Psych Meds & Violence

6. October, 2017

Dr John Mayer


I’m frequently interviewed by the media when situations erupt in our world. When the interviews appear they are condensed from all the information I discuss with the interviewer. I thought I would post here expanded versions of my interviews. Here’s a recent one:

Do you think psychiatric drugs are responsible for behavior in violent situations, like mass shootings? Why or why not?

We have to be very cautious here in answering such a question. “Are” and “Can be” are two different answers. The side effects of many psychotropic drugs ‘can’ lead to increased aggressive behavior, increased confusion and cognitive deficits. Even mild psychotropic medications at low doses. The individual case, as in the LV shooter, has to be examined carefully and intensively to say that his medication “are responsible.”


I will say one thing that is critical for the public to understand. Psychotropic drugs are powerful drugs that can alter behavior and the use of them should be carefully thought through AND, I am going to be particularly interested to see if the proper protocol for administering the drug was followed. This protocol is to start an individual on the lowest dose (And 10mg is NOT the lowest dose) and then have a follow-up appointment two weeks later to evaluate the effects, including rage and confusion as mentioned above.


Way too many psychotropic drugs are prescribed in a 5min office visit and no follow-up is undertaken and this is a time-bomb waiting to explode!! 


*  What do these kinds of comments say to people who take these drugs and/or need to take these drugs?

This is why we have to be careful on our responses here. Psychotropic drugs, when properly evaluated-administered-followed-up on, are miracles for people suffering emotional problems. So, to blame these drugs on such a heinous crime may discourage people from seeking out and/or continuing the medications they need. On the other hand, let’s use this discussion nationally to open up the wide-spread abuse of drugs, including the casual prescription of these drugs without proper assessment and follow-up.


* How might this impact people who might benefit from these drugs? Could it keep them from wanting to take them?

YES, see my comments to the last question.


* How much do you take the black box warning into account when prescribing medication? (And isn’t it more about suicide than violence toward others?)

We have been socialized AND we have been sold by big pharma, that drugs are the magic bullets that will solve all our ills…thus when we are in pain, we neglect all the time any warnings of side-effects and just want that magic pill to relieve our pain and suffering.


* Can you please clarify that having a mental illness does not make someone more likely to commit mass murder?

Precisely, having a mental illness is not a direct correlation to commit ANY crime let alone a mass murder. And this includes taking medication has not been correlated in studies to be a casual factor in mass murders.


When proper protocols (Procedures) are not followed by both the prescriber and the patient getting these powerful medications—this is substance abuse!! 



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