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Psychiatric Drugs And Mass Murder: Exploring The Connection

As the country reels from news of yet another senseless mass killing in suburban Milwaukee, coming on the heels of the even more deadly massacre in Aurora, Colorado, Americans are left to wonder what could possibly be responsible for this outbreak of bloody insanity and murder. But as terrible as these two incidents were, they have an undeniable ring of familiarity about them – since the year 2000, there have been twenty-six cases of mass murder (four or more victims) in the United States, as opposed to twenty combined during the 1980s and 1990s. And before the 1980s, mass killing sprees were actually quite rare in this country, usually averaging no more than one or two per decade. So it appears we are looking at a trend of madness that began approximately thirty years ago and has been picking up steam every since.

While the anti-gun forces came out in legion following the killings at the movie theater in Colorado, the data connected with this disturbing pattern of atrocity destroys the theory that these horrible cases of mass murder have anything to do with the easy availability of weapons and the absence of laws mandating gun control. There is simply no correlation between the rise of mass murder and changes in gun laws, and anyone who is looking for a connection here is clearly barking up the wrong tree.

Those who are looking for a cause-and-effect relationship between violence in society and violence in the media and in video games are standing on somewhat firmer ground. There has been plenty of research to show that constant exposure to violent images will lead to desensitization toward real-life violence, and it is hardly a stretch to think that young people in particular who spend many hours a day wallowing in the muck of movies, television shows, and video games that glorify and celebrate homicide, rape, war, and vigilantism might occasionally end up striking out at the world in terrible and tragic ways. There has been a plethora of ghastly crimes carried out by young people under the age of eighteen over the past twenty years, and the proliferation of violent media images over that period of time could very well be presented as evidence in favor of the mass murder/media violence thesis.

But while violent imagery in the media might explain violent behavior in youth to a certain extent, the bizarre and twisted nature of crimes such as the Joker massacre and the homicidal attack on peaceful Sikh worshipers would seem to suggest that something more is going on here. These singularly evil acts appear to be the work of completely deranged minds under the control of something that can only be seen as demonic, and this requires an explanation that goes deeper than what can be provided by normal sociological analysis.

For those who believe in such things, demonic possession could be seen as one possible answer, but there is another explanation that fits the evidence quite well and does not require speculation about the intervention of supernatural forces. In a shockingly high number of the most infamous cases of mass atrocity that have been committed on U.S. soil in recent years, the perpetrators were people who had been in treatment for psychiatric disorders and had been under the influence of powerful, mind-altering psychiatric drugs in the weeks and months leading up to their deadly violent outbursts.

Manufacturing Illness And Harvesting The Profits

The profit margins of pharmaceutical companies will inevitably rise as the health of the American people gets worse. Therefore, it is clearly in the best interests of the drug industry to have us all diagnosed with as many health maladies and chronic conditions as possible, so physicians and psychiatrists will have a good excuse for giving us the prescriptions that make the legal drug business so lucrative. Whether or not those maladies actually exist and whether or not we actually suffer from them is essentially irrelevant; the important thing is that we be diagnosed with them so that we can be given the medicines that the pharmaceutical giants want us to have.

In recent years, depression and anxiety disorders have proven to be especially profitable for the drug industry here in the U.S. On the depression index, France has now moved into the number-one position with 21 percent of its population estimated to suffer from this condition, but the United States is still holding strong in second place at a competitive 19.2 percent. Meanwhile, according to statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, up to 25.8 percent of the adult population, or almost 58 million people, are suffering from one kind of anxiety disorder or another. Many of the folks suffering from these ailments are double dippers, meaning that they have been diagnosed with both depression and anxiety disorder. These individuals in particular often end up being doused with pharmaceutical wonder drugs by psychiatrists who are convinced that changing brain chemistry is the only sensible way to cure psychological disorders. Overall, approximately 11 percent of all Americans are currently taking prescription medications for depression and anxiety disorder, and this is a number that is continuing to rise all the time.

Learn How You Can Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Without The Dangerous Side Effects

But are “illnesses” like depression and anxiety disorder actually illnesses at all?  By putting labels like “disease” and “disorder” on troubling mental states, medical science has been basically conjuring up biological explanations for what were once considered psychological conditions. This approach has fattened the pocketbooks of the drug companies and has been a boon to the psychiatric profession, but whether it has really benefited those suffering from chronic sadness, frustration, and despair is open to long and heated debate.

