Are SSRI Anti-Depresants Responsible for Mass Shootings?

“What makes Iago evil? Some people ask. I never ask.” – Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays

There’s a theory floating around the Internet that psychotropic drugs are linked to individuals who perpetrate mass killings, shootings and commit suicide. While there’s certainly evidence to suggest that many of the perpetrators of those aforementioned acts were or had taken mood-altering medication, the underlying implication is that these drugs are a causal force in that individual’s homicidal or suicidal actions.

The latest example that keeps surfacing is a 2013 article written by Dan Roberts of AmmoLand, provocatively titled, “Nearly Every Mass Shooting in the Last 20 Years Shares One Thing in Common, & It’s NOT Weapons,” which claims that “credible scientific studies” and “internal documents from certain pharmaceutical companies” show that “SSRI drugs (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors)” have “well known, but unreported side effects, including but not limited to suicide an other violent behavior.”

(Photo: Wall Street Journal)

Increase in the use of drugs from 2001 to 2010 (Photo: Wall Street Journal)

While there may be some validity to that statement when it comes to those drugs in isolated cases, the considered argument that these drugs are responsible for pushing a larger population at risk of violent behavior over the edge into acting on malicious thoughts and ideations is tenuous, in my opinion. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a physician or mental health professional or clinical researcher, so one could safely argue that discussing this subject is beyond my area of expertise. That said, there are some facts I think one needs to consider before one makes a judgment on the matter.

Mainly, one needs to examine trends in the usage of psychotropic drugs, specifically if those trends correspond to relative increases or decreases in crime rates, suicide rates, and instances of mass murder.

According to a 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal, the use of psychiatric medications among adults grew 22 percent from 2001 to 2010 to the point where in 2010 approximately one in five adults took at least one psychiatric drug, e.g. antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications. Meanwhile, over the same period of time, all crime — property crime, violent crime and the homicide rate, including the gun-related homicide rate — declined. The suicide rate from 2001 to 2012 rose slightly from 10.4 per 100,000 people per year in 2001 to 12.5 per 100,000 per year in 2012, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Finally, as it relates to mass shootings which is arguably the category that grabs most of the headlines, there has not been a sstatistically significant increase from 2001 to 2010.

Crime Rates in the U.S.  It was sourced form wikipedia, but for more extensive numbers check out the FBI stats.

Crime Rates in the U.S. It was sourced form wikipedia, but for more extensive numbers check out the FBI stats.

To quote James Alan Fox, an expert on mass killings and the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law & Public Policy at Northern University:

Over the past three decades, there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the United States, each with at least four victims killed by gunfire. Occasionally, and mostly by sheer coincidence, several episodes have been clustered closely in time. Over all, however, there has not been an upward trajectory. To the contrary, the real growth has been in the style and pervasiveness of news-media coverage, thanks in large part to technological advances in reporting.

To recap, usage of psychotropic drugs has become more common over the past decade, yet gun-related crime has decreased and there’s been no upward trajectory in mass shootings. Suicides, however, have increased.

Given these trends, I’d argue that if these drugs were the trigger that some claim them to be we’d ultimately see a uniform rise in all three categories with a positive correlation that reflects the jump in the usage of these drugs (22 percent rise). Yet, that is not what we see. To state the obvious in this case, correlation does not equal causation. Yes, many murderers, mass shooters and suicide victims have been on these drugs just prior to or at the time they committed the act, but that doesn’t mean that the drugs precipitated the violent behavior.  Not to say that it didn’t in some cases or that meds can’t have this effect, but by and large there isn’t enough evidence to indict psychotropic drugs as a consistent catalyst for homicidal and suicidal actions — again, in my opinion.

It should also be noted that there is a danger in publicly stigmatizing the millions and millions of people who take mood-altering medication.  It should be rather obvious.  See, if we condemn them all as defectives, suggesting they’re one dose away from killing themselves or others due to their mental struggles, it opens the door for feckless politicians to enact laws that would strip away the Second Amendment rights of any and all persons who take medication which would be a devastating overreaction.  Sadly, I fear that this line of reasoning is beginning to rear its head in New York state.

Here is the list that Roberts references in his article. I can’t vouch for the veracity of any of the information on the list. But I figured I’d reference it for your convenience:

  • Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.
  • Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
  • Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
  • Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
  • Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
  • Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
  • Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
  • Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
  • A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
  • Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..
  • A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
  • Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
  • TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
  • Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
  • James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
  • Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
  • Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California
  • Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
  • Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
  • Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.
  • Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
  • Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
  • Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.
  • Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
  • Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
  • Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)
  • Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002,
  • (Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.)
  • Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.
  • Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
  • Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.
  • Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.
  • A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.
  • Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”
  • Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.
  • Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
  • Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.
  • Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.
  • Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his
  • New York high school.

Missing from list… 3 of 4 known to have taken these same meds….

  • What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21…… killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az
  • What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24….. killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora Colorado
  • What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22, killed 2 injured 1, Clackamas Or
  • What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20, Killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown Ct

To single out mass killings for a moment because that is the central concern of this article, if the drugs aren’t to blame, then what is?

