U.S. Army Troops on Antidepressants

For the first time in history, a sizable number of U.S. combat troops are taking daily doses of antidepressants to calm nerves strained by repeated and lengthy combat tours.

Data from the army’s Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that about 12 percent of combat troops in Iraq and 17 percent of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope.

The survey probably underestimates antidepressant use. But even if the Army numbers are correct, they could mean that as many as 20,000 troops in all services in the two regions were on such medications last fall.

Troops have historically been barred from using such drugs in combat, and soldiers have usually been prescreened for mental illnesses before enlisting. The increase in the use of medication among U.S. troops suggests the heavy mental and psychological price being paid by soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military doctors have said that the drugs help to “conserve the fighting strength” of soldiers in combat. But at least one soldier, Sergeant Christopher LeJeune, said the drugs may be creating unfit soldiers.

“There were more than a few convoys going out in a total daze,” LeJeune said.

Is there a conspiracy going on here?

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2 Responses to “U.S. Army Troops on Antidepressants”

  1. Dave G Says:

    I was released from duty with an honorable discharge after 14 yrs. of service because I began taking prozac, and was told any anti depressant immediately disqualifies you from military duty. Now that it is being given to the troops, I feel I should have a case, or at least be entitled to the last 6 years of my 20 plus retirement pay. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks ! Tsgt. Dave

  2. Your Friend Says:


    I know nothing about military policies, thus cannot advise you here, but I am so surprised that you were not given a desk job, at least!

    From what I have read on the subject, this is the first time in our history that normal deployment practices are not being adhered to. The military is sending soldiers back on the frontline to fight when in the past they would have been considered unfit for combat. They are blaming it on a shortage of troops because recruiting is not going so well. I blame it on the Bush Administration. Bush has filled our society needlessly with psychiatric drugs.

    I just cannot imagine that antidepressants are helping our troops in Afghanistan or Iraq. Were you there?

    Filling them up with pills just to send them back on the front line is just a way of drugging them so that cannot feel what is really occurring. It’s all so very sad.

    The Germans administered methamphetamine to their troops during the Blitzkriegs. The U.S. Navy had Black Beauties in every sick bay prior to Nixon’s War on Drugs. Considering the side effects of Prozac, I don’t see any difference between antidepressants and the drugs above.

    Are you still taking Prozac?

    I suggest you place more details here so that someone can better respond to your question: When were you first placed on an antidepressant? How long after were you discharged? What were the circumstances that caused the prescription? Who prescribed it?

    Good luck with getting your pension.

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