Details of Adam Lanza’s Life Emerge

Rob Wipond
12
174

“A comprehensive examination of the medical history of Adam Lanza, who fatally shot 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., two years ago, has concluded that he was ‘completely untreated in the years before the shooting’ for various psychiatric and physical ailments,” according to the New York Times. His school also failed to provide appropriate “social-emotional support” and other services, stated the report, while Lanza frequently used guns, exhibited an “atypical preoccupation with violence,” and participated in an online “micro society of mass murder enthusiasts.”

The complete report has been posted online by the Times.

Adam Lanza’s Mental Problems ‘Completely Untreated’ Before Newtown Shootings, Report Says (New York Times, November 21, 2014)

Report on the Life of Adam Lanza Before the 2012 Shooting (Report of the Office of the Child Advocate, posted on the New York Times website November 21, 2014)

12 COMMENTS

  1. Adam Lanza and his mother were extremely isolated for many years before the Newtown tragedy. These years of isolation must have deepened and twisted whatever difficulties Adam had to begin with…and yet his mother and Adam did not find help that felt helpful to them…As a mother of four teenagers, I can say that schools are often not helpful, nor is our mental health system when children need extra supports. There is a part of me that wonders how this situation may have been different had Adam and his mother been engaged in services in a person centered, respectful way, using shared decision making, respecting what may have been their valid fears about just medicating problems that needed much more…Adam had many challenges and the systems, the school, mental health and community systems failed to provide an approach that worked…let us not just blame his mother for not following through on professional recommendations…so often a parent is justified in protecting her child from our systems that just want to drug away difficult behaviors rather than provide high quality behavioral therapy and supports…his mom may have felt that she had no where to turn…and maybe she didn’t have anywhere to go to get real help for Adam…Newtown was a terrible tragedy, but we cannot let our horribly flawed mental health and school systems off the hook here, by just blaming mom…

    • Excellent comment Truth In Psychiatry. I worked in special ed many years ago and many of the treatments (not drugs) felt very disrespectful to me and didn’t take into consideration the students’ needs. It was very frustrating.

      By the way, I love the way this report blamed the mom and Adam for not taking the meds when that is the worst thing for people who already have brains that are compromised as he appeared to have with AS and receptive and expressive language issues. Heck, psych meds are generallybad for people without any problems but when the brain is already neurologically compromised, they are even more deadly.

    • “let us not just blame his mother for not following through on professional recommendations…”
      The only thing I’d blame her is to allow his kid, troubled as he was, unrestricted access to firearms. Keeping her kid away from the psychiatry is another thing – I’d advice anyone to do the same.
      Has anyone had time to read the full report and see how the “lack of treatment” really looked? I find it hard to believe that he was not hurt by the system in one way or another.

    • That’s what I’m wondering. I have not read the full report (anybody?) but strongly suspect that “lack of treatment” means “they didn’t do everything exactly the way we told them, especially drugging the kid to unconsciousness”. Which is the justification in every instance (“we didn’t get to him early enough”, “we couldn’t commit him” “we couldn’t drug him against his will” – like any of these has ever been shown to reduce likelihood of violence).

  2. I just read the recommendations from the committee as stated in The New York Times via that link. The first recommendation was for more behavioral health screening. I was at a mental health event where a well-credentialed security expert referred to this tragedy as a Black Swan Event, where there are so many factors it is impossible to determine the true cause of the event. I see in bold before page 9 they acknowledge that they cannot determine the one factor that caused this event, however, the fact that increased behavioral health screening of children is their first recommendation, reeks of the business initiative of Yale.

    I am stating what I feel is the obvious. Yale has an investment and commitment to biological psychiatry, this involves the belief in drugs as the key to psychodynamic problems written off as solely biological or mainly biological. Never mind that the perpetrator of this act of violence was in a house filled with loaded weapons, let’s focus on the mind of this individual and how HIS BRAIN contained this ‘evil seed’ of violence, or “tumor” to invisibly (maybe I want to have you look for the article, I don’t know) reference an article I recently read on MIA.

