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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Military Psychotropic Drugs

The mental stress that accompanies service in the military can be extremely hard on a soldier. Post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression are at times too hard for one to deal with which can require the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Psychotropic drugs that are used for treating such disorders can, at times, have negative side effects causing patients to act abnormally in a number of different ways.

Lawyers defending soldiers are blaming the military’s heavy use of psychotropic drugs for their clients’ abnormal behavior and related health issues, according to the Los Angeles Times. There were more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops taking prescribed: antidepressants, narcotics, antipsychotics, sedatives, and anti-anxiety drugs in 2011, according to the report.

Almost eight(8) percent of the active-duty Army are now taking sedatives, and more than six(6) percent are on antidepressants - an eightfold increase since 2005.

“We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now. And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence”, according to Bart Billings, a former military psychologist who hosts an annual conference on combat stress.

Soldiers are given 180 days’ worth of medication when they are deployed. Soldiers will often times trade their pills for something that they would rather have, or take more pills at a time than they are prescribed which can lead to dependency or addiction problems.

“The big difference is these are people who have access to loaded weapons, or have responsibility for protecting other individuals who are in harm’s way,” said Grace Jackson, a former Navy staff psychiatrist.

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