Can Antidepressants Induce Mothers to Kill Their Own Children?

California Mother Who Killed Her Baby this Christmas Eve Took Paxil LOS ANGELES: Although cases of mothers who kill their young children seem particularly inexplicable, one group says the increasing use of powerful antidepressants may be to blame for this tragic phenomenon.  The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says the Christmas Eve drowning of a 7-month-old girl by her mother may be the latest in a string of psychiatric drug induced infanticides.  The California mother, Lisa Brown, told police she was taking the antidepressant Paxil—one of a class of drugs that has been linked to suicide, agitation, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, insomnia, hallucinations and violent behavior.  The manufacturer of one antidepressant, Effexor, even warns that the drug can cause “homicidal ideation”.   According to a search warrant affidavit, Brown also told police “she feels like she is on methamphetamines, but stated she has not been using methamphetamine.”  CCHR says that this is likely because the effects of antidepressants can be similar to those of methamphetamine, which can also cause a state of high agitation that can lead to violent behavior. Besides the highly publicized case of Christopher Pittman, who killed his grandparents in 2001 after taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft, other cases have gone to court over antidepressants causing murderous rampages.  In 2001, a Wyoming jury ordered GlaxoSmithKline to pay $6.4 million to surviving family members after determining that Paxil had caused Donald Shell to kill his wife, daughter, granddaughter and himself shortly after starting on the drug.Following are similar cases of mothers killing their children after being put on antidepressants:

  • Andrea Yates, of Houston, Texas, drowned her five children, aged 6 months to 7 years, in the bathtub on Nov 22, 2004 after taking the antidepressants Effexor and Remeron.

  • A young Alabama mother, Annie Mae Haskew, took antidepressants before smothering her 10-week-old son in October of 2002.

  • Another Texas mother, Dena Schlosser, killed her 10-month-old daughter in November 2004 by severing the baby’s arms. She had been prescribed psychiatric “medication for depression” and antipsychotics before the crime.

  • Mary Ellen Moffitt suffocated her 5-week-old daughter and herself on July 26, 2004 in Michigan after taking the antidepressant Paxil.

  • Emiri Padron smothered her infant daughter in her crib on June 22, 2004 and then stabbed herself twice in the chest. Emiri was receiving psychiatric treatment before the incident and investigators found the antidepressant Zoloft in the New Jersey apartment where the crime took place.

  • Mine Ener used a kitchen knife to cut the throat of her 6-month-old daughter on Aug 4, 2003 after taking “medication” for “postpartum depression”.

CCHR is deeply concerned about the violent and suicidal side effects of antidepressants, particularly on mothers, who are frequently targeted as suffering from “postpartum depression”—a subjective diagnosis which usually results in the prescription of powerful mind-altering drugs.  To raise awareness of the violent and suicidal risks of antidepressants, CCHR has produced a striking series of PSAs warning of these side effects, which can be viewed at <> . Also, click here <>  to read CCHR’s publication, The Drugging of “Postpartum Depression”: Clearing up Misconceptions About “Chemical Imbalances”, Antidepressant Drugs and Non-Drug Solutions.The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights.  Contact CCHR’s Media Department at 800-869-2247 or

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