Antidepressants and Violence: The Numbers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
August 17, 2015 | 20 Comments


  1. And behind those numbers are we, those bastards who are disgusted upon.
    We who have acted out of character, for no reason and with no warningsigns visible.
    And not just out of character, but miles beyond, hel* I was about a planetsize away from my normal behaviour.

    Then left in a void: things had happened that was impossible to grasp, absolute impossible to comprehend, and to some degree wasn’t even fully accepted by myself as a “real occurance”.
    I now know how it could be so ‘un-believable’, to myself, though I knew it had taken Place:
    The numbing effect of Seroxat makes memories ‘less attached’ in our brain.
    Smells, sounds, sights and other ‘ambient’ parts of memories just aren’t there anymore, just loose images that barely makes sense.

    Can anyone understand how ashamed I felt in Court, with all Eyes on me, media in the courtroom, and all I could say was: “I have done this, but I cannot in any way, comprehend why. I would just not do something like this. It comes so natural for me to not hurt anyone else, that this is something I cannot understand”…..

    I asked (begged) the Court to send me to forensic psychiatric evaluation, though I know (and knew) I’m not even Close to having any severe mental Health problem.
    I suffer from panic anxiety disorder and that is the only diagnose I’ve ever gotten without SSRI’s in my blood. (along with SSRI’s came depression and other diagnoses that I by now know is just side-effects…)

    The outcome of the forensic psychiatric evaluation? I was perfectly normal!!!!!
    No deviations whatsoever.
    3-weeks of intense consultations with 2 psychiatrists (one was professor in psychiatry and the head of the evaluation) one psychologist, one behavioural therapist and several nurses and staff had their say in the evaluation.
    My history was scrutinized in detail, they contacted friends, girlfriends and relatives, consulted military officers from my time in the mandatory militaryservice, teachers from back in school.
    They all described an intelligent and soft spoken man, never a threat to anyone.
    ‘Popular’ in school and with great social skills.

    So I was left with no explanation. And a prisonsentence.
    I’m still hated, but the friends are long gone.
    Almost middle-aged, on disability pension, I rarely wander outside.
    And the psychiatrists say nothing.

    But one day I came across dr. David Healy and the video: “Who cares in Sweden”.
    It explained it all to me, and further research explained pretty much all behaviours that had become ‘me’ from the day I took my first SSRI.
    From alcohol cravings to in-ability to maintain basic cleanliness, from sexual behaviour and loss of fear, from “I don’t care anymore” to the loss of my 8-year relationship with my high school sweetheart. And it explained my many years of obsession of suicide. And it described the many thoughts that I had to fight to hold back…

    But when I mentioned parts of it to my psychiatrist, she denied it all to be a side-effect of any pill.

    So I can’t even bare to tell my elderly parents what was the real reason their beloved son behaved like an utter idiot.

    Why would they Believe me, when no doctor has given this fairly simple explanation when I asked them?


    • Ove
      Thanks for sharing your story. Far too many people find themselves in a similar situation. I came close myself but was fortunate to escape the hell of the cocktail of drugs my inept doctors had me on. I am not the same however. I feel flat, emotionless. Also I have lost faith in all institutions, authority and in a higher power. Guess I woke up to reality. No more of the comfortable existence in naive bliss.

    • I hear you bro. At the time my life was turned upside down, I had been on paroxetine for 12 years solid. I’ve never had a criminal bone in my body, yet over this time I lost restraint and became the opposite of the conservative, shy guy I was beforehand. I didn’t care about anything and couldn’t feel most emotions. I didn’t care if I showed up late for work – or if I even went to work. Didn’t care what I said or did. Spending, eating and a number of other behaviours becamee uncontrollable after several years. Everything was in excess. It felt like there were no consequences or dangers in my safe little mental cocoon at the time – I was disconnected, like a mere observer. There was no deliberate malice or eagerness to do wrong, just complete indifference and lack of restraint… what a combo! It wasn’t until years later when I withdrew from SSRI/SNRI meds (after 21 years) that the original “me” came back. I am now so devastated at my behaviours and feel robbed of my late teens, 20’s and most of my 30’s. My promising career was cut short by 30. Now, not many people are willing to believe a common antidepressant can change who you are, how you behave and how you think over time, but they can! Sometimes these behaviours are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the original “you”. I used to believe in self control. Now I’ve experienced that the concept of self control is largely an illusion. If you mess with the neurotransmitters, you potentially mess with your mental framework, the framework that controls morals, restraints and behaviours.

