Study Finds Antidepressants Double The Risk Of Suicide And Violence in Adults With No Mental Disorders

A study recently published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine concluded that antidepressants double the risk of events leading to suicide and violence in adults with no signs of any mental disorder.

As the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has been warning for years, the study confirms that antidepressant drugs themselves cause violence and suicide.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires its most serious black-box warning on all antidepressants to warn that the drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in young adults ages 18 to 24, but the warning does not currently extend to adults older than 24.

The link between antidepressants and violence, witnessed firsthand in Colorado in the deadly actions of Eric Harris at Columbine and James Holmes at an Aurora movie theater, is not yet reflected in any FDA black-box warning.

The new study, which reviewed published clinical trials found in online searches and clinical study reports obtained from European Union and United Kingdom drug regulators, concluded that the harm being caused by antidepressants extends to all age groups and that the harm includes violence.

bullets“While it is now generally accepted that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide and violence in children and adolescents (although many psychiatrists still deny this), most people believe that these drugs are not dangerous for adults,” the study authors wrote.

“This is a potentially lethal misconception.”

The researchers calculated that one of every 16 mentally healthy adults taking antidepressants experienced harm related to suicide or violence.

Warning: Anyone wishing to discontinue an antidepressant or any other psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know experienced violence or suicidal thoughts or actions from taking an antidepressant or any other psychiatric drug, please report it to the FDA by clicking here.  And we want to talk to you about your experience.  You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Electroshock Devices Will Never Have To Prove Safe Or Effective Under Proposed FDA Rule

You would think a machine that shoots electricity into a person’s brain would have to be proven safe and effective and be approved by the FDA before it could be used.  You’d be wrong.

No formal tests have ever been conducted or required by the FDA to determine the safety of the devices used to deliver electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), more commonly known as “shock treatment.”

Now the FDA is proposing a rule that would lower the classification of shock machines to a less dangerous class without any proof ever having been provided that the device, or the treatment given with the device, is either safe or effective.ECT1

ECT sends an electrical shock into a person’s brain in order to produce a seizure.  No one has ever explained exactly how this “works” as a mental health treatment.

Worse still, there is no federal or state regulation of ECT protocols for using ECT machines, or for who can use ECT devices, or for which patients should or should not be “treated.”

A little history: In 1976, Congress enacted legislation giving the FDA authority to regulate medical devices.  However, ECT equipment was grandfathered in, exempting it and allowing it to continue to be used without FDA testing.

In 1979, the FDA classified ECT machines as experimental Class III medical devices, a class of devices that must typically be approved by the FDA before they are marketed.   According to the FDA, “Class III devices are generally the highest risk devices and are therefore subject to the highest level of regulatory control.”

But due to the grandfathering in 1976, the FDA still has never tested ECT devices to see whether they are safe or effective.

Shocking Your Brain = Wearing a Condom

The FDA is now attempting to reclassify ECT machines as less dangerous Class II devices, a class that includes wheelchairs, acupuncture needles, and condoms.  Yes, condoms.

In fact, there has long been documented evidence of the damage ECT devices and shock treatment can cause, including prolonged or permanent memory loss and other physical damage.

A top ECT researcher, Harold Sackeim of Columbia University, conducted the first large-scale, prospective long-term study of cognitive function following ECT treatment.  His study, reported in the January 2007 issue of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, concluded that “adverse cognitive effects can persist for an extended period, and that they characterize routine treatment with ECT in community settings.”ECT2

Beyond the damage to memory and other mental functions, the FDA itself has determined that ECT devices and procedures are associated with a long list of health risks, including:

  • Prolonged seizures
  • Physical injury to the body and dental fractures from the violent convulsions
  • Heart attack, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and stroke
  • Breathing complications from the drugs used to sedate the person or from the person inhaling his vomit
  • Skin burns from excessive electrical current or faulty electrodes
  • Worsening of psychiatric symptoms when ECT treatment is ineffective
  • Mania
  • Death

Tell the FDA to require ECT machines to undergo stringent testing to prove whether the devices and the treatment given with the devices are both safe and effective, instead of reclassifying them with devices no more dangerous than wheelchairs and condoms.

To send a comment to the FDA, click here.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by shock treatment, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.  We welcome your comments below.

Aurora Theater Shooter Felt Mania and Hatred After Taking Psychiatric Drugs Linked To Violence

The first time they met, the psychiatrist who treated Aurora theater shooter James Holmes prescribed him psychiatric drugs linked to violence and homicide, even though Holmes openly admitted he was obsessively having thoughts of killing people.

