The rash of school shootings and other acts of violence that has rocked the United States is a terrible tragedy. As human beings, we seek to make some sense of things, but it seems the few answers we find just lead to more questions. After Columbine, we thought addressing school bullying was the answer, only to discover that many of the perpetrators don’t fit the traditional model of a bullied teen. Politicians constantly fight over how to handle these situations. Some believe that gun control is the answer. Others believe that the culture of American has to change. Despite all this arguing, we seem no closer to an answer than we were at the beginning.
But perhaps there is one answer. The more tragedies that occur, the more it becomes apparent that there is one frequent link between the attackers. Many, if not most, had been prescribed antidepressants or SSRI medications (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) even though they were under the age of 25. Research has shown for years that these types of medications can have an adverse reaction on young people, leading to suicidal and homicidal thoughts. The reason for this is unclear, but might be due to the fact that the adolescent or young adult brain is not yet fully developed.
Obviously not everyone who is prescribed one of these medications becomes dangerous, either to themselves or others. But there is enough of a body of research to indicate that these drugs, when prescribed to the wrong people, can be very dangerous. Some of the warning signs are:
- The person on the medication is under 25 years old.
- The person on the medication might be bipolar.
- The person on the medication has a history of homicidal or suicidal thoughts.
- The person on the medication is not receiving counseling to monitor their thoughts.
We would all like to believe that prescribing psychiatrists and physicians are doing their due diligence before handing out behavior modifying medication, but it seems this isn’t always the case. If you or someone you love has been injured by a young person on these drugs, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer or other professional who can help you get the answers you deserve.