Friday, August 20, 2010

When psychiatrists attack PTSD veterans, we all suffer

Matthew Magdzas, a 23-year-old Wisconsin National Guard soldier who earned a combat badge in the Iraq war, shot and killed his pregnant wife, their 13-month-old daughter Lila, and their three dogs before turning the gun on himself. You can read the rest of this story just posted today on this blog. Wisconsin National Guard Iraq war vet kills pregnant wife, daughter, dogs and self We may never know if he went to the VA for help with what has been one of the biggest health problem for combat veterans. Too many do not seek help for PTSD. Many others do seek help but do not receive what they need. Suicide numbers go up every year in every branch of the military but you won't read that from this "expert" on PTSD. Dr. Daniel Carlat didn't seem to be bothered with that tiny detail in his rant on how veterans are ripping off taxpayers.

Dr. Daniel Carlat didn't seem to think it was important to mention the fact the Suicide Prevention Hotline has received over two million calls either. Looks like he didn't think many things were important to mention at all. He did mention Vietnam veterans but didn't seem to think it was necessary to include in on his figures out of the air that according to a study released by the Disabled American Veterans, oh by the way, published work, Readjustment Problems Among Veterans, The Etiology of Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Jim Goodwin, Psy.D included a study by Dr. John Wilson, Forgotten Warrior Project, stating that by 1978 there were 500,000 Vietnam veterans with PTSD also predicting the numbers would go up over the following ten year period.

It must have also not been worth mentioning the fact that one out of three is the customary number used on survivors of traumatic events, so the numbers were seeing are more a reflection of being a human exposed to traumatic events. He did manage to point out there are other survivors of traumatic events changed by them. Curiously he didn't seem to find it of any value to mention that during combat, it is not just one event but multiple events, any more than he found it of importance to mention that the Army has already clearly said redeployments increase the risk of PTSD by 50% but has continued the practice of redeploying men and women over and over again, often even after a diagnosis of PTSD has also been severe enough to require medications.

This "expert" managed to also attack the veterans seeking help for mild PTSD, which is really the best time to seek help so that PTSD does not get worse. The "sooner the better" advice is what comes from experts on PTSD because if they seek therapy when it is mild, it prevents what we see when is all comes crashing down around them, would prevent a lifetime of suffering and thus a lifetime of compensation from the "tax payers" this doctor seems to be more worried about.

He didn't mention the fact that PTSD does not even require someone to be involved in a firefight but can strike when someone sees the aftermath of it. For heaven's sake, there were cases during the Vietnam war of people working in the motor pool with PTSD because they had to keep seeing what was left over. Average citizens have been changed from just seeing a fatal car crash and we cannot forget that people in New York ended up with PTSD who were no where near the Twin Towers when they were hit or when they came down. But the "expert" doesn't seem to mention these things either.

I am wondering why this doctor would want to join the list of the few, like Dr. Sally Satel, attacking veterans instead of helping them heal? Would you want to go to see someone with more interest in proving a point while avoiding 40 years of research from some of the real experts on PTSD and the military? There are people out there with a point to make instead of solutions to find. When they attack veterans after all these years of people working very hard to eliminate the stigma of admitting help is needed, they support the people standing in the way of help being delivered. They fuel the propaganda that suddenly we have an influx of self-serving veterans suddenly looking for a hand out and apparently were willing to risk their lives to obtain it.

We have an all volunteer force unlike Vietnam and all other wars. None of this generation of veterans were forced to join so that would mean they would have to have either planned on going into combat so they could get a VA check for the rest of their lives, or suddenly turned into criminals committing fraud. That is what this all boils down to. That is what these men and women have been accused of just now in this rant by a "expert" on PTSD who seems to think a lot of things are just not worth mentioning. If he mentioned anything that had to do with what you've been reading on this blog for the last three years (as of today, three years old and over 10,000 post) then it wouldn't support his agenda of destroying the reputation of thousands of veterans the rest of us have been trying to help.

I've learned what I know from living with PTSD in my own home, and I am able to help others because of real experts that have been working on PTSD for over 40 years with only one agenda compelling them to do what they do. They want to heal. They don't want to attack or accuse veterans of being criminals. They don't want to eliminate facts from what they publish because they simply don't fit in with their own questionable agenda.

So there will be no misunderstanding on why I am so angry about this, I broke my own rules about just posting part of a piece and posted the either thing. This article needs to be submitted in entirety without the possibility of it vanishing so that no one can find it later.

