Prozac Forces

There have been reports of military personnel receiving significant mood-stabilizing drugs. While this seems to have become an accepted medical practice (this isn’t voodoo, the medication is legit and can help those in need) we find it odd that possibly large, concentrated groups are medicated without the stress of war.

I recently had lunch with someone frustrated by the situation. He runs a unique outfit, but one that can be found on all military installations, ships, and the like. Every one of his five or so enlisted Marines is on some sort of mood-enhancing or stabilizing drug. Antidepressants, Attention Deficit Disorder meds. You name it, and it seems it is being prescribed to the doe-eyed and bleating. These are not gun-totin’ Marines. This crew has never deployed and thus has not had the displeasure of Iraq, Afghanistan, and let’s toss in the Horn of Africa.

While the military has been prescribing drugs to enhance combat performance since at least 2002, one must wonder why those so inexperienced seem to be “suffering” in such numbers (without the added stress of violent death as a daily possibility). Some have been on active duty just a year or two. What happened?

We speculate these Marines head to the doctor and confess they are feeling down and even depressed. BAM! An instant prescription for antidepressants appears. If they can’t concentrate, then they become ADHD prescription candidates – legal speed, the good stuff. I’d love to get my hands on attention deficit gold – it beats caffeine pills, and mixin’ meth is risky (and illegal). I have failed where these neophytes seem to succeed.

Has there been a deliberate decision to keep the force medicated? If so, who gave the order? (Am I a conspiracy theorist?) Haven’t the emotional challenges of the 20-year-old long been the bane of a commander’s existence?

What are the odds all military members in a section would be on mood-stabilizing drugs? Would some who enlisted in recent years have been better off at Harvard or McDonald’s?

Prozac Nation meets the military? What are your thoughts?

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