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Long term PTSD in Veterans

Posted by esh_ga z7 GA (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 8:23

I was reading the story of the Alabama man who has a child stashed in an underground bunker. He shot and killed the bus driver in front of 22 children and snatched that child. The article mentioned that he is a Vietnam vet and that he might have PTSD. I don't know if that is true or not in this case, but it got me to thinking.

All these people that come home from the needless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Some of them will have PTSD, diagnosed or not. Years later, the stress may build up and cause these folks to snap.

So the more people we send into combat for a war that doesn't matter ... the more people we have later that may cause harm to themselves, their family and even strangers in the future.

Are we building an army of human explosives?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Long term PTSD in Veterans

Yes, and we're continuously building a world that is governed by military and economic powers, not human rights.

Today, we are all over the world seeking to overthrow some government, influence and encourage thugs, rebels, etc. to overthrow their government so we can step in and create more chaos.

We're going in the wrong direction. Somebody in Washington needs to put up a STOP sign.


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Unfortunately, yes--at least a good number with obvious problems and many more that keep their private hell contained but it still effects their lives and the lives of others.

I know someone with PTSD and it has affected his life and that of his family to the point of divorce. We have no idea
what we do when we send our citizens into combat--especially for multiple tours.

I believe we should know full well our objective and it had better be honorable and necessary. We should get in, do the job, and get out.


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George Carlin had a good bit on this, in the context of language and its use as a weapon (apropos of the gun threads of late).

He said that we used to call it "shell shock" - listen to how that sounds when you say it. Now, in order to legitimize war, we have dulled it down to long, clinical, boring soft phrases (or simply a bunch of meaningless letters).

That's how we roll.


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demifloyd wrote,

I know someone with PTSD and it has affected his life and that of his family to the point of divorce. We have no idea
what we do when we send our citizens into combat--especially for multiple tours.

I believe we should know full well our objective and it had better be honorable and necessary.

I appreciate that you now express your unambiguous opposition to the Iraq war.


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To make it worse, one of the best medicines for fighting PTSD is cannabis, but the VA will cut off benefits to vets who are caught smoking/ingesting this schedule 1 drug. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids don't seem to cure anxiety diseases, but they disrupt the cycle of negative thoughts and relieve some of the suffering enough to allow for other therapies to help.


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To make it worse, one of the best medicines for fighting PTSD is cannabis, but the VA will cut off benefits to vets who are caught smoking/ingesting this schedule 1 drug. ...they disrupt the cycle of negative thoughts and relieve some of the suffering enough to allow for other therapies to help.

One of the selling points for the legalization in WA and CO. I have several friends screwed up from the travesty in Iraq and MMJ is the best cure for them.


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Many veterans never express any signs of shell shock and manage to get bthru life quite nicely. They do have setbacks from time to time. Length of time away from the causes has a tendency to ease the effects. It may only effect a small percentage to the degree they become unable to cope. My father, a veteran of the Pacific, earned 2 Purple Hearts and the Silver Star. He never talked about his war. He had minor difficultiesfor a short time after the war. I was diagnosed with ptsd about 1 1/2 years after my return from se asia. Had a few counseling sessions and moved on without many problems. Most of the men I know are veterans of some war. Few suffer, some do, some became drug addicts, some alcoholics. I started smoking reefer in 1966 and have to some degree since, rarely these days. I dont think thats a very good med for the problem. But hey, what do I know?


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I'm not a big advocate of pot ( I know-- get over the shock), but FF, different people find relief in different places. I may not help you, but it may help others.


