Half a million veterans prescribed psychotropics without diagnosis


Over half a million veterans are being prescribed psychotropic medications even though they don’t have a psychiatric diagnosis, says a study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine accessed Veterans Health Administration records and determined that 1.85 million veterans received a psychiatric drug prescription in 2010. Of those, they found, “30% had no psychiatric diagnosis, with highest proportions among veterans ages 65–85.”

Older veterans, the researchers stated in their conclusion, “are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications in the absence of a psychiatric diagnosis, perhaps representing unnecessary use, under-diagnosis of mental illness, or incomplete documentation.”

Increased Risk Among Older Veterans of Prescribing Psychotropic Medication in the Absence of Psychiatric Diagnoses (Wiechers, Ilse R. et al. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry – June 2014, Vol. 22, Issue 6, Pages 531-539, DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2013.10.007)



  1. This horrible toxic, brain damaging neuroleptic prescribing for all ages is an abomination given that dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease is expected to reach crisis levels with the baby boomers aging. It is well known that neuroleptics cause much brain damage, dementia, memory problems and other great harm over time, but they are especially lethal to the elderly not to mention all the young children forced to take them. The same is true of the medical crime of ECT damaging brains and memories permanently as explained in the highly regarded book, Doctors of Deception, recommended by Robert Whitaker and prominent doctors/neurologists.

    Our government is supposedly concerned about this coming tsunami of dementia and has made it a supposed priority with the NIH and NIMH. But, the fact that these agencies push the bogus, discredited DSM mythology to push brain damaging/dementia inducing psych drugs like the horrible neuroleptics tells us that our government is a lying, corrupt entity or that they are horribly incompetent, ignorant and/or ill informed thanks to biopsychiatry, the NIMH, the NIH, APA, AMA and others. Since Big Pharma is so very lucrative and provides millions to many a campaign along with other polluters and killers, it appears that such government officials are probably just paying lip service to the dementia and other health crises created by the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel because the rule of crony capitalism is to make as many profits for yourself, cronies and investors as quickly as possible regardless of how much harm and suffering is done to supposed constituents and employees and take the money and run when the “consequences” hit the fan as the Wall Street predators were allowed to do as long as they lined the pockets of those participating in the revolving door of big business and government.

    Dr. Grace Jackson has written some great books on psychiatric drugs including Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs and Drug Induced Dementia: The Perfect Crime exposing how neuroleptics and other psych drugs cause dementia and a host of other brain damage related crises for those taking them any length of time:



    Dr. Joanna Moncrieff exposes the hazards of neuroleptics too along with the huge explosion in the bipolar fad fraud epidemic used to push these toxic drugs for those that don’t even come close to having the symptoms listed in the DSM, which is already bogus and grossly inflated and expanded to an absurd level to include almost everyone on the planet from serial killers to rape victims in this predatory agenda:


    Dr. Peter Breggin, Psychiatrist, and “conscience of psychiatry” has been exposing the fact that all of psychiatry’s bogus treatments “work” by damaging and disabling the brain with the worst ones neuroleptics and ECT, which they were far more honest and upfront about in the past in that this was their nefarious goal in so called “treatment:”


    Thus, the fact that these poison, brain damaging, dementia inducing psych drugs are being forced on past and present military veterans says it all about those in power treating our veterans in such a horrible way with the pretense of treatment to profit from their suffering and destroyed, greatly shortened lives with many committing suicide or dying in their sleep from the toxic drug effects. This is a massive betrayal of one and all and as Dr. Fred Baughman, Neurologist, says of this psychiatric fraud including drug induced dementia and many other disabilities, they are the worst medical crimes ever perpetrated against humanity bar none based on junk science. And the tax payers have to pay for the massive disability payments just like the Wall Street bailouts for the psychopaths in power to get filthy rich at everyone else’s huge expense with the lost money the least of our woes considering all those with destroyed health and disability from psychiatry’s torture treatments.

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  2. There is a geriatric element to this story as the VA is treating enormous numbers of geriatric veterans but the real scandal is that the newest generation of OIF/OEF service members are being drugged in the field before they even come home. This is unprecedented. When they come home, the drugs continue to be prescribed in cavalier combinations and the dosages are unbelievable. The two longest wars in US history have been fought with an all volunteer force. These soldiers have been deployed more consecutive deployments overseas than in any war in US history. The stress is bone crushing and the drugs are being used to prop up men and women who are exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

    The emphasis on meds and lack of trauma based therapy or alternative treatment modalities comes as no surprise to anyone who works with veterans. Although I do not directly serve veterans, I work for an organization that offers free, confidential counseling and complimentary care services for returning veterans, active duty service members, and family members throughout Oregon and SW Washington. A veteran commits suicide every 22 minutes in the US. We have about 155 licensed, professional volunteers in our network.