    How does Yale have an investment in biological psychiatry? If you were to look at their medical school website, you would notice they had a speaker on psychosis, however, the person speaking about psychosis had never experienced it, as far as I could read. My impression is that they will not show the “other” perspective exclusively, however, it is important for them to “own” the “other”‘s experience for the purposes of holding their authority which traverses the biological, the spiritual and etherial. These three lenses are not looked at adequately, nor in how they interrelate because Yale’s delivery system of prestige, access, power, education are those four elements in name but in scope they lack the ability to see individuals. (I know this was worded crappy but this was written in one scoop)

    My concern is informed consent. When doctors go into a school they have a certain prestige and power. Add the Yale name, like that name is so prominent in that support, before recommendations, etc. then parents who are already committed in the menagerie (i know this is over-flowery language) of parental duties will have a difficult time questioning or even verifying the truthfulness or accuracy of the doctor’s tests. As absolute as the biological psychiatry hypothesis is, that our brains are to be finely tuned by these drugs which can introduce many unknown variables to the individual, how much informed consent can they give children and families as they unknown variable young individuals who are still growing.

    It was a Yale psychiatrist in the New York Times after an individual “Pies” was getting slammed for his defense of the DSM I believe, who said “people need to know who they are, not what they have”. However, I have also seen a psychiatrist stand up in an auditorium filled with children, teens and families ask for volunteers to volunteer to step into this person’s off-site research area to find the difference between “bipolar” and “normal” brains. Ingrain stigma much? As this person confidently pontificated on their quest to find this difference I pondered how just moments before I had heard this person say to another professional who had asked this person, “what have you found” this professional said self-effacingly, “we found nothing”. The professional did mention that they did have a government grant. I cringe that the hypothesis of an educated and credentialed person is creating a reality or at least a stigma that there is a deep imbedded difference between people because of their brains and faulty chemistry. How is this not at least a tinge eugenicky? (forgive my candor) (that may not be the right word)

    If you also go to the Yale medical school for psychiatry website, if you look hard enough at a rewards ceremony you will find a red and black hat in a solo frame, a nice close up, “BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY” in bold obviously from my description. So, if it is still up, like I think it is, because it is an annual award they give out, I believe for research in psychiatry, at that rewards ceremony this “BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY” hat is prominent and focused on in a picture. This may be a small detail, but for me it is a representation of a focus and a pride within Yale Psychiatry. And why should it not be? Biological psychiatry is the meal ticket. I did just read that Xanax does help a prominent artist sometimes, so you can’t knock all biological psychiatry. My beef is where biological psychiatry supplants autonomy. And if a person finds themselves in a relationship with a therapist who discredits language of their patient or client in a self-scripted way to get them on the medication they so believe in then autonomy is at risk. (run on sentence but structure is a bit sacrificed here)(

    hmmm. what else. so there are psychiatric drugs, there is ect and there is ketamine. hmmm. this was all very off the cuff but let me continue. i assume there is a major psychopharmacologist out there who loves ECT. i assume there is a major bipolar scholar who loves ketamine. or rather scholar of bipolars. they love these treatments to give to people. If they can soothe a person, okay, I am not going to stand in their way (I am not going to stand in anyone’s way), I am not going to stand in the way of doctor who wants to give ketamine or electric shock but I ask what in the way of autonomy is this doing for the person. at a mental health support meeting I wanted to witness a speaker began saying that people should focus on alternative ways to feel better like running or meditating. In resistance to this idea perhaps a mother stood up and said that electric shock really helped her mother. I have not yet been at a meeting and heard the person who ECT was done to speak of gratitude to ECT. I do know a person who says their memory was hurt by this procedure, and that they (sorry for lack of specificity all over this article) were not helped absolutely. So I wonder if the ECT patient has this autonomy within him or herself to speak of the positive benefits of this therapy or if they are so overwhelmed that they will try anything. I don’t know, I have not tried this therapy and maybe it is like a “reset”. It smells a little bit like man treating the human body like a machine though. But I am open to hear positive anecdotes.

    Ketamine. I heard a bipolar “expert” once speak of the underdiagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder. It was in a nice public space, plenty of parents, this person had audio/ visual issues with technology but he was assisted nicely though. His proposal was to give these kids ketamine. Online I saw some of the videos of the kids and I hope that in many years from now these videos do not look like the old public service videos that look so incongruent to health or at least fostering faith in oneself or autonomy or at least non-stigma. Huber has a book “There is nothing wrong with you”. I did not read it, but that is the sentiment I was rooting for or wanting to put down there. Maybe the psychiatrist is onto something and is really helping these kids. I do not know.

