Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Newton School Shooting

I can't say much and I won't say much. I found out when someone near and dear to me tearfully told me about this horrific event. I was numb for an hour.

The talking heads are running their mouths and the journalists I respect, Rachel Maddow and Ed Shultz have disapointed me as has the rest of the media. One common thread that the media will not report is the prescription drug connection in almost all these shooting.

I will provide some links with data regarding the role prescription drugs play in these acts of violence. The media's knee jerk reaction to blame guns while ignoring the role drugs play makes me want to vomit.

Switzerland has more guns and they have very little gun violence.

Contact your elected officials and mention the drug connection. Get informed and please leave comment with information about SSRIs and violence.

I will update this story with links to data on antidepressants and violence.

Rachel and Ed are right about one thing... we do need stricter gun laws but I would oppose banning semi auto guns no matter how scary they look.
AR-15 found in the shooter's car
A 9mm Sig Sauer was used in the shooting
A Glock 9mm was used in the shooting
This Colt semi-automatic hammerless pistol was produced between 1903 and 1945. It operates similarly to the Glock and the Sig Sauer. The point is, these style of hand guns have been around for over 100 years.

Astounding increase in antidepressant use by Americans

Remember when the best-selling book Listening to Prozac came out almost 20 years ago?
Now Americans aren’t just reading about Prozac. They are taking it and other antidepressants (Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, Zoloft, to name just a few) in astounding numbers.

According to a report released yesterday by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the rate of antidepressant use in this country among teens and adults (people ages 12 and older) increased by almost 400% between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008.

The federal government’s health statisticians figure that about one in every 10 Americans takes an antidepressant. And by their reckoning, antidepressants were the third most common prescription medication taken by Americans in 2005–2008, the latest period during which the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected data on prescription drug use.

Here are a few other stand-out statistics from the report on antidepressants:
  • 23% of women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressants, a higher percentage than any other group (by age or sex)
  • Women are 2½ times more likely to be taking an antidepressant than men (click here to read a May 2011 article in the Harvard Mental Health Letter about women and depression)
  • 14% of non-Hispanic white people take antidepressants compared with just 4% of non-Hispanic blacks and 3% of Mexican Americans
  • Less than a third of Americans who are taking a single antidepressants (as opposed to two or more) have seen a mental health professional in the past year
  • Antidepressant use does not vary by income status.
So is it a good thing that so many more Americans are taking antidepressants? Many (perhaps most) mental health professionals would say, yes, because depression has been undertreated and because antidepressants are effective.

But there are also plenty of critics, as shown by this review in the New York Review of Books, who say the benefits have been overstated and that pharmaceutical company marketing is responsible for the surge in prescriptions.

Of course there’s a middle ground that combines—some might say muddles—these two points of view: depression was neglected and sometimes antidepressants are the remedy, but there is some overuse and has been a major factor in the 400% increase.

What do you think? Has an antidepressant worked for you? Have the benefits been exaggerated and the side effects downplayed?

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