Friday, August 31, 2007

PTSD Vet Of Iraq War Honored In Launch Of Foundation

Aug 30, 2007 4:27 pm US/Central
Vet Of Iraq War Honored In Launch Of Foundation (AP) Minneapolis Robert Herubin knew his friend Jonathan Schulze, after a tour of combat duty in Iraq, was on a downward spiral.

Depressed, drinking heavily and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, nobody was able to reach the troubled Marine before he killed himself in January. Herubin and others close to the Purple Heart recipient wondered what more could have been done. An answer has since emerged in the form of the Jonathan Schulze "I Can't Hear You" Foundation, which aims to pair veterans returning from combat with other veterans who have experienced war. Such a relationship might have saved Schulze, believes Herubin, himself a veteran of the first Gulf War.

"This is about these guys being able to talk to someone who's been there and done that.

Someone who knows what it's like to fight and kill," he said. Herubin came up with the foundation's name while he was at Schulze's wake. Herubin had placed a cap next to Schulze's body with the words "I Can't Hear You!" emblazoned across the front.
It's a phrase often doled out by drill instructors to their timid new recruits, but as Herubin stared into Schulze's coffin, it suddenly meant something else. "You were right there," Herubin recalled thinking, "and I couldn't hear you." The group is launching its first chapter at a VFW post in suburban Prior Lake, where Herubin first met Schulze after he returned from Iraq and a grueling tour that included door-to-door combat in the city of Fallujah. go here for the rest

If you watched Death Because They Served (video at the bottom of this blog) you will see Jonathan in the video, along with over a hundred more. It took a long time to find their stories. Stories very few even want to hear, yet these men and women, so wounded by combat, could not find anyone to help them heal. Love cannot cure PTSD no more than time can. You cannot wish it away or ignore it away. Jonathan tired to get the help he needed but it wasn't there for him when he needed it. Too many have been sent away because no one bothered to prepare for these combat wounded before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq happened. History had already recorded the battle wounds of those who came from other wars, in other times and in nations around the world because history knew those who participated in combat were only humans exposed to the most horrific experiences known to man.

There are many who succeeded in committing suicide, while many more have tired. They have been redeployed tragically wounded with a boat load of pills to keep them useful, instead of healing their wounded minds. Rob Withrow is one of them. He tried to commit suicide four times but they sent him back all the same.

Broken Warrior: One soldier's struggleFirst it was the horrors of Iraq. Now, Rob Withrow is locked in a fight with his own Army superiors.
He wants mental health treatment -- they want him to face a court-martial

Rob Withrow was a good soldier until he got back from combat duty in Iraq.
Now by his own admission, he is no longer anyone's idea of a model fighting man. He screwed up, and he's screwed up -- an assessment the Army would agree with.

Mike Urban / P-I

U.S. Army soldier Rob Withrow, photographed among the yellow ribbons tied to the Freedom Bridge across Interstate 5 near Fort Lewis. Since his problems began, Withrow has been reduced in rank from sergeant to private.
But that's where their agreement ends.

Withrow wants mental health treatment. He has tried to commit suicide four times since returning from Iraq. He has been hospitalized in Madigan Army Medical Center's inpatient psychiatric unit on multiple occasions and is currently on a cocktail of antidepressants and psychoactive drugs. He is a month out of treatment for an addiction to narcotic pain pills that he began taking to "numb out" the month he returned from Iraq and he does not fit the Army's new criteria for deployment.
But now the Army wants to redeploy him to Iraq, and court- martial him over there.
The charges stem from his pattern of not showing up on time, or sometimes at all.
He is not the only one this happened too. There have been over 22,000 given a dishonorable discharge instead of being appreciated and treated for their wounds received while serving the directives of this administration. They have done every duty the other wounded and fallen accomplished and yet their wounds are to be ignored, treated as a burden to society and cast aside as if suddenly they are no use to the military they loved and the nation they served.

The shame is shared by everyone in this nation who believes sticking a removable magnet to the back of their vehicle is all that is needed to support those we send. It is remarkable that this is also the attitude they show to the wounded where their "support" is as removable as the magnet that leaves no trace when taken away. The traces they cannot see or feel because that is reserved for those who truly cared about them and for them.

Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dave Matthews fighting for those who fight for us

Why do veterans have to fight for their wounds to be treated and to be compensated for what they have lost? What about the dignity of those who have earned everything they are asking for and need? Why do they have to beg and plead with the country for help that should have been ready and waiting for them? kc

Dave Matthews Fights for Vets' Rights
Load: jimstaro
Dave Matthews Fights for Traumatized Troops

Voices: Pushes to Ensure Those Who Served Aren't Denied Disability Benefits Matthews Urges Better Care for Troops

Dave Matthews Band Petition Drive Urges Better Mental Health Care for Troops For more information on the Dave Matthews...Tags: Iraq Afganistan War VeteransRights Veterans DaveMatthewsBand MilitaryCare

Spc. John R. Fish death suspected suicide

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas — U.S. Army officials have found the body of a 19-year-old soldier who vanished this week from a desert training range in Texas and they say he apparently killed himself.

Searchers found Spc. John R. Fish, clad in his Army uniform, Wednesday afternoon while flying over a patch of rugged desert surrounding the Dona Ana Base Camp, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Fort Bliss in New Mexico, said Jean Offutt, a fort spokeswoman. His body was found about 1 1/2 miles (2.4 kilometers) north of the camp.

Fish suffered what investigators believe to be a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Offutt said. His weapon was found near his body, Offutt said.

Fish was reported missing Monday morning when he did not show up for morning roll call. Army officials later found a handwritten note on his bunk reading: "I have some things to take care of. I won't be coming back."

Fish vanished that morning wearing his camouflage uniform and carrying a squad automatic weapon.

He served a yearlong tour in Iraq, returning in November, but was assigned largely non-combat jobs, said Lt. Col. Ina Yahn, who commands Fish's 589th Brigade Support Battalion.

Owen Wilson suicide attempt big news, 948 military deployed and no one cares

Police reports confirm Owen Wilson's suicide attempt
New Zealand Herald - New ZealandPolice have confirmed a call made from Owen Wilson's house was logged as a 'suicide attempt'. Photo / Reuters Owen Wilson did attempt suicide, ...See all stories on this topic

Owen: Suicide Bid Confirmed
Sky News - United KingdomIt was widely reported that the Oscar-nominated comedian had carried out a suicide attempt, after several media reports carried quotes from sources close to ...See all stories on this topic

Owen Wilson's Future Projects In Doubt After Apparent Suicide Attempt - USAIn the few days since Owen Wilson was hospitalized for an apparent suicide attempt on August 26, many are already speculating what this means for the comedy ...See all stories on this topic

Coverage of Owen Wilson suicide attempt vastly different from last ...Pegasus News - Dallas,TX,USAOn Monday night I saw stories floating on the web that Owen Wilson had allegedly tried to commit suicide on Sunday. Comparisons to the coverage of Wilson's ...See all stories on this topic

Did Owen Seek Salvation Before Suicide Attempt?
By TMZ Staff Filed under: Let's Get This Party Started. Just a couple of days before his brother Luke apparently saved his life, Owen Wilson may have tried to save his soul in a Santa Monica church.Us reports that a "depressed" Wilson went -

Owen Wilson Suicide Attempt: Suicide Reports Depressing Accurate
By Stuart Heritage Owen Wilson suicide attempt 911 log book kate hudson There's still been no official confirmation from the Wilson family that Owen Wilson tried to kill himself by taking an overdose of pills and slashing his wrist on Saturday, ...Hecklerspray -

Yet in the New York Times, this was ignored by the majority of the country.

