by Julie Wood
Summary of Post #3: The same mechanisms that induce violence in users of SSRIs can induce suicide. These mechanisms are akathisia, emotional blunting and delirium-psychosis. These are not uncommon effects, although the degree to which individuals experience them varies, and people may experience more than one of these side effects at once. Fortunately, severe delirium-psychosis, which causes those affected to experience unpredictable delusions that render them completely unaware of reality, is rare.
Violence and violent people have always existed. There have always been people who have little conscience, and scant regard for the rights and feelings of others. They may commit violent acts, without caring about the damage they cause. “Regular” violent crime tends to be motivated by such factors as jealousy, fear, lust, greed and revenge. The general public does not feel at risk from the perpetrators of these crimes because it is apparent why the victims were targeted. The public does not fear the jealous lover who murders the object of his passion or a rival, the armed bank robber, or the wife who poisons her husband for insurance money.
SSRI-induced violence is different, and these are the incidents that strike fear in the public because of their unpredictability. Often there is no warning, and no discernible motive. Sometimes, the violent action comes out of nowhere in response to a sudden impulse. Other times the violence involves elaborate planning, but there is still thought distortion, for example in mass shootings in public places or schools. These plans often involve suicide by the perpetrator, revealing the close link between the suicidal and homicidal impulses the drugs can cause. SSRI violence can manifest as overreactions so extreme as to defy rational explanation. None of these events have a rational motive and many have a bizarre aspect which makes the violence even more upsetting. SSRIstories has posted hundreds of news articles in which neighbours and family members declare that the violent act was completely out of character for the person responsible or in which police state that they are baffled about motive.
Just as there has always been violence, there has always been suicide. It is a complicated subject, difficult to think about and to understand. But just as violence that results from taking SSRIs (and some other drugs) is different, so too is drug-induced suicide. People who lose a loved one to SSRI-induced suicide agonize over having missed the warning signs they assume must have existed. But there may well not have been any forethought, motive or warning signs. When medication interferes with a person’s normal judgement and fear, perhaps a sudden idea about suicide seems like a reasonable way to solve a problem.
Many SSRI suicide deaths are the result of hanging. Often the victim will hang himself/herself from a low place, like a door knob. The implications of this are obvious, because it takes sustained effort to die in this way. Some other suicides involve bizarre actions such as the person lighting themselves on fire, creating an additional distressing aspect to an already horrifying situation. These may be rare cases where delirium-psychosis is at work. Despite this, the differences between suicide that occurs as a result of medication, and suicide that occurs without medication, are not as obvious as with violence toward others. It is interesting that, with suicide, the role of the medications is recognized as a drug side effect more often than is violence to others.
Most of the time, drugs are mentioned in connection with a violent or suicidal act is to show that the perpetrator was mentally ill and receiving treatment. In 2015, “treatment” means psychoactive medication, yet even where the connection between the meds and the violence appears obvious, mental illness gets blamed, not the meds, and nobody questions this. Unfortunately, most news items do not address the issue of whether or not the perpetrator was taking psychoactive drugs, and it should never be assumed that drugs were not involved, just because they are not mentioned.
Here are a few examples, summarized through excerpts, posted on SSRIstories.org of violence that appears to have been committed while the perpetrator was in a state of mind that was not rational, and was probably delusional:
Here are a few examples, summarized through excerpts, posted on SSRIstories.org of suicides that appear to be the result of an SSRI-induced altered state of mind:
Visitors to SSRIstories.org will be able to find hundreds more examples like those above.