Antidepressants And Violent Behavior: Are You Taking One Of The 10 Most Dangerous?

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Recent reports show that long term studies have strongly linked antidepressants with violent behavior.

This latest study, out of Britain’s Oxford University, looked at Sweden’s national crime register and their prescribed drug register over a three year period. This involved more than 850,000 subjects who were taking prescribed SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRI’s are often prescribed for those with anxiety attacks and depression and includes popular drugs such as Paxil or Prozac. A full one percent of these subjects had been convicted of a violent crime, with the 15 to 24 year old age group showing a full 43 percent increase in their risk of performing a violent act after taking SSRI’s.

It’s interesting to note that it was among this age group that those who were given the lowest possible dosage were the most likely to commit violent acts. Researchers suggested that the higher doses of these prescription drugs were given out to reduce the risk of violence. The lead researcher suggested that perhaps those subjects who were being given lower doses were not being full treated which left them more vulnerable to impulsive violent behavior.

However, higher doses might not be the answer.

The Harvard School of Public Health also published a study that involved more than 162,000 subjects between the ages of 10 and 64 for 12 years. Individuals in this study who were 24 and younger who were consuming high doses of antidepressants had double the risk of committing suicide. A 2004 review by the US Food and Drug Administration reached the exact same conclusion: subjects between the ages of 18 and 25 who took higher doses of antidepressants were twice as likely to commit suicide as those who did not take antidepressants.

Is there a connection between gun violence and antidepressants? Consider these facts:

  • 1999: Kip Kinkel, a 15 year old Oregon boy, was taking Prozac when he opened fire in his high school cafeteria
  • 1999: Columbine killer Eric Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox
  • 1999: Georgia’s T.J. Solomon was taking Ritalin
  • 2005: Jeff Weise, the Red Lake Indian Reservation Shooter was on Prozac
  • 2007: Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter who killed 32 people, was taking both antidepressants and Prozac
  • 2012: The Colorado theater shooter, James Holmes, was taking both antidepressants and Vicodin
  • 2012: Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza was taking an anti-psychotic medicine called Fanapt, according to his uncle.

Of course, not all shooters are taking antidepressants but it does appear that a certain amount of caution and skepticism should be employed when listening to the pharmaceutical companies claiming that SSRI’s and other antidepressants are “completely safe.”

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