The report said that the 99 confirmed suicides by active-duty soldiers compared with 87 in 2005 and that it was the highest raw number since 102 suicides were reported in 1991, the year of the Persian Gulf War.
Investigations are pending on two other deaths.
Officials reported 948 suicide attempts, but there were no comparisons for previous years.

It was also ignored what the VA said about suicides in their system of 1,000 per year and another 5,000 out of their system per year. This means that although there were 99 confirmed suicides in active military and another two suspected, another 948 attempts, another 1,000 veterans succeeded along with 5,000 more, they only ones the media latched hold of were the 99.

Lesson learned: Movie stars attempt suicide and world pays attention. Our troops and veterans attempt suicide and no one cares. Maybe it's because they think the military are willing to risk their lives anyway so it's no big deal, but a movie star has so much to live for it really is a shame.

Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Study: 1 in 8 Ground Zero workers had post-traumatic stress

Study: 1 in 8 Ground Zero workers had post-traumatic stress
7:27 PM EDT, August 29, 2007

One in eight recovery and rescue workers who helped with the months-long cleanup at the World Trade Center showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a study has found.Workers with little or no prior experience with disasters showed the highest frequency of PTSD, said the study, published Wednesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The data come from the World Trade Center Health Registry's survey of 28,000 workers in 2003 and 2004.The survey found that 12.4 percent of workers likely had PTSD, an anxiety disorder caused by traumatic events such as war, terrorism or assault. Nationally, about 4 percent of the population has PTSD, the report said.

click post title for the rest

PTSD wounded minds and tortured souls

The three great religions of the world claim the same God as their own. All claim kinship with Abraham. All worship in Jerusalem. All of these humans, all calling out to the same God. Why? Because there is hope. Hope that a divine Someone, creator of heaven and earth, is so powerful, He can care about even them.

When traumatic events happen, they call out in anguish "why" as they witness the horrors committed by other humans or the wrath of nature's fury. They look toward heaven questioning every belief they ever had including the very existence of God. We all question it. Even Mother Teresa did as it has just been released. For some, faith is restored soon after the event ends.

For me, it came with the loss of twins I was carrying. Four and a half months of joy and expectation followed by a miscarriage. I questioned my faith that up until then had been as natural to me as breathing. For the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to be abandoned by God. It only lasted a few days before I was standing at the office door, just as the sun was beginning to rise. The sky turned purple. In that moment, as I looked at the magnificent dawn, I knew I had not been abandoned, but had let go of the Hand I had always held, just when I needed it the most. In a lifetime of tragedies and trials, I have seen only moments of the effects a traumatic experience can have. Even now as I do what I do and have to see the pictures, hear the stories and read the accounts, they are only glimpses of what others are living with. They haunt me some nights and I get very depressed from time to time when I think I've just heard enough, but those dark times pass.

For those with PTSD, those dark days do not pass. There is no spectacular message delivered. There is the sense of abandonment that does not go away. This I've heard from more than 80% of those I am in contact with. It is one of the most reported events within the traumatic event. How can a human not question God when they witness the devastation of the land and everything they owned? How can they not question the existence of a loving God when they see what he allows humans to do to other humans without stopping them? How can they not question their faith and everything they believed in when within seconds, it was all violently challenged?

For combat veterans, they are not just witnesses to carnage, they are participants. No matter how noble the belief that what they are doing is right, they will blame themselves. A soldier forced to kill a child because that child was sent as an assassin. A Marine forced to kill a woman because she was also wearing a bomb vest. A young soldier too frightened to be cool with a loaded machine gun opens fire and kills an innocent driver because he did not follow the warning directions in a language he did not understand. They blame themselves when a friend dies as well. They wonder why they were able to survive but their friend didn't. All this causes them to feel guilty, judged and abandoned. Some will believe they deserved to be abandoned, while others will begin to wonder if what they understood God to be had been totally wrong.

At the same time their emotions were assaulted, their faith was equally assaulted by the trauma.

When the psychiatric community and the spiritual community join forces, the recovery is stronger. This I found out by accident. With the backlog of claims and many veterans unable to get into the treatment they need, I resorted to advising them to seek out their clergy. Knowing they were trained in psychology, they seemed to be the logical choice. Given the fact most of clergy training is underutilized, as well as knowing the urgent need to get the veteran into some kind of therapy as soon as possible, there was no other option. I couldn't tell them to just wait to get to see someone at the VA.

There is also the issue of careers involved. There are some worried about security clearances for example and they cannot even see a government psychologist. There are some who have been discharged under the "personality disorder" tag and they can't see a VA psychologist while also dealing with financial problems.

The veterans turning to the clergy end up beginning to reconnect with God. For Christians, they rediscover the same loving God they knew in their childhood who loved the world so much He sent Jesus. For Jewish and Muslim believers they too find that same connection they had with the God of their faith. There is a spiritual hunger in each of us that some will fill with whatever comes their way but while most seek a bonding with God.

For the veterans with PTSD there is an urgency right now all across the country. Especially for the National Guard. The latest reported figure places National Guardsman at 50% PTSD and they do not have the resources to find the community support they need as they return to their lives, jobs and pressures of normal civilian life. I think the answer is for the religious teachers across the country to minister to the most needy in their community. When you help to heal a wounded veteran, you are also healing the family and friends they love. Isn't that what God would expect out of you? Heal their wounded souls while the psychological community heals their minds and you will move mountains. You will help hold families together until they can get the medical care they need. I've seen it enough times already when a veteran begins to reconnect with God, they heal faster and better, families are reconnected to each other and forgiveness is possible. The clergy need to step up and provide the dawn of a new day for our wounded.

Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Extending Tours, Stressing Troops

Features > August 29, 2007
Extending Tours, Stressing Troops
By Sarah Olson
Exhausted members of Bravo Company, 1st Armored Division, 6th Infantry Regiment, relax after a long patrol in Mahmuydiyah, Irag. On the wall behind them are messages of support from children in the United States.
Share Digg Reddit Newsvine Justin Thompson, 23, proposed to Erin underneath the Eiffel Tower last February. The photos of the two on her MySpace page have the hallmarks of a young couple in love. Thompson can’t wait to get back to Lacey, Wash., to get married, and go to college. There’s one problem: Thompson is in Baghdad, serving his second deployment as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, and he is losing hope that he’ll ever be allowed to leave.

Sgt. Thompson, assigned to the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Second Infantry Division, was first deployed to Iraq in November 2003. When his unit returned to the United States one year later, he immediately started hearing rumors of redeployment and stop-loss—the military’s age-old policy that compels soldiers to continue serving during wartime, even after their contract expires. Four months later, the rumors were confirmed and Thompson was stop-lossed. Despite exhibiting signs of combat-related depression—uncontrolled anger and heavy drinking, for which he was repeatedly disciplined—Thompson redeployed to Iraq on June 28, 2006, exactly one day after his contract with the Army expired.

This April, while stationed in Baghdad, Thompson received another surprise. This second, involuntary tour would be extended by three months, as part of the Pentagon’s new policy that the Army’s standard tour of duty would be extended from 12 to 15 months. The news was devastating.

“I felt that I’d given everything I had to give,” Thompson says. “I felt that I’d pushed myself to the brink of insanity and back and that still wasn’t enough. I fought in a war I didn’t agree with, but I’d taken an oath saying that I would serve, so I did. I felt used up.”