    Anecdotally, veterans are not happy with the care that they are receiving from the VA. The emphasis on meds at the VA is scary because there is very little research on the effects of psychiatric drugs on individuals with traumatic brain injuries, which an extraordinary number of newer vets have due to explosive devices and advances in field medicine. And many vets are not just receiving one medicine, they are receiving cocktails: benzo’s, uppers, downers, neuroleptics, mood stabilizers, you name it. Chronic over dependence on prescription drugs combined with alcohol, combined with unresolved grief and trauma, witnessing friends die, and physical injuries sustained in the field that are not apparent to the naked eye, such as chronic back and neck injuries from jumping in and out of trucks and helicopters with 80 pounds of flack gear/packs, etc., hyper alertness from living for extended periods in a war zone, eating s**t food, etc. these are all incredibly stressful to the mind, body, and spirit. We should be studying the veterans who are thriving today and ask them what helped them to be so resilient so they can help others. Probably family and community, exercise, mindfulness, nutrition, and a mission in life played a role. Transitioning from a military role in life to a civilian life especially in war is difficult to say the least.

    For the unfortunate population of veterans who need or want help with the transition (only 40% of veterans receive care at the VA) they will find little meaningful support. There is a lifetime limit of 12 individual counseling sessions per veteran at the VA and that is if they are lucky. Active duty service members who commit small crimes such as misdemeanor drug offenses, or bar fights even veterans who have documented combat related disabilities, can receive a dishonorable discharge and lose ALL of their veterans benefits including health care due to behavior, even if that behavior is trauma or injury related. Good way to get taxpayers off the hook, don’t you think? Veterans who do not apply for services from the VA by a certain deadline are removed from eligibility, permanently.

    Veterans who do get through the long lines and paperwork at the VA (there is a two year backlog) still have to have a psychiatric diagnosis to receive the minimal treatment that is available but many do not want a label which can dog them for life and impede their future in the military or civilian world. So many avoid seeking care altogether. The CO always has access to a service members records. If a female service member is a victim of military sexual assault, the care is atrocious. Too bad this study focuses on the people who received drugs without a diagnosis. Is this study a set up to ask the government for money more psychiatrists? Most veterans do not want the services of a psychiatrist. They want to enjoy fellowship with people who walked in their shoes. They want the company of their peers. They want someone to listen.

    According to veterans with whom I speak regularly, veterans at the VA usually receive 15 minute ‘meds’ checks once a month and that is the most mental health care they will ever receive. One veteran who had been medi-vacced out of Iraq, made an appointment to see one of our organization’s volunteer acupuncturists. He was very skeptical at first; then, after receiving immense pain relief after one visit, he continued to see the practitioner on a regular basis for over a year, which helped him get off most of the medications he had taken for years because they had been prescribed (and not monitored well) by staff at the VA. He stated that he had a great ‘fog’ lifted and he learned alternative techniques for dealing with chronic pain. He could “play with his kids” again and “be a dad”

    Our model of care is simple and it works: we recruit volunteers in the community: professional, licensed therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, etc. to donate their care and guess what? It works! Veterans tell us that these types of services are life changing and life saving! These providers spend more time on average with their patients. They talk to them, listen, give holistic care. An integrated health model that requires no payment, very little paperwork, and treats people with dignity delivered by a small non profit organization with minimal overhead. I’d like to see this model extended to others, including non veterans.

    One interesting thing about the military it can provide a very rich source of data for the effects of psychiatric medications. I hope this data will lead to improvements in care for all and maybe, other models of care. If studies like these lead to funding for more psychiatry, people aren’t seeing the point. Psychiatry has well funded over the years because psychiatry gobbles up most of the mental health care funding and leaves little for other community based or peer delivered services. This doesn’t work. Better crisis management in the field to eliminate the on-ramp to psychiatric services and better community and peer supports is where we need funding. We also need to increase access to medical alternatives immediately using the money that we would have spent on meds and psychiatry. The VA has problems of its own that are very complicated but in very general terms the mental health field needs to change dramatically and veterans are an obvious canary in the coalmine. Veterans are capable of leading the charge in changing the way mental health is delivered in this corrupt society. That is why NAMI is pandering for the favor of veterans right now. Most veterans are fighters, are strong willed, brave, and they know when they received the shaft in return for their sacrifices. Some are willing to speak up.

