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According to a former girlfriend, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted everyone to know his name. Mary W. is quoted in the German newspaper Bild: “When I heard about the accident, I remembered a phrase that he used: “One day I will do something that will change the system and then everyone will know my name and remember it.”
“At the time I did not understood what he meant, but now it’s clear,” says the stewardess, 26, who had an affair in 2014 with the pilot of the Lufthansa budget subsidiary.
“He did not talk much about his illness, saying only that he was in psychiatric treatment,” she continued.
Reportedly, Andreas Lubitz was off work due to depression March 16 to 29. He hid his illness from his employer by not handing in the documentation [from his physician] to his superiors. He therefore should not have been flying on the day of the crash. Prosecutors in Düsseldorf confirmed that “a doctor’s note, dated the day of the tragic events, which was torn up, indicated his incapacity for work, and support the hypothesis that he hid his illness from his employer and his co-workers. ”
According to our sources, German investigators found antidepressants in the home of Andreas Lubitz, the first officer who deliberately crashed Airbus A320 last Tuesday. His medical records were also seized by the police.
These developments place the personality of the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 28, at the heart of the investigation. He joined Lufthansa in 2013 and had only 630 hours of flying time since he completed his training.
Thursday night, German investigators searched Andreas Lubitz’s apartment in Düsseldorf , and his parents’ home in Montabaur, where he lived part of the time. Someone, whose face was hidden by a coat, accompanied investigators. Security forces also took the CPU of a computer, as well as two large blue bags and a full carton. Marcel Fiebig, spokesman for the Düsseldorf police, talked about the search. “We seized clues. These are various objects and documents,” he stated. “We’ll see if (the seized clues) provide definite evidence. We have to study everything,” he said.
Investigators also heard from his former girlfriend who explained that [Lubitz] had been battling depression for 6 years.
The hypothesis of suicide is most likely at this stage of the investigation. No evidence has been found so far, such as a suicide note, that indicates the act was premeditated.
On Friday, March 27, Manuel Valls said on iTélé that “everything supports the hypothesis of a deliberate act of the co-pilot, even though “we have to wait for the outcome of the investigation”, this seems like a “crazy, incomprehensible, horrible act”. “How can we imagine that a pilot, who people trust – many look up to them as heroes – could be capable of closing the cockpit door to prevent the pilot from returning to the cabin, and steering the plane into the mountain?” Manuel Valls continued.
Andreas Lubitz had passed all the psychological tests required by Lufthansa. So how could he fly on antidepressants when this is forbidden? There are flaws in how the medical status of pilots is monitored.
This Germanwings crash raises many security issues. The European Aviation Safety Agency recommends that there always be two people in the cockpit. Five companies already enforce this policy: Air France, Air Transat Canada, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Icelandair and Easyjet.
Since the 2001 attacks, cockpit security has been strengthened. The doors cannot be opened from the outside except with a code that only the pilot and co-pilot know. However, there is also a latch which can lock the cockpit security door from the inside. It is this feature that may have prevented the pilot from re-entering the cockpit before the crash.
The first black box recovered at the scene of the accident on March 25 revealed the situation of a deliberate crash caused by the first officer.
Airbuses carry two black boxes. One records the technical parameters of the flight, the second records conversations and all the sounds that occur inside the cockpit. It is this second that has been found and analyzed.
At the beginning of the flight both drivers can be heard conversing normally in German. Around 10:30 am, the captain left the cockpit, probably to go to the toilet.
The driver then tried to get back into the cockpit, but the door was locked. He banged on the door, and could be heard shouting the name of the co-pilot, ordering him: “Andreas, open the door, open the door!”. He then went all out and tried to break the door down with an ax, without success. Because they recognized the captain’s voice shouting, the investigators were able to determine which of the two pilots was in control of the aircraft at the time of the crash, according to a source close to the investigation.
The first officer deliberately set the autopilot to a controlled descent, which can only be interpreted as a “wilful plan to destroy” the aircraft, said the prosecutor on Thursday, March 26. Brice Robin said that he had not answered any of the communications from traffic control and that he had uttered no words. But, he added, the sound of his breathing is audible throughout the last phase of the flight, which means that the first officer was alive.
Listen to the whole interview given by Brice Robin .
Investigators working at the scene of the crash are trying to find the second black box and identify the bodies removed from the mountain, by bringing families to the crash site Thursday afternoon . The long, tortuous work of body identification will probably take several weeks because no bodies were recovered intact .
The Families of the Victims are Caught Between Grief and Anger
The families of the victims, mostly German and Spanish , will gather on March 26 in the crash area. Overcome with grief, they are also consumed by anger at the thought that one man could have determined the fate of their loved ones this way.
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Selon une ancienne petite amie du copilote, Andreas Lubitz voulait que tout le monde connaisse son nom. Mary W. déclare dans le quotidien allemand Bild : “Lorsque j’ai appris cet accident, je me suis souvenue d’une phrase qu’il avait prononcée: ‘Un jour, je ferai quelque chose qui changera le système et alors tout le monde connaîtra mon nom et s’en souviendra”.
