Friday, January 4, 2013

Defining PTSD

When a traumatic event occurs, there are a number of levels at which that specific trauma can be experienced.

There are those who only hear of it.
There are those who see the aftermath via electronic device, or print media.
There are those who may find themselves geographically close to the event.
There are those whose job it is to report on the event.
There are those whose job it is to pick up the pieces.
There are those who are actually “in” the event.
And, there are those who experience trauma more than once, and sometimes in rapid succession for some duration of time.

The wonderful folks who send us off to war have never had much of a stomach when it comes to cleaning up with the aftermath of war. Cleaning up the mess is a little too ugly for the Lords of War. So, they not only try to sweep the mess under the carpet, but they also start  to give the mess clinical, fluffy names in hope we won’t really have to deal with the treatments, and those afflicted will walk off into the sunset with a big bottle of pills in their hand. There is currently one big problem with that line of logic. The number of war ravaged of PTSD sufferers has swollen to an almost unmanageable size.

It would be fair to place myself somewhere between Layman and Expert on this subject, and I will try to stick to these seven categories. I am certain there are more levels, and sub-levels, that one could list. It is within categories #5, #6, and #7 ,above, that the vast majority of PTSD sufferers lie, and they are the ones who need the most urgent and intensive care.

The lines of clinical demarcation are beginning to blur, when it comes to an apt description of “PTSD”. There are factions forming inside, and outside, the Psychological and Psychiatric sectors of the Veterans Administration, each with their own moniker and justification; such as, “Munchausen’s Syndrome” (fantasy) (hypochondria to elicit sympathy), “False Memory Syndrome”, “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder”, “Stolen Valor”, “Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome”, “Post-traumatic Growth”. And, now; “Moral Injury”.

The word syndrome is explicitly a pattern, or set of repeating symptoms, and carries with it a demeaning and insulting connotation.  I have never seen growth occur from any traumatic experience(s). I don’t think people “grow” from killing other people; from seeing dead bodies strewn at their feet; from the smell of burning flesh ; the smell of gun powder. I have recently run across yet another terminology for this mental disorder: moral injury. This categorization shows how far the Rulers of the Mental Health Community are willing to go in their unspoken desire of getting rid of the damn problem.

I have also come to realize that finding a “cure” for PTSD can be as elusive as a greased pig at the County Fair. The front line caregivers all too often have a recognizable visage of pure frustration when certain treatments just don’t seem to work. I know, first hand, that these first responder Clinicians feel that they have failed. In the long run, how can you expect anyone to succeed when facing the stiff headwinds of a Country bent on pushing this ailment into oblivion?

The Lords of War have forgotten that the very group they are trying to silence is willing to go back to War on this subject. The Veteran Community can muster its collective strength, stand up, and say, “enough is enough”. Go no farther the PTSD.

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