Anti-Depressants Scientifically Linked To Violence In Youth – MB Man Investigates

I came across the article linked above though a facebook page I liked sometime ago called The Coffee Party (yeah, a liberals play on the tea party). The source is one that I have never heard of nor come across previously, but the name alone seems to place it in the category of alternative media.  And so I will file it as such (alternative media criticisms).

Anyway, on to the meat and potato’s.


(ANTIMEDIA) A new study published in the PLoS Medicine journal has found that younger people taking antidepressants are more likely to commit violent crimes.

Reuters reports that the researchers “used a unique study design which aimed to avoid confounding factors by comparing the same individuals’ behavior while they were on and while they were off medication.” The study was led by Seena Fazel of Britain’s Oxford University.

Fazel’s team used matched data from Sweden’s prescribed drug register and its national crime register over a three-year period. Among 850,000 people prescribed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), one percent were convicted of a violent crime. SSRIs are often prescribed to fight off anxiety and depression and include drugs like Prozac and Paxil.

Most of the age groups did not show an increase in crime and violence, however, the 15-24 year-old group showed a 43 percent increase in their risk of committing violent crime while on SSRIs. The researchers also observed an increased risk for younger people to be involved in violent arrests, non-violent convictions and arrests, non-fatal injuries, and alcohol problems when they were taking antidepressants. The results also showed those who took lower doses had an increased risk of being violent.

Ironically, the researchers recommend that young people might take higher doses of the drugs to reduce the risk of violence and criminal activity. Fazel told Reuters it is possible that younger people taking lower doses are not being “fully treated,” leaving them vulnerable to impulsive behavior.

Fazel cautioned that the study does not conclusively prove SSRIs will lead to increases in violent activity and said further studies should be conducted. He went on to tell Reuters that if the results are confirmed, “warnings about the increased risk of violent behavior among young people taking SSRIs might be needed.”

This is certainly interesting. But I can’t help but notice that the headline of the article was pretty much busted already, by the last paragraph quoted. More tests are needed before correlation can be scientifically linked to causation. Interestingly enough,  a concern raised in the facebook comments under the article.

Well, that didn’t take long!

All in all, the findings are not all that surprising. When it comes to the youth demographic (unlike all the others), it is unique in that there is a whole lot of hormonal changes and other factors taking place in that time frame. And (as is stereotypical of every youth targeted film EVER), youth do tend to be young, dumb, and full of cum (to quote Bill Maher). Or in more civil terms, youth are more prone to taking risks than those in any other demographics.

When all of these hormonal changes and a lack of life experience and knowledge combine with some psychotropic substance (prescribed due to depression, an illness that adds a whole new layer to the equation), its not surprising to me that there may be some unforseen consequences in some cases. This is just my opinion however.

Something interesting to note (which is directly linked to this topic) is that Eric Harris, one of the Columbine killers, had a prescription for (and had therapeutic amounts of the drug in his system at the time of the massacre) Luvox, an SSRI used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder (according to Google, sourced from a CNN article).

Again, correlation does not equate to causation. But its an interesting thing I figured I would add, since it directly ties into the subject matter.

The anti-media article continues further, so lets delve further ourselves:

Anti-Media previously reported on a study by the Harvard School of Public Health that found high doses of antidepressants in teens and young adults correlate to marked increases in self-harm.

That study examined 162,625 subjects between the ages of 10 and 64 for 12 years. For subjects aged 24 and younger, higher-than-average doses of antidepressants doubled the rate of suicidal behavior. In addition, a 2004 review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also found that antidepressants double the risk of suicides between the age of 18 and 25.

Recently, journalist Ben Swann released a Reality Check report examining the possible connection between gun violence and SSRIs.

The 2004 review resulted in a black box warning on these SSRI drugs (though it was warning of an increase of suicidal THOUGHTS, not necessarily behaviors. Big difference).

A few years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings that children and teens who took a common kind of antidepressant might experience suicidal thoughts. The point of the warning was to make sure that parents and doctors paid closer attention to kids taking these medications. But the plan may have backfired.

A national team of researchers led by Christine Y. Lu, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, tracked antidepressant use among 2.5 million young people between 2000 and 2010. After the FDA’s warnings in 2003 and 2004, use of commonly prescribed antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft) and others fell by 30% in teenagers and 25% in young adults. During that same period, suicide attempts rose by 22% in teens and 34% in young adults. The researchers concluded that the decrease in antidepressant use, sparked by worries over suicidal thoughts, may have left many depressed young people without appropriate treatment and that may have boosted the increase in suicide attempts. The results were published online this week in BMJ.

While the researchers suggested that the FDA’s warnings are responsible in part for the decline in antidepressant use, the media reaction—and sometimes overreaction—to them made things worse.