“Il parlait peu de sa maladie”
“Je n’ai pas compris alors ce qu’il avait voulu dire, mais aujourd’hui, c’est clair”, poursuit cette hôtesse de l’air de 26 ans qui a eu une liaison avec le pilote de la filiale low-cost de la Lufthansa en 2014.
“Il ne parlait pas beaucoup de sa maladie, disait seulement qu’il était en traitement psychiatrique”, poursuit-elle.
En arrêt de travail pour dépression
Selon nos informations, Andreas Lubitz était en arrêt de travail pour dépression du 16 au 29 mars. Il avait caché sa maladie à son employeur en ne remettant pas le document à ses supérieurs. Il n’aurait donc pas dû voler le jour du crash. Le parquet de Düsseldorf a confirmé que “des certificats d’incapacité de travail, qui ont été déchirés, qui étaient récents et même datés pour le jour des faits, appuient l’hypothèse qu’il a caché sa maladie à son employeur et à ses collègues de travail.”
Des antidépresseurs retrouvés
Toujours selon nos informations, les enquêteurs allemands ont retrouvé au domicile d’Andreas Lubitz, le copilote qui a délibérement crashé l’Airbus A320 mardi dernier, des antidrépresseurs. Son dossier médical a également été saisi par la police.
Ces nouveaux éléments placent la personnalité du copilote, Andreas Lubitz, 28 ans, au cœur de l’enquête. Il était entré chez Lufthansa en 2013 et ne comptait que 630 heures de vol à son actif depuis la fin de sa formation.
Les enquêteurs allemands ont fouillé jeudi soir les deux domiciles d’Andreas Lubitz, à Düsseldorf où il avait un appartement et à Montabaur, où il vivait une partie du temps chez ses parents. Une personne, le visage caché sous un manteau, en est sortie avec les enquêteurs. Les forces de l’ordre sont également reparties avec l’unité centrale d’un ordinateur, ainsi que deux grands sacs bleus et un carton visiblement pleins. Le porte-parole de la police de Düsseldorf, Marcel Fiebig, s’est exprimé sur ces perquisitions. “On a saisi des indices. Il s’agit de divers objets et papiers”, a-t-il raconté. “On verra si (les indices saisis) apportent finalement des éléments de preuve. On va étudier tout cela”, a-t-il précisé.
Les enquêteurs ont également entendu son ancienne petite amie qui a expliqué que l’homme suivait depuis 6 ans un traitement pour lutter contre sa dépression.
Un suicide ?
L’hypothèse du suicide est la plus plausible à ce stade des investigations. Quant à savoir si son geste était prémédité, aucune lettre d’adieu ni aucun indice en ce sens n’ont été retrouvés.
Manuel Valls a déclaré vendredi 27 mars sur iTélé que “tout s’orient(ait)” vers l’hypothèse d’un acte délibéré du copilote, même si “nous devons attendre la fin de l’enquête”, évoquant un “geste fou, incompréhensible, horrible”. “Comment peut-on imaginer qu’un pilote en qui on a toute confiance -ce sont des héros pour beaucoup- précipite, après avoir fermé la porte ou empêché le pilote de rentrer dans la cabine, l’avion dans la montagne ?”, a poursuivi Manuel Valls.
Andreas Lubitz avait validé tous les tests psychologiques de la Lufthansa. Mais comment pouvait-il voler sous antidépresseurs alors que cela est interdit ?
Il existerait des failles dans le suivi médical des pilotes :
Nouvelles consignes de sécurité
Ce crash de la Germanwings posent évidemment bien des questions de sécurité. L’Agence européenne de la sécurité aérienne recommande désormais la présence constante de deux personnes dans le cockpit. Cinq compagnies ont d’ores et déjà décidé d’appliquer la mesure : Air France, la canadienne Air Transat, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Icelandair et Easyjet.
Depuis les attentats de 2001, la sécurité du cockpit a été renforcée. Les portes ne peuvent plus être ouvertes de l’extérieur sauf par un digicode que seuls le pilote et son co-pilote connaissent. En revanche, il y a également un loquet qui permet de verrouiller la porte blindée de l’intérieur du cockpit. C’est donc ce dispositif qui a sans doute empêché l’ouverture du cockpit avant le crash.
Conversation normale en début de vol
C’est l’examen de la première boîte noire recueillie sur les lieux de l’accident le 25 mars qui met en lumière le scenario du crash délibérément provoqué par le copilote.
Un Airbus emporte à son bord deux boîtes noires. L’une enregistre les paramètres techniques du vol, la seconde grave les conversations et tous les éléments sonores qui se produisent à l’intérieur du cockpit. C’est cette seconde qui a été retrouvée et analysée.
On y entend les deux pilotes converser normalement en allemand, au début du vol. Vers 10h30, le commandant de bord quitte le cockpit, sans doute pour se rendre aux toilettes.
Le pilote a tenté ensuite d’entrer de nouveau dans le cockpit, mais la porte était bloquée. Il a essayé de la débloquer, criant le prénom du copilote. “Andreas, ouvre cette porte, ouvre cette porte !”, lui a-t-il intimé. Il a, à coups de hâche, tenté le tout pour le tout, sans succès. C’est ainsi que les enquêteurs ont identifié, grâce aux cris du commandant de bord, lequel des deux était aux commandes de l’avion au moment du crash, selon une source proche de l’enquête.
