Woman “Jacked Up” on Zoloft Kills Baby

Kermit Cole
21
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Saying that she had been “jacked up” on a new medication (Zoloft) and had not slept for five or six days, a Milwaukee man and his wife have both been charged after he took her to a hospital (which admitted for being suicidal) rather than to the police when she fatally stabbed their baby.

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Of further interest:
Oconomowoc parents criminally charged in death of 10-week-old baby
UPDATED: more details emerge in death of Oconomowoc infant
Mom says voices told her to kill baby

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

21 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t agree with you, Jeffrey. While I don’t know how a drug might or might not cause intent to harm, it is obvious that many drugs reduce inhibitions and increase a willingness to take risks or transcend social norms. (Why are drunk people more likely to get into fistfights?) It is also well known that multi-day loss of sleep does cause psychosis eventually, and drugs can certainly cause insomnia (know any meth users?) that can lead to psychotic episodes. I don’t know that this absolves the person committing the crime of their criminal act in all cases, but there is another crime being committed if the doctor involved knows or should know of these added risks and does not discuss them with their client.

    Prozac was initially banned in Germany because of a noted increase in suicides and violent aggression. There is no question that this information should be shared and believed. It’s not a conspiracy to blame drugs – they really do have this kind of effect, and people are dying as a result. We don’t have to let the perpetrator off the hook in order to demand that unsafe drugs are kept off the market, or at least that the safety issues are honestly discussed with patients and monitored for, instead of leaving a guy like the one in the picture to assure our safety.

    —- Steve

      • Sorry if I was a bit obtuse, there – reading it again, it does sound rather tongue-in-cheek. But my post can be considered a preemptive effort to respond to the anticipated reply of said poster, not to mention to the usual arguments of the psychiatric community, who would blame the “underlying condition” rather than the drug.

        Glad I was able to re-read your post with the appropriate level of humor!

        —- Steve

      • You were not sarcastically using my arguments. You were sarcastically twisting my arguments for your own purposes, in my absence no less.

        Next time try bringing your own arguments to the table.

        But I think I get it. Your arguments amount to a 21st anti-drug company anti-psych drug version of 1950s ‘reefer madness’, where we are supposed to believe a woman who got up in the morning, made a coffee, went to the bathroom, put on clothes, opened the curtains, had “lost her mind” (such a great turn of phrase), simply because she developed a religious/devil fixation on her child and killed the child.

        The drugs, as always in the minds of drug blamers, cause only the behavior that is frowned upon and labeled as “abnormal”.

        Everything else the woman did during those days, is off the radar, and you’ll kid yourself into believing you’re a great humanizer, a sympathetic, understanding person, by saying this woman doesn’t deserve to go to prison. That only if the evil drug companies were curtailed, that nobody would ever kill their babies.

        The correlation, becomes the causation, and the fact that distressed/disturbed people who are fixated on wrong beliefs, happen to be mostly in our time also people who take psych drugs, we get to blame it all on the psych drugs.

        When Jeffrey admits he was “was just being immature”, I’m inclined to agree.

  2. This is an incredibly sad case, my heart goes out to the parents, and their surviving children. I am appalled at the callousness of the “court commissioner”. It sounds like this factotum has already tried them and passed sentence. It’s too bad the journalist writing this story didn’t go any further.

    If Dana Hooper indeed suffered from post-partum depression, this is a very serious and potentially lethal diagnosis. The condition tends to worsen with each pregnancy, this was at least her third. Post-partum depressed women are known to kill their newborns. It sounds to me like she really didn’t get very good standard medical care and follow-up after she left hospital after giving birth. It would have been an easy thing for a visiting nurse to make the assessment that her husband was unable to make, and to get her to a doctor before this tragedy happened. 5 nights without sleep? This couple sound like they are ignorant of what they needed to know to deal with both the side effects of the drug as well as the underlying condition. To render them knowledgeable is the responsibility of professionals.

      • “drugs that caused her to lose her mind in the first place.”

        Oh, because we KNOW this do we?

        And “losing your mind” is a thing, is it?

