Antidepressants Are Causing an Epidemic of Violence

Alliance for Natural Health

By on September 29, 2015 Crony Capitalism

An article in the current British Medical Journal explains why the link is stronger than previously thought.   Action Alert!

ANH-USA has researched dozens of the most high-profile cases of violent crimes over the last few decades. We found that in just under half of the cases (eleven out of twenty-three), the perpetrator was documented to be taking, or had recently stopped taking, some form of antidepressant or anti-psychotic medication.

In another seven cases, the killer had been on these medications earlier. We suspect that number is even higher, but the information is either not publicly available or not known.

Other publications support these findings. Mother Jones looked at all mass shootings from 1982 through 2015—seventy-two incidents altogether. Of these, more than half of the perpetrators (forty-three) had shown signs of mental illness prior to the crime. Given the propensity of conventional doctors to prescribe antidepressants and other anti-psychotic drugs (more on this below), it does not seem like a large leap to assume that many of these perpetrators were taking medications.

The FDA recognizes this, and many antidepressants carry “black box warnings,” the most stringent precaution a drug label can carry before being removed from the market. Many antidepressants carry a black box warning of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Dr. Robert Whitaker notes that there is also a shocking risk of increased violence to others, which is not highlighted in the black box.

Important research has shown major drugs like Paxil and Prozac to be linked with violence at a substantially higher rate than other drugs—users of Paxil are 10.3 times more likely to do violence to themselves or others, while users of Prozac are 10.9 times more likely to commit acts of violence. Other evidence shows that people who have exhibited no propensity for violence or aggression can develop violent behavior soon after beginning antidepressants. (You can find still more evidence of the link between antidepressants and violence in our previous coverage of the topic.)

The FDA relies on studies conducted by major drug companies themselves, which may not be reliable. Even if the data is pristine, the interpretation will almost certainly be skewed in favor of the drug.

Consider the case of Paxil. Fourteen years ago the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), published a study which was interpreted to mean that Paxil was safe and effective for teens. A new analysis of that same data, published this week in the prestigious British Medical Journal, found the exact opposite to be true—that teenagers on Paxil did no better than a placebo on a standard depression assessment, and that GSK had seriously downplayed the drug’s dangerous side effects!

This reinterpretation was only possible because GSK, to its credit, allowed the data to become public. It should be noted, however, that this was only done once the patent had gotten older and was thus less valuable.

Suicide and violence are just two side effects of antidepressants. There have been a total 134 warnings from regulatory agencies in eleven countries including:

  • 30 warnings that antidepressants cause heart problems
  • 21 warnings that they cause birth defects
  • 6 warnings that they cause anxiety
  • 5 warnings that they cause mania or psychosis
  • 4 warnings that they cause death
  • 4 warnings that they cause hallucinations or delusional thinking
  • 4 warnings that they cause involuntary movements
  • 2 warnings that they cause sexual dysfunction

There is a great deal we don’t know, partly because so much of drug companies’ research on these drugs is kept secret. But the correlation between violent crime and the use of these legal, mind-altering prescription drugs is too strong to be ignored, while scientific evidence of the connection continues to mount. So why hasn’t the FDA done anything?

The answer should be clear enough. Antidepressants are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US. About 10% of Americans—30 million people—are on antidepressants, which includes 25% of women in their 40s and 50s. Antidepressant use has increased an astounding 400% in recent years. This translates into billions of dollars in profits worldwide for the pharmaceutical industry. And drug company money represents a substantial percentage of the FDA’s operating budget.

What is especially tragic about the wide use of antidepressants and their connection to violence and other terrible side effects is the fact that there are far safer, natural alternatives. We’ve reported before about some of these.

Sometimes depression is triggered by a life event or series of events. But what conventional medicine generally fails to notice is the connection between the brain and the body—how the body, and especially the gut, can have a profound effect on the brain, and vice versa. In some cases, it is a simple nutrient that is missing. It is often B vitamins, or it may be a mineral such as magnesium.

An integrative approach to medicine also addresses the imbalances in the body that may cause our mood to be out of whack. Consider that 95% of the body’s serotonin, the chemical that most depression drugs try to increase, is found in the gut. The standard American diet does not optimize either serotonin or gut health, leading to leaky gut syndrome and sustained inflammation.

Antibiotic use can also lead to gut dysbiosis and leaky gut because they destroy the good bacteria lining the intestines, allowing pathogenic bacteria to colonize. When the lining of the digestive system becomes permeable, toxic substances and bacteria leak into the bloodstream, triggering food sensitivities, inflammation, and autoimmune problems.

Additionally, hormone imbalances caused by hypothyroidism, which often goes undiagnosed, may cause mental health problems. Many people taking antidepressant medications, then, should really be addressing the underlying thyroid issue.

To find an integrative doctor in your area who won’t simply prescribe Prozac but will address the root cause, click here for some helpful links.

This is a life-or-death issue. How many more violent crimes will we have to endure before something is done about SSRIs and other mental health medications?

A recent news story told of new protocols and training at the University of Virginia Medical Center, preparing staff for the possibility of a gunman on a shooting rampage, which the Emergency Manager Coordinator views as an “unfortunate inevitability.” The irony of this is completely lost on the hospital staff. They see no connection whatsoever between the drugs they are prescribing and the “inevitable” shooter they are preparing for.

In 2011, ANH submitted a Citizen Petition to the FDA asking them to expand the current black box warning on antidepressants to include the danger of violent actions toward other people, in addition to the current suicide warning. This request has so far fallen on deaf ears. This time, we are reaching out to Congress to see if they can urge the FDA to act on this crucial issue.