The Pentagon made this decision in spite of a growing body of medical research—all of which was available before the policy change—that shows longer tours are a primary cause of combat-related stress. Research also shows longer tours increase the psychological impact of traumatic experiences on soldiers, correlate to an increase in combat ethics violations, and put intense strains on military families. In short, increasing the length of deployment puts American soldiers, their families and Iraqis in danger.

click post title for the rest

Traumatic brain injury: Common wound of war

Traumatic brain injury: Common wound of war

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Aug 29, 2007 5:42:03 EDT

Sitting in a fast-food restaurant near Fort Belvoir, Va., Army Master Sgt. Jose Santiago, his knee bouncing up and down, asked to switch to another table.

“Since I got back, I don’t like to be around dirty things,” he said, wiping a wet spot from the new table with a napkin.

He then settled in for a five-hour conversation that looped back over things he had already covered, stalled when he couldn’t remember a word he wanted to use and stopped when he tried to talk about how the first day of the Iraq war damaged his family.

“Did I already tell you that?” he asked, dozens of times, wincing when he feared he had.

Santiago, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear operations specialist, said he’s always been “a fast-tracker.”

He spent most of his school years in classes for gifted kids, made E-7 in nine years, and was picked for a special team assigned to look for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Now, he leaves for medical appointments three hours early — even if he knows the office is only 45 minutes away — because he gets lost easily. An alarm reminds him to take his eight medications. Worse, he forgets he already swallowed his pain or anti-depression pills, and gulps down another handful.

click post title for the rest

Hidden Battle Wounds: Local veteran struggles with PTSD

Hidden Battle Wounds: Local veteran struggles with PTSD

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2007 - 09:39 PM

By Rusty Ray
E-mail Biography
Barry Brown says he wrecked his car in Orangeburg a couple years ago.

He swerved to miss what he thought was a roadside bomb, and hit a delivery truck.

Little things take him instantly back to combat in Iraq, where he spent several months in the early stages of the war in 2003.

"The things you see on TV, movies, and documentaries, don't come close as far as a real person being there."

Brown says ever since he's been back here, his life has been a wreck because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"It's really hard for me to remember things, and try to concentrate,” Brown said. “My mind is on Iraq.”

click post title for the rest

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be sneaky

Runnin' Scared
This Is Your Brain On 9/11
Feeling jumpy? Could be that building you watched fall
by Karen A. Frenkel
August 28th, 2007 6:57 PM

If you witnessed the attacks on 9/11 up close and then continually had bad dreams, felt jumpy, kept thinking about what you saw, and avoided the site even several years later, chances are that parts of your brain were altered in subtle ways. According to scientists, such lingering symptoms and physical changes reflect an undiagnosed and long-term toll on mental health resulting from the attacks.

Recent studies at New York University and the New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center show enduring psychological and neurological repercussions in adult witnesses near the World Trade Center that day, and in children who lost a parent in the tragedy.

According to the researchers, adults who appeared hardy and functional—and who weren't diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after 9/11—nevertheless do show some symptoms of PTSD and may be vulnerable to mental disorders in the future.

People afflicted with full-blown PTSD relive their terrifying ordeal through nightmares, flashbacks, and upsetting thoughts, and lose interest in activities that were once important to them. They also feel alone, are unable to relax, and remain on guard. click post title for the rest

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be sneaky. Some can have mild PTSD symptoms for many years. What is not talked about often enough, is that mild PTSD can and does spiral out of control when another traumatic event happens. It's almost as if people just accept the changes in them, adapt to those changes and function adequately enough to get by.

They will go on for years with stings of marriages and countless jobs while not seeing any need to seek help, usually because they don't know what caused the change in them. Then, suddenly, another traumatic event happens. This secondary stressor hits them hard once they have already been wounded.

The secondary stressor hits fast and furiously. It happened to my husband. It happened to a lot of Vietnam vets. Within the last ten years, veterans of the Gulf War, Korea and even WWII, have been showing up at VA hospitals and clinics around the world suddenly finding they cannot cope with what is happening to them.

Max Cleland, reached being a senator and head of the VA. He had been treated for depression since Vietnam cost him his legs and arm but having PTSD was the furthest thing from his mind. It turns out that when the carnage of Iraq made it into the news, Max discovered he really had problems much larger than he thought. He was not able to cope with the changes within him. He was then diagnosed with PTSD. It just snuck up on him without warning.

If we understand what PTSD is and get it into the category of a normal reaction to trauma for some people, then no one will ever dismiss the symptoms of it again. Treatment can begin early and stop PTSD before it becomes an insurgent waiting for the opportunity of a secondary stressor to hit before it attacks from within.

Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fort Carson still does not get it

Jodi Rave: Saving Private Ryan LeCompte, Lakota
Monday, August 27, 2007
Filed Under: Opinion

"It's been hell trying to save Private Ryan.

Pfc. Ryan LeCompte, an Army scout, has been diagnosed by military and private doctors with post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury after serving two tours in Iraq with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

He came home with a wounded mind and a broken body.

Now senior officers want to get rid of him.

The 27-year-old Lakota warrior from Lower Brule, S.D., was a standout soldier, earning accolades for working “tirelessly, without complaint, despite the long hours and harsh conditions he faced,” according to a December 2003 award recommendation.

He participated in more than 160 combat missions.

click post title for the rest

Fort Carson still does not get what PTSD is. For starters, decision making is another injured part of the warrior. Short term memory loss is another. Mood swings with outbursts of anger along with sadness is another. Most get symptoms of obsessive compulsive actions where they will latch hold of something and are unable to let it go. Usually this is extreme worry. While treatment and medication will help, a great number of them will still seek their own self medicating by drinking and doing drugs. If they drink while in therapy, or do drugs, they are making a bad situation worse. They also have to deal with the fact that as each individual comes with a different chemistry, some medications can make their PTSD worse. It takes a long time to find the right medication along with the right dose to discover the right one for that individual.

If they are a problem in this process and want to stay in the military, then the military has to figure out a way to keep them in the military without placing them into greater jeopardy along with their comrades. Once they are in recovery, therapy and medication working, most of the side effects of PTSD calm down. They can still be an effective soldier, just not in the same way. The military is made up of a lot of different duties and not all of them involve combat roles. Discharging or "getting rid" of them, does not make sense and it also sends a message to the rest of the military that the wounded are no longer welcome among their ranks.

It takes a rare person to find it within them to enter into the military. It is an even rarer person who goes into combat. Ryan LeCompte had a history of being a rare breed. He didn't suddenly change into something less because he was wounded. He just needs help to return to wellness. The military can spend money and time to train them to go into combat. They need to remember that they also have to spend time to heal them when they come back. If they are willing to stay in the military, then the military has an obligation to provide them with the tools to do it.

Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Understanding and Treating Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Understanding and Treating Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Produced by: University of Washington
February 28, 2006
Description: Psychological disorders following exposure to trauma include personal suffering, decreased productivity, occupational and social dysfunction, medical disorders and demands on health services. In this talk, Drs. Zoellner and Bryant review current research associated with the persistence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the variety of viable options that exist for treatment. Speakers also explore treatment options and focus on the effectiveness of both therapies and medications.
Speaker(s):Lori Zoellner, associate professor, department of Psychology, University of Washington Richard Bryant, professor, University of New South Wales

go here to hear PTSD explained in plain English but with a accent.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Raising GIs' mental health care discussed

Raising GIs' mental health care discussed

Web Posted: 08/25/2007 09:53 PM CDT

Abe Levy

Fueled by growing public support for better resources for soldiers wounded in Iraq, a local partnership of military and civilian mental health agencies has formed to expand the fight against post-traumatic stress disorder — not only for military personnel, but their spouses and children.

And federal lawmakers appear supportive, proposing billions in new funding toward the cause and vowing to beef up mental health care services at military hospitals and clean up subpar standards at Veterans Affairs hospitals.

