Psychotropic Drugs

Author: Andrew Phillips
Article Published: 2011/04/20

To what degree is there a connection between psychotropic drugs and some of the violent shootings that have taken place in America?

There was Seung-Hui Cho, the undergraduate who shot up Virginia Tech killing 32 people and wounding another 25. Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were also on psychotropic drugs. This article about lawsuits against a drug company arising from other shootings shows that all the kids mentioned were on SSRI anti-depressants. There also appears to be a very real risk of attempted suicide while on anti-depressants.

I had planned to write something on this article in the National Post, but a broader question now is: "How many young people in Canada are being prescribed anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs?" As you can see here, these drugs are being given to children as young as 10. This is important, as the National Post article notes that some of the new students at the age of 19 have been on these drugs for 2 or 3 years. There is also an increased rate of obesity as a side effect of these medications, along with increased risks of both diabetes and heart disease. Ritalin is increasingly be given to children in Canada and it would be interesting to find out if any of those 1 in 4 kids have been prescribed Ritalin; and at what age.

As to young women in university, one of the causes of their depression might be "hooking-up"; where young people get together and have sex with no emotional attachment involved. A situation that Hollywood (no surprises there) has just glorified with the release of the movie "No Stings Attached" with no mention of the adverse psychological effects. Along with this depression "epidemic", the STI and STD rates in Canada are also reaching epidemic levels here and here. So how bad is it now?

There is depression and then there is Depression. "I feel sad all the time" might very well stem from not being allowed to fall down and skin your knee and learn how to stand up again. As the pressures increase as they age, young people are emotionally ill-equipped to react to disappointments that will occur-- which might make them feel sad all of the time. The second form of Depression truly is the killer. Here you have people who are so depressed they cannot move; literally. With these poor souls, if the depression does lift even slightly, they then have the energy to reach for a knife to end it; in this they succeed tragically all to often.

This is not a blanket condemnation of anti-depressants for those people who are really suffering Depression. For those people, anti-depressants truly are miracle drugs. But, in many cases, more and more evidence is pointing out that the drugs are improperly prescribed. Or worse, are even unnecessary, and are leading to serious health issues for young people. In some cases it appears that prescription drugs might even be turning them into killers.

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