SERENDIPITY, making fortunate discoveries by accident. I read a note on Facebook about an organization focused on stopping smoking bans, especially the ones imposed by government fiat.
I happen to agree that a majority of the bans are based on bad science and they are intrusions into personal liberties. One piece of information caught my attention. The writer explained that the DRUGS used to “help” people stop smoking are dangerous. They’re drugs, after all. The most common drugs prescribed are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors), a class of antidepressants.While I’ve been aware of the potential dangers from these drugs, I admit that I have been ignorant to the extent of the harm they cause. SSRIs are associated with a myriad of disturbing side effects including;

nightmares, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, personality disorder, amnesia, kleptomania, pyromania, alcohol abuse, hostility, paranoia, and others.

Once a person starts using them, it becomes very difficult to stop. Withdrawal symptoms re often unbearable. The most frightening affect of these drugs is often on other people – the ones who suffer and die because a user resorts to abnormal behavior and violence.

The article I read about smoking highlighted another website, SSRI Stories ( Their tag line reads, “We Speak for the Dead to Protect the Living” and there is a WARNING right at the top of the home page that states,

Withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication.  It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, usually over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified specialist.  Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.

The site documents over 4,300 cases of tragedies caused by people who were using SSRIs – many were current users and some were trying to quit. Some of the categories are teacher molestations, school shootings, workplace violence, suicides, road rage, and murder/suicides. The reports are listed in a large database along with links to news stories.I’ve said often that “Too Many People Take Too Many Drugs”. When it comes to SSRIs, the tragedy of the drugs affects doesn’t stop with the user. It can often extend to others, sometimes many others. Over 113 million prescriptions for SSRIs were filled in 2007. That suggests that there is a good chance that a person on the bus with you, or one at the restaurant is using an SSRI. Perhaps he/she is trying to quit. Personally, I am careful in any social situation, even when I know the people I’m with, because I don’t know what drugs they may be using.Here’s one final disturbing piece of information about SSRIs. WebMD, an often referenced source about health, seems to be an apologist FOR the antidepressant drugs, including SSRIs.

It’s true that taking an SSRI changes the chemistry inside your brain. This causes subtle changes in the way you feel, act, and behave.

But you just might like the new you. In one of the few studies measuring personality changes in response to antidepressants, those taking SSRIs felt more emotionally stable, outgoing, trusting, and assertive, and less hostile.

SSRIs are approved by the FDA for anxiety or depression that’s severe enough to interfere with normal functioning in life. In that case, you could argue, maybe a minor personality makeover is worth a try.

It seems WebMD isn’t concerned much with the thousands of tragic outcomes caused by these drugs. However, I am.