Drugging our Troops—The Creation of Psychopharmaceutical's Multi-Billion Dollar Market - CCHR releases latest article in its Military Mental Health investigation

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The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights announces the third in a four-part series by award-winning investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O'Meara exploring the epidemic of suicides and sudden deaths in the military and the skyrocketing use of psychiatric drugs being prescribed to soldiers and vets.

The DoD and the VA spent nearly $2 billion since 2001 on psychiatric drugs including more than $800 million on antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal and Seroquel, or “Serokill" as it is being called.

PTSD has become the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events often have been interpreted as mental disorders. Herb Kutchins & Stuart Kirk, authors—'Making Us Crazy'

CCHR announces the latest in its investigative series on Military Mental health written for CCHR by investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O'Meara. The third installment looks at the historical data behind the psychiatric-military alliance and the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry's increasing power and influence within the military today.

'War is hell.' Few who have served in combat would argue with this summation of the brutality and human tragedy of battle, provided long ago by Civil War General, William Tecumseh Sherman.

Acknowledging the sacrifice of our troops, as a nation, we welcome the returning warriors as heroes, making it all the more difficult to understand why the psychiatric community seems determined to make victims of the very soldiers we honor for their extraordinary service.

As has been well documented in the first two parts of this investigative series, the military is at a mental health crossroad. Soldiers are dying by suicide and other sudden unexplained deaths at record—even epidemic—levels; an epidemic that seems to have been spawned by the nearly $2 billion Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) have spent on antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs over the past decade, despite international drug regulatory warnings of mania, psychosis, suicide and death. Even according to DoD's own policy, 'Guidance for Deployment-Limiting Psychiatric Conditions and Medications,' antipsychotics like Seroquel are disqualifiers for deployment.

Given that under the advice of mental health professionals suicides and other unexplained deaths still are increasing, why does command continue to listen to what, for all practical purposes, appears to have miserably failed? Despite the fact that since 2009, mental health staffing has doubled in Afghanistan and a mental health survey of deployed troops found that stress levels among Service members in Afghanistan nearly tripled between 2005 and 2010.     

To understand why command appears to be content with the nation's troops being diagnosed as mentally ill and then, like freshmen at a frat keg party, plied with multiples of psychiatric drugs, one first must understand the psychiatric community's ever-increasing interest in, and role, among the military ranks."

In the third installment of a four-part series, O’Meara details the history behind posttraumatic stress disorder and examines the statistics relating to the diagnosing of PTSD that is at epidemic numbers, including:

  • PTSD as we know it today, was created after the Vietnam War. Originally called Post-Vietnam Syndrome, this supposed mental illness actually gained notoriety with the help of anti-war psychoanalysts unhappy with the nation's involvement in Southeast Asia. With each succeeding edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, despite its controversy, the symptoms of PTSD have grown in such proportions that even many within the field have criticized the diagnosis.
  • Herb Kutchins, Professor of Health and Human Services at California State University, Sacramento, and Stuart A. Kirk, Professor of Social Welfare, UCLA School of Public Affairs, and authors of Making Us Crazy, explained that many soldiers were not experiencing PTSD or stress, but battle fatigue—exhaustion and that the DSM-III had gone"far beyond pathologizing the problems of war veterans," that it "has become the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events often have been interpreted as mental disorders.
  • A recent report by the Veterans Administration reveals that 30%, or nearly 250,000 of the 834,463 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated by the VA, have been diagnosed with PTSD, making it a lucrative mental illness for psychiatry.
  • The Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs reports spending nearly $2 billion since 2001 on psychiatric drugs to treat “mental illness” and PTSD, including more than $800 million on antipsychotic medications like Risperdal and Seroquel, or "Serokill" as it is being called.
  • Since 2006, the Army's Medical Research and Material Command has spent nearly $300 million on 162 research programs to understand, treat and prevent PTSD. Today, however, the cause of PTSD remains elusive, as psychiatrists admit there are no known causes or cures for any mental disorder.

With the millions of dollars being spent on getting to the bottom of this "epidemic," command may find it prudent to take a hard look at some basic facts. Suicides, and other unexplained sudden deaths, have increased for the past several years, as has the diagnosing of PTSD and the prescribing of psychiatric drugs, many of which are not approved by the FDA for treatment of PTSD and, many of which cause the very symptoms the troops have sought treatment for.

O'Meara says, "If military command continues to allow the psychiatric community to give the orders, the end result may actually be an 'Army of one.'"

Kelly Patricia O’Meara is a book author and former award winning investigative reporter for the Washington Times, Insight Magazine. Prior to working as an investigative journalist, O’Meara spent sixteen years on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer to four Members of Congress. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland.

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CCHR is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious mental health watchdog. Its mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. CCHR has helped to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive mental health practices.

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