Antidepressants and School Violence a Persuasive Essay  Essay

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Antidepressants and School Violence

A persuasive essay, arguing link school shootings Columbine Virginia Tech, mass shootings, Aurora Theater shootings, Gabriel Giffords shooting, gunman/perpetrators psychotropic medications SSRI Antidepressants, Stimulant medications Ritalin, Adderall Concerta a, Atypical Antipsychotics, smoking cessation drugs Zyban Champix.

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris took an arsenal of guns and improvised on April 20, 1999 and went on a killing spree at Columbine High School near Littleton. The two students killed themselves after killing their teacher, and twelve other of their classmates. These actions are among many other separate incidents that have occurred in the recent past raising a concern over what could be the cause (Jacqueline & Barry, 2005).

According to Clash Daily (2013) among the multiple shootings and suicides that have occurred in the last two decades one thing is common. The weapon used in these atrocities does not feature as the common aspect. The evidence from studies such as those by (Jacqueline & Barry, 2005; Kelly, 2000; Mohandie K., 2000) show that perpetrators of these actions were either being treated for psychological defects, actively taking psychotropic drugs, or suffering from drug related withdrawal effects. Although it goes unreported and undisclosed, studies have found that, some psychotropic drugs such as; Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRI), have side effects including; uncooperative behaviors, violence and suicide among others (Tilghman & McGarry, 2010).


Like any other alcoholic drink and drug, antidepressants have the effect of altering brain functions and chemistry by introducing foreign chemicals. The foreign chemical's effect by altering normal body chemistry can have unpredictable results to adults, children and teens. The effect to children and teenagers is more hazardous since their bodies and brains have not sufficiently matured to provide checks upon the medicines impulsivity (Robert, 2002).

Studies have shown that children and teenagers tend to have a hyperactive thought process and this is spiked further by the introduction of such chemicals as those contained in Antidepressants. This combination result to hyperactivity in children and teenagers and if, no control measures are deployed violence and harmful actions may be undertaken (Jacqueline & Barry, 2005).

Causes of Psychotropic Drugs

The grievous risk of Psychotropic drugs is evidenced in a review by Dr. David Healy and colleagues using clinical drug trial. The trial data was undertaken by GlaxoSmithKline for their drug Paxil. The report shows that the clinical trials respondents displayed some level of hostility similar to other antidepressants affirming the worry among a UK committee on medicine and their safety. In this study, it is attested that antidepressants influence hostility in individuals by altering the chemical composition of human brains reducing this capacity to control their brain and physical activities (Preda & MacLean et al., 2001).

A follow up report in Canada by Health Canada has required the pharmaceutical company to distribute the drug with a warning pegged upon it. Health Canada caution over the drug admits that the antidepressant drug influences individual hostility and agitation. To pass on the caution Health Canada requires GlaxoSmithKline to print upon the package that Paxil use in some cases will drive some patients to experience disturbing or impulsive thoughts, strange feelings of hostility, anxiety or agitation (David & Graham, 2009). This is to say if a perpetrator of violence act is under antidepressant medication or has a history of antidepressant medication then, their violent actions can easily be pinned upon the drug.

Health Canada Further requires pharmaceutical companies to give a listed detail of the side effects antidepressant medicine can adduce to patients. Following this directive, manufacturers indications show abnormal thinking is experienced by 3% of the patients while, 4% experience abnormal dreams. Studies showing the high number of children and teenagers who use antidepressants as prescribed medicines for their respective conditions intensify the concerns that school shootings are linked to use of antidepressants (David & Graham, 2009).

Homicidal and suicidal effects can result from subsequent treatment or withdrawal from antidepressants. Kelly (2006), observes that individuals who undergo treatment using antidepressant are likely to experience distraught, irritability and impulsiveness. Individuals using antidepressants experience events that they cannot control and this present a worst case scenario for children and teenagers.

Given the alterations antidepressants provide, school shootings and violence need to be investigated where there is history of psychological treatment. Robert (2002) says that the public cannot suspect that the hideous killing acts of a madman for no reason and a warning is driven by the medication they are treated with and not the evil in him. These arguments call for more light to be shed since it is highly probable that these drugs influence the violent acts.

