February 25, 2008
|"In general, there is no evidence at all of these drugs producing increases in violence," explains a professor of psychiatry. Of course, it helped that Kazmierczak was also addicted to the violent video game Counter-Strike.|
The revelation from Steven Kazmierczak’s girlfriend that he had stopped taking an antidepressant a few weeks before his rampage at Northern Illinois University has reopened debate about whether the drug can cause violent behavior.
Jessica Baty told CNN that she had seen no hint during their two-year courtship that the 27-year-old might be capable of killing five people and injuring 17 before committing suicide.
Kazmierczak had stopped taking Prozac three weeks before his shooting spree on February 14 and had been taking two other medications, she said.
Experts differ on whether Prozac and other similar antidepressants might be linked to violence.
“There’s very little likelihood that withdrawal from Prozac could, by itself, cause someone to become violent, said Dr. Nada Stotland, professor of psychiatry at Rush Medical College and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association.
If people with other psychiatric illnesses had a propensity to violence, then discontinuing drug use “could make them irritable, and that could be one trigger,” said Stotland, who has accepted speaking fees from the drug industry, but not in recent years.