Meds in the Military: A Prescription for Suicide
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In recent times, fears have been expressed concerning the rising prescription of psychiatric medications, in particular antidepressants, to the armed forces personnel. In the year 2009, 239 cases of suicide were reported within the military, which included 160 from Reserves, 160 soldiers in active duty, 146 deaths from active duty but from overdoses as well as highly risky activities. Furthermore, 1,713 suicide attempts have been reported according to an Army suicide report released in July 2010. An increasing number of soldiers are dying from their own hands than they are in war. More astounding is the psychoactive prescription drug rate usage amongst active-duty soldiers aged between 18 and 34, which stands at 85% since 2003, according to Tricare.
Together with family prescriptions, from 2001, 73,103 Zoloft prescriptions have been given out, 17,830 for Paxil, 38,199 for Prozac, in addition to 12,047 for prescription, for Cymbalta. It has been pointed out in presentations at armed forces forums on combat stress as well as in testimony to the United States House of Representative’s Veterans Affairs Committee, that there is a credible causal correlation between rising rates of antidepressant prescription along with rising rates of suicide in the armed forces. This research paper analyses’ as well as evaluates the pertinent scientific information.
A huge mass of study materials shows a risen risk of suicidal tendencies in adults. Considering into account a possible previous history suicidal tendencies as well as additional variables, Jick, Dean, & Jick (217) found fluoxetine to be two times more likely to be linked with suicide than older more numbing antidepressant medications. Under the regulation of the FDA, GlaxoSmithKline carried a meta-analysis of suicidal tendencies and in placebo-controlled medical tests of paroxetine in adult subjects with psychiatric problems (GlaxoSmithKline, 1). GlaxoSmithKline established a statistically noteworthy rise in suicidal tendencies in adults who were given a Paxil prescription for a major depressive problem. In a uncontrolled analysis of attempted suicides, cases at a psychiatric division in a hospital, attempted suicide cases were found to be more likely to have been prescribed antidepressants benzodiazepines than non-suicide cases (Raja, Azzoni, & Koukopoulos, 2009).
An analysis of 1,255 completed suicides in 2006 conducted in Sweden (Ljung, Bjorkenstam, & Bjorken 2009) reported that thirty two percent of Scandinavian men along with fifty two percent of Scandinavian women were prescribed antidepressant medications six months before committing suicide. A retrospective study analyzed the suicide rates amongst 887,859 Veterans Administration (VA) patients that were treated for stress and found that accomplished suicide rates were just about two times the base rate after antidepressant were prescribed in VA clinical situations (Valenstein et al., 2009). Breggin, 2008 posited that, an evaluation of more than a thousand instances of completed suicides in the aged will establish that, in the initial month of treatment, the SSRI antidepressants have almost a five times elevated danger to other antidepressants.
Owing to the alarm concerning reported instances of suicide linked with the new antidepressants, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made it mandatory a reassessment of all previous double-blind placebo-managed medical tests carried out on children as well as young adults in the FDA authorization procedure. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants were re-examined. The FDA has also found four possibly stimulating antidepressants to generate analogous unpleasant behavioral as well as psychological effects. The meta-evaluation established that the risk of suicidal thoughts, as well as actions, was twofold for children and youth who are using the antidepressants as contrasted to placebo (4% to 2%). Contrasted to controlled clinical tests, under medical circumstances in reality the rates of suicidality are much higher. Of particular importance to the armed forces age-group, the FDA in recent times has availed its scrutiny of adult data, which included 372 double-blind placebo-controlled scientific tests using 99,231 participants (Stone et aI., 1).
The FDA arrived at the conclusion that, in comparison to placebo, there is amplified risk of suicidality as well as suicidal activities among adults younger than 25 than witnessed in children and teenagers (p. 1). The same or similar warnings and details are found in all antidepressants stickers. Most labels warn about risen possibility of suicidal actions in kids, teenagers, and young adults aged between 18 and 24. This age group includes numerous youthful soldiers. The warnings particularly warn about the augmented jeopardy of medication-stimulated suicidality, nervousness, disturbances, fright attacks, sleeplessness, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia or psychomotor restlessness, well as for additional signs, both psychiatric and non-psychiatric. Irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity are all a cause for suicide, as well as violence, particularly in a stressed people, soldiers included. All these latently risky side effects are also frequently witnessed in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in armed forces personnel, and as such pose the danger of aggravation this frequent armed forces disorder.