  2. Got a comment via Twitter from Kim Witczak:

    Kim Witczak ‏@woodymatters 2h2 hours ago
    @RxISK Thx for sharing. Woody talked about “feeling guilty” almost immediately after starting Zoloft. Never did before!!

    Kim lost her husband Woody to suicide in 2003 — about a week after his doctor offered him Zoloft to calm his nerves over some big sales presentations he’d be giving at work. In the years since, she’s become an amazing activist in the fight for drug safety. You can read Woody’s story at the website posted above.

    Woody’s suicide was a tragedy that didn’t add up for those who knew him — he was if anything a happy-go-lucky type of guy. In that last week, however, Kim tells me he complained of nightmares he wouldn’t describe, and confided to a male friend that “I just don’t want to hurt Kim.” Which puzzled the friend, because Woody was so happily married and hadn’t even a trace of a violent temper. Why would he worry about that?

    Putting Woody’s story together with Steindor’s (and that of James Holmes) leaves me pretty damn sure what’s reflected in reports of “feeing guilty” on Zoloft. It’s not the “classic” guilt and self-blame of depressed people. If it were, we’d get a similar number of reports on every pill marketed to fight depression. A lot of people on Zoloft are both acting out of character — getting drunk, screaming at their families, etc. — and also perhaps having thoughts that horrify them. And they have no clue it’s the drug talking.

  3. “How on earth could an antidepressant drug drive someone to murder?”

    Quite easily, it’s a mind altering drug. Mind altering drugs cause some people to engage in all kinds of unwelcome and sometimes deadly behaviours. Whether it is alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, LSD, or antidepressants; behaviour changes, self control diminishes and the results are often fatal.

    If these antidepressants are as benign as their pushers and dealers would have us believe, why are they prescription only? Why not put them on the shelf at your local supermarket next to the aspirins? Probably because in order to ensure people keep taking them long enough to get hooked, they need the Doctor dealer there to persuade the victims to keep taking them and to persuade them that all the bad effects are not the nice medicines, but their horrible disease, so they had better keep taking them and quite possibly take some other ones in addition.

    The key comparison is between symptoms before the drug was ever taken and symptoms since the drug was taken. The change is the drugs and it ain’t all good. And for those poor fools who merrily keep shoving these pills down their necks everyday, year in, year out, just try stopping and see what happens. What happens will be sheer hell and like nothing you ever experienced before you took the drugs. The drugs are the bigger problem.

  4. I am with you all the way.Still a bit uncomfortable about all of these anecdotes.Still waiting for a reply to my question,last year.Is there is a study comparing all of these reactions you resort,between those people on these drugs and those who are not? Or is that study impossible.Keep up the good work!

    • We may get some answers next month… On Sept 19 the British Medical Journal will publish the results of a dig into the raw data behind a famous clinical trial: the so-called “Study 329” on paroxetine for adolescent depression. The officially published results portrayed it as safe and effective, but what actually happened with the teenage subjects was another story. This is a project David Healy and several other researchers have been working on ever since GSK was forced to turn over the records as part of a U.S. Justice Dept. investigation.

      What would have been unthinkable 40 years ago is taken for granted today, at least by the insiders: Clinical trials on drugs are organized and paid for by the company making the drug, and the results are their private intellectual property.

      So the short answer to your question? Most trials are engineered precisely to avoid getting answers to these tough safety & risk-benefit questions. And when the answers sneak through, they are apt to be massaged out of existence before they hit the “peer-reviewed literature.” Stay tuned!

