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Old April 6, 2009, 08:11 PM   #1
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Anti-depressants: Should we spread the word

It seems the blogosphere is warming up to what most of us know about the correlation between gun rampages and anti-depressant drugs:

Should we spread the word? Or could it make it "ok" to seize the guns of those on anti-depressants?
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Old April 6, 2009, 08:16 PM   #2
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I dont think it has anything to do with anti-depression drugs and everything to do with depressed people who make rotten choices.
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Old April 6, 2009, 08:47 PM   #3
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Correlation does not indicate causation!

That's a good thing to keep in mind when looking at any statistic.

Saying that anti-depressants cause rampages is like saying that since people that go on rampages have guns, it must be the guns fault.
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Old April 6, 2009, 09:07 PM   #4
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Could be that they were on the wrong meds. There's a ton of anti-depressant medications out there, the job of the doc is to find the right one/ones. On the surface, it looks like there's a correlation between the newer meds and the young age of the person taking them.

I don't think it wise to seize the firearms of a person just because of anti-depressant medications. There'd be a lot of LEO's that would be out of a job... maybe... huh?
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Old April 6, 2009, 09:22 PM   #5
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If they can seize guns from one group of people for something...they can seize guns from other groups. How long is it before we all find our way into the wrong group. This kinda thing is just a stetting stone. Death by a thousand cuts. It starts small.
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Old April 6, 2009, 11:36 PM   #6
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Folks who work in sensitive areas like airline pilots, police, politicians and other who might be scrutinised by the media or the courts tend to avoid treatment for mental health issues, for fear of being tarred with the Mental Illness brush. Despite the fact that these meds can in fact be of great usefulness, the downside risk is very great; should anything untoward happen on your watch, you can count on taking the fall and having your life ruined and your reputation poisoned by innuendo.
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Old April 6, 2009, 11:56 PM   #7
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Waay back when...

When Prozac first hit the market, the medical literature about it included the information that in a small percentage of cases, it did not work as usual, and that individuals could (rarely) become paranoid, and even violent as a result of being on the drug.

I have no idea what the literature says today, but I doubt that part is emphasised, if it is even still there.

The basic problem is that here, we are dealing with mind altering drugs. Legally prescribed, but still mind altering drugs. AND that even though we are all basically the same physically, there are enough differences that all drugs do not work as planned on all people. 10,000 people may take drug A and be cured. #10001 may have an allergic reaction and die. #270343 may become psychotic and violent.

The overwhelming majority of the mass shootings during the late 1980s and 1990s had mind altering drugs, prescription and/or street involved. Patrick Purdy (Stockton - the incident that started the whole assault rifle issue) was on prescription meds (Prozac, I believe) and street dope. Westbecker (Louisville - a copycat crime) was on Prozac from one doctor, and Lithium from another doc across town, who knew nothing about the first Doc. The list goes on, a little research will support this conclusion.

The real problem comes from what the unmedicated society will decide is the proper method of treating the issue. Prozac and other "anti-depressants" have become the most prescribed meds in the country. Treating depressed people with therapy is costly, and time consuming. And results are being questioned, since depression is now being considered as a medical condition due to chemical imbalance. It is much easier, and cost effective for the medical profession to simply prescribe a "happy pill" and hope for the best. Most of the time, it works, however sometimes, it goes wrong, and sometimes, it goes very badly wrong.

What the anti-gunners will most likely push, once they decide that the issue can be twisted to their advantage, is that anyone on these meds must surrender/be denied guns (no matter if there is nothing tangible to support it - "its simply too great a risk"). It is very unlikely that they will push for increased scrutiny about what gets prescribed, and to whom, and closer monitoring of individuals on medication.

I know one veteran, who is being treated (for the now popular catch-all condition) PTSD. He was forced, by the VA to give up (sell) his guns, knives, swords (if he had any), or they would deny his treatment.

Right now, there are a great number of children being treated with Ritalin, for "behavioral problems", who's parents are unaware that when 8year old Johnny turns 18 and wants a military career, he will be denied, because of his drug use. And by then, he may be denied his 2nd amendment rights as well, if certain people get their way.

There are proposed laws right now, that would require gun owners (and those wishing to become gun owners) to have a psychological evaluation, in the name of public safety.

Now, while I recognise that there are sincere and dedicated professionals in the psychological community, I also know that there are people with agendas there as well. Remember that a few decades ago, the "standard" medical/psychological references listed homosexuality as a mental disorder! Today, they do not. Psychology is not a "hard" science the way Physics is. It is subject to change and evolution, changing societal standards, and being changed by them.

Also remember that one of the tactics of the Soviet Union was to declare that dissadents were "mentally ill", and shipped them off to camps for "treatment".

Current law only denies 2nd Amendment rights after a court adjudicates you as incompetent. I, for one, would not care to have that decision given to anyone else, let alone a hoplophobic mental health "professional" to make on their own.
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Old April 7, 2009, 12:44 AM   #8
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Just a personal story to share....

Well folks I don't consider myself an expert, but I feel comfortable enough to throw my .02 in.

