Combat Troops Turn to Prozac

Anti-depressants keep soldiers in the field
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2008 3:53 AM CDT
Troops of 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment gather together for a change of command ceremony in front of empty tanks of an oil power plant at their forward operating base in Yusufiyah.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A growing number of American troops serving abroad are taking Prozac and other antidepressants, Time reports. A survey last year found 12% of troops in Iraq are using the drugs, with 17% relying on them in Afghanistan. The drugs help the military keep stressed combat troops in the field—but the use of the "quick-fix" for mental health is causing concern.

Combat troops have historically been banned from using psychotropic drugs in the field, but a team of psychiatrists greenlighted their use in 2004. With the military still struggling to maintain troop numbers and mental health problems rising, use of the drugs is likely to keep climbing. "This is what happens when you try to fight a long war with an army that wasn't designed for a long war," commented a former Pentagon chief.