Loose Screws Mental Health News

Anti-smoking pill drug Chantix has been linked to mental illness, according to Attorney Daily.

Chantix’s safety is currently under fire, as similar stories of patients with suicidal thoughts, depression and aggressive behavior surface. The FDA received reports of 37 suicides and 491 cases in which people had suicidal thoughts. The FDA also said it “appears increasingly likely that there is an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms.” An estimated 5 million people use the drug.

How scary is it that people are having mental health issues related to non-mental health drugs?

Steven Kazmierczak, the shooter at NIU, wrote about his problems with mental illness in his graduate school applications. He said he hoped he could be an encouragement to others. I find this interesting that he wrote about his struggle with mental illness considering that at the time, there appeared to be no official record of him having a mental illness.

Last but not least, here’s news that would make the TAC proud: Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, a medical sociologist from Duke says that people suffering from mental illness are three times as likely to commit violent acts than "normal" people. To his credit, he adds:

“It’s also correct to say that the large majority of people with mental illness don’t commit violent behavior,” he said.

Further down in the article, WRAL Health Team Physician Dr. Allen Mask answers where all the violent acts come from if not from the mentally ill.

“Dr. Swanson says that if we could eliminate drug and alcohol addiction, we would see violent crime go down by a third. We also have the issues of people being abused as children and children growing up in violent, impoverished environments. They’re at greater risk of becoming violent adults,” Mask said.

Maybe I’m wrong here but isn’t substance abuse classified as a mental illness?

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4 Comments

  1. Duane Sherry said,

    April 22, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Marissa,
    This is such important information. Thank you for doing all the research, and making it available on your blog.
    Duane

  2. Duane Sherry said,

    April 22, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Marissa,
    This is such important information. Thank you for taking so much time to do the research, and making it available on your blog.
    Duane

  3. Prester John said,

    April 23, 2008 at 12:08 am

    They make it up as they go along.

  4. etta said,

    April 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    The fact that the student knew he had mental illness but didn’t appear to be getting any treatment only highlights the stigma surrounding mental illness. One of the primary reasons people do NOT seek mental health care is stigma. Perhaps if mom and dad knew that people with mental illness can “look okay” but still need help (and I am NOT blaming the parents, only the lack of education we provide our citizens about the realities of this illness), perhaps if they understood that the illness is not better just because their son looked better, he would have been actively seeking treatment.
    Regarding the violence comment: well, I can’t say what I’d like to say…but what an idiot! Comments like these, by a doctor(??), only further the stigma to which I just referred. And his clarifying comment did nothing to diminish the stigmatizing impact of his initial statement. The REALITIES are– the overwhelming MAJORITY of people with mental illness are NOT violent, except toward themselves if at all, AND that perhaps 99% of all violent acts are committed by people WITHOUT MENTAL ILLNESS! We only hear about the sensationalized cases.
    The other reality is that substance use and abuse does play a HUGE role in violent crime, and while it may technically be a mental illness, it should not be lumped with the other brain diseases for these discussions. For example, if I commit a violent crime because I got drunk and stupid; it is BECAUSE I got drunk and stupid, NOT because of my depression, that led me to commit the crime.
    …and there ends my rant on that subject.
    Thanks for the post.


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