From my vantage point there is an innate human impulse to understand agency, to understand what motivates people to act in the manner they do. This curiosity is of course heightened when it relates to depredations, like mass shootings, that go so far beyond our comprehension of what is moral and decent and just that we are dumbfounded at the mere conception of them. For instance, we want to know why Adam Lanza brutally gunned down 20 school children and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December of 2012. What could compel someone to act in such an abhorrent way?

Unfortunately, there are no satisfying answers. And we must fight the impulse to blame it on the media or video games or drugs or guns or bad parenting or any other trigger that one may mention because when it comes to sociopaths of this magnitude (I’m not talking about the general population for which there are certain factors that can spell trouble for at-risk youth and teens, i.e. fatherlessness, substance abuse, physical abuse, etc. but of this rare breed of miscreants and evildoers), they did it because they were evil men. What makes them evil? To riff off of the Joan Didion, Some people ask. I never ask. But I do own a firearm in case these sociopaths come knocking on my door.

Here is a video from Boiling Frogs Post that addresses the subject. It is a lot to talk about and we’d love to hear from you below in the comments.

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • A.L. October 19, 2015, 8:46 am

    There are three things in common with all of these examples: A person with a psychological problem, an SSRI, a gun, a psychiatrist who is not monitoring a patient enough to note any changes in the person’s behavior after starting their medications.

    The way to solve this problem is straightforward. Create a system of linked state databases for folks on SSRI’s. Require ALL gun purchases to be cross checked on these databases before someone can buy the gun. If you are on the database, you are required to purchase liability insurance or you are denied purchasing a gun at that time. In addition , increase medicare and other health care subsidies drastically so that psychiatrists can spend more than 15 minutes per patient and can provide daily monitoring for 2 weeks after their medication change/iniation. Also force insurance companies to treat mental health equally to physical health. Obama care was hacked down to nothing on this item by Congress critters whose hands are now bloodied by these deaths. vote these sociopaths out of office.

  • Ann Blake-Tracy January 7, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Antidepressants have been proven to cause both homicide and suicide – there are listed warnings in the package inserts. All these cases in the Ammoland article come from a database that I and our directors at the International Coalition for Drug Awareness have spent the past 25 years gathering and investigating and now posted at http://www.ssristories.NET. (The database has been used in medical studies to show the correlation.) I have spent almost that same amount of time testifying in court as an expert witness in many of these cases. I can tell you that while drug company experts are on a witness stand and testifying they will tell you as they have already done in previous cases that the way in which antidepressants work (via inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin – impairing the metabolism of serotonin) that they can be expected to produce both impulsive murder and suicide. (Read transcripts from the court testimony in the case of Tobin vs Glaxo Or go to our website at http://www.drugawareness.org and read all the scientific data and you will not question the dangers of these drugs ever again.) Too few seem to be aware that the SSRI antidepressants were introduced by the same company who gave us LSD and led us to believe that would cure mental illness! In fact LSD and PCP both produce their hallucinogenic effects by mimicking serotonin. It can therefore be expected that as the serotonin levels increase as these drugs impair the metabolism the patient will begin to have LSD and PCP effects. As an example here is a video of the only school shooter to ever talk about what happened to him: http://www.drugawareness.org/why-i-took-a-gun-to-school-1/

  • wade January 4, 2015, 3:12 am

    Hi, my name is Wade and here is my story!!!
    I took Prozac for 6 years and felt very suicidal/homicidal!!! attempted suicide 7 times completed the 7th time and then got brought back twice I was on Ritalin from the 1st grade to the 8th grade and tried to commit suicide in the 4th by pills 6th by slitting wrists and 8th grade by hanging myself in the bathroom the other 4 times at home.the reason you ask????? because I always wanted to kill other people and I knew it wasn’t right so id just take myself and I wouldn’t surrender to murder. at the time it was definitely hard to depict fiction from reality when I was on these drugs?!. as these that were prescribed for me!!!sometimes I hated myself for no reason or I hated other people for no reason or had dwelling thoughts of killing other people for no reason but once I stop taking the drugs and the 8th Grade by making everyone think I was taking them. I lead a normal life!!! I’m perfectly fine at 25 years old and have my own son who will never take anti- psychotic or anti-depressants or ADHD medications so there you have it it is capable of overcoming but it’s very hard at times almost impossible for me!!!! Thank you for you time

