Use of prescription psychotropics has skyrocketed among U.S. military personnel in recent years, according to an investigation by Military Times. At least 17 percent of active-duty military personnel are currently taking an antidepressant, including as many as 6 percent of all deployed troops. In contrast, the rate of antidepressant use in the wider U.S. public is only 10 percent.
Andrew Tighman, writing in the Marine Corps Times, recently described the investigation of Fred A. Baughman Jr., M.D. into the deaths of military personnel taking multiple psychotropic medications. Baughman was alerted to a series of soldier deaths upon reading a May 2008 article in the Charleston [WV] Gazette titled “Vets Taking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Drugs Die in Sleep.” Baughman, a retired neurologist known previously for his criticism of medication treatments of ADHD and other mental health disorders, suspected that the reported cases could be part of a much larger problem.