Exploring the Darker Side of Anti-depressants

Photo: ALAMY
Photo: ALAMY

Far too often we hear news of a deadly attack at a school, mall or military base – violent crimes committed by those we least suspect.

Many of those violent outbreaks have involved guns. Sometimes, however, there’s another common thread: anti-depressants.

Anti-depressants are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in America. Millions of doctors and their patients appear to like these drugs, but there is a darker side.

Medication Madness

For decades, psychiatrist Peter Breggin has studied the link between anti-depressants and violent crimes.

“The anti-depressants cause violence and they cause suicide, and they do it in all age groups. We have studies in all age groups. There’s just no doubt about it,” Dr. Breggin said.

Anti-depressants work on the brain, thereby altering the way their users think.

“These drugs are causing agitation, anxiety, insomnia, hostility, aggression, mania,” Dr.Breggin said. “In addition to driving the person with this amphetamine-like effect, the anti-depressants do a bit of a lobotomy. You lose your empathy. You lose your caring.”

In his book, “Medication Madness,” Dr. Breggin cites examples of violence that he says can be blamed on anti-depressant use.

“An engineer who was given Paxil probably to help stop smoking, maybe for some tension, certainly not for any mental disorder,” he described. “And within a couple of doses he drowned his two children and himself in a tub.”

Dr. Breggin said that when it comes to emotional problems, counseling is a better treatment than anti-depressants.

Responsible Consumption

But not all doctors view anti-depressants so harshly.

The Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Karen Jacobs sees patients from around the country who are suffering with depression.

She said anti-depressants help vastly more people than they hurt. In fact, she says without anti-depressants many people couldn’t even function properly.

“They may not be able to work, they may not be able to interact with their peers, they may not be able to interact with their family, they’re really isolated and not very productive,” she said. “And you can turn a patient’s life around by finding the right medication.”

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Lorie Johnson

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