From the July 2009 Idaho Observer:

The growing epidemic of antidepressant drug abuse

This past month, two families close to Don and I were devastated by a family member committing suicide, leaving several children without a parent. The first incident occurred on Father’s Day when the father of three young children went into the bathroom, put a gun to his head and blew his brains out. The second incident was a mother who left her eight-year-old son with a relative while she went for an evening walk. She laid herself on the railroad tracks and waited for a train. The paramedics and police who were called to the scene were reportedly so traumatized by her remains that they were encouraged to seek psychiatric help, possibly leading to a prescription for antidepressants. Both deceased parents had been prescribed antidepressants and had been taking the drugs for several years. Although both families had access to information regarding the real danger of taking antidepressants (homicidal and/or suicidal ideations), most of us know how other family members often don’t listen until disaster strikes.

The last time I wrote about this class of drugs in Back to Basics was in 2001 (See "Prozac’s House of Horrors," The IO, April 2001). In light of these two recent suicides occurring in our friend’s families, we felt that it was important to revisit the danger of antidepressants once again. Since most people have access to the internet either in their homes or at their local library, readers are encouraged to go the website from where some of the information below was obtained: " is a collection of 3,100+ news stories with the full articles available, mainly criminal in nature, that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) or that were part of FDA testimony in either 1991, 2004 or 2006, in which antidepressants are mentioned."

"...there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be

distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods."

~Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1959)


By Ingri Cassel

Since 1988 pharmaceutical companies have been advertising that, if you suffer from depressive feelings, you must have a "biochemical imbalance" in your brain. After Prozac was licensed in 1987, Eli Lily’s marketing arm blamed this chemical imbalance on the neurotransmitter "serotonin," using this theory to explain most emotional problems a person may be experiencing today. Once Eli Lily’s patent ran out, other pharmaceutical companies came out with many variants of the SSRI-antidepressant to capitalize on its popularity, thereby spreading this theory even further.

Actually, nobody in the medical field really knows if a "biochemical imbalance" is the cause of any mental disorder and they do not even know how the hypothesized "biochemical imbalances" could produce the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms that characterize any mental disorder. Clever marketing tactics put forth by the pharmaceutical industry have prevailed over scientific evidence and research. Greed, disrespect and contempt for the general population has set the standard in healthcare today rather than the Hippocratic Oath doctors and nurses have sworn to uphold.

Antidepressants have been recognized as potential inducers of mania and psychosis since their introduction in the 1950s. Klein and Fink (1) described psychosis as an adverse effect of the older tricyclic antidepressant imipramine. Since the introduction of Prozac in December, 1987, there has been a massive increase in the number of people taking antidepressants. Preda and Bowers (2) reported that over 200,000 people a year in the U.S. enter a hospital with antidepressant-associated mania and/or psychosis. The subsequent harm from prescribing SSRI drugs can be seen in the 3,100 news articles and stories posted at

The majority of anti-depressants prescribed today are known as SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs and are known by such brand names as Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro and Sarafem. Other newer antidepressants included in this list are Remeron, Anafranil and the SNRIs Effexor, Serzone, Cymbalta and Pristiq as well as the dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant Wellbutrin (also marketed as Zyban).

The Physicians’ Desk Reference

The Physicians’ Desk Reference lists the following adverse reactions or side effects to antidepressants among a host of other physical and neuropsychiatric effects:

• Manic Reaction (Mania, e.g., Kleptomania,

Pyromania, Dipsomania)

• Abnormal Thinking

• Hallucinations

• Personality Disorder

• Amnesia

• Agitation

• Psychosis

• Abnormal Dreams

• Emotional Lability (Or Instability)

• Alcohol Abuse and/or Craving

• Hostility

• Paranoid Reactions

• Confusion

• Delusions

• Sleep Disorders

• Akathisia (Severe Inner Restlessness)

• Discontinuation (Withdrawal) Syndrome

Adverse reactions are most likely to occur when starting or discontinuing the drug, increasing or lowering the dose or when switching from one SSRI to another. Adverse reactions are often diagnosed as bipolar disorder when the symptoms may be entirely iatrogenic (treatment induced). Withdrawal, especially abrupt withdrawal, from any of these medications can cause severe neuropsychiatric and physical symptoms. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, often over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced specialist, if available.

