ANTIDEPRESSANTS? Mental Health Worker Arrested in Serial Stabbings

NOTE FROM DR. ANN BLAKE TRACY (www.drugawareness.org):
Keep in mind that the LARGE majority of mental healthworkers take antidepressants. One psych nurse in the mid-west estimated 75% of the workers in her facility were on them.
And am I surprised about the news on this case?!!!! NOPE!!!! I was wondering about this one myself because it brought to mind a woman I worked with years ago who reported that even after coming off her meds (still in withdrawal) could not have a knife, even a butter knife or a pair of scissors, lying around where she would see them because the thought/compulsion to pick it up and stab one of her children was too great.
This young man’s background also reminds me of an awful case I had in Israel several years ago where another shy kid from Israel was given Paxil for “Social Anxiety.” A concerned family member here in the states sent a copy of my book to the family. His parents read my book and were very concerned about the information, but they thought he seemed to be improving (when  mania begins it SEEMS you are getting better because you become more assertive and outgoing), so they decided they would just watch him closely to keep him from having any serious reactions. But he got upin the middle of the night, went out and blew up an army jeep, and then began ranting about wanting to be a suicide bomber.
Police in Arlington, Va., stopped him for a traffic offense

Aug. 5 and arrested him on a 2008 misdemeanor assault charge from Leesburg, Va., where he had lived and worked in the mentalhealth field. A hammer and a knife were found inside the Chevrolet Blazer, which was returned to him after his brief detention. There was no national alert for Abuelazam or his vehicle.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100813/ap_on_re_us/us_serial_stabbings

Police: Israeli man also suspect in Israel attack

By DIAA HADID, Associated Press Writer Diaa Hadid, Associated Press Writer – 45 mins ago

RAMLE, Israel – Israeli police said Friday the suspect instabbings in three states also was a suspect in a separate stabbing attack in Israel earlier this year, but charges were never pressed.

A senior police commander said Elias Abuelazam was believed to have stabbed a close acquaintance during an argument in a parked car in central Israel about six months ago. The commander said police dropped the case because the victim refused to cooperate with investigators.

The commander spoke on condition of anonymity because he was barred from speaking to the media under official policy.

Abuelazam is suspected of attacking people in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia, leaving five people dead and 13 wounded. He was arrested Wednesday in Atlanta as he prepared to board a flight to his native Israel.

The 33-year-old man appeared in an Atlanta courtroom on Friday, agreeing during a brief hearing to return to Michigan to face charges in one of the attacks  an attempted murder in a July 27 knife strike in Flint, Mich., that put the victim in a hospital for a week. Authorities said more charges were expected in the three states.

Abuelazam, who was expressionless as he responded to questions from Judge Richard Hicks, first told Hicks he wanted to stay in Georgia and face the charges. But Hicks told him he would have to return to Michigan if he wanted to fight them.

After Hicks explained the process further, Abuelazam agreed to waive an extradition fight, a process that could take months, and go back to Michigan.

“All right, then I’ll do so,” he said. “It sounds more logical to go right now than in 90 days.”

But moments after the hearing ended, Abuelazam’s attorney called Fulton County Superior Court to request another hearing. Hicks appeared in the courtroom later Friday and said Abuelazam had waived extradition.

In Ramle, a hardscrabble Israeli town southeast of Tel Aviv with a mixed Jewish-Arab population, residents in the Arab neighborhood where Abuelazam grew up expressed shock that the shy son of a respected family could be a suspect insuch a gruesome crime spree.

“I wouldn’t believe it even if I saw it with my own eyes,” said Abuelazam’s cousin, also named Elias Abuelazam. He said the news had devastated the suspect’s mother. “I was there last night. She couldn’t stand up. She took medicine to reduce her blood pressure. She was hysterical.”

But the senior Israeli police official said Abuelazam was believed to be the attacker in the car stabbing months ago. The official said he and the close acquaintance got into an argument and Abuelazam pulled out a screwdriver and stabbed the other man in the face.

