Fundamentally, we’ve got huge overlap in agreement – far more than disagreement. My main concern up front was that we don’t help feed the arguments being made (as you correctly put it, with their pre-written bills, for example, as they just salivate, waiting for the next mass shooting to “trigger” introduction of their latest anti-gun legislation). Spot on.
You will get no argument from me at all on the following beliefs: that Big Pharma is interested primarily in their own thriving survival; that we’re a much sicker society than we were 50 years ago; that SSRIs and other meds CAN cause some serious side effects including fatal ones; or – just one more to keep the list short, because there are plenty more – that proper MANAGEMENT of patients is abysmal, which leads to horrendous consequences all too frequently.
With that, I’ll just throw in a few more facts that you simply won’t see in the popular press. For example, let’s say a person becomes clinically depressed (meaning that they truly warrant a formal diagnosis). Anger is FREQUENTLY a characteristic of depression. It’s not just the stereotypical moping around, having no energy or will to get up off one’s butt and do something (though that’s part of it too). Interestingly, some studies have pointed to violent acts (such as suicide as well as violence toward others) tending to come fairly shortly after beginning the meds (weeks, not months or years). The plausible theory is that in the early stages of the meds beginning to have an effect, the person develops more energy – and at that point, the focus is still including the anger toward self or others. But now they’ve got the ENERGY to carry out an act consistent with their poor thinking patterns, ironically BECAUSE the meds brought their moods up sufficiently that they had the energy to do something about their anger or hurt.
Another highly interesting, but almost never discussed, fact is that there are NUMEROUS neurotransmitters (ranging upwards of ½ dozen) that affect mental status. Yet the massive focus of the drugs is on serotonin alone. So it would seem to be no wonder that SSRIs and other meds targeting serotonin might not work, and might even have negative consequences when they throw the portion of the brain dealing with serotonin off balance! (on top of the underlying depression or other condition). What if the problem is with one of the OTHER neurotransmitters? A less-used medication for example, Wellbutrin, is believed to act on dopamine and norepinephrine, and not have any appreciable effect on serotonin. And it can be very effective for some, whereas SSRIs don’t touch the problem or make them worse. That, by itself, is a great argument for the premise that it’s the MANAGEMENT of patients that is a major issue. You don’t give an anti-cancer drug to a person with an aneurysm – you determine what the CAUSE of the headaches or dizziness, or whatever might be, not just throw a drug at it and see if it “works.” Ooops! And I’ll carry the Wellbutrin example just a bit further. Not only can it be a significantly useful antidepressant for some, it can also WIRE others, and make any anxiety that goes along with their depression become multiplied – without helping the depression. Again, Ooops! Even more interesting (remember the discussion about an UNDERstimulated frontal cortex in ADD/ADHD), Wellbutrin has in some cases actually HELPED people with ADD/ADHD. But a well-functioning person who also takes it, could feel like they’re taking an “upper.”
In other words, it’s complicated, and the news media and Big Pharma don’t help at all. And that just feeds the gun-grabbers all the more false arguments for getting rid of guns altogether.
One last item, and I’m going to bed far later then I ever intended. 40 and 50 years ago we had rifle clubs in high schools and nobody even thought about it. Kids could go in and buy a .22 rifle. And nobody even thought about it. And we left our doors unlocked when we left home for a few hours – and never worried about it. But I don’t blame meds alone (or even significantly) for that societal change. It’s a long list of factors that would probably trigger an even longer argument here (and elsewhere). Ain’t goin’ there!