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Obama Has Completely Changed How The US Fights Wars
Marc Ambinder, The Week : Jan. 30, 2013, 5:30

President Obama's foreign policy is a work-in-progress.
Even though world events do not conform to the terms of United States presidents, Obama will be judged by what happens during the next four years.
Left out will invariably be the dogs that don't bark: what didn't happen, and also, what happens after four years that wouldn't have happened without Obama's imprint.
In Libya, the president demanded that NATO step up and enforce a United Nations resolution, and NATO did.
In Syria, the president has placed the onus on solving the problem on Syria's largest patron, Russia, and on it neighbor, Turkey, which craves a larger role in the Middle East.
Obama has attempted to persuade China to take a stronger (meaning, more public) hand with North Korea.
And now, in Mali and Algeria, the president is content to leave the hard work to the French, who have significant cultural and economic ties to the country.
Where President Bush and his advisers used the pretext of September 11 to try and shake up the Middle East and force it towards democracy, Obama is using events very differently.
There is finally some substance to his vague notion of using U.S. hard and soft power to encourage other countries to accept responsibility for problems better handled by them. It is an orthogonal approach to interventionism.
In Libya, Syria and Mali, the U.S. has provided technical intelligence assets and helped with the supply chain: arms and fuel and transportation. We have not, as a country, "stayed out."
That phrase no longer means what it used to. It is possible now to intervene in a conflict without putting U.S. soldiers in danger and without expanding the United States geopolitical footprint in a way that crowds out local values.
Where Obama wants the United States to lead is against transnational problems like drugs, trafficking, proliferation of weapons and WMD and crime syndicates, as well as in anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism. It is not possible to fight these wars without U.S. troops.
But these wars are worldwide, overlapping, and observe no borders. The troops to be used in these wars are not the troops that stand ready to fight land wars in Europe and Korea.
So: One way to look at the Obama Project is to observe the battles he chooses to associate with and the battles he chooses to leave to others. Obama, I believe, does not want the United States to be expected to take a leading role in every conflict.
That has meant a series of difficult decisions: In the short term, it might even mean more death as the world adjusts to the expectations of its new superpower. Obama hopes that by refusing to overreact, or to bring to bear U.S. military might, which often changes the problem (rather than solves it), other major powers in the world will begin to step up.
Will this work? Is it rational? Is it a counter-reaction gone too far? I don't know. But I am beginning to see how different an approach it really is.
This story was originally published by The Week

Read more: http://theweek.com/article/index/239392/obamas-silent-wars#ixzz2JbgUAHLo


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I dont care who smokes dope, long as they are old enuff. Yeh, different strokes for different folks, who am I to say? I guess I was just expressing my opinion based on what Ive seen around. Ya know, booze might be a crutch for many.

My buddies wife is a ptsd and suicide counselor at the erie VA med center. I have worked with vets thru the VFW and talk to other guys who also do. Just stuff I hear I guess helps form my opinions of such things.


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Research with the club-drug Ecstasy has shown promise in treating PTSD.

I posted on this when the article first appeared in the NYT last November: A 'Party Drug' May Help the Brain Cope With Trauma


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Drugs under supervision, thats 1 thing. self treating, thats where things go bad. Im not a fan of mind bending drugs.

Arent a lot of these shooters on some kinda drug to treat mental problems?? Dont know a lot about it


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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 19:25

If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for Ethan. If you do not believe in prayer please send all the positive energy you have to a tiny child held in a bunker underground, who is crying for his mama.

There is so much sadness and tragedy in our lives, but I also know that there is also goodness and mercy.

Praying for Ethan...

Here is a link that might be useful: source


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I believe we should know full well our objective and it had better be honorable and necessary.

And yet you voted for GWB twice and I believe you said you would vote for him again. Now there's logic for you.


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ohiomom,

I do believe in the power of prayer. "Praying for Ethan"


Lynn


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From OM's link:

" Dykes had been due to appear for a bench trial on Wednesday after his arrest last month on a menacing charge involving one of his neighbors, court records showed.

A Dale County Sheriff's Office investigator told the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog this week that Dykes had been described as a Vietnam veteran and survivalist who did not trust the government."

What is wrong with the NRA? The NRA should organize arelief force to go save both the perp and the child...well armed militia and all that.


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Every 65 minutes a veteran commits suicide while some of you spout off about your damn politics.


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Excuse me, brush, but we started this very topic so we could talk about it.

I agree it is a very serious matter. These folks may be coming home alive but they are permanently damaged.


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Excuse me, Esh,

Talk about what? PTSD or GWB and the NRA?


