What’s Jordan Peterson been up to?

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We haven’t heard much from him lately. Last year, you couldn’t go on the internet without groaning over yet another fanboi raving about how wonderful Dr Peterson is, he changed my life, don’t you know, and his self-help book is the greatest, and millions of people everywhere have turned their life around with his advice. He was raking in so much money from Patreon and his best-seller book that he was certainly able to live a life of indolence and leisure, and of course, as the master of giving advice to others, he was sure to be living his life as an exemplar of moderation and reason.

Nope. Peterson has been living in ‘absolute hell’. We learn about all this from his daughter Mikhaila, who has been promoted to being “a well known speaker on diet”, eliding over the fact that she has no training or qualifications in nutrition.

  • He acquired “a severe addiction to benzodiazepine tranquilizers”. Really severe.
  • He claims to have started taking them because of his “autoimmune reaction to food”. This is also why he started his bizarre all-beef diet. (By the way, one of the side effects of benzodiazepine is constipation. The man has been corked up for a while.)
  • Getting off of a benzodiazepine addiction is tough; withdrawal seizures are common, and they can kill.
  • North American doctors are aware of this, and wanted to wean him off the dangerous addiction with other drugs. Therefore, they are all puppets of the pharmaceutical companies.
  • So he flew off to Russia to get treatment, where the doctors have the guts to treat him as a man should be treated.
  • The Russian doctors put him in an induced coma, presumably as a consequence of his seizures. And his pneumonia.
  • He nearly died several times.
  • Jordan Peterson has only just come out of an intensive care unit, Mikhaila said. He has neurological damage, and a long way to go to full recovery. He is taking anti-seizure medication and cannot type or walk unaided, but is “on the mend” and his sense of humour has returned.

I’m glad he’s well enough now to laugh, but I would have just told him to stand up straight and clean his room. That would have fixed him right up.

Do people still take advice from this horrific wreck of a man? Not to blame victims of disease or accident, but all of his problems seem to be self-inflicted.


  1. says

    Not that it much matters, but the daughter’s story doesn’t entirely make sense. In the first place, there’s no such thing as an “autoimmune” reaction to food. There could be an allergic reaction, but benzos are obviously not going to be prescribed in response. Second, akathisia is a side effect of antipsychotic drugs, not benzos (which are actually used to treat it). He’s entitled to his privacy, however, so I’ll just leave it at that.

  2. Marissa van Eck says

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I wonder what all his cultists will do when they figure it out?

  3. says

    Someone actually makes a Peterson joke in the comments section of the following video, a post of Japanese jazz guitarist Kazumi Watanabe’s The Spice of Life Too.

  4. jrkrideau says

    @ 1 cervantes
    ” there’s no such thing as an “autoimmune” reaction to food”
    there is if you are “a well known speaker on diet” , that is, someone babbling total nonsense.

    The Russian doctors put him in an induced coma, presumably as a consequence of his seizures. And his pneumonia.

    Now there are some doctors who will want to have some strong words the equivalent of Canadian Border Services (or whatever). Possibly while hefting hypodermics and scalpels.

  5. petesh says

    In the words of a major coke addict, assisted by someone who really knew the subject:

    Is it any wonder you are too cool to fool? (fame)
    Fame, bully for you, chilly for me
    Got to get a rain check on pain (fame)

    Bowie got over it (as did Lennon). But he satirized the hero/martyrcomplex; this idiot doesn’t seem to have been kidding on any level. For his own sake, I hope he survives, preferably as the local idiot in a remote village.

  6. raven says

    The last place I would go for medical treatment is Russia.
    There are a lot of good docs in Canada and the USA.

    As has already been pointed out, the treatment for “autoimmune disorders” and allergies is various immune system targeting drugs such as Humira or loratadine (generic Claratin), not benzodiazapines.

  7. raven says

    Do people still take advice from this horrific wreck of a man?

    There are 368 million people in North America.
    The vast majority of them are not so heavily addicted to benzodiazapines that they have seizures if they stop and end up almost dead.

    There is obviously something seriously wrong with Jordan Peterson’s mind.
    There isn’t really enough information for me to even bother making a guess.

    As PZ points out here, Peterson has completely vaporized his credibility.
    I hope he made enough money off of reflecting back people’s hates for women, gays, trans, leftists, intellectuals, nonwhites, nonxians, and whoever else Peterson and his fanboys hate to pay for his medical treatment.