        Or rather, you just didn’t like what the woman had in her mind, beliefs about the devil and her baby, yet you persist in believing in psychiatry’s mystical “losing minds and finding minds” myths.

  3. Jeffrey, we’ve always had mentally ill, some of them “homicidal maniacs”, well before we had the drugs. I go way back. Back to when the first generation antipsychotics and antidepressants were developed and began to be used. Back then, before the pharmaceutical companies advertised their wares to the general public and established a foothold in doctors’ offices, back then these drugs were classified thus: major tranquilizers and minor tranquilizers. They were — and to my mind still are — chemical restraints. And before they came to be used the way they are today, they were a great boon to humanity. You should have seen the kind of restraints that were used before then.

    But the way they are used today, that is the problem. We’ve always had mentally ill “homicidal maniacs”, but in the past no one was making a sinfully large amount of money from the treatments. Every drug has side effects. Every drug. Some of the side effects are worse than others, and not every user is subject to side effects. It’s a matter of taking a look at the risk involved. Is your illness bad enough that you will risk the side effects of the treatment? That is what is not coming forward clearly today, otherwise I should think that someone suffering from “social anxiety” might think twice about taking a drug which potentially could produce a homicidal mania, or suicide.

    The pharmaceutical companies have gotten used to the income from the huge, huge market which they themselves have developed through advertising and bribing government watchdogs and doctors. They could be straightforward about the side effects from their products, but where would that leave them? Several billion dollars short of their present day income.
    (end of rant, thanks for listening)

    • Regarding “we’ve always had mentally ill”.
      Have we? I would disagree. Did nomadic aboriginals have mental illness? Most cases of mental illness in the past can be attributed to untreated sexually transmitted diseases, or as a result of poisoning from industry such as lead and mercury poisoning. Or mental illness is from no longer sleeping at night, from the technology of electric light, TV, Internet. Or from our UN-natural food that doesn’t biodegrade (rot) (the producer makes more money the longer the shelf life of the food item).

      Regarding “pharmaceutical’s:a great boon to humanity” as long as you are the one forcing the drugs on the person in the jail cell, yes a great boon.
      If you were the put away wife, you could not escape if/when drugged.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhouses_Act_1774

  4. regarding “we’ve always had mentally ill” —

    Mark, I was responding to Jeffrey with this remark, to his implication that the drug had caused the post-partum depressed woman to lose her mind. My complete remark was “we’ve always had mentally ill, well before we had the drugs”.

    I think to actually be successful in reining in the psychotropic drug companies you have to be very honest in your approach. The very best propaganda always has a seed of truth, that’s what makes it so appealing. So give the psychotropic drug companies their due and pull the firepower of their propaganda. Yes, at one time, within living memory, they did make an important contribution to the care of the mentally ill, in asylums, which is where we kept the mentally ill…

    I’m not prepared to quarrel over whether or not they were in fact mentally ill, this was the reality of that time and of centuries before that time. The new drugs made a world of difference to the people incarcerated. Before the drugs were developed there were such treatments as insulin shock therapy, electroshock therapy, wet packs for agitation (you should try out that one sometime). Lobotomy anyone? And this was considered “enlightened”. Treatments before the 20th century were much more barbaric. In the old state hospital where I did some of my psych training there were two sub-basements. The lowest basement had niches cut into the corridors, just big enough to accomodate a sitting person, and there were still the heavy iron clasps embedded in the stone, which would have been used to anchor the restraining chains of the maniacs.

    The new drugs carried heavy side effects, no question about that. It’s like I said, you have to consider the risk. Is the treatment worse than the disease? It is the full knowledge of the side effects of SSRI’s which is lacking. People are heavily encouraged to take the drugs, but there is general ignorance of the side effects, and of the risk.

    • Brenda said: “They were — and to my mind still are — chemical restraints. And before they came to be used the way they are today, they were a great boon to humanity. You should have seen the kind of restraints that were used before then.”

