Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Antidepressants In the Water Are Making Shrimp Suicidal 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the crustacean-frustration dept.
Antidepressants may help a lot of people get up in the morning but new research shows they are making shrimp swim into that big bowl of cocktail sauce in the sky. Alex Ford, a marine biologist at the University of Portsmouth, found that shrimp exposed to the antidepressant fluoxetine are 5 times more likely to swim towards light instead of away from it. Shrimp usually swim away from light as it is associated with birds or fishermen.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Antidepressants In the Water Are Making Shrimp Suicidal

Comments Filter:
  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:17PM (#32890740)
    By hiding the light with a nice thick layer of oil?
    • by countSudoku() (1047544) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:28PM (#32890946) Homepage

      That's not oil, that's Texas Tea Sauce! BTW, how do the new fearless-shrimp taste anyway? Would they now be attracted to cocktail sauce as well? We need an expensive study here!

  • No Fear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:17PM (#32890742)

    I don't think it's that they want to die.

    They probably just don't fear the light anymore.

    • ^this. The antidepressants probably remove anxiety from the shrimp so they no longer worry about the light the way they're supposed to.
      • by Mitsoid (837831)
        Whatever the biological/scientific case...

        The irony of this article amused me :-)
        "Shrimp exposed to [Antidepressant] are 5 times more likely to [go] towards the light"
        • The irony of this article amused me :-)

          This irony is actually quite well known in another context.

          Giving anti-depressants to suicidal people makes the suicide rate go UP.

          The current thinking is that many depressed people are simply lacking motivation to do anything, including suicide.

          Giving them pills that increases their sense of 'self-determination' and 'will' actually gives them the motivation to finally getting around to committing suicide.

    • by magarity (164372)

      They probably just don't fear the light anymore
       
      I think that's anti-suicidal for a shrimp. Doesn't the dark mean a hungry baleen whale?

      • Probably means their mom's basement.

        Go forth, little shrimp! Forward into the big bright world, where you can relax and enjoy free jacuzzi time courtesy of us, the friendly bipedal giants!

      • by spun (1352)

        Anyway, like I was saying, shrimp are the wingnuts of the sea. There's suicidal shrimp, paranoid shrimp, depressed shrimp, manic shrimp, psychotic shrimp, neurotic shrimp, borderline personality shrimp, obsessive compulsive shrimp, narcissistic shrimp, agoraphobic shrimp, social anxiety disordered shrimp, schizophrenic shrimp, munchausen's by proxy shrimp, cyclothymic shrimp, anorexic shrimp, catatonic shrimp, tourette's shrimp, PTSD shrimp, Asperger's shrimp, that's... that's about it.

      • Speaking of which, the apex predator for shrimp are whales. I wonder what is happening to them because of the antidepressants. What are the implications of a bunch of mellow whales swimming around the ocean? Or do humans eat more shrimp than whales now? Does that mean we will become more mellow. Is that why the people along the coasts of the U.S. are more mellowed out and easy going with each other than those in the interior? Could this be the real reason for the drop in crime rate in New York City? All the
  • What!?!? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by JamesP (688957)

    So "go into the light!!!11" doesn't work for shrimp?!

    How does shrimp kill themselves?! They use a pistol...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:21PM (#32890810) Journal
    Since you can't really put a shrimp on a shrink-couch and ask it about its feelings, it is very hard to say whether the shrimp are "suicidal" or whether their fear responses are being blunted.

    More than a few antidepressants also have some anti-anxiety properties, which are often quite useful in a theraputic context; but for an organism that is tiny and made of meat, "anti-anxiety" and "pro-suicide" might be uncomfortably close...
    • Many times, antidepressants will give people motivation before relieving the anxiety or depression. Thus, if someone is going to become suicidal, it's usually within 2 weeks of starting an antidepressant. Not that this factoid has anything to do with shrimp... just sayin'.