“Une volonté de détruire”
Le copilote a actionné volontairement les commandes de descente, de façon qui peut être analysée “comme une volonté de détruire” l’avion, a expliqué jeudi 26 mars le procureur. Brice Robin a précisé qu’il n’avait répondu à aucune des sollicitations du contrôle aérien et qu’il n’avait prononcé aucun mot. Mais, a-t-il ajouté, un bruit de respiration est audible pendant toute la dernière phase du vol, ce qui signifie que le copilote était vivant.
Ecoutez toutes les informations données par Brice Robin.
Les recherches continuent
Les enquêteurs qui travaillent sur les lieux du crash tentent de retrouver la deuxième boîte noire et d’identifier les corps évacués de la montagne, grâce à des prélèvements effectués sur les familles jeudi après-midi. Le long, très long travail d’identification des corps prendra probablement plusieurs semaines car aucun corps n’a été retrouvé intact.
Les familles des vicitmes entre deuil et colère
Les familles des victimes, notamment allemandes ou espagnoles, se recueillent depuis le 26 mars dans la région du crash. Endeuillées, elles sont aussi gagnées par la colère à l’idée qu’un homme seul a fait basculer le destin des leurs.
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Jörg Kämpflein—a flight club board member who has been with the club since 1993—said he was “surprised, astonished” by the allegations surrounding Mr. Lubitz. These, he said, “in no way” fitted his personality. Klaus Radke, president of the club, said Mr. Lubitz had renewed his pilot’s license to fly alone when he last visited.
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Sarah Gonzales McLinn, 20, of Lawrence, appears emotionless while confessing to the brutal slaying of 52-year-old Harold “Hal” Sasko in a video of her police interview following her arrest in Florida last year.
McLinn is charged with intentional, premeditated murder in the Jan. 14, 2014, death of Sasko, a Lawrence resident. McLinn lived with Sasko at the time of his death and had previously worked for him at Sasko’s CiCi’s Pizza restaurant.
Jurors saw video of her post-arrest interview Wednesday, the second day of testimony. McLinn sat quietly in a purple cardigan as Lawrence detective M.T. Brown showed jurors footage from his interview with her from Jan. 26, 2014, the day after she was arrested on a warrant in Everglades National Park.Sarah B. Gonzales McLinn
Sarah B. Gonzales McLinn
Jurors saw video of her post-arrest interview Wednesday, the second day of testimony. McLinn sat quietly in a purple cardigan as Lawrence detective M.T. Brown showed jurors footage from his interview with her from Jan. 26, 2014, the day after she was arrested on a warrant in Everglades National Park.
In the video, McLinn was seen speaking with Brown and detective Jaime Lawson. She spoke nonchalantly and without tears, telling the investigator that she knew why he was there and admitting to drugging Sasko with five sleeping pills, zip-tying his wrists and ankles, feeling for his artery and plunging the knife into his neck.
To help Brown get a fuller idea of the way she killed Sasko, McLinn used Brown’s head as an example. She had Brown lay his head on the table, placed her left hand on Brown’s head, which was facing her, and gave a stabbing motion with her right hand.
“That’s when I ran it through with the blade face down, and I then pulled down,” McLinn said.
McLinn then described writing on the wall in Sasko’s blood, showering off his blood, packing her clothes in trash bags and putting her dog in Sasko’s Nissan Altima. Before she left, McLinn said, she called her sister and grandmother because she wanted them “to think (she) was OK.”
When asked why she killed Sasko, McLinn told the investigators that it was something she’d been thinking about for some time. She said she decided to kill Sasko about five days before the homicide.
“I had violent thoughts for two years and they progressed, I guess,” McLinn said. “They just became really intense.”
McLinn told the investigators that she “killed a couple rabbits” before, skinning and cleaning the bodies before eating them. Her attorney, Carl Cornwell, showed Brown a Nov. 11, 2013, receipt from Lawrence’s Pet World, 711 W. 23rd St., that documented McLinn’s purchase of a pet dutch rabbit.
In the interview, McLinn said she killed Sasko “almost the exact same way” as she killed the rabbit. She also used the same knife.
After she killed Sasko, McLinn said, she “just didn’t feel anything.” Later, she told Lawson that as Sasko lie dying, “everything was screaming at me.”
McLinn told detectives she intended to kill Sasko when she cut his throat, but answered “no” when asked if she was glad Sasko was dead. When Lawson asked what she regretted the most, she said, “hurting my sister and my family.”
McLinn remained calm in the interview, until she began to speak about giving up her dog, Oliver, in Florida. McLinn said her dog had an ear infection and she told a veterinarian in Fort Myers, Fla., that she was having trouble taking care of him. She also began to cry when speaking about her family.
Brown told McLinn in the video that he knew McLinn “recently had some thoughts about things” and said “we know that’s not you.” McLinn said that she had been on depression medication for about six months prior to the homicide, switching from Zoloft to Pristiq “a few days before everything happened,” and that the antidepressants intensified her violent thoughts.
“I’ve not been in a good place,” McLinn said. “It’s like really hard to explain. Little things make me turn and see red almost.”
