An Irish Epidemic: Suicide and Homicide on Antidepressants

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March 17, 2015 | 20 Comments


  1. Leonie, Thank you for saying what Irish Psychiatry refuse to admit to and what Irish media are covering up. Many know the cover up is still going on in the Coroner’s Court and the HSE’s (Health Service Executive) “Medical Experts” cover up the truth by withholding up to date data/warnings on Prozac and other psychiatric drugs. Irish Psychiatry needs to become the patient’s doctor instead of being the pill pusher of dangerous mind altering drugs.

    • For a start- the Phrama industry turnover in Ireland as a fraction of Gross Domestic Product is the highest in the World. They can control politicians, media etc. 2. The fact that SSRI drugs can cause suicide/ violence is zealously covered up- too much money and prestige to be lost. 3. Even whee these drugs can have a positive effect there is a dark side– down regulation of the receptors for Serotonin, so when the drug is stopped there is a lack of receptors for endogenous Serotonin , causing a psycho endocrine meltdown. It is very difficult to counter the Big Evil of Big Pharma. Anthony Hughes

  2. Yet more tragic truth. The truth is out there, it is everywhere. The sooner this truth is admitted to by the medical profession, the drugs companies and the “authorities”, the better. This time WILL come, but those who have been profiting and are profiting now, will be long gone.

  3. Leonie, this is quite brilliant.

    You are a humble person, one of the most humble I have met in fact.

    The media have a major role to play in all of this mess as do the pharmaceutical companies who manipulate results and promote their wares to healthcare professionals by means of lavish dinners, weekend breaks or cakes and other sugary delicacies.

    Then we have the doctors/psychiatrists who accept these ‘small token gestures’ – they’ll tell you that a cake is not a bribe and that they won’t prescribe more drugs off-label just because they were wined and dined by pharmaceutical reps. Why accept any such token gesture in the first place then?

    Then, of course, we have the regulators. Those limp-wristed bufoons who urge us all to report adverse reactions – when we do go out of our way to report, they simply shrug their shoulders and point out that it could have been x,y and z that caused the reaction.

    It’s hard to put the culprits in any order regarding blame.

    Pharma, doctors, media, regulators.


    I’d put the media at the bottom of that list (in order of blame) – they basically report on ‘facts’ – only thing is, in most cases, those ‘facts’ are given to them direct from pharmaceutical companies or doctors… who are paid by pharmaceutical companies to say exactly what the pharmaceutical companies tell them to.


    Third on that list, for me at least, would be doctors. In a lot of cases doctors choose the profession because their parents were doctors. “Hey, if mom and dad prescribed pills to the ‘mentally ill’ then so should I.”

    Doctors pretty much have their hands tied too. Surgery opens at 9, they look at their full schedule and mentally work out that they may be finished by 5pm if they allocate 10 or 15 minutes to each patient that walks through their door.

    A depressed or anxious patient walks in and can’t be fixed. So, guess what? There’s a couple of drugs that will help their depression or anxiousness. ‘Come back in two weeks and see me.’ the doctor will tell them. The cycle then continues.


    When I first started writing about GSK I didn’t really see them as a business. At the time of my naivety I saw them as a bunch of scientists wishing to make people better but, on the odd occasion, missing important data when running their clinical trials. We all now know that this isn’t the case. The likes of GSK are purely in business to make money and death, violence, suicide, birth defects are all written in to their business models. To us ‘outsiders’ this is an abhorrent way to run a business but, here’s the rub, people, just like me all those years ago, actually believe that GSK, Pfizer, Lilly, Lundbeck et al are, in general, decent companies whose drugs/vaccines benefit millions of people. Maybe so, but I wouldn’t eat in a restaurant that had a history of food being served that was sub-standard. Nor would I fly with an airline who had a history of building dodgy aircraft.