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PTSD - you'll notice the title of this thread has it there


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Brush is chastising me, esh. He is right. The NRA has nothing to do with a well-armed survivalist holding a child in a bunker in a rural southern town against the forces of the State.

Have we even established the Dyke suffered from PTSD brought on by service in front lines of Vietnam?


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It was mentioned in the articles that he does suffer from it, I believe.


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Yet another tragic incident pointing to the need for better mental health services in this nation. And we are paying the price (or vets and their families and even acquaintences are)for our over-extension for decades in foreign wars. That's the sort of society some Americans think they want, today. Time to pay the piper. But the price is far too high....

"Are we building an army of human explosives?"
In one work, YES.


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"Suicides among military veterans, though up slightly in recent years, account for a shrinking percentage of the nation's total number of suicides - a result of steadily rising numbers of suicides in the general population, according to a report released on Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The report, based on the most extensive data the department has ever collected on suicide, found that the number of suicides among veterans reached 22 a day in 2010, the most recent year available.

That was up by 22 percent from 2007, when the daily number was 18. But it is only 10 percent higher than in 1999, according to the report. Department officials described the numbers as "relatively stable" over the decade.

In the same 12-year period, the total number of suicides in the country rose steadily to an estimated 105 a day in 2010, up from 80 in 1999, a 31 percent increase.

As a result, the percentage of the nation's daily suicides committed by veterans declined to 21 percent in 2010, from 25 percent in 1999.

"What's happening with veterans is a reflection of what's happening to America," Jan Kemp, the national mental health director for suicide prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said in an interview. "The suicide rate in America has been creeping up."

Dr. Kemp said the fact that veterans accounted for a smaller percentage of the nation's suicides suggested that improved outreach and suicide prevention programs might have had an effect.

But other experts said that for a variety of reasons - including the fact that many veterans have access to health care through the department - the suicide rate for veterans should be much lower than it is.

"This remains a crisis," said Paul Sullivan, a founder of Veterans for Common Sense.

The new report does not provide a suicide rate for veterans, because the department is still refining that number, Dr. Kemp said. But she acknowledged that the rate was higher than for the general population, which is 12.4 suicides per 100,000 people.

Dr. Kemp said veterans tend to fall into higher-risk groups, which include: being male; living in a rural area, particularly in the West; and having access to firearms.

Past reports on suicide among veterans have been based on data collected by the federal government from only about a third of the states. But because of growing concerns about veteran suicide, the department asked every state to provide data on veterans.

The new report - which was previously described in The Washington Post - is based on a database built from information on more than 147,000 suicides in 21 states - a large enough number to develop accurate estimates for the entire veteran population, department officials said. Dr. Kemp added that the department now had data from 40 states and tentative agreements to receive information from the remaining 10.

Among the report's other important findings was that male veterans who commit suicide tend to be older than nonveteran male suicides, with the largest number of veterans- suicides occurring among men between 50 and 59. Dr. Kemp said the department intended to increase outreach to that age group.

At the same time, the new data suggested that veterans under 30 are committing suicide in smaller numbers than their nonveteran peers. That would seem to contradict theories that the recent wars have contributed to increased suicide among new veterans.

Somewhat surprisingly, the study confirmed an estimate first reported in 2008 that 18 veterans commit suicide each day. That figure had been viewed skeptically by many experts because it was not based on detailed data. But the new, more comprehensive data resulted in the same estimate.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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It has been mentioned Dyke might suffer from it.

It has yet to be determined how much/if Dyke's behaviour is caused by PTSD, and how much is caused by his anti-govt/rightwinger mindset.

In any case, there's more to the story than PTSD. I think it should be discussed in a separate thread to keep Esh's on topic.


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My recent PTSD diagnosis has been an interesting experience. I don't want to in any way compare myself to the vets coming back from the horrors of war, be it Viet Nam or Desert Storm or Iraq or Afghanistan. Again, as with my bipolar experience, I am pretty much on the "bunny slope" of the thing, it could be so much worse. I don't have the classic flashbacks where I relieve the moment per se, just a lot of detailed and vivid memories of bad incidents from my past, particularly of my abusive, scary father. And, I am never "there" in that sense, just remembering (I already said this, didn't I).

