Traders on Antidepressants May Have Contributed to the Financial Crisis: Journalist Adam Hanft

Paragraphs 8 through 10 read:  "Hanft asks a blunt question: did anti-depressants cause the US mortgage crisis?"

"'We've played the blame game with just about everyone else; traders, brokers, ratings agencies, and financial engineers have all done the national perp walk'."

"'But virtually no attention has been paid to whether there was something amiss inside the fevered noggins of those who took on these mortgages, as well as those who created and collateralized them. There are millions of Americans on anti-depressants, and my theory is that many of them might have been medicated into taking on irrational levels of risk'."

It is the opinion of SSRI Stories that antidepressant usage,, especially the use of new antidepressants known as SSRIs, may have contributed to the financial crisis. One of the adverse reactions in the Physicians Desk Reference listed for SSRIs is hypomania. Hypomania can cause excessive risk taking,  poor judgement,  impulsivity, the desire to spend excessively, etc. The person who is hypomanic can still function and is not considered "sick" by his/her relatives, friends and acquaintances.

http://blogs.livemint.com/blogs/an_awkward_corner/archive/2008/10/08/don-t-worry-be-happy-sell-mortgages.aspx

Don't Worry, Be Happy, Sell Mortgages

Niranjan Rajadhyaksha – Wednesday, October 08, 2008 12:43 PM

 

The newspapers have a chilling front-page story today on an unemployed NRI who shot his wife, mother-in-law and three sons before turning the gun on himself. Karthik Rajaram was wiped out in the stock market crash.

Suicides are not unknown during times of financial distress — think of the farmers of Vidarbha and the stock brokers of New York in 1929.

Some people kill themselves; others die a slow death during recessions and periods of economic trouble. There has been a lot of unusual research by economists on the link between economic health and physical health.

1. Read Chris Dillow here on conflicting research that shows how mortality rates change because of unemployment.

2. And then there is this fascinating paper published by NBER on how babies born in Indonesian villages during years of good rains and crops do better in life than the kids born during bad times.

The link runs from economic circumstances to personal health.

I read an essay this morning by Adam Hanft, where he spins the issue around: can artifically good pychological health cause economic trouble?

Hanft asks a blunt question: did anti-depressants cause the US mortgage crisis?

"We've played the blame game with just about everyone else; traders, brokers, ratings agencies, and financial engineers have all done the national perp walk.

But virtually no attention has been paid to whether there was something amiss inside the fevered noggins of those who took on these mortgages, as well as those who created and collateralized them. There are millions of Americans on anti-depressants, and my theory is that many of them might have been medicated into taking on irrational levels of risk."

Read the entire piece here.

Hanft is writing in The Daily Beast, a new website of daily news and opinion that is edited by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker.