Drugs, Dying and a Long War

June 7, 2008

In order to get through each and every day, many of us medicated ourselves to cope.
Whatever: A glass of Jack Daniels on the rocks, or smoke a bowl — means seems to justify the end.
How about each and every day there’s horror, death and destruction?

  • Data contained in the Army’s fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that, according to an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, about 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope.
    Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials say.

    Using drugs to cope with battlefield traumas is not discussed much outside the Army, but inside the service it has been the subject of debate for years, and that’s why people try to fight this with rehab centers, here you can find 8 Benefits you must read of the best rehab centers online. Xanax withdrawal treatment is possible only in a specialized center as it may be accompanied by severe anxiety, insomnia and life-threatening seizures.
    “No magic pill can erase the image of a best friend’s shattered body or assuage the guilt from having traded duty with him that day,” says Combat Stress Injury, a 2006 medical book edited by Charles Figley and William Nash that details how troops can be helped by such drugs. “Medication can, however, alleviate some debilitating and nearly intolerable symptoms of combat and operational stress injuries” and “help restore personnel to full functioning capacity.”
    Which means that any drug that keeps a soldier deployed and fighting also saves money on training and deploying replacements. But there is a downside: the number of soldiers requiring long-term mental-health services soars with repeated deployments and lengthy combat tours.
    If troops do not get sufficient time away from combat — both while in theater and during the “dwell time” at home before they go back to war — it’s possible that antidepressants and sleeping aids will be used to stretch an already taut force even tighter.
    “This is what happens when you try to fight a long war with an army that wasn’t designed for a long war,” says Lawrence Korb, Pentagon personnel chief during the Reagan Administration.

    At least 115 soldiers killed themselves last year, including 36 in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army said on May 29. That’s the highest toll since it started keeping such records in 1980.
    Nearly 40% of Army suicide victims in 2006 and 2007 took psychotropic drugs — overwhelmingly, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft.
    While the Army cites failed relationships as the primary cause, some outside experts sense a link between suicides and prescription-drug use — though there is also no way of knowing how many suicide attempts the antidepressants may have prevented by improving a soldier’s spirits.
    “The high percentage of U.S. soldiers attempting suicide after taking SSRIs should raise serious concerns,” says Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, who teaches psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “And there’s no question they’re using them to prop people up in difficult circumstances.”

    — Mark Thompson, time.com/time/nation/article, (6/5/08)

In Decider George’s narrow-scoped eyes the entire bottom line of the above report is “help restore personnel to full functioning capacity.” If you need to know the alcohol rehab cost is often a sticking point for a number of people. The price of rehabilitation treatment in a residential facility can be enough to prevent some individuals from reaching out for help.
Keep the boots on the ground, no matter what!

Iraq is Iraq, but Afghanistan is getting worse:

  • But now listen to John McCreary, a former senior intelligence analyst for the Joint Chiefs of Staff who compiles NightWatch, an insightful analysis by a veteran professional of daily international developments drawn from open, unclassified sources. His take today on Afghanistan paints a far different – and gloomier – picture.
    According to McCreary, May saw more violence than any other month since the 2001 U.S. intervention that toppled the Taliban and forced Osama bin Laden and his followers to flee into Pakistan. He says there were 214 violent incidents in more than 100 of the country’s 398 districts last month. That was up from April’s count of 199 violent incidents in 86 districts.
    Writes McCreary: “Despite official efforts to spotlight improvement, the spring offensive this year is far worse than last year’s spring offensive. The security situation has deteriorated again. At no prior time has the Taliban managed to stage attacks in over 100 of the 398 districts.”

    — Nukes & Spooks, washingtonbureau.typepad.com/nationalsecurity, (6/3/08)

And Decider George thinks it’s “romantic” fighting in the ancient mountains.
He needs a Zoloft shoved up his lying ass.

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