      ” So give the psychotropic drug companies their due and pull the firepower of their propaganda. Yes, at one time, within living memory, they did make an important contribution to the care of the mentally ill, in asylums, which is where we kept the mentally ill”

      Brenda, I disagree completely with your naive conception of the forced administration of major tranquilizer drugs being a “boon” to humanity. Raping somebody’s brain with toxic drugs, is far more invasive than merely chaining them up. You obviously believe in an alleged brain disease that is “going around” that produces a mythical “homicidal maniac”.

      I found your caricatures offensive enough to bring me out of retirement. Congratulations.

      On the news story itself, this woman thought her baby was of the devil, and killed it, she is described as being “jacked up” on a drug, I say say she was “jacked up” on religion just as much. The woman committed a grave crime and belongs in prison.

      Brenda says ” The new drugs made a world of difference to the people incarcerated. ”

      It’s interesting when this site gets new traffic from people who believe that old chestnut.

      You act as if the only alternative to drugs is lobotomy and tortures of old?

      “Treatments before the 20th century were much more barbaric. In the old state hospital where I did some of my psych training there were two sub-basements. The lowest basement had niches cut into the corridors, just big enough to accomodate a sitting person, and there were still the heavy iron clasps embedded in the stone, which would have been used to anchor the restraining chains of the maniacs. ”

      The maniacs?! now?

      People who ‘train/work in state hospitals’, have never been, nor ever will be, the correct arbiters of what is barbaric.

      Homicidal maniacs, that’s cute. A real load of true belief in psychiatry there.

      Is that like the “brain disease” that “causes” “insecticidal mania”, you know, the one where your brain disease causes you to kill ants and spiders?

      I suppose Michael Richards caught a severe case of “careercidal mania” in his 2006 racist rant at a comedy club?

      Oh no, just the killing of babies. We have a special disease that only kills babies.

      Because if you believe that you’ll believe anything, like for instance that forced major tranquilizer drugging was a great humanizing force in history.

      Nice to see the simplistic drug blaming is mingling with simplistic brain blaming. All based on people’s extraordinary leaps of faith about never proven or explained brain diseases, and never proven or explained religion/devil baby creating drug mechanisms.

      Drugs can dis-inhibit people, sleeplessness can impair people, religion can lead people to believe devils and reincarnation exist, husbands can ignore days of a mother saying things about the devil and her baby and still keep the mother around the baby, and people who get up in the morning and put on clothes, and shit in the toilet not the floor, and know what a knife does, and what a stabbing motion into a baby’s face does, regardless of their false beliefs about the baby being the devil, deserve to go to prison.

    • Brenda wrote “Is the treatment worse than the disease?”
      This is the equivalent to ” Does the punishment fit the crime?”
      But you have to do the crime first, not the treatment (punishment) first.

      Just joking. Unlike “Anonymous” I do admit psychosis exists, so some people have to be preventative-ly jailed.

      Humans are biological ANIMALS and can become irrational from hormones and other chemicals in their brain-body.

      I just think every JAILED( you call hospitalization) mental patient should be given a lawyer to defend them as their freedom has been taken away.

  5. The stanford prison experiment shows what happens when you diagnose a person a prisoner or prison guard.

    “I’m not prepared to quarrel over whether or not they were in fact mentally ill” you wrote.
    You can’t ask the question “What if they ( the patient) are not ill?”
    That is some crazy stuff.

  6. you might like to try a cold wet body pack, Anon. It’s a proven non-chemical treatment for agitation.

    “The woman committed a grave crime and belongs in prison.” — this is where you and I have a fundamental disagreement. I think from the scanty newspaper story provided that she could be suffering from a post-partum psychosis. She would do better in an asylum than in the jacked-up legal system that deals in this way with the mentally ill (apologies to Mark, I know this is likely to send him off foaming at the mouth)

    There are plenty of better examples of SSRI causation of homicidal and suicidal behaviors. The 19 year old healthy volunteer for a drug trial who committed suicide by hanging is the very best example, but there are plenty more. The 37 year old man who went to his doctor seeking a treatment for insomnia, received Prozac and shortly after starting the drug killed his 5 year old twins — he is now doing a life sentence in a state prison, would be better off in an asylum (sorry Mark)

