While most of the discussion about school violence centers around gun control, other suggested reasons for gun violence include mental illness, lax security, lagging emergency response, bullying, violent media games and videos. Another potential contributor routinely ignored is adverse effects of psychiatric drugs.
How often have you heard that a reason young people kill other young people may be medication related? Rarely.
Dr. Julian Whitaker’s May 2018 article, “What You Need to Know About Psychiatric Drugs” details the effects of psych drugs on teens. He points out that the Parkland murderer has a long history of depression and other mental and emotional problems, and while Whitaker admits he is not privy to the shooter’s medical records, there is documented evidence that the majority of perpetrators of high profile mass shootings and murder-suicides in recent years were taking or had recently taken antidepressants, antipsychotics or other mind altering medications.
Whitaker admits that psych drugs do not make everybody crazy or homicidal, but there is more than enough evidence to at least consider the possibility that those medications may play some role in accelerating incidences of violence.
He explains, “Antidepressants are notorious for causing anxiety, aggressiveness, agitation, hostility, irritability, social withdrawal, insomnia, and increased risk of suicide, especially among young people”. He also explains that the FDA knows this and requires a black box label warning — the most serious type of drug warning that antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents and young adults. He cautions that those on psych drugs should not stop taking them cold turkey as it can cause withdrawal symptoms and heightened side effects.
It seems clear that when looking for reasons for teenage violence, failure to recognize all possible factors does a disservice to society. It also seems clear we need to figure out why so many young people are considered in need of mind altering medications.