacrifice it for someone else’s emotional comfort or well-being in the moment …

The ones that stayed and those who’ve taken their places have all been far, far more committed to the work and to getting better, to healing themselves emotionally and psychologically, than any of the people that left.

So, I am in no way regretful of that decision. I think it’s made me a better clinician, a better practitioner. And most importantly, it’s enabled me to continue to speak clearly, publicly and honestly about what I think is a much more important problem than just shots and masks, which is the state of our country and how we are being controlled and manipulated by corrupt individuals and corporations.”

The Public Has Been Groomed to Fear

Fear is one of the most powerful motivators of behavior and, clearly, people’s behavior has been massively manipulated through the use of fear these past two years. The motivation behind the book was to provide a retrospective analysis and explanation for how it all happened.

“The wool wasn’t pulled over our eyes on March 15 [2020],” McDonald says. “What I suspected, uncovered and explained in the first third of the book is that this process actually began a long time before that.

What we’ve had, and have been suffering from, is a slow grooming effort by government, by corporations, by wealthy, powerful individuals for a number of decades … I even go back to post-World War II in my book with a very specific example for those who were growing up during those times, of the duck-and-cover exercises to protect against nuclear holocaust.

Obviously, hiding under your desk is not going to protect you from a nuclear bomb. And yet, we were all told to do this … This practice, in my view, instilled in children a sense of fear, a sense of vulnerability and a reliance on a higher power — not God, but a higher human power, usually an authoritarian power, the power of schools or officials to protect you from this very unspecified, vague … threat.”

The fearmongering about climate change and ecosystem collapse also falls under this “grooming.” “I’m not going to say the existence of pollution is not real,” he says. “However, to say that the world will end in 12 years … is not truthful.” The goal is to change people’s behavior, to instill a sense of compliance, so that resources can be reallocated.

“So, at the outset of the book, my goal is to explain: ‘How did we get to be so afraid?’ How did we get to be so capable of being fear-struck so quickly by something that very early on was clearly not a significant threat to most Americans?

Even to those for whom it was a threat … there have been very helpful, successful, cheap, effective treatments that essentially cured nearly 100% of the people who were struck by this virus. So why [the fear]?

In explaining the how and the why of how we got to this point, my hope has been that people who are perhaps not entirely brainwashed, but those who are just somewhat confused, somewhat perplexed, not entirely clear-thinking but certainly want to be, will see their thoughts organized so that they can then move to the more important step, which is what do we do about it?”

Addicted to Fear

One likely reason why outright nonsensical countermeasures have been embraced is because fear paralyzes rational thinking. People who are terrified of dying from COVID cannot comprehend how ridiculous masking is because they cannot reason their way through the problem logically. What’s more, they don’t want to. As explained by McDonald, they’re not curious at all.

“This is my little diagnostic technique: Does the person express curiosity to know something different than what he or she knows right now? If the answer is no, I don’t even go further with that person in conversation. It’s absolutely pointless …

Ambivalence is another word that we use in motivational interviewing. We assess for ambivalence. Is the person trying to hold two different, opposing positions at the same time? Because that leads to a resolution. If there’s no ambivalence at all and there’s no curiosity, I don’t really know where you start. So, I’ll ask, ‘What is it that you understand right now about what’s happening?’

If I sense some ambivalence, if I sense some lack of confidence, then I’ll ask a follow-up question. I’ll say, ‘Are you curious? Are you interested in learning about some other information or some other viewpoints that you might not be aware of right now?’

And often, if I’ve got to that point, the person will say tentatively, ‘Yeah, maybe.’ If I get, on the other hand, ‘Absolutely not,’ or more of a condemnation, ‘What do you mean? Are you one of those anti-vaxxer hoaxers?’ Then I know I’m probably not going to really proceed very successfully, so I let up. I back off … If someone’s addicted to fear, I just wait and see if they’re open and willing and ready to lose their addiction.”

In short, unless a person is open to new information, it doesn’t matter how many peer-reviewed studies you throw before them. Facts and data don’t matter if they don’t have curiosity or this ambivalence. As explained by McDonald, this is not a data war. We won that a long time ago. It’s a psychological war, and it really needs to be thought of that way.

