Showing posts with label Australia veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia veterans. Show all posts

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Australia Admiral Thinks PTSD in Combat Veterans Caused by Something Else?

Defence health boss dismisses mental health concerns as angry diggers call for her job Australia
Ian McPhedran National defence writer
News Corp Australia Network
6 HOURS AGO MARCH 15, 2015

Not impressed. Former soldier Aaron Gray from Bomaderry

NSW is angry about the way Defence handles mental health.

THE defence force has no idea how many serving or former members have committed suicide, but a former soldier has recorded 128 cases since 1986 including an alarming 75 since 2006.

Former armoured vehicle gunner with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Aaron Gray, who is on a disability pension due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and leg injuries, believes the real number could be more than 200.

The Army has the highest rate with 107, followed by Navy with 11 and RAAF with five.

33-year-old Mr Gray from Bomaderry in NSW is the convener of the Australian Veterans Suicide Register on Facebook that includes the names and other details of the victims.

The father of three is so angry about the treatment of mentally ill troops and the attitude of the top brass that he began an online petition last week demanding the dismissal of the head of defence health Rear Admiral Robyn Walker.

Admiral Walker, who has never deployed overseas on operations, tried to deflect blame for the disorder away from defence by telling a magazine and ABC TV’s Four Corners that PTSD had other triggers besides military service.
read more here

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

PTSD Australian Veterans Not Being Helped to Heal

Territory PTSD sufferer says defence personnel suicides are under reported after another one of his mates dies Australia
NOVEMBER 18, 2014
“As a soldier you are ashamed and feel weak and like you don’t want to admit it to anyone, especially not your mates.

Veteran Craig West, who suffers post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in the army, has spoken out about the high suicide rates Source: News Corp Australia

A TERRITORY digger has claimed suicide deaths among young war veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are under reported because the issue is swept under the carpet in Australia.

Former soldier Craig West – who served in Timor in 2001 – said he has lost three veteran mates to suicide, the most recent two weeks ago.

Mr West, who suffers PTSD, said he “wasn’t surprised” when told the tragic news of his mate, who killed himself after a long battle with the disorder earlier this month.

“I knew how bad (his PTSD) was and how much he was struggling,” Mr West said.

“I got in contact with his family and people tried to help him but it was too late.”

Mr West said he knew of veterans who had attempted suicide and survived.

He said the problem was “a lot bigger than people think”.

“It’s not just the people who have committed suicide, it’s all the others out there who are still struggling,’’ he said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) confirmed in a written statement to the NT News that it “does not record cause of death for all veteran clients”.
read more here

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Australia Vietnam veterans developed chronic lymphatic leukemia

Vietnam vet says study vindication
Otago Daily Times Australia
By John Gibb
Tue, 3 Sep 2013

After hearing official denials for decades, Vietnam war veteran Ted Gordon feels vindicated by University of Otago research showing New Zealand veterans of that war are twice as likely to develop chronic lymphatic leukemia.

''It shows we were right,'' he said yesterday.

The study, whose lead author is Associate Prof David McBride, of the university's preventive and social medicine department, also found a doubling of the risk of mortality from cancers of the head and neck, as well as an increase in oral cancers of the pharynx and larynx, among Vietnam veterans compared with the general population.

This is the first comprehensive study to produce ''hard data'' showing adverse health effects on New Zealand veterans from their service in Vietnam, researchers say. And the study will shortly appear in the international journal BMJ Open.
read more here

Here is the list from the US Department of Veterans Affairs
New Conditions VA Presumes Are Related to Herbicide Exposure (Agent Orange)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Euphoria over PTSD drugs needs to be over

Euphoria over PTSD drugs needs to be over
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 29, 2013

Euphoria is "a good ability to endure" but not heal. So why is it that medications seem to be the only answer?

More and more reports on research being done on medications but evidence has shown most have come with warnings to not use them when the patient has depression because suicidal thoughts could increase. Some researchers point to this and say another medication needs to replace "what is" and go for the alternatives of medical marijuana to ecstasy to treat PTSD. Basically the response from many psychiatrists has been if it feels good, take it.

The problem is that while medications for PTSD were supposed to be about getting the chemicals of the brain level so that therapy had a better chance to work, they have been used in replace of what is less expensive but takes more time, listening.

