New research shows it messes with their migration, with potentially devastating effects.
Anxiety takes a toll on people: they worry, they feel irritable, they avoid social gatherings — like an upcoming New Year’s Eve party. Juvenile salmon also experience stress when faced with unfamiliar situations, such as migrating out to sea where they’ll encounter predators. While anti-anxiety medication helps countless humans function better in their daily lives, new research shows the drugs also make salmon less inhibited, which can have potentially devastating effects.
In a study out of Sweden’s Umeå University, researchers show oxazepam — a pharmaceutical prescribed to humans for the treatment of anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and insomnia — affects the downstream migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon.
Exposing fish to anti-anxiety medication isn’t something that only happens in scientific studies: when humans excrete drugs, some can end up in wastewater effluent and subsequently in sensitive habitats where salmon may get an unintended dose. The researchers found that when fish ingest oxazepam, it makes them migrate faster and farther — potentially recklessly so.
Leaving the freshwater nursery and heading out to sea is part of the salmon lifecycle, but landing in the big blue too soon can be risky. Fish may find ocean conditions unfavourable — too cold, too dangerous, or lacking food, for example.
“Many scientists, including Dr. Turhan Canli of Stony Brook University in New York, have come to believe that depression might have more to do with gut microbes, viruses, or bacteria than brain chemistry. In fact, Cali believes depression should be reclassified as an infectious disease.”
A new study of healthy people taking antidepressants shows that the drugs often significantly increase suicidal feelings in users.
Antidepressants are supposed to ease symptoms of depression, but yet another study shows the drugs may actually increase suicidal feelings in users. According to Danish researchers, the new study wrecks “potentially lethal misconceptions” about the safety of antidepressants. 
Statistics About Antidepressants
Researchers estimate that 8% to 10% of Americans take an antidepressant. Adults in the U.S. consumed 4 times more of the drugs in the late 2000’s than they did in the early 1990’s. 
Are more people depressed now than they were 20 years ago? Probably, yes. But that doesn’t necessarily account for the rise in antidepressant use.
You see, nearly 70% of people taking an antidepressant do not meet the criteria for clinical depression. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel sad, or they’re not going through hard times. It simply means that, from a purely diagnostic standpoint, they are not clinically depressed.
Not only that, but between 25% and 60% of antidepressants are prescribed for off-label purposes, including ADHD, autism, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, and even neuropathic pain.
Findings of the Study
Danish researchers analyzed 13 trial studies, and conducted a study of their own involving 374 trial volunteers – all of them healthy – to see how antidepressants affected people who did not have depression. 
The researchers said they picked the patients that they did because earlier studies suggesting a link between suicide and antidepressants had been dismissed by those who blamed the deaths on the person’s supposed mental health condition and not the drugs.
Professor Peter Gøtzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, said:
“The drug industry always tries to blame the disease for these harms, never the pills. This is why our study is important. Healthy volunteers don’t have a disease — so we cannot blame the side effects of the pills on it.” 
When the participants were given antidepressant pills, levels of side effects nearly doubled, including suicidal feelings.
“Suicidal feelings” included anxiety, nightmares, and agitation.
Gotzsche said these feelings could be considered as “precursors to suicidality or violence.” 
However, Professor Guy Goodwin, past President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, called the conclusions “absurd.” He said:
“This manuscript claims to show that antidepressants double the risk of suicide and violence, but it does not. The methodology is fatally flawed and leads to conclusions that are highly misleading.
If ‘nervousness, anxiety, tremor, bad dreams and agitation events’ are risk factors for suicide or violence, then probably the majority of people in the UK would be at risk of suicide or violence, which obviously isn’t so.”
Phil Cowen, Professor of Psychopharmacology at Oxford University, agreed, saying:
“These side-effects are clinically significant, frequently distressing and an important topic for discussion between patient and clinician.
However, the notion that they are necessarily indicative of violence and suicide seems to me rather like arguing that transient annoyance with a colleague is much the same thing as attempted murder.” 
Drug Companies Seriously “Under-Report Harms of Antidepressants”
But Gøtzsche said that his findings are even more disturbing, considering drug companies seriously “under-report the harms of antidepressants related to suicide and violence, either by simply omitting them from reports, by calling them something else, or by committing scientific misconduct.” 