Depression and anxiety disorder most definitely do exist, but they are problems that arise when people’s most fundamental needs are not being met – i.e., the need for love, friendship, personal and financial security, meaningful work, interesting hobbies and pastimes, and so on. When viewed from this perspective, it seems clear that depression and anxiety are not so much diseases as they are coping mechanisms of minds frustrated by the trying and difficult circumstances of their lives. In such instances, changing those circumstances would seem much more likely to produce good results than simply taking some kind of drug, which will not do anything to alter the basic life realities of someone struggling to overcome depression or anxiety.

But rather than focusing on the importance of changing our relationship with the world and with our fellow human beings as the best way for restoring sound psychological health, psychiatry has decided to take the easy (and profitable) way out instead by labeling depression and anxiety as “diseases” that can only be cured by taking drugs that alter brain chemistry in profound and troubling ways.

SSRIs And Other Antidepressants: A Closer Look

The types of antidepressants most often prescribed for adults, and increasingly for adolescents and children, are from a class of drugs called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Another class of drugs known as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, are also starting to catch on, as most of the focus of medical professionals attempting to treat depression with drugs has been on finding ways to regulate levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which appears to be lacking in the brains of those suffering from this mental health disorder and in the brains of those diagnosed with anxiety conditions as well. Drugs like these inhibit the natural process through which serotonin is re-absorbed by brain cells after use in message transmission, and the result is that the brain is suddenly flooded with new supplies of a chemical that has been proven to have an affect on mood and behavior.

Given the total reliance of psychiatry these days on altering serotonin levels to create desirable changes in brain chemistry, it is surprising to discover that the connection between serotonin and depression is far from established. In fact, many researchers have concluded that this idea is completely lacking in merit, and non-biased research carried out on the effectiveness of SSRIs would seem to validate their point. In one important study that took place back in 1997 at Harvard Medical School, it was found that 82 percent of the supposed effectiveness of SSRIs in treating depression could be dismissed as placebo effect – in other words, these drugs basically didn’t work at all except in a small percentage of cases, and even there the possibility that lifestyle changes or behavioral therapy used in conjunction with antidepressants was making the decisive difference could not be ruled out.

Prescribing drugs for medical disorders that really may not be disorders at all is bad enough. When those drugs probably don’t even work in the majority of cases, however, giving these brain-altering chemicals to millions of adults – and millions more below the age of eighteen whose brains are still in the process of developing – falls into the realm of outrageous scandal. But believe it or not, the situation with serotonin-inhibiting drugs actually gets even worse, because while they may not really be assisting the brain in overcoming depression and anxiety, they can affect the brain in other ways that are scary, grotesque, and incredibly dangerous.

The Proven Side Effects Of SSRIs

Of course, not everyone accepts the research that has called the effectiveness of antidepressants into question. There is too much money and power involved in the equation for either the drug industry or the psychiatric profession to go down without a fight, and both insist that the majority of the studies carried out support the utility of drugs that alter serotonin levels in the brains of the depressed and the stressed. But because these medicines have been around for awhile now (the first SSRI, Prozac, came on the market in 1988), there has been plenty of time for their toxic side effects to be observed in actual patients taking these drugs in clinical settings, and there is no way for any of the actors involved to suppress the truth about what has been discovered. They can minimize it, but they can’t completely suppress it.

According to the Physicians’ Desk Reference, which is referred to as “the most trusted and commonly used drug information reference,” the entire class of drugs known as SSRIs, including Prozac, Luvox, and Paxil, has been shown to cause the following adverse reactions in a statistically notable percentage of those who take them:

  • Manic reaction (kleptomania, pyromania, dipsomania, nymphomania)
  • Hypomania (poor judgment, over spending, impulsivity, etc.)
  • Abnormal thinking
  • Hallucinations
  • Personality disorder
  • Amnesia
  • Agitation
  • Psychosis
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Alcohol abuse and/or craving
  • Hostility
  • Paranoid reactions
  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Akathisia (severe internal restlessness that can lead to suicide)
  • Withdrawal syndrome
  • Impulsivity

