Take This Antidepressant, and You Too May Have a Violent Psychotic Break

March 8, 2011
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antidep1Not only may the drugs meant to cure your depression actually drive you to suicide, but these dangerous and addictive drugs may be behind the Columbine shooting—and dozens of others. Ask the FDA to warn the public that SSRIs may make people commit violence against others! Our new Action Alert has the details.

In another article in this issue, we told you about the black box notice on antidepressant drugs warning that young people may want to kill themselves when first taking these FDA-approved medications. But there is also a shocking risk of increased violence to others, as noted by medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Whitaker.

A review of FDA’s Adverse Event reports “identified 31 drugs responsible for most of the FDA case reports of violence toward others, with antidepressants near the top of that list.” Time magazine posted an article entitled “Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence” in which five of the top ten are SSRI antidepressants: fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), venlafaxine (Effexor), and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).

Julian Whitaker, MD, founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute and a thirty-year practitioner of alternative medicine, notes that the FDA does not include violent behavior on its black box warning labels because they are “blinded by their incestuous relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.”

Elsewhere, Dr. Whitaker discusses the common thread between the Columbine High School shooters, spree shootings at a community center in Los Angeles, two brokerage firms in Atlanta, and a printing plant in Kentucky: SSRI antidepressants.   Every one of those shootings was perpetrated by people taking Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Paxil, or a related antidepressant drug. The medical records of Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and injured fourteen others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, have not been released. What is clear is that he suffered from depression and had a sudden and dramatic change in personality around 2006. His behavior on January 8 is frighteningly similar to many who take SSRIs.

The website SSRIstories.com has compiled a jaw-dropping list of school shootings, spree killings, murder attempts, and other violent actions, together with the particular antidepressant medication the perpetrator was using (or had just withdrawn from). In 2006, the peer-reviewed journal PloS Medicine published an article outlining a series of medico-legal cases involving antidepressants and violence. They note that many of the court cases appear not to have considered the possibility that a prescription drug may induce violence.

Dr. Peter Breggan published a study in Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry discussing the risk of antidepressant-induced suicide, violence, and mania in our military personnel.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare investigated reports about antidepressant users “who developed increased feelings of hostility or anxiety, and have even committed sudden acts of violence against others.” After its investigation, the Ministry decided to revise the label warnings on SSRIs, stating, “There are cases where we cannot rule out a causal relationship [of such acts of violence] with the medication.”

And then there’s the tragic case of a UK teenager who bludgeoned his father to death with a hammer and crowbar and stabbed his mother in the face with scissors mere weeks after a doctor put him on Prozac. Describing his mental state that led to the attack, he told a psychiatrist, “I didn’t feel real.”

How many episodes of this kind did we read about before the advent of SSRIs—and how many are we reading about now?

Please write to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the FDA Commissioner. Ask her agency to expand the current black box warning on antidepressants to include the danger of violent actions toward other people, in addition to the current suicide warning. In weeks to come, we will be filing a formal Citizen Petition with the FDA which asks for the same thing, but we want there to be a groundswell of public opinion first, to lay the groundwork for our Petition when it is ready. Please take action TODAY!

TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO FDA COMMISSIONER HAMBURG

Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.

We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not the FDA.

36 Responses to “Take This Antidepressant, and You Too May Have a Violent Psychotic Break”

  1. suzinne says:

    Have been aware of this for a while, and as someone who has had at least one extreme bout of mania, have avoided SSRIs like the plague. What happens is: these pharmaceuticals tip people into mania. Bad stuff, sometimes real bad stuff happens when people turn manic. Hippie radical Abbie Hoffman’s suicide has been connected to the use of SSRIs.

       1 likes

    • charlotte bean says:

      The environmental pollutants in air, soil, water and food also need consideration, as do those corporations who farm the harm, on us lab-rats.

         0 likes

  2. Bradford says:

    I’m living proof of the LIE of psychiatry, and the dangers of psychiatric drugs…
    Yeasr ago, I was on Zoloft, and also later, Wellbutron, for “depression”….
    Both were M.D.-prescribed, and a psychologist was also following my “case”.
    The ONLY real change that I noticed, while taking these drugs, was increased “suicidal thoughts”…
    In the years I have been off these dangerous drugs, I have not been at all suicidal, nor do I have any more “suicidal thoughts”…
    I was LUCKY. Both SSRI’s, and other dangerous psych DRUGS, ARE the root cause of all the school shootings, suicides, etc…
    That’s the TRUTH Pharma, and the MONEY&POWER MEDIA, does NOT want you to know…

       5 likes

  3. To those of you who make blanket statements about a drug you have never taken for a condition you do not have, I say, “Walk a mile in my shoes.” If you have never suffered from Major Depressive Disorder you can’t possibly understand what it’s like. These drugs DO HELP.

