Guns don't kill people...

My dad linked this to me today:


BTW, I’m not a doctor or a pharmacist, so don’t jump in my shit if you take exception to Dr. Whitaker’s theorys/findings. I’d rather this be a debate than a mud-slinging, hair-pulling, teeth-grinding pissing contest.

<FONT COLOR=“BLUE”>"…and 'ware the drake, for doth he slumber ever with one eye open."</FONT>

::pouncing:: {{{{{{{ExTank}}}}}}}

Long time no see! Where you been? Some of us “old regs” were talking about you just the other day, reminiscing about that wonderful story about the tank and the superior officer. I have rarely laughed so hard as I did over that story.

Good to see you around.


Thanks! It’s nice to feel appreciated.

I bounce in and out as time allows; I’m looking into starting my own business and possibly going back to school. My scatter-gun approach to higher education has to go; time for a little consolidation and direction in my pursuit of knowledge.

Oh, well. I won’t be able to complain about being bored, at least!

<FONT COLOR=“BLUE”>“Good?..Bad?..I’m the guy with the gun!”</FONT>

His article certainly makes a whole lot more sense than it was the video games that did it. If these kids are taking mind altering drugs it is no wonder that in combination with other factors it facilitates their violence. I think the North American culture is one that is severely overdrugged. I was going to say just the US but I know of many occurance back home in Canada where the first solution offered by doctors is here take this drug (my mother was just such a case, and personally I think it ultimately ruined her life).

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

Hmmm, lessee, our society is encouraging individuals to abandon their role(s) as care giver in order to devote more time to “personal growth”. Television, in many cases, became a form of parental substitute in it’s role as electronic babysitter. This has now evolved to “I don’t have time to parent/care for my child/spouse/aging parents, so put them on a drug that will control them in my stead”. When the drugs fry a statistically significant number of brains, we act surprised.

Sounds much more logical than “Violent TV/movies/songs made them do it”. It also, IMHO, points the smoking gun at the breakdown of the traditional family coupled with a general abdication of personal responsibility as the real root of the problem.

Good link, ExTank. For me at least, it sheds a whole new light on the issue.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

I’m going to have to disagree, a least partially, with you and Dr. Whitaker.

I saw no cites in his articles, no studies on what effect SSRIs have on violent tendencies, just some statistics that had no references and what looked to be a profound prejudice on his part towards pharmaceutical companies and the medical establishment.

Don’t get me wrong. I think anti-depression medication is over-prescribed at a horrifying rate. It’s used by doctors and patients as a way to avoid treatments which take longer, require greater effort on both parts, and cost a whole lot more.

Anybody who considers taking anti-depressants should be scheduled for followups with their doctor on a month or bi-monthly basis. Anyone who considers taking anti-depressants should also be in seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist to tackle their depression from a non-pharmaceutical therapeutic vantage.

There is a different between correlation of two conditions (taking anti-depressants and being responsible for acts of extreme violence) and cause and effect (committing acts of extreme violence BECAUSE they’re taking anti-depressants). Dr. Whitaker seems to believe the latter without considering the former, and I am very put-off by his demand that we outlaw these drugs entirely.

If there is a connection between the two, there could be many causes - not the least of which are underlying psychological problems that are initally MISdiagnoses as depression and no longer followed up on after the medication is prescribed. That is a failing of the doctor, not the medication.

As someone who has been helped in the past by SSRIs, I am loathe to deny this help to others who have experienced clinical depression. I am also loathe to pin the blame for a complex sociological problem on a simplistic scapegoat of any kind.

“I think he said ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.’”

I’ve been hesitant to believe what people were saying about the SSRI anti-depressants; perhaps it was because the Church of Scientology was at the forefront of attacking Prozac and I’ve got serious reservations about the COS. I was on Prozac briefly not long after it first came out; I gave it up quickly because it gave me uncontrollable, Parkinson-like, tremors; these were similar to ones I experienced with lithium years before, to the point where I thought Prozac was some form of lithium chemically dolled-up to make it patentable.

