Connecticut School Shooting Points to a Disturbing Link Between Age, Psychiatric Med’s and Mass shootings
In the last six months, there have been at least three horrific shootings in public places that have been perpetrated by young men in their 20’s, who were taking or had taken psychiatric med’s.There was the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. The sole suspect James Holmes killed 12 and injured 58. His age at the time of the shootings was 25 and he was being seen by three mental health professionals prior to the massacre. Then there was the Portland Oregon area mall shooting earlier this week. The shooter was 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts, who killed two people and took his own life. Then there is today’s Connecticut School Shooting. The shooter was 20 year-old Adam Lanza who killed 20 children and 7 adults and took his own life. Is it a coincidence that all three shooters were in their 20′s and that is around the same time mental disorders tend to show up in men? Could it be true that all three of these homicidal young men, and others like them, suffer from mental illness? Could proper treatment have prevented these tragic events? Maybe.
Prior to the public shooting events of this year, there were 14 similar events in years prior. All fourteen of these shootings were committed by someone taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, and while not all of them were in their 20′s they were in their high teens. There is a clear pattern that we should be wary of: All of the shooters were in their teens or twenties and were dealing with prescribed psychiatric drugs indicating mental health issues were present. It is also possible that these drugs contributed to the violence. Jon Rappoport says it best in his blog “First and foremost, we have to consider the possibility that SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft were in play. The drugs have been well studied. They do, in fact, push people far over the edge, scramble neurotransmitter systems, and result in patients committing suicides and murders…The med’s cause inexplicable violent behavior: suicide, homicide. The drugs were, in fact, linked with the 1999 Columbine school shooting.”
It is very likely that many, if not all of the shooters, were suffering from the onset of mental illness, and taking or had taken psychiatric med’s. According to experts at the National Alliance on Mental Illness “One-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, three-quarters by age 24”. Although less data exist for non-affective psychosis, available evidence suggests that median age-of-onset is in the range late teens through early 20s. There is research that concludes taking Prozac can cause mental health patients to develop violent suicidal tendencies. However that is no excuse for killing your mom and her classroom filled with kindergartners.
In many of these cases, the shooters commit suicide before being taken in to custody by officials, which stands as another indicator of mental health problems. As a result they are never questioned and their mental condition can never be fully assessed leaving the public confounded. For example, the shooter who devastated a Connecticut elementary school today took his own life, and so he can never be questioned as to why he would do such a thing. We know that he suffered from a learning disability the affected his ability to form relationships with people, and that he was seeking psychiatric help. We know that he killed his father and then went to the school where his mother works and killed her, but we will never know his reasoning behind the attack. Investigators will have to use his Facebook Page, computer contents and past relationships to piece things together.
What can be done to address this emerging pattern of gun-related public shooting violence among young men? Maybe now is the time to start mandating mental health checks for all high school students and young adults. Perhaps tougher gun laws that would deny access to guns for people with mental health problems would curb some of the violence. Have a look here if you are concerned about preventing mental illness: Preventing Mental Illness Booklet
Kessler, R., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, & Walters, E., Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Co-morbidity Survey Replication
(NCSR). General Psychiatry, 62, June 2005, 593-602.
“Mental Illness: FACTS AND NUMBERS.” NAMI.org. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
Rappoport, Jon. “The Connecticut School Shootings: Operation Chaos.” Web log post. Jon Rappoport’s Blog. N.p., 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
Rappoport, Jon. “Prozac? Zoloft? Paxil? Did One of These Drugs Drive the Empire State Shooter?” Naturalnews.com. N.p., 25 Aug. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
Filed under: Conditions and Disorders, Mental Illness · Tags: Adam Lanza, Connecticut School Shooting, James Holmes, mass shootings and psychiatric med's, mental illness and mass shootings, psychiatric drugs