      • by Securityemo (1407943) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:36PM (#32891078) Journal
        When the shrinks put me on SSRI to alleviate OCD, the reverse happened: I lost *all* motivation. I could not get up in the morning, and could easily lie 48 hours in bed without eating or drinking, on the edge of sleep. I felt like one of those Buddhist monks who go bury themselves alive in a cave, and self-mummify. I felt no negative emotions whatsoever; I knew the consequences of my behavior but didn't have any drive to stop. Needless to say, this was not good for my studies.
        They removed it a month ago. I still feel glad whenever I feel any form of anxiety, however faint. Apparently, this side-effect is quite rare.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by magarity (164372)

          I still feel glad whenever I feel any form of anxiety
           
          Does that worry you? If you can get worked up about anxiety inducing gladness, here comes the total bliss feedback loop! Just watch your heart rate, please.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:50PM (#32891304) Homepage Journal

          When the shrinks put me on SSRI to alleviate OCD, the reverse happened: I lost *all* motivation. I could not get up in the morning, and could easily lie 48 hours in bed without eating or drinking, on the edge of sleep.

          Unfortunately, the use of antidepressants is still pretty crude. Often it takes multiple tries before the doctor and patient find the right combination.

          But they can still be lifesavers. When I was in cancer treatment over a decade ago, I got so depressed that I was absolutely prepared to kill myself. I'd even put by a stock of heavy tranquilizers with which to do the deed. A doctor's assistant was taking some information from me one day and noticed, alerting my primary care physician and they put me on an antidepressant. Within a few weeks I couldn't believe I had ever even considered suicide. Within a couple of months I was off the antidepressants and that was that. This was the late 90's and the cancer treatment was completely successful and I've never had another depressed day since then. There's a lot of problems with the use and overuse of antidepressants, but I'm pretty sure they saved my life (along with a very alert and dedicated doctor's assistant).

          We've got to get people to stop flushing old drugs down the toilet or tossing them in the garbage though. They're finding so many pharmaceutical substances in drinking water and soil and now the oceans that we're heading for bigger problems than depression. I can't believe there aren't already good methods for disposal of medications widely in use. All the hormones and antibiotics in my pork chops are bad enough, I don't need to get a pharmaceutical cocktail every time I take a drink of water.

          • by vlm (69642)

            I can't believe there aren't already good methods for disposal of medications widely in use.

            High temperature incineration? Piranha solution (ask a chemist) ?

            Consumption would probably work pretty well, since a quarter of the population has no medical insurance.

            • by Tetsujin (103070)

              I can't believe there aren't already good methods for disposal of medications widely in use.

              High temperature incineration? Piranha solution (ask a chemist) ?

              Great, just what we need... Water infused with piranha essence. Damn chemists, just always have to go and find new horrors to unleash upon the world...

          • Doesn't the majority of drugs pass straight through your body and out with the urine? That was at least the reason for the high levels of birth control pills in the ocean if I remember correctly

          • by quizzicus (891184)
            Pharmaceuticals mostly get into the water through people's urine. The only way you could avoid that would be to not take them (or some really expensive solution, like distilling all the wastewater).
          • Completely true. I scoured the psych publications for similar cases of "SSRI induced apathy syndrome", and in one case presented there was this old man who was at the end of his life. He had the same "side effect" as me, but was quite happy with it.
            "Before, I used to get really mad at those kids who played outside at my lawn. Now, I don't give a crap."
        • by digitig (1056110)

          I still feel glad whenever I feel any form of anxiety

          Tell me more about such feelings.

          • by Tetsujin (103070)

            Was it because you still feel glad whenever you feel any form of anxiety that you came to see me today?

        • by shadowofwind (1209890) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:36PM (#32891998)

          My landlord killed himself with valium a few months ago, after a 12 year addiction. It was pretty obvious where things were headed, but his dealer^H^H^H^H^H^Hdoctor kept supplying him anyway. Eventually the temptation to keep upping the dose and feeling good overpowered his desire to live. A did a little research and found that this is a shockingly common problem.

          Moral of the story: benzodiazephines suck. And your doctor may be more interested in paying off his student loans and buying a boat than being honest with himself about what's good for his patients.

          • I know some people with anxiety problems that have expressed terror at how happy and carefree "benzo" makes them feel - and how rapidly they build up tolerance to it. I haven't tried it, because I have no anxiety problems; it's supposedly effective against aggression problems and "hyper-vigilance" as well, working much like alcohol I imagine, but the tolerance issues freak me out.
            Not to mention trying to convince a shrink you've got aggression problems with a clean record and next to no affective display -
            • "...even if I'm so high I'm shaking and the burning in my blood is almost painful I think clearly and feel nothing in particular aside from a sort of dead, throbbing blood-thirst in the back of my head), they sent me to a heart specialist."