"Atomoxetine" is an Antidepressant majorly prescribed to children suffering from Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention deficiency has been credited to cause Aggression, Mania, and Hypomania. In the drug induction study, it was uncovered that 33% of the patients display aggression, irritability, hypomania or mania (Kelly, 2006). The findings affirm that antidepressant medication and treatment can be the cause of the rising level of violence and shooting in schools.

In another study on clinical trial for SSRI (an antidepressant) shows that patients undergo sessions of agitation. Five percent of the patients put under SSRIs in random trials drop out claiming high levels of agitation. In the study, 0.5% of those put on dummy pills claim agitation. The study sought assess whether agitations is a truly revealed feeling among patients on antidepressants (David & Graham, 2009).

Psychiatry advises that the presence of agitation is can lead to demonstrations of anger and, in cases where anger is uncontrolled grievous harm including killing and suicide may result (Peter, 2004). Similar findings are reported by Prozac manufacturers who evidenced that a patient may suffer frequent nervous system breakdown, agitation, confusion, emotional liability and amnesia (David Healy, Graham Aldred 2005).

Analyzing the university's admission to the psychiatric unit in the hospital at Yale, the department of Psychiatry found that patients admitted with mania conditions or psychosis associated antidepressant accounted for 8.1% (David & Graham, 2009). In his practice, distressful side-effects, Dr. Glenmullen asserts that antidepressant can cause psychoses, attempted suicide, hallucinations and violence dominate and more so among the young undeveloped brains. (Kate, 2006).

Evidences of the Link between Violence and Psychotropic Dugs

Regulatory warnings on recent inauspicious behavioral upshots from antidepressants users raise the visibility of the issue with clinicians, patients, and the public at large. A review of clinical data analyzing sertraline and paroxetine outlines a series of linkages between violence and antidepressant. Violent behaviors, especially those evidenced in schools by teenagers and children that have now become a common occurrence in today's world are associated with perpetrators use of antidepressants.

Numerous calls have been made to elicit for more clinical trials on antidepressant medicines and the finding be made public. There is growing concern for openness among the pharmaceutical companies on the effects their antidepressant drugs have on patients. This clearly shows that the public is concerned that the continued use of these drugs unknowingly will raise shootings in schools. The need for disclosure of the side effects calls upon the courts to give ruling to pharmaceutical companies to disclose evidence on their clinical trials.

The finding of the studies identifying the side effects of psychotropic drugs is emphasized by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning that antidepressants induce agitation, impulsivity, hostility, suicidal behaviors and mania. In support of this warning it is observed that a year after the introduction of Prozac in 1987, there were 46 violence incidences involving 48 students in schools. Out of these incidences, it was reported in media and other publications that 38% were actively being treated with the drug or, were withdrawing from the drugs. The report shows the out the 38% were being treated with antidepressants, three others were using unknown prescribed psychiatric drugs, one was taking a tranquilizer and five were Dexedrine or Ritalin (a stimulant) (Tilghman & McGarry, 2010).

Increase in school related attacks and shootings are evidenced to have increased in a report by the U.S. Department of Education and Secret Service in 2002. The report realized double digit of 2.5% increase in the number of shootings per year. This trend is of concern since although the culprits are young students in school; the reason for their action is not investigated. Other cases compiled by the International Coalition for Drug Awareness on violent crimes show more than 950 violent acts within eight years, committed by people taking SSRI antidepressants coming from of all ages (Varley, Vitello, Zuvekas, & Norquist, 2006).

The categories of crime committed are over 100 acts of assault and violence, 362 murders; 13 school shootings; 21 robberies; 45 attempted murders; 24 acts of arson; 5 bomb threats or bombings; suicide attempts and actual suicide 350 and 3 plane crashes by flying pilots. This information coupled with the alarming rate of using antidepressants among children and adolescent goes to say there is a Correlation between the use of antidepressant and the rising number of school shootings. These studies are an outright demonstration of the…

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