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Why Mass Shootings Are Increasing

School shootings, work shootings, snipers out in public…this is everyday news. Mass shootings are increasingly common. Why? Some speculate that people are becoming more violent and desensitized due to the increased violence on TV, in movies and in video games. But be honest — the percentage increase in violence we are exposed to via media and games doesn’t correlate to the recent almost exponential increase of random acts of senseless violence. People also attribute it to the increased ease of access to guns. But face it — guns have been accessible for decades.

The real truth? All of these killers were on antidepressants or other psychiatric medication. Yes, really. A study published in 2010 found that 11 antidepressants and 6 sedative/hypnotic drugs are linked to atypical cases of violence. Reality is that antidepressants and other antipsychotic drugs have the side effect of increased violence and suicide.

Here’s just a few examples of school shooters on these medications. Coincidence? I doubt it.

– Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook Elementary shooter in Connecticut, 2012 was on Fanapt, a medication used for schizophrenia. One side effect of Fanapt is “mood or behavioral changes, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.”

– Elizabeth Bush, Bishop Neumann Junior-Senior High School shooter in Pennsylvania, 2001 was on the antidepressant Prozac. The study above found that people on this medication are 10.9 times more likely to be violent than people on other medications.

– Eric Harris, Columbine High School shooter in Colorado, 1999 was on the antidepressant Luvox. The study above found that people on this medication are 8.4 times more likely to be violent than people on other medications.

– Kip Kinkel, Thurston High School shooter in Oregon, 1998 had recently been on the antidepressant Prozac.

Bottom line? Be careful with antidepressants and antipsychotic medications. They cause an increase in violence and suicide. The good news is there are many natural options that come without the side effects. One example is a program I designed for using supplements to treat bipolar disorder.

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About Dr. Karen Vieira

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