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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Trauma vs. doping?

    I'm watching a Darren Brown show in which he investigates placebos and the placebo effect, particularly as far as fear is involved.

    Anyway, it made me think about the ethics of something which was suggested was going on but which is a lie, the viewing public is told the participants are not. There is supposedly a drug which has been developed which can be given to serving soldiers who lose all fear and can act with complete courage once they are medicated with it. It doesnt exist and the whole idea is a set up to trigger the suggestibility of the participants who are taking a placebo which they believe will allow them to overcome social anxiety, fear of heights, fear of heights and bridges and fear of singing publically.

    I was wondering if there was a drug which could be administered to soldiers which would could regulate affective responses, including fear, and consequently preventing the development of traumatic responses to witnessing incidents in the line of duty and PTSD, would it be ethical to administer this to troops?

  2. #2
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    I don't think the military community would stand for it, no.

    Military personnel are honored for doing this stuff willingly at extreme risk. Being fearless would kind of diminish that.

    This would also result in power creep. Morale helps to keep military powers in check.

    If they have less fear and are less prone to psychological distress, that would probably result in them being called to do things that are all the more frightening and horrific.

    Edit:
    Also I'd say the stress of killing and seeing people get blown up is a problem that should stay a problem. This is not a fear of something benign like a bridge. This is something that deserves to remain terrible because it is.

  3. #3
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    Sure, administer it. Not like the drug's going to eliminate fear just like that. It'll be like prozac... takes weeks to accumulate effective levels in the body, and only makes you feel slightly better. Nothing too dramatic!

  4. #4
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilateral Entry View Post
    Sure, administer it. Not like the drug's going to eliminate fear just like that. It'll be like prozac... takes weeks to accumulate effective levels in the body, and only makes you feel slightly better. Nothing too dramatic!
    I'm not sure they know how to do something that is not dramatic. They jump out of airplanes just to get into a fight.

    Armored vehicles were invented - we think they help save lives (and they do) yet the better the vehicles are, the more they get driven around in known hostile territory.

    Advancement means being just a little further into harms way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    I'm not sure they know how to do something that is not dramatic. They jump out of airplanes just to get into a fight.

    Armored vehicles were invented - we think they help save lives (and they do) yet the better the vehicles are, the more they get driven around in known hostile territory.

    Advancement means being just a little further into harms way.
    which leads to more effectiveness

  6. #6
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilateral Entry View Post
    which leads to more effectiveness
    Which has little to do with ethics.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    My question is about the predictable consequences of combat, it is going to involve trauma which is costly to the individual and society so would it be ethical to use psychopharmacological interventions to prevent it?

    The process of trauma is subjective, there's great variance in individual resilience or vulnerability to the emotional flooding and stresses which trigger traumatic damage and PTSD. However there is a biochemical reaction, so its hypothetically possible that psychopharmacologically this could be controlled.

    My question is whether or not that sort of thing should be permitted on the basis of the costs involved? I think it is an ethical and an efficacy question.

    It is unnatural but then I also consider combat, at least industrial scale war fighting, to be unnatural too.

  8. #8
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    My backup answer is that ethics are relative.

    Is it ok to put someone in a situation and not let them feel the repercussions of their actions?
    I wouldn't want it done to me. I wouldn't want to feel fine but realize that in light of the situation it could be fake and abnormal because of some pill. That would be quite dissonant.

    I suppose this could be like comparing it to anesthesia for surgery, but at the same time that plays down the gravity of the situation, which is my concern.

    Edit:
    However, I think I could see making an allowance for emergency workers, CASEVACS, firemen, EMT's, people who have to scrape together body parts in general, and maybe make it available to doctors, counselors, chaplains, etc to prescribe out on request.

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    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  10. #10

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    Taruma is still better the doping,

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