Twenty Dead Schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn.

Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was taking medication, according to a neighbor. Here’s what someone said in 2008: “Every young, male shooter [who] has gone on a killing spree in the United States also has a history of treatment with psychotropic drugs — typically SSRI antidepressants. These shootings have three things in common: 1) The shooters are young males. 2) The shooters exhibit a mind-numbed disconnect with reality. 3) The shooters have a history of taking psychiatric medications.”

Lanza was considered by his mom to have Asperger’s. No doubt that, and the associated isolation, had something to do with the medication. As I point out every year at Nobel Prize time, the research methods favored by the healthcare establishment have done little to reduce major diseases, such as depression.  With few exceptions, year after year little progress is made on figuring out the environmental cause of anything, including Asperger’s and autism. The result of this lack of progress is that almost every serious health problem, including mental health problems, gets treated with drugs or surgery rather than prevented or treated safely with necessary nutrients (as scurvy is treated with lime juice). The little progress that is made in finding environmental causes is undervalued. The researchers who figured out that smoking causes lung cancer didn’t even get a Nobel Prize. The effect of failing year after year to find environmental causes is that people take more and more drugs with little-known or unknown side effects, which are almost always bad. The association of SSRI antidepressants and violence is still unknown to many people, for example. The problem has been made worse by drug companies hiding data. As Ben Goldacre says in Bad Pharma, one of the worst cases involved an antidepressant called paroxetine, whose manufacturer (GlaxoSmithKline) withheld data about its tendency to cause suicide. My work has suggested that a lot of depression may be due to lack of exposure to faces in the morning, an idea utterly different than the neurochemical theories of depression favored by psychiatrists.  I am sure that seeing faces in the morning is safer than taking psychiatric drugs.



14 Replies to “Twenty Dead Schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn.”

  1. What’s worse, if many of these autism or Aspergers cases are a result of overdiagnosis, then many of them shouldn’t be treated with antidepressants to begin with.

  2. I told my doctor I was a stressed for years, and managed to get a handle on it with mindfulness, lifestyle changes, and a lot of practice. I said it still felt like there was a lingering susceptibility to stress, despite my new-found above-average coping ability. For example, waking up in a “bad mood” or starting to feel easily antagonised in the afternoon. I figured years of exposing myself to stress probably left some physical damage somewhere that would require more than just “switching off” the habituated stress response.

    I don’t know if there was a communication issue or not, but my doctor offered me SSRIs as a “solution”. I said I didn’t feel they would address a susceptibility when I felt I had the psychological side under control, and I expressed my concern about the side-effects. It’s also worth mentioned that at no point was I depressed. He said he couldn’t see any physical cause and that SSRIs weren’t addictive like prozac (I was thinking more weight-gain, hair loss, impotence, osteoporosis etc…).

    It wasn’t until a while later when I started messing around with a glucometer that I saw I was getting wild postprandial swings in blood glucose (10.7mmol/L to 5.4 within 25-minutes), and mild hypoglycaemia at night time. I’m not going to claim this explains everything, or that the device is 100% accurate, but 5-weeks of exercise (2x resistance, 1x HIIT per week) and taking care to balance meals to avoid BG spikes has done wonders for mood and also aches/pains etc already.

    I can’t understand why my doctor would consider SSRIs as a *first* option without any evidence other than a subjective impression from a poorly communicated consultation. It’s no wonder so many children are ending up on these things, and it really worries me what could’ve happened if I’d taken up the offer. Would I ever have been able to diagnose the BG problem? Would the hormonal changes that result from SSRIs have masked or worsened it in any way? Sometimes I think the term “evidence-based” is just a empty buzzword when it comes to medicine.

    Seth: Good story. Medicine is now evidence-based by comparison to what it used to be.

  3. Isn’t there a correlation problem here? Young men sufficiently mad to mass-murder infants are probably sufficiently mad to have been diagnosed and put on drugs. You can’t really conclude that the drugs must be to blame for the murder, can you?