    Any drug that is powerful enough to do any good is also powerful enough to do harm is abused or taken for the wrong reason. This is true even of aspirin. Removing the SSRIs from the market would cause unnecessary suffering for a great many people. Lay off!

       8 likes

    • K J Kaul says:

      I have walked in your shoes for many years, but I share the concerns expressed in this area. Nobody was suggesting that these drugs be taken off the market. The issue is adding warnings to the label and greater responsibility is prescribing them. These drugs are being given to people in age groups that even the manufacturer warns it is dangerous (usually 24 years or younger). They are also being prescribed for conditions for which they are not approved. All of the violence addresses in these cases are for people in this age group. A coralary does not prove a causal relationship, but a significant one does suggest the need for caution when the actual cause is unknown. Yet these drugs are routinely dispensed to children as young as four or five. There is definitely something wrong here.

         8 likes

    • Jennifer says:

      I have also “walked a miles in your shoes” and probably more… , ( Suzanne? ) Major depression throughout most of life and bipolar as an adult. Depression and bipolar were caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Genetic testing indicates predisposition for depression (also runs in family), additionally MAJOR, MAJOR trauma issues ( CPTSD) – including overdosing or withdrawing from Prednisone at age nine given to me by Psychopathic borderline “witch” mother. Research indicates Prednisone overdose age can cause genetic switching of genes (that is, turning on bipolar genetic predisaposition to bipolar – manifesting in bipolar symptoms not previously experienced) Read up on epigenetics. First put on Effexor in my thirties and had first psychotic episode (and only) psychotic episode of my life. Told by psychiatrist, NEVER take SSRI again! My children should never either. Genetic predisposition for bipolar and/or Prednisone caused and combo of Effexor caused this, I believe. I almost KILLED myself on Effexor. Until more is known about genetics and epigenetics you’re playing Russian roulette with these drugs! BTW: lithium worked for me as an effective alternative to an SSRI.

         2 likes

    • Jim Forbes says:

      With info coming out about these drugs, the violence they can cause and the many murders of innocence, maybe it’s about time to take closer look at big pharma than to chance a bloody revolution over gun control. Since this article has been written there have been several more mass murders and all have been done by those on anti-depressants.

         2 likes

      • charlotte bean says:

        The persistant environmental pollutant causes of stress related so-called “mental illness” imperatively require scrutiny, as do those medical companies who “farm the harm”.

           0 likes

  4. woundedduck says:

    There is not an established causal link between SSRIs and violence, and to imply there is dishonest.

       4 likes

    • Jennifer says:

      J – Why is it dishonest if a multitude of people have experienced this phenomenon? It’s well established among psychiatric circles that SSRIs, including Effexor, can have “kindling effect” (See Jim Phelp’s work – highly respected psychiatrist who does his homework on the research, that is…). Kindling effect occurs when a person is given an SSRI unaware of the bipolar (epi)genetic factors which cause them to not be able to tolerate SSRIs – these drugs “trigger” bipolar symptoms and conditions. Psychosis is an well established bipolar feature. Until we have more epigenetic “evidence” to “prove” (empirically demonstrate the link) there will continue to be naysayers (skeptics) such as yourself. But all the “evidence” as demonstrated through individual experiences and logically deductible causal links should support this theory. Bottom line: it all depends on your “proof” standard. Some have unrealistic and rigid standards, based purely on an empirical model, who cannot see the truth in anyone’s experience, unfortunately.

         2 likes

    • mitch says:

      As well as witnessing it others I have personally experienced a direct causal link between SSRI’s and violence, I tried 4 different types the result was always the same, extreme agitation violent outbursts, and then withdrawal psychosis. I never once experienced any of these symptoms without an SSRI, and I had no criminal record before SSRI’s. It was originally prescribed to me for anxiety.