    Top of my blame list would be the regulators. In the UK the MHRA have had ample time to sort this mess out. Meetings with patient advocates (myself included) are merely to appease the question askers. I mean, what exactly do the MHRA do, more importantly, what is it that they think they do?

    The MHRA now have a Facebook page (Hey, those limp-wristed hoo-har Henry’s have moved with the times) – What do they post about? Well, they post about how they, with the help of some local Police force, busted some guy for selling fake Viagra or other pills of that ilk. Back slaps all around, another counterfeiter is behind bars. The pharmaceutical bosses will join in with the back slapping, “Thanks guys, you have potentially saved us millions of pounds.”

    Here we have a pill police unit who basically go after the kid with three spliffs in his pocket but turn a blind eye to the major supplier.

    Death by antidepressants is preventable but with such a policing of antidepressants we will always read about the John and Jane Does who die or kill as a result of taking them. We will always read, with great sadness, how a child had to be aborted because the chances of survival once born would be pretty slim. We’ll always read about the infant who died as a result of ingesting breast milk – and we will here the argument, ‘hey, it’s nothing to do with antidepressants – this shit happens all the time.’

    We have in place ignorant and inadequate bufoons whose main objective is not to protect the public – they protect the very same people who pay their wages, the pharmaceutical industry.

    Watch a movie called the Devil’s Advocate. Al Pacino heads a law firm. Keanu Reeves is plucked from obscurity to work for the said law firm. The movie has a message and it’s one that anyone who works in the regulatory field should take heed of.

    The MHRA, as I type this, are busting the kid with three spliffs in his pocket. Later tonight they will more than likely post about it on Facebook.

    To quote Al Pacino (Devil’s Advocate)

    ” Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.”

    Belter of a post Leonie.


  4. It is preposterous that “mind altering drugs” wouldn’t be the first suspect in all of these recent and bizarre murder/suicide cases. Yet, the mass media fails to even mention this factor much less investigate it.

    The fact that big money can influence the blaming of the individual over the blaming of the drug is obscene. If said drugs were illegal mind altering drugs, every media outlet around the world would be reporting a pandemic of drug induced hysteria.

    In the US those on psyche drugs would probably be using guns to kill instead of knives and the guns purportedly receive the blame. Ireland’s possible answer to this crisis: The banning of knives???

    • You got it, Tony. Murder-suicide is far more common in the US, and guns probably are one of the reasons why. I hate to disagree with Dr. Gilligan (g) but a great many murders are impulsive, not “carefully planned.” If you want to change life irreversibly in a single mad moment, there’s nothing like a gun.

      Still, I wonder if there are more now than before psych drugs became so common. If you want to become more impulsive and irrational, even paranoid perhaps, SSRI’s are a pretty good bet. Especially topped off with a drink or two!

      I took a quick look at this about five years ago, as an activist against the death penalty. Illinois had a law allowing the death penalty for killing a person who’d been granted an order of protection against you. It was billed as a “pro-woman” law against domestic violence – but most women involved in helping victims directly thought it wasn’t much use. After all, one told me, in one out of four cases where a man kills his partner, he then either kills himself, or tries to.

      Curious, I tried counting murder-suicides in my state in the past year. I found fifteen. (At least these crimes are still shocking enough to reliably make the news.) The killers seemed of two types. One was a troubled man with a record of violence, often with alcohol or drug problems, who had abused his live-in partner or “stalked” an ex-partner for months or years. The other was a nice quiet guy with a nice family whose actions left everyone bewildered. He may have had economic troubles or a death in the family, but “nothing prepared us for this,” his friends would tell the press.

      The first type were usually filed under domestic violence, or crime in general. The second type were met with talk of mental illness and the sad fact that “stigma” keeps people from seeking professional help. In a couple of cases it looked like professional help was already in the picture—but usually no one asked.

      We need to ask – in both types of cases, I think. If drugs can make you do things you would never in your life have considered, couldn’t they also lead you to do something you’d often thought about but been too decent – or too afraid of the consequences – to actually do? Of course they could.

