One of psychiatry’s most obvious vulnerabilities is the fact that various so-called antidepressant drugs induce homicidal and suicidal feelings and actions in some people, especially late adolescents and young adults. This fact is not in dispute, but psychiatry routinely downplays the risk, and insists that the benefits of these drugs outweigh any risks of actual violence that might exist.
There are two research studies that indicate a link between SSRIs and violence, but both studies have limitations that make it difficult to draw firm conclusions. The studies are:
Moore, TJ, Glenmullen, J, and Furberg, CD (2010) Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others. This study, which was published in December 2010 in PLOS One, concluded:
“Acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small group of drugs. Varenicline [a quit-smoking aid], which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs. Prospective studies to evaluate systematically this side effect are needed to establish the incidence, confirm differences among drugs and identify additional common features.” [Emphasis added]
Molero, Y, Lichtenstein, P, Zetterqvist, J, Hellner Gumpert, C, Fazel, S, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Violent Crime: A Cohort Study ( 2015). This study was published in September 2015 in PLOS One, and found:
“…there was a significant association between SSRIs and violent crime convictions for individuals aged 15 to 24 y (HR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.19–1.73, p < 0.001, absolute risk = 3.0%).”
In addition, there is also an enormous and growing body of anecdotal evidence (e.g. AntiDepAware) that these drugs are implicated in a great many acts of violence and suicide, particularly those in which individuals kill strangers and then take their own lives.
. . . . .
Amazingly, psychiatry has consistently failed to conduct a comprehensive, prospective, formal research study on this matter, even though the need for such a study has been glaringly evident for almost 20 years. It is very difficult to avoid the conclusion that psychiatry’s refusal to engage this question is motivated by a desire to suppress information, and to avoid the anti-psychiatry publicity that such a study will almost surely entail.
In this regard, it is noteworthy that in December 2012, shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings, a petition to order such a study was removed, with no explanation, from the White House petition site “We the People,” even though it was well on the way to obtaining the requisite number of signatures in the allotted timeframe.
Not only has pharma-psychiatry failed to conduct a formal study on this matter, they have also shamelessly and callously used these tragic incidents to further their own drug-pushing ends. With each fresh incident, there are cries from eminent psychiatrists and from various psychiatric bodies for more screenings, more “mental health treatment,” including enforced “treatment.” These calls are heard even in cases where it is open knowledge that the perpetrator had been receiving psychiatric “treatment,” and had been taking psychiatric drugs.
Psychiatry’s self-serving exploitation of these incidents is not random or incidental, but is part of a tawdry marketing campaign outlined at a 1999 NAMI conference by DJ Jaffe, founder of Mental Illness Policy.org, and a founding member of the Treatment Advocacy Center. Here are some quotes from his address as reported by MadNation:
“Laws change for a single reason, in reaction to highly publicized incidents of violence.”
“The media is gonna report on violence no matter what we want, and we have to… turn it to our advantage.”
And another quote from DJ Jaffe’s article “How to reduce both violence and stigma,” Newsletter of Staten Island AMI (SIAMI), December 1994:
“In addition, from a marketing perspective, it may be necessary to capitalize on the fear of violence to get the law [outpatient commitment legislation] passed.”
That psychiatry would pick up this theme and persistently seek to exculpate themselves, by stigmatizing their clients in this way, is a sad though unsurprising reflection.
. . . . .
It is obvious that when this particular domino falls, it will be a major blow to psychiatry’s credibility, which is why they and their pharma allies have invested so much energy and resources into trying to keep the facts of this matter well under wraps. And in this endeavor, their tentacles are spread far and wide. Remember what Connecticut Assistant Attorney General, Patrick B. Kwanashie, said on August 22, 2013, during a freedom of information hearing on the Sandy Hook shooting. In response to AbleChild’s request, he stated that releasing this information [about the psychiatric treatment of the shooter, Adam Lanza] could “… cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications.” Why is the state of Connecticut so invested in young people continuing to take psychiatric drugs in the face of such strong indications of their implication in these horrendous incidents? Why should the promotion of pharma-psychiatry’s deceptions become a part of a state government’s agenda? Of course, the question is rhetorical. Pharma distributes a great deal of largesse to politicians, and pharma always gets value for money spent.
. . . . .
But the good news is that the petition to investigate the psychiatric drugs-violence link is back on We the People. It went up on October 6, 2015, and has garnered 610 signatures as of today. The goal is 100,000 signatures by November 5, 2015. I strongly encourage all my American readers to add their signatures to this petition today. And – if you feel comfortable doing so – please ask your friends/family/acquaintances to do the same.
Also, please consider writing to your political representatives, asking them to support this initiative.
There is an urgent need to investigate this matter thoroughly and transparently. The one thing that venality and corruption cannot survive is the spotlight of truth.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.