         1 likes

    • charlotte bean says:

      Epidemiology to the rescue, please consider the precautionary principal.

         0 likes

  5. I added the following to my letter to Ms. Hamburg,

    I would also request that the FDA seriously work toward removing these dangerous drugs from the market, and actively encourage research into nutritional and psychotherapeutic ways to address the the problem of depression. As a person who has succesfully gone through 5 bouts of serious depression without any medication, and discovered how much wisdom there is in looking at what depression is telling us about needed changes in our lives, rather than covering over the pain with drugs, I feel it is essential that we stop pushing drugs on our young people. Instead we should be giving them the emotional skills needed to embrace the difficult passages of their lives so they can live empowered by the self-confidence gained. It is shameful that the Food and Drug Administration is so bought out by the pharmeceutical companies that they are sacrificing our children’s safety and well-being on the altar of profit-making. Not only are the side-effects of these medications not acceptable, but a growing body of research is showing that their overuse is leading to an epidemic of mental illness caused by medication.

    I encourage you to support the effort to pioneer a new approach to mental health. It is long past time. Our families and our country have suffered long enough under the tyranny of the medical model.

    Jeanne Merkel, M.Div. in Psychology and Religion
    Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York

       5 likes

    • [email protected] says:

      That sounds good in theory, Jeanne, but what do you do when the issue of ‘Clinical Depression’ is the issue? What ’skills’ are there for managing brain chemistry for a 10-year old?
      Diane, clinically depressed for about 43 out of 53 years.

         0 likes

  6. DHFabian says:

    Knee-jerk reactions are just as bad as the failure to provide information. It is now the norm for doctors to closely monitor those to whom they prescribe SSRIs. For one to become violent as a result of using Prozac, Zoloft, etc., is as likely as dying from a flu shot or drowning in a bathtub; it could happen, but it is exceedingly rare.

       2 likes

  7. Kelli says:

    Isn’t the entire psychraitry industry pure quackery?

    And theres plenty right to be “anti-medication”. If it wasn’t for drugs, supplements wouldn’t be constantly harassed by Big Pharma (they wouldn’t even exist) and beaucrats.

       2 likes

  8. c says:

    DUH! this was known and reported when they first came out, over 25 years ago. They just trashed the people who had these responses.many people have had their mental health and past trashed based on reactions to these drugs. It took 20 plus years to even get a warning on the box.

    Doctor oz had a doctor on his show yesterday, who lost his son to a street drug mdpv , and they talked about how the governor hugged him and promised to get the drug off the street blah blah blah.
    They wanted everyone to write into their legislators and kept saying the FDA was so great and the standard.
    i hope they write and complain about the hundreds of thousands and millions of children and people who have been harmed and killed by the FDAn and DOCTORS.
    Who is helping the children killed or harmed by doctors and the FDA?

    They say that ‘at least we know what is in the drugs with ther FDA, ‘

    No argument at all there, since their own biochemists can’t say what their own drugs do, they use the general public to test them, and ‘allow for’ so many deaths.
    Who are the real criminals here? It is obvious to me and many others.

    But they point the finger at ’street drugs’ when the nonchalent attitude about drugs originates from the medical profession itself.

       4 likes

  9. Michael Ford says:

    I get very upsite when I see negative, totally one-sided statements about anti-depressants, based apparently on a propaganda belief that All Drugs Are Bad. All. Never use any drug.

    My husband has been on Welbutrin, an anti-depressant, for about 10 years now. I cannot express to you the difference it has made in his life. He got the drug after his lifelong depressive moods were leading him to have concrete thoughts of suicide. We’ve been together for 31 years and before Welbutrin, so often he would come home, go to the bedroom, cover his head, and spend hours, even days at times, not able to do anything or come out of his state of depressive thoughts. And it was so painful to see and not be able to help him, as much as I tried or was supportive.

    The anti-depressant not only has made his life easier in limiting his depression, but it has actually helped his dyslexia, increasing his reading enormously.

       2 likes

  10. marc says:

    After about three months on prozac and risperdal I tried to off myself. Twas fun. The FDA is a military organization out to protect vested interests. It’s not about petitions but small nukes in right places. But we see only one side has the real weapons. Funny that.

       1 likes

  11. Bob says:

    “Truth prevails in a free market place of ideas.” And, even when it’s out there, money often stands in the way… And believe me, there’s a lot of money involved here.

