Friday, April 4, 2014

Another tragedy at Ft. Hood

submitted to Newsday (Long Island's new
the face of PTSD
spaper) / Op-Ed & Letters to the Editor

First, let’s get one thing very clear. Not everyone suffering from PTSD is a homicidal, psychotic, ticking time bomb. So, I implore the Media, and the Country, to cease and desist in their blanket insinuations that Service members with PTSD are all an imminent danger to Society.

The most recent tragedy at Ft. Hood, Texas, lends further evidence to the premise that the U. S. Armed Forces still have not gotten a grip on the affliction of and personnel struggles with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) [1]. The latest shooting spree in Texas hi-lights the inability of our Armed Forces structure when it comes to dealing with the psychological devastation of this most common malady during and after periods of war.

In this respect, alone, the Veterans Administration Medical System is light years ahead of the Services creating this mess. The United States has been fighting wars, large and small, since its inception. One might rationally deduce that, by now, we would have properly addressed this malady. Our Armed Forces clearly know that PTSD, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), and other mental and psychological illnesses caused by War are very quickly diagnosed and treatable. Although there is no “cure” for the likes of PTSD, there are a number of effective treatment protocols used to lessen the effects and allow our Soldiers to live with it.

This latest shooting at Ft. Hood should never have happened. There exists a very concise set of criteria that determines whether one has PTSD, or not. There is a set of questions that, over the years, has proven to be an accurate test for a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, and this young Soldier should have been diagnosed in the fifteen, or twenty, minutes it takes to run down a set of fifteen questions [2]. The blood of the dead and wounded in Texas is on the hands of our Army and its Medical Corps. for not handling this Soldier in the correct manner.

HUTCH DUBOSQUE, Vice President
PTSD Veterans Association of Northport, Inc.
PO Box 194, Northport, NY   11768
10 Woolsey St., Huntington, New York   11743

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and taking care of yourself, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely shake up your life. In a case such as this, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Getting treatment as soon as possible after post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms develop may prevent long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms typically start within three months of a traumatic event. In a small number of cases, though, PTSD symptoms may not appear until years after the event.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are generally grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyper arousal).
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
·         Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
·         Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include:
·         Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
·         Feeling emotionally numb
·         Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
·         Hopelessness about the future
·         Memory problems
·         Trouble concentrating
·         Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include:
·         Irritability or anger
·         Overwhelming guilt or shame
·         Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much
·         Trouble sleeping
·         Being easily startled or frightened
·         Hearing or seeing things that aren't there
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can come and go. You may have more post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms when things are stressful in general, or when you run into reminders of what you went through. You may hear a car backfire and relive combat experiences, for instance. Or you may see a report on the news about a rape and feel overcome by memories of your own assault.

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