Anti-Depressants Linked to Suicide and Violence


In June 2001, a jury in Wyoming determined that the antidepressant drug Paxil caused a man to kill his wife, daughter and granddaughter before killing himself. The jury awarded the surviving family $8 million in damages, according to 'American Medical Publishing's Prescription Medicines, Side Effects and Natural Alternatives'.

In Portland, Ore., Jay Johnston followed his doctor's orders and took the prescribed antidepressants Zoloft and Prozac. He then attempted suicide with a shotgun, permanently disfiguring himself. In the same month as the Wyoming jury's decision, Johnston sued his doctor for not properly monitoring him. The jury found the doctor guilty of criminal negligence and awarded Johnston $5 million, reports Dr. Ann Blake Tracy in 'Prozac: Panacea or Pandora'. Similarly, who could forget Eric Harris, who -- along with Dylan Klebold -- killed 11 people and then himself in the Columbine school shooting? At the time of the shooting, Harris was being treated with the prescription antidepressant Luvox.

These patients are among the growing statistics of people who committed suicide, or tried to commit suicide, while undergoing treatment with prescription antidepressants.

Antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Luvox and Paxil are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, commonly known as SSRIs. Serotonin is one of your brain's most important biochemicals; it controls everything from appetite to mood swings. If you're depressed, compulsively eating or gambling, not sleeping properly or even just moody, you're probably lacking serotonin. It's important to note, however, that you can also have too much serotonin.

In Health and Nutrition Secrets, Dr. Russell L. Blaylock writes, "It is also known that these medications increase brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which, in high concentrations, can also act as an excitotoxin." When antidepressant drugs raise serotonin to an excitotoxin level, the brain reacts in ways similar to mental illness. According to Burton Goldberg's book, 'Alternative Medicine', side effects of SSRIs include uncontrollable facial and body tics, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, sexual dysfunction, addiction, electric-shock-like sensations in the brain and, of course, homicidal or suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Unfortunately, the doctors prescribing these SSRIs often forget that you can have too much of a good thing -- that is, too much serotonin -- so they prescribe SSRIs to just about everyone. Now, there are some truly bad doctors out there, such as the psychiatrist whom Dr. Joseph Glenmullen describes in Prozac Backlash:

"Anna was started on Prozac but became severely anxious, agitated and sleepless ... Having never been suicidal before, two weeks after starting Prozac, Anna went to her HMO because she felt like killing herself. The psychiatrist on call told Anna the Prozac was indeed making her worse and hospitalized her. But her original psychiatrist disagreed, restarted Prozac, although at a lower dose and added a second, sedating antidepressant (Trazodone), which Anna only took for two days."

Anna's original doctor seems to be little more than a licensed drug dealer. However, let's give the benefit of the doubt to most antidepressant-prescribing doctors and say that they're just ignorant of antidepressants' potentially fatal side effects. Based on Goldberg's figures, physicians -- not psychiatrists -- write over 70 percent of all prescriptions for SSRIs, so they may very well be ignorant of the antidepressant scare.

Pharmaceutical companies, however, have no excuse. Prozac's maker, Eli Lilly, frantically fought any change in the prescribing guidelines for antidepressants; even a general warning. Not even public allegations linking the drug to suicides, murders, murder-suicides and mass murder-suicides could weaken Eli Lilly's staunch defense of the antidepressant. Dr. Glenmullen explains that Eli Lilly's stance was a result, of course, of financial greed: "Pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars developing and launching a drug like Prozac. By 1991, Prozac was already the number-one bestselling antidepressant, with sales near $1 billion a year. The stakes were indeed high. So the pharmaceutical industry and drug advocates decided to defend Prozac at all costs, despite the risks to individual and public safety." In other words, to the pharmaceutical industry, it seems nothing -- not the individual lives of depressed people, not the massacre at Columbine -- is more important than making $1 billion a year.

