Avariety of news sources have reported that Cho Seung Hui, the VirginiaTech shooter who killed 32 students and faculty members in a shootingrampage, was taking antidepressant drugs.
Antidepressants have also been used by the perpetrators of previous and similar acts of violence, including the shootings at Columbine High School eight years ago.
There are known links between antidepressants and violent acts. Researchon the drug Paxil found that more than twice as many people taking itexperienced a serious "hostility event" as did those taking a placebo. In the United States,labels for all antidepressants note that anxiety, agitation, panicattacks, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, andmania are all possible side effects.
Part of the cause may bethe disconnect with reality these drugs sometimes reportedly cause. Inanother study of the links between antidepressants and violence, a12-year-old boy who killed his grandparents while he was on a course ofantidepressants said that the whole incident seemed like a dream, andhe was unsure whether or not it had really happened.
New York Times April 17, 2007
Yahoo News April 17, 2007
Chicago Tribune April 17, 2007
While keeping up with the reports on the Virginia Tech University killings in Blacksburg, VA,I was not surprised when I learned, from the Chicago Tribune and othersources, that the shooter had taken antidepressant drugs.
In fact, even before this was reported, I couldn't help thinking about other incidents, among them the Columbine High School rampage that took place almost eight years ago to the day, and wondering if antidepressants were somehow involved.
You may not recall a lesser-known case in Washington state sixyears ago in which a high school student took a rifle to school andheld classmates and a teacher hostage, probably because this incidentwasn't associated with any deaths. What prompted the teen's aggression?An abrupt switchover from Paxil to a high dose of Effexor.
Or, perhaps, consider the sad case of Andrea Yates who drowned her five small children in a Houston suburb, shortly after a revised antidepressant regimen that included Effexor and Remeron.
When will they learn that drugs are rarely the answer and that there are so many better options?
Given the facts, it would be a stretch to believe all these tragic incidents weren't linked to antidepressants. Time will tell if these often toxic drugs will be connected once again to another tragedy of unbelievable proportions, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were.
Cho was obviously seriously depressed and required effectivetreatment options, NOT drugs, which have great potential to actuallyworsen the problem or even trigger suicide, as antidepressant drugs have been clearly shown to increase the risk of suicide and other dangerous behaviors. If you are depressed, there are far safer and healthier options available to you than taking any drug:
- Take a high-quality omega-3 fatty oil. Krill oil isparticularly helpful here as the phosphate bonding helps absorb itbetter into your brain than fish oil.
- Start an exercise program today. This is one of the best-kept secrets for fighting depression.
- Learn how to use an energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique.For serious problems, it would be prudent to not treat yourself withEFT; instead, contact a health care professional who is trained in thetechnique. You can use the list of guidelines and practitioners compiled by Dr. Patricia Carrington.
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