Researchers at Yale School of Medicine recently reported in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that 30% of the veterans given psychotropic drugs had not been diagnosed with any mental health problem.
The lead author of the study, psychiatrist Ilse Wiechers, admitted that this poses serious health risks for the veterans.
A psychotropic drug is a chemical substance that crosses the blood–brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. These include anti-psychotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and hypnotics.
In this study the over-prescribed drugs included antidepressants, sedatives, and mood stabilizers.
The “harm” caused by these psychiatric drugs can include violent behavior, uncontrolled aggression and suicide.
The Yale team examined the records of the national Veterans Health Administration pharmacy and found that 1.85 million veterans in the study filled prescriptions during fiscal year 2010 for at least one psychiatric medication. The veteran’s medical records were pulled to find information about the soldiers and their health issues
Soldiers and veterans often end up with cocktails of several psychotropic drugs taken together.
The study sorted out whether these drugs were given to treat non-mental health issues such as pain, seizures or headaches and whether or not the physician prescribing the psychotropic medication was a mental health specialist.
A higher per cent of veterans over age 65 received psychotropic drugs despite having no diagnosis of a mental problem, but the statistics for all veteran age groups is appalling.
Percent Given Psychiatric Drugs without a Psychiatric Diagnosis:
less than age 40 = 54%
older than age 85=58%
An article published in March of 2013 entitled “25 Disturbing Facts about Psych Drugs, Soldiers, and Suicides” points out what an enormous problem we have with the drugging of our military and veterans.
Here are some of those facts:
- 33% of the U.S. Army is on prescription medications, and nearly a quarter of those are on psychotropic drugs
- There are now over 8,000 suicides each year by U.S. soldiers and veterans; that’s over 22 a day
- The number of prescriptions for Ritalin and Adderall written for active-duty soldiers has increased 1,000% in the last five years
- For every active-duty service member who dies in battle, 25 veterans die by suicide
- Most active-duty soldiers who take psychiatric medications consume a combination of three to five prescriptions
- The use of prescription medications by active-duty soldiers is largely unregulated. Soldiers are given a bottle of meds and sent into combat. If they run out of meds, they are given a refill, no questions asked.
- The Pentagon is initiating new research (in 2013) to try to figure out why psychiatric medications cause soldiers to commit suicide. The research involves tracking brain activity by attaching electrodes to the skull.
- One-third of military suicides are committed by soldiers who have never seen combat
- Dr. Bart Billings, a retired Army Colonel and former military psychologist, refers to psychiatric drugs as a “chemical lobotomy” for soldiers
- That means medications are killing more U.S. soldiers and veterans than Al-Qaeda
- To date, the Pentagon has spent more than a billion dollars on psychiatric drugs, making it one of the largest customers of Big Pharma
Sources for these facts were given at the end of their article.
The military psychiatrists and physicians continue to hand out psychotropic medications like candy to active duty soldiers and veterans with or without a diagnosis of a “mental health problem.” The drug companies continue to ignore off-label use of their drugs and are glad the military co-operates in promoting them. Neither group confronts the clear evidence linking increased psychotropic drug use in the military with the increase in suicide and violent murders committed by our soldiers.
The author of the “25 disturbing facts” article sum it up perfectly.
“We are living in an age of upside-downs, where right is wrong, fiction is truth and war is peace. Those who fight the wars are subjected to their own house of mirrors via pharmaceutical “treatments.” Instead of providing U.S. soldiers and veterans with actual health care, the government throws pills at them and calls it “therapy.”
Stimulants, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, sedatives and pain meds are the new “fuel” for America’s front-line forces. While the idea of sending medicated soldiers into battle was unthinkable just three decades ago, today it’s the status quo. And the cost in human lives has never been more tragic.”