This list of side effects is disturbing in any circumstances. But when we discover that many of those who have been involved in mass killings (the Columbine shooters, the Virginia Tech gunman who murdered thirty-two people in an on-campus rampage, a Louisville man who shot and killed nine people at the Standard Gravure Company, a sixteen-year-old Native-American boy who gunned down nine on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota, just to name a few) had been taking SSRIs during the time of their killing sprees, everyone’s alarm bells should be ringing loudly. Again, it must be emphasized that we are not just talking about a few isolated incidents here – most of the perpetrators of mass murder over the past fifteen to twenty years had been taking prescription medicines at the time of their killings, and the drugs they had been taking were usually SSRIs or other medications commonly used to treat depression and/or anxiety disorders.

And this relationship is not just confined to mass murder. Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, who authored a book called “Prozac, Panacea or Pandora?”, studied thirty-two murder-suicides involving mothers and their children, and she found that in twenty-four of those cases the women had been taking Prozac at the time of the homicides.

Of course, defenders of psychiatric drugs have an obvious out here. Since those who are prescribed these medicines are being treated for mental illness, it can always be claimed that their psychological problems were the real cause of their crimes. But this idea has now been refuted, thanks to a study performed by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, an independent organization not affiliated with any government agencies or drug companies. ISMP researchers used information from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System to compile a list of the ten medicines most frequently implicated in violent behavior, carefully adjusting the statistics to account for any other factors that might possibly have explained violent outbursts in psychiatric patients taking these drugs.

By this time, no one should be surprised to read that antidepressants dominated this list, locking down five of the top ten spots on the “most violent drug” list. And it is highly enlightening that all five of these drugs came from the two classes of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors that have become the antidepressants of choice for psychiatrists everywhere. The fatal five include the SNRIs Pristiq and Effexor and the SSRIs Luvox, Paxil, and Prozac, the latter of which came in at number two on the list, causing violent reactions in those ingesting it at a frequency almost eleven times greater than the average pharmaceutical drug.

Living In The Age Of Chemical Madness 

The documented side effects of antidepressants are frightening and, at least in some cases, apparently lethal. The human mind is the most finely tuned instrument found anywhere on the planet, and putting people on drugs that can disrupt its carefully crafted balance is a risky and unpredictable enterprise at best. While it can hardly be said that the connection between extreme violence and antidepressant consumption has been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt, the fact that so many bizarre and horrific crimes have been committed by those under the influence of serotonin inhibitors in particular certainly should be enough to stimulate investigations by Congress, the White House, the FDA, the mainstream media, and any private health organizations truly concerned about the welfare of the American people. That this is not happening is a testament to how powerful the pharmaceutical companies have become, and how influential their pro-drug propaganda continues to be.

As for the two most recent incidents of mass murder to take place on U.S. soil, all of the early evidence suggests that the deceased shooter in the attack against the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Wade Michael Page, was a fanatical white supremacist who was filled with rage and hatred for people of different races and religions. Page does not seem the type who would have ever visited a psychiatrist, so it is unlikely that he was taking any sort of prescription medication at the time of his rampage.

But the story with James Holmes, the madman responsible for the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, appears to be quite different. It is now confirmed that Holmes had been seeing a psychiatrist over the past several months, and that his doctor had been so concerned by what she heard in their sessions that she broke the rules of doctor-patient confidentiality and warned officials at the University of Colorado that Holmes might be a threat to himself or to others. At this point, it is not known what if any medicines this psychiatrist had prescribed for Holmes during their time together. But if it is eventually revealed that Holmes was in fact on antidepressants at the time of his attack, no one who has been paying attention to what has been happening in our society over the past fifteen to twenty years will be the least bit surprised.