Action Alert! Congress recently observed Mental Health Awareness Month. Write to your legislators and urge them to take meaningful steps towards addressing this serious issue—such as directing the FDA to update their black box warnings of antidepressants to include warnings of increased violent behavior. Please send your message immediately.



  • Nancy Allen

    My mental problems were inherited through my father’s family. The biggest problem I have now is that Medicare only pays for generic medication. Generics are not as reliable or as effective as the brand name medications provided by the manufacturer to people who can not afford their products. The ‘real’ medications did help me.

    • terrilynnmerritts

      Nancy, generic medicines are every bit as reliable and effective as brand names. They have the exact same active ingredients as the name brand. The reason the name brands cost more is because they are recouping the money they spent on research and testing and during their patent years, they alone can sell it for this reason. They do not reduce the price when the patent expires but other companies then can use their formula to make generics which have the same ingredients. The brand name could have sold it cheaply too but wanted to make up the money they spent on research. For years I have used generic birth control pills, diabetic meds, and allergy meds that used to cost a fortune but now are affordable and they work fine.

      • Bradford

        More LIES, LIES, LIES….
        If Pharma is actually “recouping research money spent”, then why is Pharma’s marketing and ad budget several orders of magnitude larger than it’s R&D budget? You’re just a parrot for the Global DRUG RACKET, and pseudo-science called psychiatry. And psychiatry is nothing more than 21st Century phrenology.
        You really are an idiot, lady. Sorry, but that’s the TRUTH……………
        (c)2015, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

      • Bradford

        Furthermore, Pharma will sell you “allergy meds” until you DIE, but why is that the ONLY treatment?…..
        How much do the drug companies *pay*you* to write this garbage?

      • LOL oh really FYI: the USFDA is considering an in depth Generic RX investigation into what you just claimed about Generic RX’s =”same ingredients” The FDA have found lack of the so called ingredients, and even found some generics lack as a therapeutic treatment for the type of ill health they claim to treat, coming into this country that are manufactured outside of this country but prescribed from inside the good ole USA


  • 12yearoldfag

    There is absolutely no way of telling if you wouldn’t have responded the same way to a placebo. Considering that 15% cannot get off medications such as Paxil and Prozac at all without side effects flaring up and only a small percentage of people do not have any side effects AND the side effects are absolutely horrific if you have ever had a chance to work with the people who have them, you should review your position. Yes, all medications have side effects in some people but it’s a completely different conversation and it has nothing to do with said medications’ efficiency which is something that can be argued, considering that United States is the heaven of medicating while being the sickest country in the world.

    • Elene Gusch, DOM

      I am unimpressed with the typical performance of antidepressants as well, and I know the kind of statistics you’re referring to, but:
      As a clinician, I regularly see patients who have tried everything under the sun and are still suffering. Sometimes psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, do help them. They may have tried quite a few other things first, and if it were all placebo, one or more of those other things would have helped them. Most would rather not take the drugs but they take them because they feel a benefit. My patients are coming to me for acupuncture and herbs, and that is what I would prefer them to use, but I am not going to deny them anything that works.

      When you tell someone “you should review your position,” I wonder if you have either ever been IN that person’s position, or ever treated anyone who has. There is so much smug judgmentalism around here. It’s clear that no one can truly feel free to express their opinion or tell their own experience. Why should those of us working in natural health be just as dismissive and supercilious as the worst of those in allopathic medicine? Can’t we do better than that?

      • 12yearoldfag

        My position is based on the fact that there is absolutely no science behind these drugs and on my work with people withdrawing from them, if you’d hear half of the stories I’ve heard about broken lives and mental states, you’d have the same opinion (one can hope) because it is absolutely atrocious what happens to these people and the amount of cases that suffer after it initially “helped” them. It’s so bad that I personally consider it to be a felony and am of the opinion that anyone prescribing this manifest poison to people should get shot. The do not help anyone and they destroy quite a few people with symptoms like wanting to kill self or others, unable to communicate, losing weight, gaining a LOT of weight, having brain zaps every 15 to 30 minutes – 3 thousand people treated in just a couple of years! Yet you can’t get this information out anywhere because there is a conspiracy of silence; the amount of money is too big for anyone to try to dismantle this abomination.

        And yes, there is NO science behind any of the drugs used, all the claims of serotonin re-uptake are utter bull, as are the rest of the theories if you actually care to look, not to accept some FDA cooked up bs on authority.

      • I hope you have had your own head worked on for at least 10 years. Only psychoanalysts are required to go through a lengthy personal analysis and long years of supervision, and some never stop. The present clinical certification crap is pop psychotherapy.If you get some good clinicians consider yourself colored lucky. Read Francoise Dolto’s Dominique or Winnicotts case studies. Recommend the case study titled String with a young boy who was suicidal. Winnicott saw him in the National Health Service of the UK. One visit then 6 months later he saw him again. Big big change.All it sometimes takes is one visit with a master clinician.And Dolto, she is to die for. Read her, changed everything for me.BTW Winnicott was psychoanalytically trained, and was the one describing the transitional object and its importance.I’ll stop.

      • simonts

        Well, in my experience alternative medicine supporters are MUCH more open to allopathic medicine than the other way around. It is not the associations of alternative medicine practitioners who had been trying to run doctors practicing alloparthic medicine out of medical practice but the other way around. This is a false equivalence par excellence.



About arnash

“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain - Politicians and diapers - change 'em often, for the same reason. "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Ronald Reagan "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." William F. Buckley, Jr. “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell The people are the masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it. Abraham Lincoln “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” - George Orwell “Satan will use a lake of truth to hide a pint of poison”.
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