Use of Medications Among Veterans with PTSD Common – and Commonly Problematic

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 21, 2014 – Veterans, especially vets with PTSD, are much more likely to overuse drugs than the general public.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug regularly, and more than 50 percent are on at least two prescriptions. Multiple prescription drug use in the United States is fairly common, as 20 percent of Americans take five or more prescribed medications. Researchers have routinely noted that antidepressants and painkillers are among the most common prescriptions written, and both classes of medication hold risks and potentially serious side effects.

Among veterans, particularly those who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), prescription painkillers and antidepressants can become an especially tangled problem.

The use of and dependence on antidepressants and painkillers is a serious matter among the general public, but these concerns pale against the number of veterans who take medications in high numbers. Indeed, surveys among veterans have found that one in three former members of the military say they are on 10 different medications. Servicemen and women are, on average, prescribed narcotic painkillers three times as often as civilians.

Painkillers and antidepressants are routinely used to treat conditions such as PTSD in troops who have returned from the war front. “Prescription medications for serious conditions like PTSD offer a relatively easy and commonplace treatment option for veterans,” said David Magann, an attorney from the Tampa, Florida area who specializes in serving the legal needs of veterans. “The hard part is avoiding misuse, particularly in situations where veterans are already addicted to alcohol or non-prescribed drugs.”

The list of medications that veterans with PTSD are often prescribed is a stock list of well-known pharmacy drugs — Prozac, Percocet, Vicodin, Klonopin, Seroquel, tremadol, escitalopram, morphine, cortisone, lidocaine, Motrin and more — and the effects of so many medications at once can leave many veterans feeling wiped out, wanting to do nothing more than go to bed. The problem is so bad that some veterans attempt to quit taking any medications, at least for short periods of time.

“Medications, when used properly and under the supervision of a physician, can help veterans with PTSD, but there is always the potential for dependence and overuse,” Magann said. “It’s a delicate trade-off between potential benefit and potential detriment.”

Learn more at David W. Magann, P.A. Main Office: 156 West Robertson Street Brandon, FL 33511 Call: (813) 657-9175 Tampa Office: 18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548