    • GCJ January 5, 2015, 9:44 pm

      Wade, your story is very tragic and a reminder as to how serious a mental illness can be. Like I have already mentioned in a previous post I have several serious mental illnesses and fight them daily with my medications prescribed by a PSYCHIATRIST (a Psychologist cannot prescribe any drug unless they have an M.D. after their name). I am currently 58 years old and have had these illnesses for as long as I can remember. Unlike you, however, I was not treated at all until the age of 45 when I could no longer cope with the problems. I don’t know enough about your background to talk about specific details, but I do know that treating patients under the age of 18 is different than treating adults. As a matter of fact Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals expressly divide their practices into one or the other. Were you being treated by a family doctor or psychiatrist? Did you receive professional counseling from a qualified provider? The answer may be a clue as to why you had so many problems. Poorly prescribed psychiatric drugs can be more dangerous than the illness itself. Since you are not taking any drugs now, maybe you were misdiagnosed or at the very least very poorly managed. Alternately, you may be able to cope without meds, and if so, I am envious. You may not have even needed the drugs to begin with. That being said, serious mental illness has a multitude of causes, especially genetics. I can understand your disgust with psychiatric drugs, but if your children actually have or acquire a mental illness keep all of the options open. I work with fellow patients daily who have told by their family “not to take medications”, but they that retained a competent psychiatrist and received excellent treatment. On the other hand I know of at least two who listened to their family and then committed suicide because they did not seek treatment.
      THE LESSON THAT I WANT TO CONVEY IS THIS: MENTAL ILLNESSES MUST BE DIAGNOSED AND TREATED CORRECTLY. THE PROPER PRESCRIPTION AND THE PROPER USE OF SSRI’S IS NOT THE CAUSE OF MASS KILLINGS NO MORE THAN RESPONSIBLE DRINKING OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DRUNK DRIVING DEATHS. THEY ARE BOTH DRUGS AND MUST BE RESPECTED. IF SSRI’S ARE RESPONSIBLE THEN ITS DUE TO THE IRRESPONSIBILITY OF DOCTORS AND PATIENT MISUSE.
      God bless you, Wade, and I pray that none of your family is afflicted by this very real and dangerous illness.

      • Ann Blake-Tracy January 7, 2015, 3:24 pm

        Wade does NOT have mental illness. What he just told you is that he had adverse reactions to his medication – all listed side effects. This is not mental illness, but drug-induced psychosis. There is a big difference.

  • Nick Bruns January 3, 2015, 12:50 am

    Let me say this. I’m a human services major and studied psychology, human behavior, and criminology. One of the hot topics when I was in school back in 2006 to 2011 was reports concerning the overuse and misuse of SSRI’s and other antipsychotic medications and their effects on the development of the brain and how it affected behavior, especially in children and young adults. As far as the drugs themselves, if you take them right (as prescribed and consistently, no missing doses or quitting cold turkey), in the right dose, and supplement them with appropriate counseling, they work. It’s proven. When you over prescribe them, don’t take them correctly, and don’t monitor the side effects and the patient’s mental condition carefully, and ensure your client attends counseling, then you are going to have some bad eggs pop up. That said, I am not so sure the rise in anti-psychotic medication usage would translate into an increase in mass killings. Are more people taking them? Yes. Are there more mass shootings than at other times? The media would like you to think so. We are hearing about them more and more, and it’s true that 2012-2014 were marked by some real tragedies at the hands of people with mental illness who were taking antipsychotic drugs. In my eyes, it makes sense that these individuals were on these medications to treat their mental illness, and it’s possible that the medications had a detrimental effect on their existing condition. Some people do not respond in a favorable manner when taking (especially when first starting treatment, the first 3 months are the most critical for ensuring the dose is right and the proper treatment is administered) or when modifying treatments (reduce/increasing dose or changing drugs). These medications come with extensive side effect warnings, long lists that include things like disturbing thoughts, aggression, impulsivity, mood or behavior changes, panic attacks, thoughts of suicide, convulsions, uncontrolled anxiety, uncontrollable body movements, paranoia, hallucinations, etc. All SSRI’s have these side effects. The effects are especially pronounced in children, whose brains are in a development phase and more susceptible to the side effects and the inability to cope with them. The side effects themselves are different for everyone as well. Person A might be able to cope with the treatment better than person B, who has trouble with uncontrolled side effects or is unresponsive to the treatment. There are those who mix the drugs with other drugs (street drugs or over the counter, or other prescriptions) or alcohol, which can be extremely detrimental and exacerbate side effects. The bottom line is when you mess with your feel-good hormones in your brain to correct an imbalance, and don’t do it correctly, chances are you might open Pandora’s Box. Most of the time that isn’t the case, but sometimes it is. Whether it’s guns or not, it’s always tragic.

  • GCJ January 2, 2015, 9:12 pm

    First, for complete disclosure, I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Social Phobia. These are real illnesses and need treatment just like heart disease, diabetes, etc. Second, I have taken prescription medications for my condition for over 10 years with great success. These include SSRI’s and other powerful “psychiatric” drugs. So, I do speak from experience and not from the standpoint of an observer. Additionally, I am under the direct care of a competent psychiatrist and do not deviate from his instructions. I don’t drink alcohol or take any other substance with my medications. Can that be said for the examples given in the article that mention only what SSRI or psychiatric drugs the killers were on? The answer is obvious, NO! There is simply not enough information to draw any realistic conclusions much less establish a definite link. One could easily establish causation in much the same way with any substance. Imagine if someone tried to make a link between caffeine consumption and mass killing by detailing that the perp had just consumed several cups of expresso or many energy drinks AND gave no other details.
    After reading all the posts on this website I would have to say that most of the comments about the link between SSRI’s and violence ignore one very important detail: the fact that 80% of all psychiatric drugs are prescribed by General Practitioners instead of Psychiatrists. Let that sink in for a minute and take another look at the data presented about the medications that these people were taking and why they were taking them. In most cases it is obvious that either the medical professional that prescribed the SSRI’s did not understand what they were doing OR the people were not taking the drugs as directed.
    Another significant point is that many people benefit from the use of SSRI’s. I am one of them. Can they be dangerous to take? Sure they can if I don’t follow my doctor’s prescription. The risks are obvious to anyone who has the ability to read. But, so is alcohol and over-the-counter drugs. Misuse is the problem, not the SSRI. In many cases the illness that is being treated is the real culprit and most of these illnesses have biological, chemical, and anatomical origins not under the control of the individual. Society must realize that mental illnesses are real and not something that is made-up.
    Finally, I find it strange on this website that the same argument being made against SSRI’s is the same one that the anti-gun lobby uses to blame murders and killings on the prevalence of firearms. Both firearms and SSRI’s are inanimate objects that depend on the actions of an individual to be used, whether good or bad.

