Tagged: homicide

Peter C Gøtzsche : Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide, violence and homicide at all ages


http://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3697/rr-4
Feature Medicine and the Media

Antidepressants and murder: case not closed

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3697 (Published 02 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3697

Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide, violence and homicide at all ages

The FDA admitted in 2007 that SSRIs can cause madness at all ages and that the drugs are very dangerous; otherwise daily monitoring wouldn’t be needed: “Families and caregivers of patients should be advised to look for the emergence of such symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt” … “All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants” (1).

Such daily monitoring is, however, a fake fix. People cannot be monitored every minute and many have committed SSRI-induced suicide or homicide within a few hours after everyone thought they were perfectly okay.

As the published trial literature related to suicidality and aggression on antidepressants is unreliable, we looked at 64,381 pages of clinical study reports (70 trials) we got from the European Medicines Agency. We showed for the first time that SSRIs in comparison with placebo increase aggression in children and adolescents, odds ratio 2.79 (95% CI 1.62 to 4.81) (2). This is an important finding considering the many school shootings where the killers were on SSRIs.

In a systematic review of placebo-controlled trials in adult healthy volunteers, we showed that antidepressants double the occurrence of events that the FDA has defined as possible precursors to suicide and violence, odds ratio 1.85 (95% CI 1.11 to 3.08)(3). The number needed to treat to harm one healthy adult person was only 16 (95% CI 8 to 100).

Based on the clinical study reports, we showed that adverse effects that increase the risk of suicide and violence were 4-5 times more common with duloxetine than with placebo in trials in middle-aged women with stress urinary incontinence (4). There were also more women on duloxetine who experienced a core or potential psychotic event, relative risk RR 2.25 (95% CI 1.06 to 4.81). The number needed to harm was only seven. It would have been quite impossible to demonstrate how dangerous duloxetine is, if we had only had access to published research. In accordance with our findings, the FDA has previously announced that women who were treated with duloxetine for incontinence in the open-label extension phase of the clinical studies had 2.6 times more suicide attempts than other women of the same age (5).

Looking at precursor events to suicide and violence is just like looking at prognostic factors for heart disease. We say that increased cholesterol, smoking and inactivity increase the risk of heart attacks and heart deaths and therefore recommend people to do something about it. Psychiatric leaders, however, routinely try to get away with untenable arguments. Many say, for example, that antidepressants can be given safely to children arguing that there were no more suicides in the trials, only more suicidal events, as if there was no relation between the two, although we all know that a suicide starts with suicidal thoughts, followed by preparations and one or more attempts. The same can be said about homicide. It can no longer be doubted that antidepressants are dangerous and can cause suicide and homicide at any age (5-7). It is absurd to use drugs for depression that increase the risk of suicide and homicide when we know that cognitive behavioural therapy can halve the risk of suicide in patients who have been admitted after a suicide attempt (8) and when psychotherapy does not increase the risk of murder.

References

1. FDA. Antidepressant use in children, adolescents, and adults. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/informationbydrugclass/ucm096273.htm.
2. Sharma T, Guski LS, Freund N, Gøtzsche PC. Suicidality and aggression during antidepressant treatment: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports. BMJ 2016;352:i65.
3. Bielefeldt AØ, Danborg PB, Gøtzsche PC. Precursors to suicidality and violence on antidepressants: systematic review of trials in adult healthy volunteers. J R Soc Med 2016;109:381-392.
4. Maund E, Guski LS, Gøtzsche PC. Considering benefits and harms of duloxetine for treatment of stress urinary incontinence: a meta-analysis of clinical study reports. CMAJ 2017;189:E194-203.
5. Gøtzsche PC. Deadly psychiatry and organised denial. Copenhagen: People’s Press; 2015.
6. Healy D. Let them eat Prozac. New York: New York University Press; 2004.
7. Breggin P. Medication madness. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin; 2008.
8. Gøtzsche PC, Gøtzsche PK. Cognitive behavioural therapy halves the risk of repeated suicide attempts: systematic review. J R Soc Med 2017 (in press).

Competing interests: No competing interests

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Myth Busting New Post On SSRI Dangers From AntiDepAware..


The royal college of psychiatry UK would have you believe that anti-depressants are nothing but a positive thing for mental health patients. They’d have you believe that these pills are relatively harmless, mostly effective, and that the benefits outweigh the risks. They’d like you to think that SSRI’s are ‘saving lives’ and ‘helping millions’. They don’t want you to know that some people might become homicidal, aggressive, volatile or even commot murder because of them.

They don’t want you to know the truth, because the truth about side effects undermines the psychiatric profession and its ideology and power (and we can’t have that now can we?).

Well, the website Antidepaware does want you to know the truth about SSRI’s, check out the new post from the Antidepaware website here…

 

http://antidepaware.co.uk/great-myth-buster/

The Great Myth Buster

On Wednesday July 26th, BBC showed a thoughtful, well-researched Panorama documentary called A Prescription for Murder?. The programme was directed and introduced by Shelley Jofre (left), who, several years ago, exposed The Secrets of Seroxat.

Most of the recent documentary was devoted to the so-called “Batman killer” James Holmes (right), a neuroscience graduate who shot dead 12 people and injured 70 in a Colorado cinema in 2012. He had been taking the SSRI antidepressant Sertraline (Zoloft), along with Clonazepam, a benzodiazepine.

In the run-up to the programme, two significant interviews were published. In the Sunday Times on July 23rd, Katinka Blackford Newman (left) was interviewed by Oliver Thring.

Katinka, who was one of the principal researchers on the Panorama documentary, was the author of The Pill That Steals Lives. At its launch a year ago, I was privileged to have met David Carmichael, who had travelled from Canada.

In 2004 David (right), who had never shown any symptoms of psychosis before being prescribed Seroxat, strangled his 11-year-old son Ian. He was judged to be “not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder” for murdering his son and, in 2009, he received an absolute discharge. Caroline Scott’s interview with David was published in the Daily Mail on the day before the documentary was shown.