McLinn also told investigators she had borderline personality disorder and “wanted out of that life.” She said she had “spent some time in a mental institution at 15 or 16” after a suicide attempt.
During opening statements Tuesday, Cornwell told the court McLinn suffers from dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities. He said that it was not McLinn who wanted to kill Sasko, but it was her alter-ego “Alyssa” who did. Cornwell said that McLinn has several personalities, including the kinder “Vanessa,” and another one without a name “who takes all of the horror and takes it in.” Cornwell said McLinn’s psychologist will testify to her multiple personalities later this week.
McLinn mentioned “Vanessa” in her police interview, saying she and Sasko talked about aliases they’d use if they ran away together someday. McLinn said Sasko wanted to be called “Scott.”
Cornwell is arguing the “not guilty by mental disease or defect” defense and said jurors should find McLinn not guilty because she was not in control of herself when she killed Sasko.
McLinn’s family lined the first two rows of the defendant’s side of the courtroom Wednesday. On the prosecutor’s side, Sasko’s brother and sister looked on.
Sasko’s brother, Tom Sasko, said he missed the trial yesterday because he was called as a witness. Wednesday morning, he got a call releasing him from his subpoena and came to the courthouse dressed in a CiCi’s Pizza polo shirt.
Tom Sasko said he has been in town the past two weeks helping Hal Sasko’s 18-year-old daughter sell Hal Sasko’s CiCi’s Pizza businesses in Lawrence and Topeka. He said he has been helping keep the businesses afloat for his niece until she was of age to decide what she wanted to do with them.
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In backtracking move, officials say report was never meant to be kept secret
OTTAWA— The military has reversed course and says it will now allow its response to the investigation into a soldier’s suicide to be made public.
Col. Rob Delaney, commander of the military police, said in a statement that it was never the intention of the Canadian Armed Forces to keep its response secret.
Instead, he said the military police designated its reply to an independent report as secret in order to “safeguard” discussions about an interim report and the department’s formal response.
“I feel it is important to clarify the concerns of secrecy,” Delaney, who also serves as Provost Marshal, said in a statement issued Friday.
At issue is the investigation into the death of Cpl. Stuart Langridge, an Afghanistan war veteran who took his life in 2008.
The Military Police Complaints Commission, an independent body that oversees the military police, began its review of the case after complaints from his parents that the military investigation into the death was poorly handled.
After 60 days of hearings, the commission submitted an interim report to Delaney’s office on May 1, 2014 for comment.
Last December, the military delivered its “notice of action,” outlining its response to the report and whether the recommendations would be accepted.
However, that notice of action was designated as “Protected B,” which meant it could not be publicly released or even included in the commission’s final report to be released on Tuesday.
The commission has filed an application with the Federal Court seeking to overturn the department’s decision to keep that response under wraps.
Michel Drapeau, a lawyer for Langridge’s parents, had condemned the military secrecy as “absolutely outrageous.”
But in his statement, Delaney said he told the commission on Feb. 11 that he would remove the secret designation so it could “freely use and reference that information” in its final report.
“The Chair declined that offer,” Delaney said in his statement.
Yet the Federal Court filing suggests that the military would only remove the protected designation if the commission agreed to not publish its response.
The application for judicial review refers to a Feb. 11 decision “requiring the commission to agree not to publish the notice of action in the commission’s final report as a pre-condition for removing the ‘Protected B’ designation.”
With a court battle brewing and the military under fire, Delaney said Friday the military would lift the secret designation to resolve what he called the “apparent impasses.”
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Military Police Complaints Commission
FYNES PUBLIC INTEREST HEARINGS
held pursuant to section 250.38(1) of the National Defence Act, in the matter of file 2011‑004
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
held at 270 Albert St., Ottawa, Ontario, on Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Mr. Glenn Stannard Chairperson
Ms. Raymonde Cléroux Registrar
Mr. Mark Freiman Commission counsel
Ms. Genevieve Coutlée
Ms. Beth Alexander
Ms. Elizabeth Richards For Sgt Jon Bigelow, MWO Ross Tourout,
Ms. Korinda McLaine LCol Gilles Sansterre, WO Blair Hart, PO 2 Eric McLaughlin,
Sgt David Mitchell, Sgt Matthew Alan Ritco, Maj Daniel Dandurand,
Sgt Scott Shannon, LCol Brian Frei, LCol (ret’d) William H. Garrick,
WO (ret’d) Sean Der Bonneteau, CWO (ret’d) Barry Watson
Mr. Lorne Ptack For Leo Etienne
Col (ret’d) Michel W. Drapeau For Mr. Shaun Fynes
Mr. Joshua Juneau and Mrs. Sheila Fynes
Mr. James Heelan For witnesses, Dr. Sowa, Dr. Chu,
Dr. Yaltho and Dr. Elwell
Chairperson: Good morning, Dr. Yaltho.
I understand, sir, that you are a physician licensed to practice in the province of Alberta, and you are currently employed ‑‑ or you were employed in 2008 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital; is that correct
Q: Thank you very much, sir. Now, we are going to discuss this morning with you a relatively brief experience you had and professional encounter you had with Corporal Stuart Langridge. In order to set the scene, I would like to ask you to describe what your duties were in March of 2008 in terms of whom you would see in the hospital for psychiatric consultations
A: I was the doctor on call for psychiatry on March 11, 2008, and this patient was brought to the emergency department by the military police, I believe.
