Stephen Kazmierczak – the Illinois gunman who ‘stopped his medication’

Every time there is a school shooting in America, my first thought on hearing the news is…“I wonder if antidepressants are involved”.

We don’t know yet in the latest case in Illinois if antidepressants where involved, but we do know “Officials have said that the man who killed five students and injured many more before turning the gun on himself at Northern Illinois University had become erratic in the past two weeks after stopping his medication”.

I wonder what more we will find out?

For more on this story, see here.

For more on school shootings see here and  here.

Time to join up the dots?

9 Responses to “Stephen Kazmierczak – the Illinois gunman who ‘stopped his medication’”

  1. brian Says:

    YES, and it will be interesting to learn what those medications were! The minute i heard it was another murder/suicide i thought of SSRIs. How long will the aurthorities fail to address this issue and BAN SSRI, and take their makers to court for mass murder!?

  2. squirrel Says:

    It is always the one common denomenator, It is high time someone took some action.

  3. brian Says:

    This murder took place soon after a nurse in Lousiana killed 2 people and herself:
    http://news.sbs.com.au/worldnewsaustralia/three_dead_in_louisiana_campus_shooting_540027

    What was she taking? She was a nursing student, and her name hasnt been released yet, it seems, or any info on possible medication.

  4. brian Says:

    REPORT: Northern Illinois Shooter Had Long Mental Health History

    This news comes from the ABC affiliate in Chicago:

    Steven Kazmierczak, the shooter who killed five people plus himself at Northern Illinois University yesterday, had a mental health treatment history that went back to his teens.

    “Kazmierczak, 27, was treated for mental illness nine years ago. He was considered volatile, according to a staff member who worked at the facility at the time, and violent if he stopped taking the antidepressant and anti-anxiety pills prescribed for him. It was medication he was supposed to still be taking and apparently stopped a couple of weeks ago.

    “Shortly after Kazmierczak graduated from Elk Grove Village High School in 1998, his parents became unable to handle him, according to a woman who worked as a residential manager at a psychiatric treatment center for mentally and behaviorally troubled teenagers. Kazmierczak lived at the Mary Hill Home on Chicago’s Northwest Side and received psychiatric treatment for more than a year after he was diagnosed as mentally ill in the late 1990s. His parents sent him for treatment.”

    Obviously, that news flash ignores the possibility that it may have been withdrawal from medications that could have caused some of his troubles. Then again, maybe not. And, let’s be clear: We have no idea what meds he was on until recently. He could’ve been taking anything.

    “He was already on medication, but he was not taking it at home and would not follow instructions,” said Louise Gbadamashi, former manager of Thresholds, the company that ran the home. She said the first thing she thought when she learned the shooter was Kazmierczak was, “he didn’t take his meds. He was kind of quiet, kept to himself. He picked his friends, he was kind of passive aggressive.

    “He was a cutter,” said Gbadamashi. “He would cut himself. Then he would let you discover it. He wouldn’t tell you, he would roll up his sleeve and ask you a question, and you’d turn around and see it.”

    She said Kazmierczak’s expression rarely changed, so it was hard to tell if he was depressed.

    “He strikes out, and you have to really know him,” said Gbadamashi. “In his eye, you can see it. You can’t look at him like, ‘I’m angry, you’re going to know it.’ It’s just stoic, just stoic.”

    In the shooter’s defense:

    “Alexandra Chapman was a friend of Kazmierczak.

    “He was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. I want people to know that he was a really great person, that he was just a really great guy, he was so kind and would always do anything for you. So it doesn’t make sense. I just don’t want people to think of him as a monster,” said Chapman.”

    So what would turn a “really great guy” who had an undetermined mental health diagnosis into a “stoic” killer?

    Let me know what you think.

    Here’s what beats the hell out of me: About 30 million people took an anti-depressant in the US in 2006. Let’s assume the number is about the same now and let’s assume the shooter was one of them. So how is it that if anti-depressants cause some problems and so many people take them that we only wind up with people committing violence towards others where anti-depressant use may be connected perhaps three to six times a year? Or does it happen more? And why does it always seem to be the men who do this? Or are there stories of women doing this kind of thing that I am unaware of?

    I’m not enough of an expert to say.

    http://www.furiousseasons.com/archives/2008/02/report_northern_illinois_shooter_had_long_mental_health_history.html

  5. Lynn Says:

    We only hear the most “newsworthy” reports. Many of these stories don’t make national headlines and, in many of these stories, the reporters don’t know to ask about medications. The apparently miniscule percentage is not really the point. The point is that if you look at the research or at least listen to psychiatrists who are not taking money from pharmaceutical companies, you will see that many, many people have died who would not have otherwise. I know what the intensity of being on and going off ssri’s cold turkey feels like. No one who has never experienced it can understand how a “medicine” can take over your mind. I assaulted someone for the first time in my life (when I was 36) after stopping Xanax abruptly. You can find all this stuff online. Some people point to small side-effect percentages as if that means something. The studies which show that placebos are as good as ssri’s for mild to moderate depression and that children think about hurting themselves and hurt themselves and others, like this guy did, more if they they are on meds than if they aren’t – and particularly if they go off them suddenly- are the numbers and reports that really matter. It only takes one wrongly prescribed, unhelped, not-followed-up on person to end five lives. That is worth more than dismissive statistics. Anti-depressants can and do make perfectly docile(actually depressed) people agitated, explosive and dangerous to themselves and others. It doesn’t matter how small their numbers are. I’m sure somebody has done a study on how many people suffering from depression who have never been given medication go on shooting rampages. We never heard of this before Prozac. Mass killings were much rarer and hardly ever committed by young people. The number of these killings is increasing and all possible factors should be examined and addressed. In my opinion, the missing factor is ssri’s and the relevant facts should be gathered to demonstrate it. Depressed people don’t have the energy to obsessively think about hurting others so violently, intensely. The difference between a depressed, slow mind and one revved up on ssri’s is night and day.

  6. Lynn Says:

    Also, I think the research might show that cultural stuff makes women suffering from akathisia turn the violence in their heads on themselves instead of others. This guy’s deliberately showing people SI wounds sounds like borderline personality disorder. Every case is different but regarding certain points, generalizations can be made. I only hurt myself before taking Xanax. I don’t think I ever hurt myself before taking anti-depressants. I’m sorry to talk about it. I know it’s awful to read, but in kids who don’t have BPD, ssri’s can and have made them hurt themselves.

  7. Lynn Says:

    In the Chicago news story video, someone said he had been on Paxil in the past, and “when he stopped taking it, he would snap.”

  8. Lynn Says:

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/
    The video is titled “Gunman, ex-honor student treated…”

  9. truthman30 Says:

    SSRI’s are like crack cocaine..
    The withdrawal, particularly cold turkey can send the “sanest” people over the edge..
    there are thousands upon thousands of patient testimonies and stories of experiences about withdrawing from SSRI’s..
    And they all have common features..
    Aggression, hostility, personality changes, rage, anger, frustration, intense agitation and irritability.. (to name but a few)
    Without doubt Psych meds are a factor in these shootings, violence and rampages..


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