America is always shocked, bewildered and then angry when a child kills his/her parents. The media goes into a frenzy every time a shooter takes multiple lives. We all wonder why these things happen? Why do these people escape the notice of neighbors, teachers, co-workers and even medical professionals? The truth is they don't.
The American public has been programmed to seek "the magic pill", through suggestive advertising and the focus of the medical community on symptoms instead of life changing cures. We are told that if you aren't quite "feeling like yourself", there is a pill that will make it better. Our friends talk about their medications, it comes up in workplace conversation and drug companies are allowed to advertise, promote and challenge you to ask your doctor about the benefits of their product. As a result of these fabrications and misconceptions Americans have become addicted, if not to the pharmaceutical itself, to the idea that we should always feel at our best.
The majority of addicts are not in prisons but in our communities because the drugs that they are dependent on are legal, publicly accepted and widely prescribed. Some of these drugs may also be the cause of the walking time bombs that go off in the form of mass shootings and other violent disasters involving children, teens and adults in our cities. The travesty in all of this is that the medical community. drug companies and the FDA are completely aware of these potential dangers and have done little to address the problem. While we hear about the teen who was diagnosed as having mental problems, we are not told of the drug cocktail prescribed to try and help him to "act normally". We think that the mentally ill person who just committed that terrible crime was not under medical supervision and he/she committed the terrible act because they were mentally ill. We think that the mentally ill person was probably "too far gone" and needed to be institutionalized. We hear about a person who committed suicide and we shake our heads thinking that they lost the battle with their illness.
Let us deal with the term mentally ill first. This is from the website of "Mental Health America"
What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.
Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events. As with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. Mental illnesses may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these. With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder.
According to the first sentences of the description we could all be classified mentally ill because of the life events we have endured. Lost your job of 10 years and can't find comparable employment? Is this leaving you anxious, depressed, hopeless? Do you spend most of the day staring out the window instead of doing your chores, interacting with your family or taking a walk? You are mentally ill. Yet these life events are something every single one of us experience (or something like it) in the course of our years on earth. There are wonderful professionals who help by listening, encouraging and motivating individuals. They help develop action plans, changes in habits and encourage and applaud every little victory. More often than necessary professionals prescribe drugs to help these individuals get through those little bumps in life....just until they can get back on track. The same holds true with our children. Ask any parent who has dealt with a teenager and they will tell you that those years are more difficult that the terrible two's and three's. Teenage kids have mood swings, they rebel, they talk back, they argue, they ignore their responsibilities in favor of hanging with friends and they make questionable decisions. There are professionals that help parents deal with this time of raging hormones by prescribing medications "just until they get through this phase".
The most dangerous of all this information is that the drugs often prescribed for these life events have lethal and debilitating side effects and consequences. Even more important they have been prescribed for our children without clinical trials, without medical research and we have paid a very high price. The death of our children.
Most of America is aware of the Columbine Shooting that happened in Colorado in 1999. Many were horrified by the scenes unfolding on their television sets as police surrounded a school that was under attack by shooters. America was equally shocked by the revelation that the shooters were boys and members of that school. What was never widely publicized was the connection between that day and prescription drugs.
Between 1988 when Prozac was approved and 2006, there were 46 incidents of school violence involving 48 children and adolescents. Of these, 38% were reported in media, websites or books to be taking psychiatric drugs or were withdrawing from them at the time of their shooting spree. The relationship of psychiatric drugs in the remaining incidents of violence has not been publicly disclosed or the person’s records are sealed. Frequently, antidepressants were implicated.
April: In Idaho, 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school,
narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and
April: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree in their Columbine,
Colorado school, killing 13 and wounding 23. CCHR and others pressured to have
the Coroner re-test the teens’ blood for psychiatric drugs. The Coroner subsequently
confirmed that Harris’ blood contained a therapeutic dose of the SSRI antidepressant,
Luvox. Clinical trials showed that 4% of children taking the drug experienced mania,
a condition known to result in violent behavior. Colorado State Rep. Penn Pfiffner,
chaired a hearing on the possible connection of violent behavior and psychotropic
drugs, stating, “There is enough coincidence and enough professional opinion from
legitimate scientists to cause us to raise the issue and to ask further questions.” “If
we’re only interested in debating gun laws and metal detectors,” said Pfiffner, “then
we as legislators aren’t doing our job.”105
May: CCHR produced a White Paper Psychiatry and The Creation of Senseless Violence
detailing examples of psychiatric-drug induced crime and medical studies proving
that such drugs precipitate murderous acts. More than 10,000 copies of the report
were distributed to legislators, educators and media in the U.S.
May: Kelly Patricia O’Meara, a former Congressional staff who was writing for
Washington Times’ Insight Magazine wrote a story based on CCHR’s and her own
research, titled “Guns and Doses.” It showed the common link between high-school
shootings and psychiatric drugs.
March 1: Matthew Smith, aged 14, died of a heart attack after being prescribed Ritalin
for several years. A Michigan coroner determined that his heart showed clear signs of
the small blood vessel damage caused by stimulants, concluding that he had died from
the long-term use of Ritalin. Matthew was forced onto the drug through his school,
with the parents threatened with charges of medical and education neglect if they
refused to put him on the drug.112 Psychiatrists at the time dismissed the coroner’s
findings. [See January 5, 2006 entry on warnings the FDA eventually issued, more than
40 years after Ritalin had been on the market.]
May 25: An Australian judge blamed an SSRI for turning a peaceful, law abiding
man, David Hawkins, into a violent killer. Judge Barry O’Keefe of the New South
Wales Supreme Court said that had Mr. Hawkins not taken the antidepressant, “it is
overwhelmingly probable that Mrs. Hawkins would not have been killed….”
June: A Wyoming jury awarded $8 million to the relatives of a man, Donald Schell,
who went on a shooting rampage after taking Paxil and killed his wife, daughter,
granddaughter and himself. The jury determined that the drug was 80% responsible
for the killing spree. (excerpts from Citizens Commission on Human Rights)
You can read the full report from Citizens Commission on Human Rights on the testimonies, clinical studies, reports and hearings concerning the documented dangers of drugs like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Ritalin and others. Not only are the drugs dangerous when the patient is taking the drug but the effects of withdrawal from the medication can be equally as dangerous. It was also finally admitted that there was no lab test available to prove a chemical imbalance in the brain causing any mental disorder. It was all a marketing hoax. (see the closing quote).
Most outrageous of all is the extremes with which drug companies, medical institutions and even our government have kept this information from being widely distributed to the public. The public has been submitted to the pain and loss from violent outbursts but has not been made aware that it's own actions (or inaction) may very well be the cause. We have and continue to give very dangerous drugs to our children. We have questioned the increase of depression, suicidal behavior, the increase of violence, the increase of obsessive behaviors such as cutting and eating disorders that have become all too familiar in our youth. The answer may well come in the form of drug treatment given to children and our own lack of connection to each other as people.
What are we too expect? We are a nation that looks for the quick fix for everything from depression to weak knees to sore muscles and a lack of energy. We don't exercise, eat right, sleep well and we don't connect with others, the very things that promote wellness in people. We don't take the time to educate, direct and listen to each other....we certainly don't have the time to do it with a teenager who is trying to figure out the world.
We need to take a good hard look at ourselves, our decisions, our lack of knowledge and our ability to be deceived by pharmaceutical companies (the modern day snake oil salesman). Then we need to ask the most difficult question: Who is ultimately responsible for Columbine, Virginia Tech and others? These kids were under the supervision of adults who trusted medical professionals. These kids were under the jurisdiction of their parents and doctors and ultimately had to take (or in some cases, refuse to take) mind altering drugs with KNOWN side effects that destroyed their lives and the lives of others. We are responsible. the adults, and they have payed the price for our ignorance with their very lives. It is time to stand against drug companies and FOR OUR CHILDREN. Then we need to figure out how we are going to correct the damage caused families, to the lives of the children who have been sentenced to dwell in cages for the rest of their lives, and to the communities who have witnessed these tragedies. We need accountability from the professionals and the drug companies who cared more about profits than our children. We allowed this to happen through our ignorance and it is time we acted responsibly to fix it. Only by repairing the harm can we truly heal and become stronger.
In 2005, the APA’s president, Stephen Sharfstein and other psychiatrists were forced to
admit there is no lab test to prove a chemical imbalance in the brain causing any “mental
disorder.” The marketing hoax was finally exposed but by then 30 million Americans
were taking the drugs. In January 2008, the New England Journal of Medicine vindicated
CCHR when a study it published revealed the effectiveness of antidepressants had
been exaggerated and that many negative studies of the drugs were never published.
In fact, the drugs are no more effective than taking placebo (dummy pill).
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