Could SSRI Antidepressants Be One of the Causes Behind These Mass Shootings? – Opinion

In the United States, mass shootings have grown dramatically in recent decades. Those trying to explain the phenomenon have blamed gun laws, social media, white nationalism, extremist politics, pandemic policies—the list goes on. But what if there’s another factor at work here?

What else have you seen rise in popularity over the past few decades? Use of antidepressant medications, particularly SSRIs. The first selective serotonin reuptake inhibition, also known as an SSRI (or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), was created in 1987. It quickly rose to prominence. You’ve probably heard its name–Prozac. There were other SSRIs soon available, so SSRIs have become the most popular antidepressant prescription in America.

The drugs are fairly effective—depending on who you ask—at treating depression, and many users report remarkable improvements in their mental health. Many people I know who use them report a lifting of their despair and depression.

But there’s another side to these drugs, one that must be taken into account. The FDA mandates that all antidepressants have side effects printed on their labels.

Adult and pediatric patients treated for major depression have reported anxiety, agitation and panic attacks, insomnia and hostility.

While we all know the FDA warning labels will make you shiver if not read carefully, this label seems to be particularly concerning. In 2006, the National Institutes of Health examined the SSRI-violence connection in judicial outcomes. They came up with this conclusion.

Evidence from clinical trials and pharmacovigilance points to potential links between drug use and violent behavior. These legal cases resulted in a range of verdicts, which may have been influenced by different judicial processes. It appears that many jurisdictions have not considered the possibility of prescription drugs causing violence.

Another recent report by Sweden, from 2020, reached a similar conclusion.

This work shows that SSRI treatment appears to be associated with an increased risk for violent criminality in adults as well as adolescents, though the risk appears restricted to a small group of individuals… Previous work has found an association between SSRI use and violence in young individuals, but not in adults. We have a larger study that confirms the association with adults.

Perhaps the most serious effect could be the “emotional blunting” (or detachment) that has been linked to SSRI use. Some people who have taken the drugs report “not feeling” or “not caring” about anything. Not feeling and not caring could explain how these mass shooters have the capacity to engage in horrific, evil conduct that most of us can’t even fathom.

Terrorists for instance are known to use drugs as “chemical courage” so they don’t feel pain, they don’t feel tired, and they don’t feel empathy. The Sun

Suicide bombers, like  Manchester terrorist Salman Abedi, are said to be pumped full of drugs before they are sent on a mission, giving them red eyes and a distinctive look of confusion. The drug turns the terrorists into “unforgiving killing machines.”

Even though the terrorists are not using SSRIs, the chemicals they use still have the potential to cause damage to the brain.

Alex Berenson (substack author) argues for cannabis. His notes that the Uvalde shooting victim was known to be a cannabis user, along with the Parkland murderer, Texas’s church killer and Waukesha Christmas Parade killer. I would further argue it is likely that some — if not all — of these killers were also on other medications too, including SSRIs, and that the ensuing toxic cocktail contributed to their psychosis. We should remember that almost all mass casualty murderers had been diagnosed with mental problems and spent some time in mental hospitals. They were most likely to have received antidepressants or antipsychotic medications, which can often be combined with SSRIs.

Thought Catalog reports that 37 mass murderers were on medications at the time they committed their crimes, or had just stopped taking their medication. The list contains, among other things, Dylan Roof (the Charleston church killer), the Columbine gunman, the Batman movie villain, as well as the Virginia Tech gunman. I have no way to know if this is accurate, because the author does not indicate his sourcing, but I also have no reason to believe it’s not true. If it is—why isn’t this a bigger story?! Why aren’t the media giants reporting it?

(NotificationThis story was written by me after I realized that Tucker Carlson had actually discussed the topic on Wednesday’s show.

In conclusion, I’m not arguing that SSRI medication should be pulled from the market, or that anti-depressants are somehow inherently evil. Simply put, I’m not an “anti-medication advocate.” Depression is a serious problem, and medication has done a lot of good for a lot of people, most of whom don’t go out and mow down innocents. My wish instead is for a complete study to be done on the phenomenon, rather than all of the political screeching or inflammatory comments that are inevitable after such tragic events.

Caleb Owens, Psychreg’s writer puts it most well:

When it comes to mass shootings, there’s no easy solution. Mass shootings, particularly random violence, are complex expressions of thoughts, emotions, and other factors. We are not able to end mass murders. However, it’s impossible to ignore the role that certain drugs, like SSRIs have in a lot of these violence acts.

Amen, brother.

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