May 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm


Are Some Military Suicides Medication-Induced?

The statistics are staggering: At least 1 in 5 service members in the military suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. 300,000 are experiencing depression, brain trauma or PTSD. Twenty-two vets die by suicide every day. And since 2001, more military servicemen and women died by suicide than in combat in Afghanistan. Sobering numbers indeed, and many veterans make it out of the threatening and traumatic climates of war only to die by their own hands when they return to American soil.

This ABC news piece highlights the story of 29-year-old Sargeant Cole Van Dorn, a Chicago area native, whose father said took his life last month after struggling with PTSD and taking a “stew” or “soup” of medications. Medications used to treat military servicemen and women have doubled over the past decade, according to the segment. Dr. K. Laun Phan, a neuropsychiatric researcher at University of Chicago at Illinois and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, explains in the piece that there are few medications effective in treating PTSD. Cole Van Dorn’s father believes his son would still be alive if he had not been on the cocktail of medications, some of which his son was told he would have to take for the rest of his life.

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), is a not-for-profit for survivors and families of fallen heroes, and it provides a program for suicide survivors with resources for families. There are promising new treatments on the horizon for those with PTSD. Dr. Eugene Lipov of the Global Post Traumatic Stress Injury Foundation, based in Chicago, is pioneering the use of SGB, stellate ganglion block treatment, to treat acute symptoms of PTSD, and is targeting veterans due to the alarming rate of military suicides. Originally a treatment for pain, the mixture of saline, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory agents is injected into the cervical spine, and can provide relief and stabilization along with other healing modalities. Go to to learn more.