Then, a couple of years ago, a psychiatrist got me to agree to taking (IIRC, it’s been a while) Paxil. Strange to say, not long after I found myself standing for long durations in the back window of my house, looking down into my back yard, and thinking over and over, about how nice the yard would look after I mowed it, and I went over and over in my head about just how I would do it, using my electric mower, working in a clockwise direction. I’d force myself to attend to other tasks, but sure as hell, within an hour I’d be right back. Even during prime-time tv, I’d sit there watching a show I wouldn’t even remember the next day, thinking about how I was going to mow the back yard. Creepy+. I used up the initial prescription and told the shrink no more. Still weirds me out to think how a teeny little pill made me think so strangely and obsessively. Yeah, I’m thinking Whitaker has a point definitely worth investigating.

I dunno. The author is on a mission. He may be correct. (Sharing a house with two persons who are using some of the drugs he demonizes, I would surely like to know whether I am in danger of being murdered in my sleep!) On the other hand, neither of my psychotrope-influenced family members show any of the symptoms that he describes. The Prozac user is simply a nicer person, overall, (who still displays compassion, anger, love, and enthusiasm, but spends far less time in a blue funk). The Luvox user (who has a lot of different problems) does not demonstrate any of the specific “exalted feelings, delusions of grandeur…and overproduction of ideas” that the author claims Luvox brought out in Eric Harris. (Why does he put those “known” traits in quotes, himself, without providing a citation?)

At this point, I put my anecdotes against his anecdotes and the doc loses.

Every citation he provided was also to another like-minded crusader. Can he provide any citations for actual studies carried out by NIMH or someone else? Have any non-U.S. countries found the same results that he claims?

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that a lot of doctors are pretty quick to fire the drug gun under the combined pressure of “miracles” promoted by pharamceutical companies and quick fixes demanded by patients. The folks in my house are taking drugs in conjunction with therapy; they were not simply handed pills to make them feel better, so I don’t have any personal anecdotes to support the “pass 'em a pill” mentality. I am willing to accept that it happens, but I am not willing to condemn drugs that I see working on the basis of a few alarmist anecdotes.

Before I jump on his bandwagon, I want to know whether Eric Harris was demonstrating his “delusions of grandeur” complex before he went on Luvox and whether outside observers would have agreed with the family members who claimed that there were no problems among the various murderous women before they began taking their drugs. (How improbable is it that family members are going to deny mental or psychological problems within their family if someone can let them blame a drug?) In other words, did the drug cause the problem, or did the too-late administration of the drug fail top prevent it?

He cites Dr. Tracy’s investigation that showed that 24 of 32 women (investigated) who committed murder or suicide were taking SSRIs. Umm? Duh? These women were depressed, maybe? It certainly indicates that the drugs failed to counteract the depression (provided the women were taking them in the doses that they had been provided), but it hardly indicates that the drugs caused the problem.

(I also note that Whittaker is out there pushing vitamins–based on one anecdotal exposure to a woman who he deemed healthy who was taking vitamins.)

His final paragraph sort of blows his credibility, for me. He does not call for his subscribers to demand that NIMH or CDC crack down with better testing, he calls for the drugs to be pulled from the market–based only on his anecdotes.


Tom~: I can generally agree with what you’ve said. Even Whitaker seems to say that the effects he’s talking about occur in a small percentage of cases.

What I find more interesting is that recently I saw a news report of a university study of Prozac in a clinical setting which determined, for all of the manufacturer’s ‘data’, that Prozac was hardly distinguishable from a placebo for real effectiveness . . .

DIF - I’d be interested in seeing that study, if you could find it. Not that I disbelieve you, just all of my personal experience is that Prozac and other SSRIs have been helpful.

As for the article…I disagree with it. Like Tom, I only have my own anecdotes to go up against Whitakers’. I’ve been on Prozac for a year. I will be on it for the rest of my life, according to my doctor. (I had 3 serious, suicidal bouts with depression.) While putting people on medication without having counseling attached is wrong, I can’t agree with taking away an entire class of medications that CAN and DO help people just because of a few cases.

Also, I don’t know if this happened in the cases that Whitaker mentioned, but when I was placed on Prozac, I was warned about possible side effects such as getting MUCH worse. And if it happened, to discontinue the drug and call the office immediately.

Just my $.02. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think we should globally discontinue use of these drugs without further testing.

The following are quotes from Dr. Whitaker:

The following is a quote from:

I think I might lend half an ear to Dr. Whitaker if he didn’t compare SSRIs to LSD and PCP. Then he goes and babbles about St. John’s Wort. Clearly this man knows nothing about the effects of serotonin levels on mood. I’ve read plenty of stuff on SSRIs, mainly about Whitaker’s favorite “scourge” (Listening to Prozac, Living with Prozac, and Gorman’s guide to psychiatric drugs), and none of them draw any parallels between SSRIs and PCP. PCP was created as a horse tranquilizer.

