If you find yourself impulsively stabbing an in-law over a mildly heated discussion about politics, there could be another reason behind your sudden madness.
European researchers have found empirical evidence to support that certain medications can increase a person’s likelihood of committing homicide.
The study concluded that benzodiazepines, a class of tranquilizers used to treat anxiety, insomnia and panic disorders, as well as pain relievers such as anti-inflammatories and opioid medications can significantly increase one’s probability of killing someone, Live Science reports.
The study was comprised of several researchers who looked at data collected from 960 men and women in Finland, ages 13 to 88, who were all convicted of murder. They subsequently compared each person who committed homicide with 10 other people who were the same age and gender and lived in the same town, but had not committed homicide.
Next, the researchers searched a nationwide drug registry to determine whether those in the study had used psychiatric drugs or medications that manage pain, epilepsy, or addictions over a seven-year period. They also surveyed police reports to check whether the convicts were considered to have been impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the murders.
The findings ultimately determined that tranquilizers increased the risk of committing a homicide by 45 percent, opioid pain relievers elevated risk by 92 percent, and the use of anti-inflammatory pain relievers were tied to an increased risk of more than 200 percent.
Just a tad concerning, no?
Researchers also found that the risk of homicide by someone on antidepressants were significantly lower than those on tranquilizers or opioid meds. This is a particularly interesting finding of the study, as antidepressants were thought to be a driving factor in murders committed by those taking antidepressant medications.
It is important to note, however, that researchers found an association between taking these drugs and committing murder, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship. In other words, you can’t just execute the next person who irritates you on the bus and successfully blame it on your Xanax prescription.
This report highlights ongoing concerns about the over-medicalization of society due to the continuous expansion of what constitutes a mental disorder under the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is now in its fifth edition. Many of the newly developed drugs belonging to the benzodiazepine and opioid categories that are used to treat new disorders listed under the DSM do not have conclusive reports of long-term effects, and thus their potential ramifications on the behaviors of otherwise non-murderous members of society are unknown.
Big Pharma has yet to comment on the European study.