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Stress Sparks Standoff

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by batgirl, May 15, 2007.

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  1. batgirl

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    The wife of an Edmonton-based soldier in a two-hour standoff with police Friday night said the military needs to do more to tackle post-traumatic stress disorder. Megan, who didn't want her last name published, said her husband has been suffering with the disorder since he returned last August from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

    "My husband is so severely mentally disturbed from PTSD," Megan told Sun Media. "Our lives are completely affected by PTSD. It's so sad that this is what my husband has to go through. He just wants to live a normal life."

    Officers were called about 9:30 p.m. Friday to an apartment complex at 16221 95 St. Megan said her husband wouldn't let her leave with the couple's baby, so she called 911 to report the domestic dispute. The man's wife and baby were eventually able to leave the suite, and police negotiated with the soldier with help from a military padre. The standoff ended peacefully around 11:30 p.m., when the soldier was escorted into an ambulance and taken to hospital.

    No charges are expected to be laid, police said yesterday.

    Megan said her husband, who also went to Bosnia, has been experiencing constant flashbacks and has been unable to make the adjustment back to life in Edmonton.

    "My husband can barely walk into a grocery store. He can't pay bills and he can't look after our child," she explained. "It's a scary realization. He's very proud of what he does, but it messed him up so bad. He's seen a lot. He's been exposed to quite a bit."

    Megan said the military is doing all it can right now, but that isn't enough.

    "Families are being severely destroyed and torn apart because of the condition these guys are brought home in," she said. "I don't think the military has enough support on base to deal with everything."

    Vancouver-based psychiatrist Dr. Greg Passey, a PTSD specialist who retired from the Canadian Forces in 2000 after 22 years of service, said the military has refused to study the effects of the disorder for over a decade.

    "I've been suggesting they do so since 1993. The military has been running blind on this for nearly 15 years. No Canadian study has been undertaken to look at the true number of soldiers coming back from service with PTSD," Passey told Sun Media. He said the only scientific research on the disorder is coming out of the U.S. and estimates that at least 6% of soldiers are psychologically crippled by the disorder.

    "Depending on which study you look at, the numbers are even higher. Front-line infantry in combat outside the wire are far more likely to develop PTSD," he said.

    Statistics from Second World War soldiers suggest up to 24% were afflicted with PTSD, he said.

    "We know that PTSD is causing a significant number of psychological casualties among soldiers," said Passey. "Add to that the fact our military members do multiple tours in short periods - take Bosnia or Kosovo for example - and the effects should be obvious. Unfortunately no one is looking to quantify them from a scientific perspective. I don't know why (the government) isn't, but it should be."

    Source: Cary Castagna, Edmonton Sun
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