They're also supporting a plan to fund civilian contracts for health care services that includes help for military families, a move many say recognizes the link between post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and depression, spousal and child abuse, and suicide.

click post title for the rest

War and Diplomats

War and diplomats

Trinidad & Tobago Express - Port-of-Spain,Trinidad and Tobago

It is said that many become "changed persons" suffering from what is professionally diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder.

go there to read the rest

PTSD study of children shows changes in brain

When you read this, you are going to find some idiot claiming people with PTSD have smaller brains. After all, everything they can find to place blame on another human, they will jump at. If they do, they are the ones who are missing parts of their own brain and soul as well.

Study after study comes out proving the changes in the brain with people who have PTSD. It is not something that was already there. It came after trauma. This study in children exposed to trauma should be enough to cause everyone to become more aware of what PTSD is and what causes it.

Study finds emotional trauma can alter size of a child's brain
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hoping to unlock some of the mysteries of post-traumatic stress disorder in children, a Stanford University researcher looked inside their heads.

What Dr. Victor Carrion found was startling: Children with PTSD and exposure to severe trauma had smaller brains.

Carrion found a nearly 9 percent reduction in the size of the hippocampus, a horseshoe-shaped sheet of neurons that deals with memory and emotions.

The study, released earlier this year, was just a first step toward understanding the physical effects of trauma and why some children have a greater ability to ward off physical and mental reactions.

The disorder is relatively new to the psychiatric community. PTSD was officially included in the list of mental disorders in 1980, but only for adults. Children were added in 1987. Early PTSD studies focused on Vietnam War vets and rape victims.

More recent research shows the rates in children depend on the type of trauma:

-- Parental homicide or sexual assault: nearly 100 percent.

-- Sexual abuse: 90 percent.

-- School shooting: 77 percent.

-- Ongoing community violence: 35 percent.

click post title for the rest

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Helping veterans heal, grow after war

August 25th, 2007 9:31 pm
Helping veterans heal, grow after war

By Guy Kovner / Press Democrat

Nadia McCaffrey knows the sorrow of war firsthand.

Her son, Army Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey of Tracy, was killed in Iraq in June 2004, and a year later the Pentagon admitted he and another California National Guardsman, 1st Lt. Andre Tyson of Riverside, had been killed by Iraqi civil defense officers attached to their patrol.

They served in Iraq with Petaluma-based A Company of the Guard's 579th Engineer Battalion, which suffered a third casualty -- Sgt. 1st Class Michael Ottolini, a Sebastopol hay truck driver, killed by a roadside bomb.

About 20 North Bay members of the 579th Engineers are about to leave for a year-long tour in Iraq, following a farewell ceremony Thursday at New Jersey's Fort Dix.

McCaffrey, a French-born hospice caregiver-turned-antiwar-activist, wants to make sure they have help and good care when they get back.

On Sunday, McCaffrey, will unveil her latest initiative at a public meeting in Petaluma. It's a campaign to place psychologically scarred veterans in jobs and the healing environments of small farms.

The Farmer-Veteran Coalition, backed by about 20 agricultural and veterans organizations, will be described at a meeting from noon to 3 p.m. at Elim Lutheran Church, 504 Baker St., Petaluma.

click post title for the rest

Researchers Examine Most Resilient Soldiers

Facing Combat Without Stress?
Researchers Examine Most Resilient Soldiers

By LISA CHEDEKEL | Courant Staff Writer
August 25, 2007

No one's trying to engineer the perfect soldier.


But if a network of researchers that includes clinicians at the veterans hospital in West Haven continues down the track they've set out on, troops heading off to war could someday be inoculated against combat stress.

"Are there ways to emotionally inoculate people? It's a new area of research," said Dr. Steven Southwick, deputy director of the Clinical Neurosciences Division of the National Center for PTSD, an arm of the Department of Veterans Affairs that is housed at the West Haven campus. "We do know there are factors that make some people resilient. There are genetic components to it, but there's a huge learning component. People can train themselves to be more resilient."

Nearly a decade ago, Southwick and his colleagues began studying the chemical and psychosocial factors that make some trauma survivors more resilient than others. Through extensive studies of Vietnam POWs and other trauma survivors, and U.S. special forces and Navy SEALs, the researchers have identified a dozen behavioral traits - and two stress-related hormones - that appear to buffer the effects of psychological trauma.

The findings could have implications for future training, screening and even medication of troops preparing for combat.

click post title for the rest

This would be good but in the process, what else will they give up? If they no long feel stress, what else will they not feel? If they no long have fear, then what else will this lead to?

Wounded and Waiting video, Why do wounded veterans have to wait

Here are some facts. Not spin. Not what the reporters feel like repeating when they use figures that the DOD claims from time to time, but the cold, hard facts. From burns, to amputations, to suicides and PTSD. Why do they have to fight the wars we send them to fight and then fight us to have those wounds taken care of? It's my latest video. I just got tired of screaming that while the media seems so focused on the reported 99 suicides last year, they failed to mention what the VA said was really happening when they come home. We talk a good game of "supporting" them but when we allow any of this to happen to them, we prove we only talk about support.

Go to the bottom of this blog for Wounded And Waiting and ask yourself if you would wait or if you would be fine with being one of the 600,000 backlogged claims, or one of the discharged under "personality disorder" because you had PTSD and a combat wound? Would you be fine with the media putting out figures that are false and do not include a family member who committed suicide because they couldn't get the care they were promised? Would you be ok with any of this? Then why do we expect them to be?

Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Friday, August 24, 2007

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research dumped personal info into trash

Army Lab Documents Found in Trash Bin
By Associated Press
9:40 AM EDT, August 21, 2007

SILVER SPRING, Md. - Boxes of documents containing personal information from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research were supposed to be shredded but instead turned up last week in a trash bin, police said.

A resident of a suburban Washington neighborhood near the Army medical research's campus found the boxes Friday and alerted Montgomery County police.

The files were research study records, said Cynthia Vaughn, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Medical Command. An investigation is under way to determine precisely what information they held and why they appeared off base, Vaughn said Monday. Police said most were from the late 1990s and were likely placed in the bin on the same day they were discovered.

Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention bill blocked by Coburn

The actual title of this post should be "Coburn would rather see vets commit suicide because they buy guns to do it." What the hell is wrong with this man? Does the NRA have such a tie to him that he would rather let combat wounded die because it may give other veterans a problem buying guns? Does he know how many of them commit suicide every year and most of them use a gun to do it?

I have no problem with people owning guns if they do it legally but I do have a problem with putting a loaded gun into the hands of a PTSD veteran who is on the verge of wanting to die and putting the gun into their hands. I do have a problem with unstable veterans with PTSD having guns because if they have a flashback that goes really bad, they can and do use those guns on their family members. I wonder if Coburn ever read the post I did on non-combat deaths so that he could see how many of them killed their family member before they committed suicide? I doubt he would ever read anything that didn't have a big fat donation attached to it.

Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

August 24, 2007
Suicide Bill Blocked
Filed under: PTSD, Legislation, Iraq, Mental Health, Suicide, Readjustment — Patrick Campbell @ 7:44 pm
Right before Congress broke for recess, both parties in the Senate agreed to pass the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention bill (S.479) with unanimous consent. The bill has passed unanimously in House in March. Unfortunately, one unnamed Senator (Coburn - OK) put a hold on it, essentially blocking passage, because this Senator worried that somehow increasing the number of veterans getting treated for PTSD and suicidal thoughts might prevent them later buying guns.

