Mad in America

History, Science, and the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders

Psychiatric Drugs and Violence: A Review of FDA Data Finds A Link

There has been an enduring controversy over whether psychiatric medications can trigger violent actions toward others. Read More


can drugs like antidepressants cause people to be irritable

Irritability and antidepressants



Also, can antidepressants and coffee as well as sunlight and being inactive cause people to be annoying and have a distorted perception of reality?

Sunlight/Vitamin D - Mental Health

Sunlight is actually good for mental health, due to Vitamin D synthesis.

From the Vitamin D Council -

There are some good links to studies on depression, autism, etc on the Vitamin D Council site (left-hand side, point and click).

My best,

Duane Sherry

Without being able to see the

Without being able to see the whole study I have a skeptical view of this, especially when reading their listed conflicts.

Did they screen for people being violent before they took medication? Violent? No, no I was neveeeer violent until I took this pill...

I would also think that of course there would be some risk. Medicine is frequently about the benefit/risk consideration. And seeing as people are all unique there are always going to be variations with medications, some of which may be negative.

And there are so many variables that could contribute to the "violence" that I wonder what they tried to control for. A good number of people taking medications mix those with things such as illict drugs, alcohol, etc, and never mention it.

Not to mention that the abuse of amphetamines and violence (along with other behaviors) is not new news at all. Was this also controlled for?

And given the interests they listed it is also not surprising that the drugs they did find matched up exactly to those competing interests.

It is interesting that they said:

"Thus, for 84.7% of all evaluable drugs in widespread clinical use, an association with violence appeared highly unlikely."

One study by itself is interesting but a lot more evidence and properly done studies affirming what they claim need to be done before the trumpet it blown here. I see a whole lot of possible confirmation bias going on with the blog author as well as the study.

Psychotropics and Violence


There are other studies that show the connection to psychotropics and violence. See the website of Peter Breggin, M.D. -

Also, some documented cases on WoodyMatters -

And on SSRI Stories -

IMO, we do not need lots more studies on SSRI's to determine if they cause violence... There is much research to demonstrate that they are clinically no better than placebo, and cause all kinds of damage.

IMO, we need to hold the drug companies accountable... Pharma needs to provide information on the real dangers of these drugs, along with programs to help people slowly and safely taper off of them.... One out of ten adults are on these drugs... It's time Pharma was held accountable.

Duane Sherry, M.S.


Anonymous -

What really needs to be done is get Big Pharma, and Small Pharma totally out of the funding of research, including no big 2 week junkets to ski in Switzerland for prescribers and researchers, no more huge speaker fees for researchers, etc.. Heck, here in LA one NAMI affiliate even has a number of Pharma sponsers. But, that is a pipe dream - we've got the Robert's Court. Free speech and all. If some Lost Wages Casino King can give unlimited millions to fund the campaign of a bombastic, philandering also- ran, then certainly Big Pharma will be able to exersize their free speech rights by giving millions of dollars to the various University's research departments when looking for a "study" with positive results to buy.
I think the FDA should be totally beefed up with massive bucks, as well as NIMH, NIH, etc., so they have the time to really do what they - the FDA - are supposed to do - certify drugs possibly not fatal.
I get an annoying feed from Just about every time I open my email, there is a notification of another recall of a drug that formerly had the FDA's certification as possibly not fatal. It is a very scary thing to confront, that all the gazillions of drugs I have taken lo these twenty years, being absolutely med compliant, were all certifide by this underfunded agency that recalls previously approved drugs on a daily basis.

And recently, more and more, in my compulsive consumption of information, when reading about psychotropic meds, I noticed that, say a NIMH article, or review of a range studies for a med, I noticed that they appeared to be suggesting that certain psychotropic drugs should be used for the duration of an acute event where the consumer is symptomatic - not for a maintenance regimen (sp?). So, with my Dr.'s awareness I cut out the anti-psychotic. She did not like it one bit. But I have been fine. And now I have my memory back, as well as my cognative abilities (I thought I had Alzheimers). Lost 20 pounds of med weight over the five weeks since. No longer go out to 7-11 at 3:00am after trying to resist the intense sugar cravings, for a pint or two of Haagen Daas. I actually feel little sprouts of emotion.

And sure, it is a little scary. Prior to being diagnosed, the symptoms of my Bipolar were severe, as were the consequences of my actions while symptomatic. But bad things have happened while being perfectly med compliant. Terrible,scary things. ANd, come to think of it, I never had experienced psychosis UNTIL I was put on a maintenance regimn of anti-psychotics. who does one listen to? Who can one trust?



