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nextgov ^ | April 25, 2012 | Bob Brewin

Posted on 04/30/2012 6:55:44 AM PDT by tired&retired

The Army Surgeon General's office is backing away from its long-standing endorsement of prescribing troops multiple highly addictive psychotropic drugs for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and early this month warned regional medical commanders against using tranquilizers such as Xanax and Valium to treat PTSD.

An April 10 policy memo that the Army Medical Command released regarding the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD said a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which include Xanax and Valium, could intensify rather than reduce combat stress symptoms and lead to addiction.

The memo, signed by Herbert Coley, civilian chief of staff of the Army Medical Command, also cautioned service clinicians against prescribing second-generation antipsychotic drugs, such as Seroquel and Risperidone, to combat PTSD.

In a June 2010 report, the Defense Department's Pharmacoeconomic Center said 213,972, or 20 percent of the 1.1 million active-duty troops surveyed, were taking some form of psychotropic drug -- antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedative hypnotics or other controlled substances.

The Army's new PTSD policy makes it clear that the risk of treating combat stress with benzodiazepines outweighs the rewards: "Benzodiazepine use should be considered relatively contraindicated in combat veterans with PTSD because of the high co-morbidity of combat-related PTSD with alcohol misuse and substance use disorders (up to 50 percent co-morbidity)

Bostwick wrote "benzodiazepine administration fails to prevent PTSD and may increase its incidence.

Seroquel has been implicated in the deaths of combat veterans and the Veterans Affairs Department reported in August 2011 that Risperidone was no more effective in PTSD treatment than a placebo. VA spent $717 million on the drug over the past decade. The military has spent $74 million over the past 10 years on Risperidone, a spokeswoman for the Defense Logistics Agency said.

The Army also has ignored the role antipsychotic drugs play in the "sudden deaths" of troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury due to undiagnosed endocrine abnormalities Jackson said.

TOPICS: Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: benzodiazepines; military; ptsd; risperidone; seroquel; valium; xanax
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New April 10, 2012 Policy Memo on PTSD Treatment:

Mental health experts say the military's prescription drug problem is exacerbated by a U.S. Central Command policy that dates to October 2001 and provides deploying troops with up to a 180-day supply of prescription drugs under its Central Nervous System formulary:

That formulary includes Xanax, Valium and three other benzodiazepines to treat anxiety: Ativan, Klonopin and Restoril.

Finally, the military is giving some legitimate treatment to solve PTSD problems rather than just killing the soldiers off with pills or using them as anesthetics until they can shove them back into society.

1 posted on 04/30/2012 6:55:53 AM PDT by tired&retired
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To: tired&retired

If you look just at the percentage who have have actual combat exposure rather than all military, the percentage using drugs skyrockets.

2 posted on 04/30/2012 6:58:20 AM PDT by tired&retired
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To: tired&retired

Benzodiazepines are only useful in sporadic stress episodes, or as a stop-gap while waiting for a long-term SRI or SSRI to kick-in.

3 posted on 04/30/2012 7:19:13 AM PDT by Psycho_Bunny (Burning the Quran is a waste of perfectly good fire.)
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To: Psycho_Bunny
as a stop-gap while waiting for a long-term SRI or SSRI to kick-in.


4 posted on 04/30/2012 7:54:36 AM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: tired&retired

Any idiot who would deny seroquel across the board to people with flashbacks on the basis of its conflict with alcohol (as if PTSD requires people to drink) needs to be removed from the medical field.

Seroquel saved my life, literally. I was getting maybe thirteen hours of sleep a month prior to.

Here’s a thought: find something else for alcoholics, or keep them in-patient.

5 posted on 04/30/2012 7:57:40 AM PDT by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: tired&retired

In here is the real path to a simple, non-drug answer which is growing big in military circles, thanks to Colonel Monaco. Pass it free to hear and learn!

