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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Could Psychiatric Medications Have an Impact on Mass Shootings?

Jul 23, 2018 10:39PM ● By Jennifer Baer, ARNP

The nation changed on that pivotal day in February 2018 when 17 students and staff were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, by Nicolas Cruz. The media and children immediately turned to gun control. It seemed the logical thing to turn to and most of the nation put its attention on it. Why not? The gun is doing the killing along with the person who pulls the trigger. Yet, not much has been discussed about the possible root of the problem.
In writing this article, my thoughts turned to the side effects of psychiatric medications—a neglected issue. When people go out of control, what methods do we have in place to support and treat them and bring awareness to the side effects of psychiatric medications? That is the deeper issue that ultimately needs resolution. Perhaps attention should be turned to diet, gut health, environmental toxins, covert bacteria and viruses that are putting undue stresses on the body. In Integrative Medicine, attention is placed on the gastrointestinal system since it is the most important organ in the body for “brain” health. It is also known as the second brain. Many are shocked to learn that mental stability resides in the gut.
Let us turn our attention to the psychiatric medication industry. Most people don’t think of this when they take the medication or see a family member taking it because all they want is relief. What has occurred over the years is we have become a population looking for quick fixes for a way out of our suffering. The majority of humanity far too easily turns over their will and their innate capacity to heal (from damaging thoughts and emotions) and this weakens the individual overall. Somewhere along the line, confusion set in when psychiatrists began prescribing medication instead of supporting and healing the individual.
In the early 90s, the FDA became aware of a link between violence and psychiatric medications. Many individuals publicized this connection and, as a result, the side effects of such medications were included on their respective inserts. Unfortunately, who reads inserts, especially when one is suffering mentally.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit advocacy group committed to investigating and tackling human health issues involving psychiatric practices that fall under the name of mental healing, psychiatric medications and their effects on patients. According to the CCHR the following was said in regards to psychiatric drugs and violence:
“The apparent link between psychiatric drug-violence is also frequently made public by law enforcement. It was the case with 12-year-old Jose Reyes, who opened fire at Sparks Middle School in Nevada in October 2013, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. The police investigation revealed that he had been prescribed the generic form of the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) and had it in his system at the time of death. It was also true for 15-year-old Hammad Memon, who shot and killed another student at his middle school in Huntsville, Alabama, in February 2010. Memon had a history of treatment for ADHD and depression and was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and ‘other drugs for the conditions’ and had been seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist. And the story was the same for 15-year-old Kip Kinkel of Springfield, Oregon, who murdered his parents on the morning of May 21, 1998, before heading to school, where he killed two students and wounded another 25. Kinkel had been prescribed Prozac.”(1)
The list can go on and on. According to an FDA online safety reporting program, Medwatch, they received a staggering “14,773 reports of psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects, including 1,531 cases of homicidal ideation/homicide, 3,287 cases of mania and 8,219 cases of aggression.”(2)
To bring this full circle, the Department of Children and Families was observing Nicolas Cruz during the time preceding the shootings. According to NBC news, the investigator reported, “Mr. Cruz stated that he plans to go out and buy a gun. It is unknown what he is buying the gun for.”(2)  Since Cruz wasn’t able to say the reason he wanted to buy a gun, the case was closed. This was after there were concerns reported of him being on Snapchat with statements of cutting himself as well as needing help in getting a gun.
One big illusion that exists is that patients are in some way handled if they are on psychiatric medications. This is a misconception that needs to be brought to light. We all feel some sense of relief when symptoms are handled, but we also have to look at the other side of the treatments being given and if they are indeed fully supportive and beneficial for the patients being treated. Psych meds can cause side effects worse than what the person may be experiencing before being put on them. 
My reason for writing this is so that people become aware of other options. One option is taking care of the gastrointestinal system. LifeWorks Wellness Center has an extensive program in evaluating and treating the gut to help restore balance which will impact the patient mentally as well. There are ways of balancing the adrenals, neurotransmitters and hormones through supplements that all help with anxiety, depression, ADD and ADHD, to name a few. And of course, diet! Avoidance of gluten, grains and sugars helps to calm the body and allows it to come to optimal efficiency in health.
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Jennifer Baer, advanced registered nurse practitioner with a background in adult health, graduated with a B.S. in Nursing from University of Louisiana, Lafayette and a Master’s in Nursing from Sage College, in New York. She has considerable experience using alternative treatment protocols for conditions including cancer, Lyme disease, autoimmune and GI disorders and chronic illness. She practices at LifeWorks Wellness Center, 301 Turner St., Clearwater.