Sunday, September 21, 2014

Prozac and Body Language

Since the 1960's, there has been a great increase in the use of psychotropic medications in the United States.

As a Statement Analyst, my concern is language, rather than body language.  Over the years, we have covered many cases in Statement Analysis and as readers are familiar with, the results are predictably accurate.

Avinoam Sapir, from LSI, is, in my own terminology, the 'grandfather' of all Statement Analysis.  Yes, we have early German research, just as we have Solomonic examples from antiquity.  No, Mr. Sapir did not invent careful listening, but he is the genius behind the ability to synthesize the information we have, and, also true, he has found "novelties", that is, discoveries within research that has entered into statistical principle.  To read more about him, or to take his online course, see: 

A recent example of observation and innovation is in Mark McClish's research into the number "three."

Decades in law enforcement (retiring from the US Federal Marshals), it's fair to say that he was one of the "best and brightest" who was dedicated to his profession, and did not jump ship to the private sector, where more money would be found.

Somewhere along the line, he noted that when a deceptive person has to choose a number between 1 and 9, they seem to land on...


Unless, of course, they are pulled over by a police officer and asked, "How many drinks have you had?" in which the most common answer seems to be, "just two, officer."  (You already know the teaching on the reductive word, "two" in Statement Analysis).

This is not part of the SCAN (scientific content analysis) method, but it is fascinating.  Mark does not teach that if someone says "I was robbed by three youths" that it is a lie.  What he is saying is this:

if the number 3 is used, verify it.

3 men broke into Charlie Rogers house, tied her up, carved hate slogans into her flesh, set her house on fire, and ran off.

Charlie Rogers was convicted of this "fake hate" crime.

Recently, Heather said that she has been guilty of lying with the number 3, and felt that she understood why.

She said that her father would nag her about calling her grandmother, and if Heather was overrun with work, kids, homework, and so forth, and forgot to call, and felt pressure by him, she lied and said, "I tried calling her three times!" only to later say that she lied.  (she loves her Grammie; only that she gets so busy).

She said, "I think I know why I chose three.  It feels like if I say that I only tried twice, it doesn't sound like much of an effort, but if I say four times, it sounds excessive."

Lying is wrong, and Statement Analysis teaching often reveals little things like this, within ourselves, "Honest to God" , it does.

I found that I had been raised to be a polite liar.  "Truthfully, Aunt Polly Purebread, your blue hair looks wonderful!" was part of my vocabulary.  Years ago, in studying Statement Analysis, I learned this truth about myself, and have undone the habit.

Mark asked that students of Statement Analysis refer examples to him.  In my own work, I have found it to be so.  "Just had 3 boats chasing us" (Tiffany Hartley).  Yes, 3 men might rob someone on the 3rd floor at 3 o'clock, but I do note when the number arises, and give it consideration.

Statement Analysis, as a generic term, comes from the work of Avinoam Sapir, who strongly teaches to stay focused upon the language, and let the subject guide you.

"The subject is dead; the statement is alive", meaning, do not concern yourself with his eye brows, or his leg twitch.  The subject, himself, will guide us by the words his brain chooses.

Recently, in an automated email news letter, Dr.  of "Lie to Me" fame, wrote that he will not declare someone being truthful or deceptive unless he, himself, conducts the interview.

I was surprised at this.

Statement Analysis is a scientific process, meaning that the principles, often based within statistical ranges, are applied evenly, with the expectation of similar results.

I was recently pulled over by a police officer for speeding.

I was not speeding.

I was doing 38mph in a 35 zone, that blended into a 45 mph zone.

I know my speed because I looked at it when I saw him and the sign that said 45mph.

He followed me into the crossover, and I stayed at 40-41 mph, but became concerned that I was annoying him and was going to pull over to let him pass when he flashed his lights.

He said, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

I said, "I do not"

He said, "You were doing 45 in a 35 zone."

I said "I did not.  I was going under 45 in the 45 zone."

He said, "No, I got you on the radar. "

He asked for license and registration.  I asked for permission to unbuckle my seatbelt to reach into the back for the new registration (company vehicle).  He granted it.  He went back to his vehicle.