The official said Ramle police investigated, but because the victim refused to press charges, authorities could not arrest Abuelazam.

Ramle’s 3,000-member Arab Christian community is extremely tight knit, and residents were extremely cautious about discussing Abuelazam’s past.

The Flint stabbings started in May, shortly after Abuelazam is believed to have returned to the U.S. from Israel, with the attacker approaching men on lonely roads at night and asking for directions or help with a broken-down car. Then he would pull out a knife, plunge it into his victim and speed away.

A tip  one of more than 500  led police this week to a market inMount Morris Township, outside Flint, where Abuelazam had worked for a month. Investigators talked to employees, and a store video showed that he matched the description of the man wanted by authorities.

Abuelazam, however, was gone: He told people he was off to Virginia and hadn’t been seen since his Aug. 1 shift.

Police in Arlington, Va., stopped him for a traffic offense Aug. 5 and arrested him on a 2008 misdemeanor assault charge from Leesburg, Va., where he had lived and worked in thementalhealth field. A hammer and a knife were found inside the Chevrolet Blazer, which was returned to him after his brief detention. There was no national alert for Abuelazam or his vehicle.

Virginia authorities “had no idea at that time that he was involved in these crimes,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton in Michigan said.

Abuelazam eventually returned to Michigan, obtained a $3,000 ticket to Tel Aviv from his uncle and made it as far as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where officers snatched the man in flip-flops and shorts after he was paged over the intercom.

The youngest victim was 15; the oldest 67. At least 15 victims were black, although there’s no evidence that race played a role, Leyton said. A motive was not known.

Abuelazam is charged with attacking Antwione Marshall of Flint, who said he was going into his apartment building two weeks ago when an assailant approached and asked for help with his car. Three of his organs were cut, and he has a long scar from his chest to his pelvic area.

Marshall, 26, said he wants to retaliate but “I’ll let God handle it. Every time I look at my scar, I get angry.”

Killed were David Motley, 31, Emmanuel A. Muhammad, 59, Darwin Marshall, 43, and Arnold R. Minor, 49, all of Flint, and Frank Kellybrew, 60, of Flint Township. They died before Aug. 4, when authorities concluded the attacks were the work of aserial killer.

Even if the assaults are over, at least some fear remains inFlint, the battered industrial city 14 of the stabbings, including all five deaths, occurred.

“It makes you not want to give anybody a hand with a vehicle if it breaks down,” Aldridge Gardner, 46, said as he waited for a bus. “If it was a female, I would help her. If it was a guy, no, I’d be skeptical.”

____

Associated Press Writers Kate Brumback in Atlanta; Corey Williams in Flint, Mich.; David Runk in Flint; Ed White inDetroit; Greg Bluestein in Atlanta; Nafeesa Syeed inWashington; and Matthew Barakat in Leesburg, Va., contributed to this report.

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4/26/2001 – Part 2 – Luvox study on anxiety

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A2512-2001Apr25?language=printer

Drug Found to Curb Kids’ Debilitating Social Anxiety

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 26, 2001; Page A01

Children who are so shy or so attached to their parents that they are afraid
to go to school or sleep alone do much better when given a psychiatric drug,
according to a major study with profound — and controversial —
ramifications for millions of children.

The study of 128 children ages 6 to 17 found that the drug Luvox, widely
prescribed for adults with depression, alleviated the debilitating symptoms
of social phobia, separation anxiety and generalized anxiety — psychiatric
illnesses that afflict as many as 1 in 10 U.S. children.

The effects of the medicine were dramatic, but experts were divided about its
appropriateness: The medicine can help children with severe emotional
problems, but it might also be abused as a chemical quick fix for normal
anxiousness, with lasting effects on growing brains.

“Although the results seem impressive, they nevertheless raise some very
important questions about the use of psychotropic medications in children,”
said Joseph Coyle, chairman of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in an
article accompanying the findings in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

“Any drug that is effective is not going to be innocuous,” he said in an
interview. Children and adolescents diagnosed with these disorders should
first try a form of therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy, and turn
to medication only if that fails, he said.