Another guest at the launch of Katinka’s book was Leonie Fennell, who had travelled from Ireland. In 2009, Leonie’s son, 22-year-old student Shane Clancy (left) fatally stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, injured two others, then died after stabbing himself 19 times. Shane had no history whatsoever of violence, self-harm or mental instability of any sort. However, a few weeks before the tragedy, Shane had gone to see a doctor as he was feeling low after breaking up with his girlfriend, and was prescribed the antidepressant Citalopram (Celexa). At Shane’s inquest, the jury decided that Citalopram had probably caused Shane’s death and thus rejected a suicide verdict.

Although most of the Panorama documentary was devoted to James Holmes, both David and Leonie appeared in short interviews with Shelley Jofre.

But, before the documentary had even been shown, the Science Media Centre orchestrated a campaign of mis-information and denigration against the programme. Among the psychiatrists enlisted to provide “expert comments” were Allan Young (right) and Carmine Pariante, both of whom have financial links to pharmaceutical companies that make antidepressants. Moreover, the two professors are employed by Kings College, London, which recently welcomed the UK managing director of Pfizer (makers of Sertraline) on to its board.

Another contributor was Wendy Burn (left), the new president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, who also wrote an article for The Times, published the morning after the broadcast, entitled “Stop this dangerous scaremongering over antidepressants”.

There was little criticism of the programme after it had actually been shown.

But then, on Twitter, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (@rcpsych) announced that Wendy Burn and Carmine Pariante would be holding an hour-long Q and A session on August 3rd, using the hashtag #ADsMythBuster (right). It seemed as if the college’s intention was to use Twitter to “bust” what they regarded as “myths” surrounding antidepressants.

The questions started to come in well before the session, but no replies were tweeted before the appointed hour.

It wasn’t long before the first myth was busted by Wendy and Carmine. The surprise was that this particular myth had been perpetrated for many years by their colleagues, as well as other prescribers: “The old idea that ADs correct a chemical imbalance in the brain is an over-simplification and we do not support this view.”

I felt optimistic, and asked, to no avail: “Now that you’ve busted the “chemical imbalance” myth, are you going to bust the “no causal link with violence” myth next?

Alas, it was not to be. This was the nearest we would get to a proper myth buster during the hour. Before long, the assertion that “ADs do have measurable biological effects; increasing new brain cells & reducing stress hormones” produced a number of retorts, both serious and light-hearted, from those who found this quite difficult to believe.

Asked about withdrawal, the reply was: “Not everyone gets withdrawal symptoms. You must come off ADs slowly over 8-12 weeks with support of your doctor.” This response was queried by a participant, who was told: “Everyone is different & you need to plan this with your doctor. Most people are okay with 8-12 weeks to reduce and stop”.

Somebody asked about the best ADs for a mother to use before and after birth and was told: “Preferred choice are SSRIs esp Fluoxetine in pregnancy & Sertraline in breastfeeding”. The questioner was not told that the best option was to avoid antidepressants altogether during this period.

When a question was asked about whether antidepressants can be used to treat bi-polar, the reply was “Yes they can, but preferably with a mood stabiliser”. Aine O’Beirne (left) was quick to retort: “You say use SSRIs to treat Bipolar when SSRIs are one of the causes of Bipolar epidemic”.

To a question about side-effects causing sexual problems, the reply was: “Yes they are common with SSRIs, usually improves but if not discuss with your doctor”.

And when they were asked about the length of treatment, the professors answered: “Patients are taking ADs for longer according to the correct guidelines for treatment & this is a good thing”.

The reply to a question about the record high numbers of antidepressants prescribed was: “We believe it’s because more people are coming forward & reduced stigma – this is a good thing”.

The person who asked about the benefits of taking antidepressants was told: “Sadness improves within days, new studies show that improvement is faster than we originally thought – within weeks”.

And to the person whose antidepressants weren’t working, the answer was: “There are recommended combinations of ADs & other meds for patients who don’t respond”.

To a question about the link with violence, Wendy and Carmime (right) stuck with the ridiculous line: “In adults there is no evidence ADs increase hostility & aggressiveness”. This prompted my question: “Did you actually watch “Panorama” last week?

I asked several questions, and received replies to two of them. The first, about sanctioning members for not following NICE Guidelines, elicited the response: “The guidelines are guidelines not the law, we encourage people to follow them”.

In the other, I asked “Is it acceptable to compel somebody to take ADs in order to be given sickness benefit?”. The reply, “Nobody should be forced to have any treatment to be given sickness benefit”, gave me encouragement, although this message needs to be passed on to the guilty GPs.

It was obvious that only a small proportion of questions could be answered, but I had a feeling that the more difficult ones were avoided in favour of those for which pre-prepared replies were available.

One of the most frustrated participants was Lucy Johnstone (left), who submitted the three questions that had the most re-tweets, but never received an answer to any of them. Eventually, to the question “Why are rocketing prescribing levels not reducing rates of depression and suicide, if the drugs are effective?”, Lucy commented: “71 retweets & 88 likes. Deserves an answer”.

A complete list of questions and answers has been compiled by James Moore, while Aine has published a selection on Storify.

The following day, the overriding impression was that if the College saw their “MythBuster” session as a PR exercise, then they had failed. The reaction of Fiona French (right), writing in the BMJ, was typical: “The online support community submitted many, many intelligent and probing questions. The responses were few in number and lacking in substance. We were advised that the Royal College ‘thinks’ the benefits of antidepressants outweigh the harms but no supporting evidence was provided.”

My contribution was to suggest that: “Next time @rcpsych need an #ADsMythBuster, they should call @PGtzsche1.”