Recently CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta came out in favor of medical marijuana but the use of it is far from new. Many Vietnam veterans used it to relax and clam down. It was a lot better than alcohol for them because instead of passing out from booze, they simply fell asleep. Keep in mind that chemicals, legal or not, take effect in the brain and thus hit the whole body. "The high-profile doc, who is CNN's chief medical correspondent, apologized for "not looking hard enough" at the research on medicinal marijuana that suggests it can help treat conditions from chronic pain to post-traumatic stress disorder."

Ecstasy has also been in the news around the world. The push in the US has been going on for years and now it seems that Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is trying to get Australia to get involved.

"Doblin wants Australia to replicate a successful trial in the United States in which 80 per cent of soldiers and emergency workers in a study were successfully treated for PTSD using MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, and psychotherapy. The controversial but legal program involved 20 veterans, who had not responded to other treatments, taking MDMA twice during three months of psychotherapy."

Wow! A whole 20 people participated in the study and 80% of them were "successfully treated" by getting high. Not impressed considering that the National Institute of Mental Health says Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD. PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood, but research shows that the median age of onset is 23 years. About 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.13 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.

Topped off with the fact the VA has 3.9 million veterans collecting disability compensation with hundreds of thousands receiving treatment for PTSD and another huge percentage of veterans with PTSD still not seeking treatment. The assumption has been that less than half of our veterans with PTSD seek help.

This isn't new. Back in 2004 NBC News had a report that 1 in 8 soldiers back from combat had PTSD but less than half sought treatment. The CBO released a report in 2012 with 103,000 OEF OIF veterans with PTSD, 8,700 with TBI and 26,600 with both.

When you look at the hard numbers a research project on 20 veterans is not even yawn worthy.

Most of the veterans seeking help have a need to feel better and they are ready to grab at anything that does it, no matter how long it lasts. They make irrational decisions clinging onto whatever works for "now" hoping it is what does the trick for the long haul only to discover it didn't last long enough. They replace that fix with something else, then something else but the end result is always the same. It wears off and most of the time they feel worse than they did before. Why? Because while they were trying to fill the void and numb the pain, PTSD had rested up enough to get stronger.

Drugs, legal or otherwise, are not the answer especially when there is time to reverse most of what PTSD does. Early on treatment with medication blended with talk therapy, physical therapy and spiritual intervention reverses most of what PTSD does but even a perfect blend of all of these treatments do not cure it.

If too much time goes by, life gets in the way of healing and more parts of the human are hit including the brain itself. Scans have shown changes in the brain hit by PTSD. It hits the nervous system, heart, digestive organs and on and on. Even chronic cases of PTSD veterans can live better lives by combining treatments, so it is not hopeless but when we pretend that drugs are the answer the reality is, they are part of the problem when they are the only game in town.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Disabled veteran in Australia told to buy a goat for lawn care?

Veterans Affairs tells partially paralysed Iraq veteran to 'buy a goat' after he asked for funding to help with his lawn
Herald Sun
August 17, 2013

VETERANS Affairs told a partially paralysed Iraq veteran - injured when an army truck fell on him - to "buy a goat" when he asked for help to keep the grass down around his house.

Father-of-three Micheal McLaren asked the DVA for funding to help with the lawn at his home near Warrnambool, but was told he wasn't entitled to a gardener or a ride-on mower.

A DVA lifestyle assessment suggested his wife, who was heavily pregnant with their second child, could mow the lawn around the house. A small paddock - which he did not seek help for - could be "used to house a family farm animal".

Mr McLaren followed up the 2007 report with a call to the DVA's head office, and was told "a goat or a couple of sheep" would fix his problem.

He was finally funded for a regular lawnmowing service six months ago, only after a veteran's advocate took on his case.

And the advocate was able to convince the DVA that he should be deemed "totally and permanently incapacitated" because his injuries meant he would never be able to work again.
read more here

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Combat roles in Middle East more likely to cause psychological trauma

Combat roles in Middle East more likely to cause psychological trauma
De-tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide

I could not do this work if I did not read reports from other countries. Why? Because PTSD is not a national illness. It is a human illness that hits after traumatic events. It is the only way to "get it" which has been proven following a list of traumatic events.

Reporters tend to lump everything reported together as if there is no difference in the outcome of the experience, the duration and the factor of continuation of the threat.