©2012 Off the Grid News

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9 comments

  1. well researched & written expose. Brain drugs are dangerous I think. herbal remedies will do much better and without dangerous side effects. There are also NTE-s= Negative Trapped Emotions. These can be understood by the research of Dr. Bradley Nelson & his excellent book- The Emotion Code. BD

  2. medication will not solve depression awnyay. It just effects the chemicals in your head, so you don’t feel it. I notice that you said that you “cannot get any medication”. If this means you are uninsured, that will make what I’m going to say a little difficult. Go to a psychologist (not a psychiatrist). They have countless methods of therapy that will help you out.Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, all are good ways to get your mind out of that low place. It has been often recommended to me, to use positive self talk, where you repeat positive phrases to yourself, until you feel better.And then there is the good old standby. Going to church (temple, mosque, or whatever). I found that when I became a Christian, it was easier to alleviate the pervaisive negative thoughts. Was this answer helpful?

  3. After the Newtown school shooting I again thought of SSRI’s and the connection to acts of violence. I have taken Herbal and other types of supplements most of my adult life coming from grandparents who believed in Nature and natures’s ways not Big Pharm. I am very aware of what effects even Herbs and supplements have on my mind and body some do make me hostile and angry. Even herbs can have a very strong effect on the body look at the little asprin. Have worked in a State Hospital for the Developmentally Disabled where SSRI’s in huge doses where given as routine as a form of Behavior Control to NON VERBAL people who had no language no way to express pain accept through their behavior and that might include hitting your head against the wall. These drugs only made the behaviors so much worse but it was like the King had no clothes, staff so in love with these drugs and so wanting to impress the Dr.’s they could not see that these drugs only made behaviors worse . The Medical Dr’s did anything the Psychologist wanted and the Psychologist wanted the power to prescribe med’s. The Dr’s wanted to keep their drug stock making profits. Even when the clients where removed from these types of drugs and withdrawal was pretty awful but the client’s behavior was always much more stable and in control if only staff could wait out the withdrawal effects, which rarely happened. These clients where non verbal unable to say they had a tooth ache, headache etc. What would u do if u had a tooth ache and could do nothing about it, hit your head against the wall maybe but staff would always go to the SSRI’s before the aspirin, the one drug I believe in. The power of the “Dr. know best” is all powerful in this country and staff like most American do what the Dr. says as we are a country of mind control thanks to the TV ads but how can anyone take any of the advertised
    med’s when they hear the side effects.. Not a believer. Not a follower.

  4. wife killed herself on elavil after seeing a shrink 30 years ago. i get it

  5. The problem with these kinds of analyses is that correlation doesn’t imply causation. Just because two variables are associated, it does not follow logically that one is the cause of the other. There are many other ways for two variables to become correlated without there being a causal relation. For example, carrying a lighter in your pocket is highly correlated with lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, yet lighters are not carcinogens. Additionally, the relative small number of mass murderers means that the sampling error may be rather large.

    • as someone who is using Prozac, I have to say, my bulemia has been in check since I started 6 months ago, and I still haven’t found a desire to kill anyone. Maybe I’m the exception?

  6. Add to this list of psychotic drugged killers the Newtown shooter now. I wrote to all my congressman and senators, state and federal and requested that they investigate the linking of over 90% of these mass shootings and SSRI drugs. I suggest you do the same. It’s not the guns, guns were EVEN MORE AVAILABLE years ago and we did NOT have these types of incidents. Any we did have were very few and far between. The combination of SSRI drugs debuting in 1988 and the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990 has lead to an EXPLOSION in school violence. From 1927 until 1989 (62 yrs.) there were 18 incidents. Since 1990 until Newtown (only 22 yrs.) there have been 113 incidents of mass shootings at schools. When I went to school in the 70′s we had rifles in the back windows of our pickup trucks on gun racks and rifle shooting teams in our school. Now-a-days we have strict gun control laws and all these real or imagined illnesses being treated(?) with these POWERFUL AND DANGEROUS drugs. A thorough investigation needs to be done (one NOT financed by Big Pharma either), or we will continue to experience these horrific killings by deranged individuals.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States