6 posted on 04/30/2012 7:58:04 AM PDT by fabian (" And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter")
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To: tired&retired

Benzo addiction is the last thing you ever want to be addicted to.

Do not **** with your central nervous system at all. Learned that the hard way, the very hard way.

My troubles lasted about 2 years total.

I have a friend who has been addicted to Xanax taking multiple doses of Xanbar, which is a large dose, every single day for almost twelve years now.

He cannot quit, he is a slave to a chemical until he dies. He has no legal perscription, thus his addiction forces him to committ a serious felony often in order to possess what he must have or he will likely die from withdrawl.

His addiction is so fierce that he suffers withdrawl even while he is on large doses of the chemical.

Do NOT ever take any benzos on a regular daily basis. It only takes about a few weeks of doing so to sufficiently suppress the CNS in such a way that quitting causes CNS rebound effect, which is the worst damn thing ever.

7 posted on 04/30/2012 8:46:47 AM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: UriĀ’el-2012

SSRI’s are Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors such as Prozac. They regulate the re-uptake process in the pre-synaptic neuron to regulate the level of the neurotransmitter Serotonin available in the synaptic cleft. By closing the re-uptake it increases the serotonin which acts as an emotional shock absorber.

The majority of the serotonin is manufactured in the enterochromaffin cells in the lining of the stomach and upper GI. It’s precursor is 5-HTP or 5-hydroxy-tryptophan. Under stressful conditions it permeates the blood brain barrier.

My personal thoughts are that all anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, mood-stabilizers and anti-anxiety medicines should be short term use only as they do not resolve the problems they only mask the symptoms. That being said, they are also critically important as they do save lives.

The drugs that really bother me are the atypical antipsychotics such as risperdal and zyprexa. They are extremely dangerous and the drug companies just pay off the government with billion dollar+ settlements, while admitting no fault, and then keep on selling them!

8 posted on 04/30/2012 9:25:45 AM PDT by tired&retired
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To: UriĀ’el-2012

Not to mention that being titered off of Valium is a walk in the park versus detoxing from antidepressants for *years*.

[the crack about the ‘risk of addiction’ was sadistically hilarious]

Apparently the [well deserved] bad press that antidepressants have been getting lately is causing the manufacturers to conduct ‘new studies’ to open up ‘new markets’ for their rat poison.

9 posted on 04/30/2012 9:43:50 AM PDT by Salamander (Hey blood brother, you're one of our own. You're as sharp as a razor and as hard as a stone.)
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To: chris37

I’ve taken Valium on and off for 35 years due to GAD and *never* had a bit of trouble stopping them when I no longer needed them and obviously, I never ‘died from withdrawal’ or had any “rebound affect”.

When properly titered, you don’t even notice anything.

Unless you’re *abusing* them by exceeding the prescribed dosage, I can’t see a problem.

I never did so maybe that’s why *I* had no problems.

“The worst damn thing ever” is getting yourself free of the neurotoxic antidepressants because some prescription kickback quack tells you that Benzos are “too scary” to use.

10 posted on 04/30/2012 9:53:59 AM PDT by Salamander (Hey blood brother, you're one of our own. You're as sharp as a razor and as hard as a stone.)
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To: fabian

Thank you.

The programs that give vets support dogs is also highly effective.

11 posted on 04/30/2012 9:56:18 AM PDT by Salamander (Hey blood brother, you're one of our own. You're as sharp as a razor and as hard as a stone.)
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To: Salamander

Yes, I am speaking of abuse.

Valium isn’t Xanax, Xanax is considerably stronger than Valium.

1 mg of Xanax will knock you on your arse if you have no tolerance to it, 1 mg of Valium won’t even be noticed.

And yes, I have understood that anti-depressants wreak havoc on normal brain function, because they cause the areas of the brain that produce endorphines and such to no longer produce them.

12 posted on 04/30/2012 10:06:19 AM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: tired&retired
That formulary includes Xanax, Valium and three other benzodiazepines to treat anxiety: Ativan, Klonopin and Restoril.