I did have weird experience about 3 weeks ago that kind of made me say, "yes, I think I really do have PTSD." And, this was about recent stuff. I went across the street to the mall at lunch to look for some brown dress shirts to go with a couple of new brown suits I bought (brown dress shirts are critically endangered species, by the way, I have been to 8-10 stores, including Macy's, Nordstrom, Saks, and Nieman Marcus, and nada. Now, if I want 44 shades of purple, not a problem).

So, I usually park in the surface lot at Macy's, but it was so full people who were circling and waiting for someone to pull out. Had to go around to the back to the parking garage. As I pulled in, I got really tense and had a "fight or flight reaction" followed by mini panic attack. I was jittery the entire time I was in the mall.

Why? Because the configuration of the parking deck was exactly the same at the one at the hospital where I did the psychiatric day program for three weeks. Both had the entrance on the SE corner, both were separated from the adjacent building by a 2 lane road with sidewalks, both had skywalks on the higher levels. I don't want to ever relive my incarceration at the psych ward, and this is what freaked my out, too raw, too recent.

I have done something about it -- I made myself face the same parking garage about 4-5 times since the incident. It's not completely better, I still get a little tense, but I decided there was no way I was going to go through life afraid of a parking garage. Once I cross the street or skywalk into the mall or Macy's, I'm ok. Coming out again is slightly dicey, but I deal. If I were a real wimp, I would either wait for a space in the surface lot at Macy's or Nordstrom, or pay the valet to park it for me.


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denninmi, my bipolar adult child still has phobias about the oddest places and circumstances. There may or not be a rational explanation for the feelings. If I had a say, I'd say deal with each as seems appropriate to lessen the dread. Us "sane" people have to do this all the time but we know we are "sane" and therefor act "sane" some of the time. :)


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' We should get in, do the job, and get out.' That does not resolve the problem of PTSD, however. Even if it were possible to conduct any war on such a tidy schedule--highly unlikely, as we have learned--the men and women who fight that war are still subject to all the horrors we have come to know.

As for Ethan, I just hope that child is still alive. Who knows what he has endured over the last five days if he really is alive. I don't know how the parents will recover, for that matter, or if any of them really will. My heart hurts for them.


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Bringing back the draft would ease the multiple tours to the battle zone(s). This would also reduce the numbers of ptsd cases. Its true that.even 1 tour could cause problems in some but could very well lead to less severe cases.
Also, it must be realized that there are a good number of cases which are not true ptsd . Jobs are hard to come by for returnees, some like the govt taking care of them. Sometimes it is ifficult to determine some are not really affected; a look at their military job, duty station, et cetera can help in the assesment. These are the people who really burn me and other vets as well as the caregivers.


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So what percentage of the folks are you alleging to claim "fake ptsd"?


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When one alledges, one is hazarding an educated guess.
I have no idea of the percentage.I dont think its a great number?? But has become more prevelent. AS I have said, Ive worked with vets and know people who work at the VA med center here and work with them every day as ptsd/suicide counselers.


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I'd trust fancifowl on such matters, taking the pulse of the problem. There are quite a number of vets in recovery from substance abuse or still on the stuff who claim PTSD in order to access more public services.


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There are quite a number of vets in recovery from substance abuse or still on the stuff who claim PTSD

One could make case that substance abuse was/is an attempt at self-medication as a result of the PTSD. My BIL told me he was drinking heavily after returning home from combat. Years later he had no recollection of this drinking, but he saw the VA notes that his father had brought him in for treatment because of the alcohol use, and his frequent nightmares. He was treated with a prescription for antidepressants, and no follow up.


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I know about self-medication. I tried that for close to 18 years. Lots of stuff happen to people not related necessarily to their service in the military. Sometimes not much is required to stimulate PTSD symptoms.


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well, I am no professional in the field but I certainly do get gut feelings. I know I am not always right. The pofessionals have trouble figuring some out and it seems they almost always give the case the benefit of the doubt, and they should.

