A Project of the Empathic Therapy Center is an online library and newspaper project of the 501c3 nonprofit Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living, founded by Peter R. Breggin, MD and Ginger Breggin, working toward replacing the biological theories, diagnoses and treatments of "modern" psychiatry with better therapeutic and educational approaches

Peter R. Breggin, MD Websites
Antidepressants--Suicide, Violence, Brain Damage, Efficacy and More
Twitter Feed




"Antidepressant Use in Persons 12 Years and Older in the United States, 2005-2008" NCHS Data Brief  National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control, Health and Human Services, October 2011
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys includes:  "Antidepressants were the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages in 2005–2008 and the most frequently used by persons aged 18–44 years. From 1988–1994 through 2005–2008, the rate of antidepressant use in the United States among all ages increased nearly 400%.... About one in 10 Americans aged 12 and over takes antidepressant medication."


 Antidepressants, Suicide and Violence-- Children, Youth, Adults

Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs):A review and analysis by Peter R. Breggin MD, International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine (2004)

Abstract. Evidence from many sources confirms that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) commonly cause or exacerbate a wide range of abnormal mental and behavioral conditions. These adverse drug reactions include the following overlapping clinical phenomena: a stimulant profile that ranges from mild agitation to manic psychoses, agitated depression, obsessive preoccupations that are alien or uncharacteristic of the individual, and akathisia. Each of these reactions can worsen the individual’s mental condition and can result in suicidality, violence, and other forms of extreme abnormal behavior. Evidence for these reactions is found in clinical reports, controlled clinical trials, and epidemiological studies in children and adults. Recognition of these adverse drug reactions and withdrawal from the offending drugs can prevent misdiagnosis and the worsening of potentially severe iatrogenic disorders. These findings also have forensic application in criminal,malpractice, and product liability cases.


Columbine School Shooter Eric Harris was on the SSRI antidepressant Luvox at the time of the Columbine school shooting.  Here is the FDA drug safety report from Luvox (fluvoxamine) manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals confirming "the presence of a Luvox blood level at autopsy."


Please see Dr. Peter Breggin's professional website page on these critical issues for a number of scientific papers and other resources.  See also videos of Dr. Breggin addressing the issues of violence, suicide & mania relating to psychiatric drugs.


"Prozac Turned Teen into Murderer" Judge Bases Opinion on Testimony of Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, MD that the Antidepressant Caused a Stimulant-like Syndrome Leading to Manic-like Behavior, Suicidality and Violence


Jury Awards $1.5 million for suicide involving antidepressants based on Dr. Breggin's testimony

Address to the FDA Panel on February 2, 2004
Peter R. Breggin, M.D.

I’m Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist. Ten years ago, I wrote in Talking Back to Prozac, “These drugs should not be given to children and young people” (p. 166 paperback). Three years ago, I wrote in the Antidepressant Fact Book, “Professionals and parents alike should reject the idea of subjecting any child to SSRIs” (p. 122). Last month I published an in-depth peer-reviewed analysis of SSRI induced violence, suicide, and mania. I’ve submitted it to the panel and it’s on my website.

By now I’ve personally evaluated dozens of cases SSRI induced violence and suicide, often for medical-legal consultations:

Eric Harris, the Colorado Columbine shooter, took fluvoxamine from age 17 until the day he committed the mass murders. In Vermont a 17-year old on paroxetine bludgeoned a close friend. In Florida a teenager on sertraline beat an old lady to death and a fourteen year old girl on fluoxetine fired a pistol pointblank at a boy. In South Carolina, a 12 year old boy on sertraline shot and killed his grandparents.

The SSRIs produce a continuum of stimulation that includes (1) manic-like reactions, (2) agitated depression, (3) obsessive preoccupations, and (4) akathisia. The result can be disinhibition, suicide and violence.

Clinical trials with youngsters show a 4% rate of mania in on fluvoxamine and a 6% rate on fluoxetine. In clinical practice, the rates are much higher: An outpatient study of youngsters on Prozac found that 23% suffered manic-like symptoms and 19% became more hostile. Another found that 50% developed aggression, agitation, and manic-like symptoms. Another found that 14% became aggressive and even violent.

Please read the published review that I’ve submitted to you and that is on my website. It's time to protect our children. 

Information on how to help children and young people without resort to psychiatric drugs is discussed at length in Dr. Breggin's groundbreaking book: Reclaiming Our Children: A Healing Plan for a Nation in Crisis.


Studies Continue to Reveal Troubling Issues with Antidepressants


Antidepressants--Brain Damage and Chronic Brain Impairment

Select this link to go to a whole page of studies documenting brain damage and chronic brain impairment from antidepressants  


Other Antidepressant Issues Revealed in Studies:


"SSRIs Linked to Risk of Stroke" C. Bankhead, MedPage Today, October 2012

"SSRI users had a 40% to 50% increase in the relative risk of intracranial and intracerebral hemorrhage compared with people who had never taken one of the drugs"

Antidepressants & Bone Density New study: "antidepressant medications ...linked to detrimental impacts on bone mineral density (BMD), and to osteoporosis"


"An evolutionary analysis of whether antidepressants do more harm than good," Paul W. Andrews, et al, Frontiers in Psychology April 24, 2012  "Most antidepressants are designed to perturb the mechanisms that regulate the neurotransmitter serotonin – an evolutionarily ancient biochemical ound in plants, animals, and fungi. Many adaptive processes evolved to be regulated by serotonin, including emotion, development, neuronal growth and death, platelet activation and the clotting process, attention, electrolyte balance, and reproduction. It is a principle of evolutionary medicine that the disruption of evolved adaptations will degrade biological functioning. Because serotonin regulates many adaptive processes, antidepressants could have many adverse health effects...."

"Short-Term Exposure to Antidepressant Drugs and Risk of Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma Among Older Adults" Seitz, Dallas P. MD, et al. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 26 April 2012. "Acute angle-closure glaucoma (AACG) is an ocular emergency that may be precipitated by certain types of medications. Antidepressant drugs can affect a number of neurotransmitters, which are involved in the regulation of the iris, which may precipitate AACG. We used a case-crossover study design to investigate the association between recent exposure to antidepressant drugs and AACG."


Anti-depressants bring higher risk of developing cataracts March 8, 2010
Some anti-depressant drugs are associated with an increased chance of developing cataracts, according to a new statistical study by researchers at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and McGill University.

The study, based on a database of more than 200,000 Quebec residents aged 65 and older, showed statistical relationships between a diagnosis of cataracts or cataract surgery and the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as well as between cataracts and specific drugs within that class.

 Published online today in the journal Ophthalmology, the study does not prove causation but only reveals an association between the use of SSRIs and the development of cataracts. The study could not account for the possibility of smoking - which is a risk factor for cataracts - and additional population-based studies are needed to confirm these findings, the researchers say.

 This study of statistical relationships is the first to establish a link between this class of drugs and cataracts in humans. Previous studies in animal models had demonstrated that SSRIs could increase the likelihood of developing the condition.


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and the Risk of Cataracts by Mahyar Etminan, PharmD, MSc, et al Opthalmology 2010
A possible association was found between current exposure to SSRIs, especially fluvoxamine and venlafaxine, and a future diagnosis of cataracts.


Common brain receptor in eyes may link epilepsy, cataracts and antidepressants January 28, 2012 [this study implicates antiepileptics and antidepressants in cataracts]

Researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and Columbia University have discovered that the most common receptor for the major neurotransmitter in the brain is also present in the lens of the eye, a finding that may help explain links between cataracts, epilepsy and use of a number of widely prescribed antiepileptic and antidepressant drugs. The research appears online in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

“Recent studies identified associations between increased cataracts and epilepsy, and showed increased cataract prevalence with use of antiepileptic drugs as well as some common antidepressants,” explained corresponding author Peter Frederikse, PhD, of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. “One common theme linking these observations is that our research showed the most prevalent receptor for the major neurotransmitter in the brain is also present in the lens.”

