The Explosive Increase of Psychotropics in the Military

Kermit Cole
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A psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist, Richard Friedmann, writes in the New York Times that between 2005 and 2011 the military has increased its prescriptions of psychoactive drugs (antipsychotics, sedatives, stimulants and mood stabilizers) by almost 700%. This, Friedmann writes, is despite a reduction in combat troop levels, a force that has presumably been screened for mental illness, little evidence that the medications work in the ways they are being prescribed (e.g; for PTSD), and a long list of serious adverse effects, and a dramatic rise in suicides.

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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]

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is a skillfully written op-ed that obscures and confuses more than it elucidates. I believe that this is as intended.

    Here is a choice one:
    “The limited use of antidepressants, which are effective in treating both depression and PTSD [oh really?], is disturbing, too. Antidepressant prescriptions dropped by 48 percent between 2006 and 2009 [for shame!]. Since both depression and PTSD are associated with increased suicide risk, it is conceivable that this drop played a role in increasing suicide rates among troops [yeah, well, just about everything and then some is theoretically “conceivable”]. It seems that the military favors quick-acting– and less effective– anticonvulsants and antipsychotics over antidepressants, which can take several weeks to work.”

    The article questions and criticizes the ineffective and unapproved use of sedating anticonvulsants and antipsychotics for mental health treatment among the military in skyrocketing numbers. But here is the kicker final sentence, “And greater oversight could help identify promising innovative off-label uses of psychotropic drugs [more honest than psychiatric medications] that would be of benefit to our troops and the general population and would, of course, [yeah, of course!] better protect our soldiers and their mental health.”

    Yikes. So an article criticizing too much drug use concludes with the need for yep, more varied and exploratory drug use. It is, after all, for our own good health…

  2. Psychotropic drugs,the military,what the hell is go’in on? The Rockefeller family owns 200 pharmacuetical companys. Google the Rath Foundation. Google RussellBlaylockMD Mental Health to see a video interview of a pioneer neurosurgeon who really tells whats to be seen inside the human brain ,no holds bared.Can you handle the truth? Then read more Russell Blaylock MD and Dr. Rath of the Rath Foundation.

  3. When I consider how horribly certain members of my immediate and extended family respond to anti-depressants and anti-psychotics and that we seem to be gifted with an extra measure of adrenaline, (and who knows what else), I then wonder how would the population of military personnel compare to the general public in their pattern of response to psychotropics. Please consider that if someone is drawn to the military, could that not be related in part to their endocrine characteristics. We know so little of the research design and documentation. I doubt that Big Pharma found many aspiring , confident, energetic young men and women to be in their research trials. God surely sees how the noble hearts and brains of even the bravest are no match for the mid-eastern IED and shooting arcades, much less psychotropic poison. I am truly thankful for all those who have sacrificially given their time to expose the ongoing holocaust of the wounded whose trust has been betrayed. May the truth prevail. May justice be served.