Our Medicated Military

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, an alarming number of active-duty troops are turning to prescription anti-depressants to cope with the stress of battle. David Martin reports

Many Frontline Troops Turn To Meds To Cope

(CBS) As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, we’re learning that a large number of troops are turning to medication to deal with the stress of battle.

Each year, between 20 and 40 soldiers are evacuated from war zones for mental problems brought on by combat, says CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin, and many more stay in the battle with the help of medication.

A recent survey found 12 percent of soldiers in Iraq reported taking either anti-depressants or sleeping pills. That works out to about 19,000 soldiers, half of them using anti-depressants.

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Tuesday, “This high rate of the use of anti-depressants and sleeping pills is really just a symptom of a deeper problem. We’re sending folks back over and over again in a tremendously stressful environment, and it’s taking its toll. The anti-depressants and sleeping pills are one way that the military and the individuals are trying to meet that threat.”

Also this current front page report at Time magazine:

America’s Medicated Army


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  1. I know this isn’t new … in WWII soldiers took “bennies” to stay awake during air battles.  But hell, it wasn’t to treat mental illness!

    And I dunno, I find it tragically ironic that in post-Katrina New Orleans the cases of folks medicating themselves has also skyrocketed.  And there’s a connection there, I think.  So much is out of control in the USA these days.

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