Q: I’d like to ask you to look at the book that is at your left‑hand side. There is [sic] a number of documents in there. And if you could open the document book to Tab 16, you will see a clinical consultation report, it’s more by way of a request to see a soldier.
Is this a document that would have been brought to your attention when you were called to see Corporal Langridge
Q: Okay, so let me just read what the note says: “Please see this 28‑year‑old‑male who has a history of alcohol and drug abuse and depression. Multiple attempts for substance abuse treatment attempted; i.e., Edgewood, and patient was non‑compliant. Discharged from Alberta Hospital on March 3, 2008, under care of Dr. Sowa. Now is heavily under restrictions imposed and stay in his military unit and monitor his actions for next couple of weeks. Is not coping well with this anxiety, poor sleep, and trying to deal his way out of the circumstance. “This member was informed today that he must return to his unit and continue to work and see how he does, and if is doing okay, return to his unit and abstaining, the consideration of a treatment program in Guelph, Ontario, Homewood, would be considered. “Upon realizing he would be forced to return to his unit today, he states he is suicidal and would rather kill himself than return to his unit.”
BY MR. FREIMAN
Q: Now, can you read to us the “on examination”, which is your impressions after you’ve compiled the history ‑‑ maybe it would be helpful if you just read us the note because it’s a little hard to read the handwriting.
A: So you are talking about the middle section?
Q: Let’s do the whole note. It’s only a page, so we can afford to do that.
A: Dated March 11, ’08: “28‑year‑old military serviceman recently separated from his wife, brought to the emergency for depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicidal thoughts. ‘Can’t take Army stuff anymore’. He complained of crying spells, chest pain, nightmares, sweating, decreased sleep and memory and decreased energy. Although he was a heavy alcoholic, he drinks seldom now. But indulges in cocaine, last time yesterday, and cannabis. He had a previous admission ‑‑”[as read – I think that says two or three.
“‑‑ he had previous admissions in RAH and was discharged from the Alberta Hospital last Friday by Dr. Sowa. He did not attend the AA meeting and had two drinks yesterday. His medications are: Venlafaxine, 225 milligrams; gabapentin, 600 milligrams at bedtime; Quetiapine, 50 milligrams at bedtime; Zopiclone, 7.5 milligrams at bedtime; olanzapine, 2.5 milligrams in the morning and 5 milligrams at bedtime. Says gabapentin helps him with sweating, and he has been complying with the medications.
“His common‑law wife, a secretary, left him when he was hospitalized in February. He was in Afghanistan for six months in 2004 and in Bosnia in 2001. His elder brother is handicapped. Mom is on gabapentin. “On examination, a young Caucasian male in Army uniform being watched by a serviceman. Depressed, anxious and suicidal.
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The son of Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh has been found not criminally responsible for robbing a bank after a judge agreed he was suffering from delirium after weaning himself off a prescribed antidepressant.
But Justice Rick Saull rejected a defence recommendation that Gordon Elijah Muller Mackintosh be granted an absolute discharge for the April 2012 robbery and instead referred the case to the Criminal Code Review Board, the government body responsible for making or reviewing the sentences of people found not criminally responsible for their actions.
“The facts of this case are very concerning to me,” Saull said. “I’d be much more comfortable from the standpoint of the interests of the accused and the interests of the public … if this matter were dealt with by the review board.”
According to an agreed statement of facts submitted to court, Mackintosh, then 22, entered the Assiniboine Credit Union on McPhillips Street wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, and a fake moustache. He approached a teller with a note demanding money and indicated he had a bomb in his briefcase. Mackintosh was given $100, approached another staff member for a phone number, then left the bank.
At a hearing last month, Barbara Mackintosh, Gordon’s mother, told court her son picked her up from work later that day and did not appear himself.
“Gordie wasn’t really saying anything,” she said. “He was pale … almost ghost-like. His eyes were glazed.”
Barbara Mackintosh said she was reading the Winnipeg Sun about a month later when she saw what she thought was her son’s picture in a “most wanted” story.
“I had the picture, I said ‘Gordie, is that you?’ He said ‘It’s not me, mom, it couldn’t be.'” Barbara showed the picture to her husband and they confronted their son again. The next day, Gordon turned himself in to police.
Court heard in the weeks prior to the bank robbery, Gordon — at his doctor’s direction — had been weaning himself off Effexor, an anti-depressant.
“This was delirium brought on by the reduction in Effexor,” said Gordon’s lawyer Josh Weinstein. “It is a documented side-effect.”
Gordon was reducing his drug dosage at the same time as he was preparing for university exams, possibly compounding the withdrawal symptoms, a psychiatrist wrote in a report submitted to court.
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Whether or not to take antidepressants is a personal choice. I respect that choice, but wonder if fewer people would rely on them so much if they were more aware of some of the risks.
You may know friends or colleagues who are on antidepressant drugs. Maybe you also are taking them (or wondering whether or not to start).