    Finally, I read in the post I believe this Summer that a famous person perished in tragic way. I cannot speak to this character because I knew very little about him. What it did say in this New York Post article though is that this person’s major cause was ketamine and veterans. This was I assume was a person with a lot of money as I knew his name was associated with philanthropy. Helping veterans with PTSD sounds very noble to me. My concern is that to supplant a person’s autonomy is to ply them with a drug you control. And I assume these drug routines are at least somewhat profitable to the psychiatry and/ or med school, who ever is getting the research money. If ketamine is great, a great escape, and no side effects, then congratulations (I am sincere in my re-read, and it is not my congratulations to give) for rescuing veterans from PTSD, teens having developmental issues, and others from their struggles in life, however, if you are creating a dependency, not a physical one, but a dependency on that drug for escape, then what kind of autonomy are you supplying that person with. I am curious. Cool. And the above was written out of concern for a treatment I know is going on, it is a concern. I write this not to demean suffererers from PTSD or any struggle, I do not want to minimize anyone’s suffering, I am only calling into account KETAMINE. And the delivery of. Not veterans or anyone else. I am throwing a magnifiying glass on this therapy and whether it is or is not an autonomy-destroying practice.

    Now, on ptsd and veterans and ketamine. where is that being done. In new haven? I am just curious because Yale is an important school of psychiatry. ketamine and kids, where is that being done? Connecticut? okay. I just want to look at that through the lens of autonomy.

    ketamine, electric shock, prozac to manic breaks and then an entrenchment in the bipolar “stigma” the rest of one’s life, now that is one ticket for psychiatry to at least have one “life hack” into one’s autonomy. hmmm. in order to get a “clearer” relationship with psychiatrists one would have to look at some spiritual things, even pray to G-d perhaps, maybe look down his or her family lineage, maybe read some online, maybe talk to some friends who

    I have to sum this up. Psychiatry can prescribe in the 90s prozac and other SSRIs, then the bipolar wave can start, then in present times, when SSRI and bipolar drugs have done all the business, let’s bring in ketamine because it seems harmless, it’s a “party” drug, let’s have some people “party” in our office, or at least “feel peace” because we do not have the HANDLE on the psycho dynamic approaches to truly reach a person, at least in a way that would VALIDATE us empirically. **********This is the most important thing in this whole paper

    At this point, everybody take a break and listen to “Rave on John Donne” by Van Morrison only because he talks about empiricism.

    So let them “party” on their or the government’s dollar in our presence and under our purview, so we can contribute to our own understanding of human behavior and the human condition. Oh yeah, and let’s make sure that if they have a diagnosis of bipolar and above that their records they will have little to no access to. Our knowledge is only to be shared between us psychiatrists because to deprive one of these people of insight is only to save them from themselves.

    I am sorry for my cynicism, it is from experience. Please everybody stay safe, do things slowly and step by step. Rely on friends and professionals you trust. Relationship is the only thing that matters between me and you, Van Morrison said that.

    I don’t like posting this here because I know once I post it I will have no control to take it down. Usually things that go up here will stay up. These were my true feelings.

    I feel there is a war on autonomy in the name of prestige and being a number at a university. No doubt there are good people. That one psychiatrist who wrote online in an editorial 0r response to an article that people need to know who they are not what they have, he is most likely doing good work, but I would love more transparency but who wouldn’t want more transparency in everything? Change comes slow.

    And lastly, there is no such thing as a bad person, just bad decisions. I sincerely believe in this. Every one is a person. I believe this. It is the duality between Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City song and Sting’s Russians song. In BS song “don’t get on the wrong side of that line” and Russians is “if the Russians love their children too”. Of course they do. There is a common humanity we all have and once we realize the needs of this humanity then those needs will be met. We need to stand up for ourselves and show genuine hurt. If hurt is shared and seen then other human beings can’t help but be effected by that.

    People are good. Yale is good. Harvard is good. Yale psychiatry is good. The problem I have is that some of what Yale is affiliated or associated with, for example the recommendations for more behavioral health screenings of children because of what Adam Lanza did, I have a problem with because of 1) Black Swan event and 2) his house was teeming with weapons.

