I've always had questions about the facts regarding military personnel and the usage of prescribed medication for mental illnesses.
1. How many of them have pre-existing mental illness before they joined the forces?
Generally speaking, anyone with pre-existing mental illness are not accepted into the forces. Mental illness is a disqualifying factor. This includes
mood disorders such as bipolar, and any mental illness that requires outpatient care by a professional.
If this is the case, it might be safe to say, that since the military has strict standards on accepting recruits with mental illness; either the
recruit is lying to be accepted, the military is accepting them anyway, or the things the military personnel are asked to perform, is caused deep
seated mental issues.
According to figures recently disclosed by the U.S. Army surgeon general to The Los Angeles Times, “more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last
year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs. Nearly 8% of the active duty Army is now on
sedatives and more than 6% is on antidepressants—an eightfold increase.”
If a recruit is showing signs of psychosis, depression or other mental illness, this makes them unfit for service, yet they are not discharged?
Instead they throw the pills down their neck and tell them to carry on? This in itself is a dangerous cocktail.
As someone who has suffered with poor mental health in the past, I feel that throwing pills at the problems doesn't make them better, it just puts
them on hold to a point where it builds and gets worse, but you just don't feel like doing anything about it. It still comes to a head at some point
though, and if the severity of the illness is high enough, it could be an explosive release.
At this point in a mental fugue, perhaps someone is more easily suggestible? Maybe someone is more willing to carry out orders that others would find
3. If 1 in 8 soldiers come home with PTSD, how many are also coming back with depression, psychosis?
- Were directly exposed to the traumatic event as a victim or a witness.
- Were seriously injured during the trauma
- Experienced a trauma that was long lasting or very severe
- Saw themselves or a family member as being in imminent danger
- Had a severe negative reaction during the event, such as feeling detached from ones surroundings or having a panic attack felt
- Helpless during the trauma and were unable to help themselves or a loved one.
If these are just a few of the things that may trigger PTSD, think how easy it must be in comparison to become anxious and depressed.
Obviously, in "normal" war circumstances (and I use "normal" loosely, since war shouldn't be normal at all), it's a stressful and traumatic
But what if you're carrying out orders you don't agree with? What if you're made to do something which hurts your heart and soul?
What if the soldiers who commit suicide are not "just suffering substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems" but battling
overwhelming guilt, depression and disturbing memories?
I'm not saying all soldiers carry out atrocious acts, and some soldiers are fortunate enough to go to war and see very little action and come back
Sometimes the eyes tell a story
Substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems seem almost trivial to me, compared to the idea of war.