    Dana Hooper is not a good example of drug causation, and to use this is doing a disservice to your cause. Get educated for god’s sake (uh, sorry Anon, hope that didn’t spoil your day)

    • “that she could be suffering from a post-partum psychosis. She would do better in an asylum than in the jacked-up legal system that deals in this way with the mentally ill”

      You and I suffer from many fundamental disagreements. You seem to believe the magic word “psychosis” refers to a medical disease. You seem to believe using medical latin for an event that just happened in someone’s life, having a baby, makes it even more legitimately “medical” a thing, this “psychosis” label. A label you’d no doubt slap on any thought or behavior you find to be bizarre.

      You also seem to believe government psychiatry is an appropriate alternative penal system in a society.

      Your three anecdotes about “healthy” people doing allegedly “unhealthy” things, you seem to view the decision to end one’s life as a “disease event”… amount to nothing but the continuation of crime as it ever was, this time in a society where tens of millions take these drugs. Nice correlations, nothing that should turn us into a society where breweries are sued for putting the idea of drunk driving into someone’s head, nor the big pharma equivalent.

      I’d be interested to hear from this man in state prison for killing his twins, to see whether he’d like to be sent to a place where he’d lose more than his freedom of movement, and lose rather, his right to own his body and be subjected to forced drugging every day. But you know where “he’d be better off”, and you’re sure of this, so I’m sure you know best.

      “legal system that deals in this way with the mentally ill”

      Legal systems deal with people who have committed crimes. Your blanket term, a lovely, humanizing, earnestly compassionate term devoid of all baggage and stigma and entirely composed of objective evidence based medicine “the mentally ill”, the term you see fit to encompass no doubt millions of criminals who you believe would not have committed a crime save for more research dollars for biopsychiatry to spin its wheels for another 100 years, is not the sort of term, nor has anything you’ve said on this page, anything that is going to endear you to the readership here Brenda.

      It makes me wonder whether you’ve even read any of the articles here.

      This is what simple, sure-footed biopsychiatry “thinkers” do, they slap seemingly all explanatory labels on unusual thoughts, “psychosis”, that they have read in a textbook are “just like diabetes”, and then they look to whatever THEY CHOOSE to focus on that has happened in the person’s life recently, “having a baby”, or “starting prozac”, and the BAM! an explanation for all the horrors of the human condition.

      And Brenda, sarcastic quips about me needing a “treatment” for “agitation”, and referring to the other commenter Mark as expected to be “foaming at the mouth”, surely fit with the other comments on this page you’ve made about “maniacs”, “asylums where we kept the mentally ill”, “the mentally ill” in prisons who are “better off in asylums”, it’s like you’re some inflammatory internet troll who has been visited upon this community.

      You’ve heard of gay-dar? I have a radar that picks up on people with a dehumanizing biological psychiatry denigration worldview of people labeled “mentally ill”. It’s beeping and the lights and bells are going off reading every, single, word you wrote here.

      “you might like to try a cold wet body pack, Anon. It’s a proven non-chemical treatment for agitation.”

      What a disgusting thing to say here, in this community.

      Another “advocate” everybody, to “save us from those evil prison systems” so we can be “kept” in the “asylums” where we would “do better”.

    • (apologies to Mark, I know this is likely to send him off foaming at the mouth)

      This is just an attempt at humor in the face of horror. I don’t take it personally.

      Those responsible for giving drugs to “The 37 year old man who went to his doctor seeking a treatment for insomnia” should be in jail.

      A drunk driver that chose to drink and drive is responsible for his/her crime.
      A person who trusted a doctor to give them a medicine , but the doctor gave them a unpredictable drug, should not be held (totally) responsible for his/her actions while under the influence of a “medicine”.

      Brenda recommends a special kind of jail, you don’t call a jail, an “asylum”.
      She and her kind can find employment there “helping” people. A captive audience for their help.
      That is kind of expensive ( a different system) for the crimes of Psychiatrists and Pharmacists.

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