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The Relationship Between Psychotropic Drugs, Mental Illness, and Violent Crimes
Anti-depressants are a much-too-commonly taken drug, prescribed by doctors to many people in our population for a variety of issues not exclusive to the diagnosis “depression”. Their prevalence is not only common, but the numbers of people taking them are on the rise. I hear about children and adults I know, or someone else I know who knows them who are prescribed medications for anti-depressants on a regular basis.

According to the The National Center for Health Statistics, 5% of American 12- to 19-year-old adolescents have been prescribed some type of antidepressant.  In the same age group, an additional 6% of the same age group use meds for ADD and ADHD. That’s about 4 million teens.  About 6% of adults aged 18 to 39 are taking some type of antidepressant.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62% of Americans from ages 12 and up who are taking antidepressants have done so for 2 or more years; and 14% of those have taken them for 10 years or more.  And these are just the numbers that are reported.

Shootings and other violent events

With all tragic occurrences comes widespread reaction suggesting that the way to resolve something is to remove the most obvious source of trigger to a problem. In December in Newtown, CT, 25+ people lost their lives to a deranged gunman – many children and some adults – and this quiet, little unassuming town will never be the same.

As with many similar events, the main action being discussed to prevent something like this from happening again is the banning of assault weapons.  Although I can’t disagree that assault weapons are not safe, I’m just not convinced this will get to the heart of the problem. What is causing these people to act out? Is the fact that they have access to weapons…or something else? And, if assault weapons are banned, will this solve the problem? I think we really need to ask these important questions to find out what’s wrong!

In contrast, much less discussion or credence is given to examining the very real effects powerful anti-depressant drugs may have on the behavior of the perpetrators of these crimes. Not only does this important topic warrant serious discussion, but we also need to look at the underlying causes of violent behavior, depression, and other mood disorders that are causing people to act out and kill or hurt other human beings.

A better mental health care system?

The other big discussion that’s happening is that there is an urgent need to ramp up our mental health care system for better access to mental health treatment.  Currently, the U.S. spends $113 billion annually on mental health. Most dollars spent on mental health are for prescription drugs and outpatient treatment. This graph shows data from mental health spending in 1986 and 2005, and reflects a significant reduction in keeping patients for inpatient treatment.  (The Fiscal Times, Kaiser Family Foundation):














There are side-effects and also damaging, long term effects from using psychotropic drugs, as confirmed by various experts in the mental health field:

Anti-depressants are also strongly linked to violent and suicidal behavior and can impair brain function and development:

These drugs are associated with inducing distortions of reality, violence to self and others, and are most often treated with yet more pharmaceutical drugs. Prescribing of these drugs is widespread and becoming more and more common. Many people repeatedly report loved ones in a state of constant irritability, chronic  depression, suicidal thoughts, delusional behavior, and exhibiting out-of-control rages and violence.

After looking at this graph and supporting data, is it really safe to assume that spending more money on the current paradigm in mental health care is the answer? We are spending billions upon billions of dollars each year for dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and other treatments, but is the answer to this problem?

What medical and health professionals are saying

Watch this video of medical professionals and patients talking about the very real damages these drugs are doing to those who take them.

Dr. Mary Ann Block, “At best, it will cover up symptoms. At worst, it might kill you.” Dr. James O’Donnell, Assoc. Professor of Pharmacology at Rush University states that there are numerous reports of signifcant violent acts, not just suicide, but significant violent acts of murder in patients who were being prescribed anti-depressants for relatively mild conditions, who just “snapped”.

In reviewing the FDA’s Adverse Reporting System data by Thomas Moore, Joseph Glenmullen and Curt Furberg revealed that there is a causal link between antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs and what is termed as “adverse events.”

For a list of school shootings, mass attempted murders and spree killings, and other violent behaviors matched up with the pharmaceutical antidepressant used by the perpetrator, see SSRI Stories.

An article published in the peer-reviewed journal PloS Medicine discusses a list of violent crime medico-legal cases where anti-depressant use was involved.

Author of Primal Body Primal Mind, Nora Gedgaudas has written literature and spoken at health conferences about the effects these drugs have on human health. She says the effectiveness rate of antidepressants is only about 13%. For the small minority who are able to see some success with pharmaceuticals, 1/3 of them won’t see long-term improvement.

She also believes that getting your diet in order can go a long way toward preventing depression and related mood disorders. This includes eating a real, whole foods diet and  eliminating sugar, carbs, and processed foods, and making sure you have enough healthy fats and proteins in your daily meals. When you balance our your blood sugar with healthy fats, depression, mood swings, and many other health issues are much less likely to occur including weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illness. Read about the importance of dietary fats here.