Gøtzsche is right about that.
It came out in 2005 that a Harvard psychiatrist and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly covered up a secret 1988 internal memo indicating that Lilly’s own controlled clinical trials of antidepressant drug Prozac had a significantly higher rate of suicide attempts, hostility, violence, and psychosis than 4 other commonly used antidepressants in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Earlier this year, another study conducted by Gøtzsche and his colleagues found that SSRI antidepressants – the most common class of antidepressants – doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behavior in teens under 18.
That study, a review of 70 clinical trials of SSRI antidepressants, which involved more than 18,000 people, also found that 1 drug company misreported 4 deaths in favor of its product. The company also chalked up over 50% of suicidal incidents to “emotional lability” or “worsening of depression.”
No mention that either problem could have been the result of taking the drug itself.
And let’s face it – there’s a reason why antidepressants list “suicidal thoughts” as a potential side effect on their labels.
Serotonin and Depression: Lacking a Link
You’ve probably heard that depression is a result of a lack of brain chemicals, or an imbalance of them.
Researchers are still trying to figure out what causes depression, exactly, still arguing over whether a lack of the chemical serotonin is or isn’t actually the cause of depression.
And what do SSRI antidepressants do? They increase serotonin in the brain. SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Well, there’s more to it than that. Maybe I’ll just let the Mayo Clinic explain:
“SSRIs ease depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that carry signals between brain cells. SSRIs block the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin in the brain, making more serotonin available. SSRIs are called selective because they seem to primarily affect serotonin, not other neurotransmitters.”
For years, doctors and patients alike have believed that depression is caused by a lack of serotonin, not because anyone told them so, but because they just assumed that because SSRIs improve the symptoms of depression, depression must be caused by not enough serotonin.
Antidepressants might make you feel better, but because they interfere with the delicate chemistry of the brain, they might also be causing you irreparable brain damage.
It’s like saying that eating pancakes might help you deal with the stress of an upcoming business meeting, but they’re still making you overweight and spiking your blood sugar.
Many scientists, including Dr. Turhan Canli of Stony Brook University in New York, have come to believe that depression might have more to do with gut microbes, viruses, or bacteria than brain chemistry. In fact, Cali believes depression should be reclassified as an infectious disease.
Only more research can prove or disprove this theory, which doesn’t offer the quick fix that so many people find in antidepressants. But this theory makes sense, because 80% to 90% of the serotonin in the body is located in the gastrointestinal tract.
But wouldn’t it be worthwhile to find and treat the cause, rather than just treat the symptoms?
No one should guilt you into or out of taking any medication. (And if you’re taking antidepressants, this is NOT my way of telling you to stop taking them! I know people who seem to experience much more benefit than risk.)
However, if you’re going through a divorce, you’ve just lost your job, or you’re grieving a loved one, counseling, yoga, and other methods for dealing with your pain may be a safer option for you.
There’s no doubt an increasing amount of anxiety and depression in our modern world. This is partly because the standard combination of pharmaceutical drugs and mainstream psychology struggles to work. Fortunately, there are other ways though.
Before I get into how, let’s discuss why the drugs and psychs aren’t doing what they say they will. To use a pharmacological example, the anti-depressant drugs that the corporate-based, medical-industrial complex prescribes for society are designed to increase the levels of serotonin in the body. Yet as discussed in this Huffington Post article, that entire theory might be invalid:
Andrews surveyed 50 years’ worth of research supporting the serotonin theory of depression, which suggests that the disease is caused by low levels of the “happiness” neurotransmitter, serotonin.
But Andrews argues that depression may actually be caused by elevated levels of serotonin. And this fundamental misunderstanding may be responsible for inappropriate treatment.
Even if increasing serotonin was the right approach, it’s only a temporary support mechanism whilst psycho-social and physiological measures are put into place to actually resolve the problem permanently. In other words, these drugs don’t cure anything. What will cure it is holistically addressing the issues in our neurological, digestive, environmental and philosophical realms. This in turn can emancipate us from our depression, anxiety and an array of other mental and emotional ills.
Micro-organisms in our gut secrete a profound number of chemicals, and researchers like Lyte have found that among those chemicals are the same substances used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These, in turn, appear to play a function in intestinal disorders, which coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety.
Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2-diabetes and also cancer, in which chronic low-grade inflammation is a significant contributing factor. Thus researchers suggested “depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome.”
The addictive and health-deteriorating substance called sugar has also been linked to depressive psychological states. It’s no wonder either when it has been scientifically shown to light up the same regions of the brain as cocaine and heroin. As expressed in the same article:
It’s become increasingly clear that one route by which sugar is so detrimental to your mental health is because sugar consumption triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. Further, excess sugar and fructose will distort the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut, which also plays an integral role in your mental health. Sugar does this by serving as a fertilizer/fuel for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi that negatively inhibit the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
On a positive side-note, this article indicates how to make our digestive system healthier:
A new study from England found that supplements that boost “good” bacteria in the gut (called “prebiotics”) may alter the way people process emotional information, suggesting that changes in gut bacteria may have anti-anxiety effects.
In terms of our environmental stimuli, our external circumstances are highly influential when it comes to our sense of well-being and the way we behave. When discussed in the context of addiction, the old idea that ‘drugs cause addiction’ dissolves and the new approach becomes ‘challenging environments amplify addictive behavior’. One such study with rats reinforces this idea here:
The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.
But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?
In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.
The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.
There is no doubt that an unhealthy environment – including poor parental, interpersonal, financial and societal circumstances – all contribute to our state of being, but why can some people exposed to poverty and other harsh realities still manage to be relatively happy?
Moreover, why aren’t all people with unhealthy guts experiencing depression and/or anxiety? What are the other reasons why so many people are subjected to these ongoing states of suffering?
It’s not just the outside of us which comprises our environment, our inner realm is just as much as part of it too. This includes our physical design, such as our neurology, and our mental design, such as our beliefs and philosophies.
That’s why if we truly want to overcome our states of suffering, we need to go back to the way we’re wired neurologically and the way we’re constructed conceptually. The wiring in our body-brain is an interconnected network that not just moves through our cerebral, digestive and heart brains, but also throughout our body in terms of cellular, molecular and atomic information-sharing and processing. These pathways and reference points are the physiological basis of our past – our memory – which in effect influences our present and future.
In other words, our traumas and other dysfunctions are hardwired through this network, leading to the continuation of past habits, including depressive and anxious responses to our world. So if we want to change a habit of say, poor resilience, we need to change ourselves on a physical level to ensure sustained behavioral change.
So then, how exactly do we do that? Enter philosophy and action. The way we conceptualize reality, including our lives in detail, as well as the choices we make which determine our behavior, directly impacts the neurological pathways and connections in our body, especially over time.
I can’t emphasize how important this point is. Just like our physical layer influences our mental experience, the way we construct our internal world of ideas, concepts and beliefs inevitably has an impact on our body-brain. If we consistently and repeatedly force a new way of thinking and feeling onto our bodily system, it will respond and adapt accordingly without fail.
A good analogy I like to use when describing this is when you create a new path through the forest. The old walkway is obvious and therefore easy to navigate through, but a new one isn’t. Over considerable time walking the new path it will inescapably become as easy to navigate as the original one.
Therefore, when we change our internal dialogue, our neurology and other physiology changes with it.
That’s why it’s seriously important to consciously design our philosophies and actions i.e. what we believe, how we think, the decisions we make, which ways we behave etc. We should always be asking ourselves: is our internal design beneficial to our mental and emotional health? Does it translate into productive, functional and beneficial behaviors? Is our conscious and subconscious awareness healthy for our physical apparatus, or does it impact negatively on our body-brain?
If you’re personally stuck in a rut with anxiety, depression or other forms of mental and physical health issues, taking a holistic approach to resolving them is the only way. Just changing what we eat, or just thinking more positively, isn’t going to cut it; it needs to a full spectrum response over a significant course of time if we really want to redesign our mind/body connection in a more productive and desirable way.
To do so, we must face ourselves on every level. This includes our interpersonal, physical, emotional, philosophical, psychological, behavioral, sexual and spiritual health, as well as how they all interrelate and dance with each other.
And we also need to respect the emotional roller-coaster we call life and navigate our way through the happiness and sadness with as much peace and contentment as we can can.
