From an email sent to me from Vince Boehm, he makes the below comments from having communicated with the family of Andrew White, the soldier the below article is about:
Stan and Shirley White lost two sons to war. Robert White, a staff sergeant, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, when his Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. But the death of Robert’s younger brother Andrew, who survived Iraq only to succumb to a different battle, is in some ways “harder to accept” says his father.
Struggling with PTSD compounded by grief over the death of his brother, Andrew sought help from VA doctors. Their first line of defense was to prescribe him 20 mg. of Paxil, 4 mg of Klonopin and 50 mg of Seroquel. These medications helped at first, but later proved ineffective. Instead of changing the course of treatment, the doctors responded by continually increasing his dosage until the Seroquel alone reached a whopping 1600 mg per day. Within weeks of Andrew’s death, three more young West Virginia veterans died while being treated for PTSD with the same drugs, prompting Stan and Shirley White to begin a mission to find out what the deaths have in common.
Questions loom over drug for sleepless vets — Associated Press UPDATE (I was away. This is the original source. I had used a military paper that has since taken the report down…I’m sorry for the delay in fixing it)
WASHINGTON — Andrew White returned from a nine-month tour in Iraq beset with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder: insomnia, nightmares, constant restlessness. Doctors tried to ease his symptoms using three psychiatric drugs, including a potent anti-psychotic called Seroquel.
Thousands of soldiers suffering from PTSD have received the same medication over the last nine years, helping to make Seroquel one of the Veterans Affairs Department’s top drug expenditures and the No. 5 best-selling drug in the nation.
Several soldiers and veterans have died while taking the pills, raising concerns among some military families that the government is not being up front about the drug’s risks. They want Congress to investigate. read the rest
It should be noted that Seroquel only remains sedating at low doses, but most shrinks don’t know that and will keep raising the dose ending up with a paradox effect that they don’t recognize. Ultimately the drug can become more agitating than calming so it’s no wonder sleep eludes these soldiers.
What’s happening to our soldiers is highlighting the routine treatment other people in the mental health system are subjected to always. I was on high doses of all three of these drugs and then some. It’s not unique to soldiers. I’m sorry their tragedy is what it takes to highlight these gross abuses.