Despite being perfectly sane, a character is given drugs that make people around him think that he is insane. This is usually done maliciously and without the character's knowledge. Frequently done to get a character out of the way when killing them would be too messy, or simply to discredit them
Often this would be maintained by having a caregiver giving the patient "medicine" to treat their mental illness, but in reality is dosing them to keep them insane.
Compare Psycho Serum
where a character intentionally takes a drug to enhance himself
, but it induces insanity as a side-effect; also compare Infectious Insanity
which is another "manufactured" way to cause insanity.
- Sierra's backstory in Dollhouse. After spurning the advances of a rich man, he is so angered that he doses her and has her put into a mental ward.
- Used a few times in Psych:
- In "Shawn Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Shawn goes into a mental ward to try to prove that a crimelord is faking insanity to get an Insanity Defense. Turns out this trope is at play instead, and he is being continually dosed by one of the nurses.
- Happens to Lassiter in "Heeeeeere's Lassie", where the killer is putting a chemical in the air vents to drive certain residents insane.
- Occurs yet again when a law firm has a man dosed so that people think he's an insane conspiracy nut to discredit them when he is building a case against them when he finds that they've had some shady dealings.
- In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank ODs on a number of mental medications, leading to him wandering the street in soiled pants. He then gets taken to a mental ward (an Actor Allusion, as Danny DeVito was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). Once the medication wears off, he breaks out.
- One episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has a villain of the week who has a girl she was abusing (who witnessed her murder another child in her care) committed and drugged (she managed to convince the staff that the girl was legitimately insane, but the trope was otherwise in effect). Another episode inverts it, by having a corrupt nursing home take a patient off his meds to prevent him from telling anyone about a patient who died due to negligence.
- The X-Files: In the second season finale, it is revealed that Mulder's erratic behavior of late was due to drugs in his water supply, presumably done by The Conspiracy to discredit him.
- Diagnosis: Murder, season 6, episode 6 'Alienated': in a possible Shout-Out to The X-Files and its 'Anasazi' episode a doctor is poisoned by a pharmaceutical company inducing paranoia regarding a secret military base to destroy his credibility in respect to a new drug.