You know your life is more important than that; you know that humanity is more important than any financial sum. It's up to you -- not your doctor and certainly not a pill -- to find a way to overcome depression. Visit a therapist and do some cognitive therapy; even the staunchest pill-pusher won't deny that antidepressant medication is no substitute for counseling. If your brain lacks serotonin, there are many safe and natural ways to boost the biochemical. You can find a concise, yet informative article on boosting your mood through diet, right here on

Prozac, Luvox, Paxil and Zoloft are just brand names for the same recipe for disaster. Every day, doctors prescribe medications that are known to induce suicide and other violent behavior in depressed people who may already be suicidal. This is so ironic that it's sickening, and only knowledgeable consumers who tell their doctors that they don't want to be given these dangerous drugs can make it stop.

The experts speak out on antidepressant drugs and suicide:

"A lawsuit contends the manufacturer of the popular anti-depressant Paxil concealed evidence that the drug can be addictive. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 35 people from around the country who say they suffered symptoms ranging from electrical shocks to suicidal thoughts after discontinuing use of the drug. Paxil is the second largest selling anti-depressant in America. In June of 2001, a jury in Wyoming awarded $8 million in damages to a family of a man after determining that Paxil caused him to kill his wife, daughter, and granddaughter before he committed suicide."
'Prescription Medicines, Side Effects and Natural Alternatives' by American Medical Publishing, page 30

"What's true for Prozac doesn't necessarily apply to other drugs classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). For example, the FDA has ruled that Paxil (paroxetine) should not be taken by anyone younger than age 18 because it is associated with a possible increased risk of suicidal impulses."
'Dr Isadore Rosenfeld's Breakthrough Health' by Isadore Rosenfeld MD, page 87

6/29/01-Portland, OR, $5 Million Awarded In anti-depressant Negligence Case Jay Johnston tried commit suicide after being given Zoloft and then Prozac. He is permanently disfigured from the shotgun blast. He sued his doctor for not properly monitoring him and was awarded $5 million.
'PROZAC Panacea or Pandora' by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 280

"A brand-new drug can be like a license to print money. It certainly worked that way for Eli Lilly. When the company launched the antidepressant Prozac in 1987, nobody else had anything quite like it, and Lilly cleaned up. But then other pharmaceutical firms rushed in with their own versions, including Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and the recently newsworthy Luvox, found in the blood of Columbine High School shooter Eric Harris. The competition has already eaten into Lilly's market share, and things can only go downhill from here."
'Beyond Depression' by Michael D. Lemonick and Alice Park, Time 5/17/99, page 74

"Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Drug, such as Prozac, that increases levels of circulating serotonin. SSRIs have the potential for serious side effects, including suicidal thoughts, restlessness, and aggression."
'The Memory Solution' by Dr Julian Whitaker, page 252

"It is also interesting to note that in all the cases of school shootings, the kids responsible for the violence were taking SSRI medications, which are known to produce suicidal and homicidal "side effects." It is also known that these medications increase brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which, in high concentrations, can also act as an excitotoxin."
'Health And Nutrition Secrets' by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 79

"Prozac and similar antidepressant drugs, such as Paxil and Zoloft, have seen a significant increase in use over the last decade, with approximately 28 million Americans having used the drugs, and 70% of the prescriptions for them written by physicians rather than psychiatrists. Joseph Glen-mullen, Ph.D., author of Prozac Backlash, considers this trend both dangerous and reckless, pointing out that anti-depressants can have severe side effects. These include uncontrollable facial and body tics (which can be signs of severe neurological damage), hallucinations, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms, sexual dysfunction, and electric shock-like sensations in the brain. Dr. Glen-mullen cautions that a small percentage of people can become homicidal, suicidal, or both as a result of Prozac use."
'Alternative Medicine' by Burton Goldberg, page 798

"Do doctors prescribe SSRIs too often?"

