Thursday, October 23, 2008

Medicated troops

According to a news story on tonight's "ABC News with Charlie Gibson", reporting on the issue of re-deployed soldiers:

Twelve percent of soldiers in Iraq and 17 percent of those in Afghanistan reported taking antidepressants, anxiety medications or sleep medications in the Army's most recent mental health survey.

A few years ago when my eldest daughter decided she was bound and determined to join the Army, despite the fact that at the time she was not only was taking medication for ADHD, but also a beta blocker to control a potentially serious heart condition. I was told, not by her recruiter, but by someone higher up in the chain of command who I had sought out for an opinion not based on quotas, that as long as she was taking a needed daily medication, she could not join the Army. It was added if in the future that she found herself not needing to take medication, she was more than welcome to enlist, which today, if my daughter wished could, since she is thankfully no longer in need of medication.

It goes without saying that someone with a heart condition would most likely not be physically fit to join the military. But what is the military's stand on medications for ADHD, such as Ritalin, the medication my daughter was taking at the time?

According to a military statement, "Because Ritalin is a controlled drug with considerable abuse potential it cannot be to be taken by recruits in basic or advanced training".

Anti-anxiety medications have a very high instance of dependency and abuse. Xanax is probably one of the most abused of psychriatic drugs, as are most drugs in the Benzodiazepine family. Knowing form personal experience, they are usually fast-acting in dealing with anxiety, but have a short shelf life in the body. As soon as the drug has left the system, the panic and anxiety comes crashing in, thus a dependency is developed. A dependency that most likely would keep one from being accepted into the military in the first place, according to the Department of Defense.

So, is drug dependency, or the possibility thereof a disqualifier, or not?

1 comment:

  1. Most definitely a disqualifier. A soldier needs to be able to function when cut off from her pharmacy.