I was, in fact, referring to Professor Peter Gøtzsche (top), one of the world’s most knowledgeable and influential professors in this field. In September 2015, I attended a conference in Copenhagen which Peter had organised. The theme of the event was Psychiatric drugs do more harm than good. I wouldn’t have expected the Pharma-influenced Royal College of Psychiatrists to agree, but the arguments were compelling.

In January 2014, Dr David Healy (left) published an article on his website which Peter had written, and in which he blew apart 10 myths that GSK, Lundbeck, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, etc would like us to believe. Here is Peter’s article:

At the Nordic Cochrane Centre, we have researched antidepressants for several years and I have long wondered why leading professors of psychiatry base their practice on a number of erroneous myths. These myths are harmful to patients. Many psychiatrists are well aware that the myths do not hold and have told me so, but they don’t dare deviate from the official positions because of career concerns.

Being a specialist in internal medicine, I don’t risk ruining my career by incurring the professors’ wrath and I shall try here to come to the rescue of the many conscientious but oppressed psychiatrists and patients by listing the worst myths and explain why they are harmful.

Myth 1: Your disease is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain

Most patients are told this but it is completely wrong. We have no idea about which interplay of psychosocial conditions, biochemical processes, receptors and neural pathways that lead to mental disorders and the theories that patients with depression lack serotonin and that patients with schizophrenia have too much dopamine have long been refuted. The truth is just the opposite. There is no chemical imbalance to begin with, but when treating mental illness with drugs, we create a chemical imbalance, an artificial condition that the brain tries to counteract.

This means that you get worse when you try to stop the medication. An alcoholic also gets worse when there is no more alcohol but this doesn’t mean that he lacked alcohol in the brain when he started drinking.

The vast majority of doctors harm their patients further by telling them that the withdrawal symptoms mean that they are still sick and still need the medication. In this way, the doctors turn people into chronic patients, including those who would have been fine even without any treatment at all. This is one of the main reasons that the number of patients with mental disorders is increasing, and that the number of patients who never come back into the labour market also increases. This is largely due to the drugs and not the disease.

Myth 2: It’s no problem to stop treatment with antidepressants

A Danish professor of psychiatry said this at a recent meeting for psychiatrists, just after I had explained that it was difficult for patients to quit. Fortunately, he was contradicted by two foreign professors also at the meeting. One of them had done a trial with patients suffering from panic disorder and agoraphobia and half of them found it difficult to stop even though they were slowly tapering off. It cannot be because the depression came back, as the patients were not depressed to begin with. The withdrawal symptoms are primarily due to the antidepressants and not the disease.

Myth 3: Psychotropic drugs for mental illness are like insulin for diabetes

Most patients with depression or schizophrenia have heard this falsehood over and over again, almost like a mantra, in TV, radio and newspapers. When you give insulin to a patient with diabetes, you give something the patient lacks, namely insulin. Since we’ve never been able to demonstrate that a patient with a mental disorder lacks something that people who are not sick don’t lack, it is wrong to use this analogy.

Patients with depression don’t lack serotonin, and there are actually drugs that work for depression although they lower serotonin. Moreover, in contrast to insulin, which just replaces what the patient is short of, and does nothing else, psychotropic drugs have a very wide range of effects throughout the body, many of which are harmful. So, also for this reason, the insulin analogy is extremely misleading.

Myth 4: Psychotropic drugs reduce the number of chronically ill patients

This is probably the worst myth of them all. US science journalist Robert Whitaker demonstrates convincingly in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” that the increasing use of drugs not only keeps patients stuck in the sick role, but also turns many problems that would have been transient into chronic diseases.

If there had been any truth in the insulin myth, we would have expected to see fewer patients who could not fend for themselves. However, the reverse has happened. The clearest evidence of this is also the most tragic, namely the fate of our children after we started treating them with drugs. In the United States, psychiatrists collect more money from drug makers than doctors in any other specialty and those who take most money tend to prescribe antipsychotics to children most often. This raises a suspicion of corruption of the academic judgement.

The consequences are damning. In 1987, just before the newer antidepressants (SSRIs or happy pills) came on the market, very few children in the United States were mentally disabled. Twenty years later it was over 500,000, which represents a 35-fold increase. The number of disabled mentally ill has exploded in all Western countries. One of the worst consequences is that the treatment with ADHD medications and happy pills has created an entirely new disease in about 10% of those treated – namely bipolar disorder – which we previously called manic depressive illness.

Leading psychiatrist have claimed that it is “very rare” that patients on antidepressants become bipolar. That’s not true. The number of children with bipolar increased 35-fold in the United States, which is a serious development, as we use antipsychotic drugs for this disorder. Antipsychotic drugs are very dangerous and one of the main reasons why patients with schizophrenia live 20 years shorter than others. I have estimated in my book, ‘Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime’, that just one of the many preparations, Zyprexa (olanzapine), has killed 200,000 patients worldwide.

Myth 5: Happy pills* do not cause suicide in children and adolescents

Some professors are willing to admit that happy pills increase the incidence of suicidal behavior while denying that this necessarily leads to more suicides, although it is well documented that the two are closely related. Lundbeck’s CEO, Ulf Wiinberg, went even further in a radio programme in 2011 where he claimed that happy pills reduce the rate of suicide in children and adolescents. When the stunned reporter asked him why there then was a warning against this in the package inserts, he replied that he expected the leaflets would be changed by the authorities!

Suicides in healthy people, triggered by happy pills, have also been reported. The companies and the psychiatrists have consistently blamed the disease when patients commit suicide. It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but happy pills increase it even more, at least up to about age 40, according to a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients in randomized trials performed by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Myth 6: Happy pills have no side effects

At an international meeting on psychiatry in 2008, I criticized psychiatrists for wanting to screen many healthy people for depression. The recommended screening tests are so poor that one in three healthy people will be wrongly diagnosed as depressed. A professor replied that it didn’t matter that healthy people were treated as happy pills have no side effects!