FDA Public Health Advisories

• On March 22, 2004 the FDA published a Public Health Advisory that reiterates several of these side effects and states (in part) "Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and non-psychiatric."

• On September 14, 2004, the FDA added a Black Box Warning in regard to the increase in suicidal ideation from antidepressants in those under age 18.

• On September 14, 2004, the FDA mandated that pharmacies provide to all parents or guardians for those younger than 18 an "Antidepressant Patient Medication Guide." This guide reads (in part), "Call healthcare provider right away if you or your family member has any of the following symptoms: Acting aggressive, being angry, or violent & acting on dangerous impulses." This Antidepressant Patient Medication Guide also states "Never stop an antidepressant medicine without first talking to a healthcare provider. Stopping an antidepressant medicine suddenly can cause other symptoms."

• On December 13, 2006, the Black Box Warning for suicidality was updated to include those under age 25. The Black Box Warning is included in the insert to these drugs and in the Physicians’ Desk Reference.

School Shootings/Incidents involving SSRIs

Most of the stories posted at describe events that occurred after the year 2000. The increase in online news material and the efficiency of search engines has greatly increased the ability to track stories. Even these 3,100+ documented stories only represent the tip of an iceberg since most stories do not make it into the media. There are 69 cases of bizarre behavior, 48 school shootings/incidents, 61 road rage tragedies, 13 air rage incidents, 45 postpartum depression cases, over 600 murders (homicides), over 190 murder-suicides and other acts of violence including workplace violence that are documented at

An absence of controlled scientific evidence

In the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Volume 14, Number 1, Spring 2009), there is a journal article by Joel M. Kauffman, Ph.D., "Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Drugs: More Risk Than Benefits?" In reference to, Dr. Kaufmann made the following statement: "Since no clinical trial involving multiple homicides is ever likely to be run, no firmer evidence is likely to be found. Healy noted that much of the evidence for suicide and murder came from the efforts of journalists and lawyers."

Japanese warning on violence

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan has investigated reports where people on antidepressants have committed sudden acts of violence against others. The agency has decided to revise the warnings on the medication guide to read, "There are cases where we cannot rule out a causal relationship with the medication."

A public health problem of epidemic proportions

There is a grave concern among advocates that adverse reactions are greatly underestimated by the public, the medical profession and regulatory authorities. Each of the stories listed at can be interpreted as adverse reactions to drugs. Most of the articles highlight bizarre behavior changes that describe symptoms consistent with drug reactions. In some stories causation is acknowledged and the juxtaposition of these stories with those where it goes unrecognized as well as the repetition of themes and circumstances is chilling. If, indeed, "medications" played significant roles in these tragedies, then this is a public health problem of epidemic proportions on a global scale.


1. Klein DF, Fink M. Psychiatric Reaction Patterns to Imipramine. Am Journal Psychiatry 1962; 119: 432-438

2. Preda and Bowers. Antidepressant-Associated Mania and Psychosis Resulting in Psychiatric Admissions . Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2001: 62: 30-33

WARNING! Withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on an SSRI medication. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, usually over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified specialist.

What you can do

• Educate your community. Purchase Kevin Miller’s excellent documentary "Generation Rx" from The Idaho Observer (see ad below) or get your public library to order a copy of this film. Ask your library if there is a public meeting room for showing documentaries. Reserve the room for a public showing of "Generation Rx" and donate it to the library after your event. Make flyers, fax a public service announcement to your local radio station and ask your local newspaper to post your event in the calendar section of the newspaper. Writing letters to the editor for your local newspaper is still one of the most effective ways to get your message out to large numbers of people.

• If you know someone who is experiencing depression or mood swings, immediately warn them of the dangers of this class of drugs. Dr. Julian Whitaker recommends the following:

"Faith, religion, meditation, friends, family, and counseling can help you weather grief, worry, change, and other aspects of the human condition. Regular exercise is an excellent mood lifter, and a diet containing minimal amounts of starches and sugar prevents drops in blood sugar levels that can affect mood. Correcting hormone imbalances, particularly those involving thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones, also makes a big difference.

"So does a good nutritional supplement program. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies are associated with depression, so take six to eight fish oil capsules daily. SAMe (200-400 mg) and St. John’s wort (900 mg) are proven mood enhancers, and vitamin B12 (1,000 mcg), magnesium (500-1,000 mg), and zinc (30-50 mg) are also helpful. All of these supplements should be taken daily in divided doses."