    • Nick Bruns January 3, 2015, 12:58 am

      A lot of suicides or acts of violence amongst individuals with mental illness can be traced to misuse of antipsychotic medications. A competent GP, PAC, or PCP won’t prescribe those medications unless they see to it the patient gets concurrent psychotherapy. A psychologist, in my experience, rarely prescribes those drugs. You can’t stop taking them suddenly, or decide to change the dose on your own because they keep you from sleeping, or mix them with alcohol or even cough medicine. They come with warnings based on real events of people doing those exact things. Mental illness can be well controlled, even severe cases, with medication and counseling regimens.

  • Enya Walsh January 2, 2015, 11:22 am

    Most psychotropic drugs have the opposite to the desired effect when given to children and adolescents. Example: Ritalin is a stimulant that calms those with ADHD. Second issue: an antidepressant may be increased because the current dose is ineffective, and in the case of drugs like Prozac, there is a considerable lag between beginning the drug and it kicking in. In some people, Prozac can take up to 5 weeks to start helping with symptoms. This in itself can be discouraging.

    • tom January 2, 2015, 11:57 am

      Probably one of the more simple/elegant responses.
      I’ll add to it.
      Something not mentioned in this article nor in most articles is the need for therapy.
      Psychological counseling is supposed to be a component part of any psych drug regimen.
      Doesn’t mean that when it’s prescribed that they also have to prescribe therapy.
      But it does mean that whoever does the prescribing is also supposed to recommend said counseling.
      Insurance policies have been renowned for not paying for that, or for paying for such minimal quantities that it becomes financially burdensome for families to pay for proper treatment. And/or the treatment itself is minimal and ineffective.
      Of course you can add to that, the busy lives of parenting adults and what time they may or may not want to take ensuring their child has such therapy too.
      IIRC Adam Lanzas’ Mom had him in therapy at times, but didn’t sustain that effort. And She removed him from school when the school wanted him to have more/different counseling.
      From what I’ve seen over the course of the last few decades, Parents do not have enough time or give enough time to (dedicate to) their children.

  • VmS January 2, 2015, 11:22 am

    you certainly don’t hear about the ones that would have done it yet with these drugs I’ve been saved from such agony! And that’s always pinned on one particular thing, such as drugs, what of our values as a society, what of our responsibilities and consequences as individuals? Why are these not included as individual reasons versus what one individual may suffer from?

  • Rob January 2, 2015, 11:04 am

    You might also want to do a little research on MK ULTRA and factor that into the picture. Then think about how many nations have banned guns after a mass shooting…. put two and two together.

  • Rob January 2, 2015, 11:00 am

    You can play the numbers in any way you want, theorize, rationalize, philosophize, but one solid FACT remains: People who are not taking psychiatric drugs do not go on a mass shooting spree.

    • GCJ January 2, 2015, 9:38 pm

      Let me play with the numbers then. One solid fact remains: Not all people who take psychiatric drugs go on a mass shooting spree. OR, most of the biggest mass murderers in history were not on psychiatric drugs. Recall the Texas clock tower sniper in the 1960’s if guns need to be connected to the argument. However, maybe they should have been since they were sociopaths or psychopaths. Either way, the lack of treatment or the wrong treatment has the same results.

  • NoSpinPlz January 2, 2015, 10:55 am

    At the Veterans Hospital, where counseling has become, “Take two of these (SSRIs) with meals, next!,” we are seeing the veteran suicide rate at twenty-two (22!) per day. This was not the case prior to the introduction of SSRIs. That’s a greater loss than what is currently being suffered on the field of battle.
    One doctor described it like this, “When the fantasies of killing and suicide creep in, in many cases the person’s mind would shut down going into a sort of catatonic state. However, while on SSRIs, the person, in a hypnotic semi-conscious daze, is capable to carry out the insane fantasies that often result in violence against self and / or others.”
    If this is true, and those that produce and sanction SSRIs (big pharma and the FDA) are aware of this connection, they must must be brought to justice for they have participated in mayhem and put profit ahead of human life.