  8. garnetstar says

    Well, glad to hear that his sense of humor has “returned”, but since it has never before been visible, it didn’t have far to come.

  9. leerudolph says

    He nearly died several times.

    So once he’s back on his feet and at his grifting again, he’ll be able to include the several kinds of wisdom he presumably acquired from several near-death experiences! Win-win-win. Sort of hard on Death, though.

    “You’ll be Death, then?” said Vimes, after a while.
    AH, MISTER VIMES, ASTUTE AS EVER. GOT IT IN ONE, said Death, shutting the book on his finger to keep the place.
    “I’ve seen you before.”
    “And this is it, is it?”
    Vimes could tell when people were trying to avoid something they really didn’t want to say, and it was happening here.
    “Is it?” he insisted. “Is this it? This time I die?”
    “Could be? What sort of answer is that?” said Vimes.

  10. tacitus says

    The “autoimmune reaction to food” sounds suspiciously like a bullshit excuse to avoid admitting that he succumbed to bog standard anxiety and depression — you know, like the rest of us mere mortals do from time to time. I also suspect his status as a self-help guru was the catalyst for the deception. It’s hard to maintain a reputation for being able to help others sort out their mental health when your own is spiraling out of control.

  11. komarov says

    Re: tacitus (#17):

    It’s hard to maintain a reputation for being able to help others sort out their mental health when your own is spiraling out of control.

    You can’t be a successful grifter without learning a bit about spin, and this “episode” of his is trivial to spin into a “I know what I’m talking about” narrative. It does sound pretty dramatic, so it will not matter whether it was self-inflicted or the result of a string of really bad decisions. Assuming Peterson recovers enough to resume his grifting self-help thing, he’ll have another moneypit to dig into.

  12. William George says

    I had a friend fall Peterson’s thrall after a bad relationship and him getting into the habit of bedding a lot of “juicy girl” types (He’s US military). He kept his politics to himself but I did’t realize how far rightwards he had drifted until we had a falling out over Rush Limbaugh. I had to dismiss him from my life after realizing he had gone full MRA.

  13. tacitus says

    @komarov: Sure, I don’t doubt he will capitalize on his personal experience through this crisis, though I remain confident that he will not accept that any blame lies in a personal failing on his regard to the extent that conservative leaders aren’t supposed to be susceptible to anxiety or depression.

    But his daughter is going to have to stop using phrases like “It takes a village…” about his recovery if he wants to continue being a paid up member of the IDW…

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Perhaps the Russian doctors have also corrected his spelling, and Peterson will now subsist on an all-beet diet.

  15. ardipithecus says

    “(By the way, one of the side effects of benzodiazepine is constipation. The man has been corked up for a while.)”

    Probably why his shit’s been coming out of the other end.

  16. square101 says

    I hate, hate, hate that his daughter has described the safe and effective method of weaning people off of medication using other similar long acting medication as some “big pharma conspiracy”. It is very likely that if he had proceeded with a slow weaning of the benzos under the supervision of a qualified doctor he could have avoided seizures entirely and come out of the the exact same giant human shit fire he was going in. On the other hand if you are gonna preach shit that hurts people it’s only fair that one of those hurt is the preacher.

  17. John Morales says

    Isn’t he a Canadian? That reference to North American doctors is a bit ambiguous.

    But yes, it is most amusingly ironic how this purported guru of self-help and expert in psychopharmacology succumbed to neurosis and addiction.

  18. John Morales says


    The evidence presented entails that he’s been [self?] psychomedicating since at least late 2016 if these two claims are true:

    “In late 2016, Peterson went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables to control severe depression and an autoimmune disorder, including psoriasis and uveitis.[26][141] In mid-2018 he stopped eating vegetables, and continued eating only beef (see carnivore diet).[142] In 2019, Peterson entered a rehabilitation facility after experiencing symptoms of physical withdrawal when he stopped taking clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug.”

    “He acquired “a severe addiction to benzodiazepine tranquilizers”. Really severe.
    He claims to have started taking them because of his “autoimmune reaction to food”. This is also why he started his bizarre all-beef diet.”
    [PZ – OP adumbration of JP’s daughter’s missive]

    Interestingly, that chronologically coincides with his gain in prominence — the vociferous opposition to Bill C-16.

