Lawyers Starting to Blame Military’s Psychotropic Drugs For Aberrant Behavior


Military psychiatrists and judges are beginning to see the effects of an eightfold increase of SSRI use in the military since 2005, according to a front-page article in today’s Sunday LA Times. The article tells the stories of soldiers who, under stress, became worse under the influence of psychotropic medication. “Prior to the Iraq war, soldiers could not go into combat on psychiatric drugs, period … you couldn’t even get into the services if you used any of these drugs,” the article quotes Peter Breggin as saying, “I’m getting a new kind of call right now, and that’s people saying the psychiatrist won’t approve their deployment unless they take psychiatric drugs,”

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Related Items:

Sunday LA Times front page: “A Medicated Military Faces Side Effects” on
The Telegraph: “Prescribed drugs ‘to blame over spate of violence among US soldiers'”



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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Its sad that in this time and age some clinical areas of practice are still wholey driven and informed by the Medical model when there is vast evidence based options to pharmacological internvetions.
    I have been working in mental health services for over 15 yrs now at the fore front services, acute and rehabilitation as well as mental health promotion.
    Time and time one increasingly comes across evidence that waht is reffered to as Comon Mental Disorders (CMD) respond hugely to brief psychological and psycho-social internvetions and the economics of such services is good value for money.
    There is room for medication but for most cases its used too early in peoples distress.
    I have been working with clients to war, from war and those within their social system and there are clear effective outcomes through brief talking therapies.

    Talking touches souls, medication doesnt but instead some of the medications numb the souls. As people we are connected by special psyches and when we meet, offer enough time to listen and be listened to the connections are real. Language has meaning and human contact has power. some of these people who are easily prescribed medication are ussauly “Isolated and lonely” even if there are people around them, unfortunately the same people might be part of the problem hence ineffective in supporting roles or they are themeslves helpless.

    People to and from war go through emotions that are deep rooted, the ones they leave behind are left empty and at times vacant, well thanks to the amazingly supporting systems in forces. This is different on the civilian streets.

    Military deserve better and the answer is not always medication (secondary) but more so psycho-social (primary).

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  2. Here is an article by Dr. Paula Caplan about soldiers returning from war devastated almost as much if not more by psychiatry and their lethal drugs based on her book, WHEN JOHNNIE AND JAME CAME MARCHING HOME. Soldiers are protesting having their normal reactions to abnormal events pathologized as mental illness with which Dr. Caplan agrees. Dr. Caplan also points out that drugging these soldiers is unwarranted, the drugs are useless and cause far more problems in the long run. Sound familiar? Dr. Caplan is heading a campaign to let people know that these soldiers need people to talk to about their war experiences. This too sounds familiar with some of the recommended Soteria type practices discussed on this web site.

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  3. I was also dismayed to find in a recent article that both the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association recommended “staying the course” on doling out psychiatric drugs to soldiers despite their dismal effects. So, it appears that main stream psychologists have bought into the bogus medical model of psychiatry, which has been obvious given that many are fighting for rights to prescribe toxic psych drugs. Psychologists in the army have these rights now. Perhaps a conflict of interest on this lucrative cash cow? How sad. Experts in veteran’s services have admitted these drugs have no efficacy for soldiers, but rather cause much harm. They admitted they need to find other options.

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  4. The drugging of our troops has been known for years. The US government wants our troops dead so they cannot speak up against the war(s) which are never going to end . By giving them these drugs they are essentially decommissioning an old weapon. Breggin went before congress and told them what was going on and whatta know, congress did NOTHING.

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  5. Study shows antipsychotics now prescribed to soldiers for PTSD
    provide absolutely no benefit per leading trauma expert:

    3. According to government data, 10% to 20% of soldiers who see heavy combat develop lasting symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and about a fifth of those who are treated are prescribed an antipsychotic drug. The JAMA report, by prominent psychiatrists on the faculty of Yale University, examines the treatment outcome for veterans suffering from PTSD, whose treatment with SSRI antidepressants failed, who were then prescribed antipsychotics. See, “Adjunctive Risperidone Treatment for Antidepressant-Resistant Symptoms of Chronic Military Service–Related PTSD A Randomized Trial.”

    The finding: after six months of treatment, the veterans who were prescribed Risperdal were doing no better than a similar group of 124 veterans, who were given a placebo. About 5% in both groups recovered, and 10% to 20% reported at least some improvement, based on standardized measures.

    “We didn’t find any suggestion that the drug treatment was having an overall benefit on their lives,” said Dr. John H. Krystal, the director of the clinical neurosciences division of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD and the lead author of the study.

    The New York Times reports: “The surprising finding, from the largest study of its kind in veterans, challenges current treatment standards so directly that it could alter practice soon, some experts said.”

    In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Charles Hoge, a senior scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, who was not involved in the study, stated: “I think it’s a very important study given how frequently the drugs have been prescribed. It definitely calls into question the use of antipsychotics in general for PTSD.”

    Although the study focused on one antipsychotic, Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal, experts agree that the results most likely extend to the entire class, including the drugs, Seroquel, Geodon and Abilify.

    These three reports are the latest in a string of scientific reports, untainted by industry influence, that examined the evidence and found that current psychiatric drug prescribing practices are of little, if any, therapeutic value. But since the drugs pose serious risks of harm by triggering drug-induced (iatrogenic) illness–which significantly increases healthcare costs–why does the U.S. government waste billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize their cost?.

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