Recently, a friend of the officer had left the police department (small) and taken a job where he met someone who is known for juvenile antics such as letting the air out of someone's car, or attempting to entice teenagers to fight, Halloween pranks, and that sort of thing.  4 days prior to being pulled over, someone jokingly said, "Hey, you heard about him leaving the department?  Well, watch out for his buddies.  He's your competitor and you know he might be pressured into getting his buddies to harass you..."

The implication was clear:  juvenile-like harassment by a young police officer who might not realize that he could be putting his career on the line for something foolish that his buddy wants him to do, on behalf of another.

I took the warning to heart, knowing a bit more about the culture of this small town I am living in  than I used to.

The officer returned to my car and picked up the debate about my speed.  I live very close to the 35mph to 45mph change, and would have to accelerate quite a bit to speed, as the 35 to 45 is very close.

I said to him, "Officer, do you know where I live?"  

As I said this, I strained over my left shoulder to look him right in the face.  I'm not a body language expert, but I wanted to not only listen to his response to the "yes or no" question, I wanted to see his reaction.  Here, even while I talk down the consistency of body language analysis.

He said "Uh, do I know where you live?  Uh, no."  He then read the license and repeated it back. I noted not only did he repeat the question (sensitivity indicator) but he had a cause to pause.  When a question is answered by a question, it is an indication of sensitivity to the question.  He did not appear to like being asked this simple question.

"Well you know then that living so close to the 45, I would have had to really sped up to go 45 so quickly."

He said "Oh, I had you on radar, much earlier than that.  In fact, I had you before the mill."

I did not respond.  He handed me the written warning, which did not have the spot for speed number filled in.  I was not speeding.  He wanted me to thank him for not ticketing me.  I did not.

As he stared waiting for me to respond, I said,

"Yeah.  I live after the mill, not before."

I recognize that people study body language, and that Dr. Ekman did much research into the micro expression. I have enjoyed reading his books.

I did see this young  officer's face twitch when I asked him if he knew where I lived, and saw him raise one hand to his mouth.

I also recognize that with the dramatic increase in popularity of psychotropic medications and even while interviewing children, I found an increasing number of them on prescribed medications of varying sorts.

Leg twitches, often a signal of nervous energy, might be impacted by the medication.  Face movements are impacted by Parkinson medications.

In short, not only is the study of body language something that cannot produce consistent results, but the impact of psychotropics cannot be underestimated by anyone seeking truth.  I recognize that the show "Lie To Me was entertaining, and that it produced lots and lots of new "experts" but its own founder says that he will not pull the trigger on an interview, even if video taped, unless he conducts it, should speak volumes.

In Statement Analysis, we can mail (or email) the transcripts of the interview to a analyst in Maine, California, Hawaii and Russia, and all get the same results.

I do not know if Prozac will impact the face expression, or if Ritilin will speed up a reaction, or if Ativan will slow it down.  I don't know what some of these meds are doing to children.   I worry over the health of these children, especially those who seem to have no ability to sit still or concentrate.

In fact, I will go a step further and this step is to step away, to get a larger picture, and openly wonder how medications might impact language, therefore, remembering Mr. Sapir's charge:  Do not conclude deception on a single indicator of sensitivity.

Many adults state that they have been helped by psychotropic medications, of which I am glad to hear.  Life is difficult enough and if their doctor has lawfully found a solution, and the health improves, it is good news.

I would like to know:  has psychotropic medications impacted your body language?  If so, would you be willing to describe any such impact in our comments section?

How about speech?  We know the saying, "en vino veritas", that is, with the drinking of wine, the truth may emerge.  Or, "Ale is the grease of theology", with the same principle of "wine cheereth the heart of man", and impact.

Have you noticed anything different in your speech, and body language, before and after being prescribed?

It would be a help in furthering understanding.

We are hoping to expand our Statement Analysis services to include audio files, transcription services, and  online courses available via download.

If you would like to help:



Apple said...


"t's tough to say"..

Chessiegirl said...

I have been on two different anti-depressants in the last 15 years, Prozac and Cymbalta (which I currently take). I had become severely depressed during counseling for childhood sexual abuse and was put on Prozac first. During the first month on Prozac, I had leg twitches and felt like I was hyped up on loads of caffeine. This soon wore off as my body became used to the drug. Since the depression I experienced was a physical one, I had aches and pains all over and felt sleepy most of the time. This went away with medication and I felt I was back to being myself, not artificially happy or in a numbed state. In all these years, I have noticed no changes in body language with either drug except a lessening of OCD habits such as nervously biting my lips. If I can help you any further, please let me know. Would be glad to help.