An estimated 575,000 children nationwide were diagnosed with anxiety
disorders in the 12 months ending in March, including 136,000 under age 10.
Doctors recommended 390,000 children be put on medicines such as Zoloft,
Paxil and Prozac. Of these, 89,000 were under age 10, according to IMS
Health, a private company that tracks the pharmaceutical industry.

Such vast numbers leave critics aghast. Too many children are being put on
powerful brain-altering drugs for behaviors that may be merely troublesome,
critics say. But other experts point out that many children suffer from
distress that, left untreated, can cause impairment well into adulthood.

“Researchers found that anxiety was among the most common problems that kids
have,” said Daniel Pine of the National Institute of Mental Health. He led
the study. “When researchers follow children with anxiety over time,
sometimes anxiety developed into more chronic problems. It could be the
harbinger of problems with depression, panic attacks and all different kinds
of problems.”

The study, the first large, well-designed survey to examine the effectiveness
of a psychiatric drug for a wide range of anxiety disorders in children, was
partly funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and by Solvay
Pharmaceuticals, which sells Luvox. The drug, which like Prozac increases
levels of the brain chemical serotonin, has been approved for the treatment
of obsessive compulsive disorder in children. Luvox sales were more than $2
billion in the United States last year, according to IMS Health.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, New York
University, Duke University and the University of California at Los Angeles
studied the drug over eight weeks in children with anxiety disorders.

An example of a child with severe social phobia would be one who refused to
go to school for two weeks, said Mark Riddle of the Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine, one of the study’s authors. A milder example, he said,
would be a child who went to school and participated in clubs and group
events, but with intense discomfort.

Extreme separation anxiety disorder, he said, would be displayed in a child
who avoided birthday parties and sleepovers. A medium-grade example would be
children who refused to sleep in their own rooms and wanted to get into bed
with their parents.

Generalized anxiety disorder, Riddle said, were “the worrywarts.”

“A lot of it would be about performance — getting very preoccupied with a
test at school, a lot of fussing about day-to-day things,” he said.

“We don’t want a Prozac nation,” he said about the medication of children.
“We want to make sure we are not doing anything to harm youngsters. On the
other hand, it can be a huge disservice to children to minimize the true
significance of psychiatric impairments that do require treatments. It’s the
latter that can get lost in the very easy and popular position to take, which
is ‘Don’t drug our kids.’ ”

Richard Harding, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association,
said clinicians should carefully evaluate anxious children to find out
whether their fears are caused by an underlying personality problem — which
would merit psychotherapy or medication — or by a social problem, such as a
bully in school or child abuse at home, in which case medication would be
inappropriate.

“A good clinician will not commit a child to a life sentence on medicine,”
said Riddle. “A good clinician will look to stop medication after the
youngster has had a chance to regroup. You want to work with a clinician who
says we are going to get John off this medication.”

It is unclear what impact this study will have in clinical practice, where
doctors are prescribing children such medicines “off-label” — meaning they
have not been approved for such uses by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Given our current medical-economic system in practice, I suspect both
doctors and parents will be strongly attracted to the quick-fix nature of
this intervention,” said Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut
Creek, Calif., and the author of “Running on Ritalin.”

“We have highly effective psychosocial interventions for these problems,” he
said. But “they are more expensive and take longer.”

He said that helping families come up with parenting strategies could ease
children’s anxieties. “Children are highly responsive to their environments,
and the home is the practice arena to deal with life,” he said. “This is not
parent-blaming — children are difficult to raise. But when the parent makes
changes, you see very rapid changes in the child.”

“It doesn’t negate the value of the medications,” he added. But “with
uncertainty on both sides, effective psychosocial treatments — first do no
harm — take preference.”

More extreme critics, such as Bethesda psychiatrist Peter Breggin, said the
study was produced by scientists who are part of an “old boys’ network of
drug pushers.” He said the psychiatric drugs cause harm — some data have
shown that the drugs cause lasting alterations in the brains of young animals.

Researchers involved in the new study said the drug was well tolerated and
safe.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

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