The goal is to take away the interest, the capacity, the comfort, both internally and also on a societal level, of men and women coming together. If men and women stop … speaking to one another, stop dating, getting married, having children, then we no longer have families. If we don’t have families, we don’t have civic organizations, churches and communities. The state then steps in and supplants the role of the father and begins to take over. ~ Dr. Mark McDonald

“You always have to keep in mind that information and data is only as useful as the psychological state of the recipient,” he says. You could actually worsen the situation if they’re not open and receptive.

The Emasculation of Society

Another cultural factor that has played an important role is the emasculation of society. This is problematic, as this also impacts our ability to defend ourselves against the next attack on our liberties and bodily integrity.

“My concern is that the underlying motivation of this psychological campaign has been for a long time, and it is still today, an attack on the core structures, foundations, institutions of our country … Certainly in all the Anglophone countries, there has been an attack for many, many years on the core archetypes of the male and the female, the masculine and the feminine.

The goal is to take away the interest, the capacity, the comfort, both internally and also on a societal level, of men and women coming together. If men and women stop coming together, if they stop desiring one another, if they stop speaking to one another, if they stop dating, getting married, having children, then we no longer have families. We have single parents.

If we don’t have families, we don’t have civic organizations. We don’t have churches. We don’t have communities. All we have are single parents running around with their own children, relying on, most likely, government, to help keep them financially and physically safe. So, the role of the father, the role of the mother is simply eliminated.

The state then steps in and the state supplants the role of the father and begins to take over. There is a young girl who had been sexually abused by her biological father for a number of years, and eventually he impregnated her. He was arrested after a paternity test was performed.

I’ve been reviewing her therapy notes on a legal case recently, and what I’m struck by is that now, two years later, she is still insistent that her father was unjustly taken away from her. He did not deserve to be arrested, should not be in prison and that all she really wants is to be reunited with him.

You’d think this makes no sense. I mean, no sane person would want to reunite with a father who sexually abused her and impregnated her, but she does. I think there’s a psychological reason for it. We only have one father. We only have one mother. If our father or mother is removed, we can’t replace that person. We’re essentially abandoned. We’re lost …

So, what happens if we reject the government? If we don’t want to use the government as a way to keep ourselves safe, to be reliant on government for our money, for our sanctity, [then] we have to rely on each other. We can do that if we have a family, if we have a community, if we have a church, civic organizations and structures.

But what if we’re a single mother with a couple of children living in a Santa Monica apartment that’s being subsidized by the Santa Monica city government, and getting food stamps from the state of California? Well, now we can’t say goodbye to government. We have to keep the government.

So, I really do believe that the attacks on masculinity, on femininity, are specifically designed to end the family unit and to cause all men and women to turn towards government for their security rather than to one another, as has traditionally been the case …”

McDonald stresses that this isn’t really a political issue per se, although the left “seems to have almost a near monopoly on it,” primarily because “the left is inherently a communist or socialist movement. It’s anti-religious, anti-family, anti-individual.”

The problem, of course, is that communist and socialist societies are built on a foundation of corruption, where a small group of elites end up pilfering from everyone else. That’s why communist and socialist regimes don’t last. They always end up collapsing from the rot of corruption.

What’s the Solution?

As for how we are to solve our current problems, McDonald says:

“I have faith and confidence in individuals, but in humanity as a whole, I have lost quite a degree of faith.

Although there have always been corrupt individuals, the fact that humans as a group have allowed them, in the last couple of years, to gain such a foothold through their own voluntary compliance says to me that humanity does not have, at least not now, the inherent capacity to resist true evil to the degree that I believed it had. So, I was mistaken.

This is what’s led me to have some, depending on the day, different feelings and views towards the possibility for a way out. I do not believe right now that the way out is to wait for a messiah … I think the way out is going to be from the grassroots … a rising from the ashes, essentially.

[Take] the public school system in the United States, which I think is unsalvageable; I don’t think it can be fixed. We need to build a new school system. We need to be build a new banking system, a new food system, a new supply delivery system.

We need to build a new political system. All of these systems need to be basically rebuilt. And they’re not going to be rebuilt by a leader, they’re going to be rebuilt by the people, and that’s going to require international cooperation …

It’s so important that the American people actually come together and throw off this corrupt cabal of power and structure so that they can rebuild … If it doesn’t happen, I think we’re going to look forward to a very, very dark period of time that’s going to last … for years or decades. I don’t know if we’ll ever really be able to get out of it.”