Happy pills have many side effects. They remove both the top and the bottom of the emotions, which, according to some patients, feels like living under a cheese-dish cover. Patients care less about the consequences of their actions, lose empathy towards others, and can become very aggressive. In school shootings in the United States and elsewhere a striking number of people have been on antidepressants.

The companies tell us that only 5% get sexual problems with happy pills, but that’s not true. In a study designed to look at this problem, sexual disturbances developed in 59% of 1,022 patients who all had a normal sex life before they started an antidepressant. The symptoms include decreased libido, delayed or no orgasm or ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction, all at a high rate, and with a low tolerance among 40% of the patients. Happy pills should therefore not have been marketed for depression where the effect is rather small, but as pills that destroy your sex life.

Myth 7: Happy pills are not addictive

They surely are and it is no wonder because they are chemically related to and act like amphetamine. Happy pills are a kind of narcotic on prescription. The worst argument I have heard about the pills not causing dependency is that patients do not require higher doses. Shall we then also believe that cigarettes are not addictive? The vast majority of smokers consume the same number of cigarettes for years.

Myth 8: The prevalence of depression has increased a lot

A professor argued in a TV debate that the large consumption of happy pills wasn’t a problem because the incidence of depression had increased greatly in the last 50 years. I replied it was impossible to say much about this because the criteria for making the diagnosis had been lowered markedly during this period. If you wish to count elephants in Africa, you don’t lower the criteria for what constitutes an elephant and count all the wildebeest, too.

Myth 9: The main problem is not overtreatment, but undertreatment

Again, leading psychiatrists are completely out of touch with reality. In a 2007 survey, 51% of the 108 psychiatrists said that they used too much medicine and only 4 % said they used too little. In 2001–2003, 20% of the US population aged 18–54 years received treatment for emotional problems, and sales of happy pills are so high in Denmark that every one of us could be in treatment for 6 years of our lives. That is sick.

Myth 10: Antipsychotics prevent brain damage

Some professors say that schizophrenia causes brain damage and that it is therefore important to use antipsychotics. However, antipsychotics lead to shrinkage of the brain, and this effect is directly related to the dose and duration of the treatment. There is other good evidence to suggest that one should use antipsychotics as little as possible, as the patients then fare better in the long term. Indeed, one may completely avoid using antipsychotics in most patients with schizophrenia, which would significantly increase the chances that they will become healthy, and also increase life expectancy, as antipsychotics kill many patients.

How should we use psychotropic drugs?

I am not against using drugs, provided we know what we are doing and only use them in situations where they do more good than harm. Psychiatric drugs can be useful sometimes for some patients, especially in short-term treatment, in acute situations. But my studies in this area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion:

Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good. Psychiatrists should therefore do everything they can to treat as little as possible, in as short time as possible, or not at all, with psychotropic drugs.

At least Wendy Burn and Carmine Pariente admitted the first of Peter Gøtzsche’s myths. I look forward to a time when Myths 2-10 are dispelled by those who are at present prescribing a ridiculously high and ultimately harmful number of antidepressants.

* I am not comfortable with the phrase “happy pills”, but I have left the original text intact. It is possible that, in this context, the phrase emanates from a literal translation from Danish.

Related Articles:

More Harm than Good

Hope in Copenhagen

Mental Health Disability: the Antidepressant Connection

Suicide Prevention: a Conflict of Interest

Courtney Dunkin… Prescribed Paxil (Seroxat/Aropax/Paroxetine) When She Was 14…


Interesting case of another Paxil (Seroxat) induced homicide. How many vulnerable teens (and young people) were prescribed Paxil and then subsequently went on to commit Paxil induced crimes, and how many lost their lives?

Does GSK keep track?…


https://ssristories.org/15-year-old-girl-kills-grandmother-13-years-ago-life-sentence/

Ask TX Governor to pardon Courtney Dunkin, 15 y.o. convicted as adult while taking Paxil.

Courtney Dunkin was a mere 15 years old when she fatally shot her adopted mother, Betty Dunkin, while she was under the influence, and suffering from involuntary intoxication, due to the harmful anti-depressant Paxil (Paroxetine).  She was tried as an adult and wrongfully sentenced, due to lack of evidence, to Life in prison in the TX. Dept. of Criminal Justice.

It wouldn’t be until 2003 when the evidence she needed to prove her innocence would arise.  Courtney had been hospitalized in 1994 for depression and prescribed the drug Paxil, which had unknown side effects at that time.  A later study conducted by the FDA in 2003 proved that Paxil must NEVER be prescribed to children under the age of 18, as it was proven to increase the risk of suicidal ideation and behavior in children, as well as many other dangerous/harmful side-effects. This drug, which was supposed to save Courtney’s life as it helped her past fragile teenage years, became the main cause of destroying her life.  By 2003 it would be far too late to bring this evidence to the Court in Courtney’s defense.

After the FDA declared their study about the medicine which would prove that Courtney was not responsible for her own actions nor in a lucid state of mind, she faced another harsh twist in the story of her life: her appeals had been exhausted and only the trial officials (Judge, Sherriff, District Attorney, and State Governor) can grant her relief regarding this new evidence.

Courtney was a typical teenager who was living in a state of emotional disturbance because of a troubled family life.  He father was an alcoholic and having been abandoned by her mother, she was adopted by her paternal grandparents, John and Betty Dunkin, at the age of 5.  Then shortly afterwards, at the age of 11, she suffered the loss of her grandfather – the only father she had ever known – to cancer, and her life shattered.

In a downward spiral of suicidal despair, she shot her mother, and then sought to run away and commit suicide.  Never once did she realize that the very medication she was taking is what caused those destructive thoughts.

Upon her arrest she was lost and confused with no guardian, no parental guidance, nor any knowledge of her rights or the juvenile legal system.  Police and investigators used this naiveté to their advantage despite Courtney’s pleas that she didn’t know why she had done what she did and that she was obviously mentally disturbed and suicidal.  Instead they painted a picture of her as a remorseless, cold-hearted monster and created a motive that they knew would garner a conviction.  Instead of helping a mentally ill little girl, they only served to hurt her further.

