REPORT: Adjustment Disorder Leads Diagnoses in 900K Cases; DoD Set to Test Experimental Anti-Suicide Drug

Military Hopes Antidepressant Nasal Spray Will Prevent Suicides

by Rebecca Ruiz
NBC News, Aug. 28, 2012

The military is seeing unprecedented mental illness and suicide in its ranks, and is funding research to treat depression and prevent the most tragic of outcomes.

ALL SMILES: University of Indiana School of Medicine researcher Dr. Michael Kubek, an associate professor of neurobiology, has received as $3 million grant from the DoD to study an experimental anti-suicide nasal spray in hopes of getting the drug approved by FDA and reversing an epidemic of suicide among military members and veterans.

In July, a report released by the military found that mental health disorders in active-duty troops increased 65 percent since 2000.

Of the more than 900,000 diagnoses, about 85 percent included cases of adjustment disorders, depression, alcohol abuse and anxiety.

This month, the Army reported 38 suspected suicides among active-duty and reserve soldiers in July, the highest monthly number of suicides since record-keeping began a few years ago. 

Col. Carl Castro, director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program, told NBC News that the military is “leaving no stone unturned” in its hunt to find evidence-based treatments for depression and suicide.

Included in its multimillion dollar research portfolio is a grant to evaluate whether a nasal spray using a fast-acting hormone could alleviate symptoms of both depression and suicidal behavior.

The $2.9 million grant will support a three-year development and testing period that will ideally culminate in seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for the medication and delivery device.

The grant was awarded in April to Dr. Michael Kubek, a professor of neurobiology at Indiana University. 

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