The research team, which included Norman Kleiman, PhD, of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, with Mohammed Farooq of the New Jersey Medical School and Rajesh Kaswala, DDS, and Chinnaswamy Kasinathan, PhD, from the New Jersey Dental School, found these glutamate receptor proteins, and specifically a pivotal GluA2 subunit, are expressed in the lens and appear to be regulated in a surprisingly similar manner to the way they are in the brain. In the nervous system, glutamate and GluA receptor proteins underlie memory formation and mood regulation along with being an important factor in epilepsy, considered a primary disorder of the brain. Consistent with this, these receptor proteins are also targets for a number of antiepileptic drugs and antidepressant medications.

“The presence of these glutamate receptors in the lens suggests they contribute to links between brain disease and cataract, as well as providing unintended secondary ‘targets’ of current drugs,” Frederikse said. “Our goal now is to use this information to parse out the potential effects of antiepileptics and antidepressants on these ‘off-target’ sites in the lens, and to determine the role glutamate receptors have in lens biology and pathology.”

This research was supported by a grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. 


Impact of duration of antidepressant treatment on the risk of occurrence of a new sequence of antidepressant treatment. Verdoux H, Cougnard A, Thiebaut A, Tournier M. Pharmacopsychiatry, 2011 May; 44(3) 96-101

The authors studied data on 35,053 persons starting antidepressant treatment. They found "The risk of re-initiation of antidepressant treatment was higher if the duration of the index episode of
antidepressant treatment was [greater than] ≥ 6 months [hazard ratio (HR)=2.35; 95% CI 2.25-2.45) or 2-5 months (HR=1.65; 95% CI 1.59-1.71) compared to ≤ 1 month."  In other words, the longer a patient is exposed to antidepressants, the greater is the risk that there will be another episode of depression requiring another round of antidepressant prescriptions.


"Tardive dysphoria: The role of long term antidepressant use in inducing chronic depression," Rif S. El-Mallakh, Yonglin Gao, R. Jeannie Roberts, Medical Hypotheses 76 (2011) 769-773

"...emerging evidence that, in some individuals, persistent use of antidepressants may be prodepressant."


"Blue again: perturbational effects of antidepressants suggest monoaminergic homeostasis in major depression" Paul W. Andrews, etal, Frontiers in Psychology, July 7, 2011

The authors document that antidepressant drugs increase the risk of relapse of depression for patients.  They further comment on the growing habit of treating depression with multiple psychiatric drugs stating "Since many patients on antidepressants alone do not achieve full remission (Rush et al., 2006), possibly due to oppositional tolerance, atypical antipsychotic drugs, and other agents are increasingly prescribed to enhance the efficacy of ADMs. Our results suggest that the concurrent use of multiple drugs could cause greater monoaminergic perturbations, possibly further increasing the risk of relapse after they are discontinued."


"Antidepressant utilization patterns and mortality in Swedish men and women aged 20–34 years", KA Sundell et al, Eur J Clin Pharmacol, Nov. 10, 2010

Article shows shortened lifespan n young adults taking antipsychotics and mood stabilizers along with antidepressants (the study focused on antidepressants)


Efficacy and Effectiveness of Antidepressants: Current Status of Research, H. Edmund Pogott, Allan M. Leventhal, Gregory S. Alter, John J. Boren. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2010; 79:267-269

"Meta-analyses of FDA trials suggest that antidepressants are only marginally efficacious compared to placebos and document profound publication bias that inflates their apparent efficacy. These meta-analyses also document a second form of bias in which researchers fail to report the negative results for the prespecified primary outcome measure submitted to the FDA, while highlighting in published studies positive results from a secondary or even a new measure as though it was their primary measure of interest. The STAR * D analysis found that the effectiveness of antidepressant therapies was probably even lower than the modest one reported by the study authors with an apparent progressively increasing dropout rate across each study phase. Conclusions: The reviewed findings argue for a reappraisal of the current recommended standard of care of depression."