In fact, Holmes told the psychiatrist that his homicidal thoughts “were the worst they had been.”

Some time after taking the psychiatric drugs, Holmes writes in a notebook that the “first appearance of mania” occurs, that he has “no fear of consequences,” and that his “hatred [is] unchecked.”

Holmes is currently standing trial on charges related to his killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in an attack on the Aurora Century 16 movie theater during a packed, midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 19, 2012.

Holmes was a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado when he contacted the Student Mental Health Center for help with his obsessive thoughts of killing people and his anxiety in social situations.  He was referred to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton for treatment.  He met with Fenton five times in the final months before he dropped out of school.  He went on his deadly rampage a few weeks later.

In a notebook where Holmes recorded his thoughts during the time he was meeting with Fenton, he noted that at their first meeting, Fenton “immediately prescribed antidepressants.”  The notebook entry went on to report that the drugs were ineffective: “No effect when needed.”

This is followed by a chilling series of statements:  “First appearance of mania occurs, not good mania.  Anxiety and fear disappears.  No more fear….  No fear of consequences…  No more fear, hatred unchecked.”

Meds psychiatrist prescribed are on list of drugs most associated with violence

According to Fenton’s court testimony, Holmes told her at their first meeting about his obsessive thoughts about killing people.  He used the psychiatric term “OCD” (obsessive compulsive disorder) to describe the recurring thoughts.

Fenton testified about Holmes having these homicidal thoughts (“ideation”): “He said that his OCD symptoms – and that was referring to his thoughts of homicidal ideation – were the worst they had been.”

Fenton prescribed the psychiatric drugs sertraline and clonazepam to Holmes for his anxiety at that first meeting.

Both drugs are on the list of prescription drugs most associated with incidents of violence reported to the FDA, according to a 2010 study in the Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS One).  After reviewing data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system, the authors of the study concluded that 31 drugs were disproportionately associated with violent thoughts and actions – including homicide.  These 31 drugs accounted for 79% of all the reports of violence the FDA received from 2004 through September 2009.

Sertraline, marketed under various names including Zoloft, is a drug in the newer class of antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake reinhibitors).  To date, 34 studies and 26 warnings issued by international drug regulatory authorities have warned about the dangers of sertraline and other SSRI antidepressants.  The very long list of dangerous side effects include abnormal behavior, emotional changes, suicide, anxiety, agitation, aggression and violence.

Clonazepam, marketed as Klonopin, is a DEA schedule IV controlled substance in the class of addictive drugs known as benzodiazepines, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns can cause hostility.  The Canadian national public health department, Health Canada, warns that clonazepam can cause hallucinations and delusional thinking.

The next two meetings between Fenton and Holmes were short “meds checks.”  Fenton discontinued the clonazepam when Holmes reported it was ineffective.  She recommended another antipsychotic drug, quetiapine, marketed as Seroquel.

Quetiapine (Seroquel) is also on the PLoS One’s list of the 31drugs most associated with violence.

Holmes declined to take Seroquel.

Psychiatrist testifies: “No indication of any threat from him”

In her meetings with Holmes, Fenton asked him to tell her more about his obsessive thoughts of killing people, according to her testimony in court, but he withheld any further information, saying he “won’t give details” or refusing to give any answer at all.

He did admit to her that he hated people.  Fenton testified that in one meeting, Holmes emphasized he wouldn’t hurt himself, but she said that he left her with the impression he could hurt others.

Holmes told her that he “had read Nietzsche, Kaczynski, and the Tylenol terrorist.”  Nietzsche was a German philosopher whose rejection of any universal moral law was summarized in his statement “God is dead.”  Ted Kaczynski is the serial killer known as the Unabomber.  The so-called Tylenol terrorist caused deaths through drug tampering.

Still, Fenton apparently believed him when he said he had no specific plans for killing and no specific targets in mind.  She testified that there was “no indication of any threat from him.”  She saw no change in his demeanor during the months she met with him, testifying that there was “no difference in presentment” between their first and last meetings.

Meanwhile, Holmes’s notebook shows that during the time he was meeting with Fenton, he was actively formulating elaborate plans for mass murder.  He acquired weapons, explosives, and other equipment to carry it out.  He practiced shooting at a target range.

Fenton testified that at her final meeting with Holmes on June 11, she “still had significant concerns about his homicidal thoughts and dangerousness.”  But she also testified that she “thought he was functioning well” and that his plans for his life after dropping out of graduate school “made sense.”

