The Relationship Between Medication and Veteran Suicide
|Peter Breggin, M.D.- Expert Witness|
Dr. Peter Breggin, MD was asked to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on the link between antidepressants and suicide. He provided a detailed analysis emphasizing the science that demonstrates a causal relationship between the newer antidepressants and the production of suicide, violence, mania and other behavioral abnormalities. He emhasized the considerable risk in giving these drugs to heavily armed young men and women.
The newer antidepressants frequently cause suicide, violence, and manic-like symptoms of activation or overstimulation, presenting serious hazards to active-duty soldiers who carry weapons under stressful conditions. These antidepressant-induced symptoms of activation can mimic post-traumatic stress disorder, and are likely to worsen this common disorder in soldiers, increasing the hazard when they are prescribed to military personnel. Antidepressants should not be prescribed to soldiers during or after deployment.View video of Dr. Breggin’s testimony (26 min)
Written testimony: Antidepressant-Induced Suicide, Violence, and Mania: Risks for Military Personnel
On February 24, 2010, the Veterans Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Chaired by Rep. Bob Filner (D-San Diego) held hearings entitled "Exploring the Relationship Between Medication and Veteran Suicide."
Chairman Filner asked Dr. Peter Breggin to lead off with testimony about "Anti-depressant-induced Suicide, Violence, and Mania: Implications for the Military."
Moments before the hearings began, Chairman Filner visited with Dr. Breggin and explained that he had decided to hold the hearings after reading Dr. Breggin's book, "Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatry Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime" (2008). He gave Dr. Breggin as much time as he needed in his testimony to set the stage for the hearings. Dr. Breggin provided a detailed analysis emphasizing the science that demonstrates a causal relationship between the newer antidepressants and the production of suicide, violence, mania and other behavioral abnormalities. He emhasized the considerable risk in giving these drugs to heavily armed young men and women.
The hearing video begins with Chairman Filner and another congressman, Dr. Roe, and then Dr. Breggin begins his presentation on the first panel. One other speaker was on the panel, Andrew Leon, PhD, a former FDA official who consults to drug companies. He followed Dr. Breggin briefly, and then the remaining time was spent with the panel questioning Dr. Breggin and Dr. Leon for a total of about 90 minutes.
A second panel featured members of both APAs, and attorney Don Farber of San Rafael, California, who spoke eloquently about the manner in which APA has avoided its responsibilities in regard to medication-induced suicide and the black box warning. A third panel consisted of representatives from the military and the VA.
in the peer-reviewed Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry.
Note that the written testimony was for a five-minute presentation, but the Committee accorded Dr. Breggin more than half an hour of testimony.