Heartbroken and remorseful for her actions as a child and, 20 yrs. later, armed with the knowledge of the harmful side-effects of the medication she was taking, Courtney has managed to make sense of how such a horrible tragedy could occur.  Courtney doesn’t want the dangerous effects of this drug to go un-noticed or for any other children to be subjected to the awful experiences she has.

Courtney’s mental state and the influence of this poisonous drug should be brought to the attention of the Courts.  Had this evidence been available during her trial in 1995, the outcome would likely have been very different.  Please sign her petition today, ask friends, family, co-workers to sign also to help Courtney get the attention she needs from officials to grant her the freedom and second chance that she deserves.

Mailing Address
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Mailing Address
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P. O. Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711-3401
Email: bpp-pio@tdcj.texas.gov


https://ssristories.org/15-year-old-girl-kills-grandmother-13-years-ago-life-sentence/

Grapevine woman: Emotional distress caused her to kill grandmother — (Star-Telegram)

Original article no longer available

Star-Telegram

May 26, 2008

By DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR., Star-Telegram Staff Writer

S-T/KELLEY CHINN

Courtney Dunkin, 29, speaks to a Star-Telegram reporter at the Hobby Unit in Marlin. She is serving a life sentence for killing her grandmother in 1994 when she was 15.

MARLIN — The young woman sat talking in a soft voice, her long, dark brown hair on her shoulders at the prison unit where she’s serving a life sentence. Tears came as Courtney Dunkin talked about her grandmother — the 63-year-old woman Dunkin was convicted of fatally shooting in the head in 1994 at their home in Grapevine.

She’s been in custody for 14 years. She will be eligible for parole on May 26, 2034.

“I’d give anything to turn back time,” she said. “I just wish it hadn’t happened.”

Dunkin leaned forward as she held the telephone tighter in the interview room where glass separates visitors and inmates.

“I wasn’t angry at her,” she said. “I don’t know why it happened.”

Of the 1,293 female inmates at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Hobby Unit, Dunkin is one of the youngest killers. She was 15 when she shot the woman who raised her and whom she called Mom. She’s now 29 and spoke out for the first time one recent morning about the events leading up to the killing of Betty Dunkin. She declined to talk about details of the slaying.

Childhood

Courtney Dunkin went to live with her paternal grandparents, John and Betty Dunkin, when she was 5. Her parents had divorced; her father was an alcoholic, and relatives didn’t talk about her mother.

Shortly after moving to Grapevine, she began attending Dove Elementary and was diagnosed with attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder. School friends would occasionally spend the night, but she spent many hours with her grandfather, who owned a construction company and had a flexible schedule allowing time for her. Her grandmother worked days at General Motors and prepared dinner when she got home.

In 1989, John Dunkin died of cancer, leaving Courtney Dunkin, then 11, shattered.

“I knew he was sick, but no one told me he might die,” she said. “I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I would try to talk to Mom about it, but she would just cry.”

Teenage problems

As her grief lingered, Courtney Dunkin entered Grapevine Middle School. She started to wear black clothing and decorated her room in black. Troubles — sassing, tardiness and detention — at school started to mount. Arguments with her grandmother increased, and Courtney Dunkin became known to police.

“It seems that when we would be questioning some suspects at an apartment or at a house, there was Courtney,” recently retired Grapevine police Detective Bob Murphy said. “We got to know her name.”

Betty Dunkin’s answer to her granddaughter’s problems was counseling: at school, at hospitals and with family therapists, Courtney Dunkin said. Betty Dunkin also joined ToughLove, a support group that helps parents with out-of-control children.

About that time, Courtney Dunkin said, she was prescribed Paxil, an antidepressant on which she would intentionally overdose on a few occasions. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration began requiring its strongest label warning for Paxil and other antidepressants because they increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children.

Dunkin says she was suicidal at the time of her grandmother’s death and irrational because of the medication and the death of her grandfather.

Before the shooting

Police reports indicate that the teen ran away several times in the weeks before the shooting; Dunkin says it was only once.

“I’d miss my curfew, and Mom called the police,” Dunkin said. “Many times I’d be home in an hour, but police still listed me as a runaway.”

Two months before the slaying, Dunkin was arrested for theft after stealing jewelry from her grandmother, she said. She was sentenced to a year’s probation. A few weeks later, authorities fitted her with an ankle monitor after she was driving illegally and became involved in a traffic accident.

The shooting

On the night of May 26, 1994, Dunkin and Jamie Hatfield, 16, who was her best friend, talked on the telephone about killing Hatfield’s boyfriend, police said.

But the focus shifted to Dunkin’s grandmother and how they could get her car so they could run away, according to court records. Dunkin got off the phone and took two gas credit cards and all the money in her grandmother’s purse. Then she took a key to her grandfather’s gun case, removed a .38-caliber pistol and took it to her room.

Dunkin phoned Hatfield, who suggested chopping up pills and putting them in her grandmother’s food so she would go to sleep and they could take the car.

Dunkin hung up and walked into her grandmother’s bedroom, according to court records.

She gave this statement to Murphy: “I hid the gun behind my back and walked into my mom’s room, and we talked for a minute, and I shot her. When I shot the gun, I saw sparks, and it was so loud that my ears were ringing, and I felt deaf. The smell was really bad and followed me into the car, and it made me sick.”

Dunkin spent the rest of the night at Hatfield’s home, but the next morning Hatfield’s mother sensed that something was wrong, police said.The three of them went to the Dunkin home and found the body, police said. The girls were arrested hours later.

“It all happened so fast,” Courtney Dunkin said of the shooting. “I didn’t realize what I’d done. They [police] wanted a motive, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to tell them that I was suicidal.”

After the slaying

Hatfield was convicted of aggravated robbery in July 1996 and sentenced to five years in prison. She was released July 16, 1999, according to prison records.

