Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Bleg

Sitting around on the patio following a nice dinner a friend who is an Obbamamaniac mentioned, offhandedly, that US troops in and after Iraq and Afghanistan are being given very high levels of, for lack of any educated term, mind/mood drugs. This passed quickly while I wasn't paying close attention to that speaker and it only sunk in later, so I never had an opportunity to question the source or meaning. But I gather that he was suggesting that US troops (and, presumably, other allied troops) are having high levels of psychological problems.

I've searched a bit and found no mention of this. My initial thought is to suspect that it is along the lines of the "US troops committing suicide" exaggerations but since I'm not seeing anything about it I'm wondering where the heck it came from. Has anyone heard this coming from their loon buddies or seen this in the leftist press or anywhere else?


Charlie Martin said...

I've heard the story --- like this story at the Austrailian and this one in the Telegraph.

The thing is, if you look up the history of modern SSRis, you'll discover there is one very plausible reason why US troops get more SSRIs now than in previous wars: SSRIs hadn't been invented yet. Prozac (fluoxetine) only came on the market in the US in 1987.

So when they tell you that, it's ike telling you that soldiers in Korea and Vietnam got massively greater amounts of antibiotics than in previous wars.

Unknown said...

Time magazine carried an article about U.S. troops being provided with prozac (Time, America's Medicated Army, Jun 05 2008).

Barry Dauphin said...

I don't have the time to research this in more detail, but I'll throw my two cents in being in the field.

Taking such psychotropics are much more acceptable to most people these days. The rate of PTSD for troops appears higher than the population at large, although they literally encounter traumatic situations at greater frequency than the public. PTSD wasn't even an official diagnosis until 1980.

I do not believe that the suicide rate of troops is any higher than that of the general population of that age, especially male population of that age (there are more women in the services than ever but there are still more men proportionately than women).

We have no good basis of comparison to older wars such as WW II. Also one factor that people do not talk about much is societal acceptance of what the troops do. Support of troops by citizens most assuredly boosts morale, and is likely to ameliorate adverse effects of fighting. The troops are able to watch CNN, Olberman, Matthews, etc. Nothing like that happened in WW II. Imagine fighting in The Pacific or Europe in WW II and being told what how horrible the president is and how Roosevelt lied and people died and you're not fighting for anything, etc. That doesn't "cause" problems, but it is part of the broth in which problems will fester.

These folks do incredibly difficult and sometimes stomach-turning work. What must it be like to patrol Faluja and then listen to Joe Wilson?

Luther said...

That's bullshit, I suspect.

Human nature in its many variations plays out condensed in the military.

Those who can, do... those who can't, need excuses.

War is hell.

For the living and the dead.