    It’s surprising how otherwise apparently decent people will sell out their principles when it comes to money.

       2 likes

  12. Nell Patterson says:

    There are many people who have been helped by taking some of these drugs. The problem is when the patient abruptly stops taking the medication. Perhaps that was the case in the related incidents of violence.

       2 likes

    • Tim Casey says:

      Until February 2, 2004, (the FDA hearing) SSRI “antidepressants” were… “perfectly safe, non addictive, with NO SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS.
      Advisory
      2004-31
      June 3, 2004
      For immediate release

      Health Canada advises Canadians of stronger warnings
      for SSRIs and other newer anti-depressants

      These new warnings indicate that patients of all ages
      taking these drugs may experience behavioural and/or
      emotional changes that may put them at increased risk
      of self-harm or harm to others.

      Patients taking drugs of this type may feel worse
      instead of better. They may experience unusual
      feelings of agitation, hostility or anxiety, or have
      impulsive or disturbing thoughts that could involve
      self-harm or harm to others.

         5 likes

  13. Agnes Hall says:

    I’ve been on Effexor Slow Release 375 mg daily for some years now and I don’t feel any of these effects.
    They have made my depression less in conjunction with Avanza at night. I’m NOT as deeply depressed as I was before when, as I’ve been told, did try to take my own life several times. My depression was gone just after starting Effexor. I was happy, a totally different person to before until I saw a newsflash and was reminded of something I had forgotten for so many years.
    Since then my depression has gone up and down depending how much pressure I’m under at home with the health of my husband.
    I’m sure that once his health is sorted out my own health will get better again.
    I live in Australia and we’ve had plenty of problems around here in the last couple of months. I believe it has something to do with the Political environment as well!

       1 likes

    • Dear Agnes,
      All the best to you in sorting through your current depression. Having depression triggered by reminders from the past may indicate that some trauma healing is needed and I would highly recommend the work of Belleruth Naparstek in this area.
      Although you have felt better taking medications in the past, I would encourage you to read the book “Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whtiaker. It very clearly shows how in the long term, psychiatric drugs make people more vulnerable to depression and further mental illness, and how the psychiatric profession has been covering up the truth regarding long term outcomes. Although it is written about the rise of Mental Illness in America – its findings apply to all developed countries, and he offers some new paradigms for psychological healing.
      I’ve also been dealing with my husband being very ill these past 2 months – so my heart goes out to you.
      Blessings,
      Jeanne Marie Merkel

         1 likes

  14. Irene Suess says:

    So glad you are making this effort. The events documented in this post are the tiny tip of an enormous iceberg that has been growing for many years. The deaths caused by these psychiatric drugs number not in the dozens, but probably at least in the tens of thousands. The FDA , solidly in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry,has been aware of these horrid side effects for a long time, but it can’t hurt to appeal to the current commissioner’s conscience. If you want to get the big picture of what psychiatric drugging has been doing to our society, go to cchr.org and hold on to your socks!

       2 likes

  15. Ros Prep says:

    A heartfelt thank you for this remarkable and extremely disturbing article. It takes courage to do the work you do for us. Let’s continue to get the word out about this and quickly save some lives and most importantly prevent further tragedies. My heart goes out to all those victimize by this arrogant corruption. We will never know when ourselves or our loved ones become the next stats in the next tragedy.

       0 likes

  16. Wendy says:

    Depression/weight gain…can be from being Celiac. Dairy/gluten hurt many people. Gluten is oats/barley/wheat/rye. Gluten can make antibodies to the thyroid and make it go down…less oxygen burning in the mitochondria of the brain cells causes depression. People over eat dairy/gluten…crave them since they stimulate opioid receptor sites like heroin. Low thyroid makes mitochondria slow down…slowing metabolism so they gain weight. Many antidepressant medicine has fluorine in them that blocks thyroid. The people need Celiac help…rebuild their intestines so they absorb and cells. Drugs don’t fix the body and have many sideeffects. If you stop the antidepressant medicine fast the receptor sites can’t react fast to get back to normal…so people get more suicidal.

       2 likes

  17. R. Yvonne Fallert says:

    Caution is needed in this anti-medication blanket statement. The fact is that every patient needs an appropriate assessment, and close professional monitoring of symptoms afer diagnosis and through treament period.

