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Blog: 90% of School Shooters Are Linked to Anti-Depressants.

Abrupt cessation of anti-depressants can cause violent, aggressive behavior.

The above headline caught my eye when I began researching this topic.  The most frightening aspect of the recent rise in violent behavior involving the cold-blooded murder of groups of innocent people is the link to the discontinuation of prescribed anti-depressants.  From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook there is an undeniable connection of the assailant with a history of some form of mental illness and  to the use of psychotropic, prescribed drugs.  Anti-depressants or SSRIs -- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - are frequently used in the treatment of depression and other mental disabilities.  The young people who commit these massacres are often referred to as monsters.  They can usually be classified as either psychotic, psychopathic or traumatized.

I have done some research on a few of the young men involved in these horrific crimes and found, according to available autopsies, some of them had abruptly stopped taking their medications -- SSRIs.  Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech killings) had been diagnosed with severe anxiety, depression and selective mutism (a severe disorder inhibiting his speech).  Eric Harris of the Columbine massacre had been taking Fluvoxamine.  James Holmes, the young man suspected of the Aurora, Colorado "Dark Knight" movie theater killings graduated in the top 1% of his class and had been accepted to a PhD program.  He had dropped out and there is speculation about the possibility of his having mental issues.  He will go on trial sometime in June.  Adam Lanza, accused of the Sandy Hook School murders is claimed to have had Aspergers -- an autistic spectrum disorder -- manly affecting behavior and speech.  There is speculation about his mother having been concerned about his mental state.  She apparently had warned a babysitter to never turn her back on the child.

I think we can also conclude about these young men that they were probably bullied or were made fun of by classmates.  A few of these were suicidal and were said to be loners.  In any case, if indeed they had been prescribed an anti-depressant, such a Prozac, and decided to stop taking the drug abruptly, it is possible that they suffered side effects.  Abrupt cessation interferes with normal social functions and can cause severe impulsive and aggressive behavior.

Society is quick to blame access to guns and other firearms when these tragedies occur.  What they are turning a blind eye to is the fact that there are so many children with mental disabilities aho are falling through the cracks.  We need good psychologists and social workers to test our children and do something about behavior which raises a red flag.  So many young children are taking prescription drugs for ADHD, diabetes and assorted ailments, but they must be monitored especially during transilitions and medical management.  During a medication change everybody should try to enter a hospital or medical facility for close monitoring.  Never abruptly stop taking any medication.

We tend to wonder about trends toward obesity and drug addiction nowadays.  Is it any wonder that the two most powerful lobbyists in our nation are food and pharmaceuticals?  I have written to President Obama asking specifically for a Children's Task Force in order to help prevent crimes and atrocities involving children.  There are too many pedophiles, kidnappers, drug pushers and other menaces threatening our children today.  I have emailed and called the White House to follow up.  So far, there has been no response.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

