Military Study May Show Medication/Suicide Link


A large-scale study of depression-related brain activity may also reveal whether a connection exists between the high rates of both psychotropic medication and suicide in the military, according to Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md).

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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. “The study will use new technology from CNS Response Inc., which will allow military researchers to track electrical activity in the brains of 2,000 troops and civilians suffering from depression. They’ll compare the results with thousands of others in the firm’s online registries, allowing experts to develop new treatment approaches.”

    Don’t count on this study showing anything about anything. It sounds like they’re going to get brain scans.

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  2. An interesting article but’ at the risk of sounding petty, there’s a glaring typo in the text.

    where it says:

    “One of the big secrets of psychiatry is that we don’t know exactly how the drugs work,”

    Should say:

    “One of the big secrets of psychiatry is that we know exactly how the drugs don’t work,”

    They just switched a couple of words around – could happen to anyone.

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  3. — Jeffrey C, what is the very alarming bill you mention?

    As for CNS Response Inc., I think the hype is way, way ahead of the science. They also follow a long line of “research” that refuses to consider any intrinsic problem with the drugs, and focuses on finding the “exceptional” patient who cannot handle them. A few years ago it was all about finding the “hidden bipolars” who were having problems on antidepressants — whether cycling into manic or violent behavior, or simply staying depressed. Now it’s about doing expensive brain scans, etc. to try and spot which antidepressant type each patient will respond to.

    If military suicides are spiking in part due to psych drugs, CNS Response will not help us find it out. Instead they will push the idea that there is a “right drug” for each soldier and we just have to find it. Business Week compares it to a dating service:

    “The CNS system works sort of like a dating service — only instead of pairing personalities, it matches electrical activity that’s recorded in the brain.

    “If a number of people with similar brain waves do well on the same medicine, then that drug will probably work for the new patient as well, CNS’s Carpenter said in an interview. The Aliso Viejo, California-based company has a database of about 8,700 people that new patients can be compared with, he said. “

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