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  3. madmom,

    Great post and sounds like a terrific program! You seem to be well aware of the issues and many necessary/helpful remedies.

    Are you aware that female rape victims in the military and in general are stigmatized with the latest fraud fad bipolar for their rape/trauma symptoms to punish them for speaking out and/or reporting their rapes and to rob them of their careers, any justice and benefits by discharging them from the military? Biopsychiatry is a single minded life destroyer, so they can’t be accused of being prejudiced about who they prey on and harm with impunity. Most normal people would be repelled at the idea of harming/killing the veterans who risked/sacrificed their lives to fight for their country. Sadly, recent wars were created by the psychopaths in power to protect the 1% as they pursue their ongoing “shock doctrine” to rob all the wealth and resources of the globe while enslaving the rest of humanity who have pesky habits like a conscience or some human decency who try to stop or reign them in. Thus, biopsychiatry is used to discredit and destroy them like those in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany and now the USA and other fascist countries pretending to be democracies. See book and web site, Politcal Ponerology and Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine.





    The moral is that whenever psychopaths and/or malignant narcissists are able to hijack organizations, countries and now the globe, one can expect much suffering among normal, decent people who allowed themselves to get too comfortable and blind about what was/is really going on.

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    • Donna:

      I am aware that MST survivors are victimized twice. Makes my blood boil to think of it. Just going by the numbers, however, more male veterans are sexually assaulted in the military than women because only 10% of military service members are female. The epidemic only came to light because more women report MST, not that reporting had led to any large scale reform in the military. Elizabeth Stinson, a therapist, is one of the pioneers in the field of treatment of MST and believe me, she has had to shake military brass by the labels to get them to recognize this problem. If individuals of both genders, especially children, were protected from sexual assault, the number of ‘mentally ill’ people would decline dramatically.

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  4. There is a huge problem with cover ups of rapes with psychiatric diagnoses.


    And I’ve been told that, historically, covering up sexual abuse has long been a function of psychiatry. The etiology of my medically provable misdiagnosis of “bipolar” was in part “concerns of child abuse.” But, thankfully, some decent and disgusted nurses did eventually hand over all my family’s medical records with the medical evidence of the sodomy in my child’s records.

    But how disgusting there is an entire branch of medicine, with it’s fictional and iatrogenic disorders, that exists for the purpose of covering up sexual abuse and easily recognized iatrogenesis. Can you say, paternalistic abuse of women and children has run amok? Stop covering up child abuse, psychiatry.

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    • Psychiatric practitioners need to stop covering up ALL sexual abuse with unprovable “disorders.” And by the way, when the psychiatric practitioners cover up all the sexual abuse concerns in a neighborhood by diagnosing and tranquilizing the victims, rather than putting the child molesters behind bars, then they end up with the highest suicide rate in the nation in their local high school.

      But, of course, no one bothers to look into WHY so many stigmatized children killed themselves. Instead you hear a lot of “it’s okay, they were mentally ill.” We need to get rid of the scientifically invalid “disorders,” they’re only being abused for unethical reasons.

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      • I know of two women who had a suicide attempt in their teens linked to abuse (sexual or physical) by caregivers in the family. They got locked up and medicated. Guess what consequences the perpetrators suffered? None at all. That’s how it works 99% of the time. Btw, I was close to suffer the same thing do to toxic relationship and the guy did what abusers always do: “she’s sooo crazy and I am a good guy who’s trying to put up with it and a hero”. Fortunately for me no one bought it and people saw through this guy (except for of course the “professionals”).

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  5. “highest proportions among veterans ages 65–85”
    Chemical restraint. I’ve heard a friend neurobiologist complain that these drugs are used as tranqualizers in institutions just to shut up and control elderly and that in outrageous doses. I bet that happens a lot in case of elderly vets too :(.

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    • This is exactly why psychiatry should not exist. It’s not enough to merely oppose forced treatment, because in the case of precious and defenseless children and elderly people, it is their “caretakers” who make the decision to drug them due to psychiatric lies.

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  6. “Older veterans, the researchers stated in their conclusion, “are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications in the absence of a psychiatric diagnosis, perhaps representing unnecessary use, under-diagnosis of mental illness, or incomplete documentation.””
    I may help them to understand this issue- they are prescribed to tranqualize them and shut them up. Happens also in geriatric institutions.

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