Drugs like Prozac and Seroxat have become household names, and yet many people who take them know so little about them. Here we take a closer look at some of the risks associated with antidepressants.
It may surprise you to hear that most antidepressants have been passed for medical use on the basis of trials on people of around 6-8 weeks duration – Prozac was approved after just 6 week trials. Unfortunately, many of the problems with these (and other) drugs only surface when they are prescribed for longer periods
So the fact that a drug has been approved does not mean that it is necessarily as safe or effective as we would like to think. Consider, for example, the high (considerably higher than those in placebo comparison groups) number of suicides and suicide attempts by people taking antidepresssants during the testing trials (Table 1) 1. We now know that many people react badly to antidepressants and becoming suicidal is one of the possible adverse effects.
Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, knew about its suicide risks long before it was launched and wanted to keep this information quiet. (More about this in the Guardian here, and from this wise blogger here.)
In addition, drug testing trials (Random Controlled Trials – RCTs) are often much smaller than one might expect: Prozac, for example, gained approval on the basis of just 286 patients finishing the trials 2.
It seems to me that many people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to these drugs and the benefits can be offset by troublesome side effects (such as disturbed sleep, increased agitation and anxiety, sexual problems) and serious health risks (see below). Furthermore, although some people find it quite easy to stop them, others struggle for many years to stop these drugs and attribute permanent damage to their use.
he Andrews study mentioned below gives a helpful overview of some of the risks, but in more depth than is covered here. See study Andrews et al 2012. 3
Some of the risks associated with antidepressants are alarming. Although some of the adverse effects may be quite rare, others occur more frequently.
If you are taking antidepressants – please don’t rush to change your dose or even stop them – without working closely with a doctor you trust and who understands you. I say this, as medical concerns do sometimes arise. For further safety information and advice please click the warning image to the left. It is widely believed that antidepressant medications are both safe and effective; however, this belief was
formed in the absence of adequate scientific verification. The weight of current evidence suggests that, in general, antidepressants are
neither safe nor effective; they appear to do more harm than good.
Antidepressants come with side effects that are not in the mind – risks of getting hooked, birth defects, impaired sexual functioning, strokes, fractures, suicide and
homicide, and in children stunted growth. Guidelines your doctor should be familiar with: “the use of antidepressants has been linked with suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Where necessary patients should be monitored for suicidal behaviour, self-harm or hostility, particularly at the beginning of treatment or if the dose is changed”. British National Formulary (BNF)
Some studies assert that antidepressants can actually cause depression and “antidepressant use appears to increase susceptibility to depression” so that people may be more likely to get further times of depression having been on antidepressants.3, 4, 5, 6,16
Taking antidepressants can lead to mania 18 and being diagnosed as bipolar as they can have a stimulant effect – this may not just be a temporary change to the brain 4. All types of antidepressants can also lead to psychosis and to auditory and/or visual hallucinations 7.
Antidepressants can cause both adults and children to become suicidal 8. “Worsening of depression and/or increased suicidal thinking or behavior may always be a possibility in patients treated with antidepressant medications”9. So-called “healthy volunteers” have been tested on antidepressants and become suicidal, so it would be wrong to blame a person’s depression rather than the drugs.
Antidepressants have been shown to be associated with a “consistently elevated risk” of violence towards others 10.This means that some people, quite out of character, have become violent, and in some instances committed murder.
Some studies indicate that antidepressant use can lead to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer even with low doses and short-term use. Furthermore, researchers with affiliations to the pharmaceutical industry are significantly less likely to conclude that antidepressants increase the risk of breast or ovarian cancer (compared to studies by those not affiliated to the industry) 11.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, SSRIs (like Prozac) are now widely used by pregnant women. Prof Urato writes: “Croen, et al showed that SSRI exposure during pregnancy was associated with a doubling of the risk of autism…Current evidence suggests that use of the SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy is [also] associated with miscarriage, birth defects, preterm births and newborn behavioral syndrome along with other pregnancy complications such as preclampsia and low birth weight.” [Taken from here].
Neuronal (brain cell) damage: Dr Grace Jackson points out that there are indications that antidepressants have the potential to actually change the structure of the brain (reducing dendritic length and dendritic spine density of serotonin nerve cells). In rat studies these changes did not reverse after the drugs were stopped.7 Alarmingly, serotonin “receptors actually die back and disappear. In some regions of the brain, the dieback may result in losses of 40-60% of serotonin receptors.”13
Antidepressants (SSRIs and the older Tricyclic ones) have been associated with the possibility of reducing bone mineral density leading to an increased risk for fractures and osteoporosis 7. According to one study: “The weight of epidemiological evidence suggests that SSRIs are associated with reduced bone mass, increased bone loss, and increased risk of fractures…clinicians should be vigilant about detection of bone disease in patients who are using SSRIs.” 24
According to this study: “Long-term use of antidepressants in at least moderate daily doses was associated with an increased risk of diabetes. This association was observed for both tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.”14
SSRI antidepressant drugs are increasingly being associated with serious movement disorders sometimes referred to EPS (Extra Pyramidal Symptoms) which create uncontrollable body and facial movements as well as slowing down the overall functioning of the body and brain. These can become very serious disabilities and socially embarrassing too 13,16.
