Friday, April 12, 2013

Sacrificial Lions

They’re not lambs -- let’s not get glurgy -- they are lions,  or  by rights  should be.   But the treatment of our soldiers sometimes resembles more the etiquette of the slaughterhouse, than the veldt.

It has been widely reported that, last year, more GIs died by suicide  than in battle.  But why?  Here is the latest, from the pen of a professor of clinical psychiatry, Richard Friedman:

The military evidently responded to stress that afflicts soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan primarily by drugging soldiers on the front lines. … There has been a giant, 682 percent increase in the number of psychoactive drugs … prescribed to our troops between 2005 and 2011 — despite a steady reduction in combat troop levels since 2008. … The number of prescriptions written for potentially habit-forming anti-anxiety medications rose 713 percent between 2005 and 2011. The use of sedating anticonvulsants increased 996 percent during this period.
The military tests prospective enlistees with an eye toward screening out those with serious psychiatric disorders. So you would expect that the use of these drugs in the military would be minimal.


[Here is our original post on this theme, from 15 April 2012] 

For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

Not: “25% more”, but:  twenty-five times as many.

[Update 22 April 2012]
SINCE the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a large and steady rise in the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among our troops. One recent study of 289,000 Americans who served in those countries found that the rates of the disorder jumped to 22 percent in 2008 from just 0.2 percent in 2002.

Again (the figures are so incredible, they can easily be misread):  That is a jump, not of a mere hundred percent, but -- a hundredfold.

The possible role of Ritalin and Adderal in all this:

[Update 26 April 2012] And now this, re chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

[Update 9 June 2012]

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