Saturday, February 17, 2018

Are antidepressant meds behind these school shootings?

Source: CCCI International
Whatever your pet solution to mass school killings, you need to consider -- especially if you're a parent -- the possible role of antidepressant medications.

There's persuasive evidence that antidepressants can make young people prone to violence, perhaps not in every person but in enough to matter. This may explain the otherwise inexplicable behavior we saw in Florida.

In the Florida case, family member Barbara Kumbatovich told the Miama Herald that “she believed Nikolas Cruz was on medication to deal with his emotional fragility.” She was a sister-in-law of Lynda Cruz, the suspect’s mother, and she also told the Sun-Sentinel that she believes Nikolas has been on medications for several months.

In the Sandy Hook case, at one point experts at the Yale Child Studies Center prescribed antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication, but his mother discontinued the treatment after her son was unable to raise his arm after taking the medicine and never scheduled follow-up visits, police reports said. So we don't know if he was taking these meds at the time he went on his murder spree.

An Oxford University study found that men – and women – in their late teens and early 20s – were almost 50 per cent more likely to be convicted of offences from assault to murder when taking SSRI drugs. This family of anti-depressants includes Prozac, as well as Seroxat, Lustral, Cipralex and Cipramil, the most commonly prescribed of the pills.

A common thread among the most horrific school shootings of the past 25 years is that the majority of the shooters were taking a psychiatric medication. As a psychiatrist who is all too familiar with this issue, I am dismayed at this oversight, writes Hyla Cass, M.D. Many legal cases, with closed books due to settlement, document cases of suicides and homicides in individuals who had not been violent prior to taking medication, and often they were newly prescribed or on an increased dose.

She cites these examples:
The Virginia Tech shooter murdered thirty-two. Cho was prescribed the antidepressant drug Prozac prior to his rampage.

Jeffrey Weiss went on a shooting rampage on March 21, 2005, at Red Lake High School that left ten dead, including him. Earlier that day, Weiss had killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend. He was on Prozac and the dosage had recently been increased.

Eric Harris, one of the killers at Columbine High School, was on the antidepressant drug Luvox. Court records show that the prescription for Harris had been filled ten times between April 1998 and March 1999.

In Houston, Texas, Andrea Yates drowned her five children while taking Effexor and Remeron.

Christopher Pittman shot and killed his grandparents at age twelve. He claimed a voice inside his head told him to kill his grandparents on November 28, 2001. Christopher had recently started to take Zoloft to treat mild depression.
If you are someone you know is taking these medications, don't stop, but talk to your doctor immediately about the possible unwanted side effects.

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