  • CjLake January 2, 2015, 9:42 am

    What came first the chicken or the egg? Can’t really know the answer to that question but we do know the answer to what came first in the case of psychosis or medication. The illness came first. In some of the above situation it wasn’t the meds that caused it, it was the meds didn’t work as well as we hoped to combat the crazy that caused it. I said in “some,” not all. Over the past 14 years I have worked as an attorney that has specialized in representing mentally ill people. What I can share with you is that while almost all criminals are also mentally ill only a very small percentage of people with mental illness get into criminal trouble. Further while most criminals are mentally ill most of them are criminals who are mentally ill as opposed to mentally ill people that get into criminal trouble. Insanity is defined as having a mental condition that either prevents you from knowing the wrongness of your act or to the extent that if you do know the wrongness of your act you were unable to control yourself. Just being bipolar or schitzophranic does not an insanity defense make. Now how that relates to the people on mental health drugs shooting other people: the mental illness, desperation, depression and anger combined with their innate criminal tendencies came first. It got to a point the drugs COULDNT help keep them level and they snapped. The correlation to propensity to commit violent acts is not to medication it is to mental illness that impairs a persons judgment.

  • Rob January 2, 2015, 9:42 am

    It seems like there a very few poor white kids from out in the sticks do the shooting. It seems like there are very few poor minorities from the inner city doing the shooting (other than retaliation shooting). It appears that only white suburban kids, who have access to expensive mental health services are doing the shooting.

  • Indipendent57 January 2, 2015, 9:33 am

    Pseudoscience at its worst. The common denominators: severe mental illness, misdiagnoses, wrong treatment, availability of a weapon or two. Result: bad outcomes. Plan: 1. Change laws to open up medical records to public scrutiny. You give up your right to privacy if you harm others. 2. Define severe (not mild or moderate) mental illness and make it near impossible for them to get hold of weapons (at least legally). Examples include Paranoid Personality, Antisocial Personality, Borderline Personality, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Substance Dependence and Abuse, 3. Change laws to allow charges to be brought against parents and guardians of minors implicated in gun violence (some type of minors protection act) along with complicity charges (similar to driving a getaway car in a bank robbery and your cohorts shoot and kill a bank guard- you are guilty by association) therefore adults should be held accountable too! 4. Make the clinical community aware that they too can be charged if threats of harm to self or others are not followed up by reporting (Read about Tarasoff).

  • Bill January 2, 2015, 9:05 am

    This article should have been reviewed by a Health Care Professional with knowledge, that you correctly stated that you do knot have, before publication.. Many statements are misleading and the methodology is suspect. The mind has many facets that are still not understood. Mental Health still has a stigma attached to it. In many cases, health insurance does not cover mental health followups and just because a patient is prescribed medication does not mean they will take it as prescribed. As once the medication makes them feel better they stop taking it, which can lead to catastrophic events. Please in the future do not speculate outcomes without better research and competent knowledge. While you maybe an expert in your field, I would not consult you if I had the flu, just because you are an expert.

  • lilbear68 January 2, 2015, 8:50 am

    the writer can cherrypick and cite all the facts he can find about these drugs not being a causal factor it cant be denied that they do play a part in these shootings and when the legal system has a name for the defense for those that show up in court. its called ‘the Prozac defense’ it is a legal term and is used on a regular basis in these cases. knowing this kinda puts the writers premise in the trash

  • Dan January 2, 2015, 4:18 am

    In general, the problem seems to be the prescription of drugs without adequate oversight. When prescribing these types of drugs, the patient should be closely monitored for side effects, but that would cost an insurance company a lot of money, so will not happen. The drugs themselves are being prescribed as if they are some type of magic bullet (pardon the pun), which has been making drug companies, and their stockholders, very rich! Since they have used (like other corporations), some of those profits to purchase (our readily available and already corrupted) politicians and influence our legal system, they have, in most cases, exempted themselves from any liability.

  • gym October 30, 2014, 10:42 pm

    This is all old news. The problem is getting the medial community to stop giving out these drugs as the answer for every little problem that young kids have. There is too much money att stake with the drug company’s handing out free trips 80 inch TV’s and cash to doctors who they “buy”.
    And since when do the Drug Coampanys get to appeal on TV ads, every night to tell you to ask your doctor for these drugs. Especially after tell us the side affects , which are worse that the initial disease that they “made up” to cure.

  • gym October 30, 2014, 10:41 pm

    This is all old news. The problem is getting the medial community to stop giving out these drugs as the answer for every little problem that young kids have. There is too much money att stake with the drug company’s handing out free trips 80 inch TV’s and cash to doctors who they “buy”.
    And since when do the Drug Coampanys get to appeal on TV ads, every night to tell you to ask your doctor for these drugs. Especially after tell us the side affects , which are worse that the initial disease that they “made up” to cure.