After their final meeting, Fenton never called or followed up with Holmes.

Five weeks later on July 19, Holmes suited up in body armor, armed himself with weapons, a gas canister and gas mask, and set out to commit mass murder.  He also left his apartment booby-trapped with explosives in an attempt to cause even more fatalities.

Holmes sent his notebook to psychiatrist to educate her

Entries in his notebook show contempt for Fenton and another psychiatrist, Robert Feinstein, whom Fenton brought into two of the five meetings she had with Holmes.  He referred to the psychiatrists as “mind rapists.”

After writing that he intended to “deflect incriminating questions” from the psychiatrists about his thoughts of killing, he indicated they made that easy, noting: “Oddly, they don’t pursue or delve farther into harmful omissions.”

He challenged Fenton in one meeting, asking her “Are you just a pill pusher?”

Holmes mailed his notebook to Fenton just hours before his deadly attack on the theater.  In an interview two years later, Holmes said he mailed the notebook to Fenton to educate her so that “something like this wouldn’t happen again.”

Please Sign CCHR’s Petition Demanding Investigation of Link Between Psychiatric Drugs And Violence

Image by Circe Denyer
Image by Circe Denyer

In all the speculation about what is causing the recent wave of shootings, the one thing they have in common has been largely ignored when it should be receiving urgent attention:  the shooters have received psychiatric treatment, which these days almost always means psychiatric drugs with known links to violence: 

  • From 2004 to 2011, over 12,700 reports of violent side effects from psychiatric drugs were reported to the FDA. (Only 1%-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA, so the actual number of violent side effects from these drugs could easily be 10 to 100 times higher.)
  • At least 14 school shootings were committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.  (In other school shootings, the shooters’ mental health history was not made public.)
  • The New York State Senate recognized the violence-inducing side effects of psychiatric drugs as far back as 2000, citing “a large body of scientific research establishing a connection between violence and suicide and the use of psychotropic drugs.”  [Psychotropic drugs = mind-altering psychiatric drugs]

CCHR is calling on U.S. lawmakers to immediately open an investigation into the role of psychiatric drugs in school shootings and similar acts of violence, given that  supporting data has to date been ignored by the U.S. government and the mental health agencies.

Please click here to read and sign CCHR International’s petition calling for this investigation. 

Government Needs To Improve Oversight of Psychiatric Drugging of Vulnerable Populations

Federal lawmakers received two major reports last week on the troubling lack of oversight at the federal level of the prescribing of psychiatric drugs to two of our nation’s most vulnerable populations:  foster children and the elderly in care facilities.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the massive psychiatric drugging of foster children recommended that federal health officials do more to monitor how state agencies oversee Medicaid doctors’ prescribing of powerful, mind-altering drugs to children who end up in the state’s care after being abused, neglected or abandoned.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., requested the GAO investigation after receiving numerous complaints about the quantity of drugs being prescribed and the adverse effects of the drugs experienced by foster kids.

The GAO recommended that the US Department of Health and Human Services  come up with guidance for states on how to oversee the prescribing of psychiatric drugs for foster children.

In a separate investigation, government inspectors called on Medicare officials to do more to stop doctors from prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs for the elderly living in care facilities.

In particular, antipsychotics are given to hundreds of thousands of elderly nursing home patients to sedate them and make them more manageable.

But the drugs carry an increased risk of death for seniors, which led the FDA to issue warnings against prescribing the drugs to the elderly.

Despite repeated government warnings, the unapproved practice has continued.

The HHS Inspector General told the Senate Committee on Aging that Medicare should begin penalizing nursing homes that overdrug with antipsychotics .  Medicare could force nursing homes to pay for drugs that are prescribed wrongly and bar the facilities from the Medicare program.

If you know a foster child or nursing home patient who has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

ABC News Reports Shocking Use of Psychiatric Drugs With Foster Children

Citing the fact that foster children are given powerful, mind-altering psychiatric drugs at an alarming 13 times the rate of other children, ABC News rolled out a series of reports based on a year-long investigation into the use of these drugs – antidepressants, antipsychotics, psycho-stimulants and other psychotropic drugs – with American foster children.

The investigation found that these children, who have already been traumatized by abuse, neglect, and abandonment, were prescribed heavy-duty psychiatric drugs in shocking amounts, in combinations considered too risky even for adults, and for disorders they don’t have.  It found kids who have taken these drugs say they are in a kind of chemical prison.

In response to the shocking findings, ABC reporter Diane Sawyer asks:

“Is there something else we owe these kids who have already endured so much?”