  19. John Morales says

    In passing, I am not aware of any convictions pertaining to that bill, JP’s very cause célèbre.

    (Go figure)

  20. chrislawson says

    There is definitely such a thing as an “autoimmune reaction to food.” Coeliac disease for instance.

    Whether Peterson really has this or not is another matter. So many people self-diagnose themselves that I don’t believe anyone unless they have positive test results for their condition from a reliable lab. And given Peterson’s tendency to make stupid anti-scientific statements about everything under the sun, I would not be surprised to learn he has no evidence for his autoimmune dietary disorder.

    And yes, benzos are never, ever indicated as a treatment for food allergies. In fact, almost the worst part of this is Peterson blaming his benzo addiction on his allergies. He has a benzo addiction because he kept hitting up his doctor for more scripts because he liked the psychoactive effects of the drug. His doctor shares a huge part of the blame for this, of course, as there is no justification for escalating to these doses. That is, of course, if his doctor was involved in the decision-making. If Petersen doctor-shopped or bought the drugs on the street then it’s really down to his own behaviour.

    It is important not to demonise benzos. They can be life-saving medications when used correctly. But escalating doses for anxiety is absolutely not correct use.

    Finally, I can’t help but have some sympathy for his addiction. But for a delusional narcissist who has made millions out of his self-help/right-wing enabling scam, that sympathy is completely swallowed up by the harm he has done to countless others and the fact that if anyone should know better, it is a professional psychologist.

  21. wzrd1 says

    @1, I can think of one autoimmune disease that is triggered by food, celiac disease. Still, benzodiazepine isn’t an appropriate or even wildly off base treatment, it’s not even wrong.

    @27, totally on target, on all points.
    When I herniated my L4-L5 disc, doctor prescribed benzodiazepine and hydrocodone. I looked at the two prescriptions and told him up front, I’d go with the opioid first, if it, as a CNS depressant failed to control spasms, I’d consider a benzo. It’s not a first choice item, as has repeatedly hit the continuing education rounds for physicians.
    Still, who all thinks that Jordan’s treatment for epilepsy is a benzodiazepine? Sorry, but that smells strongly smells of malingerer syndrome.

  22. says

    Could be this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mast_cell_activation_syndrome

    Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is one type of mast cell activation disorder (MCAD), and is an immunological condition in which mast cells inappropriately and excessively release chemical mediators, resulting in a range of chronic symptoms, sometimes including anaphylaxis or near-anaphylaxis attacks.
    Primary symptoms include cardiovascular, dermatological, gastrointestinal, neurological and respiratory problems.

    New to medicine as of 2007, so not surprising people haven’t heard of it.

  23. square101 says

    It is also fully possible that this whole “I took benzos to fight my autoimmune disorder” bs is cover for “I used benzos recreationally for too long and too high a dose and am now physically dependent and/or addicted to them.” He just know admitting something like that would be very out of character for him and so he made up all this BS to cover his ass.

  24. critterfan says

    Long time lurker here, and, like Abe Drayton mentioned, it does sound as if Peterson might have some kind of mast cell disorder. I have both celiac and MCAS (mast cell activation syndrome), and do have a (small dose) prescription for benzos, along with antihistamines, and some other mast cell stabilizers. But the benzos are an emergency-only drug that I’ve only taken a few times in the last couple of years. One easy confusion between mast cell disorders and allergies is the need to carry an epi-pen to bring an attack under control. But eating beef? BEEF? A big no-no according to my doctors. Huge. And going on an all-beef carnivore diet? Egad! It shows a profound lack of understanding of the science, either on his part, or on his doctor’s (provided he has one.) If a mast cell disorder really is his problem, somebody wasn’t listening in nutrition class. Eating beef is a huge histamine burden on the digestive system (the digestive system is full of trigger-happy mast cells BTW), and reducing dietary histamine was one of the first things my doctors had me do, along with taking loratadine and famotidine (H1 and H2 blockers). Beef is one of the biggest dietary offenders, along with things like tamari sauce, and anything fermented. Beef is often hung for up to two weeks in a freezer, accumulating histamine all the while. Mast cell sufferers aren’t supposed to eat leftovers either, so cook food, quick cool it, and freeze it right away if you’re not eating it on the spot. Veggies don’t generally accumulate histamine as quickly as meats, though, so aside from poultry, I’m practically a vegan now, and a limited one at that since there are some high-histamine foods in the plant side of the aisle too, as well as histamine releasers (like citrus – bu-bye oranges! sigh.)
    I cannot image the misery that would ensue if I was stupid enough to chow down on a hamburger or a steak. Ugh. And an all-beef diet would definitely require escalating amounts of all of my drugs just to survive the fallout. Seriously bad idea.