Ultimately, keep your chin up; we’ve all had not-so wise influences throughout our upbringing and within society in general, so we all need to go through various phases of unlearning and relearning. It might take a while to implement hard-wired, habitual and sustained changes that are valuable for our overall health, but with enough commitment, courage and creativity, it’s achievable for all of us.
About the Author
Phillip J. Watt lives in Australia. His written work deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development. Follow him on Facebook or visit his website.
A large group of medical doctors, psychiatrists and researchers are demanding that the American Psychiatric Association retract a shady study that relied upon industry influence to determine the effectiveness of an antidepressant that’s widely prescribed among children and teens.
The study, published more than a decade ago in the American Journal of Psychiatry, touted the benefits of Celexa in younger populations suffering from depression.
However, a recent analysis of the research found “gross misrepresentations” about the safety and effectiveness of the drug, including the fact that Celexa worked no better than the placebo.
Study showing benefits of Celexa in children was written by the drug’s maker
The researchers say that the study reflected the “pervasive influence” of the marketing objectives of Forest Laboratories, the Celexa manufacturer, adding that the “scientific” manuscript was “written primarily for marketing purposes and only secondarily as a peer-reviewed journal.”
In other words, the study was totally fabricated to extend the consumer base for Celexa to children and teens, the fastest growing demographic for which antidepressants are prescribed.
The analysis revealed that the study was written by none other than ghost writers employed by Forest Laboratories who “seriously misrepresented” the data about the drug’s safety and efficacy.
“Forest’s own internal documents disclosed in litigation show that company staff were aware that there were serious problems with the conduct of this trial but concealed the problems in advancing their commercial objectives,” said the researchers.
As reported by Stat News, “Procedural deviations in the study were not reported; negative outcomes were not reported; [and] side effects were misleadingly analyzed.”
Fabricated study continues to be cited by the pharmaceutical industry
The researchers’ letter demanding a retraction is dated August 1, 2016, and addressed to Dr. Maria Oquendo, president of the American Psychiatric Association. It asks Oquendo to urge the current editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry to issue a retraction.
“Our main concern is that children and adolescents are continuing to be at risk of harm unnecessarily because well-intentioned physicians have been misled,” they wrote.
“We believe that the unretracted … article represents a stain on the high standard of the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Neither the AJP nor the APA can claim to be a leader in scientific research.”
New research finds antidepressants totally ineffective and dangerous for children
The revelations come roughly two months after a groundbreaking report revealed that most antidepressants marketed for children and teens are not only ineffective, but downright dangerous.
The research, published in The Lancet, reports that out of 14 antidepressants, only one (Prozac) provided depression relief for children and teens. Other antidepressants such as Effexor increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts in younger populations.
The study is the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted regarding antidepressant use among children and teens.
Supermodel says antidepressants made her a ‘sociopath’
The adverse effects of antidepressants continue to be disclosed by both physicians and patients alike. English fashion model Cara Delevingne recently told Britain’s Esquire magazine that antidepressants turned her into a “sociopath.”
Delevingne, who took the drugs for two years as a teenager, said she lost all feelings, and was “just numb” until she stopped taking them.
“I didn’t feel s**t. It was horrible. I was like a sociopath. When something was funny I would go, ‘Ha ha!’ just because other people laughed, but then I’d stop immediately because I wasn’t really very good at faking it.”
“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of practice of medicine but also in terms of teaching and research.”
Many might say that a doctor saves lives and helps increase the average life span, but this is not true. Sure, they save a life here and there, but do they really relieve suffering? Patients extrapolate what doctors say, but they don’t realize that, while doctors do know about the diseases in depth, they know very little about the drugs they prescribe.
Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal says:
“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”
The pharmaceutical industry is the most prevalent medicine industry worldwide, as it is hypothesized that the medicines provided by it quickly gives respite from ailments and treats a person, despite of the fact that thousands of people die every year from prescription drug use.
According to a new study, almost 80 percent of meta–analyses had some sort of industry tie-up, either through sponsorship or speaking fees, research grants and things like that, which again leads to the fact that drugs may help someone by giving some sort of relief or lowering pain, but they can also cause a large amount of harm.
These drugs can instantly relieve acute pain and distress. But the treatment of chronic diseases poses a grave problem. Thus, in relieving a diseased condition, other abnormal physiological and pathological problems may develop. The side effects from these drugs can range from mild side effects like fatigue and constipation, to strong side effects like suicidal thoughts, insomnia, coma, severe infection and so on.
