(Health Secrets) If you are horrified by seemingly senseless tragedy and looking for a culprit in the Connecticut school shooting, you may want to learn about a specific class of antidepressant drugs known as SSRIs. Here are the haunting stories of teens and adults who survived these drugs, and their connection to the undeniable escalation of school shootings.
A beloved sister on antidepressants tries to kill herself. A young teenager hangs herself four days after taking 100 milligrams of Zoloft. A young woman on antidepressants slashes her wrists, and another viciously mutilates herself. A father holds a photo of his 12 year old daughter because it is all that is left of her after her suicide eight weeks after being put on Paxil and Zoloft. Parents of a high school girl who had scored 1300 on her SATs before being prescribed an antidepressant drug had to pick out a cemetery plot instead of a university, following her suicide. Another father recalls his son telling him he could not stand the way the drugs were making him feel, and two days later he killed himself. A mother and father relive watching their child deliberately run into the path of a moving car.
Each of these tragedies is witnessed in a video clip from an ABC feature currently making the rounds again, titled Antidepressants and School Shooting, Suicide, Addiction. Each of these tragedies is the result of an SSRI drug. It is a video you might want to watch because in it, the connection between SSRI drugs, suicide and deception is highly documented.
Over and over again, the bereaved parents say it was not disease that produced such an outcome, but the drugs. And they firmly believe the drug companies knew such a risk existed but never made that information public.
A young woman who did not die was able to testify in a hearing on SSRIs featured in this video. She told of putting a gun under her chin in a state of hopelessness and confusion, and pulling the trigger. Although her face was mutilated, she was able to articulate her experience. Another young woman told of being shy and depressed but never suicidal as a child, but when prescribed antidepressant drugs, having constant thoughts and visions of hurting herself and taking her own life. Luckily her attempt failed.
SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) is the class of drugs most commonly prescribed as antidepressants, and includes Paxil, Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Luvox and Effexor. They are often prescribed by general practitioners based only on information provided by drug company representatives, although psychiatrists prescribe them too. According to Dr. Alice Domar of the Harvard Medical School, all you have to do to be prescribed an SSRI drug is to walk into a doctor’s office and say you are not feeling well or are feeling lethargic.
At a hearing on SSRIs captured in the video, Dr. Mark Hudak pointed out that for the people testifying, “the picture presented of their child or someone they knew was not someone who was very ill, but of who had relatively minor type findings and who were put on these drugs with terrible consequences.”
Dr. David Healy, a world renown expert on antidepressant drugs, has used SSRI drugs with patients and uses them still. He thinks general practitioners are prescribing them in good faith. But according to him, “We are not just picking up people who were ill and need to be treated. We’ve gone way beyond that and are actually making people ill.” Healy questions what kind of society we have become “when increasingly it seems pharmaceutical companies can get drugs on the market which haven’t been shown to work and which have been claimed to be safe and effective when they aren’t.”
Senator Henry Waxman says its all about money, not science. “The pharmaceutical industry has systematically misled physicians and patients.”
Harvard psychologist Dr. Joseph Glenmullen believes we don’t know what these drugs are doing to real life human beings. “When you look at all the documents, you see a pattern of misleading doctors who then unwittingly mislead patients. This is a betrayal of the public trust in physicians behind the scenes by the industry and it must stop.” Dr. Glenmullen is a consultant for lawyers suing antidepressant manufacturers. Although he prescribes SSRIs to patients, he closely monitors them. If suicidal ideation develops he immediately takes them off the drugs.
SSRIs are prominently featured in many instances of teenage and adult violence, and evidence revealed so far suggests they may be the culprit in the Connecticut school shooting. A recent broadcast of Fox News chronicled the stories of several teens and young adults whose lives became violent from SSRIs. They found that a disturbing number of those committing school shootings were either on SSRI medication or experiencing withdrawal.
Two years ago 16 year old Corey Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school and held 23 of his classmates hostage. All he remembers is feeling sick and not wanting to go to school that day so he went back to bed, and the next thing he knew, he was in a holding center. His father blames the SSRIs for his son’s actions that day, and for the hallucinations, amnesia, bad dreams and withdrawal he experienced while on the drugs. The morning of Corey’s school violence he was on a mix of SSRIs prescribed for situational depression. His father says the drugs turned Corey from a sensitive and loving teenage to a volatile marauder, susceptible to blind rage.
Fifteen year old Kip Kinkel was withdrawing from Prozac when he shot 22 classmates and killed two after murdering his mother and step father at their home in Springfield, Oregon.
Eighteen year old Jason Hoffman opened fire at his California high school while taking Effexor and Celexa. Five were wounded.
Fifteen year old Shawn Cooper shot students in Idaho while on a mix of antidepressants.
Fifteen year old TJ Soloman aimed a gun at his classmates in Conyers, Georgia while taking a mix of antidepressants.
Seventeen year old Eric Harris was on Luvox when he and his partner, Dylan Klebold killed twelve classmates and the teacher in the bloodiest school massacre ever, known as Columbine.
Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist, recounts what most mental health professionals already know — that depression rarely leads to violence. It is only since SSRI drugs have been on the market that we have seen murders and even mass murders committed by a person on antidepressant drugs.
Discontinuance of SSRIs is also a problem. When the drugs are stopped, withdrawal symptoms are horrendous. Many patients trying to stop their medication experience the sensation of electric shock or jolts that create intensely painful zaps throughout their bodies, along with fatigue so intense they can hardly walk or talk. Other withdrawal symptoms include fainting, dizzy spells, insomnia, chest pains, stomach spasms, headaches, nervousness, anxiety, racing thoughts, crying spells, and anger. One young man going through it describes the sensation of all the panic attacks he didn’t have while on the drugs being bottled up inside of him and now coming out at an uncontrollable rate.
As with other recently released dangerous drugs, like those to treat learning problems at school, parents are seldom made aware of the long term picture when the push is made to get them to agree to the prescription.
And what about the children of those taking SSRIs? Although many doctors prescribe them to improve the mother’s mood during pregnancy, more than 40 studies have linked the use of SSRIs to the endangerment of the developing fetus.
Dr. Adam Urato from Tufts University School of Medicine says study after study has showed increased rates of newborn complications in babies who were exposed to SSRIs in utero. These complications include increased risk of autism, lung and bowel diseases and more. Urato has said there is really no evidence whatsoever to support the benefits of antidepressants for pregnant women.
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