  5. “The key comparison is between symptoms before the drug was ever taken and symptoms since the drug was taken.” – See more at:
    That IS the evidence that seems to be overlooked. The cognitive dissonance when this is mentioned to “experts” and doctors IS the problem too. Along with the drug, which IS the main problem.
    The part about drinking is absolutely true. It was my first clue that made me start to investigate after I stopped taking the drugs. Six weeks after stopping I noticed I had not been drinking for several weeks and not only had I not drank, I did not want to dink, had no craving whatsoever.
    Before starting several medications I had been sober five years , comfortably and happily sober. Before that time I had drank heavily. The reason I drank was revealed later when I was diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis and 13 herniated discs due to the degenerative effects of the disease. I drank to kill the pain. The never ending , gnawing , endless physical pain.
    I had no intention of ever drinking again once I had stopped and was doing very well staying sober.
    Then, suddenly and without warning I had strong cravings for alcohol. I chalked it up to the AA line I had heard so many times when I had attended AA meetings ( in the past), ” a drink is always in the back of your mind – it can creep up and attack you anytime”. ” you will always be an alcoholic and subject to getting drunk any day, no matter how long you have been sober” ( that is something I now know to be false).
    I was on Trazodone as a sleep aid , harmless my Dr said. Then he added Wellbutrin because I was showing signs of depression, which I now know were a symptom of my autoimmune disease. When Flexoril was added, within two weeks I was drunk. After five years of solid sobriety I could not stay sober to save my life. I now know that Flexoril acts just like a tricyclic antidepressant in your system and when added to an SSRI ( trazodone) and Wellbutrin it can produce dangerous outcomes, drinking being one of them.
    More drugs were added. Lyrica, then Cymbalta, then Diazapam, then Hydrocodone.
    Then stop Lyrica and Cymbalta. Cold turkey at the doctors request. Then back on both of them again at the doctors request. I was a basket case!!
    Two trips to alcohol rehab did nothing for me. Nothing worked. My shrink kept telling me ” don’t drink while taking these drugs”. Little did I know, and neither did he, that it was the drugs making me want to drink. Making it impossible for me not to drink.

    After stopping the drugs and sobering up because I stopped I realized something had changed. I wanted to know why. That’s when I went on the search to find out what had happened. That’s when I found Dr Breggin, Dr Healy and all the hard working people who work with them to expose the truth about these awful drugs and what they really do.

    Thank you Johanna Ryan and everyone else on your team for the work you do !!

    I remain happily sober with no effort on my part at all. My life, my mind and emotions continue to improve since stopping the meds a year ago. I am not the same tho. I am emotionally flat much of the time, not the go-getter I used to be. I don’t have alot of interest in many of the things I used to do. Still recovering from the drugging I guess.
    At least I escaped with my life.
    My father was not so fortunate. 30 years of biological psychiatry killed him. At least now I know what happened to him. That it was not him, not his fault. He was a very good man who was destroyed by the folly of modern psychiatry.

  6. If the FDA will approve flibanserin, as they recently have, then they surely must be corrupt or something. Have you seen the data? How extreme does this madness have to get before more within the medical community speak out? Perhaps someone within Sprout (the owners of flibanserin) has a hell of a lot of influence with the FDA, I don’t know. Why on earth has this drug been approved? The data shows very little benefit at all and heaps of dangerous other effects. The involvement of the militant feminist movement in arguing that it is sexist not to have a “female viagra” and that this pressure appears to have influenced the decision is ridiculous to the point of insanity. This is extreme. It’s crazy. How are we supposed to have any faith in the medical community at all? And how regrettable is that?

    • But then again, what would the poor psychiatrists do if we took all their drugs away? With nothing left to play with, nothing left to sell, how would they cover the payments on their yachts?

    • Just one correction, PCNG … the “militant feminist movement” demanding the FDA approve Flibanserin as a gender-equity issue? It was largely the creation of the drug’s manufacturer and their powerhouse Washington, DC public relations firm, Blue Engine Message & Media. Pure “astroturf”, as in fake grassroots.

      Many of the women’s organizations that signed on to the “Even the Score Campaign” are front groups themselves. As for groups with a real history like NOW, tons of feminists are as disgusted as you that they either let themselves be fooled by the rhetoric … or perhaps signed on as part of the endless horsetrading and backscratching on Capitol Hill, where they spend way too much of their time.

      The most reputable women’s health groups around, like Our Bodies Ourselves and the National Women’s Health Network, have been outspoken critics of this BS. The side effects of this third-rate antidepressant (and that’s what it is) are nowhere near worth the modest boost in libido it may give to perhaps 10-15% of those who try it.

      And even if it were 100% safe, what kind of feminist advance is this? If a relationship is fizzing out, the woman must be defective. Very old school, I think … disgustingly so.