Decentralization of Power Is Crucial

As we rebuild, it’s quite clear that decentralization is going to be absolutely essential. As explained by McDonald, one of the reasons for the United States’ success is the Founding Fathers’ foresight to create a system where power is decentralized across the 50 states. The reason the U.S. is on the brink of losing our freedom now is because the power has been reconcentrated through technology and social media.

“The only way for this degree of evil to exist and for it to have such a strong grip over the country, is for the power to be concentrated. If the power were spread out, it would be very difficult for this type of brainwashing to occur because there would be enough counterbalance, there’d be enough dispersion of the corruptive influence, that truth and honesty and the forces for good would actually have a foothold.

I mean, Parler was destroyed a year ago because two men in Silicon Valley flipped a switch and 30 million voices were silenced. I mean, this has never been possible before. Never … I believe right now that … it will take a personal loss, something profound and significant, for those who are still brainwashed to be able to actually start to think clearly again.

Perhaps the loss of a child to a vaccine injury, the loss of a parent who’s denied hospital treatment for heart failure because he decided not to get a vaccine, the complete economic collapse of the home, the community, or perhaps even the country, because we are allowing ourselves to no longer work and believe that somehow productivity will happen somewhere else by some other person.

We may wind up, as is happening in LA, in a state of absolute anarchy, where wealthy people in the Palisades, in Malibu, in Beverly Hills, are now being robbed, raped and murdered by gang members in the same way that they are in the Favelas in Brazil.

This type of crime wave, not just among the poor people out in the ghetto, but among the wealthy class, the ones who are voting in all of the people who are pushing this corruption and this technological brainwashing … has never happened in my lifetime in Los Angeles. [But it] may be requisite that those who are helping support this brainwashing actually suffer significant personal losses before they wake up and pull their support from it.”

Based on what I’ve seen and heard, I suspect even personal losses won’t wake some of them up. I’ve seen cases where a loved one has died within minutes or hours of their COVID shot, and if they’ve lived through it, the person brushes it off as coincidence and schedules their booster. They simply refuse to see the correlation.

This tendency toward blind self-destructiveness is part and parcel of a psychiatric condition known as “mass formation psychosis,” which is the clinical diagnosis proposed by Mattias Desmet, professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium.1

Is It Just Corruption or Something More Sinister?

Clearly, the concentration of power was not accidental. It’s been planned and executed over decades. Ultimately, technology — which is at the heart of the technocratic world view — was needed to succeed. Today, the technology to manipulate and control the global population exists.

“This gives rise to another question, which I would’ve answered very differently a year ago. I’m asked very frequently, ‘Is this simply corruption?’ Meaning ‘I want more money. I want more power.’ Or is there something more sinister? Is there at least a sociopathy or perhaps even existence of evil behind it?

Two years ago, I would’ve said that’s absurd. Maybe there’s a few sociopathic individuals. Certainly, there’s nothing evil. I don’t believe in the devil. But I’m now starting to wonder whether this goes beyond just simple human corruption. Greed is so banal … That seems like such a relatively innocuous vice given what we’re seeing as the consequences of these decisions.

I am now open, as I never have been before, to the possibility of the existence of evil. Of a force, which is actually at play, driving these individuals to commit such acts of horrible evil. And it is evil. The outcomes are evil. They are not errors, and they are orchestrated. That’s what leads me to being so questioning now of these explanations that involve simply errors or isolated corruption.

There is something so, so beautifully precise and well connected and enduring about how all of these actions have come together in the last couple of years that it leads me to think that there must be some sort of force or power at play that goes beyond simple human frailty.”

Moving Forward

McDonald is currently writing a second book, in which he’ll delve deeper into solutions for overcoming fear on a personal and national level. Some of his ideas and treatment recommendations have grown out of a consolidation and evolution of his viewpoints over the last couple of years.

But before we can do anything, we need to understand which groups of people are amenable to treatment and which are not. Some are so deeply brainwashed, they’re seemingly unreachable. Others are scared, but they would like to not be. The first is untreatable, while the other is treatable.