“Any drug causing more side effects than benefits will not be called a medicine. It would rather be called a poison.”
Here, we are talking about antidepressants. Dr. Peter Gotzsche, co-founder of Cochrane Collaboration (the world’s foremost body in assessing medical evidence), is currently working to make the world aware of the fact that the side effects associated with the several pharmaceutical grade drugs are actually killing people all over the world. According to his research, 100,000 people in the United States alone die each year from the side effects of correctly-used prescription drugs. He published many papers reasoning the fact that antidepressants are making people suffer with its harmful effects to a large extent.
In context of antidepressants, recent example is a study published in the British Medical Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen. It states that the pharmaceutical companies are not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials.
Tamang Sharma, a PhD student at Cochrane and lead author of the study, said:
“We found that a lot of appendices were often only available upon request to the authorities, and the authorities had never requested them. I’m actually kind of scared about how bad the actual situation would be if we had the complete data.”
This is not the first time that the pharmaceutical companies are portraying only the half truth of their drug trials to get the antidepressants on to the shelves. There are many other examples where we can see that the drug companies are selling their drugs on the basis of a bunch of lies and half-told truths.
“The intention of Mindfulness Meditation is secular; namely, to train the mind, in the same way that we would lift weights to strengthen a muscle, to be able to concentrate — and avoid weakly wandering around on autopilot — for longer and longer periods of time.”
Mindfulness-based teachings have shown benefits in everything from inflammatory disorders to central nervous system dysfunction and even cancer. Training groups in mindfulness has become a powerful tool in preventative intervention. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) are studying how cognitive therapy that uses mindfulness techniques serve as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.
Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”, which can be trained by a large extent in meditational practices.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric conditions affecting children and adolescents. While antidepressants are frequently used to treat youth with anxiety disorders, they may be poorly tolerated in children who are at high risk of developing bipolar disorder.
Many antidepressants cannot be metabolized by segments of the population due to deficiencies in metabolic pathways such as Cytochrome 450. Historically, these non-metabolizers are given more and more psyche drugs as they become more and more psychotic until they hang themselves, kill someone else or become disabled in a mental institution. So what’s better than medication? Mindfulness.
Dr. Madhav Goyal of the John Hopkins School of Medicine, who led research published in JAMA, singled out mindfulness meditation as of of the most effective forms of introspection.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that mindfulness performs as well as or better than medication,” says Adrian Wells, a professor of psychopathology at Manchester University and a clinical advisor to the charity Anxiety UK.
A study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, sought to evaluate the neurophysiology of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children in youth with generalized, social, and/or separation anxiety disorder who were at risk for developing bipolar disorder.
They looked at brain imaging in youth before and after mindfulness based therapy and saw changes in brain regions that control emotional processing. It is part of a larger study by co-principal investigators Melissa DelBello, MD, Dr. Stanley and Mickey Kaplan Professor and Chair of the UC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Sian Cotton, PhD, associate professor of family and community medicine, director of the UC’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness, looking at the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapy.
In a small group of youth identified with anxiety disorders (generalized, social and/or separation anxiety) and who have a parent with bipolar disorder, researchers evaluated the neurophysiology of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in children who are considered at-risk for developing bipolar disorder.
“Our preliminary observation that the mindfulness therapy increases activity in the part of the brain known as the cingulate, which processes cognitive and emotional information, is noteworthy,” says Jeffrey Strawn, MD, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program and co-principal investigator on the study.
“This study, taken together with previous research, raises the possibility that treatment-related increases in brain activity [of the anterior cingulate cortex] during emotional processing may improve emotional processing in anxious youth who are at risk for developing bipolar disorder.”
The study’s findings in regard to increases in activity in the part of the brain known as the insula, the part of the brain responsible for monitoring and responding to the physiological condition of the body, are of high interest, Strawn adds.
In this pilot trial, nine participants ages 9 to 16 years, underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing continuous performance tasks with emotional and neutral distractors prior to and following 12 weeks of mindful-based cognitive therapy.
“Mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions promote the use of meditative practices to increase present-moment awareness of conscious thoughts, feelings and body sensations in an effort to manage negative experiences more effectively,” says Sian Cotton, PhD, an associate professor of family and community medicine at UC, director of the UC’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and a co-author on the study. “These integrative approaches expand traditional treatments and offer new strategies for coping with psychological distress.”
The intention of Mindfulness Meditation is secular; namely, to train the mind, in the same way that we would lift weights to strengthen a muscle, to be able to concentrate — and avoid weakly wandering around on autopilot — for longer and longer periods of time.
“Clinician-rated anxiety and youth-rated trait anxiety were significantly reduced following treatment; the increases in mindfulness were associated with decreases in anxiety. Increasingly, patients and families are asking for additional therapeutic options, in addition to traditional medication-based treatments, that have proven effectiveness for improved symptom reduction. Mindfulness-based therapies for mood disorders is one such example with promising evidence being studied and implemented at UC.”
“The path from an initial understanding of the effects of psychotherapy on brain activity to the identification of markers of treatment response is a challenging one, and will require additional studies of specific aspects of emotional processing circuits,” says Strawn.
Mindfulness is gaining a growing popularity as a practice in daily life, apart from Buddhist insight meditation and its application in clinical psychology. In this context mindfulness is defined as moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, characterized mainly by “acceptance” – attention to thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are right or wrong. Mindfulness focuses the human brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of on its normal rumination on the past or on the future. Sources: berkeley.edu liebertpub.com ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(NaturalNews) Thinking back to all the different mass shooting cases we’ve covered over the years, you may have noticed that there almost always seems to be one common denominator: the use of psychotropic medications by the perpetrators. Brain-altering antidepressant drugs are so often linked to cases of extreme violence these days that these drug-induced stupors, if you will, have been officially pathologized under the name “akathisia.”
In Greek, the term literally means “inability to sit,” and is a neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by “subjective and objective psychomotor restlessness,” according to Dr. Fernando Espi Forcen, M.D., a Fellow of Psychosomatic Medicine at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Put simply, akathisia is an unusually altered state of mind that, in some extreme cases, can cause an individual to become preoccupied with thoughts of violence, whether against himself or someone else.
The ongoing trial of Richard Henry Bain is a great example of how akathisia is gaining legal precedence as a trigger of violent crime. Though he’s being accused of first-degree murder in the infamous election night shooting in Quebec back in 2012, Bain’s lawyers say that his use of antidepressant drugs is to blame for the crime, and thus Bain shouldn’t be held legally liable.
Whether or not this is a valid defense is up to the judge in this particular case to decide. But the fact that akathisia is now a “thing” in the realm of the criminal justice system begs the question: what exactly is it? And more precisely, how is it possible for antidepressant drugs to so alter someone’s state of mind that he becomes unable to control a sudden urge to harm himself or others?
Some people metabolize drugs differently, more quickly than others
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitted back in 2004 that SSRIs, SNRIs and other “new generation” antidepressants like the kind Bain was using can, in fact, worsen depression symptoms, and in some cases cause users to become suicidal or homicidal. The agency three years later issued a “Black Box” warning for these same antidepressants, suggesting that all users up to age 24 be monitored for extreme side effects including agitation, panic attacks, anxiety, hostility, impulsivity and akathisia.
As to why these drugs do this, researchers say it’s predicated upon a variance in how they’re metabolized by individual users. So-called “ultra-rapid metabolizers,” for instance, absorb the drugs’ active ingredients much more quickly than others, putting them at a higher risk of experiencing wild behavioral and mental fluctuations. There’s also the genetic factor; certain gene variations can precipitate variances in how antidepressant drugs affect users’ brain chemistry.
“Fast-changing levels of psychotropic substances, up or down, can cause behavioural changes as the neurotransmitters in the brain react to reach some equilibrium,” a paper entitled Study 329 explains about the chemical process. “This phenomenon makes starting and stopping medication the most dangerous times for suicide and violence, but both can happen at any time, with stress, provocation, dose change, addition or subtraction of a medication.”
Antidepressants operate within very specific biological pathways, the balances of which can easily be thrown off, depending on a person’s unique biological and genetic makeup. Antidepressants have also been shown to cause long-term brain damage, affecting the intermolecular interactions in such a way as to completely alter brain chemistry, possibly permanently.