  • Watch - Making a Killing October 28, 2014, 5:03 pm

    If you want to understand the role of psychotropic drugging in America watch the video: Making a Killing – the Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging. It is available for viewing on either cchr.org or on youtube.com. My understanding is that many of these drugs have KNOWN side-effects that are printed on the fact sheet that comes with these prescription medications! The fact is that the social environment you were born into will be markedly different from the one that exists when you die. That said, things have markedly changed from when I was a kid in school some 45+ years ago. We all knew the problem kids and who they were, and while there weren’t that many of them, they did exist, but none was on psychotropic medication. Many of these “problem kids” came from broken homes. There was no prohibition on disciplining one’s child, if done reasonably according to one’s loving conscience, and that prohibition didn’t exist for one’s school administrator either. If kids fought (which they did from time-to-time), well, they fought, and they sometimes ended up in the principal’s office to be talked to, reported to their parents, and possibly to meet the principal’s wooden paddle. One’s parents (while loved and respected) were also somewhat feared (at least Dad was). You knew dad meant what he said and followed through if you “pushed the limits.” I’m not saying that any of this was perfect, but I would suggest it is better than what we have now. I have performed Juvenile transports and have seen the youth of today drugged up, in facilities that equate to the mental hospitals of yesteryear run by psychiatrists whose lives and whose children are bigger messes than those they allege to treat! In fact, we are called in to transport psychiatrist’s children to “programs” because they feel incapable of getting their child from point A to point B themselves. When I was a kid, dad dealt with the problem himself with a switch or a belt, and while I didn’t like it as a kid, you know, it worked! I always knew dad loved me. I knew he did his best to be fair. And whether I agreed with it or not, this discipline was predominately administered when I deserved it. I see many people today unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions or decisions, wanting to shift the blame to diagnosed problems in their children versus accepting responsibility for not caring enough or not being properly involved in raising their own kids. While it is true that raising children is not always easy and is a “growth experience” for everyone involved, neither my daughter nor I, who both grew up in households governed by loving parents where firearms and their ammunition were always readily available and who were well-trained in their use at an early age, ever misused that knowledge or trust, nor have either of us ever been on psychotropic medication. It is important to note that the modern diagnosis given kids nowadays didn’t even exist 30 or 40 years ago and I found Making a Killing a fantastic portrayal of how all of this came about. I also believe that it is important to note that some people nowadays are unwilling to take the time and energy required to deal with their own emotions, and instead of facing the reality of their feelings (or of their life) try to escape, run or hide from who they are and what they are experiencing instead of facing things and solving their personal issues through dedicated effort. There is a temptation which many seem to succumb to nowadays of living a virtual artificial reality, instead of getting outdoors and “living large” as most used to. While the internet has many informational and entertainment advantages, wisdom comes from experience which is knowledge-based from real-life situations absorbed through the process of real living and interaction with personal and real elements in a real physical environment. And when parents let society (through a psychiatrist) alter the reality of what is going on inside their child’s head with psychotropic drugs with known side-effects, is it any wonder that what occurs is frequently disastrous far beyond the boundaries of any previously experienced norm!!!

    • Watch - Making a Killing October 28, 2014, 5:46 pm

      One additional comment is that we socially take ourselves too seriously today. Firecrackers are frequently outlawed. Kids with knives to cut fruit in their lunchboxes or who either pray in school or who talk about guns are considered threats and are either expelled or are asked to leave. Our society as a whole appears to tolerate not only “gay marriage” (a misnomer at best), but embrace what is undoubtedly the most perverse and corrupt president and cabinet in history, while lawmakers scheme and attempt to devise “legal means” of depriving patriot citizenry of their God-given (and constitutionally accorded) right of firearm ownership for self-defense and the defense of this country. The strong individualist depicted in classic series like Firefly, or in movies by actors like Gary Cooper or John Wayne (which used to be the norm in America) is no longer the archetype of our society or our social “norm.” Instead, what is apparently wanted by the government is no longer the strong individualist but instead “sheople” – compliant people with sheep-like qualities who will follow wherever politicians lead them without responding like men! Common-sense has seemed to be replaced by-and-large with stupidity, while reasonable, integrity-guided action has been replaced by either inaction or by action derived from senseless or lack of reason. For the first time in American history, many citizens seem to be willing to give up their freedom in exchange for perceived security, without the understanding that “freedom is not free,” that it must be fought for, and that without our rights to own firearms to defend it, that we will have neither freedom nor security, for there are forces arrayed against us which wish to deprive us of both (refer to present administration). Psychotropic drugs which parents permit to be administered to their youth are simply another step down the slippery slope of this path that our society is now on. Depriving people of their cognition and feelings is not a solution, but a poison band-aid which attempts to cover the social misnomers of our present-day age. Watch Making a Killing to understand how this all started!

  • steve schweitzberger October 28, 2014, 11:44 am

    I feel like the Calvary-bugler just sounded help is on the way. I am the father of a Columbine survivor and a Colt collector…not necessarily in that order. Steve S.

  • it's like blaming malaria on DDT. these people are on the drug for reasons such as depressio that themselves are associated with suicide and homicide. ritalin is often given to misdiagnosed kids by pediatricians who see them for 5 minutes before writing a October 27, 2014, 3:54 pm

    300 million in USA
    1 pct serious mental illness
    3 million
    Maybe one-fourth get treatment
    That’s 750,000
    Ssris and other psych drugs cure 70 to 80 pct
    150 to 225 thousand mentally ill without effective treatment walking around not caring if they live or die,

    So how many incidents have been in the media? There’s no reasons except treatment for mental illness ain’t perfect.

