3.7 Read the booklet

Read: Antidepressants


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.

"My brain feels like it’s screaming at me to get more of these pills, the feelings I have without them are too unbearable....I need more help getting through this Effexor withdrawal. I’m so depressed that I’ve started cutting my arms, and I’m not even sure why. Also I hallucinate every few hours and see things—just today I saw blood dripping down my wall.” —Rita
Studies have shown that the effects of these drugs can include:
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Violent thoughts and actions
  • Agitation
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide
  • Tremors
  • Hostility
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Aggression
  • Criminal behavior
  • Confusion and incoherent thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • 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.