Back about 5 years ago I lost an aunt of mine. She committed suicide. She was also being treated for chronic depression. I had seen her two weeks previously and not only had she seemed fine, she'd seemed happy and had big plans that she was making for the summer break that was fast approaching.

Well she hung herself and her teenage daughter found her in the garage. There was no warning, no letter, no nothing. Her husband and son had been in the living room on the computer and had no idea that anything had happened. We still don't know what upset her so badly, but whatever it was sent her reeling out of control in a huge hurry.

My family was shocked and hurt and wanted answers. She had seemed so good when we had last seen her. Over the following weeks there were a lot of theories thrown around, but then we found her medication. We asked her doctor about it and he had recently switched the depression medication she had been on. Her husband told us that she had responded badly to the medication and that it made her ill. So she quit taking it cold turkey. Her doctor told us that when someone is used to taking medication like that their body *can* become dependent upon it and that when deprived of it their body will react violently and can cause far more severe mood swings than they had ever experienced before taking the medication.

I don't think this fact is emphasized enough. We're used to living in a society of instant gratification where we never have to wait or work for something. Every time we feel slightly under the weather we take a pill or if we're lonely we pick up the phone or get online. People forget how to cope. Doctors don't want to tell them that taking this pill might cause horrendous damage or maybe the people just don't want to listen.

Either way I think that mood altering medication is something handed out far too freely and often times without the possible ramifications ever being fully expressed or understood. Now I won't say that drugs like that are the cause, but I will say that I believe they have a very big influence. In my eyes they are terrifying things and I don't trust them. I may be biased, but I do know there is some logic behind my concerns. My orphaned cousins can attest to that.
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Old April 7, 2009, 01:51 AM   #9
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When it comes to mind altering drugs (and how the brain functions in general) there is a plethora of things that we don't know. For example, the way that anesthesia actually functions is largely a mystery. We just know that it works most of the time.

At the moment we can say that on occasion taking certain antidepressants can potentially cause suicidal thoughts to either manifest themselves or become worse. You also have to consider what kind of antidepressant is being used (TCAs, NDRIs, NRIs, SNRIs, SSRIs (probably the ones people think of the most including Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexa), NaSSAs, etc). All of these different classes of antidepressants function in different ways and within each class each drug has its own consequences, some good and some not so good.

The medical community is always evolving and discovering that some drugs we have been prescribing for years are harmful (think Vioxx). Some function well as something completely different (Rogaine started off as Loniten, a drug meant to treat hypertension). And some should actually be taken by a totally different subset of people (Thalidomide used to be taken for morning sickness until it was discovered that the r enantiomer treats morning sickness and the s enantiomer causes birth defects, and you really can't separate it. It is now taken by men with prostate cancer and a couple of other diseases, but usually not women of childbearing age).

Unlike the medical community that can and should change its mind every once in a while, our constitution and laws we make have to be able to be applicable no matter how many times the medical community comes out with new knowledge that may or may not still be true in 20 years.

Then there's the issue of correlation not equalling causation.

Looking at the above graph we can clearly see that the average global temperature is a function of the number of pirates. As we can see, we can't simply assume that psychos are like that because they take meds. Maybe, but we don't know for sure, and a lack of evidence denying it and the fact that many psychos have this in common doesn't make it any more true than the number of pirates affecting average global temperature.

Our laws have supersede the emotion of the day. Yes, when people are needlessly killed we will be upset. But, the thing about a republic is we need to be able to say "yes, that was terrible, but this event can not cause our laws to infringe on our rights".

We can say the the freedom of speech has caused people to be killed. It certainly caused many in the civil rights movement to be murdered. Having everybody agree and not have contradicting opinions would certainly cause a few less people to be murdered. But there are some things more important than my life, and not having anything infringe on any of my civil liberties is one of them (and not just the second A, I'm a stickler for all of them).
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Old April 7, 2009, 07:03 AM   #10
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One day in the far off future of universal health care and its required data bases, responsible gun owners will be afraid to seek help for conditions both mental and physical and job related, if the slope of this thread keeps sliding.

These shooting are unfortunate, tragic flukes. And the that they don't need another prescription for laid off gun owners who occasionally see a therapist and take a valium for anxiety caused by parenting, etc. Every problem can't be solved in the blogoshpere, or DC, or with(or without) medication. Mainly...the problem of flukes.
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Old April 7, 2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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"The basic problem is that here, we are dealing with mind altering drugs."

Every drug is, in one way or another, a mind-altering drug.

Anti-depressants are no different from, say, aspirin, hydrocodone, or benadryl in that sense, so let's start seizing the firearms of allergy sufferers while we're at it.

"Correlation does not indicate causation!"

Truer words have never been spoken.

Individuals who have been taking anti-depressants have murdered people, that is true. What is also true is that people taking NO drugs of any kind have also murdered people.

I see this thread going absolutely NOWHERE except into a series of uninformed but oh-so-opinionated screeds that have no basis in fact but everything in second, third, and fourth-hand "experiences" and "knowledge."

It also REALLY botheres me when we start looking at the Huffington Post as "proof" of one thing (anti-depressants) but consider it to be the worst, most incorrect, and most biased source possible on another (guns).
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