“The brainwashed group, in the same way that we would treat a cult, cannot be treated voluntarily,” he says. “I cannot provide information, education, counseling or even a book for them, because they will not listen. They will not read it. They don’t want to, because I am an enemy. Anybody that provides truth and hope and information is the enemy.

The only ally they have is the guru. Just as a cult is closed off, their family members completely separated from them … these people will only listen to and take commands from Anthony Fauci, from Joe Biden, from Don Lemon, people in media, people in politics, people in bureaucratic government, and nothing will change their mind. Absolutely nothing.

They could see people dying around them, their own parents, their own children, and they would still go take another shot. They are lost, unless and until they are physically removed, essentially in the way that we would with a cult, to a remote location where they can be deprogrammed. And I am not in that business. So that’s not the group that I’m speaking to.

I have to be realistic. We have to be practical and efficient with how we use our time. We don’t want to preach to the choir, but we also don’t want to try to go after people who are closed off, lacking curiosity, utterly brainwashed. They’re not going to listen. It’s useless.

So that leaves the other group, which is the open-minded, maybe scared, maybe anxious, curious group. I would call these people the fear addicts who want to lose their addiction … Those are the people that I want to reach out to with the next book.”

Breaking Fear Addiction

The paradigm McDonald proposes is a basic 12-step program to overcoming addiction, in this case the addiction to fear. As in any 12-step program, the first step is to admit you have an addiction. They must admit they’re addicted to fear, because without losing the fear, they cannot move forward.

“Fear is the obstacle to being able to think and act rationally. So, the fear has to be overcome. But in order to overcome fear, you have to admit that you’re addicted to it, that this is not something that you want to hold onto,” McDonald explains.

“From there, there are other things you can do. One of them, which I don’t think anyone has really talked about much, is you need to embrace humor. Humor is what allows us to have a perspective. Without a perspective, we’re like a sailor looking through a monoscope. Everything is just focused on one little target off in the distance.

We lose everything around us. We lose our context. We’re unable to assign value and priority to things. Everything becomes about cases, death, cases, death, shots, masks. One of the best ways to step away from that is to actually develop humor and to embrace it. To start to laugh again, to tell jokes, to see the lighter side of our time here. We’re not here just to exist. We’re here to live. We’re here to live fully …

Developing that sense of perspective allows them to embrace more curiosity. They must also cut themselves off from media, at least temporarily, because media is what’s fueling the addiction … You’ve got to stop going to your dealer …

I’m going to go through a lot of other steps as well as I elucidate them. But these are some of the ones I think are very important for people to consider — admitting that you have a problem and desiring to end it; developing, or at least embracing, humor; and avoiding the dealer of the fear, which is, largely speaking, the media.

Also, return to what’s around you. Stop cutting yourself off from people. You may be embracing people who are also fearful. Hanging out with alcoholics is not the best way to stop drinking. Go to people who are sober.

Build friendships, relationships with people who don’t have the addiction to fear … You’ll discover an entire world that does not revolve around viruses, injections, masks and shutting down schools and businesses.”

Do You Have the Basic Will To Be Free?

According to Robert Malone, Ph.D., in private conversation with Desmet, Desmet suggested that one of the things that can work is to shift the focus from the irrational fear of death from a relatively innocuous virus to the rational fear of global tyranny, the entire human race being subjugated to slavery for the remainder of time.

Desmet claimed he had tested it out and found that, in some cases, people who are afraid of COVID can be steered to a saner frame of mind by, essentially, giving them a greater fear with which to replace their irrational fear of the virus. McDonald doesn’t believe this will work, at least not to any significant degree.

“I wrote about the cultural prerequisites in my book. [Desmet] describes [them] in purely psychological terms, although there’s also cultural overlay [such as] lack of meaning and being disconnected from family. Well, how does that happen?

When you don’t really know what your purpose is as a man, when you don’t have a nuclear family, you lose family relationships. You’re cut off from your friends because of political differences. So, we kind of reached the same end points from different starting points, but I completely agree with him.

The idea of hypnosis is also very interesting. I’ve studied clinical hypnosis. As we all know in stage performances, the hypnotist will bring on a dozen people on the stage, try to suggest different things to 12 people.

And then he’ll gradually pick off 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of them, send them back to the audience when he diagnoses them as non-suggestible. He keeps two or three who are, and those people usually perform beautifully throughout the hypnosis on stage.