    It is touching they in the report name the first names of Adam Lanza’s victims, however, in such a loaded report of information I would be much more interested in stories of the victims lives, characteristics of them, how their families are doing now according to how much or how small they wanted to share. Perhaps more relevant to the report, I would want to hear about Adam Lanza from other sources than the “treatment team” that tried to help him. What about family? I think in this society we are so not concerned with family systems that it is so much easier for us to peg the person with the problem. I am not saying “blame the family” I am just asking for a more human perspective of Adam Lanza and the kind of person he was throughout his life. If anorexia created some cognitive problems, where is the link between the cognitive decline and violence? Again, I think guns had something to do with violence. There should have been a gun safe. I do not “blame” his mom, but in the clinical break down of the situation facts like he had access to the guns should be brought to light as it already has been I guess. I am not saying blame the mom or the family I am saying LOOK at Adam Lanza in that context. The context I am getting instead is a “treatment team” trying to gain access to Adam. How was the treatment inaccessible to Adam. Who are the INDIVIDUALS affiliated with this “treatment team”. How did THEY fail? I am not looking to BLAME, I am looking at the characteristics of these environments. Again, I do not believe in bad people. I believe in bad decisions (I know this wording sounds stupid). I understand we as human beings want to improve our society and make it safer, however sometimes credentials can be dangerous in the way they can influence information to move a little more faster and diffusely (sorry) than it ever should. More important than credentials is informed consent and I am concerned that psychiatrist will present their remedies for mental health as a lot more solid than they are in actuality.

    I am not a politician but I vote. I don’t even know why I said that. This was a sharing about ketamine, briefly about electroshock, bipolarism and friendship because the nightman cometh. That was a stupid joke. Was this free association? Was this looking to be protective? Was I concerned for people in this missive or whatever it was? Bottom line is, if you profit from ketamine, good for you, you are probably making people feel good. I only ask, are you giving them life skills too? Ok, that is it because I am not a psychiatrist I will leave your mess, lot, beautiful project to you now/. Peace out.

    So who is every member of the “treatment team” that tried to reach Adam Lanza? How did they try to reach him or his mother together. How was this done? Was Adam Lanza’s mother similar culturally or geographically (do you know what I am trying to say? help me) to anyone on the treatment team? Was the TT approachable? Who on that treatment team was approachable? When they proposed drugs to Adam Lanza and his mother (for Adam) how was that done? How was that explained? Did someone try play therapy with Adam Lanza? Did someone try to reach Adam Lanza through video games? Did someone try to reach Adam Lanza through Dance Dance Revolution. Now Dance Dance Revolution becomes part of Adam Lanza’s psychopathology. He wore himself out on that. He “lost himself” on that. He became “out of touch with his body” on that. Now there is a school with scholarships for gaming. Where was the gaming therapist here. He had autism. Where was the best of autism specialists for him?

    Does anyone else see the ridiculousness in this? A boy or teen kills people horribly. He had access to a lot of weapons. So now there is a big initiative on public health? I am for a big initiative on public health, but where are these dollars going? To initiations into a psychopharmaceutical belief that problems are biologically wiped through the pharmaceutical equation? Lets wipe out all future Adam Lanza’s, or at least this ‘Adam Lanza brain chemistry’ because his acts were so horrific, it was not him who was responsible for them as much as brain chemistry.

    What would cause a person’s isolation into endless dancing and anorexia? What would cause a person to grab available guns and kill innocent (is there any other kind of child?) children? The answer to these questions are in a fully fleshed out profile of a person’s humanity, of their individual self, the family they grow up with, the community they are in , the society and the greater universe. Chalking this up to brain chemistry and then unleashing a vehicle for diagnosiing children is a scary proposition especially when Yale psychiatry or whoever will be doing this cannot afford to be wrong.

    You are less likely to be a charlatan the more often you admit that you are one. TM

    This was ridiculous buit my time is up. Good bye. Peace to all and I hope we meet in a good place down the road. I have to eat something. Coffee maybe too. This was my first draft.

    • “parental duties will have a difficult time questioning or even verifying the truthfulness or accuracy of the doctor’s tests”
      Not only that – look up Justina Pelletier’s case. And this blaming on mother’s supposed negligence in terms of “treatment” is nothing more but a call for taking these decisions away from family.

  3. Blaming the mother once again. He was 20 years of age when he committed his crimes. Technically, he was a grown man and at that point his mother could not have stopped him. Also, it’s well known now that he was drugged. I suspect this is more damage control spurred by the shrinks and the drug companies who are looking at declining sales.