The ABC News reports coincide with the release of a report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), which revealed foster kids are prescribed psychiatric drugs more often than non-foster kids and at higher doses – often at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).   The report also found a significant number of foster children were prescribed five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite no evidence supporting the use or safety of this number of psychiatric drugs taken simultaneously.

You can listen to the stories of these kids by clicking on the links to the ABC News reports here:

New Study Show US Government Fails to Oversee Treatment of Foster Children Prescribed Mind-Altering Drugs

Doctors Put Foster Children at Risk with Mind-Altering Drugs

Foster Kid Felt Like “Guinea Pig”

20/20:  Overmedication in Foster Care

If you know about a foster child who has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

Suspect In Gruesome Murder Reportedly Has History Of Psychiatric Treatment

Part of the ongoing series: Killers On Psych Drugs –
Psych-Drugged Accused Or Convicted Killers

Add another grisly killing to the long list of sudden, violent crimes committed by individuals with a history of taking psychiatric drugs.

Edward Romero, 27, is charged with killing a 16-year-old girl as she walked home from a party, after which he cut up her body and packed it away in a container in his garage.  He recently pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of first-degree murder in Denver District Court.  According to the Denver Post, a judge had earlier ordered Romero to keep taking psychiatric medication.

While we don’t know the details of those psychiatric drugs, we do know that the current, rising wave of violence that is rocking our homes, schools, and communities parallels the soaring use of psychiatric drugs in American society.

Research studies, international regulatory authority warnings, and reports to the FDA, have linked the use of, and/or the too-rapid withdrawal from, numerous psychiatric drugs to violent behavior, including homicide.

High-profile Colorado killings with links to psychiatric drugs include Stephanie Rochester smothering her 6-month-old son in Superior in 2010.  She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.  She reportedly was taking the antidepressant Zoloft at the time, and had intended to take her own life.

Rebekah Amaya, of Lamar, was also reportedly on antidepressants when she drowned her 4-year-old daughter and 6-month-old son in 2003.  She was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2004.

Of course, the granddaddy of Colorado psychiatric drug-related violence is the deadly assault on Columbine High School in 1999.  Shooter Eric Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox at the time he and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School, killing 12 students and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.  Harris reportedly became obsessed with homicidal and suicidal thoughts within weeks of starting to take antidepressants.  (See The Real Lesson of Columbine: Psychiatric Drugs Induce Violence.”)

At least one public report exists from a friend of Klebold, who says she witnessed him taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft and urged him to come off the drugs.  Officially, Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.

Both the U.S. FDA and Health Canada have issued warnings that many antidepressants are linked to a greater risk of suicide, aggression and violence.

CCHR International’s documentary DVD, “Psychiatry’s Prescription for Violence,” containing interviews with experts, parents, victims, and a killer himself, can be viewed online by clicking here.

If you or someone you know has had suicidal or homicidal thoughts or committed sudden violent acts while taking or in withdrawal from psychiatric drugs, you can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.   We welcome your comments on this article below.

Denver Post Fails To Address The Role Of Psychiatric Drugs In Suicides

Psychiatric Drugs Are Linked To Worsening Depression and Suicide

A story in today’s Denver Post about suicides in Colorado failed to address a key issue:  How many of these individuals had been taking psychiatric drugs, known to worsen depression and increase the risk of suicide, before they took their own lives?

We know that individuals seeking help from psychiatrists will almost certainly be prescribed one or more psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs because, according to a recent article in the New York Times,drugging is so much faster and more profitable to the psychiatrists than taking the time to listen to their patients’ problems.

We also know that psychiatric drugs are known to cause serious, even life-threatening side effects.  (For international studies and warnings on the dangerous side effects of psychiatric drugs, as well as adverse drug reactions reported to the FDA, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.)

Antidepressants in particular are known to cause worsening depression, birth defects, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, panic attacks, hostility, aggression, psychosis, violence, suicide and many, many other adverse events.  Long-term antidepressant users frequently report that their emotions have been deadened so much that they feel like zombies.

With drugging having become almost the only psychiatric “treatment” available, no wonder the rate of suicides in Colorado has shown no improvement whatsoever in the 22 years for which data is available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s online death statistics database.

CCHR International’s award-winning documentary, “Dead Wrong: How Psychiatric Drugs Can Kill Your Child,” is the powerful story of one mother’s quest to understand her child’s suicide.  Six months after her son Matthew died, Celeste Steubing discovered the link between psychiatric drugs and suicide.  Feeling betrayed over having been denied these facts, she testified before the FDA in 2004, along with many other parents whose children had been driven to suicide by antidepressants.  That same year, the FDA issued its strongest, black-box warning that antidepressants can cause suicide, a warning that came 18 months too late for Matthew.  Click here to view the DVD and hear what parents, health experts, drug counselors and doctors have to say about the deadly dangers of psychiatric drugs.