PTSD, Iraqi Veterans and the Fleecing of the American Taxpayer

By Dr. Daniel Carlat
Aug 19th 2010 4:19PM

Categories: Experts

Before I go on a rant about the latest scandal of over-diagnosis in psychiatry, I want to make one thing clear right off the bat. Post traumatic stress disorder, often referred to as PTSD, is a real condition that can cause tremendous suffering and disability. I've treated plenty of PTSD patients, and I have listened to the horrifying details of experiences that would completely undo any of us. Seeing your best buddy disintegrate in front of you, being brutally raped or watching a hurricane swallow up everything you own -- these are the engines of PTSD, and the consequences are months or years of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks, suicidal ideation and, when PTSD is at its worst, an inability to function in society.

But as with any psychiatric illness, there are those who suffer the most severe versions of the disease, and then there are the vast majority on the diagnostic edges -- those who might formally qualify for the diagnosis, but whose suffering is relatively mild, and who are likely to completely recover with a short course of treatment or simply with the passage of time. In addition, unfortunately, there are those who suffer no disorder at all and simply fake the symptoms in order to win a lifetime of taxpayer-funded disability checks. Nobody knows how common malingered PTSD symptoms are, but one forensic psychiatrist has estimated that they may be as high as 50 percent of all "cases."

Enter the Army's recently released figures apparently showing that the rate of PTSD diagnoses among Iraqi vets has skyrocketed, from about 7,000 in 2006 to 14,000 in 2008. We are now seeing estimates that up to 35 percent of all Iraqi vets will go on to develop PTSD. But according to Maj. C. Alan Hopewell, an Army neuropsychologist and head of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Hood, Texas, the PTSD diagnosis is "abused and overused." In an Associated Press article, Hopewell explained that of the thousands of troops he saw as part of the 785th Medical Company (Combat Stress Control), only about a third had genuine PTSD. The others had either "general adjustment problems" or were reacting to troubles on the home front, such as marital or financial issues.

We've seen this problem before. A 1983 study conducted by the government estimated that about 30 percent of Vietnam vets (or 1 million men) had PTSD. The trouble is, only about 300,000 of them had been engaged in direct combat. For a variety of reasons -- including attractive disability benefits, an expanding VA bureaucracy and overly eager psychiatrists -- PTSD was vastly over-diagnosed during that conflict. This is yet another lesson from Vietnam that we have refused to learn.

Diagnosing and treating true suffering is what we should be doing. Instead, we are creating an army of the disabled, and we as a society will be paying the price for decades to come.

He is quoting Hopewell from Fort Hood which is the same Fort that thought having Dr. Hasan treat soldiers at Fort Hood was a good idea. He is the one accused of shooting a lot of them plus being in control of the mental health of many of the soldiers he already said he hated. There have been a few writing pieces on PTSD fakes but the reports have been few against the stone carved reality.

but whose suffering is relatively mild, and who are likely to completely recover with a short course of treatment or simply with the passage of time.
This part is true in a lot of cases if it is treated when PTSD is mild or soon after the event. That means the military would have to respond the same way crisis teams respond to civilians. Right after or soon after it happens and then not have them re-exposed to more trauma.

For a variety of reasons -- including attractive disability benefits, an expanding VA bureaucracy and overly eager psychiatrists -- PTSD was vastly over-diagnosed during that conflict.
Just what part of the WWII and older veterans did he not read about? Wonder if he ever watched Ken Burns The War about the interviews done with WWII veterans talking about Shell-Shock? Pointing out the fact that Vietnam veterans changed the rules is true but that was because they refused to come home, suffering in silence and killing themselves!

A 1983 study conducted by the government estimated that about 30 percent of Vietnam vets (or 1 million men) had PTSD.
Which study is he talking about? There have been many in the last 40 years! We have the one above I posted on that said 500,000! Most of the advances coming out in mental health happened because Vietnam veterans got the government to act. We know how to respond to trauma now. We know that intervention and debriefing wards off a lot of what PTSD can do to civilians and the fact that there is a 30 day window they need to be aware of so they get help as soon as the fact they are not "getting over it" becomes a problem.

Maybe he should travel to one of the Stand Down operations going on across the country and talk to some of the homeless veterans suffering from self-medicating because they didn't get the help they needed or felt as if they didn't deserve any help to keep them from living in the woods or sleeping in cardboard boxes? Maybe he should talk to the widows of Vietnam veterans left behind to overcome the fact their husbands died because they served in Vietnam? Maybe he should talk to the kids who had to grow up wondering what happened to their Dads when they had to leave the family because PTSD was eating them alive but no one knew what it was?

Maybe he should talk to some of these veterans unable to work anymore because PTSD does not allow them to sleep and when they are medicated to sleep, they are unable to work but could have made a lot more money working instead of suffering?

There are so many things he is missing but he's an "expert" so he gets to be on AOL health and the experts trying to help instead of accusing veterans of being criminals are not? I have a list of experts I could give to AOL if they want them but their only agenda is healing.

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