  7. Violent games, movies, obsessions, mind altering drugs, no morals or guides in school or from parents. Numbers of issues, causes and excuses. But, in my ‘opinion’ nobody seems to wonder about the ruthlessness of our own govt. Consider some unconnected dots here. It’s known the govt has been playing with mind control since WW2, so they’re probably pretty good at it by now. This administration has deliberately channeled thousands of ‘assault weapons’ to Mexican drug cartels, who have killed untold hundreds of Mexican citizens. (That’s another topic, NOBODY in Mexico can legally own a gun. So naturally the crime rate is near zero, right?) So the govt cares not a thing about how many Mexicans are killed as a direct result of their actions. The point of Fast & Furious was to gin up support for another ‘assault weapons’ ban. Didn’t work. Not enough emotional furor about killings across the border, and since the game went broke, no publicity.
    Now, suppose this same anti-gun rights govt, who doesn’t mind how many people die in the quest for total gun control and disarmament of the American people, comes up with a new game plan: multiple mass murders, one after another, say like in theaters, schools, killing firemen, all sorts of horrific stuff accomplished with guns. Guaranteed to have tremendous emotional response to such horror. The common thread is of course, all occur at gun free killing zones and all the perps for the most part suicide or get killed by the cops so there’s no questioning available. So, let’s imagine our benevolent govt suckers in susceptible dingbats through peculiar websites or whatever, gives them a little mind massage or deep hypnosis (you KNOW what kind of crazy crap people can do under that control) with a little sprinkle of drugs on top. They hang around the house playing their whacked out ultra violent video game, then the phone rings, they hear the trigger word. Boing! Off they go on there assigned project, kill as many little kids as you can and when you hear the cops coming, blow your brains out.
    Far fetched? Really? As corrupt as powerful men can be when they have the power of the US govt at hand, you don’t think it’s possible?

  8. Great points about how mind altering drugs may be the actual causes of mind alteration! It’s not rocket science to conclude that some people, perhaps with genetic/environmental predispostions who pump their minds and bodies full of mind-altering chemicals may just be inducing their own mental illnesses.

    However there’s more. SSRI’s yes, but note too since the advent of recreational drugs into mainstream society, these mass murder crimes have been on the rise. Research each of them and where medical records or anecdotes or witnesses are discussed, recreational drugs is pervasive in EVERY SINGLE ONE of them. And oddly, the most common denominator in all of them, surprisingly is the so-called harmless drug, MARIJUANA.

    This is not a crusade against marijuana, and for the vast majority, MJ is relatively harmless. But imagine a bell shaped curve of users. Most fall in the middle, just like alcohol, and nothing much happens except a mild numbing. Now move to the right on the curve, and you get more individuals using marijuana who are either more susceptible to its affects (as will alcoholism) and you get more violent people, In fact, the DEA notes that of all violent crime arrests, 80% or so test positive for drugs, of which 54% is marijuana.

    Now move to the very extreme edge of the bell shaped curve, and you get mass murdering psychopaths. Look, they ALL smoked pot- Manson, Loughner, Holmes, Lanza (verify him), the Tsarnaev’s etc. The T’sl like Tim McVeigh, and the Weather Underground that preceded, smoked a lot of pot in years prior, had hatred for the US government, and vented their rage by blowing up places.

    With the T’s we are too eager to jump the gun and assume the triggering factor was redical Islam, when it may have been they were politically charged individuals (like many) except their copious pot smoking (the older brother anyway) deprived them inhibitions to kill others.

    Note too the terrorist crimes American soldiers committed on Afghan civilians a few years ago, About a dozen Americans were arrested for the grisly crimes. Irony of all ironies, we are there fighting terrorism, yet we are the terrorists in this case. And guess what, those soldiers were smoking hashish, the concentrated form of marijuana, There could be a connection.

    What we may be seeing is a rise in recreational drug use, specifically marijuana, that coincides with the rise in mass murders. Marijuana either alone, or in conjunction with other drugs, legal or not, may be the one contributing factor.

    Studies to indicate MJ does contribute to mental disorders, and perahaps there is something as simple as the presence of a couple of recessive genes in some rare individuals which for some reason alters brains chemistry, like perhaps poor regulation of dopamine or something. Just like some are more prone to alcoholism because of genetic factors, some may be more prone to violence from years past of smoking marijuana (or using hashish) of which some become mass murderers.

    Yes, the rise in violence in America is not from guns, but from drugs. So, so much crime revolves around drugs. The MSM is either oblivious, or they are so pro marijuana legalization, they ignore this eerie connection.

    Most will argue that correlation is not causation, so true, but like with alcohol and drunk driving for instance, the link seems very, very strong.

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