The Huffington Post
By Peter Breggin
March 3, 2010
On February 24, 2010 the Veterans’ Affairs Committee of the U. S. House of Representatives chaired by Bob Filner (D-CA) held hearings on “Exploring the Relationship Between Medication and Veteran Suicide.” Military suicides have risen rapidly in recent years at the same time that the prescription of antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs has escalated. The hearing focused on the dangers of the newer antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Effexor.
Starting in the early 1990s, I was the first psychiatrist to write and speak extensively about the newer antidepressants causing suicide, violence, and mania. It was gratifying when Rep. Filner decided to hold the hearings after reading my new book, Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008) and called me as his lead witness. I presented scientific evidence that antidepressants cause suicide, violence and mania. I also emphasized the profound danger of prescribing drugs that cause impulsivity, hostility and suicidality to heavily armed young men and women under stress on active military duty. I recommended that the armed services curtail the use of these drugs and rely instead on psychotherapeutic and educational processes that have already proved effective. I also called for additional research in the military and the VA concerning suicide and violence caused by antidepressants.
There is scant evidence for the effectiveness of antidepressants, and overwhelming evidence for their harmfulness. The military is already moving toward the implementation of better educational programs to help active duty soldiers handle stress. These educational programs, and counseling, need to replace the use of psychiatric drugs.