Monday, February 18, 2008

The Northern Illinois shooter

When I first heard about yet another college campus mass murder, I thought: "I'll lay odds that this guy had recently stopped taking a psychotropic drug."

For several days all I read was what a mystery it was that a guy who was a good student, had a girlfriend, was liked by other students and his professors would do something like this.

Then I read a short blurb in the paper quoting his girlfriend, who mentioned in an almost offhand way, after saying what a great, caring, sensitive guy he was, that he didn't like the effects of the anti-depressents he was taking, so he stopped taking them.

Bingo.

Why is there such reluctance to point this out? So many of the school shootings, both college and high school, have been associated with psychotroic drugs (especially the withdrawal from them) that it is pretty clearly not a coincidence. Look at the research abotut he side effects of drugs like Luvox, Effexor and Paxil - the FDA is considering enhancing its warning labels on these drugs to identify the enhanced risks of suicidal thoughts among young adults who take them. Those warnings already exist for adolescents.

The FDA research on these drugs shows that depending on the drug, from about .5% to 1% of people taking it will have a side effect of "mania" or "hypomania," described as "a terrible form of insanity including symptoms of sexual compulsions, criminal behavior, alcohol cravings, rages leading to domestic violence, delusions of grandeur -- often mistaken for increased self confidence, wild spending and varied types of criminal behavior."

Why are we surprised when another shooting happens? Why does the media feign confusion over why someone would do such a thing? Why do they not look FIRST to the question of psychotropic drugs? Why are they so reluctant to lay these atrocities at the doorstep of the psychiatric profession?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

> Why is there such
> reluctance to point this out?

There isn't. It has been in, literally, every news story I've read about this incident.

BTW, they have no said what medications he stopped taking. Best to withhold judgement until you have all the facts.

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