Preventing Mental Illness
Combat is a stressful situation, and mental illness among troops is common. Many soldiers struggle with issues like anxiety, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder. Even before deployment, many soldiers struggle with anxiety and depression, so addressing mental health is an important issue for Army doctors.
Doctors use a combination of talk and drug therapy, both pre- and post-deployment, to try to help soldiers cope. Common medications include antidepressants like Paxil, antianxiety medications like Xanax and Klonopin, and antipsychotic medicines like Thorazine. Unfortunately, psychotropic drugs, which can alter brain function, are often overprescribed, and some say they're threatening soldiers' health and even causing deaths.
On top of keeping an eye out for infectious diseases and psychological problems, Army doctors need to make sure that troops are in good overall health. More on that next.