William Bauer January 23, 2013 at 01:28 AM
Once again I believe you have addressed this problem head on and it should be pursued further if someone will only take up the reins besides yourself.
Irene DeBlasio January 23, 2013 at 02:32 AM
@WilliamBauer Mental illness and proper psychiatric help should be a top priority in our society. Mothers and fathers who have children with any health problem, including mental issues should do everything possible to see to it that their children receive help. Drugs are not necessarily the answer. Many doctors will write a prescription instead of exploring other avenues for solutions. As for guns, we have so many gun laws on the books, but enforcing crime is the best solution. Police Chief William Bratton did an excellent job in Los Angeles. New York is fortunate to have him. If we can get the adults in this country to take responsibility for their children and their guns -- allow police to enforce the laws, society would be much better off. Many thanks for your comment.
Bob Blanchard January 23, 2013 at 05:55 AM
Once again, well done Ms.DeBlasio. I think that one of the primary causes of young people acting out is bullying. It is receiving more recognition and more school districts across the country are developing programs to cope with it. The boy involved in the Taft, CA shooting recently was apparently the object of bullying. They get to a point where they just can't take it anymore and act out in all directions or sadly when the see no way out, they commit suicide. I agree that we tend to focus on the weapons used to lash out instead of getting to the root causes, whether they be mental health problems, discontinued or improper medication, bullying or dysfunctional families. Well meaning people look for the quickest and simplest solution which often might be gun control, but all the gun control measures mentioned would not have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy. With a population of over 300 million, we are unable to completely prevent such sad events. We need a greater focus on mental health issues instead of avoiding them. By the way I am impressed to see your daily contribution on Best of the Web in the Wall Street Journal. I am happy for you to be getting the recognition your writing talents deserve. Thanks for taking the time to post to the Patch.
Dive Turn Work January 23, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I blame the parents, not the guns. Too many lousy parents in the world.
chloe January 23, 2013 at 06:15 PM
It defiantly is anti-depressants and other medications. Just look the guy who shot up the theater and the midnight showing of batman. He was a medical student and at the hearing looked filled with drugs. You could tell by looking at his pupils and the way he was acting. People don't know how to deal with their problems so they turn to these drugs with horrible side effects.
Irene DeBlasio January 23, 2013 at 07:40 PM
@BobBlanchard Sadly, we have delinquent parents who take prescription drugs for the tiniest ailment. They collect guns and don't store them away from children. We have societal problems in this country that are being completely overlooked. When my children were in public school here in L.A. there were gangs of older kids who collected lunch money from the younger ones. Teachers were told not to interfere -- that children should learn to fend for themselves. I often insisted on having my children make their own lunch and bring it to school. The older kids stole homemade lunches from the little ones too. The little kids were petrified but nothing was ever done to solve the problem. The bullying is still rampant. Nobody is trying to set an example anymore. Look at our elected representatives -- there seems to be no mutual respect, just petulance and petty grudges. It's a recipe for disaster. It hurts our country and sends a terrible message to our youth. Instead of having a feeling of good sportsmanship with individuals competing but also knowing how to work together as a team, we have a bitterness that prevades our entire government. Thanks for your wonderful comment and for noticing my small contribution to my favorite part of any newspaper in the country. I've always been a fan of "Best of the Web" on the Wall Street Journal. I'm so happy when I contribute something they can use.
Irene DeBlasio January 23, 2013 at 07:48 PM
@DiveTurnWork You are right on target. There's not enough family time -- kids are being raised in a permissive atmosphere and allowed to spend way too much time playing games online. We need a return to structured family time -- whether it's dinner at the dining room table, going to church, going on vacation, playing sports together or taking self-enrichment lessons -- families should make time to be together. I appreciate your comment.
Irene DeBlasio January 23, 2013 at 08:00 PM
@chloe You seem to be a well-adjusted, smart young woman who understands that drugs, no matter whether they are prescribed or not, can have a devastating effect on people. Of the top ten prescribed medications, anti-depressants are the top five. How tragic that so many people are so deeply depressed and disturbed in our great country. We are still a land of great opportunity but too many people are unable to progress. If they feel they lack the talent or education to succeed, help is available. Sadly, too many would rather give up and let someone else be responsible for them. I hope you'll continue to read my posts and reply. It's very flattering for an old bag like me to get good feedback from a young woman like you. Many thanks.
chloe January 25, 2013 at 09:54 PM
There is a big problem with pain killers too. It seems like so many people are addicted to drugs. Did the problem begin with the Hippie Movement?
Irene DeBlasio January 25, 2013 at 10:47 PM
@chloe Great Question! Drug use has increased over the past few decades. I'm not so sure that addiction necessarily started with the Hippie Movement but the use of drugs increased at that time. Some young men in those days didn't want to serve our country on the battlefield. Many burned their draft cards and dropped out of society. They lived on the street or in communes. There was a lot of experimentation of drugs in those days qw well. Many people were also consulting psychiatrists. Painkillers and anti-depressants grew in popularity during and following the years of the Hippie Movement. Our government began "the war on drugs" but the drug cartels in Colombia, Mexico and parts of the middle east became so powerful that many of our elected representatives believed that we lost. I believe we are still engaged and still fighting it. The important thing to remember is that any chemical you put in your system changes your body chemistry. Nobody needs to do that unless they have a disability which can only be controlled by the use of the chemical. Returning veterans, for example, who return with PTSD should be treated for this serious problem. At the same time, everybody taking prescribed drugs should be monitored by a doctor or nurse practitioner for any changes. Again, thanks you for your excellent comments.
Irene DeBlasio January 26, 2013 at 07:32 PM
@chloe Vicodin addiction causes and contributes to more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Painkiller use and addiction now cause more fatalities than car crashes. The government advisory panel of the FDA has voted to place Hydrocodone - the active ingredient in Vicodin - into the Schedule 11 narcotic class of drugs along with OxyContin and fentanyl. Schedule 11 is the most restrictive category of pharmaceuticals.

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