The older Tricyclic antidepressants are associated with an increase cardiac risk with an increased risk of stroke 3.“Tricyclic antidepressants have potentially dangerous effects on the functioning of the heart…In high doses they can cause dangerous irregularities of the heartbeat” (arrhythmias) and “even at normal doses they may very occasionally cause sudden death due to the heart malfunctioning 15. SSRI antidepressants are also associated with an increased risk of stroke. 25
I recognize that many people experience memory problems when taking antidepressants, but these drugs may actually cause cognitive decline and dementia with prolonged use 3.
All SSRIs can cause insomnia, anxiety, agitation and nervousness. One study showed 38% of people on Prozac (in short trials) struggled with these adverse effects 13.
Apoptosis – cell death: “there is good evidence from several different lines that antidepressants trigger apoptosis.”3
Antidepressant use may “be a covert, insidious and enduring risk factor for obesity, even after discontinuation of antidepressant treatment” for some people in some circumstances.23
“Apathy syndrome”. SSRI antidepressants have been associated with impairing memory and leading to people feeling apathetic and demotivated: a marked reduction in blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain has been noted in connection with this 7,17.
Although sexual dysfunctions have been played down by drug companies, they are thought to occur in over 50% of people taking antidepressants 9. These problems may persist after stopping the use of these drugs 21. I wonder how many people would start on these drugs if they were warned about this, and the other risks, prior to treatment.
“It is important that patients are informed about the high probability of sexual side effects while on SSRI medications…Patients should also be told that there are indications that in an unknown number of cases, the side effects may not resolve with cessation of the medication, and could be potentially irreversible.”22
Serotonin toxicity is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening effect of SSRI antidperessant use (and also possible from taking L-tryptophan) 19.
A significant body of research suggests that antidepressants may reduce the long-term capacity of the brain to autoregulate (self-regulate) neurotransmitter systems 7.
Although people do not usually crave antidepressants as someone might crave drugs like cocaine or heroin, antidepressants are seriously addictive in the sense that they can cause extreme withdrawal reactions and it can be extremely difficult to stop taking them.9. “Many antidepressants cause people to be hooked to them – it becomes impossible to stop because of how bad the person feels on stopping and the relief from restarting treatment … Companies and their experts refer to discontinuation syndromes – another term for withdrawal or being hooked – in attempt to avoid the stigma of withdrawal. But even national regulators now concede it may be impossible to stop certain antidepressants 20.”
I am not suggesting that people should not take antidepressant drugs. That is a personal decison. However, I do find that people are poorly informed of the risks and so are not making properly informed choices.
In considering the adverse effects and the risks of antidepressants, we also need to bear in mind that there is some variation between the various types of antidepressant. Although in one-to-one work I discuss some of these differences, here I generalise and trust you to check out the details where necessary.
2 Breggin, P & Breggin, G. (1994) Talking Back to Prozac. New York: St Martin’s Press.
5 Fava, G.A. The mechanisms of tolerance in antidepressant action. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry,Aug 2010, Aug 2010
7 Jackson, G. (2005) Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs. USA: Anchor House
13 Breggin, P. (2001) The Antidepressant Fact Book. US: Da Capo Press. Breggin, P. (2008) Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry. New York: Springer Books
15 Moncrieff, J. (2009) A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs. UK: PCCS Books Ltd
21 Bahrick, A. (2008) Persistence of Sexual Dysfunction Side Effects after Discontinuation of Antidepressant Medications: Emerging Evidence. The Open Psychology Journal, 2008, 1, 42-50. PDF available here.
25 Hackman, D. & Mrkobrada, M. (2012) Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and brain hemorrhage – A meta-analysis.
Neurology WNL.0b013e318271f848. Abstract here.
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Objective To examine whether cumulative anticholinergic use is associated with a higher risk for incident dementia.
Design, Setting, and Participants Prospective population-based cohort study using data from the Adult Changes in Thought study in Group Health, an integrated health care delivery system in Seattle, Washington. We included 3434 participants 65 years or older with no dementia at study entry. Initial recruitment occurred from 1994 through 1996 and from 2000 through 2003. Beginning in 2004, continuous replacement for deaths occurred. All participants were followed up every 2 years. Data through September 30, 2012, were included in these analyses.
Exposures Computerized pharmacy dispensing data were used to ascertain cumulative anticholinergic exposure, which was defined as the total standardized daily doses (TSDDs) dispensed in the past 10 years. The most recent 12 months of use was excluded to avoid use related to prodromal symptoms. Cumulative exposure was updated as participants were followed up over time.
Main Outcomes and Measures Incident dementia and Alzheimer disease using standard diagnostic criteria. Statistical analysis used Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for demographic characteristics, health behaviors, and health status, including comorbidities.
Results The most common anticholinergic classes used were tricyclic antidepressants, first-generation antihistamines, and bladder antimuscarinics. During a mean follow-up of 7.3 years, 797 participants (23.2%) developed dementia (637 of these [79.9%] developed Alzheimer disease). A 10-year cumulative dose-response relationship was observed for dementia and Alzheimer disease (test for trend, P < .001). For dementia, adjusted hazard ratios for cumulative anticholinergic use compared with nonuse were 0.92 (95% CI, 0.74-1.16) for TSDDs of 1 to 90; 1.19 (95% CI, 0.94-1.51) for TSDDs of 91 to 365; 1.23 (95% CI, 0.94-1.62) for TSDDs of 366 to 1095; and 1.54 (95% CI, 1.21-1.96) for TSDDs greater than 1095. A similar pattern of results was noted for Alzheimer disease. Results were robust in secondary, sensitivity, and post hoc analyses.
