Last week, I started out thinking that the Germanwings air crash had most likely been caused by a sudden depressurization of the plane. But since the cockpit voice recorder was found, it’s emerged that the co-pilot locked himself in the cockpit, and set the auto-pilot to descend to a very low altitude. It was suicide and mass murder.
In the comments here, first Jax and then Klaus K suggested that there might be prescription drugs – Chantix or anti-depressants – involved. Which all seemed a bit speculative to me, since neither had been mentioned in any report I’d seen.
A “small mountain” of drugs believed to be antidepressants were found at Lubitz’s apartment.
Antidepressants are used to treat range of conditions, including anxiety and panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, as well as moderate and severe depression.
I’m now inclined to think this is the most likely explanation for the strange behaviour of an otherwise quiet and well-behaved young man. Peter Hitchens seems to think the same way:
Nobody is ‘Stigmatising’ Depression. It’s the Pills We Need to Worry About
and provided a link to an article which says (my added emphases):
The risks of suicide or homicide from mild to moderate depression or anxiety are almost nil. Think of it this way – what we call depression today in nine cases out of ten was called anxiety 30 years ago before the development of the SSRIs and anxiety was not thought of as a significant risk factor for suicide or homicide.
Difficulties with a partner or at work can lead to precipitate action including suicide or homicide. They can also lead to anxiety or depression but the anxiety or depression linked to these events don’t for the most part cause problems except in so far as sleeplessness on the one side or a sedative drug on the other might cause an accident.
Whatever the risks of suicide or homicide linked to such anxiety or depressive states might be, in clinical trials antidepressants close to double them – and not just in younger adults. They do so by causing psychosis, or by producing an agitation laced with suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or by producing an almost lobotomized state in which people will do things they would ordinarily never do, or by increasing blood alcohol levels if the person has had a drink.
GSK data suggest these drugs appear to make someone more likely rather than less likely to “act out” if they have just had a partner break up with them.
The co-pilot had difficulties at work (his eyesight was deteriorating), and had recently split up with is girlfriend. And now it seems there’s a “small mountain” of anti-depressants in his flat. He seems to check all the boxes for a “suicidal, homicidal, lobotomized state”. Peter Hitchens ends his article saying:
The problem is the drugs given for the depression, not the depression. And that is what we should address. Once again, I do not know the answer. I only know that there is a question, and I ask again: ‘Who could possibly be against a powerful independent inquiry to establish the truth in this matter?’ Well, who? I can’t think.
Well, I can: the pharma companies. As Klaus K wrote in a comment a few days back:
Already now it is clear in the Lübitz case that there is a manipulation of the media going on behind the scenes in order to slowly, day-by-day, put more and more blame for the crash on the co-pilot himself, i.e. Lübitz’ character. The medical mafia is extremely good at media manipulation – you should know that as a smoker (!) – in the Lübitz case they know perfectly well that there is a high risk the media at some point will frame the story in the direction that Lübitz’ medication was the culprit in the crash. That would be devastating to pharma revenues, so I think what we witness here (fx. in Daily Mirror) may be just a part of the ordinary damage control.
Will the pharma companies be able to bury the medication link? I’m not sure how they can, particularly if and when the co-pilot’s body (which has been found) tests positive for anti-depressant drugs. There are 150 grieving families, as well as the entire global airline industry, and anyone who’s ever flown in a plane, who will want to know the unvarnished truth.
There are any number of possible further developments (they still haven’t found a second flight recorder). But it seems to me that pharma companies (and the medical profession) are going to come under intense scrutiny in days to come.