Another category of prescription drugs that are sometimes abused are antidepressants. These include Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor and Remeron. These come in multicolored capsules and tablets.
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Violent thoughts and actions
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide
- Irregular heartbeat
- Criminal behavior
- Confusion and incoherent thoughts
- Akathisia (a painful inner agitation; inability to sit still)
One study found that 14% of the young people taking an antidepressant became aggressive and even violent. One 12-year-old boy developed violent nightmares about killing his classmates, then being shot himself. The dream continued to feel “very real” after awakening, and for days he experienced dreams of killing that seemed increasingly real. He became acutely suicidal until the drug was stopped.
This study gave several other examples of extreme and irrational behavior from individuals on these drugs. One man rammed a police officer with his vehicle so he could grab the officer’s gun and shoot himself. Another drowned himself and his two small children in a bathtub, and a boy bludgeoned a close friend for no apparent reason. None had any previous history of violence.
Withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants include suicidal thoughts, aggression, anxiety, depression, crying spells, insomnia, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, tremors, and electric “zap” sensations in the brain.
- “Drug Scheduling,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
- “Selected Prescription Drugs with Potential for Abuse,” National Institute on Drug Abuse
- International Narcotics Control Board
- Office of Drug Control Policy
- “Prescription Sedatives & Tranquilizers,” Partnership for
a Drug-Free America
- Statement by Leonard J. Paulozzi before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crimes and Drugs, 12 March 2008
- Center for Substance Abuse Research
- National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2007
- Suicidality, violence and mania caused by SSRIs: A review and analysis, P. Breggin.
- “Depressants,” US Department of Health & Human Services and SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information
- “Prescription drugs a gateway for teen drug abuse,” Houston Chronicle, 4 September 2008