Nanna Frances said...

I have been on Effexor for about ten years. I have not noticed any difference in my speech. Before I started taking Effexor, I cried frequently. I now cry some but not as much.

Anonymous said...

I have been on Celexa for over 10 years. I don't think it has changed my body language. However, I do think it has changed some of my memory. Often times, I don't remember things or it takes me awhile to answer a question I know the answer too. Like the answer is on the tip of my tongue, but it won't come out of my mouth. This has been happening to me a lot lately.

Karen T said...

Peter, I have been taking Effexor for 10 years or so; I do not know exactly. I am not certain but I do think that the medication has affected my speech some, in that I feel I stutter a little at times and I have difficulty with certain words. However, this is a recent development so I am not sure if it is the medication or something else. I do know that I am on a low dose & the medication very much helps with depression and anxiety.

Anonymous said...

My adderrall does. I'm on/have been on countless different ADHD/GAD/OCD/depression/insomnia medications and other than benzos which make me a lot more laid back, the adderrall is the only one I've actually noticed a difference with, a lot more rapid speech and phrases that are often unnecessary. I.e. "Does that make sense?" "You know what I mean?" And my downfall.."Like," (I'll enter it 5 times into one sentence) It also dries my eyes and mouth so I'm always twitching, people accuse me of rolling my.eyes at them on a regular basis. But ive been on just about every SSRI in the book, and I've never noticed anything.. but that could also be because they were never veey effective for me. I'm on an SNRI (effexor) and neurotin for my GAD and depression, adderrall, xanax and ambien. Besides all the SSRI's, I've been on Lamictal and another like it for an off label treatment of anxiety.

Anyways, yeah.. there are plenty of medications that change behavior and speech. Mine would be adderrall and the wide (unprescribed) use amongst people my age (24) probably affects more people than I realize.

Anonymous said...

Antidepressants are mood stabilizers-- so they should give subtle changes to facial expressions-- less sad, less monotone for the depressed; slightly slower/ more normal rate of speech for those with anxiety; more on target statements/ less tangential or irrelevant off topic comments got those with ADD. Basicly, antidepressants should bring language closer to what is the "expected". What the question really is, is how does emotional state or mental illness effect statement analysis. If a person is profoundly depressed will this change what the " expected" is in their case? Medication brings stability of mindset, so the language should follow that right?

arabella said...

I am very glad to hear you speaking out against over-medication, especially for children. I am 19 years old, and I can say for sure that it is all too often that young children are prescribed medication. From supposed ADHD, ADD, to even heavy anti-depressants.
I was very troubled, emotionally, growing up. After one visit to a Dr. who had never seen me before, I was sent home with a prescription for anti-depressants. I was 14. My mother cried the whole way. My father refused to let me take them. And Thank God he stood up.
I think the problem was I had a chemical imbalance as a result of so many hormones. Had I really taken those medications, it would have interfered with my development in so many ways. It's truly unbelievable how a Dr. does not care!
I have a friend who has been on anti-depressants since she was probably 13. They do not help, yet she still takes them. Why, I ask?? She says they make her feel very tired. She cannot function after taking them.
I have a family member who was put on anti-depressants after expressing anxiety over going to college - a completely normal reaction. She gained tons of weight, became extremely angry and moody, and very unstable.
My grandfather was a Dr. He used to take my father on house trips to visit people who were clinically depressed. These people were so depressed, they could not even get out of bed - not to eat, not to go to the washroom. This is depression. This is what needs medication. Not someone who is sad, anxious. I hear so often with teenagers about how they "fake" happiness. They post that on Facebook, as a too-obvious cry for attention. If you can "fake" a smile every day, chances are, you really aren't faking it. If you were really clinically depressed, as my grandfather observed, you wouldn't be functioning.
Having said this, I have another family member suffering from post-partem depression, which I was extremely shocked to hear (it really can affect anyone!). She says the anti-depressants have helped her, which I am glad to hear. However, she is in her mid- to late-twenties. She is not a teenager still developing.