Most "ordinary" (are there any??) people simply cannot imagine how addictive these chemicals are!

I have a friend, a real man, a man who simply loves the Lord, but who was introduced to Ativan (lorazepam) by the VA because of depression. He sat at my table and cried out with the deepest kind of heart-rending lostness at being entrapped by this cycle, and no one else to tell it to.

I gave him a copy that I had of Robwert Whitaker's book "Anatomy Of An Epidemic" which describes the overspreading shadow on our country of the ill-termed "psychotropic" drugs that have flooded our land.

This helped him to understand that his predicament can be alleviated, but only with great personal effort and drug-induced grief in the process. He is now struggling with scaling down from lorazepam, under close cooperation by one of the few MDs in the whole country who has gone through this himself.

I know a pastor, who was on Xanax for some time, was finally able to be weaned off it for a couple of years. But now, under heavy burdens, was not able to bear them, and has had to go back on Xanax to stay sane. His congregation has almost evaporated, they not knowing of the condition and consequences. He's lost 30 pounds in the last 2 months, barely filling out his clothes.

I also personally know another one of the subjects described in the "Anatomy Of An Epidemic" who at one time totally lost muscular coordination, and now, after some years of withdrawal, will never berestored to full control of his ability to speak fluently or use his hands to eat or drink a cup of coffee without shaking.

More to be said, by no time right now. Tell those who are affected -- users, relatives, friends -- to begin searching the web on this for starters. Get Whitaker's book, for follow-on, but try to find a doctor who has come to the point of reality in assessing the awful danger of these benzodiazepines and the like kind of psyche and physically damaging substances.

13 posted on 04/30/2012 10:20:27 AM PDT by imardmd1 (The truth shall make you, if not free, at least reasonable ...)
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To: chris37

The drug’s not the problem.
The abuse is.

Your friend -could- be carefully titered off the Xanax *if* he wants to be.

I would suggest having him switched to Valium because it has a longer life in the body.

Xanax is a fast acting, heavy “hit” which then dissipates quickly [hence it use as a ‘stop’ for panic attacks] while Valium is more of a sustained medication.

He could switch to Valium and dodge most of the ‘withdrawal’ and then be easily weaned off the Valium.

If he wants to be free, that is.

14 posted on 04/30/2012 11:06:08 AM PDT by Salamander (Hey blood brother, you're one of our own. You're as sharp as a razor and as hard as a stone.)
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To: imardmd1

The only way to quit these drugs safely once one has become addicted is to very, very slowly ween oneself off of them. Quitting them cold turkey may well be suicide, and an agonizing death at that.

After seeing my friends 12 year battle with Xanax, I am not certain that one can quit even by weening after some certain amount of time using has gone by.

My own experience with Xanax was irresponsible abuse to start. I started with purple footballs 1mg about 1 per day, got me nice and high. Then I moved to Xanbars which is a 2mg dose. Of course as one builds a tolerance by consuming them on a daily basis, one no longer feels the same high, then one must increase the dosage in order to do so.

So I was at about two Xanbars a day, a 4 mg dose, when all of a sudden I couldn’t get anymore. Uh oh! It took me about three days of no pills before I realized something was terribly wrong. Then the dragon moved in with me. I affectionately call it the dragon, because it is as if a dragon is sitting in the living room right there with you. Yes, a real live scaly fire breathing dragon. As one might expect, the dragon is not very nice, not nice at all.

I googled alprazolam withdrawl at the time, and I had every single listed effect except death. I couldn’t eat anything. I couldn’t sleep at all for three months straight. Sure I laid in bed, but no sleep came. Every single source of light was pain, even my clock. I could not stand for longer than 5 seconds. I could not shop for groceries, I could not drive a car, I could not speak, I could not even sign my own name on a check to pay my bills. I could not recognize my own hands when I looked at them.