  25. Bruce Fuentes says

    So he did not want to use drugs to treat his addiction, but was willing to be put into a drug induced coma. Am I missing something? The cognitive dissonance is truly amazing. People actually gave a rat’s ass about what this guy had to say? Wow!

  26. says

    John Morales@24 Peterson is the kind of guy who’d go to an American clinic of some sort because he has lots of money, and then claim the Canadian system is so bad because he had to go to the States to be treated.

  27. garnetstar says

    If he’s been eating nothing but beef (and, he once claimed, vodka) since 2018, how about malnutrition as a contributor to his physical problems? I hope the Russian doctors at least fed him before tying him down or whatever it is they do.

  28. bryanfeir says

    I had a friend put into an induced coma once. In his case it was because of blood clots potentially getting stuck in his lungs, and the blood thinners to treat that were causing breaks in other blood vessels whenever he moved as a result of other pre-existing damage.

    My understanding is that ‘putting you in an induced coma is your best chance of survival’ is doctor-speak for ‘you really don’t have much chance of surviving any other way’. Induced comas are not exactly the safest of treatment methods.

  29. magistramarla says

    29 and # 31,

    Thank you both for describing MCAS! My daughter and her two little girls were all diagnosed with it. I have autoimmune issues (Sjogren’s Syndrome), and three of my four daughters have some kind of autoimmune issues, too.
    My daughter was beside herself watching those two little girls have severe reactions to everything that they ate until a doc at UCLA finally figured it out. I hate seeing the three of them so limited in what they are allowed to eat, but it certainly beats the alternative. They all have to carry epi-pens, and those H1 and H2 blockers are crucial, but they certainly are NOT prescribed anything addictive, even in an emergency.

  30. khms says

    I’ve got an autoimmune disorder – type 1 diabetes. After reading up on celiac because someone mentioned it in this thread, it seems that the difference between allergies and autoimmune reactions are far more subtle than I was previously led to believe.

    I used to think that allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to external stimuli, and autoimmune to internal ones. But that does not seem to be the case. It seems that the two use two different kinds of T-cells (which means you have to be, or listen to, an expert to know which it is, you can’t conclude it from how it looks to you).

    Which, for example, means that anti-histamines are good for bee sting allergies, and bad for MCAS.

  31. critterfan says

    36 and 38: MCAS is a definitely a new and poorly understood condition. From what I understand the biggest problem is the sheer number of different cytokines the mast cells can ‘choose’ to dump into your bloodstream when they degranulate. Some people get something called POTS and have different meds to control that. Some people get rashes and asthma, some get intestinal disturbances, cardiac effects, the list goes on and on down to the horrifically scary anaphylactic shock. And what your symptoms are differs not only from person-to-person but over time. Even more fun, there are an incredible number of possible triggers (foods, heat, cold, vibration, stress, etc.) It’s really annoying, and sometimes scary. In my case, without the antihistamines, I’d have idiotically high blood pressure and tachycardia episodes. I’ve seen the ‘antihistamines are bad for MCAS’ on the internet, but I trust my doctor. And the results. The benzos have a stabilizing effect on mast cells, and are for reining in a tachy escalation. I rarely use them. But I get it, it’s crazy confusing. If you really want to understand MCAS, check out “Never Bet Against Occam” by Dr. Lawrence Afrin. He’s been researching mast cell disorders and treating mast cell patients since 2008. Or check out the MastAttack website, run by a researcher with personal knowledge https://www.mastattack.org/
    Both of these were very helpful to me in understanding what was going on.
    If you want a quick look at all the cytokines the mast cells can drop on your unsuspecting head, check out http://www.cells-talk.com/version_act/images/download/MAST-CELLS-SAMPLE_ENTRY.pdf at COPE. There are nearly 48 pages worth of cytokines listed there. The sample there is a free look provided by the guy who runs COPE, Dr H Ibelgaufts. Most everything else on the site is subscription only, and he has good reasons for it. Donate if you like what the guy is doing. DISCLAIMER, I have no personal relationship with any of these people, I’ve just found them helpful and interesting.