“This was a huge worldwide event in terms of the mass media. Many of the media reports actually emphasized an exaggeration of the warnings,” Stephen B. Soumerai, professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the study told NPR.

Unintended consequences

Some FDA warnings are right on target. Take, for example, its warning that aspirin should never be given to a child with a high fever. That has surely prevented many cases of a potentially deadly swelling of the brain called Reye’s syndrome. But other warnings may have unintended consequences.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, primary care doctors and pediatricians became more comfortable diagnosing depression in children and adolescents. During the same period, there was a parallel increase in the number of prescriptions for the class of antidepressant known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These antidepressants are used most often in children and teens because they are very effective and generally well tolerated.

In 2003, the FDA began to alert doctors that children and teens taking an SSRI might be prone to thoughts of suicide. It added new warnings in 2004 and mandated that SSRIs carry a “black box” warning—so called because it is prominently placed in a black box on the label. According to theBMJ study, the warnings and the media attention that followed led doctors to be more hesitant to prescribe SSRIs to children, teens, and young adults.

It hadn’t been the FDA’s intention to make depression treatment less available to those who needed it. Instead, it wanted doctors to alert patients of the importance of immediately reporting any feelings of wanting to hurt themselves. But some doctors, parents, and youths interpreted the FDA warning differently. The message they heard was that starting an antidepressant increased the risk of suicide.

The FDA was right to sound the alarm about the link between taking an SSRI and suicidal thoughts. There were enough reports of suicide attempts among young people starting an SSRI to justify the warning. But the FDA could have done a much better job of explaining that this did not mean that taking SSRIs caused more suicide attempts.

Notice how the last paragraph seems to tie right into my criticism of the wording of the article. Suicidal behavior, as opposed to suicidal thoughts.

As for Ben Swann:

He looks to be doing nothing more then equating correlation to causation. Though he appears to be starting a new conversation contrary to the typical post mass shooting talk, his is not going anywhere either. Because like every other conversation, it is to one sided.

Indeed, it is worth looking into. However, these situations are a culmination of many different factors, which may not always be the same in every case. I have said it before, and I will say it again. Until we as a society look at the WHOLE picture, nothing will change.

As Mayday, Seconds from Disaster or any of those shows will teach you, an accident or disaster is not just an event, it is the result of a chain of events. Break any link in that chain, and you likely will have averted disaster.
Just as a 747 does not rip itself to pieces mid flight without cause, people do not pick up a weapon and go berserk without cause. And just as that 747 does not come apart due to a single cause or factor, neither do people lose their mind over a single cause.

You break the chain, you prevent the accident.

Back to the final paragraph of the article.

It would appear that a certain amount of skepticism is necessary when listening to the claims made by members of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex. Studies showantidepressants are overprescribed, and in my own experience with depression and anxiety, I found that doctors are far too often willing to offer pills than have a conversation and work to solve the root causes of these issues.

We need to help promote a culture where individuals are able to safely talk about their depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. As humans, we have the ability to create a culture that values open and honest communication, respect, and love. This could allow each individual to have a safe space to process their pain and receive the healing necessary for personal growth and collective liberation. Empower each other and break your addiction to Big Pharma.

Indeed skepticism is necessary. But not just with the claims of the industry players. Skepticism is also necessary when dealing with those on the opposing side. Because (as I have learned in my dealings with the anti-GMO crowd) they are not beyond stretching or misrepresenting the facts themselves.

While I agree that it would be MUCH better to deal with such illnesses as depression and others without drugs (and I am EXTREMELY concerned with these drugs being prescribed to children or teen agers), I acknowledge that just talking it out may not always be a solution. Pharmaceutical aids are indeed WAY over prescribed, but this does not mean they they do not have a place in some individuals therapy.

When it comes to (particularly) the United States, the drug laws are ridiculous. For one thing, advertisements for these narcotics should NOT be on prime time television. Not only does this help to advertise a diagnosis that may not even be right, it forces many doctors into prescribing because if they don’t, the patient may go to another doctor.
This is the same reason why I learned to hate Dr Oz and the often bullshit he pedals. Studies of the advice given on his show (along with that of similar shows to his) has about a 50% chance of being legitimate (see my medical show criticisms category for more). Yet most I see would rather defend him, than to acknowledge the problems others have identified with his behaviors.

Another change that should happen, is the direct connection between drug manufacturers and physicians should be cut. Though I assume that kickbacks for prescriptions are illegal (though it likely happens unfortunately), representatives should not be allowed to communicate with physicians, PERIOD. That includes free shit like company branded tools, instruments, office supplies etc.

Indeed, there is much wrong with prescription drug culture in the US, and elsewhere world wide. One could say drug culture PERIOD (various prescriptions kill WAY more than other legal and illegal drugs, yet marijuana is still illegal federally).

But that said, one does not have to lie to get this point across.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.