I compare this all to a bad acid trip that never ends. Hallucinations were plentiful, none of them enjoyable by any means. The worst of the effects I thought was what is known as a trembling headache, which does not go away, aspirin does not help. It felt like I was on the edge of epileptic seizure all the time, but I don’t have epilepsy.

Somehow I survived all this, was fine for a while until Hurricane Katrina destroyed my house and I found myself living in a hotel in Florida for 6 months. It was very difficult to sleep here, plus all sorts of anxiety because my moms house was also destroyed, and so was my grandmothers, and on top of that my grandmother and I got into a huge fight when I told her I was not returning to New Orleans :(

Once again I fell into the pit of Hell and started taking Xanax to help me sleep at the hotel. I did this for about 4 months before I started to notice patterns occurring and I thought man what the **** am I doing, I know better than this.

I knew I would rather step in front of a train than go through withdrawl again so I bought some amount of Xanax, illegally of course, and decided the only thing to do is ween myself of this curse.

It took a good deal of time, very, very slowly, and perfect discipline, no making mistakes, because one mistake would force a set back and may necessitate having to purchase more of this crap. So each week or so, I would reduce my intake ever so slightly, and each reduction hurt. I could feel the dragon lurking, but he would not win this time.

Eventually, I took one small section of a Xanbar, each section is a .5 mg dose, and cut that into 4 peices with a razor blade and took them over 4 days. Then I cut those 4 pieces into 8, and that was about as small as I could get them.

After a period of time with those tiny pieces, I was able to walk away free, without pain or insanity, and I have never gone back, to Hell with that sh*t, from whence it came.

I have tried over a period of about 6-7 years to help my friend do the same, but he cannot seem to do it, he always falls back. His period of abuse was much, much longer than mine, and I am not even sure if it’s doable, I have had to give up, I can’t help him with his demon, it’s too great. Only God can help him now.

15 posted on 04/30/2012 11:14:25 AM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: Salamander

I know that he wants to be free, Salamander, but I think he’s lost now. It’s very sad. He won’t go to the doctor about this because he is afraid to for some reason. I can’t say that he’s entirely rational at this point. I’m fairly certain he does not have access to Valium, only Xanax, and he has been taking this drug in abusive amounts every single day for some twelve years.

It really does boil down to how much do you want to be free? Because while others can assist you if you let them, you are the only one who can defeat a demon such as this. I mean, it is a mortal battle between you and a demon from Hell, and the only weapon you have is the strength God has given you, and my friend doesn’t believe in God, and he doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of internal fortitude or discipline.

His dad died at the age of 40 while in prison, and I think Rocky is walking the exact same path :(

16 posted on 04/30/2012 11:23:43 AM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: MrEdd
Along with Seroquel I take Ativan (PRN) and 3 other head meds, Effexor, Rimeron, and Trileptal. I still have some flashbacks but not nearly as often as before. I do get some tough periods of anxiety and that is when I take an Ativan (sublingual) and it usually works fairly. After treating PTSD for a number of years I got the joy of experiencing MDD which put me in the booby hatch for a couple of weeks.

I really don't like taking any of the drugs, but don't want to go through the crap again of when I was not taking anything but Lexapro.

Feels like I am in a real catch 22 place.

17 posted on 04/30/2012 1:19:13 PM PDT by ImpBill ("America, where are you now?" - Little "r" republican!)
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To: tired&retired; All
Have you seen this video?

Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging - Full Movie (Documentary)

18 posted on 04/30/2012 1:57:25 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: UriĀ’el-2012

Thanks, I’m watching it now. Looks very good.

19 posted on 04/30/2012 3:04:25 PM PDT by tired&retired
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To: chris37; Titan Magroyne


20 posted on 05/04/2012 5:56:14 PM PDT by Drumbo ("Democracy can withstand anything but democrats." - Jubal Harshaw [Robert A. Heinlein])
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