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The Violent Side Effects of Antidepressants That Many Ignore

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Appetite For a Change page.

In light of a long list of mass shootings over the past several years, the causative role of psychiatric drugs in violent events will undoubtedly have to be evaluated and addressed at some point. Personally, I'd vote for sooner, rather than later.

Antidepressants in particular have a well-established history of causing violent side effects, including suicide and homicide.  In a recent Scientific American article, the author states:

"Once again, antidepressants have been linked to an episode of horrific violence. The New York Times reports that Aaron Alexis, who allegedly shot 12 people to death at a Navy facility in Washington, DC, earlier this week, received a prescription for the antidepressant trazodone3 in August."

The drug in question, trazodone, has been associated with:

"New or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness; and frenzied abnormal excitement."

The naval yard shooting is just the latest event to bring questions about prescription medications to the fore, but it bears noting that in this particular case no evidence has yet been released confirming that the shooter had the drug in his system at the time of the massacre.

Still, questions about the safety, or lack thereof, of antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs really need to be addressed regardless of whether they were instrumental in this particular case. Just last year, a Canadian judge ruled that a teenage boy murdered his friend because of the effects of Prozac.

When will such side effects be taken seriously? Just how many people have to kill themselves or others before a drug is considered too dangerous to be prescribed?   


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