She has also been involved in a prison program for at-risk kids who spend a day at the prison in hopes that they will be discouraged from crime.

Old school friends still visit Dunkin; her father hasn’t been there in years. Her mother, whom she almost never saw as a child, stopped writing to her a few years ago when Dunkin learned that she had half-siblings and wanted to get in touch with them.

For parents with troubled children, Dunkin offered one bit of advice.

“Even if they roll their eyes, communicate with them,” she said. “Just don’t listen and then walk away. Talk to them.”
DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR. 817-685-3822  ramirez@star-telegram.com

Psychiatric Failure In Ireland : Brothers Shane and Brandon Skeffington – “Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?”


Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?

This is a very tragic case where it seems that an older brother, Shane Skeffington, (20) stabbed his younger brother, Brandon, (9) to death. Apparently this was completely out of character and there were no previous signs that he would commit such a violent act particularly towards his brother. Shane, then went on to kill himself. According to reports he was under psychiatric care and (like most young people) had dabbled in drugs such as cocaine and cannabis, but what I would be more worried about was the so called psychiatric ‘care’ he received. It’s often the psychiatric drug treatments which are the compounding factor in these cases. This website’ antidepaware ‘ has correlated thousands of similar cases of psychiatric drug related deaths.

http://antidepaware.co.uk/

Some Questions Which The Media Need To Probe:

Were meds involved? What kind of psychiatric ‘treatment’ did Shane Skeffington receive? and for how long? did he express suicidal or violent thoughts under this ‘care’ and to whom? Was he prescribed SSRI’s? (or an anti-psychotic or other drug) If so, why was he not monitored for emerging aggression, akathisia (an extreme nervous system condition which drives people psychotic), or suicidal/homicidal ideation (all known SSRI side effects which are even included now in warning leaflets).

Regardless of whether he received drugs from a psychiatrist or not, it is clear to me that psychiatry has failed this young man and his younger brother. If psychiatry was successful then why do so many of its patients either never get better or get worse and go on to kill themselves or others? Psychiatry is a wealthy institution but they always complain of a lack of funding- but what we need to ask is why are consultant psychiatrists paid astronomical salaries? Surely some of that money could be used to provide funding for intensive psycho-therapeutic interventions such as in emergency cases like this one? Why are these obviously very vulnerable, disturbed and frightened young people just drugged and thrown back out on the street without proper care and proper warnings? why does psychiatry get away with lying to the public about the dangers of medication?

Something is wrong here, terribly wrong. I don’t care what anyone says- psychiatric consultant and high level psychiatrists salaries are obscene- particularly when you consider their absolutely dismal track record. Nobody gets cured! And once people enter the psychiatric system they either get worse or they die- what does that tell you? We need complete transparency, which doctors and psychiatrists in Ireland are in the pocket of drug companies? Which ones receive honoria and payment for research etc,  and how is this pharmaceutical/psychiatric alliance funded in Universities and hospitals?


http://www.herald.ie/news/parents-frantic-attempts-to-save-stab-boy-brandon-30448414.html

Parents’ frantic attempts to save stab boy Brandon

THE parents of a little boy who was murdered by his older brother before he took his own life desperately tried to save the nine-year-old child.

Brandon Skeffington (9) was still alive when his mother and father returned home and found him bleeding heavily on the stairs at their home near Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.

And the Herald can today reveal that a 15-year-old sister of the two brothers who died was also in the house when the horrific stabbing occurred.

It is believed she did not witness the fatal knife attack on Sunday evening.

Shane Skeffington (20) had been receiving psychiatric treatment in a mental hospital just days before the tragedy happened.

He was last night described as a “ticking time-bomb” and was implicated in at least two drug-fuelled assaults before he stabbed his innocent brother Brandon to death.

The killer used a large kitchen knife from the house to stab Brandon once in the chest before their parents arrived home just before 8pm.

Little Brandon was desperately clinging to life when he was discovered by his shocked parents Carmel and Shane senior at the top of the stairs in their home.

But the horror got even worse, when Mr Skeffington discovered the body of their eldest son in a shed at the back of their property moments later. They immediately contacted emergency services.

Senior sources say that there was no premeditation in relation to the attack and that Shane was “very fond” of his younger brother.

“In fact, all the available information is that Shane thought the world of Brandon and there were no significant issues there,” said a source.


http://leoniefennell.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/sligo-tragedy-shane-skeffington-ssris/

Sligo Tragedy

22 Jul

Shane and Brandon

The recent tragedy unfolding in Sligo (Sunday July 20th 2014) is currently a huge media story in Ireland. Two parents, Shane senior and Carmel Skeffington, came home from a shopping trip to find two of their sons dead. Shane (20) who was babysitting, had stabbed his brother Brandon (9) twice, before hanging himself in the garden shed. Brandon died from his wounds a short time after his parents came home and found him. The community are devastated, no-one saw this coming. Little Brandon idolised his older brother and newspaper reports say they had a great relationship. The media frenzy is palpable, from laying the blame at a couple of minor drug offences, to the ease of access to kitchen knives.

I suppose I should be prepared for my own son’s story to be linked whenever a murder/suicide occurs. Today’s Irish Daily Mail referred to my son, also Shane, and the ‘rise in kitchen-knife killings’. My new found friends, whose children have tragically killed themselves, and sometimes others, might have an opinion on whether to lock up the bathroom presses (medication), kitchen cupboards (knives) garden sheds (hoses, ropes and shears) or maybe someone should confiscate grandma’s knitting needles and sewing scissors? Maybe, just maybe, the newspapers need to focus on another similarity?

The tragedy unfolding in Sligo has revealed that Shane (the older brother) was recently released from Sligo General Hospital where he was receiving psychiatric ‘care’. We know what psychiatric ‘care’ usually consists of: pills, pills and more pills – mind altering drugs which double the risk of suicide and violence. The investigation should start with what drug this young man was prescribed; was it cipramil, the same as my son? Most likely it was an SSRI antidepressant (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), the family of drug which can cause suicide, violence, worsening depression, mania etc, etc.

