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Combat Stress Goes From Bad To Worse Without Treatment

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by batgirl, Jul 17, 2007.

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  1. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

    Forget the old stigmas. Seeking treatment for injuries sustained while deployed doesn't make a weaker Marine. In fact, problems that are ignored could potentially be worse in the long run. It's easy to recognize a gunshot or shrapnel wound. The physical scars will stay with a Marine for a lifetime. The Wounded Warrior Center here is able to assist those Marines, while time and physical therapy can help them rehabilitate. But what about injuries that can't be seen?

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries are some of the harder-to-spot injuries that combat veterans face. Because there is no visible physical wound, these problems are more difficult to diagnose, said Dr. John Sentell, chief of Mental Health Service at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

    When a improvised explosive device detonates near a service member, the concussion from the blast can damage the brain by jostling in the skull, Sentell said. The result can be loss of short-term memory, decreased concentration and sudden personality shifts. For some service members, it's not until months after their deployment ends before they realize they might have a problem.

    Recently, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has moved into the national media spotlight. PTSD is a condition that develops after someone has experienced a life-threatening situation, like combat, which has caused an emotional reaction involving intense fear. People with PTSD have the same three kinds of symptoms for months after the incident: envisioning the event over and over, avoiding things that remind them of the event and feeling "keyed up" or on edge all the time.

    "You're not with the guys that you spent everyday for the last seven months with anymore," said Navy Seaman Apprentice Daniel Fox, a 23-year-old corpsman from Boston. "It's a lot of adjustments, especially if you're working with new people."

    The Marine Corps has made help easily available in light of the number of service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan with PTSD problems. If a Marine doesn't feel comfortable talking to a corpsman or peers about receiving help, Marine Corps Community Services has counselors available. Once a Marine is treated and leaves the military, his record is sealed, Cook said. So Marines don't have to be worried about a medical record of PTSD following them around. But a bigger worry, Cook said, would be letting the untreated disorder affect them for the rest of their life.

    Source: Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Sapp, MCB Camp Pendleton
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  3. Beachbum

    Beachbum Active Member

    I've been doing a lot of research into 'diagnosis' of PTSD & how actually a lot of people really have brain/central nervous system/neurological damage - very interesting & important! eg: Soldiers are often exposed to 'brain shear' from explosions etc AND nerve toxins/insecticides etc (crossover with Gulf War Syndrome) - these can cause very similar symptoms to PTSD (lots info on problems differentiating between Gulf War Syndome & PTSD). Then the person realises they have lost half their brain-power, can't do things that were easy before & gets accute anxiety/stress etc. ABI survivors (Aquired Brain Injury) ALL have bad problems with anxiety/sleep etc... seems that it could well be POLICY (both medical & military) to NOT do MRIs on everybody with weird brain/stress problems that could well be neurological in origin - funny that later on in the process, when they DO do an MRI, they find severe brain changes. It is of course cheaper & less financial liability for both medics AND military to 'diagnose' PTSD rather than brain damage! This brain damage can also apply to kids/anyone who has been battered/beaten/bashed & of course traffic accidents (including whiplash) can easily cause brain damage. Interestingly, there is a lot of research that shows some anaesthetic drugs cause 'PTSD-like symptoms' - and some of these drugs are neuro-toxic, this may have a bearing on 'anaesthetic awareness' survivors... Is there anyone out there doing GOOD research: eg: do MRIs on loads of soldiers straight after explosions/injury etc = SEE if brain damage... then of course PTSD can follow aswell: terror at not able to do/understand as before AND that the event (that was SURVIVED)that caused this terrible change, becomes yet MORE terrible in the person's mind. There is something called 'diagnostic overshadowing' : patients are labelled as purely 'psychiatric' cases, then a very high percentage (if docs BOTHER to refer for real investigations) actually have REAL physical/neurological damage, but the medics say it's 'imagined' - trouble is, we trust the medics & it's a rare & brave person who dares persist & NOT accept a shaky 'diagnosis' & fights (against all odds!) to find out the truth. Hmmmmm, wadda ya all think?
  4. rainmakerty

    rainmakerty New Member

    Absolutely correct. You have an incredible insight, especially with talking about the meds.
  5. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    I'm sure this is the case once in awhile; however PTSD is a brain injury in itself. Most people with the diagnosis of PTSD have gone through the ringer before they end up with that diagnosis. In my experience, it's not handed out on a dime.

    There are always going to be cases where people are diagnosed with PTSD and they don't have it or not diagnosed with it when they do. It's an unfortunate fact of life.

  6. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Nice post beachbum.... insightful and well stated. Research absolutely does state those aspects regarding some veteran aspects from prior conflicts. Agent Orange was the more well known of them.
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