In a recent article in Congressional Quarterly (CQ) I called Coburn’s argument “ludicrous… a red herring.” I further elaborated that Coburn’s concerns more focused on gun control legislation then this suicide prevention bill.
click post title for the rest

“I saw his life fall off the face of the earth,”

For a friend, a special way to ask for help

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The guy has been a friend of John Powers since their middle school days in Cumberland. When Powers headed for the University of Rhode Island, his friend headed for the Marine Corps.

His friend came back from Afghanistan in 2005.

“I saw his life fall off the face of the earth,” says Powers. “He couldn’t get a job.”

It has been two years, and still Powers worries. His friend will be OK for a couple of months, then get caught in that dark, frightening confusion that the Marines never prepared him for. He’ll stop calling.

So Powers did something. He is 23 and he did something extraordinary. He looked at his friend and saw hundreds and thousands of others lined up behind him with the same terrible uncertainty about what’s going wrong and what should be done about it.

“I started reading and writing,” he says.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Home From War by Patience Mason

Home from War
By patience mason(patience mason)
Shrinks and family members tend to see the symptoms of PTSD as the problem. Not me. I see war as the problem and the symptoms of PTSD as solutions to the problem of war, something right with you, not something wrong with you. ...
Patience Mason's PTSD Blog -

I remember when very few of us were working on ending the stigma of PTSD because of Vietnam Vets, Patience was one of the few voices being heard. This was when most of us were still dealing with what was happening to our husbands and in turn, our families as well. While I was writing local newspapers, Patience was already on the net doing everything she could to catch the veteran's falling through the cracks. Back then I was still trying to figure out how to use a mouse. She already had a web page and a very large readership.

The early writers were Patience Mason, Mary Beth Williams, Aphrodite Matsakis and Jonathan Shay. In all the years I was researching PTSD, their's were among the best written on the subject. They were easy to understand and got into the personal side of PTSD along with how the families were also paying the price. I suggest reading all their works. Most of what I've learned came from them and heavy research into clinical books but left me feeling as if I were chewing on an emery board trying to get through those. If you really want to understand PTSD there is a wealth of knowledge out there from people who have been dealing with it since the term was coined following the Vietnam war.

Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Outward Bound program helps veterans heal their emotional scars

Outward Bound program helps veterans heal their emotional scars
By Conrad Mulcahy Published: August 24, 2007

THE nine men who climbed to the summit of the Colorado mountain were combat veterans who had fought in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.

Several knew the pain of bullets tearing through flesh. Others couldn't gather memories blown away by an explosion. Some had seen combat so close they killed with their knives.

They were a wary group of strangers, guarded and slow to trust, who had arrived at the Outward Bound Wilderness school in Leadville, Colorado, a few days before, wondering how a one-week course in the wilderness could help them heal. But on the fourth day of their five-day journey in mid-July, after more than three hours of tough climbing up steep, moss-covered scree fields and beyond the tree line, these hard military men, ranging in age from 23 to 52, mourned in silence, 13,000 feet above sea level on the summit of Virginia Peak. Stripped of life's routines, they stood under an iron-gray early morning sky and finally allowed the tears to fall for friends who would never see this place.

click post title for the rest

America Supports You: Group Lets Troops Know It's 'Hear 4 You'

23. August 2007
America Supports You: Group Lets Troops Know It's 'Hear 4 You'
By Samantha L. Quigley American Forces Press Service
America Supports You: Group Lets Troops Know It's 'Hear 4 You'
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2007 - A group that supports wounded servicemembers and their families is offering troops a friendly ear with its newest program, "Hear 4 You." The no-cost program that launched Aug. 1 aims to develop a network of volunteers to listen to military personnel and their families affected by post-deployment stress and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The program is one of many services offered by Silver Star Families of America, which supports families of wounded servicemembers. The group is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

"We are just there to listen," Janie Orman, Silver Star Families of America's vice president, said. "We are not counseling. We want everyone to know that. We don't take the place of a (mental health) professional in any way."

Thirteen Silver Star Families of America volunteers man e-mail or instant-messaging accounts to answer concerns of servicemembers. Military personnel or family members wishing talk to a volunteer through the Hear 4 You program can follow the link from the Silver Star Families of America Web site, The program's Web site shows which volunteers are online at any given moment.

All volunteers have received training in how to spot signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or suicidal thoughts, Orman said.

"In that particular area, if we feel or get a sense of that in any way, we advise them ... to seek help," she said. "If needed, we'll try to help them find that right then."
click post title for the rest

Vets For Freedom, not interested in wounded vets

I would like to know who the hell funds this group?

Go there and hear one of them try to deny how serious PTSD is and suicides are in the military.

Go to my other blog for the update on them. This is not a political blog but one of support for veterans with PTSD. When I hear anyone trying to give false information on PTSD, it will be posted here no matter who is doing it. I don't care what side they are on when it comes to Iraq. If they speak the truth on PTSD, they have my support but if they do not, they have my wrath. PTSD does not care what letter comes after their name. Neither do I. Vets come first here, now and always to me. I am the most political when it comes to how our veterans are treated and who is treating them poorly. For those, I'll reserve it for the other blog.

Church will hold combat stress seminar

Church will hold combat stress seminar
9:44 AM EDT, August 23, 2007

On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 1 to 3 p.m., Seaford Baptist Church on Seaford Road will host an educational seminar on post-traumatic stress disorder and spiritual solutions for healing.The event is open to the public.
click post title for the rest

PTSD number game still playing at a trauma center near you

Battle Continues Over Vietnam PTSD Numbers
Forbes - NY,USA
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder involving nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks linked to event "triggers" that develop ...

but wait,,,don't believe it. As posted many times, the DAV had a study in 1978 and they placed the number of PTSD Vietnam Vets at 500,000. The number in this release are false. All you have to do is look back at what was found and how the figures were found to know what is or was real. They are forgetting one huge factor. How many we lost because of PTSD and suicide and homelessness causing early deaths.

Soldier sent back to duty three days after suicide attempt

Rising suicide rate among U.S. soldiers hitting close to home
Watch Video
Updated: Aug 22, 2007 6:38pm
The stress of combat is taking its toll on many soldiers.
In fact, according to the U.S. Army, last year there were 99 suicides; 30 of those happened in war zones.
It’s not a new trend, the same happened during wars like Vietnam.

According to the U.S. Army in 2005 there were 12.8 suicides per 100,000 soldiers.

That number increased last year with the army recording 17.3 suicides per 100,000 soldiers.

Staff Sgt. Derrick Degrate said he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress disorder after seeing too much in war.

"[I saw] people getting shot up, people getting blown up," Degrate said.

It took its toll, and while on a tour in Iraq he admits he tried to take his own life.

"So, I attempted suicide and, you know, and I was admitted to the hospital," Degrate added.

He said he was hospitalized for three days and then sent back to duty.

click link for video or post title to read the rest

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Civilian clergy get war trauma lesson

Civilian clergy get war trauma lesson
Training focuses on helping troops with combat stress when they return home.
August 22, 2007

NEWPORT NEWS - Military chaplains are often revered by troops on the front lines. They provide a place where they can go to cry, to vent, to talk about the trauma war has exposed them to - and not feel like they're being judged.

Back home, those troops are likely to reach out to their civilian pastors, Susan Cross, a chaplain with the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center told roughly 75 clergy members gathered Tuesday at a daylong course on dealing with combat stress.

Some servicemen and servicewomen still fear seeking professional mental health care from the military or the VA.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Real way to support our troops

This editorial is from the Cincinnati Enquirer

Real way to support our troops

In the midst of troops fighting to stay alive in Iraq, it is painful news that 27 American soldiers took their own lives last year in the midst of warfare there. Another three killed themselves while deployed in Afghanistan.