  5. Irish mental health care is nothing but a psychiatrist/GP with a prescription pad, if the medications don’t appear to be working then it would seem the practice is just increase the dose and if that doesn’t work either then change the drug! They will never admit that the medications can cause this harm even though the warnings are there in black and white. Unfortunately many more lives will be lost to these drugs as it would seem that the mental health system in Ireland is totally and utterly resistant to any change, new ideas or new research.

    • Mental and emotional health
      We all know the brain of a child who is loved and wanted will mature differently from that of a child who is abused?Where the academic physician develop their character? What make them superior? If they are superior why they don’t teach people how to become fit emotionally giving them educational programes to work constructively.They know in everyone life are bound to be experiences that are deeply disturbing ,such as the sadness of losing a loved one,failing exam.
      The most difficult think in the world is to listen to see.They dont want to see.Do you thing a capitalist want to see communist system?
      We know stress cause depression.It is not just any stess than can trigger depression,but certain stress related to losses and defeats often cuase people to feel inferior worthless and trapped.
      Fuction of Education
      Even the most unpleasnt experiences can add to one’s undestanding of life.
      So if your goal is to avoid pain and escape suffering you are not ready to take the truth without running away.How much of everything you ‘ve held dear are you ready to have shattered,without running away?The emotionally fit person can listen attentively to the opinions of others,yet if his decision differs from tutors or friends ,he will abide by it and stand alone if necessary,without anger those who disagree.
      Courageous people must continually push themselves to be completely honest,Yet must also posses the capacity to withhold the whole thruth when approriate.
      To be organised and effecient,to live wisely we must daily delay gratification and keep an eye on the future get to live joyously we must also posses the capacity when it is not destuctive ,to live in the present and act spontaneously
      To handle our anger with full adequancy and competence an elaborate flexible system is required.It is no wonder,then that to learn to handle our anger is a complex task which usually cannot be completed before adulthood or even mid life,and which is often never completed.
      The healthiness of Depression
      A leading reason for people to think about seeking psychatrist attention is depression.In other words patient are frequently already involved in a givng up or growth process.Before considering antidepression medication I would suggest to you go back to college and study your favour subject don’t give up learning you have talents is up to you to find out.
      Best wishes.Nafsica Kelly

  6. If various folks we came across swallowing or not swallowing our anti-depressant want to knock seven bells out of us whilst then telling us we have problems with our self-esteem then its time to decipher the cut of their jib afore reading of their bilge and let’s go for salvage…..

    The Stanford Prison Experiment will shock you to your core

    *The scene of one of the most notorious experiments in the history of psychology*

    Did anyone see that because I will not be doing that again…

  7. If we are serious about the human distress people experience then first of all we cannot get rid of it because it is part and parcel of life. Then if it is too overwhelming there is no pill to take it away and drugs often come with many more overwhelming consequences such as self harm, violence, suicide and homicide. We can help each other if we trust in our own human resources.

  8. Bob – I would not put the regulators at the top of my list, because they (at least in the U.S.) have been bought and paid for by BigPharma. The FDA works for BigPharm. BigPharm is #1, followed by the doctors.

    Having just skimmed (best I could manage without fainting or throwing up) the Lilly-Zyprexa internal documents, it is a cold-hearted game focused only on one thing ….the bottom line.
    Just wrote an email to Erica Goode at the NYTimes, who, with another reporter, wrote a piece today on the possible motives of the co-pilot of the plane which just crashed into the ground. I praised her for writing a front page story (in the Spring of 2003) about the then- unrevealed lethal risks of Zyprexa and asked her to go dig deep and really reveal the SSRI/SNRI risk of homicide/suicide, especially as it now pertains to the co-pilot in Germany.

