Veterans, PTSD and Addiction

Veterans, PTSD and Addiction

A vulnerable class of Americans: Veterans, PTSD and Addiction Veterans often cope with stress after returning from multiple deployments. They may also suffer from illnesses and injuries that can contribute to a substance use disorder. Addiction delays an already complex social reintegration process and can have negative repercussions. However, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers treatment plans to support veterans as they recover from substance use disorders. Many veterans wrestle with stress from deployments to combat zones. The stressful military life coupled with injuries and illnesses puts them at an increased risk for substance use disorders. A growing number of veterans turn to drugs to cope with the pressure of societal reintegration after the military. With a 52.7 percent increase in outpatient veterans treated for substance abuse disorders from 1995 to 2013, it is undeniable that addiction is a major concern among the veteran community. Between 2006 and 2009, the army reported that more than 45 percent of the 397 noncombat related deaths investigated were the result of an alcohol or drug overdose. Substance use and abuse often starts during military service and can be exasperated by deployment cycles, combat and subsequent PTSD and other challenges after separation from…

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Divorce, PTSD and Broken Heart Have Common Emotions

Divorce, PTSD and Broken Heart Have Common Emotions

Broken Heart, Divorce, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Have Common Threads & Symptoms. PTSD has been spotlighted in returning war Veterans but it also affects millions of people who suffer, or witness, a tragedy or loss. Any form of traumatic incident, including, “mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes”[1] are susceptible to PTSD and its symptoms. That means that significant emotional trauma, like divorce, dissolution of partnership, discovery of infidelity, breach of trust and many other events can induce PTSD. A broken heart and PTSD can be commonly associated. Ms. Melissa Kantor, author of The Breakup Bible, relates a candid and vivid description of a painful break-up and that “the pain can feel agonizing, all-encompassing, and eternal. Many describe that the actual breakup and ensuing weeks feel like an out-of-body experience. Along with the suffering comes a roller coaster of complex feelings: embedded grief, abandonment and fear, guilt, monstrous rage, [and even] seeing healthy people behave insanely when they have been rejected.” Depending on the length of the relationship, depth of emotional vesting and how the relationship ended are all causal factors…

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PTSD Injury Not Disorder

PTSD Injury Not Disorder

PTSD should be categorized as a PTSD Injury, or PTSI. “Post-traumatic stress disorder” is a label given to a set of symptoms set forth in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association 1994), the clinical manual treatment providers used to determine diagnoses. DSM-5 was revised in 2013 as an update to the 1994 edition, but in many experts’ opinions, the draft model which was surrounded by controversy, did not go far enough. During the drafting and debate process, even experts in the field were unable to agree on diagnosis, and what characteristics and symptoms will be considered diagnostic for the disorder, as well as the future name for PTSD. The name, PTSD, was created in 1980 as a new diagnosis, and further codified in DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association 1994. PTSD was used most often in reference to victims of combat, the term was “shell shock,” “battle fatigue” and “soldier’s heart.” Diagnoses in any medical specialty are important because they allow for standardization of diagnosis and treatment by the medical and mental health communities as well as reimbursement and payment by insurers. Having the PTSD diagnosis has helped millions of people in various ways: It gave…

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22 Veterans Lives Lost Each Day At Home

22 Veterans Lives Lost Each Day At Home

22 Veterans lives lost each day to self-inflicted wounds For those who have served, these are like brothers and sisters, regardless of how well, or even if you knew them. Clay Hunt, US Marine Corps Veteran and sniper, was one of the casualties of war who survived the battlefield, but lost his life to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and emotional trauma. This weekend, there are a series of memorial runs sponsored by Team Rubicon around the country to commemorate Clay Hunt’s life, bring awareness to the tremendous cost and keep the matter of Veteran care on the front burner. Through efforts of IAVA, the nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and in a rare convergence of human decency and common sense, Congress has passed a bill and President Obama will sign it. H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (Clay Hunt SAV Act), introduced by Rep. Timothy J. Waltz (D-MN), is named for a Marine Corps veteran and sniper who took his own life in 2011, after having served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was just one of the estimated 8,000 Veterans lives lost to self-inflicted wounds each year. This is the…

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Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Support Letter

Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Support Letter

April 7, 2012 John M Oldham, MD President The American Psychiatric Association 1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825 Arlington, VA 22209-3901 Dear Dr. Oldham: We write to you in support of the request from General (Ret) Peter Chiarelli that the American Psychiatric Association change the name Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) in its next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. When he first made this request, General Chiarelli was Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Now retired, General Chiarelli is CEO of the corporation, One Mind for Research. This request pertains only to the name, and expresses no opinion on the existing DSM-IV or proposed DSM-V criteria. General Chiarelli’s request springs from the culture of the U.S. Armed Forces, which finds the label “Disorder” to be stigmatizing, compared to the term “Injury,” which is not. General Chiarelli represents soldiers who suffer in silence. He has concluded that changing the name of PTSD to PTSI will reduce barriers to care, with palpable benefit to his service members, their families, and the nation. General Chiarelli comes forward as suicide rates of young veterans are on the rise, as media attention to invisible wounds of…

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