Conclusions and Relevance Higher cumulative anticholinergic use is associated with an increased risk for dementia. Efforts to increase awareness among health care professionals and older adults about this potential medication-related risk are important to minimize anticholinergic use over time.
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Get ready for the big antidepressant push. In 2015, Big Pharma will continue their tireless push to medicate us all with antidepressants. Don’t fall for the hype.
When I worked for the drug giant as a young chemist, Prozac (fluoxetine) was being marketed as a “happy pill.” Newsweek hailed it as, “A Breakthrough Drug for Depression.” Sales raked in enough profit to solve world hunger for a hundred years.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to try them to know they weren’t going to help me when I got depressed – like every time I looked at the taxes being taken out of my paycheck. In-house studies proved they didn’t work.
Astute doctors have followed the research trail. In Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Harvard trained psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin showed that antidepressants didn’t work better than dummy pills in clinical trials. To his dismay, he also discovered that they can cause the very thing they’re trying to cure and push depressed people further over the edge.
Big Pharma buried the detrimental findings in an avalanche of false advertising.
The marketing triumph played out like the tobacco conspiracy and was well documented in Dr. David Healy’s Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression. But, antidepressant sales are still soaring.
When you walk into a doctor’s office, you’re more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant medication than any other drug. More frightening, foster children, the military troops and our elderly population are being drugged in record numbers. This trend is only going to grow in 2015.
This swell of prescribing habits is driven by the “chemical imbalance” theory, which antidepressants aim to correct. But the science isn’t there.
Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, wrote that , “After decades trying to prove [the chemical imbalance theory], researchers have still come up empty-handed.” Since the theory of depression is false, using it to diagnose and medicate an emotion is an atrocity.
If their ineffectiveness doesn’t deter the depressed, antidepressant side effects will.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), antidepressants can cause suicidal thoughts and behavior, worsening depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, aggression, psychotic episodes and violence. Physical side effects occur too and include abnormal bleeding, birth defects, heart attack, seizures and sudden death. Over one hundred and seventy drug regulatory warnings and studies have been issued on antidepressants to sound the alarm on these side effects.
So, what’s the alternative to treating depression?
The Roman Emperor Hadrian had severe bouts of depression. His mood swings lead to capricious cruelty. Without any real way to diagnose his mental state, it was said that he was possessed by evil spirits. Not much has changed today. Instead of blaming evil spirits, psychiatry blames neurotransmitters, which nobody can see or accurately measure. And even if you could, how could you define what’s normal?
Unlike the disease of Type II diabetes, where muscles fail to respond to rising insulin levels and blood sugar shoots sky high, depression lacks a unifying cause. There’s no blood test or medical exam to diagnose it. This makes depression hard to treat. If you don’t know the enemy, how can you fight the war? After all, emotions are not diseases.
This shouldn’t detract from the suffering depression brings. Headaches, air sickness and even being homesick or having a “broken heart” lack reliable blood tests, too. But, we know they’re real and have physical outcomes than can make life unbearable too.
Regardless of any blood test, depression cripples willpower, productivity and responsibility. By definition then, a remedy should be sought.
Therefore, the only thing we can do is look at depression as well as the outcome of antidepressant use over the last few decades to mount a new theory and treatment. In the same way doctors bust a blood clot with aspirin among heart attack victims, the old view was that the depressed brain was diseased and needed drugs. But, decades of trial and error show that drugs are the villain, not the cure.
Emerging from this, the new view sees “the war within” not as a disease, but as emotional instability precipitated by malnutrition or even drug and alcohol use. The American Journal of Psychiatry made this view official, saying, “malnutrition predisposes to neurocognitive deficits, which in turn predispose to persistent externalizing behavior problems throughout childhood and adolescence. The findings suggest that reducing early malnutrition may help reduce later antisocial and aggressive behavior.”
This is easy to explain. When depleted, the brain lacks the ability to:
Together, the biological trios guide rationale, thinking and mood when confronted with initiators of stress – like when the IRS robs you blind via taxation without representation. However, just as a muscle fails when it lacks electrolytes, a malnourished mind and body are ill-equipped for elevating mood.
Therefore, when initiators of depression (or stress, anxiety and rage) are present, sufferers can “feel blue,” lay passively in bed all day or become a tyrannical, barbaric ruler who takes out their despair on others.
There’s a potential fix…
Scientists have found that a rare mineral may help curb malnutrition and therefore, emotional instability. Serving as nature’s most effective nutrient booster, observational studies show that the non-toxic mineral lowers depressive outcomes much better than drugs as measured by behavioral habits among those who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction and even suicidal thoughts. To learn how best to use this non-toxic alternative natural antidepressant and how to wean from your meds, read Over-The-Counter Natural Cures Expanded.
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