Well, they are at it again. Chris Benoit and his family are dead, and now it is time for the media to find someone or something to blame. After all, this is America and blame is what we are all about. No one ever needs to take responsibility for their own actions. It is always someone else’s fault. A criminal can always blame his aloof stepfather. A drunk slams into a car, killing the occupants, and it is time to sue the car manufacturer. A criminal shoots someone during a robbery, and the gun manufacturer is guilty.
Now an entire family is dead and night after night, all we hear is how the doctor and the steroids are to blame. “Did the steroids kill his family?” we hear the experts debate. Sure, the doctor may have over-prescribed medications and steroids. Sure the steroids in excess could have played a role. Let’s remember that doctors have no control of how their patients take their medications or even if the patients follow the instructions. Once again, responsibility for one’s own health rests with the individual. Realistically the patient is only one that decides what to take and how often.
It seems to me that we should focus on making Mr. Benoit responsible for his actions. Was there some underlying mental health illness? Most certainly. Sane people don’t kill their wife and child over 48 hours, then hang themselves. Normal people who take testosterone don’t kill.
We know that men with low testosterone do indeed have a higher incidence of depression, which usually improves with correct testosterone replacement. Appropriate testosterone replacement doses bring the hormone levels back to normal. Yes, anyone started on testosterone replacement should have regular monitoring of testosterone levels. This testosterone replacement therapy is not associated with changes in behavior.
We also know that doses far above normal (supra-physiologic) can have an impact on behavior. Extremely high doses of testosterone in the body, much higher than the normal range, can lead to depression, suicidal tendencies and impulse control. Maybe the testosterone levels exacerbated an underlying mental illness. So perhaps the doctor contributed to what happened. Maybe he didn’t monitor the testosterone levels enough. Then again, maybe he asked the patient to do so and Benoit never followed up. When it all comes down to it, the responsibility for this horrible tragedy still rests entirely with Chris Benoit- whether or not he was taking testosterone.