              So. Did ya kill him? Don't leave us hanging, dude.

              • It was a she. And nope, nothing wrong with my heart, healthy as a horse. The shrinks still seemed skeptical.
                "Maybe... you just have that sort of personality?"
                -.-
        • So are you still saying you have almost no anxiety or just that you're relieved when you feel it however slight? I am prone to getting very anxious, and something that could make that all but go away forever would at least illicit further investigation.
          • I have little anxiety in my natural state - the state I am in now - but when I was on SSRI, I felt *nothing*. It's like the difference between feeling no pain, and having no sense of touch. Apparently people react wildly differently to these kinds of meds, but if you suffer from anxiety or sensory/emotional overload I suppose you should contact a psychologist to see if it is fix-able.
            • Actually, I lie - I still felt aggression, but more dryly and distant. That was largely the only feeling I had left.
      • Or, people who commit who are depressed enough to require antidepressants are most likely to commit suicide before the medication can start taking effect. Since to actually go GET antidepressants you need to be pretty bad off I'd say it's just as, if not more, likely that the suicide is related less to the antidepressants than the depression. Which is to say, depression causes both suicide and antidepressant prescriptions as opposed to antidepressants causing suicide.
      • by panda (10044)

        My quack, err physician, has said that blaming anti-depressants for depression and suicide is like blaming heart medication for heart attacks.

      • by xero314 (722674)
        The need to attempt this study with paroxetine (Paxil), an SSRI with considerably higher rates of suicidal ideation than fluoxetine. Fluoxetine is actually relatively low in suicidal ideation, at least among humans.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:36PM (#32891070) Homepage

      Since you can't really put a shrimp on a shrink-couch and ask it about its feelings,

      Of course you can!

      it is very hard to say whether the shrimp are "suicidal" or whether their fear responses are being blunted.

      Ah well, that's true, since they aren't so big in the "answering" department.

    • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:48PM (#32892196) Journal

      What's the point? Struggle in the plankton race just to end up in some human's scampi? You work and work and end up covered in cocktail sauce? That's it, goodbye cruel world!

    • by jd2112 (1535857)
      Clearly we need changes in the warning labels stating that they are not for use by teenagers and crustaceans.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:21PM (#32890812)

    with a some ground up anti-depressants and a flashlight. hope to catch some happy shrimp.

  • This is really depressing.

  • by bgarcia (33222)
    Yep, all those birds carrying flashlights are just feasting on shrimp now!
  • They don't fear the Reaper
  • If the shrimp choose to swim towards my frying pan then so be it...who am I to argue with drug induced suicidal tendencies?

  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:42PM (#32891194) Homepage

    Whereas some people see disturbing potential side effects of our best attempts to regulate brain chemistry, I see a business opportunity and a way to meet heavily-tattooed hot short girls.

  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:42PM (#32891196)

    When I saw the headline, I wondered just how a shrimp becomes "suicidal".

    Suicide is one intentionally taking their own life, not making behavioral or life-style choices that may increase the chance of an early demise. Unless their intent is to swim toward the light so that they can be killed, "suicidal" is quite sensationalist.

    Otherwise, we could start describing all kinds of poor decision making and unhealthy lifestyle choices of humans as "suicidal."

    • Theres never been a shrimp ever shook this ocean
      But I know a shrimp who tried
      The newspapers called it a jail break plan
      But I know it was suicide
      I know it was suicide
  • Maybe they wouldn't be so suicidal if they had some anti-depressants. Oh, wait...

  • by FiloEleven (602040) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:49PM (#32891292)

    Lots of shrimp are already being affected by this. People take the antidepressants which then get into the wastewater which gets into the ocean. That makes it a real environmental concern (albeit a minor one; other ones are justifiably topping the list at the moment) and not a joke.

    IMO it just goes to show that the law of unintended consequences is damn near universally applicable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jdgeorge (18767)

      Lots of shrimp are already being affected by this.

      The article doesn't contain enough information to justify this conclusion. The article implies that shrimp are being affected by this, but cites NOTHING that actually shows that shrimp have been affected. The researcher observed the behaviour change in shrimp in the lab when exposed to the antidepressant levels presumed to be present in the waterways containing the effluent in question. The article didn't cite any study of the behaviour of shrimp in the wild that demonstrated the problem.