All told, 99 active-duty soldiers committed suicide last year, the highest rate in 26 years of Army record keeping, according to an Army report released Thursday. While mental experts fear rising rates among Iraq veterans, no one can say for sure because the military has no method for tracking such numbers.

The new report dramatizes the need for stepping up mental health services for military members and their families. A Defense Department task force earlier this year issued a strongly worded report admitting military health services were inadequate and poorly positioned, still not geared up for wartime needs.

click post title for the rest

I'm glad people are talking about and reporting on PTSD, especially the suicides linked to it. I just find it really ironic they couldn't pay attention before this. Nothing that has been reported in the this recent series discussing the suicides last year is new. It is not a shocking revaluation to anyone living with this, regarding it with all seriousness.
But where were they all before this?

Jeffrey F. Braun, 19, Stafford Springs CT Pfc. Jeffrey F. Braun 19 Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Stafford, Connecticut "Died of a non-hostile gunshot wound in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 12, 2003The only confirmed Connecticut suicide is that of Army Pfc. Jeffrey Braun, 19, of Stafford, who died in December 2003. His father, William Braun, told The Courant he still did not have a full explanation of what happened to Jeffrey, but said, ""I've chosen not to pursue it or question it. It's over and done with.""

Jason Cooper - Iraq War Heroes, Fallen Heroes Memorial
One of its victims, she said, was her son, Jason Cooper, 23, who took off his dog tags, fastened a noose, and stepped off a chair. ...July 14, 2005

1st Lt. Debra A. Banaszak 35 1035th Maintenance Company, Missouri Army National Guard Bloomington, Illinois "Died from non-combat related injuries at Camp Victory, Kuwait, on October 28, 2005Barbara Butler, mother of Army National Guard 1st Lt. Debra A. Banaszak, 35, of Bloomington, Ill., said she has trouble understanding why her daughter would have taken her own life in Kuwait last October, as the military has determined. She said that while Banaszak, the single mother of a teenage son, was proud to serve her country and had not complained, the stresses of the deployment may have exacerbated her depression.

Joshua Omvig - Iraq War Heroes, Fallen Heroes Memorial
Joshua Lee Omvig. Gillette, Wyoming. committed suicide at the age of 22. December 22, 2005

"All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand." - Douglas Barber , 2005
On January 16th, (2006)after having talked quite normally on the phone with at least two other people that same day, Douglas Barber, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) living in Lee County, Alabama, changed the answer-message on his telephone.
"If you're looking for Doug," it said in his Alabama drawl, "I'm checking out of this world. I'll see you on the other side."
He then called the police, collected his shotgun, and went out onto his porch to meet them. From the sketchy reports we have now, it seems the police wouldn't oblige him with a "suicide by cop" and tried to talk him down. When it became apparent he wasn't able to commit cop-suicide, 27-year-old Douglas Barber did an about face, rotated the shotgun and killed himself.

Private Gary Boswell, 20, from Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, was found hanging in a playground in July. John and Sarah Boswell said army personnel should be offered counseling when they return from active service.

There were a lot more and even more we still don't know about because they are still listed as "under investigation" by the military. Even they don't know how many committed suicide once they were home. There are too many no one is keeping track of. So where was all this concern back then when all of this started? I'm not talking about 2003 when Iraq was invaded. I'm not talking about 2001 when we invaded Afghanistan. I'm not even talking about the Gulf War but I am talking about Vietnam. Where was all this concern back then when we began to lose more after they came home than we lost in Vietnam?
Naturally I am grateful every time I read a reporter taking the time to bring this all out into the open, but I've seen this "interest" before and they drop it before even attempting to put a human face on the numbers they provide. As it is, the numbers they provide are wrong and far too low against reality. These are men and women we are talking about. They have lives, dreams, families and friends. They mattered to others and they should have their stories told. Until we stop just putting them into containers of expedience we will never end the stigma keeping them from healing and the help they need.

Where is the attention to the 1,000 the VA has committing suicide every year or the other 5,000 committing suicide outside of the VA?

Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Iraq war takes unique toll on National Guard


• Regular Army: 3.8%
• National Guard: 5.5%

Post-deployment (3 months after leaving Iraq)
• Regular Army: 18.2%
• National Guard: 12.1%

Combat experiences

Being attacked or ambushed
• Regular Army: 83%
• National Guard: 96%

Receiving small-arms fire
• Regular Army: 79%
• National Guard: 96%

In threatening situations, unable to respond
• Regular Army: 51%
• National Guard: 78%

Source: Lyndon Riviere

Iraq war takes unique toll on National Guard
By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO — Despite signs that the war in Iraq is taking a toll on National Guard troops' mental health, members are no more likely than active-duty soldiers to develop post-traumatic stress, psychologists reported over the weekend.
But financial problems are creating emotional pain. Deployment-linked money trouble raises the odds sixfold that a National Guard soldier will have mental-health problems after leaving Iraq, studies from a team at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research suggest. The researchers spoke at the American Psychological Association conference here.

More than 400,000 National Guard troops have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a congressional report.

Help scarce for mental scars of war

Rebecca Walsh: Help scarce for mental scars of war
By Rebecca Walsh
Tribune Columnist
Article Last Updated: 08/21/2007 02:45:12 AM MDT

Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom make easy icons for the culture wars. They're either sad victims or heroes of the never-ending "War on Terror."
But the ones who bring the war back home - the vets emotionally scarred by a tour of duty in the Middle East - are more ambiguous.
Walter Smith is one of those.
Last week, the 26-year-old former Marine admitted he drowned Nicole Speirs, his girlfriend and mother of his infant twins, in the bathtub of their Tooele home in March 2006.
Members of Smith's unit didn't want to believe it. But they could understand how it happened.
As a young man, Smith was thrown into the chaos of invasion as a member of Fox Company, a Marine Reserve unit from Utah and Nevada. He felt responsible for women and children caught in the crossfire. He was haunted by memories of opening fire on a car approaching a checkpoint in Iraq, killing the man inside, a noncombatant.
Smith was discharged "for medical issues" and started counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In 2004, Pleasant Grove police found him loading a shotgun, intent on killing himself. He spent two days in a mental health facility before he was released and told "to find counseling." He did. It didn't help.

click post title for the rest

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ignoring increased risk of PTSD in redeployed at our peril

Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006; Page A19
U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health........

Searching for quotes for a new video, I kept finding the report of the increased risk associated with redeployments missing in action. Why? How could a report like this drop off the reports on PTSD when so many of them are coming out? Is this no longer important to the media considering some are on their fifth tour right now? How could they just drop this from their attention?

Easy. It does not fit in with the illusion of the "all volunteer" Army, the Marines, the Air Force or the National Guard. Think about it. Bush keeps saying "well their all volunteers" and this paints a picture in our minds that these men and women have no issues about going back over and over again. It paints a picture of everyone happily carrying out his orders.

We are sending back seriously wounded people. We need to remember they are people. Humans not machines of war. What do you see when you look into their eyes? If they have PTSD, you see a person haunted. It is deeper than being tired. Deeper than being homesick. Deeper than personal issues back home. All of these things are insignificant to what is behind those eyes. It is not something to mess around with. It is not something to ignore any more than it is something to treat with some pills, pat them on the head and send them back to be traumatized all over again.

They may have walked away from the first deployment without PTSD. They may have walked away from the second. Perhaps even the third but the odds are a lot greater they brought the combat back home with them as surely as they did their duffel bag. They are being forced to play a game of Russian roulette with their minds and their lives. Every time they go back, the risk of PTSD is 50% greater to them. Yet as the media have been reluctant to report on this crisis, the report drops off to the distant memories of the people getting the air time on cable news. You certainly won't hear any of the people supporting Bush's delusion discussing it.