  7. After 15 years on these drugs, I am now 6 months “clean”. Been off Luvox since February, though I still have residual agitation, dysphoria and appetite problems (all improving).

    1999-2003: Paxil 10-20 mg, no problems really. Stopped in 2003 by accident when Rx expired and I failed to refill. Brief withdrawal (2 weeks) and then fine for a month before OCD-related worries returned.

    2003: Celexa 10mg for 8 months. Was both sedating and activating. Could sleep through an earthquake, but a wiry spazz while awake. Nocturnal bruxism caused a cracked molar.

    2004: Celexa upped to 20, then 40 mg. Would be fine for months but then OCD type worries would reappear for bouts of 3-4 weeks, causing anxiety that was FAR WORSE than anything pre-treatment (I now wonder if it was actually “OCD-type” anxiety.)

    2007: Celexa upped to 60 mg after another anxiety episode. (Bruxism ongoing, sleep problems).

    2008: Took myself down to 40 mg of Celexa following reports of prolonged QT interval (I have aortic stenosis and was worried about occasional episodes of vertigo and pounding heart I had experienced). The failure to taper (which I didn’t realize at the time) caused a 2 month bout of anorexia (NOT nervosa) and a 25 lb weight loss. Low mood for another 9 months, then back to “normal”.

    2013: Still on 40 mg of Celexa (10 years total use) – had started developing overly hostile and aggressive feelings toward friends and family. HIGHLY noise sensitive (sounds of yawning, coughing, etc.). Had begun to hyperfocus on internet hobbies to sooth inner restlessness. After a familial argument, went into an anxiety episode so severe I was sleeping 16+ hours a day for a week on end. Decided it was time to switch.

    Nov. 2013: Placed on 50 mg Zoloft. Felt better immediately and more cheerful.

    Feb 2014: Zoloft upped to 100 mg. GI problems (diarrhea and cramps) began and didn’t stop for months. Lost 25 lbs as a result. Following job loss, inner restlessness and agitation appeared. Doctor decided to switch me to Luvox.

    Aug 2014: Began Luvox 25 mg one day after going off Zoloft. Felt euphoric and started manically cleaning, writing, and going for walks in the middle of the night. Lasted four days. Then…..a crash. At a restaurant, I grew dysphoric and agitated. I was suddenly overcome with an impulse to hurt someone and I had to restrain my left arm from throwing a bottle at a waitress. Paid my bill and left in a panic. Briskly walking home, I was overtaken by an intense urge to step into oncoming traffic. Was both numb and also felt a hot sweat overtaking my body. Arrived home, started frantically pacing my apartment, feeling like I had no identity. Sat down in middle of the floor, sobbing, feeling like I was going to take my life and had no choice in the matter. Crawled into bed, fell asleep and had extremely violent dreams. Awoke the next morning on my kitchen floor.

    Called the doctor, he said what I was experiencing was “harm OCD”. After extensive research (all the while still dealing with agitation and dysphoria), I learned that I was likely dealing with akathisia, due either to the Luvox, the cross titration of Luvox and Zoloft (resulting in serotonin syndrome), or Zoloft withdrawal. These feelings continued until February when I made the decision to stop Luvox. (I also ditched the moronic doctor.)

    It’s getting better, but I am still not 100%. Don’t know if I ever will be. 300 mg of vitamin B6 a day has been very helpful. Carbohydrates, especially refined sugar, make everything worse, so general low carb eating helps. Require a MASSIVE amount of caffeine just to feel “normal”.

  8. Does anyone know whether it’s normal for the original problem to resurface when you stop the drugs and be much much worse than what it was before. I took them for an OCD thought /fear since withdrawal from by drug this fear is now totally unmanageable.

    Is this normal? Does it go back to baseline eventually
    Thanks to anyone kind enough to reply

    • Nicola

      This is so difficult – can take a longer time to settle back down than most people realise


  9. Dear Nicola

    I think the problem lies in that if you go through a withdrawal which is so bad that you cannot function at all, then the ‘original’ problem not only pales in to insignificance with you, but, is magnified a million times by others, and, this is what destructs relationships with anybody who was around at the time and because your doctor and/or psychiatrist was may be not at all sympathetic, then the “original” problem on which they focused is then pushed to its limits.