Was this young man suffering from akathisia, a severe reaction which occurs with SSRIs, where a person cannot sit still and feels the urgent need to escape from their own body? A full investigation would examine the effects of the ‘care’ this young man received- it certainly didn’t work. Someone needs to answer for these two deaths, blaming it on a 20 year old boy ‘who loved his brother and all his family’ is not good enough!

Brian from AntiDepAware has compiled a list of over 2000 suicides and homicides where antidepressant were involved. The evidence is there if you look for it.

This tragedy has all the hallmarks of being SSRI-induced. The signs to look out for are (1) out of character (2) recently been to the doctor or psychiatrist and (3) totally out of the blue. Dr David Healy did a comprenhensive  report for my son’s inquest. He testified to the dangers of these drugs and that he believed the drug Citalopram (aka Cipramil or Celexa) caused my son to behave so uncharacteristically. The inquest jury rejected a suicide verdict on account of Dr Healy’s testimony. His report is here.

The devastation left behind in Sligo is mind-numbing; 2 boys suffering a violent death, parents left in devasted bewilderment, in a world which will never be the same again. I believe with all my heart that the mental health care Shane Skeffington received is to blame for these two deaths! I also believe that these deaths were preventable. Kathleen Lynch, the minister with responsibility for mental health, was informed (by 3 experts) of the dangers of these drugs; she did nothing. Enda Kenny and James Reilly were also made aware; they did nothing!

 

AntiDepAware: Incredible Resource For Anti-Depressant Related Suicides In The UK


Started just a year ago, AntiDepAware is a website which aims to research and document cases of suicide, homicide, and murder-suicides (where anti-depressants are a possible contributing factor) in the UK and Wales. By collecting newspaper reports and coroners reports this website paints a startling picture of the dire state of mental health treatment in the UK. 

Brian has done a great job here and no doubt this site will be a great resource for further study into anti-depressant induced suicides and related issues. The evidence that Brian has collected here really speaks for itself. Brilliant website and great resource. Well done Brian. 

http://antidepaware.co.uk/

HomeCONTENTS1650 INQUESTS (2003-2012)INQUESTS 2013INQUESTS 2014NEWS and COMMENT- News File: Aug/Sep 2013Contact

Welcome to AntiDepAware

Latest news:“Tablets driving me mad,” texted retired police inspector before shooting his ex-girlfriend and himself 

AntiDepAware1.jpg

The objective of this site is to promote awareness of the dangers of antidepressants.

There is no wish to ban these drugs which give support to a large number of people with depression. However, it is clear that antidepressants are being prescribed to those who are not depressed, to whom they are likely to do more harm than good.

In 2009 my son, who had never been depressed in his life, went to see a doctor over insomnia caused by temporary work-related stress. He was prescribed Citalopram, and within less than a week he had taken his life.

As a consequence I learned of the suicide risk of antidepressants, particularly in the early weeks of uptake or if the dosage is changed up or down, or withdrawn.

Drug companies will say that an adverse reaction which induces suicidal thoughts will affect only about 1% of users. But there are at present over 4 million users of antidepressants in the UK, which means that there are 40 thousand people who may be at risk at one time or another.

The centrepiece of this site is a link to inquest reports, found mostly in the online archives of local newspapers, in which antidepressants are a factor in self-inflicted deaths. The reports cover England and Wales over the past 10 years.

It must be noted that this list is far from exhaustive but, even so, contains exactly 1650 reports, including 263 (or an average of 5 a week) from 2012 alone.

My motivation in embarking on this research has been to offer some understanding to the grieving families who are invariably left a legacy of unanswered questions, along with the memory of horrific loss. Perhaps this site will help answer some of those questions.

Brian

WARNING: People who have been prescribed antidepressants should never suddenly stop taking their medication. Gradual tapering is advisable. Anyone considering altering the dosage of their medication, or withdrawing from it, needs to take medical advice first.

Seroxat Secrets Reaches Over Half A Million Web Hits!!!


Simply fantastic news today from the Seroxat Secrets Blog. Over half a million unique web visitors! Brilliant achievement for the author of the blog and also for all those harmed by pharmaceutical drugs and psychiatry! Just last week I noted my blog reaching over 50,000 hits, and Bob Fiddaman’s Blog reaching well over 300,000 hits, that’s almost one million hits between us! Great Stuff guys…

http://seroxatsecrets.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/its-a-marathon-not-a-sprint/#comments

And, I must say I echo the Seroxat Secrets viewpoint when I say that ..

Glaxo must not be allowed to get away with it.

It’s a marathon – not a sprint.
March 13, 2012 — admin
Well, I never… Seroxat Secrets has just passed 500,000 unique visits. That’s half a million hits.

OK, it took a few years to get here, but I hope it’s been worthwhile and that the blog has helped a few people along the way.

My first post was in 2006 and when I started writing I wanted to create an internet resource that would gather together information and links and allow people to make an informed choice about the medication they were taking – or were about to take. I wanted to provide a counterpoint to the lies and spin that pharmaceutical companies turn out under the guise of ‘marketing’.

A few years ago I added a page to Seroxat Secrets, ‘What I believe’ – and it’s still what I believe:

I believe Seroxat is defective and dangerous.
I believe that Glaxo has hidden negative clinical trial data that shows exactly how dangerous a drug it is.
I believe that Seroxat is addictive.
I believe that Seroxat can cause anger, aggression and violence.
I believe that something must be done to help people who suffer terrible problems during withdrawal, as they desperately try to stop taking Seroxat.
I believe that doctors have taken large sums of money from Glaxo to lie about the efficacy and safety of the drug.
I believe that GlaxoSmithKline puts profits before patients – their wealth before our health.
I took Seroxat for 9 years and it took me 22 months to withdraw from the drug little by little. Believe me – I know what I’m talking about.