The next time you hear any more figures, usually low balled, remember why the numbers are going up and then keep in mind, sometimes they won't show signs of PTSD until years later. Where will the reporters be then? Remember when they came home from Vietnam and the media ignored their problems. Less than ten years later, local newspapers were reporting on them in the obituary pages and the crime logs. Twenty years later they were reporting still in these sections but then occasionally finding the compassion to report on the homelessness of Vietnam Veterans. If we do nothing right now, if we do not keep the attention of the media right where it needs to be so that they are taken care of, how many of them will they be reporting on in the obituary pages and the crime logs ten years from now? Five years from now? Later on this year? How many families will pay the price as they watch someone they love helplessly fall apart and die a slow death? How many of them will come home one day and find they were actually a fatality of combat long after they stopped wearing their uniform?

Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

***I'm posting this on both blogs since the media stopped reporting on this someone has to.***

Department of Defense to Armed Forces:It's your fault

Treating the trauma of war – fairly
In relabeling cases of PTSD as 'personality disorder,' the US military avoids paying for treatment.
By Judith Schwartz
from the August 20, 2007 edition

Bennington, Vt. - The high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among soldiers returning from Iraq is one of the many "inconvenient truths" of this war. Inconvenient largely because it is costly: The most effective and humane means of treating PTSD are time-intensive and long-term.

The military, however, has changed the terms and given many thousands of enlisted men and women a new diagnosis: "personality disorder." While the government would be obliged to care for veterans suffering from combat-related trauma, a personality disorder – defined as an ingrained, maladaptive way of orienting oneself to the world – predates a soldier's tour of duty (read: preexisting condition). This absolves Uncle Sam of any responsibility for the person's mental suffering.

The new diagnostic label sends the message: This suffering is your fault, not a result of the war. On one level, it's hard not to see this as another example of the government falling short on its care for Iraq war veterans. Yet there's another, more insidious, bit of sophistry at work. The implication is that a healthy person would be resistant to the psychological pressures of war. Someone who succumbs to the flashbacks, panic, and anger that haunt many former soldiers must have something inherently wrong with him. It's the psychological side of warrior macho: If you're tough, you can take it. Of course, we know this is not true. Wars forever change the lives of those who fight them and can leave deep scars.

click post title for the rest

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kansas National Guard gets help to heal

Counseling center helps military veterans deal with depression, suicidal thoughts
By Mike Belt

August 17, 2007
A Lawrence counseling center is working with the Kansas National Guard to prevent suicides among military veterans.

Headquarters Counseling Center, 211 E. Eighth St., has information about resources available that are specific to veterans and their families when they call for help, director Marcia Epstein said. That information was developed in cooperation with the Guard.

“We definitely have had calls from people who are in the military with concerns about depression and suicide,” Epstein said.

A new Pentagon study found there were 99 Army suicides last year — nearly half of them soldiers who hadn’t reached their 25th birthdays, about a third of them serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

click post title for the rest

Upset about the 99 military suicides last year? What about the other 6,000?

How many times does it take for some in the media to actually report on what the VA said in their testimonies before they connect the dots? The VA stated over and over again they have 1,000 in their system alone committing suicide every year. They also said there are another 5,000 veterans outside of their system committing suicide every year and those are just the ones they are aware of.

Should we be upset about the 99 the DOD admitted to? Absolutely. As "reporters" all over the country manage to copy and paste this report, they have failed to pay attention to it while they use these suicides to fill the gap of "if it bleeds, it leads" mob mentality. This report from AP has hit every blogger from here to Timbuktu and I have to wonder why. Why would they jump all over this when they are avoiding the 6,000 others who committed suicide last year because of the military, because of war and combat and because we sent them? They also avoid the simple fact the DOD only admits to what they have to admit to. The 99 are only part of the story. They hide the rest in categories like, "under investigation" and if that isn't bad enough, they are now not releasing the names of those killed when they report on the non-combat death.

How many were on my post Non-combat deaths that have not been added to the death count? Too many. Granted the majority of those who did in fact die while deployed were there, it took a lot of work to find those who committed suicide back home and deployed in different nations. As it is, I only managed to find about 150 known to be suicides. At least a quarter of the posted deaths were last reported under investigation.

The media thinks 99 is a big story, but I happen to think all of them are a big story and they have been ignored for far too long.

Kathie Costos

This is what I mean. These are just from one alert

Counseling center helps military veterans deal with depression ...Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA"We definitely have had calls from people who are in the military with concerns about depression and suicide," Epstein said. A new Pentagon study found ...See all stories on this topic

Soldier Suicide Rate GrowingWLNS - Lansing,MI,USAA new military report says suicide rates for US military personnel are the highest in 26 years, with at least 99 confirmed last year. ...See all stories on this topic

Suicide attacks, mosque operation linked, Senate toldDaily Times - Lahore,PakistanKhan said all constitutional and legal norms were met before launching the military operation. However, he made it clear that President Musharraf or the US ...See all stories on this topic

Military Suicide Rate Reaches 26-year - USAThe Defense Manpower Data Center has produced a report showing the military's suicide rate has shot up to 17.3 deaths per 100000 personnel, ...See all stories on this topic

When murder is just plain murderEconomist - UKOn August 14th suicide-bombers detonated at least four large car and lorry bombs in the villages of Qataniya and Adnaniya, near the city of Mosul in ...See all stories on this topic

MFSO Responds To Army's Report on SuicideCommon Dreams (press release) - Portland,ME,USABOSTON - AUGUST 16 - Today Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) responded to a US Army report revealing that troops committed suicide last year at the highest ...See all stories on this topic

Army Suicide Problem Nothing NewBy Wisco(Wisco) In December of 2003, the Baltimore Sun ran a headline -- "Army's Suicide Rate has Outside Experts Alarmed." In that article, we were told, "A report by a 12-member team of military and civilian mental health professionals dispatched to ...Griper Blade -

Military Suicide Rate Highest in 26 yearsThe military establishment revealed that the rate of suicide among its members is the highest it's been in years, in part due to the increased number of months services members are deployed in war zones: (Washington Post) ...TheDemoMemo -

Army's Suicide Rate At 26-Year HighBy (Team Infidel) ... By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press WASHINGTON -- Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a military report. ...International Military Forums -

ARMY SUICIDE RATES AT ALL-TIME HIGH.By Kay Steiger(Kay Steiger) This is true, but relationship stress I'm sure isn't the only cause of suicide. I think soldiers being in a place where they could be blown up at any given moment by a car bomb (known in military language as an IED) has something to do ...Kay Steiger -

Army Suicide Rate and Random VariationBy James Joyner Marc Danziger, whose son has recently enlisted in the military, has done some calculations and found that the Army suicide rate, even at this peak, is actually lower than for their civilian cohorts. That's interesting indeed and speaks ...Outside The Beltway OTB -

Army Suicide Rates at 26-Year HighBut many of the suicides came from soldiers who were not deployed, and as CNN notes, the suicide rate in the Army (17.3 per 100000) is still lower than that among US men aged 17 to 45 in the general population (21.1 per 100000). ...TIME: The Ag -

Army Suicide Rate Peaks Amid Deployment StrainThat's the highest total since 1991, when 102 soldiers committed suicide during the height of the Gulf War. Several trends suggest the strain the Iraq war is putting on the US military is trickling down to the individual soldier, ...The Gate -

Army Suicide Rate at Quarter-Century HighBy According to the US military, 99 active-duty soldiers committed suicide in 2006, a number that may rise after ongoing investigations into other cases conclude, making last year's suicide rate the highest in 26 years. ...Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines -
Google Web Alert for: military suicide

Army Suicides Highest in 26 Years - washingtonpost.comWASHINGTON -- Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 ... while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

Think Progress >> Army suicide rate highest in 26 years.This suicide rate IS directly proportional the the disgusting abuse coming from the decider. The WH could give a sh!t about the military...just so they can ...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Depression linked to events and genetic causes

Genes and life events predict depression (August 6, 2007) --
GRANADA, Spain, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- A group of Spanish scientists has identified a specific combination of genetic and environmental factors that lead to the onset of depression.