    To put it another way, the dichotomy between a clever doctor realising withdrawal effects and a naïve doctor not helping you out is what leads to the baseline being obliterated.

    This is a terrible situation in which to find yourself and I can only speak of my own experience with Paroxetine, that I felt like it has taken years to come down off it.
    I sympathise with everyone who comments when we still jump with sudden noises, bright lights; still get zaps and noises in the head and all the rest of the disfiguring legacies so well described on the other posts.

    Akathisia is a hyping up of everything, over stimulated, and, over the top of anything approaching a normal reaction to anything.
    This may not be the definitive term, but, it goes some way to put it over.

    I would never have dreamt of telling any body that because I knew they wouldn’t have the faintest idea of what I was talking about. I just thought it.

    I really feel that I know what I am talking about now and getting back to baseline is one of the most difficult challenges we all have to try and get back too, but, sadly, that baseline no longer exists.

    So, you have to alter your baseline, as you cannot go back in time.

    A new life, a new beginning with totally different parameters.

    It is not easy to do this and it means rewriting your life, but, if you want to take up the gauntlet and do this….you can join us in how we explain in an articulate fashion what it means and, basically, how we think about it so that others can think about it, too.

    Your question is one thousands of people must ask themselves every day.

    Thank you asking it.

    Best wishes

  10. Dont know what to say to all the above, more horror stories from medico/pharma house of horror, Hammer eat your heart out, this is the real thing. In my case the first year after a year of 225mg venlafaxine I would best describe myself as some sort cross between Bugs Bunny’s nemises Yosemite Sam and The Tasmanian Devil. I do recall at some point in this year getting this strong urge out of nowhere to attack my girlfriend and being utterly disgusted with myself for getting any kind of violent urges towards a person who was doing so much to help me through this time(7yrs ago). Rory glad you’ve found revocery again, I was very very fortunate on that one . I was 10 yrs sober through AA when I got stuck on venlacrapzine for erm work stress. I wasn’t aware at that time that 225mg of venlafaxine is not exactly what would be termed standard procedure in the UK for a GP dealing with what was work stress/burnout. I was aware of the issue of these drugs giving people strong urges to drink. The longest sober member of AA in my area had the year before my trip on them hit the booze again after 27 yrs and attributed it to an AD giving him urges to drink again. I had also heard other long term sober AA members talking about taking an AD and getting big urges to drink again. However, I experienced another odd effect which I’m attributing to venlafaxine, it in fact turns you into Seigfried Sassoon. As i couldnt sleep at night for nearly 4 yrs post withdrawal I was reading an lot of history books at night. I became totally obsessed with WW1 for about 18 months and read everything that I could get hold off on the topic with a particular interest in the Passchendale Offensive of 1917. Now why would someone whos just had their life wrekced by an AD become so obsesssed with with a quaint little Flanders village that in 1917 became the site of the most gruesome battle of WW1, futility I would say. I even made a trip to said village a year after I cam off venlafaxine and whislt wondering around Tyne Cot Cemetray, The largest British and Commonwealth cemetry in the world I felt at peace as if I was in my spiritual home, walking amongst the dead of a futile war, ‘I died in Hell, the doctor called it venlafaxine, my wound was slight, my mad team leader had done my head in alright, so I went to my doctor to signed off with stress so I could get her out my sight and now I’m ripping of Seigfried Sassoon cause I cant sleep anymore at night’ its got various different endings. Few other famous war poems got adapted by myself during this period of my life. However can I sue the manufacturers of venlafaxine for turning me into Seigfried Sassoon without my prior consent, can I sue the GP for this after all I was more than happy with being the person that I was and had no desire whatsoever to be turned into a Great War Poet

  11. you can find an article, or google “David Godwin murder Effexor”. This person wasn’t like this? This was beyond what I can simply describe as out of character. He got death. High hopes for an appeal. This is just….? It keeps happening. These nightmares..and then it happens to someone you love. It could happen to anyone. I know some use this as an excuse…but it’s simply not coincidence. 2 weeks after starting it. known bi-polar(non-violent!! was suicidal.), was given it without a stabilizer. Coke and Mentos. 🙁 a life gone, and a once beautiful soul destroyed by its actions brought on by Effexor. It hurts so much.

Leave a Reply