Benzos Alter Fish Behavior


Drugs that pass into the water supply can alter the behavior of fish, according to a paper published today in Science magazine. Experiments using the same concentrations of benzodiazepines found downstream of a Swedish sewage treatment plant found that perch “became more antisocial, they became more active, and they were actually eating more”, possibly as a result of disinhibition that could also result in the fish exposing themselves to more danger.

Abstract →

Brodin, T., Fick, J., Klaminder, J. Dilute Concentrations of a Psychiatric Drug Alter Behavior of Fish from Natural Populations. Science February 15, 2013; 339(6121) 814-815

Of further interest:

Traces Of Anxiety Drugs May Make Fish Act Funny (NPR)
Psychiatric drugs prevalent in water, changing fish behavior (Fox News)
Drugged Fish Lose Their Inhibitions, Get the Munchies (Science)
Psychiatric Meds in Water Supply May Alter Fish Behavior (U.S. News)
Anxiety drug makes fish bolder and more asocial (Scientific American)

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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].