Ive been around soldiers a long time. I began attending a military academy in Va at the age of 14 where all instructors were military. Then went on from there. I get a feel for those with other than normal tendencies. Some vets suffer privatly and no one ever knows.


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Sometimes not much is required to stimulate PTSD symptoms.

I don't know if you mean during military service, or after discharge.

The high percentage of returning vets with PTSD is problematic; if the military takes young lives and exposes them to the brutality and horrors of war, there should be a meaningful committment to look after the soldiers' physical and mental health long after discharge. Since the Vietnam war this has not happened other than pretty words.


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It didn't happen before the Vietnam war. As a kid and young adult, I worked with WWII and Korean vets with severe PTSD, half of whom committed suicide in later years. This was back in NH and VT in the 1950's into the early 1960's. These men were really in bad shape. One fellow was an 18-year-old seaman, who ended up at IwoJima under kamikaze attacks, losing three ships under him in a bit more than a week. The other one was at the Yalu River when the Chinese overran the Marines and his NH reserve division unit.


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demifloyd wrote,

I believe we should know full well our objective and it had better be honorable and necessary.

jillinnj replied,

And yet you voted for GWB twice and I believe you said you would vote for him again. Now there's logic for you.

That's strange, considering demifloyd opposed the Iraq war on principle as stated above and condemned Bush's war spending as morally bankrupt. But at least we agree on those things. It's important to seek common ground.


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I've been following this with interest. I don't think it is a matter of 'faking' symptoms, but there is a case to be made that it fits in with the general over-medicalisation of symptoms in the United States. America actually recognises far more 'illnesses' than most other countries, and it may be supposed that this is linked to profits for pharmaceutical companies, compensatory awards (litigation) for sufferers and salaries for new medical specialisms in a society where health care has always been a highly lucrative area. In other words, you've got to Name it before you can Claim it.

The subject of PTSD among soldiers returning from war zones gets far less coverage here and in other NATO countries, indeed it is seven times less likely to be recorded.

Of course, this does not imply any lack of mental strength or courage or 'grit' among US servicemen - none of the foreign soldiers who have served alongside the US military would claim that. But it does make you question how much of the incidence of this illness is actually cultural.

There is evidence, in short, to suggest that American and British soldiers come home to significantly different expectations for their psychological recovery and those expectations matter a great deal. In America, soldiers frequently return to a culture that fully expects them to be psychologically wounded by the experience.

Best wishes
Jon

Here is a link that might be useful: The Invisible Division


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Marshallz10 wrote: "Us "sane" people have to do this all the time but we know we are "sane" and therefor act "sane" some of the time."

I know I'm sane the vast majority of the time. My therapist will vouch for me. Really. ;-)

And, hey, as long as it's good crazy, not bad crazy, it's all good. Good crazy - me looking at my fourth bike, an e-bike I could use to commute to work. Bad crazy - seeing the Visa bill after that particular purchase.


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Hoot! VISA billings make me crazy too.


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I wonder how many people would join the service if they realized that they will never come back from combat. Because they don't. Their bodies come back. But their mental self is never the same. They are a different person. And some of them are so different that they damage their families as well - either mentally or physically. Scary.


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I dont suppose only the suicidal would join knowing their death is certain?? But then, many join ouit of a felling of patriotism, or they seek the ultimate adventure and trial by fire. Even tho every soldiers primary mos is infantryman, there are way more jobs off the line of fire than on. Imagine that no one would go!


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This is an interesting and important subject. There are obviously a lot of different opinions. Sadly, not enough facts are known for a definitive treatment for an injury that can be physical or psychological or both. I doubt there is a definitive treatment. We are just taking baby steps in understanding it despite the fact it has been around forever.

I just read a novel whose protagonist suffered PTSD. Throughout, he described the levels of its influence on his behavior and how he attempted to moderate that influence with learned actions. He also discussed how most self medicated and how that worked out. The book was not a great read but it did encourage me to look for more information. I don't know much yet and may never know much but I will keep trying. I hope some of the rest of you would do the same. So far it has been an eye-opener.

There are a number of programs that are working with PTSD affected vets. If you are so inclined, you might look into supporting them.