    Seth: Some psychiatric drugs are debilitating, i.e., disabling. It is far from obvious that people sufficiently able to do a school shooting must be on psychiatric drugs. Because of this, the drug-school shooting correlation deserves scrutiny. My belief that psychiatric drugs may cause (= increase) violence is based on experiments. People get placebo or drug. People in the drug group are more violent than people in the placebo group. It is becoming more accepted that some psychiatric drugs cause suicide. There are similarities between killing yourself and killing others.

  4. I read the article you mentioned (here’s what someone said in 2008). I’m upset. The more I read about psychotropic medications from critical authors, the more I realize how little, if at all, they benefit patients taking them. In some instances there are short-term benefits, but long-term outcomes (more than five years) are worse for those taking psychotropic substances. This applies to antidepressants, antipsychotics, and tranquilizers. Psychotropic substances make you sicker, not better.

    Educating people gives them power. You are most invested in your health. Big pharma doesn’t care, and is ready to misinform, disguise, and lie to keep profits high. Doctors are misinformed and base their decisions on ostensibly scientific pamphlets provided by pharmaceutical companies. A young doctor once explained monoamine hypothese to me using a cartoon. In the bottom corner of the cartoon was an antidepressant logo. It’s messed up.

  5. I wonder if your imagination will work for morning faces?

    i.e., 20 minutes of eyes closed and just picturing a face in your mind’s eye?

    I mention this because of the practical difficuly of viewing artificial morning faces.

  6. Watching a morning talk show for twenty minutes seems way way way easier and more practical than imagining faces with your eyes closed for 20 minutes.

    Seth: Morning talk shows have a low density of the necessary faces: life size looking at the camera. Long ago I used Booknotes (C-Span), now I use

  7. I got chemical sensitivities very suddenly 25 years ago. I moved into a new empty cabin and discovered that my moods were influenced by a new rug, the new telephone, a ladder which had was covered with wood stain, and so on.

    Then an environmental doctors suggested I test myself for propane allergy and sure enough, when I turned off the gas, I lost depression and went from 11 hours sleep a night to 9. She suggested i do a trial without wheat and voila! less depression and aches and no more constipation. later i got rid of mercury, and last of depression was GONE. I wake up happy every day.

    I knew a woman who was depressed, and had tried all kinds of talk therapy to get over it. i suggested maybe she was allergic to coffee, because she talked about her coffee a lot and poeple are often allegic to their favorite foods. Two days later, she came by: you were right, it was the coffee!

    Bottom line, many mental and emotional states from anxiety to schizophrenia are caused by intolerance to chemicals and foods and molds. I have read of a severely autistic kid who became totally normal when they figured out her particular food allergies. Another woman lost 20 pounds and got over her depression when she found out she was allergic to dairy.

    I have a theory that the Unibomber was allergic to chemicals: he went over the edge when he worked in a chemical factory.

    Also, I suspect that some are allergic to the antidepressants.

    Seth: Very interesting. Especially the coffee story.

  8. Check out the work of David Healy – the psychiatrist who drew the most attention to the link between SSRIs and suicidality (as well as other forms of violence). This YOUTUBE video outlines the manipulations that were used to approve and promote SSRIs. Its also a serious challenge to the thinking behind evidence based medicine – as has been taken up in this blog, as well.
    Very sobering.

  9. I think this version is more correct: 1) The shooters are young males. 2) The shooters exhibit a mind-numbed disconnect with reality. 3) The shooters had easy access to firearms.

    There is not conclusive evidence of SSRIs causing violence, only a vaguely understood correlation. Like the NRA focusing on video games, turning the discussion from gun control to SSRIs wanders from the realm of statistics and into conjecture territory. Focusing on SSRIs distracts from the larger problems of gun and mental health services (in general). Just my 2¢, respect to Seth and all other commenters.

    Seth: The evidence about SSRIs and violence collected by David Healy is considerably more than “a vaguely understood correlation.” It isn’t all correlational, either. Healy did an experiment.

  10. Two things, a friend of mine was on Prozac briefly and she said it made her have extremely violent thoughts/urges. It was all she could do to keep herself from hurting herself or others. I am not affiliated but believe in Dr Campbell-McBride’s theories/results very strongly. I have a nephew with aspergers and he does much much better on GAPS (which removes diary, gluten and all processed foods from the diet and restores beneficial bacteria).

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