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. M.D. has devoted much of her life’s work to showing the link between a lack of nutritional support and the integrity of brain and neurological functions. In her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, she discusses the critical importance of eating a healthy diet complete with healthy fats (which means fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 and various minerals) from animal foods such as bone broths, whole dairy foods, meats, poultry, fish, cod liver oil, organ meats, and egg yolks.  When these elements are absent, the result is mental and neurological dysfunctions including ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, dyspraxia, depression, and even schizophrenia. Vitamin B deficiencies are also closely linked with neurological issues including seizures.

When these essential nutrients are absent, and coupled with a diet replete in junk and processed foods containing toxins and substances that act like drugs in the body (such as gluten and casein from wheat and dairy), this sets the stage for nutritional deficiencies and opportunistic pathogenic bacteria are then able to take over and cause damage. The result is chronic mental and physical illnesses. Contrary to allopathic or conventional medical rhetoric, the two are very much tied to each other.

Pam Killeen is a nutritional consultant who helps people get their health back on track. Unlike medical doctors who follow a model of managing sickness and continuing to go back over and over again, Pam gives her clients the information and tools to get well and stay well.

Her philosophy is that you will see her for a period of time to unravel your health issues, but then as you will gain knowledge you need to keep yourself well for life which include lifestyle changes and dietary implementations. And, you shouldn’t  have to keep returning for treatment in the future. Unlike the sick-care model used by many conventional medical practitioners, you will be able to heal rather than returning again and again for a treatment or drug regimen that doesn’t allow you to get well.

Watch this informative interview with Pam Killeen where she talks with Garth Riley (in 5 parts) about why our health care system currently isn’t addressing the mental health issues that are affecting our population and how we can do this effectively without drugs and other medications:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

6 replies on “The Relationship Between Psychotropic Drugs, Mental Illness, and Violent Crimes”

I’m so happy to have read this article. My doctor’s have never agreed on any one diagnosis. I started out with insomnia (from a bad acid trip), which I hospitalized myself and was treated with Prozac and Haldol. Instead of acknowledging that my problem was drug-induced (I had taken a half-hit of acid) I was continued on Prozac and treated for depression for ten years. I kept trying to get off of the Prozac but whenever I did I became highly suicidal and exhibited dangerous behavior. This behavior became manic-depression and I became an alcoholic, trying to calm myself down without much luck. I was hospitalized a 2nd time after an extremely personal traumatic experience and given Seroquel. I was unconscious for a week. I do not remember being in the hospital, just having very strange nightmares. They told me I had schizophrenia. I was never personally interviewed or spoken to, I did not know how they came to this conclusion. I did, however, know I was in an unstable living situation. I was always a very hard worker, often having 2-3 jobs at a time, but barely able to afford the high cost of living. I moved to the Midwest and continued working and going to college. Several personal experiences forced me seek support and I was declared disabled in 2008. I was terrified to take medication, it always had side effects, but I was court-ordered to get treated and have done my best to work with the system. There are benefits and drawbacks, but I must admit going to group therapy has put perspective on my problems and helped me understand I am not alone.

The SSRI Stories link goes to an AS “not found” page. 🙁 But thank you for all your great work!

Well, i personally don’t believe that low level of mental illness can really be a reason for criminal activities.
When we heard of the news that the person who was responsible for that new town loss, was suffering from Aspergers then i got really shocked that how can a person with Aspergers can do this..?
Yes, i believe that these mental disorders can result in rigid patterns of behavior in society, but it can not be totally responsible for crimes.

Reference: Dyspraixa Symptoms

Hannah – there is never only one cause of anything. The point of this post is to emphasize that psychotropic drugs do not make the issues of the mentally ill better – that there is some underlying cause making it happen, such as toxicity and nutritional deficiencies. If those issues were addressed and medications avoided, we’d see a dramatic shift in the numbers of violent crimes.

I am a nurse and I see many patients who are prescribed psychotropic medications. The fact is, many of these patients exhibit signs and symptoms of adverse effects, however, many doctors fail to thoroughly acknowledge them, prescribe other medications without weaning the patient off of the first medication, or tier the medications. However, then you have the non compliant patient, which most patients become non compliant shortly after taking these medications. They say they felt better and didn’t feel they needed to continue to take them. That is until they become manic, delusional, begin hallucinating, their health declines, or they become violent. At which point, family members and friends either ignore the situation and wash their hands of this person, or they actually care enough to report such behaviors and have the person admitted for observation. Unfortunately, many family members or friends just get fed up and wash their hands of these people. I happened to be the one person who cared and had repeatedly checked on my husband’s friend and had him committed three times. It was not hard for me, because I cared about my husband’s friend and being a nurse, I understood more than anyone else probably would have. I have seen the effects of these medications and they can cause a person to become very violent and dangerous,especially when the patient is not properly monitored.

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