There is just one thing I’d add to this list today:

Glaxo must not be allowed to get away with it.

http://fiddaman.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Seroxat Secrets, Half a Million of Them
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Seroxat Secrets has reached a milestone. The author of the popular blog has just announced that his hits have gone over the half a million mark – that’s great going!

It’s a terrific blog full of useful information about Seroxat, GlaxoSmithKline and the MHRA. The author pulls no punches either, he writes:

A few years ago I added a page to Seroxat Secrets, ‘What I believe’ – and it’s still what I believe:

I believe Seroxat is defective and dangerous.

I believe that Glaxo has hidden negative clinical trial data that shows exactly how dangerous a drug it is.

I believe that Seroxat is addictive.

I believe that Seroxat can cause anger, aggression and violence.

I believe that something must be done to help people who suffer terrible problems during withdrawal, as they desperately try to stop taking Seroxat.

I believe that doctors have taken large sums of money from Glaxo to lie about the efficacy and safety of the drug.

I believe that GlaxoSmithKline puts profits before patients – their wealth before our health.

I took Seroxat for 9 years and it took me 22 months to withdraw from the drug little by little.

Believe me – I know what I’m talking about.

There is just one thing I’d add to this list today:

Glaxo must not be allowed to get away with it.

I met the author of Seroxat Secrets in London a couple of years ago. I hope to meet him again someday soon. The drinks are on me sir.

Seroxat Secrets is a wealth of information and can be viewed HERE

Fid

Anti-depressant drugs – Investigate claimed link to suicides


http://examiner.ie/opinion/editorial/anti-depressant-drugs–investigate-claimed-link-to-suicides-185950.html

From the Irish Examiner and Leonie Fennell’s Blog :

http://leoniefennell.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/declan-gilsenan-another-expert-trying-to-warn-people-about-ssri-suicide/

Anti-depressant drugs – Investigate claimed link to suicides
MONDAY, MARCH 05, 2012

When an autopsy expert with 30 years of experience suspects a possible link between suicide and the use of powerful anti-depressant drugs, it becomes a matter of the utmost concern and one that warrants immediate investigation.

The grave doubts expressed by former assistant state pathologist Dr Declan Gilsenan lend considerable weight to calls for action on this controversial issue. The authorities would be failing in their duty of care to the public if they do not heed his concerns over the number of suicide cases where he had carried out autopsies on victims who had recently started taking the anti-depressants in question.

Known collectively as SSRIs, they include popular drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil, and Celexa, which are available on prescription from a GP. Significantly, fears about a suspected connection between suicides and this family of drugs arise at a time when a frightening number of young Irish men are taking their own lives. This fully justifies his call for doctors to be more careful about prescribing and for people to be monitored more carefully.

Dr Gilsenan, who retired last year, says he has seen “too many suicides” among people who had started taking the drugs. In his considered view the evidence was “more than anecdotal” and he now hopes to raise the matter with Kathleen Lynch, minister of state with responsibility for mental health.

An urgent meeting with the minister is being sought by a delegation organised by campaigner Leonie Fennell, whose son took his own life after killing a friend, having just started a course of anti-depressants. He is believed to have taken more than the prescribed amount. Since her son’s death, Ms Fennell has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness about the potential dangers of anti-depressants.

This controversy is further complicated by the claims and counterclaims of a long-running row between doctors and psychiatrists over the use of such drugs.

According to Prof David Healy, the pharmaceutical industry is being protected by psychiatry. He accuses psychiatrists of coming out in defence of the drugs being used, and of regularly offering apologies for industry.

If Dr Gilsenan is right, there can be no denying that in the public interest, action is required to resolve this controversy once and for all. It should be easy enough to establish if statistical grounds exist to corroborate his assertion of possible connections between suicide and the use of powerful anti-depressants.

There is an onus on the minister to meet the proposed delegation sooner rather than later. Nor should she hesitate to take action to resolve this controversy and put people’s minds at ease. With lives possibly at stake, it is imperative to examine the concerns voiced by Dr Gilsenan without fear or favour.

Seroxat Secrets


New post over at Seroxat Secrets. If you haven’t seen the “Seroxat Secrets” blog, please check it out. It’s an amazing, and extremely well written and insightful, resource for those whom have been harmed by pharmaceutical companies and SSRI drugs…

Seroxat, of course, in particular. 

 

http://seroxatsecrets.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/if-you-dont-want-to-believe-me/#comments

 

I think we all know the internet is overflowing with all kinds of dubious sources of ‘information’ sources.

I’m a patient who suffered greatly at the hands of GlaxoSmithkline and decided to tell my story by creating this blog. As such I freely admit that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, unbiased.

I see what I do as trying to counter (in some small way) the spin and lies that Glaxo routinely produces every week of the year.

I also hope I may be able to help some people understand what’s happening to them if they are suffering from Seroxat addiction and are trying to withdraw from the drug.

But if you don’t want to believe me, then can I suggest you look at the new blog written by Dr David Healy – Dr Healy being the internationally respected psychiatrist, pyschopharmacologist, scientist and author. I can’t recommend this blog enough. Go there now!

And for the record:

I believe Seroxat is defective and dangerous.

I believe that Glaxo has hidden clinical trial data that shows exactly how dangerous a drug it is.

I believe that something must be done to help people who suffer terrible problems with withdrawal, as they desperately try to stop taking Seroxat.

I believe that Seroxat is addictive.

I believe that Seroxat can cause anger, aggression and violence.

I believe that doctors have taken large sums of money from Glaxo to lie about the efficacy and safety of Seroxat.

I believe that GlaxoSmithKline puts profits before patients – their wealth before our health.

I took Seroxat for 9 years and it took me 22 months to withdraw from the drug little by little.

Maybe you should believe me – I do know what I’m talking about.