      The real environmen

      • I didn't RTFA because I read about it elsewhere [sciencedaily.com]. From that one:

        The research is published in the journal Aquatic Toxicology. The study found that the shrimps' behaviour changes when they are exposed to the same levels of fluoxetine found in the waste water that flows to rivers and estuaries as a result of the drugs humans excrete in sewage.

        Yes, this is also an implication, but it's a strong one. We can accurately detect the amounts of chemicals contained in wastewater, and we know that it has a measurable effect on shrimp. The effect may not be as drastic in the wild where there are thousands of other variables in play, but the lack of a study in the wild doesn't undermine the findings very much. Additionally, antidepressant use is on the increase, so whatever effect is presen

  • Argh! Must not cope with the sad article through medication! Must tough it out!
  • It's just an experiment with a single antidepressant, fluoxetine (aka Prozac). Who knows what reaction they will have with the copious other AD's on the market.
  • by photogchris (1847394) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:29PM (#32891912)
    Okay, after reading the summery of the study. Parasites in shrimp can cause them to travel toward light and swim against gravity. The parasites act as a serotonin modulator. One particular antidepressant Fluoxetine does the same thing. This action can be bad for the shrimp. The level of Fluoxetine was 100 ng/L. How many liters in the gulf? About 2.43400 × 10^18 liters. So we need to dump a littler over 24 million metric tons of Fluoxetine into the gulf to see this concentration? Actually I am asking, I could be wrong on my math.

    Oh I get it, waste drugs should not be put into the ecosystem. They can affect animals just as much as humans. But the story this links to is just FUD and the study is behind a paywall.
    • So we need to dump a littler over 24 million metric tons of Fluoxetine into the gulf to see this concentration?

      The drugs go into the gulf through cities' waste water, which is not evenly dispersed but concentrated around estuaries. So this should theoretically be an issue only around cities.

    • by julesh (229690)

      Parasites in shrimp can cause them to travel toward light and swim against gravity. The parasites act as a serotonin modulator. One particular antidepressant Fluoxetine does the same thing

      If it's a serotonin-moderated behaviour, and fluoxetine triggers it, I'd be pretty happy wagering that most other SSRIs trigger it too.

      So we need to dump a littler over 24 million metric tons of Fluoxetine into the gulf to see this concentration?

      A back-of-the-envelope calculation based on a figure of 120 million people in

  • by Lithdren (605362) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @03:35PM (#32891978)
    There's depressed shrimp, bipolar shrimp, schizophrenic shrimp, manic depressive shrimp, pyromaniac shrimp (particularly dangerous at the moment), dementia shrimp, autistic shrimp, megalomanic shirmp, obsessive-compulsive shrimp, sleep walking shrimp, voyeuristic shrimp, shrimp gumbo, shrimp cocktail, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich... That's, that's about it.
  • Or whatever you call baby shrimp.

  • Randy Newman should write a song about this.
  • Antidepressants may help a lot of people get up in the morning

    That’s not like taking Ecstasy and Cocaine to “get up in the morning”. It IS taking Ecstasy and Cocaine to “get up in the morning”.

    Please tell me he was only joking. I’m serious. I’m very confused right now. This can’t be real, can it? He GOT to be kidding, and I just majority wooshed myself, right? ^^

    Although, no offense my fellow Americans, but I hope you’re not surprised that I can actually imagine it being true. :/

  • Increased suicide rates have been a known side effect of antidepressants [biopsychiatry.com] for years. Because of this, amongst other things, one should avoid Diazepam/Valium [wikipedia.org] when having severe depression.
  • They're shrimp-onauts, going boldly where no shrimp has dared go before. ^___^
  • It's curious what sort of science makes it to the national news.

    There are some odd aspects to the reported data [sciencedirect.com]. The effect seems to go away at higher doses. This is not unheard-of, and could be real, but it does raise a red flag. In one experiment, they saw an trend toward an effect on phototaxis in week 3, but not weeks one and 2, and the variability was so high it wasn't significant. So they repeated the experiment. On the second try, they saw an effect in all 3 weeks and this time it was significant. Th

  • If only the shrimp had the courtesy to jump into a pan with a little bit of butter and lightly fry themselves first.

Good salesmen and good repairmen will never go hungry. -- R.E. Schenk

Working...