    These medications are safely helping thousands of people suffering with depression and/or anxiety. This guidline is true for all medications.

       1 likes

    • Tim Casey says:

      “These medications are safely helping thousands of people suffering with depression and/or anxiety. This guidline is true for all medications.”

      Drug companies are in it for the money. That is their ONLY reason for existence. They don’t want to kill you but… THEY DON’T WANT TO CURE YOU EITHER.

      http://WWW.GWENOLSEN.COM

         2 likes

  18. Laura Walker says:

    I used to suffer from depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I took an antidepressant pill years ago and it was the most horrible day in my life. My ears were ringing, I could not eat, I could not even move from where I was sitting on my bed (and those are only some of the symptoms I experienced).

    I might as well have had a lobotomy. I called the doctor who prescribed the medication to me and he advised that I continue to take the medication for 30 days so my body could get used to it.

    Instead, I turned to vitamins, exercise, positive thinking (i.e., books, quotes, etc.). I am happy to say that I no longer suffer from depression, anxiety and, best of all, I no longer consider suicide an option.

    Torturing innocent animals to prove what we already know, that these uneccessary medications have horrible side effects and, can even cause death is insanity.

    Pharmaceutical companies, laboratories that test on animals for these companies and, the people who profit off of these companies are despicable, greedy, callous individuals whose only concern is “how much money can we make off of this stuff!”

    I can not believe that these inhumane, disgusting, practices are flourishing the way they are. What happened to having a good conscience? Where is the compassion? Blood money…plain and simple.

       1 likes

    • KATHY REESE says:

      I suffered from depression and the medication produced such ringing in my ears and Probably other side effects. Six months ago I started drinking Zija Smart Mix Drink and weaned myself off the meds. Today I have absolutely no signs of depression. In fact I feel just the opposite. Happy, energetic, healthy, etc. If only everybody knew how good they coukld feel with just a nutritional drink. WOW.

         0 likes

    • Dear Laura,

      I’m a journalist of Ukrainian magazine “The Country”. We are currently preparing an article about tendencies in using antidepressants in the USA, namely the negative results of taking these drugs. Would you please give us a few comments concerning this matter?

      There were described a few cases of negative drug’s influence which lead to tragic consequences in people’s life.
      May you retell your own story of taking antidepressants in more details? We are interested in concrete situations, examples. etc.

      Namely, when and why did you start to take antidepdessants? Was in harmful of useful for you?

      Do people in the USA believe that antidepressants can help them?

      Thank you beforehand. Hope to get the answers soon!

      Best wishes,
      Kate Goncharova
      journalist at “The Country” magazine

         0 likes

  19. Tom Kociemba says:

    As a certified Anti Inflammation Nutritionist I would like to alert your readers to the fact that anti depressants increase serotonin but depress dopamine. So withdrawal can be severe.

    A high quality Omega III fish oil on the other had increases both serotonin and dopamine. I have a paper on Judging the quality of fish oil if you would like a copy. Here is the beginning statement:

    Judging the Quality of Fish Oil

    Unless you have about $500,000 worth of testing equipment in your kitchen, you are not ever going to be able to determine how purified an EPA/DHA concentrate is. The term “pharmaceutical grade” may be on a label but there is no standard definition of that term. The supplement industry can put anything on a label as long as they don’t promise to cure or prevent a particular disease. The key watchwords are “buyer beware”.

       1 likes

    • [email protected] says:

      Your paper sounds very good, I have Cushing’s disease and need to take Omega III Fish Oil, any specific suggestions regarding brand?
      Thank you,
      Diane

         0 likes

      • [email protected] says:

        Oh, sorry, I had Major Depression and Cushing’s disease added an enormous amounts of additional depression. I find that the antidepressants to be overwhelming, to the point that I can not do anything productive.
        Thank you,
        Diane

           0 likes

  20. Dear Ms. Hamburg:
    with all the evidence of suicide, violent crime and bizarre behavior in some individuals who have been put on anti-depressants and SSRI’s, please expand the black-box warning on the labels of these drugs to warn people of the serious and dadngerous side effects — both when they begin taking the drugs and also, as they try to get off them. There is a terrible link between some of the highly publicized violent attacks and the fact that the killers were on SSRI’s. What is the FDA’s purpose if not to warn Americans about these problems and to protect them by removing unsafe drugs from the marketplace?

       1 likes

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