Controversial Canadian academic Jordan Peterson is undergoing rehabilitation from an addiction to the tranquiliser drug benzodiazepine, his family says.
The best-selling author is a popular figure among conservatives, and is known for railing against “political correctness”, feminism and “cultural Marxism”.
In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Mr Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila said he had been suffering from a physical dependency on the drug — which he was prescribed for anxiety — for eight months.
Mr Peterson began taking benzodiazepine when he had an “extremely severe auto-immune reaction to food”, she said, with the dosage being raised after his wife, Tammy Peterson, was diagnosed with cancer.
Valium and Xanax are commonly known brands of benzodiazepine.
“He has been in unbearable discomfort from this drug, made worse when trying to remove it, because of the additional withdrawal symptoms stemming from physical dependence,” his daughter said.
Ms Peterson, who herself gives talks on self-help topics, said her father was suffering from an “endless, irresistible restlessness bordering on panic and an inability to sit still. The reaction made him suicidal.”
The University of Toronto psychology professor has more than 2.5 million followers on YouTube and authored the 2018 self-help book 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
He visited Australia in February 2019 and appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program.
Attempts at treating Mr Peterson in numerous North American hospitals had failed, his daughter said, requiring them to seek an “emergency” detox program in Russia.
“The decision to bring him to Russia was made in extreme desperation, when we couldn’t find any better option,” she said.
“The uncertainty around his recovery has been one of the most difficult and scary experiences we’ve ever had.”
Mr Peterson has previously discussed a years-long battle with depression, which began when he a teenager.
Mr Peterson himself will provide the next update on his condition, Mikhaila said.