    A couple of years ago, I read a story in the LA Times about a young, loving mother who drown her two children – she was on antidepressants and the family said, basically, “this is inexplicable.” I wrote to the legal aide lawyer assigned to her defense, telling her of the SSRI/SNRI risk. She thanked me very much – she’d NEVER heard of it. This gave her a line of defense. I’ve never known how it turned out, but I have always prayed that the mother got off, and that the agonized family finally had a way to understand the tragedy. I would wish this outcome for the grieving families of the latest plane crash…

  9. David

    What about the “near misses” the people prescribed these drugs that have experienced chemical episodes and recovered. Where is the information from these people. This could confirm the connections. I’ve had two suicide attempts and several years of disability which can be reliably linked to psychotropics, and 30 years of full recovery as a result of (carefully) coming off strong medications.

    Both of the suicide attempts followed changes to medication. At the time I was genuinely powerless and given the same circumstances again – I would probably behave the same way again.

    I suffered from dysphoria (or misery) for years after coming off the strong meds, but strangely enough this gradually abated with Buddhist meditation practice, and I consider myself very lucky that it did.

    I think parents deprived of children and families that have lost loved ones have a right to full information on the reality of chemically induced fatality, and the position the person is in when this type of event occurs – otherwise they blame themselves. Myself, I had no control whatsoever during my “chemical episodes”, and I remember in the early 1980’s a friend of mine, relating to me that he was sure this phenomonen was “actual medical knowledge” but not talked about.

    (I didn’t come off the drugs all by myself; I had the help of independent user support groups that specialize in substance abuse).

    • Thanks Gx for replying,
      That’s where the reliable safety information would be found – in researching the “near misses”. There could be a lot more of these around than a person might think.

  10. More than 10% of the adult population in most European countries are on SSRI’s, and if you look at the SSRI’s you notice that they are given to “normal” people (or anyone for any reason) not the “Severely Mentally Ill”. But when an outrage occurs the media tend to feature on the “mental” aspect of the event and the treatment for the “illness” of depression.

    Probably 100% of the population will suffer at some time from depression, which is a normal part of the adjustment of life and very few people are likely to do anything out of the ordinary as a result. As I see it there is only one defining characteristic to these out of character events and thats the “medical/chemical intervention”.

    If you look very carefully as well, at when a “Severely Mentally Ill” person behaves dramatically, or attempts suicide, theres also generally some psychoactive event in the background (stopping/starting, or changes to medication or other drug).

    • That’s exactly the issue. It’s the same with children being misdiagnosed for ADHD. I myself take an SSRI and have so for 2 years.They saved my life.

      But I needed them. I spent years with anxiety and depression. I suffered from agoraphobia. Every day was a struggle to leave my house. It got so bad I had to drop out of a college course and I was in a very dark place. What’s happeneing now is, people who are going through a low period in their lives are being prescribed unnecessary drugs. I explored every avenue before I came to the realisation that I needed the extra help. I would have probably drank myself into an early grave had I not started taking medication and my life has been on the up since.

      There isn’t enough education out there. I feel even doctors themselves are not properly educated. I was lucky with my doctor. She put me through 2 courses of Cognative behavioural theraphy, she kept in contact and only when I was at my lowest and was in crying to her all them time, did she decide that an SSRI might have a positive effect. Other doctors are too quick to prescribe. It’s not always necessarily the drug, it’s the fact that the people on them, don’t need them.

    • The important thing is to know; if you fail to look after yourself you faIl in everything else in your life .I am a human being I am not perfict .I dont fill inferior or superior to anyperson I let nothing defeat me ,I have no intention to give up my life is very precious .I undertand my history ,I do not compare myself wih other people .I wish everybody well .I am aware some people are warm and kind and some are born with a silver spoon in thier mouth may know only self centerness or arrogancethat can not bear to share to be crossed or to be fail ,I have no illussions of reeality .I have no intention to beilve lies .All i need is a purpose in my ,life not drugs..My health is my wealth,Nafsica Sasa Kelly

  11. I was one of the “lucky” ones. I begged my mother to bring me to a psychiatric hospital in Dublin after starting an SSRI.
    If she hadn’t I would not be here today.