SSRI's help millions of

SSRI's help millions of people everyday. SSRI's are not magic pills. They don't change a person. If an individual comes from a violent back round or has anger issues, they are more likely to be violent themselves. They are also usually prescribed ssri's. SSRI's are also given to people with depression, ocd, people with a chemical imbalance. It is completely unfair to lump all these different types of people with completely different back rounds into one study. Violent people will blame their behavior on anything. SSRI's do not "posses" a person and make them violent for no reason. I call Bull Shit.

Did study account for incidence of violence among untreated?

The report implies that because anti-depressants are associated with violence, that it is the medication that causes it. That seems disingenuous at best. The correct comparison would be to compare mentally ill who take meds with those who don't. Then you can see if meds are associated with increased violence or decreased. But the report does not make that comparison.

These studies might provide some useful background. Thank you

Treatment "Advocacy"


The facts trump your propaganda.

The "mentally ill" no longer need your "advocacy".
The Treatment Advocacy Center has caused enough injury and death.

Duane Sherry, M.S.

Myth.... Lie


Your brand (one size fits all) of treatment advocacy (drugs, drugs, and more drugs) is built on a myth... actually, a lie.

A big lie -

"The people will more easily fall for a big lie than a small one." -
Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampft, 1925

Duane Sherry, M.S.

Psychiatric drugs and violence

DJ, I'm afraid your biases are showing through strongly. I hear you talk about this issue of violence by those diagnosed mentally ill, but never see you present any literature evidence of this being the case (and my understanding is that the literature does NOT support the idea that violence is more likely amongst the mentally ill population).

Now that we hear actual, scientific evidence presented, you are "skeptical?" Well, I can tell you from direct, personal experience with hundreds of foster children over 14 years that 1) psychiatric drugs can and do cause violent behavior, and not that rarely, and 2) the mental health professionals I have worked with almost never consider psychiatric drugs as a possible cause of this violent behavior, but instead react by providing more "treatment" in the form of more drugs to counteract the side effects of the drugs the kids are already taking. I have often seen kids (just had one last month) who were taking 3, 4, or up to even 7 drugs, who were still having massive behavioral issues, who STOPPED taking these drugs and were MUCH BETTER within a few weeks' time. In my most recent case, all violent incidents stopped, the child is less argumentative, more empathetic, more easily redirected, and generally more socially engaged and enjoyable to be around, once the drugs were out of his system. He was being made much worse in an effort to make him better.

I am not saying all violence is caused by psychiatric drugs. But to try and deny a thorough and objective review of the literature shows you to be opposed to actual science when it conflicts with your personal views or needs. You may not know or remember this, but Prozac was originally banned in Germany, and I believe Italy as well, because of the concern for violent incidents being a side effect. There have also been dozens of lawsuits, mostly settled out of court, alleging this fact, and there has been significant testimony in Congress to this effect, as well as some famous criminal defenses based on the idea that SSRIs caused violent acts.

This is not new news, and most psychiatrists will even admit it, though they tend to blame it on the patient as usual (well, he must have been bipolar, because bipolar patients can get aggressive on SSRIs...) If you are trying to pretend that these drugs can't have these effects, it's time to remove your head from the sand or wherever you've got it stuck and look at the actual data. There is NO QUESTION that these drugs cause violence, and we are being very irresponsible by not informing all of our clients of this possibility and screening for it at every appointment or aggressive incident. It's high time the field of psychiatry developed some quality control standards and began to adhere to scientific data rather than wishful thinking.

The fact that you are "skeptical" doesn't keep people from dying or killing others. Let's stick to facts and keep our personal feelings on the back burner, because the people whom we are supposedly trying to help are the ones suffering for our unwillingness to look the truth in the eye.

---- Steve

All I know is that once I was

All I know is that once I was given a sedative at the dentist and instead of the dreamy sleep I planned on, I went into a violent rage that I felt unable to escape. It took hours before I was calm and acting like myself. I have never acted that way before.

Better late than never

For the thousands of families destroyed by the "adverse events" of anti-depressants, I'd say Psychology Today has arrived pretty late to the table. But kudos for getting out there with this post. If you follow the money and that ain't hard with the companies producing the anti-depressants, you'll find the usual suspects: flimsy research, doctored findings, bullied reps, false advertising, etc.

Actually DJ is correct is

Actually DJ is correct is about this being poor science. This is false logic. The connection cannot be made in this way. A study must be conducted in the way in which DJ described in order for it to able to valid conclusions.