    • D January 2, 2015, 3:21 pm

      Obviously you have not been on these meds to feel the change, that is NOTHING like what they were treating. Unconsciously daydreaming about killing people is not something most depressed people think about. Maybe offing themselves, but not usually other people. I hate to say this, but if you knew you would know, lol, these meds are BAD business literally and figuratively. The families of victims of mass shootings should be suing the drug companies for BILLIONS, that would stop all of this over-medication, over-prescribing, over-“diagnosis”, and over reaction because people can’t take “Modern Living” it is unnatural and especially in the US our lives our too stressful. So much stress, effort, and destruction to simply drive a nicer car or buy a bigger house. So as they say money is the root of ALL evil.

  • wdtony October 27, 2014, 3:11 pm

    I had an adverse reaction to an SSRI medication which resulted in my acquiring Serotonin Syndrome, a potentially life threatening condition. I have permanent brain damage and almost died from this drug. At age 34, after taking the drug (and discontinuing it) I experienced sensations and thoughts I had never had before (not even close). I didn’t feel like I was in reality or that anything I did would result in a consequence. I wasn’t in control of my thoughts anymore. I started having strange daydreams of murdering my neighbors in horrific and specific ways. This was almost as if my subconscious mind was putting together some sort of intricate plan with instructions. I really liked my neighbors but I was not in control of my mind. It wasn’t like in the Hollywood movies where someone just goes berserk. I was terrified I might hurt people; the state I was in wasn’t normal and I knew that. It felt a little like being on nitrous oxide at the dentist but with focus and agitation. I called my brother to remove all my guns and knives from my house for fear of doing something I couldn’t control. I owned many guns at that time. Over time I still had major brain damage but the mania, homicidal thoughts and urges went away after discontinuation. Due to my own experience, I have insight into what these drugs are capable of doing and I am not slightly surprised when I hear that a mass shooting occurs. I don’t believe that SSRI’s are the only factor but I always ask myself when I hear about a shooting on the news, “hmm, I wonder WHICH drug that person was on when they shot those people.”

    We can’t derive any substantial conclusion about the association between SSRI’s and mass shooting because we aren’t privy to all critical medical information. Thanks a lot HIPPAA.

    SSRI’s are known to increase rates of suicidal, homicidal ideation and mania. Also, derealization/depersonalization has been reported. Taking from pharmaceutical studies themselves (which we all know are heavily manipulated) different populations will experience drastically different outcomes. These aren’t drugs we want to give to already unstable individuals (or anyone else for that matter).

    In your piece you state
    “I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a physician or mental health professional or clinical researcher, so one could safely argue that discussing this subject is beyond my area of expertise.”
    There is no area of expertise pertaining to what SSRI’s do to the brain. That’s a problem… these drugs are experimental and the mechanisms are almost entirely unknown. Furthermore, “expertise”, in this case, is limited to subjective and clinical diagnosis which varies depending on which psychiatrist you visit.
    My last 5 diagnoses: Normal, GAD, Bipolar, Normal, PTSD/Depression. So much for an industry standard.

    Most people on psychiatric medications are not defective, most fall into the parameters of what was once considered normal. Big pharma has moved the “goal posts” ,so to speak, so that much of what was once only a deviation of personality traits are now pushed into the realm of mental illness. Cha-ching for big pharma. Our environment is not suitable for healthy beings and pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of our ignorance. Pollution, man made light, overpopulation, and lots of stress are only a few examples.

    And just to be clear, I am so very happy we have medications that help us in so many ways. I don’t hate Big pharma. But the psychiatric medication boom and over-prescribing of experimental mind altering drugs leaves me feeling like Profits are far more important than people’s health…… and even our lives.

  • listen to this October 27, 2014, 1:51 pm

    There is also a another factor that has not been included in the equation. What new chemicals have been added to the drugs especially since 2012 when the mass shootings started picking up. I have a friend that I have known before he started taking anti depressant drugs and after. I noticed this 28 year man found himself the excuse to behave like a wild immature teenager, but just at sudden moments out of impulse. He also grabbed his gun, pointed and threatened to shoot his roomate that was awaken out of sleep by his threats over not finding his wallet that was later found, (the delusional teenager’s fault). They have been friends for 2 years before this. I have never seen my friend behave like this until he started taking cycles of anti-depressants. It’s not when they are taking them to be on the alert, its when they are off (become dependent) is when to watch out for these people.

  • listen to this October 27, 2014, 1:51 pm

    There is also a another factor that has not been included in the equation. What new chemicals have been added to the drugs especially since 2012 when the mass shootings started picking up. I have a friend that I have known before he started taking anti depressant drugs and after. I noticed this 28 year man found himself the excuse to behave like a wild immature teenager, but just at sudden moments out of impulse. He also grabbed his gun, pointed and threatened to shoot his roomate that was awaken out of sleep by his threats over not finding his wallet that was later found, (the delusional teenager’s fault). They have been friends for 2 years before this. I have never seen my friend behave like this until he started taking cycles of anti-depressants. It’s not when they are taking them to be on the alert, its when they are off (become dependent) is when to watch out for these people.