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Jon, were/are British soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times? Or is it more one tour and then onto somewhere else?

Quite a few US soldiers had 3 - 4 deployments, and I've read somewhere there was a high correlation with PTSD and multiple deployments.


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Sleepless, would you mind sharing the name of the novel? I would be interested in reading it.

I don't know about "faking it". Who in their right mind would want to fake a psychiatric diagnosis? It's a miserable experience all around. I guess if someone were so inclined, it would be easier than "faking" a physical, quantifiable disease. Still, who would do such a thing?

At least, that would have been a take on it until 2 days ago. I was discussing "functionality" with my therapist. And I mentioned to her again that I couldn't believe how many of the patients I encountered at the hospital seemed trapped in a downward spiral of decreasing functionality in the real world and increasing dependence upon their status as "mentally ill" to survive in life, getting what they could out of the system.

Now, I hope that doesn't make me sound heartless. I felt bad for these people on a lot of levels. But, but, but, seriously, who would want to live like that? I was fighting so hard NOT to have that as possible outcome, and I had to juggle a lot of things and finesse a lot of situations to emerge relatively intact in terms of career, job, etc.

I'm sure some people do "fake it" especially if they do it in reverse -- get into substance abuse and then "fake it" to continue that lifestyle. As opposed to those who have legitimate diagnoses and then develop substance abuse problems to cope.

I only abuse Dt. Mt. Dew. Thank God. I don't need to add any kind of addiction to my current laundry list of problems.

My therapist's take on all of this was that yes, there are a significant number of patients who "fake it" to get SSI/SSDI and other benefits. Which is sad.


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David, the Brits also have multiple deployments - sometimes more than US troops, because they are only deployed half as long: six months against a year. But importantly, they can only be deployed into combat for thirteen months of each three years. They also have a 'decompression period. Even more important are programs that send U.K. soldiers for a few days of "third location decompression" on the island of Cyprus before returning them to their home communities. "One to four days of R&R on a Mediterranean island with members of the same fighting unit apparently helps veterans come home with an easier mind,"

US Marine Corps apparently instituting something similar.

Link to a large and detailed study on possible causes below.

Best wishes
Jon

Here is a link that might be useful: Interesting stuff inside


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That is an interesting review of the prevalence of PTSD.

During WWII, units were withdrawn from combat for R&R and refitting. I don't know if that is the same as the Cyprus gig because the units would be put back into battle soon enough.


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Jon, thank you for this discussion and the link to the study.


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In your link, we have this: Findings highlight the importance of specific combat exposures over mere war-zone deployment as contributing to new onset PTSD.

Which makes more sense. Which then gets into where people were posted and exposed to the sort of horrors that would bring this on.

Vs how long, how many tours, etc.


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Vietnam returness were fighting one day, got on a plane the next for a 15-18 hour flight to the USA and the nest were on their way home. Of course, sometimes they would ask if any one was having any problems of any kind. No body wanted to say 'yeh' cause then they might want you to hang around a few more days and do KP. And of course returning troops were exactly thought kindly of by the greeters. At least today returning troops are treated as what they are not some bs thought up by anti war cowds.It matters.


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There's a little Apples and Oranges here. Today's US military is not a cross-section of Americans, drafted into service. It's a mercenary force -- and seems it will take almost anyone with a pulse. With so few job openings, some men and women join up to be able to support their families.

There are always some men who 'find a home in the army'. They learn to be warriors and can't imagine another life.

A vet posting on a Yahoo newsboard said that the people he'd known who claimed PTSD had *entered* service with problems. That reminded me of a boy in my DS's HS who went into the service after completing some months of court-mandated psychiatric care. He'd been caught with a BB-gun, shooting at girls coming out of an ice cream parlor. I thought at the time, "Just what he needs, a real gun to shoot 'for real'."

Finally, PTSD isn't an exclusively military ailment. More than a few adults had abusive childhoods.


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Oh yeh, that happens often today. Lots of cruits are misfits to begin with and service only adds to the problem. The draft is the way we were designed to be . Its the most equitable situation. Men and women equally.
A mercenary force has only loyalty to a paycheck. I know about that.


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