If you have experienced increased depression, thoughts of suicide, or any other adverse side effect while taking a psychiatric drug, report it to the FDA by clicking here.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric treatment or psychiatric drugs, you can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.  We also welcome your comments below.

“ADHD” Just Keeps Getting Busted: Study Finds Changes In Diet Alone Calmed Two Out Of Three Antsy Kids

vegetables
Image by Junior Libby

A new study by Dutch researchers confirms what many parents have already discovered:  changes in diet can have a profoundly calming effect on a child’s behavior.  The study, reported last month in The Lancet, found that for two-thirds of the children studied, changes in diet alone led to the elimination of the fidgety behavior so profitably labeled by psychiatrists as “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,“ or ADHD.

In no uncertain terms, the study’s lead author underscores diet as the main cause of ADHD.  “After the diet [was changed], they were just normal children with normal behavior. They were no longer more easily distracted, they were no more forgetful, there were no more temper-tantrums,” Dr. Lidy Pelsser said in an interview with NPR.  About the teachers and doctors who worked with children in the study and witnessed the marked changes in behavior, she said, “In fact, they were flabbergasted.”

CCHR has long advocated giving children with behavioral problems a complete physical exam by a non-psychiatric physician, as well as a nutritional evaluation by a qualified nutritionist, to discover any underlying physical or nutritional conditions causing behavioral difficulties.  Parents should also make sure that proper instructional solutions are being applied for any behavioral problems in the classroom, since children’s disruptive behavior can result from not fully understanding, and consequently falling behind in, or not being properly challenged by, their schoolwork.

By 2007, some 5.4 million children in the U.S., or 9.5% of all children ages 4-17, had at some time been labeled with the made-up “mental disorder” known as ADHD, according to figures from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  In Colorado, 7.6% of kids got the label; in Wyoming, 9.1%.  CDC figures show that boys are more than twice as likely to be labeled with it than girls.  (See Psychiatry: Labeling Kids with Bogus Mental Disorders).

Far more disturbing than the number of kids given this harmful and bogus label is the fact that nearly 3 million of them  – some 27,000 in Colorado and 5,000 in Wyoming – have been put on powerful  stimulant drugs that endanger their lives.   Categorized as Schedule ll drugs by the U.S.  Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and in the same class as cocaine, opium and morphine, ADHD drugs are highly addictive.  These drugs are also known to increase heart risks more than twofold and cause heart attacks, strokes, serious arrhythmias and sudden death in children.  Because of this, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires its most stringent, “black box” warning on ADHD (methylphenidate) drugs.   The drugs are also known to cause hallucinations, convulsions, suicidal thoughts and violent behavior in children.  (For more studies and international warnings on ADD/ADHD drugs, go to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine, and for more information on documented side effects of psychiatric drugs in children, watch “Drugging Our Children – Side Effects”.)

For the failed practice of psychiatry, the revolving-door prescribing of these drugs for rambunctious and inattentive kids — despite the increased risks to these children – is a profitable business plan.  There are no lab tests, brain scans, or any other medical tests that can prove the existence of anything called “ADHD.”  The label is merely the subjective opinion of a psychiatric practitioner with a conflict of interest (profit motive), since he can bill Medicaid or private insurance companies for “managing” the “disorder” by writing prescriptions for years to come.

Indeed, a recent New York Times article detailed how psychiatrists now resort almost exclusively to psychiatric drugging because it is fast and profitable.   According to the article, a psychiatrist can earn $150 for three 15-minute patient visits for drug prescriptions compared with $90 for a 45-minute talk therapy session.  As one psychiatrist admitted, “I had to train myself not to get too interested in their problems.” No wonder a study reported several years ago in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that 90% of children visiting a psychiatrist for the first time left the office with one or more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs.

If a psychiatrist or other mental health practitioner has told you that any brain scan proves that your child has ADD or ADHD, or if your child has suffered side effects from taking any ADD/ADHD drug, or if any teacher has recommended or required that you put your child on ADHD drugs (which is illegal in Colorado: see “Protecting Your Children: Colorado Law Prohibits School Personnel From Recommending Psychiatric Drugs”), we want to talk to you.  Please contact us at 303-789-5225 or report the details of your experience here.