Military personnel are permitted to set out with half a year of prescription drugs, which include psychotropic drugs. The taking of these drugs is not checked and is a possibility that soldiers misuse or abuse these prescription drugs. The medications are shared, in addition to being put up for sale. What’s more, many of the military personnel on anti psychotics are on them for problems that are not the problems the drugs are permitted for. Further, once some drug is official permitted, medics can recommend it for whatever thing they adjudge will help (known as off-label application). One soldier out of six in the armed forces uses drugs ranging from anti-psychotics, antidepressants to hypnotics. The side effects of these prescription drugs are obviously dangerous (causing people to become nervous, impulsive, as well as even aggressive).
In the majority of instances of gun-shooting sprees in the previous two decades, the gunman was taking antidepressants. These drugs are the reason behind the bloodshed. The person taking them develops paranoia and carries out violent behavior against others. In the United States of America, approximately sixty three thousand individuals committed suicide at the same time as they were on antidepressant prescription drugs. Regardless of these effects and warnings, antidepressants are frequently prescribed in the armed forces. What is even worse is the fact that the users of these prescribed drugs risk the chance of getting the side effects devoid of any actual gain. At other times, a variety of drugs is prescribed that has erratic consequences.
While it is comparatively simple to demonstrate that antidepressants commonly cause severe, as well as life-endangering damages, it remains tricky to demonstrate their usefulness. To get the authorization of the FDAl, pharmaceutical firms can set out to look or evidence that backs their conclusion (that demonstrate some success). Nevertheless, when every one adult controlled medical tests, as well as those that do not establish efficacy, are put together in a meta-analysis, these drugs do not demonstrate effectiveness. In the meantime, analyses of children and young adults just about unvaryingly do not point to success (Breggin, 2008). The armed forces and its staff are caught up between conflicting schools of thought in regards to prescription drugs as well as rising suicide rates.
Numerous military health authorities laud the use of psychotropic drugs in the military and consider them priceless in safeguarding the soldiers' psychological health. The unavailability of successful prescription, as well as supervision, nevertheless, has made people to hold, and rightly so, that these drugs alone cannot and will not resolve the military's troubles. With the way, the drugs are being prescribed to soldiers (as well as other people) leaves an underlying current that the medics prescribing them are telling people that all their issues can be dealt with through medications and the people are modifying their behavior as such. Most of the front-line treatment is through drugs. The soldiers are being given and taking heavy-duty anti-psychotic medications with no follow up or close supervision.
Controlled medical tests, epidemiological analyses, as well as medical reports, bear out that the SSRIs and other stimulating antidepressants have side effects such as suicidal tendencies, hostility, as well as mania in young people and grown ups of all ages. Youthful adults aged between 18 and 24 (many soldiers fall into this age bracket) are particularly in danger of antidepressant-induced suicidal tendencies. There is a strong pointer to the conclusion that the rising suicide rates amongst active-duty army officers are partially caused or aggravated by the prevalent prescription of the antidepressant drugs. On their part, alone, these medications cause a risky stimulant-like profile of unpleasant effects.
These activated effects might come together with analogous-PTSD signs that are very commonly among active-duty soldiers in times of combat and after it to bring very dangerous effects. The military medical team ought to carefully examine the link between psychiatric medication treatment and suicide as well as arbitrary or individual aggression. The US military ought to depend on the mental and emotional as well as educational programs that are at present in application as well as under progress for suicide prevention, in addition to the amelioration, of stress amongst the military fraternity (for example, Department of Defense, 2010). Antidepressants ought to be steered clear of in the medical management of the armed forces personnel.
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