• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

stargazer

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I'm pretty sure there's a thread somewhere about the recent shooting at Northern Illinois University, but I haven't yet been able to locate it through the search device.

What I wanted to say is that I am finding it disturbing whenever I hear or read a news story about this shooting, that there seems to be an undue emphasis on the fact that he had "gone off antidepressants" in the two weeks prior to the shooting.

It's not that the facts ought not to be reported, but there's something ugly in the way that this is emphasized -- with a raise in the tone of voice, and an apparent increase in rhetoric. The subtle implication is that anyone who goes off their meds is going to become a mass murderer, AND/OR, the reason why people go onto meds in the first place is that they would otherwise be mass murderers.

Both of these, to my mind, perpetuate stigma and misconception regarding the nature of mental health conditions. I, for one, find this disturbing.
 
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i agree sg. but at the same time it is also bringing attention to the system and where it is lacking. hopefully in the end the result will be improved mental health care.
 

Retired

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One can only speculate from a distance, but if indeed this person was taking Prozac, and had discontinued the medication in the two weeks prior to the tragic event, it seems unlikely the withdrawal of the medication would be the only precipitating factor.

For one thing, because of the long biologic half-lives of fluoxetine and norfluoxetine, it may take up to 1 to 2 months for the active drug substance to disappear from the body.

Even when dosing is stopped, active drug substance will persist in the body for weeks due to the long elimination half-lives of the parent drug and its metabolites.

In listening to an interview with the man's girlfriend on CNN today, she talked about his suicidal thoughts, his depression and his self injury, combined with buying multiple firearms.

It seems to me, as a layman, that these were the red flags that should have been heeded rather than retrospectively suggesting withdrawal from Prozac may have been a leading factor.
 

stargazer

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i agree sg. but at the same time it is also bringing attention to the system and where it is lacking. hopefully in the end the result will be improved mental health care.

Yes, I can see that, and I also hope so. I was only commenting on the average "unenlightened" listener/viewer's response. And of course, those are not the people who will be instrumental in reforming the nation's (America's) health care system.

Steve, I also saw the interview with the girlfriend, and I agree that his mentioning of suicidal thoughts in times extending past the last couple weeks would probably be a larger factor than recent withdrawing from an anti-depressant, although withdrawing from the anti-depressant might have contributed to it. Again, however, this is only speculation, as I am not really qualified to make that assessment.

Daniel, thanks for the link. I read the article and sent it to a bipolar friend of mine in Illinois, where the subject is a daily topic of conversation at her workplace.
 
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Yes, I can see that, and I also hope so. I was only commenting on the average "unenlightened" listener/viewer's response. And of course, those are not the people who will be instrumental in reforming the nation's (America's) health care system.
i didn't mean to be dismissive of your thoughts on the topic. i apologize if i came across that way. i do agree that the media can twist things and negatively influence the public's opinion. they like to sensationalize and it doesn't help with the stigma. i do have hopes though that with time the public will be better educated. i am hopeful after seeing the public reaction when tom cruise attacked brooke shields for using anti-depressants when she had post partum depression.
 

stargazer

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i didn't mean to be dismissive of your thoughts on the topic. i apologize if i came across that way.

Oh, OK thanks. I wasn't offended or anything, but I felt compelled to explain myself further, in case I had not been expressing myself clearly.

i do agree that the media can twist things and negatively influence the public's opinion. they like to sensationalize and it doesn't help with the stigma.

That's what I meant. They're shooting for what's going to make a hot story, and since there is all kinds of public debate about the use and misuse of psychiatric drugs, it's rather a hot topic, especially after Tom Cruise, and whatever that other guy's name is -- the Natural Cures guy.

i do have hopes though that with time the public will be better educated. i am hopeful after seeing the public reaction when tom cruise attacked brooke shields for using anti-depressants when she had post partum depression.

Yes. I think most people saw Cruise as representing an extremist view, and although he has a right to his views and his religious or spiritual beliefs, many people see many of his views as far from mainstream.
 

David Baxter

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I don't think that was the issue with Tom Cruise. First, the man is an actor, not an authority on psychopharmacology or psychotherapy or psychiatry. He was using his position as a platform from which to launch attacks against another individual who was taking medication for depression as prescribed by her physician. Second, in the public statements he made, he claimed to have educated himself about psychiatry and psychotropic medications and thus presented himself as an authority on the subject, when in fact he isn't an authority at all and indeed displayed unimaginable ignorance and bigotry against individuals suffering with mental health issues.
 

stargazer

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I didn't follow it very closely, I guess -- but I only gathered that he had an extremist view. I do see that he also wasn't very sympathetic toward those with mental health conditions who are responsibly trying to take care of themselves with medical help.
 

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