We talk about how firefighters are hit by PTSD yet return to fight fires over and over again, risking their lives each time. For them it is not just the fires they rush to put out or the lives they save. It is also the threat of the alarm sounding while they are simply eating a meal together.

We talk about police officers and the treats they face on a daily basis but we don't talk about the different type of PTSD they get hit by because the nature of their work also comes with having to make split second decisions about killing someone or not. As with firefighters, a day of risking their lives is followed by a never ending chain of risks for as long as they are on the force.

With combat veterans their type of PTSD is similar because it also involves the use of force. They risk their lives everyday they are deployed as with cops on the job but they cannot simply go home at the end of the day to their families. They cannot get an emotional debriefing at the end of event to sort it all out. Most of the time they cannot even do it when they are back on base or when National Guardsmen return to their homes at the end of the tour.
read more here

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Standoff ends in Australia when police dog brings down armed man

There are so many different titles this news report could have had, like the one I used, but using the term "berserk" does not help veterans in any nation. If you think only American veterans are suffering from PTSD, this is a good reminder that combat and PTSD does not know borders of nations.
'Berserk' gunman was ex-soldier
The New Zealand Herald
By Matthew Theunissen
Saturday Jun 15, 2013

The gunman who went "berserk" with a high-powered air rifle on the North Shore on Friday night is an ex-soldier who suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 49-year-old, who the Herald on Sunday have chosen not to name, is under guard in North Shore Hospital being treated for dog bites after being brought down by a police dog during the three-hour siege on Awaruku Rd, Torbay.

The ex-soldier allegedly fired random shots from the high-powered weapon, including at the police helicopter as it circled above, although his ex-partner said the weapon was not loaded.

Awaruku Rd residents described hearing dozens of shots before armed police surrounded his house and yelled through a loudspeaker for him to surrender.

The police dog which eventually subdued him was injured after receiving several hard blows from the rifle.

His ex-partner, who did not want to be identified, said he used to be a corporal in the Australian Army.
Just prior to the incident, he had signed paperwork regarding the custody of his two young children, a task he had found stressful.

"It just sort of pushed him over the edge, basically," the woman said.
read more here

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Australia veterans face same problems after combat and PTSD

Veterans accuse Department of Veterans Affairs of being more interested in saving money than lives
Special investigation by defence correspondent Michael Brissenden
ABC News Australia
June 6, 2013

Some veterans have accused the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) of deliberate intransigence and of being more interested in saving money than in saving lives.

A leading psychiatrist has backed the claims, and says the DVA does appear to be reticent to make money available for treatment, and that in some cases the bureaucratic hurdles put up and the time it takes to get help is making the situation worse.

The number of young veterans presenting with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to rise at an alarming rate and many say they are finding it difficult to get the help they need.

Suicide is now thought to be more deadly for veterans than the wars they served in.

At first glance Suzanne Baker does not look like a troubled ex-soldier. She has a broad, warm smile and she likes to talk. But it is a nervous facade.

Underneath, Suzanne is a tangle of anxiety - wound tight by a constant lack of sleep, anti-psychotic medication and her years of fighting with the DVA.

Suzanne is one of thousands of veterans of our most recent wars that have returned home to fight an even bigger personal battle with PTSD.

She is just the start of what retired Major General John Cantwell described to a parliamentary inquiry recently as "a large wave of sadness coming our way".

Maj Gen Cantwell wondered aloud whether DVA and Defence were ready for this wave. All the evidence so far is they are not.
read more here

Friday, November 30, 2012

Australian veterans talk about benefits of Ecstasy

NOT since Edina Monsoon's personal health crises on Absolutely Fabulous have we been so concerned with our wellbeing.
Matt Young
November 30, 2012
Herald Sun

Health, health, health, darling. Right, Eddie?

But thanks to the smart cookies at research departments across the globe, we’ve learnt a thing or two about the science behind the medicine.

Like the fact that mixing grapefruit with medication can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, acute kidney failure, or sudden death. For example.

Or that there is evidence to suggest that ecstacy is a feasible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

So much so that retired Australian war vet major Steve McDonald is urging the Government to legalise the drug for treatment purposes in affected veterans.

"I think it's really important because the psychedelic medicines are showing really strong potential, and it's a new area of medicine that's unlocking different ways to heal people," said Maj McDonald. heard from a host of sufferers of PTSD, most who concurred with the findings.