Actually you are using false

Actually you are using false logic by assuming that people could have been violent before these drugs because there is plenty of actual evidence of people who had never been violent, becoming violent on these drugs. Pages and pages. Besides, these kinds of mass shootings were EXTREMELY rare before 1950s, when these drugs started being mass prescribed. SSRIs date coincide with an enormous increase of the mass shootings and an increase in suicides. You don't even need case studies, because they date coincide and pure statistical studies of what was changed in what year shows quite clearly that these drugs is the only major change in what is happening and therefore are the cause. If you wish to close your eyes, nobody can open them for you. Even just the fact that most psychiatric drugs get banned right before their patent expires should be enough to see this industry for what it is. Hell, it spends 4x more on marketing than research. DSM is a shameful hoax, psychiatrists voting on what is a disease and what is not. The whole subject is unscientific. There is no set of axioms, no standard terminology, no standard diagnosis, no actual scientific tests to determine a disease. They are talking about chemical imbalance but there is no chemical tests made to pronounce you ill. And there is no actual scientific proof of any chemical imbalance existing yet they claim they are trying to fix the nonexistent imbalance by balancing it with drugs that bypass your metabolic pathways. And you talk about science? Don't make me laugh. I worked with the people on these drugs, taking them off. Every single one got rid of all the urges and other side effects at the end, case history upon case history. And they include violent behavior or thoughts which were never manifest before they started taking these drugs. Why would a violent person be diagnosed with a depression? Did you see a lot of depressed people being violent? Apathy and sadness are not violent, and apathy and sadness is what depression is, by definition. Talk about logic. Seriously.

Seeing is believing

All I know is that when my depressed teenager went on an anti depressant he became extremely agitated -- requiring hospitalization. It was like he was drinking fifty cups of coffee every day or had ants crawling all over his skin. Like many other families we were told first that no way could it be the anitdepressant and second that he must be bipolar because only bipolar people become manic on antidepressants. (We will never know, will we, whether we could have avoided all of it if we had put him in therapy or--heaven forbid--left him alone.)

I know that SSRIs help a lot of people. Sometimes they don't. And in my personal experience, sometimes they make it worse. It would not surprise me at all to learn that some kids are better than others at hiding their mounting agitation until it is too late.

BTW, I would be willing to bet a lot of money, based on the 'deny,deny,deny' reaction of the treating physicians, that my son's experience never wound up in any adverse events database.

Psych meds

I have taken psyche meds for over 15 years, rarely giving any trouble as the wheelbarrows full of meds filled my closet. They became overwhelming with their side effects, so, on my own I started checking out the dementia-like slog through a feild of molassas with other med professionals. I also reflected, and parsed together old appointment calandars...and, well, it did not turn out sowell. I totally trusted my provider's/prescribers, but boy, what a slow,terrible turn of the screw this last year has been. I am scared of medical professionals now. They do not take it lightly at all when you start to question the ivory tower of indoctrination, as well as their ethics. This last year and a half has been horrible. If it was not for my love of my kittens, I would pull the plug, coz they certainly have me by the short and curlies.
I am actually gooing to lose my housing because of the bs my provider has flung far and wide about me.
All I've got to say, once again, the Emporer (sp?) has no clothes.

Congesswoman + CDC rule not to study SSRI link to gun-mania.

Congersswoman Betty McCollum at Oakdale, MN. Townhall Meeting on 01/26/2013; On YouTube at 39.30 min. into the meeting...
when asked if we have a gun controll problem or the likes of a SSRI drug mania problem. Congresswoman McCollum said the she was prevented from the study of any link, and that rule did "frost her cookies" but that there were powerfull lobbies that influenced debate and then she cahaged the topic.

Give me a break

Totally found this crazy "Antidepressants were responsible for 572 case reports of violence toward others; the three ADHD drugs for 108; and the hypnotic/sedatives for 97." Note: 1 in 10 Americans take this type of drug. For them to say the drug was responsible is crazy- how the heck do they know? Did the drug itself talk to them??. So if the people were taking the drug and they did something bad they automatically blame it on the medicine?!? like some sort of excuse! These people have issues so sick of people acting like 5 year olds pointing fingers! We need better mental health in this country. I take medication several of my family members and friends take medication to help with a chemical in balance that is very common among people . Should those of us taking meds become flight risks? Get locked up in a padded room?? No, because I know that I would never hurt anyone (unless they mess with my family but really I have a heart like so many others! Medicine doesnt turn me and others cold and heartless. People that do these things are psychotic and have no conscience- because how could someone with a conscience do this?? Ok off my soap box. Ugh sorry

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Robert Whitaker is a journalist who writes mostly about medicine and science; his latest book is Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illnes more...

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