Minnesota Community Measurement 2010 Health Care Quality Report, December 2010.

2010 Minn report on depression care showing remission rates at 6 months and 12 months and showing that patients treated for depression are not recovering.  Patients are now treated with antidepressants including SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil and others) and SNRIs (Effexor and others). 


"Now Antidepressant-Induced Chronic Depression Has a Name: Tardive Dysphoria" by Robert Whitaker, Psychology Today ( June 30, 2011


"Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration" Kirsh I. etal, PLOS Medicine, Feb. 2008


"Antidepressant Use in Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2005–2008", by Laura A. Pratt, Ph.D.; Debra J. Brody, M.P.H.; and Qiuping Gu, M.D., Ph.D.,   NCHS Data Brief ■ No. 76 ■ October 2011

This Center for Disease Control report notes:

  • Antidepressants were the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages in 2005–2008 and the most frequently used by persons aged 18–44 years (1). From 1988–1994 through 2005–2008, the rate of antidepressant use in the United States among all ages increased nearly 400%.
  • Antidepressants were the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages in 2005–2008 and the most frequently used by persons aged 18–44 years (1). From 1988–1994 through 2005–2008, the rate of antidepressant use in the United States among all ages increased nearly 400%.
  • Twenty-three percent of women aged 40–59 take antidepressants, more than in any other age-sex group. so virtually one quarter of women in this age group are taking antidepressants now.

This increase is particularly insidious given the data concerning the brain damage from antidepressants: tardive dysphoria and the growing evidence that persons 'sensitized' the the antidepressants are more likely to relapse into depression again later.


"Citalopram and Escitalopram – Risk of QT interval prolongation" MIMS Ireland

Citalopram and escitalopram are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) indicated in the treatment of depressive illness (see the Summaries of Product Characteristics (SPCs) for full details of licensed indications).

Following a review of the available information on the risk of QT prolongation with these medicines, the Pharmacovigilance Working Party (PhVWP) has recommended that the product information for citalopram and escitalopram be updated with new contraindications and warnings and a reduction in the maximum dose for use in the elderly for both active substances. For citalopram, there has additionally been a general reduction in the maximum dose and in the maximum dose for patients with impaired liver function. This information was recently communicated to Healthcare Professionals by the marketing authorisation holder, in agreement with the IMB and is available on


1986 Rat Study: "Selective inhibitors of the uptake of 5-HT differently affect the ejaculatory response"

--1986 article clearly shows Prozac interrupts sexual response....hmmm this was known about all along? what a surprise.


"Do Antidepressants Cure or Create Abnormal Brain States?" Joanna Moncrieff, David Cohen (2006) PLoS

Article Summary: Antidepressants are assumed to work on the specific neurobiology of depressive disorders according to a “disease-centred” model of drug action. However, little evidence supports this idea. An alternative, “drug-centred,” model suggests that psychotropic drugs create abnormal states that may coincidentally relieve symptoms. Drug-induced effects of antidepressants vary widely according to their chemical class—from sedation and cognitive impairment to mild stimulation and occasionally frank agitation. Results of clinical trials may be explained by drug-induced effects and placebo amplification. No evidence shows that antidepressants or any other drugs produce long-term elevation of mood or other effects that are particularly useful in treating depression.


A Systematic Chart Review of the Nature of Psychiatric Adverse Events in Children and Adolescents Treated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors  Timothy E. Wilens, MD, Joseph Biederman, MD, et al

 Conclusion: Based on the retrospective review of medical charts, youth receiving SSRI appear to be at risk for treatment emergent psychiatric adverse events (PAE) and recurrence with re-exposure to an SSRI.




Fair Use Notice:

These links may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is used for non-profit educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Any copyright owner who objects to the use of their copyrighted material should send an e-mail to