A single variation in a gene controlling the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin, combined with exposure to threatening life events, led to clinical depression in their patient sample.
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Brain blood flow helps treat depression (August 13, 2007) -- Israeli scientists have confirmed the usefulness of established molecular imaging approaches in the treatment of depression. Individuals in a ... > full story
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Depression may be over diagnosed, say some (August 17, 2007) -- Two Australian psychiatrists disagree on whether too many people are being diagnosed with depression. Gordon Parker, of the University of New South ... > full story
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In all three of these, the events cause depression as well as genetics. There is a huge difference between feeling depressed and having clinical depression. There is also a difference between having PTSD and having a genetic mental illness. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is after trauma and that is where the term came from. It is after trauma.
Kathie Costos

University of Pennsylvania assistant professor thinks depression in PTSD is new?

Depression Taking Toll on Returning U.S. Vets

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter
Friday, August 17, 2007; 12:00 AM

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Depression may be a largely unrecognized problem for many U.S. soldiers returning from duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, placing a tremendous strain on them and their families, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied the home life of 168 soldiers diagnosed with psychological symptoms upon their return home from deployment. Nearly half -- 42 percent -- of these veterans said they now felt like a "guest in their own home," and one in five felt their children did not respond warmly to them, or were even afraid of them.

In many of these cases, depression or another psychological problem, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), played a major role, the researchers said.

The PTSD finding has been observed in other studies, but the link between returning veterans' depression and family trouble is new, experts said. (Bull! Read below for this part)

"It seems like other kinds of mental health issues, besides PTSD, are also resulting in family problems," said lead researcher Steven Sayers, an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Depression is new according to the experts? Who the hell are the "experts" saying depression in PTSD wounded is new? Ask any Vietnam Veteran with PTSD and they will tell you that it has always been that way. Ask any wife/spouse and they will tell you it has always been a part of the life of PTSD. It is not new. Family problems are not new either. The average PTSD vet gets divorced many times. The stress of PTSD in a family is very hard to live with. Add in the self-medicating and you have a time bomb. I should know that depression is not new at all. Do these "experts" ever read the signs of PTSD before they open their mouths? Where do they get these people to interview from anyway?

I'm really surprised this came out of the Washington Post after all the great reporting they have done on PTSD up until now. I just hope they return to asking the people living with it what the truth is and what a "expert" claims it is.

Kathie Costos

Senator to explore military mental healthcare

Senator to explore military mental healthcare

By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Aug 16, 2007 22:16:39 EDT

The Army’s report on the increase in suicides among soldiers has altered the course of a Senate hearing scheduled in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, had scheduled the hearing in her home state to explore the unmet mental healthcare needs of service members and veterans.

With the release Thursday of the Army’s report, the suicide issue has now taken center stage.

The Army report indicates that suicides among soldiers has reached a 26-year high, with as many as 101 suicides during 2006, compared with 88 during 2005, 67 in 2004 and 79 in 2003.

click post title for the rest and remember, even those numbers are not all of them as bad as they are.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fort Drum soldier waits in jail for PTSD treatment?

Soldier awaits psychiatric treatment in jail

The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Aug 15, 2007 22:05:29 EDT

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A Fort Drum soldier who walked into a police station threatening officers with what appeared to be an assault rifle must remain in jail.

Onondaga County Judge William Walsh rejected a defense request Tuesday to have Spc. Matthew Campbell released to U.S. Army officials so he could return to Fort Drum for psychiatric treatment.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Alison Fineberg objected to the release unless the Army had a specific treatment plan set up for Campbell. Walsh agreed, ordering Campbell jailed until the Army provides more detailed information about treating him.

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Katrina victims struggle mentally

Katrina victims struggle mentally
By Marilyn Elias, USA TODAY
Many Gulf Coast residents still feel the wallop of Hurricane Katrina nearly two years later.
Mental illness is double the pre-storm levels, rising numbers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and there is a surge in adults who say they're thinking of suicide.

A government survey released Wednesday to USA TODAY shows no improvement in mental health from a year ago.

About 14% have symptoms of severe mental illness. An additional 20% have mild to moderate mental illness, says Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School, who led the study.

The big surprise: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which typically goes away in a year for most disaster survivors, has increased: 21% have the symptoms vs. 16% in 2006. Common symptoms include the inability to stop thinking about the hurricane, nightmares and emotional numbness. go here for the rest

You have got to be kidding! PTSD does not go away in a year. A would like to know where they got that idea from. It gets worse unless it is treated.

How is PTSD diagnosed?
A diagnosis of PTSD is made when symptoms in the main clusters (re-experiencing, numbing, avoidance, and arousal) are present for an extended period and are interfering with normal life. The first step in getting treatment is getting a diagnosis. This can be difficult for a number of reasons:
symptoms may occur months or years after the traumatic event and may not be recognized as being related to the trauma beliefs that people "should be able to get over it" or "shouldn't have such a reaction" or "should solve their own problems" may delay treatment being sought guilt, blame, embarrassment or pain may interfere with a person seeking help avoidance of anything associated with the trauma may result in an inability to recognize the need for treatment

Hurricanes Puts Countless Americans At Risk for PTSD
As survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struggle to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, the reality of just how much things have changed for them is setting in. While early in the diaster they may have been running on adrenaline and coping well with events, they are now finding it harder and harder to go about their daily lives. Sleep is disturbed and anxiety levels remain high. They may feel depression and deep despair over their losses. As with any survivor of a traumatic event, they are at strong risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

What Is PTSD?
The American Counseling Association, offers us 10 criteria for recognizing PTSD:

Re-experiencing the event through vivid memories or flash backs
Feeling “emotionally numb”
Feeling overwhelmed by what would normally be considered everyday situations and diminished interest in performing normal tasks or pursuing usual interests
Crying uncontrollably
Isolating oneself from family and friends and avoiding social situations
Relying increasingly on alcohol or drugs to get through the day
Feeling extremely moody, irritable, angry, suspicious or frightened
Having difficulty falling or staying asleep, sleeping too much and experiencing nightmares
Feeling guilty about surviving the event or being unable to solve the problem, change the event or prevent the disaster
Feeling fears and sense of doom about the future
Psychosocial Consequences of Natural Disasters in Developing Countries: What Does Past Research Tell Us About the Potential Effects of the 2004 Tsunami?Fran H. Norris, Ph.D.

It has gotten to the point where even people trying to help get the word out about people suffering from PTSD, put out false information without even knowing it. I'm glad they did this story on the Katrina survivors, but they really should have gotten the whole thing right.
We have a bunch of humans suffering and dying because people still don't understand what PTSD is. The people in New Orleans suffered from what happened during and after a hurricane. The people, the men and women we call "troops" suffer from the trauma of combat. The people in Iraq, the Iraqis, suffer from what is happening in their country. People all over the world suffer from all kinds of causes but the two things they have in common keeps getting missed. They are all humans exposed to trauma.