  • Al October 27, 2014, 11:57 am

    Also remember: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste…”. This is the primary reason we cannot trust the MSM to report facts accurately or honestly. Look how fast New York passed a ban on semi-automatic rifles (eg. AR15’s, pistols over 7 rounds) and a restriction on ammunition sales after Sandy Hook. Mayor Bloomberg threatened every incumbent State Senator with a $5 million dollar donation to his next opponent if he/she didn’t vote for the SAFE act: It got passed in the middle of the night without anyone reading it – practically before the ink was dry: This legislative scenario was elaborately prepared for and orchestrated WAY in advance. In short, every psychiatric time-bomb who goes off on a rampage is now guaranteed post-mortem glory; and will be exploited for maximum political gain. This is the new status-quo and I seriously doubt “liberal” politicians will want to change it, no matter what solutions can be found for mental health issues.

  • BILL October 27, 2014, 10:03 am

    Glad you asked.
    Well 1st – you have not gone back far enough.
    You are too young I guess.
    To young to remember when 1/2 of the pick-up trucks in the school parking lot had a rifle in a rack in the back window – the 1960’s, 70’s. We had school shooting teams. “Guns” were not a problem for schools.
    WHAT HAPPENED?? WHAT CHANGED??
    I will tell you.
    In the late 1970′ early 80’s the mental health institutions were emptied of disturbed teens in favor of treating them at home with the newly developed anti-depressants(see your list). A cost cutting thing and drug sales thing. And an easier work plan for mental health people. Just give them a drug instead of real treatment.
    If you go back and see the rate of mass shootings done before this time and after this time you will see a dramatic difference.
    The Mass school shootings started in the early 1980’s along with treating teens at home with psychotropic drugs. Coincidence? The only logic that would justify that is if you work for a drug company and thus have an invested agenda.
    Good grief – just look at YOUR list and the related drugs connection. Add dates and you will see when it started.
    There is a near 100% positive correlation when you look at the long term time frame and the list of shootings vs the age of the perps. Almost all – young white men age 16-28, and virtually ALL related in some way with the use of psychotropic anti-depressants.
    Just YOUR data even shows that, if you follow logic.

    Its a mystery to me how you list an almost 100% positive corrolation with Anti-depressants and school shootings and you seem to just ignore that fact.
    Sure you dont work for a drug company or not a shrink?

    A secondary effect has been the record rate of suicides from our returning troops. This did not happen after past wars but now it is a real probem – WHY? – AGAIN – They are being treated for PTSD with anti-depressnats, sent home and kill themselves or go to Fort Hood and kill as many as possible.

    ps PTSD should not be considered a “D – Disorder”. Being in combat is a traumatic experience especially if you have to kill and being traumatized by that should be considered as a normal human reaction not a “Disorder”. We need to actually treat the troops and our troubled teens like we used to instead of mental health people now taking the easy money and just prescribing a pill without the hard work of actual diagnosis and treatment.
    Bottom line – the US Mental Health System is now broken.
    Until this problem is acknowledged, addressed and fixed – the mass school shootings WILL continue, unabated. Or Arm most if not all the teachers. Or build Fort Knox schools.

    • listen to this October 27, 2014, 2:12 pm

      That is the best blog I have read. As you may have know I have been trying to find some true facts about the subject but that is easier said than done. Where do you recommend?
      This is a little aside from the blog, but also did you know that in every real suicide autopsy in America has revealed that there was a lack of B vitamins in those people. B vitamins are used by our bodies to make neuro receptors like serotonin, melatonin, etc. These receptors are what keeps our moods balanced and the American diet is now bombarded with highly processed foods and sugar which causes the body to break down b vitamins to process this junk. On top of that we have gotten away from eating food our bodies evolved to live on, raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits, which is where you get natural forms of b vitamins. This is apparent when comparing American’s moods to people of other countries I have been to whos’ diet consist of plant food.

    • listen to this October 27, 2014, 2:15 pm

      That is the information I have read, thanks Bill. As you may have know I have been trying to find some true facts about the subject but that is easier said than done. Where do you recommend?
      This is a little aside from the blog, but also did you know that in every real suicide autopsy in America has revealed that there was a lack of B vitamins in those people. B vitamins are used by our bodies to make neuro receptors like serotonin, melatonin, etc. These receptors are what keeps our moods balanced and the American diet is now bombarded with highly processed foods and sugar which causes the body to break down b vitamins to process this junk. On top of that we have gotten away from eating food our bodies evolved to live on, raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits, which is where you get natural forms of b vitamins. This is apparent when comparing American’s moods to people of other countries I have been to whos’ diet consist of plant food.

  • Mike the Limey October 27, 2014, 9:54 am

    A 20% increase in suicides is hardly a “slight rise” & closely matches the increase in drug prescription.
    I was given SSRI’s more than 10 years ago & stopped taking them because of how they made me feel – quite literally murderous.
    Check out similar mass shootings outside the US & apart from those with political, terrorist or other known motives, the majority have involved a perpetrator who was taking psychotropics.

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