"Having also been diagnosed with PTSD due to military deployments I have and am using all kinds of different prescriptions but am still living with depression, night terrors and nightmares and can’t be alone at night due to psychosis as well," wrote Albert in Sydney.

"I'd be quite happy to try something new to free me from my own prison."

Some went so far to say that it was the illicit drug that kept them alive.

"I totally agree with this, as I suffered from PTSD and I can state with 10000% accuracy that if it wasn't for ecstasy, I probably wouldn't be here today," one reader posted anonymously.
read more here

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mental health issues with Vietnam Veterans wives

This study from Australia takes a look at wives of Vietnam Veterans.

Mornings with Fiona Parker
9:00am - 11:00am
Mental health issues with Vietnam Veterans wives
August 18, 2011 , 3:06 PM by Fiona Parker

The wives and partners of Vietnam Veterans suffer higher rates of mental health issues than members of the general community. This is according to new research, and comes as no surprise to those who understand the awful health issues their husbands likely face. But some of the details of the research are fascinating.

Dr Brian O'Toole is Director of the Vietnam Veterans Health Study and he undertook this study for the Brain and Mind Institute.

He found the wives and partners of Vietnam veterans had very little alcohol use disorder compared to their husbands (and basically no different to the general Australian population), but had huge problems with anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This morning, Fiona Parker spoke with Dr O'Toole to find out more.

Hear the interview

It is about time researchers took a look at wives that have lived through all of this for this many years. Yes, we do suffer. Yes our kids suffer. Above all the bad that comes with living with a PTSD veteran, the need for us to find information and support, there is one thing that is not talked about. Most of us were able to hold our marriages together without a clue what to do. There was no support when they came home for them or us. The only thing we had was a commitment to our husbands. We knew they were suffering and we wanted to make their lives better. We didn't have the Internet or support forums. There were only a few books about it and they were clinical studies about the veteran but leaving the spouse longing for someone to write something for them.

When we talk to the newer wives, we know how hard it is on them and when we help them, we are in fact helping ourselves heal. We remember all too well what it was like to be alone and feeling lost. We also learned by our own mistakes. We have a lot to share and even more to teach but the governments (US, UK and Australia) won't listen.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Australian Soldiers returning home with PTSD

Protecting those who serve to protect us

By Madonna King

Updated Tue Mar 8, 2011 8:46am AEDT

Paula' s voice faltered a few times, but she'd thought long and hard about what she wanted to say.

She is the wife of an Australian solider, who served in Timor and Afghanistan. She's proud of Glenn and what he does. And his bosses, given his glowing references, are proud of him too.

But now Glenn has returned home, a man Paula often doesn't recognise, and the question raised by Paula is this: who is responsible for him now?

Glenn has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a horrible illness that is making him almost impossible to live with. His mood swings, nightly bouts with the alcohol bottle and aloofness from his wife and three sons, are making his life, and theirs, hell.

Paula doesn't know what to do. And she says our army doesn't know either - and doesn't want you to know just how common it is that our soldiers, returning home, are caught in a mental nightmare.

Her words this week prompted a landslide of commentary, but the most chilling was from other soldiers, some of them still serving, who revealed a problem they believe is being buried under army protocol and political spin.

read more here
Protecting those who serve to protect us

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Australian Veterans Beware of Scam

I get a lot of email updates about what is going on with Australian Veterans and this one really needs to be paid attention to. If you know a veteran in Australia, please let them know about this.

Hi Kathie,
I have just been advised by DVA Cairns that some people are scamming mainly ex National serviceman. The ex serviceman is initially sent a letter advising them that they are entitled to Service pension and to contact the author. Once they do this they are then sent a letter with AMF (not used for many years) headed paper asking for bank details to put the service pension into, date of birth and other personal information. Their bank accounts are then cleaned out. Please advise as many others as possible of this scam.


John King JP (Qual) Advocate
Pensions, Advocacy & Welfare Services RSL (Queensland Branch)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vietnam Veterans remembered in Afghanistan

Vietnam Veterans remembered in Afghanistan

A replica of the cross that has come to symbolise the sacrifice of Australian servicemen in Vietnam a generation ago took pride of place in a ceremony at Multi-National Base - Tarin Kot yesterday.

Australian troops reflected on the service of their fighting forebears during the Long Tan Day commemoration in a world far removed from the jungle and plantations of Vietnam.