Whoops. I think the way I presented Whitaker’s quotes is a little misleading - it might look like the two are supposed to be adjacent, but they’re not. The first paragraph is from the link presented in the OP. The second is from a completely different section - the one on Vitamins and Herbs. Sorry for any confusion.

I have a friend and coworker that I’ve known for 2 1/2 years. For the first 1 1/2 years, I couldn’t stand the asshole. He was a grumpy, pissed-off misanthrope and wanted to fight at the drop of a hat ("I’ll kick yer ass, man!).

We went to work on different project for a while (about 4 months). When I came back, he was a completely different person: mellow, communicative, articulate in a form other than rage. The transformation? Prozac. For the last year, I’ve considered this guy a friend.

That being my only experience with anti-depressant drugs, I wouldn’t exactly jump to the same conclusions as Dr. Whitaker has; but he has a couple of points. I threw it out there as food for thought.

The majority of these mass shooters were on some form of mood-altering prescription medication. This is not to say that everyone taking mood-altering drugs is going to flip out and shoot up a crowd of people. I didn’t get the impression that Dr. W. was trying to suggest that.

I do agree that he does seem to have a hard-on for pharmaceutical companies, and that a less biased research regimen needs to conducted before drawing any substantive conclusions.

However, it’s a “blip” on the statistical radar-scope; whether it’s a bogey or a ghost in the machine is yet to be seen.

<FONT COLOR=“BLUE”>“Good?..Bad?..I’m the guy with the gun!”</FONT>

“Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action.”

Ex-Tanked, glad to have you back, man! I checked out the web-site, and while it seems that the good Doctor did his homework, it did appear that he tends to collect evidence that supports his theory. Do you know of other studies by less-prejudiced groups that we could check out, because I know of several people, including my 10-year-old son, who are on such medication.

I once subscribed to Dr. Whitaker’s newsletter – but never actually read any one of them, because of time limitations. It does need to be brought out here, however, that if you dig very deeply into the background, you’ll find Dr. Whitaker involved in marketing various herbal remedies and such. I suspect he’s the major shareholder of the company that manufactures them.

That said, I still think the subject bears deeper investigation.

Falcon: I believe I saw the study mentioned on an ABC News evening report. I’ll try a website search and let you know what I find.

Falcon, go to
and do a search on Prozac + placebo

Here’s a redact of what I found:

Irving Kirsch of the University of Connecticut and Guy Sapirstein of Westwood Lodge Hospital in Massachusetts issued a paper claiming Prozac and other similar antidepressants work primarily via the placebo effect. They analyzed 19 studies covering 2,318 patients who were given either a placebo or one of several antidepressants. Kirsch and Sapirstein found that placebos are 75 percent as effective as the active drugs, and the other 25% may be due to patients having side effects from the real drugs and figuring out that they’ve been given ‘the straight dope’ (to coin a phrase). There is a new online magazine/journal called “Prevention & Treatment” that their study was published in – but the article on the Discover website did not seem to have a link directly to the magazine. Hope you find this interesting . . .

[balance of post deleted at user’s request]

[Note: This message has been edited by Ed Zotti]

Boris B wrote:

Not only that, but according to one of our M.D. regulars here (I forget who and in what thread the topic came up), St. John’s Wort is an old-style MAO Inhibitor, which can KILL its users if they also eat cheese, wine, liver, or fava beans.

The truth, as always, is more complicated than that.

Uh, Dif? Did you perchance obtain permission to reprint all of that? Unless each example was just a small portion of the original, there may be a little copywrite problem here.
Just curious.

No, slythe, nor did I mean to post all that. And I sent DavidB a message yesterday afternoon asking him to delete everything after I wrote "Hope you find this interesting. . . "

However, I guess being put forth as a candidate for Deity can occupy a lot of one’s time . . .


Everything I’ve read about St. John’s Wort indicates that it was originally thought to be an MAO Inhibitor, but that many now believe it is an SSRI with the ability to slow reuptake of one or two other neurotransmitters.

At any rate, I haven’t heard of anything contraindicated for St. John’s Wort other than prolonged exposure to sunlight.

“I think he said ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.’”