Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another Disaster at Virginia Tech

So I'm sitting in the computer lab, and this awful news starts breaking all over the e-mail wallpaper...

How weird is it to get news about a place that's only about a hundred miles away, from a place that's more than a thousand miles away? (The brain generates chatter to block the shock...) Will everyone please pray for the survivors of this disaster.

I'm guessing that this turns out to be yet another case where a student, depressed about his (or her!) grades or romance, asks for antidepressants to get him/her through exam week and suddenly becomes delusional. I'm praying that this lost soul won't be able to kill any more people, as the last one did.

I'm praying, too, that we all become more aware of the danger of popular antidepressant medications. For ninety-something percent of humankind (test results vary depending on the brand tested) these pills either have no noticeable effect, or produce a mild (though addictive) "high." For up to ten percent of test subjects, possibly a larger percentage of long-term users, serotonin-boosting drugs produce intense pain, pseudomemories often of the kind of violence that would have produced that kind of pain, and a desire to kill oneself and/or others. Victims of "Prozac Dementia" sometimes attack strangers or recent acquaintances, sometimes choose associates at the school or workplace where they suddenly "remember" the imaginary violent crimes having occurred, and sometimes feel called to "protect" their children from the horrors they suddenly think they've blocked from memory for several years. (In reality, all the serotonin boosters have similar effects, not only Prozac.)

I'm going to share more information about this because yesterday, when I commented on a Yahoo News story about a depressed mother shooting her children after being denied food stamps, some other anonymous commenter thought it just as likely that the woman "needed and didn't get" medication as that she was reacting to medication. Statistically, these two scenarios are not equally likely. Untreated depression is rarely associated with violent insanity. Serotonin-boosting treatments for depression are very often associated with violent insanity. And there's no way as yet for doctors to predict which depressed patients will be helped by antidepressants, and which will be destroyed.

My proposed solution for this problem: make antidepressants available only on condition that the patient stays in the hospital until home health care providers can be arranged. Prozac Dementia doesn't have to be fatal, but the Prozac-demented are not usually able to monitor and report their own symptoms in time to get the help they need. All too often they accept their delusions as truth (sometimes even their therapists do) and stay in their delusional state until the serotonin high gives them the energy to kill people. And keeping them away from guns is no solution; they'll use whatever is handy--motor vehicles, household tools, or their own physical strength.

The pharmaceutical industry has persuaded most of the commercial media not to mention the use of antidepressants every time they report yet another outburst of "random" violence by someone who "was mentally ill" or "had sought treatment/counselling for depression," by threatening to withdraw very lucrative ads for very popular drugs. This form of censorship should, in my opinion, be a crime; it prevents us from doing anything to solve a growing problem that endangers the life of everyone who, well, walks down the street, goes to school, goes into a store or restaurant...Anyway, here (in alphabetical order) are three psychiatrists who've defied the censorship with books that also offer some real help to people with depression:

1. Peter Breggin and Ginger Ross Breggin: Find their books on Amazon here.

2. Kathleen Desmaisons: Find her books on Amazon here.

3. Joseph Glenmullen: Find his books on Amazon here.

(Update, later in the day: One of the dead bodies is now believed to be the cop killer himself. I find myself hoping it is...that way nobody else will be hurt.)