If you’re like millions of other Americans, including myself, you may have been prescribed either an anti-depressant or other drug to help with insomnia or anxiety, even smoking cessation, at some point. What is not commonly reported, however, is that taking many of these drugs has also been positively correlated with higher levels of violence. While correlation certainly is not causation it is a clue, a hint, that there truly could be more going on here than is commonly understood particularly in regards to Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Below are the top ten drugs associated with violent actions.
Of them, I have only taken one, Chantix. It is not an SSRI. I took it for two weeks and by the end of the third week my temper was truly almost completely uncontrollable. I vividly recall nearly getting in a fight in my office with someone that I very much considered a friend at the time and afterward. Let me repeat that, I almost got in a fight in the middle of my office. This was after feeling my temper getting shorter for days before the near blowup. I would have lost my job. I would have had charges pressed against me. I would never have escaped that act. I’m not a violent guy. I haven’t been in a real fist fight since the 9th grade. That was the last day I took Chantix. Ooh, and look who’s number one on the list…
- Varenicline (Chantix): The anti-smoking medication Chantix affects the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, which helps reduce craving for smoking. Unfortunately, it’s 18 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs — by comparison, that number for Xyban is 3.9 and just 1.9 for nicotine replacement. Because Chantix is slightly superior in terms of quit rates in comparison to other drugs, it shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out as an option for those trying to quit, however.
- Fluoxetine (Prozac): The first well-known SSRI antidepressant, Prozac is 10.9 times more likely to be linked with violence in comparison with other medications.
- Paroxetine (Paxil): An SSRI antidepressant, Paxil is also linked with more severe withdrawal symptoms and a greater risk of birth defects compared to other medications in that class. It is 10.3 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs.
- Amphetamines:: (Various) Amphetamines are used to treat ADHD and affect the brain’s dopamine and noradrenaline systems. They are 9.6 times more likely to be linked to violence, compared to other drugs.
- Mefoquine (Lariam): A treatment for malaria, Lariam has long been linked with reports of bizarre behavior. It is 9.5 times more likely to be linked with violence than other drugs.
- Atomoxetine (Strattera): Used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Strattera affects the neurotransmitter noradrenaline and is 9 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to the average medication.
- Triazolam (Halcion): A benzodiazepine which can be addictive, used to treat insomnia. Halcion is 8.7 times more likely to be linked with violence than other drugs, according to the study.
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox): An antidepressant that affects serotonin (SSRI), Luvox is 8.4 times more likely than other medications to be linked with violence
- Venlafaxine (Effexor): A drug related to Pristiq in the same class of antidepressants, both are also used to treat anxiety disorders. Effexor is 8.3 times more likely than other drugs to be related to violent behavior.
- Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq): An antidepressant which affects both serotonin and noradrenaline, this drug is 7.9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.
But what’s really concerning to me is not just that a minority of users of these drugs might flip out and punch someone in the face. I mean, that would be bad enough. No, the real concern is how many of our recent mass shootings were perpetrated by individuals using SSRIs who had not been violent previous to be prescribed an SSRI or anti-depressant. And these side affects are not unknown. Drug companies know that they can cause violence. It’s on the warning labels. Your doctor is supposed to discuss these things with you.
So, I have to ask, if so many, so so many of the mass shootings committed today, including the Navy Yard shootings by Aaron Alexis, were committed by individuals taking SSRI’s and dopamine/seratonin affecting anti-depressants why isn’t that being discussed more? While most murders committed in the US are committed by persons on no drugs at all, almost all of the mass shootings in the US are committed by individuals on SSRIs or anti-depressants. Is pharmaceutical money that coveted?
Look, there has been a very real uptick in mass shootings in the US while the actual murder rate has continued to drop. Violence, specifically gun murders, in the US are lower now than they were in the 80s and 90s and yet the number of mass shootings is rising. Why is that? There appears to me to be a very real correlation and one that has been almost completely ignored by the press and the government and this is to say nothing of suicide rates among SSRI users with veterans being the poster boys and girls for the phenomenon.
Check your medicine cabinet. Talk to your doctor and therapist. Make sure you’re on the right dosage and if you don’t feel yourself then immediately discuss it with someone who can fix it and, in an extreme situation, make sure that you can harm neither yourself nor others. SSRIs and antidepressants can gravely affect impulse control the result of which can be doing things you’d never actually do no matter how sad you were….then you take these drugs, that control gets removed, and suddenly you’re doing them.
No matter what you think of Michael Moore, check this out:
All the kids who perpetrated Columbine were taking SSRIs, all.