Addressing the Australian, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan troops who attended the memorial service, 1st Mentoring Task Force Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jennings said the exploits of Delta Company 6RAR in 1966 had come to symbolise Australia’s contribution to the war in South Vietnam but the day was also especially poignant for the soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan.

“While we take time out to reflect and pay respects to the 18 men of 6RAR who died at Long Tan, take a moment to remember this Task Force, our predecessors and our fellow warriors from the Special Operations Task Group who have lost 18 of our own generation here in Afghanistan,” Lieutenant Colonel Jennings said.

“The 6RAR Battlegroup – Mentoring Task Force 1 of 2010 – carries on the tradition set by our forebears.”
read more here
Vietnam Veterans remembered in Afghanistan

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lost souls bunkered down in suburban homes

Iraq war means a new batallion of lost souls bunkered down in suburban homes
Paul Toohey From: Herald Sun February 06, 2010 12:00AM

ANGUS Sim draws deep breaths. He warns, as he tells his story, that he is becoming worked up.

He looks like most modern young warriors, built strongly and emblazoned with heavy ink. He shifts between tears and rage.

For Sim, the quiet streets of Sunbury, in Melbourne's northern outskirts, may as well be filled with hidden home-made bombs, snipers and trucks being prepared for suicide bomb missions.

Sim, 24, returned from Iraq in June 2005 after serving with the Brisbane-based infantry battalion, 6RAR.

He was involved in four incidents that would separately, and cumulatively, damage him profoundly.

His energy has nowhere to evaporate. Time bomb or loose cannon, take your pick.

Sim doesn't like people much. "I got back to Sunbury after Iraq," he said. "I had a girlfriend and I broke up with her. It turned nasty. I got called a 'psycho from Iraq' and this sort of stuff. People don't understand. But the Australian people need to understand."
read more here
lost souls bunkered down in suburban homes

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Diggers suffer in silence with PTSD

Diggers suffer in silence

``Living in no-man’s land’’ is how Vietnam veteran Frank Douglas describes post-war life without treatment and serves as a warning to other ``vets’’, should they refuse help in coping with their wartime experiences.
Broken yet still battling - he is one of many men who gave up their youth to fight for our country and living proof there are thousands of ``walking wounded’’ that have slipped through the cracks and in desperate need of help.
As Anzac Day approaches on April 25, Manly-Lota RSL is pleading with ex-diggers to step forward and accept help.
Men like Mr Douglas, 62, Hal Hillard, 86, and Percy Harvey, 91, are just some of the hundreds of ex-soldiers which the club’s Peter Beachamp has pulled out of a living hell.
As the sub-branch’s advocate, he is sometimes the first contact for local veterans and their partners.
Many are reliving wartime traumas and suffering from not only physical ailments from injuries, but ongoing mental conflicts resulting from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
go here for the rest

Wives stand tall behind war veterans

My husband says the same thing Ray Kuschert says. He credits his wife and most Vietnam veterans do the same. Most of us think that it's just what you're supposed to do when you love someone. You fight for them.

We can talk a lot about fighting for your husband when it's against another woman. That's always easy to understand but when it's fighting against a ghost, unless you've been there, it's virtually impossible to understand. We have to get them back into this year when they are being dragged back to events in their lives occurring in their past. We have to remind them of what they've forgotten because of short term memory loss and not blow our stack when we have to remind them for the tenth time at the same time they can remember something in detail that happened in Vietnam over thirty years ago. When they can remember the faces and names of everyone they served with but they have trouble remembering the name of the neighbor next door.

The ghost of Vietnam follows them daily and we fight against her as if she is trying to take our husbands away from us. No easy task at all. It's not as if we can spruce up our appearance and everything will be fine, because most of the time, they don't notice any changes at all. Passion? Well that went away a long time ago so it's never an issue over sex or the lack of it. All we can do is stand by them, be their friend and help them to heal. It it the battles of their past they still fight and because of these battles, we have to fight for them. When I wrote my book For the Love of Jack, the sub title was His War/My Battle. That's exactly what Vietnam was. Almost 25 years after we got married, I'm still fighting this "other woman" in his life. This ghost will not let him go but I have the knowledge to make sure she never wins.