    Diagnosed with PND, given sertraline and told I’d need it for “three months or so” – now I can see how utterly bizarre that sounds.

    I thought I was losing my mind. Constant agitation, jolting awake at 1am and 4am with pounding heart, panicking, akathasia. Can you imagine what that was like with a three month old baby to care for at the same time?

    Back to doctor after a week of hell, he hummed and hawed and told me I ‘should be sleepy’ taking it … so then gave me sleeping pills and switched me to Lexapro.
    I had the same effects so asked my doctor if I could just stop taking it, he said YES, so I did.

    You all know what happened next. Within 10 days I was back on 10mgs Lexapro.

    I stuck this hell out for 4 weeks, I can’t believe I did, but then one morning, at 5am, shaking and pacing and thinking I might kill myself, I called my mother and told her I needed to go to hospital because I could not continue like this.

    Six weeks in a psych hospital, Olanzapine added to learn the agitation, eight months of group therapy, four months of counselling, two YEARS out of work, horrific memories of my child’s first years.

    I weaned off over 8 months, took about a year to feel ‘normal’ again.

    That’s what SSRIs did to me. I’m a well educated, intelligent woman and thought I could trust my GP. I had no idea what these drugs could do to me.

  12. Drug Laws and Gun Laws go hand in hand.
    Both Laws need to be changed.
    It is pointless sticking our heads in the sand and pretend that prescribed antidepressants are not causing these horrible tragedies.
    Another mass shooting in America today.
    When will those in power recognise that this is a systemic problem that needs to be seriously addressed.
    In Australia we have support put in place for those who ingest Ice and other harmful drugs.
    What about supporting individuals who are harmed by antidepressants or other prescribed medicines that are causing harm?
    There is no support or rehabilitation for those who are harmed by prescribed medicines.
    Does Australia want to become another America?
    Was this individual who committed an unforgivable act on psychotrophic drugs or any other form of drugs?
    We always have to ask this question and if this is the case are these drugs really worth the risk of many innocent lives?

    • We need a safe environment to express our emotions.A good friend who will help us get in touch with our true feelings, which we may have suppressed for years, understand your childhood, your conflicts, what went wrong, we can slowly learn how to communicate appropriately with those who have hurt us, we will begin to develop a healthy sense of Assertiveness.The job of a parent is to encourage a child or their young adult children along the path toward independence.The absence of love is the major cause of mental illness and that the presence of love is consequently the essential healing element in psychotherapy.
      The question is how do you train a profession such as a psychiatrist to deal with people in a way to consider that depression is fundamentally about someone who has lost their love for life and other people?
      Are they empathic listeners If they love their job why they don’t heal people?They suppose to ask questions that invite the other person to elaborate and express himself further.This is worthwhile investment Indeed by giving people their thoughtful attention they give the special gift.
      Long term medication can cause damage.The goal of healing is not medicated mediocrity but the integration of the self through catharsis.
      The psychiatrist supposes to extends herself or himself but the vast amount of energy is required and psychiatrist like it or not they do not have energy is very limited as ours of their day.They simply cannot love everyone.Some of them have the love for mankind and this feeling may be useful in providing them with enough energy to manifest genuine love for few specific individuals.Genuine love for specific few individuals is all within their power.The more they nurture the growth of others the more they are spiritual growth is nurtured.Happinness pointed the developments of a human being the spiritual need rather than the satisfying of material desires as the one essential ingredient to success in the pursuit of mental health and happiness.
      Cornerstone of civility
      Psychiatrist, they are only ordinary humans.The only become civil through development and learning.This is true for the organisation.Many factors can either retard or enhance such development and learning.The most mysterious of these factors is free will.Anyone deeply dedicated to love,light, and truth will be civil indeed, no matter what her formal belief system or lack of it is.
      Nafsica Sasa Kelly

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