Before the late nineteen eighties, mass shootings and acts of senseless violence were relatively unheard of. Prozac, the most well known SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant, was not yet on the market. When Prozac did arrive, it was marketed as a panacea for depression which resulted in huge profits for its manufacturer Eli Lilly. Of course other drug companies had to create their own cash cow and followed suit by marketing their own SSRI antidepressants.
Subsequently, mass shootings and other violent incidents started to be reported. More often than not, the common denominator was that the shooters were on an antidepressant, or withdrawing from one. This is not about an isolated incident or two but numerous shootings. The question is, during the past twenty years is the use of antidepressants here a coincidence or a causation?
There have been too many mass shootings for it just to be a coincidence. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School. Eric was on Luvox, an antidepressant. The Virginia Tech shooter killed thirty-two people and he was on an antidepressant. While withdrawing from Prozac, Kip Kinkel murdered his mother and stepmother. He then shot twenty-two classmates and killed two. Jason Hoffman wounded five at his high school while he was on Effexor, also an antidepressant. James Holmes opened fire in a Colorado movie theater this past summer and killed twelve people and wounded fifty-eight. He was under the care of a psychiatrist but no information has been released as to what drug he must have been on.
Psychiatrists generally will tell you that these people were mentally ill and they weren’t treated in time or didn’t get enough help to prevent the tragedy. However, Dr. Peter Breggin, who is a psychiatrist, stated that depression rarely leads to violence and that it’s only since the SSRI’s came on the market that such mass shootings have taken place.