I think that’s also true. I think there are people who are just, for some reason, more easily suggestible. And so, they are more prone to a hypnotic trance. And I think there is a kind of hypnotic trance going on right now in the world. Those people just have an inherent suggestibility.

The idea that we could supplant the fear of death with a fear of totalitarian control is an interesting one, but I’m not sure that I agree with that for the following reason.

I think one of the reasons why people have become so compliant, especially in the Western countries, in the more affluent, the more kind of technologically-connected, interpersonally-disconnected societies, is that we have largely lost the … intrinsic [will to] revolt and push back against being controlled by a higher non-God-like authority.

I think that people today, they do not intrinsically crave freedom. I think they crave being taken care of. And one of the great strengths of totalitarian regimes throughout the 20th century is that they have offered security at the expense of freedom.

And people have largely embraced it, at least at the beginning, before all of the camps started and the executions, because they don’t see the end point of the loss of freedom. They see the immediate benefits of security, of being taken care of. I don’t have to go to work every day … This is such an easier life. This is like going back in time to the day I was born and every need that I had was taken care of …

Now, I had no freedom. I was at the mercy of the mother. But wow, what an easy life. No responsibility … So, there’s something psychologically hardwired into us to want to embrace something simple, something easy, give away our autonomy to a higher authority that is a state that will take care of us.

And, of course, it always turns into a totalitarian system and then the people end up dying, being murdered, we have mass starvation, executions. We’ve seen it time and time again throughout the 20th century.

But from my experience as a clinician, people are actually far more scared of death, of losing security, of losing so-called protection from the state, than they are of losing all of their liberties, their freedoms, and ultimately just being fed into a meat grinder for society’s despots.

At its core, the totalitarian system offers a cheat. It says, ‘Stop believing in a higher power that isn’t real, God, and believe in a higher power which is me and the party. I can offer you the potatoes. I can offer you the guards … I can offer you all of that right now. What can God offer you?  … You can’t rely on him. Well, you can rely on me.’ It’s almost like a devilish kind of Faustian play that these totalitarian despots always engage in, but people fall for it.

And this is one of the reasons why every communist system, every dictatorship, essentially attacks all forms of religious worship and organization. They need a secular society, because when there is the higher power, above the state, that people believe in or rely on, it diminishes the absolute power of the state. It brings it into context.

And the context is that it’s flawed, because totalitarian regimes are still run by human beings. They’re not run by angels. They’re not run by God. And if we can remove God from the picture, now suddenly, the whole hierarchy shifts and the top power becomes the state and there’s nothing above the state.

I don’t think there’s any exception to this. And this is another reason why the attack on the church and the attack on Christmas, for example, has been so ongoing in the last couple decades.”

Be Brave, Speak Out, Find Your Tribe

If you haven’t done so already, the first thing you’ll want to do is surround yourself with like-minded people, and be sure to meet in person, whenever possible. Part of finding your “tribe” involves gathering your courage and speaking your mind.

“One of the key things that I discovered personally, which I strongly suggest everyone do, is come out of the closet,” McDonald says.

“I recognize it is far easier to come out of the closet as a transgendered non-binary right now than it is to come out as a conservative, but even if you lose a few friends and colleagues, you will gain far, far more from high-quality, supportive, loving, freedom defending people with integrity than anything that you’ve ever lost.

As Mikki Willis [creator of the Plandemic documentary series] said to me after he filmed his first movie, ‘I didn’t lose a single friend.’ I said, how is that possible? He said, ‘Because all the people that left, they weren’t friends to begin with.’ And I completely agree with him. That has been true in my experience. It will be true in yours.

All you have to do is you have to tolerate and accept the immediate temporary fire-branding that will occur once you put your head up and … start speaking from your heart and being honest, showing your own integrity …

The people that don’t support you, they will leave. They will create space for those who do. Those who hear you and agree with you, they will come to you. They will say, ‘Thank God, another person who shares my views. What’s your name? Can we meet for coffee? Have you heard about this group I organized? We meet on Thursdays over at the coffee shop. I want you to introduce you to my friends.’

That will happen to you. And I think that is the first, most important step that you can take to becoming a stronger, healthier, and more pro-freedom, pro-American individual.”

In closing, be sure to pick up a copy of “United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to Mass Delusional Psychosis” to learn more.