"One of the most compelling stories was that of Anna, who told me Prozac caused her to make a serious suicide attempt while in the care of a previous psychiatrist. As a freshman in college, Anna had been miserably depressed, missing her family and feeling unhappy with her roommates. As the year wore on, she consulted with a psychologist who referred her to a psychiatrist for medication. Anna was started on Prozac but became severely anxious, agitated, and sleepless. She felt "all sped up inside," as if she were "in fast forward while the rest of the world was in slow motion." Having never been suicidal before, two weeks after starting Prozac, Anna went to her HMO because she felt like killing herself. The psychiatrist on call told Anna the Prozac was indeed making her worse and hospitalized her. But her original psychiatrist disagreed, restarted Prozac, although at a lower dose, and added a second, sedating antidepressant (Trazodone), which Anna only took for two days."
'Prozac Backlash' by Joseph Glenmullen MD, page 140

"Once she was stable, Anna was admitted to McLean Hospital, where she was described as having had a "paradoxical" reaction to Prozac. A nurse told her one of McLean's psychopharmacologists, Dr. Teicher, had written about patients like Anna who became suicidal on Prozac. She was put on a different type of antidepressant, which did not precipitate the same reaction."
'Prozac Backlash' by Joseph Glenmullen MD, page 140

"Many research and case studies demonstrate a link between antidepressants and suicide and other violent behavior"

"Women were known to use less lethal means until the SSRl antidepressants hit the market. But on Prozac and Paxil, women committed 40% of the suicides - many were strikingly violent and clearly leaving no means for rescue."
'PROZAC Panacea or Pandora' by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 280

"Because suicidal tendencies are a frequent characteristic of depression, perhaps one of the most serious problems associated with antidepressants is the potential for drug overdose. The potential for suicide caused by the very medication prescribed to prevent it, is further enhanced by the synergistic interaction of the antidepressives with alcohol, barbiturates, and other central nervous system depressants. A glance through the PDR indicates that the quantity and the magnitude of the dangers associated with Elavil are equally present with the other antidepressants."
'Get Healthy Now' by Gary Null, page 215

"Just before Christmas Dr Stuart Donovan and colleagues published a crucial article in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Of 2,776 patients taking SSRIs who were treated at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary over two years. They found that if you look for a statistically significant relationship between taking SSRIs and suicide by overdosing on them, you won't find much. But they did find a relationship between taking SSRIs and all forms of deliberate self-harm - including overdose, attempted overdose, hanging, gassing, laceration, deliberate road traffic accidents, head banging, swallowing non-medicines - much higher for SSRIs than for the older tricyclics. "The relationship is so strong, Dr Donovan says, that he firmly believes promotional material for SSRIs including Seroxat [Paxil] should be changed immediately so doctors no longer prescribe them to potentially suicidal patients thinking, mistakenly, that by doing so they are protecting their lives." When Dr Donovan sent the manuscript of this study to SmithKline Beecham [now GlaxoSmithKline] (who partially financed the study along with Eli Lilly) before it was published asking for comments. They did not reply."
'PROZAC Panacea or Pandora' by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 15

"GULF WAR VETERANS: Captain Joyce Riley, who has headed the battle in exposing Gulf War Syndrome, has noted that approximately 80- 90% of the Gulf War vets are now on or have been offered one of the SSRI antidepressants. As a result many have had their lives turned upside down with others committing suicide or murder/suicide".
'PROZAC Panacea or Pandora' by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 15

"In another case, reported by Frederick Goggans and colleagues, in Medical Mimics of Psychiatric Disorders, a 27-year-old executive was hospitalized after attempting to kill herself by overdosing on antidepressants prescribed by her psychiatrist. The woman's suicide attempt--her second--followed a year of psychotherapy that had failed to relieve her fatigue, cognitive problems, and despondency. She was distraught that her suicide attempt was unsuccessful, and told her doctors that she would probably try to kill herself again."
'A Dose of Sanity' by Sydney Walker III MD, page 108

"While the FDA had cleared the drugs, my colleagues continued to describe some cases in which they appeared to have caused severe reactions--agitation, paranoia, psychosis, suicide, and violence--in a small number of patients. Rumors within psychiatric circles held that the FDA panel of outside experts had been flawed, beset with conflicts of interest and deeply divided on the issue of Prozac's safety, in spite of the impression given to the public. Could it be true that a majority of the panel members had conflicts of interest? Had the vote not been unanimous? Was the panel so divided that one-third of its members pressed for a warning and changes in the guidelines for prescribing antidepressant drugs? What was one to believe?"
'Prozac Backlash' by Joseph Glenmullen MD, page 143

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