Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 14-16, 2014
The article by Timothy Williams on soldier suicides that appeared in the June 9 issue of the New York Times News Service contains a gaping hole.
Williams reported that there have been 154 suicides among active-duty troops through June 7, a rate of nearly one each day this year. This represents an 18 percent increase over the rate during the same period of 2011 and is significantly higher than the number of American military fatalities in Afghanistan as of June 1 of this year.
Pentagon officials blamed the high suicide rate on the stigma of mental illness and the reluctance of soldiers to seek help out of fear of being humiliated or ostracized. The Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America attributed it to a lack of qualified mental health professionals, the stigma of receiving counseling, family stress and financial problems.
Nowhere in the article was there any mention of the role of psychotropic drugs in this suicide epidemic. This even though the drugs are the primary modality of treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suffered by soldiers and there is a mountain of evidence that they cause increased risk of suicide. That evidence is solid enough for the FDA to require a “black box warning” on all antidepressants and is reflected in the fact that persons who use neuroleptic drugs die 25 years younger than other people. Some of that early death is attributable to suicide.
The Surgeon General of the Army recently issued guidelines for the treatment of PTSD which recognize the danger and ineffectiveness of antipsychotic drugs and call for increased use of non-drug approaches which have been proven to be safe and effective.
We applaud those guidelines and wish the Surgeon General and her medical staff success in implementing them.
Published on Jun 7, 2012 by CBSNewsOnline
Even with the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan winding down, military suicides are up. David Martin reports.
Uploaded by lscott7224on Mar 25, 2009
( http://www.vawatchdog.org/ ) Army Maj. Gen. Mark Graham on CNN, Wednesday, March 25, 2009.