It is my greatest fear the spouses of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will remain oblivious when they could be learning what it will take to save their husbands and wives, their marriages and the futures of their own children. All they need to know is out there but too many keep saying they have enough to worry about when their husband or wife is deployed. The problem is they don't want to face it when they come home either. They think whatever wound they come back with inside of them will be something they just get over, but most will end up worse because of the reluctance of their spouse to care enough to learn.
Wives stand tall behind war veterans
RAY KUSCHERT has been to hell and back in Vietnam, but thanks his wife for where he is today.
Mr Kuschert, who now lives in Mittagong, was 17 when he joined the Australian Army and 19 when he spent 12 months in Vietnam.
He served with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment which was attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade American Unit.
He said he joined because in those days it was a job and an opportunity to earn good money.
“Vietnam happened later so that wasn’t even applicable when I joined,’’ he said.
“The experience was hair-raising.
“I was a forward scout with the infantry section so I saw a lot of action.’’
Mr Kuschert said he came home from Vietnam in 1965 with some good memories and quite a few bad ones.
“I came back and faded into dust,’’ he said.
“I never wore my medals and never participated in anything to do with returned serviceman.
“It wasn’t until my oldest son was 21 that he found out I went to Vietnam.’’
Mr Kuschert said it was how people perceived the war that stopped him wearing his medals.
“There were all the protests and even the RSL wouldn’t accept Vietnam veterans as war veterans,’’ he said.
“It was hard to walk up to the counter at the RSL Club and be told you weren’t wanted.’’
Mr Kuschert now helps other veterans as a welfare officer for the Vietnam Veteran’s Association of Australia Macarthur Sub Branch.
For the full story see the Southern Highland News, Wednesday, April 15

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Traumatised soldiers get sub-standard care in Australia too

Traumatised soldiers get sub-standard care
AM - Monday, 30 March , 2009 08:22:00
Reporter: Jennifer Macey
TONY EASTLEY: An investigation into the Defence Force's mental health services reveals that most returned soldiers aren't getting adequate care.

The report commissioned by the Federal Government has been leaked to the ABC's Four Corners program and The Age newspaper.

It shows that two-thirds of veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are receiving sub-standard treatment.

Jennifer Macey reports.
go here for more
Traumatised soldiers get sub-standard care
ABC Online - Australia

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Austrailian Soldier suicide linked to drugs and PTSD

Soldier suicide linked to drugs: inquiry
Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney, New South Wales,Australia

A special forces soldier hanged himself as a result of drug and alcohol dependence, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his service in Afghanistan, an inquiry has found.

But the Department of Defence inquiry found no evidence that Captain Andrew Paljakka, 27, had experienced a traumatic event during his six weeks in Afghanistan in 2006.

"The inquiry concluded it was the compound effect of all the difficulties Captain Paljakka was experiencing, including alcohol and drug dependence, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, and his personal problems, that led him to take his own life," Defence said.

"Captain Paljakka developed traumatic memories which were an elaboration of what he had heard and been told about during his six-week service in Afghanistan.

"This is a recognised phenomenon suffered by some individuals with PTSD," the inquiry found.
click link for more

Monday, October 27, 2008

Australian Veterans linking together with PTSD

Soldiers echo calls for defence culture changes

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 27/10/2008
Reporter: John Stewart

Last week the Federal Government announced payments to families of four young soldiers who killed themselves after suffering bastardisation and bullying in the Defence Force. Soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after returning from overseas duty are also calling for a change in the way the military deals with soldiers suffering mental health problems.

Soldiers echo calls for defence culture changes
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Healing minds, bodies broken by war

Healing minds, bodies broken by war

7/10/2008 1:00:00 AM
James Peake knows a bit about repairing bodies and minds that have been shattered on battlefields.
The US Secretary of Veterans' Affairs is a decorated Vietnam veteran, a medical doctor and the man in charge of the massive department, with more than 250,000 employees.

Dr Peake is in Canberra to join some of Australia's top veterans' affairs experts in a colloquium on ways to rehabilitate soldiers returning from conflict with mental and physical damage.

The former US Army general took a stroll yesterday afternoon around the Australian War Memorial in the company of his Australian counterpart, Alan Griffin.

Dr Peake said that modern military medicine had improved the survival rates of soldiers on the battlefield, but that was just the beginning for the process of rehabilitation

''The ability to treat far forward on the battlefield and then evacuate quickly has gotten soldiers, sailors airmen and marines back to the continental United States very quickly, whereas before it would take a long time. '' he said.

click post title for more