Diagnosis of PTSD improves,treatment still evolving

Discussion in 'Remembering' started by rainvet, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. rainvet

    rainvet New Member

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    Diagnosis of PTSD improves, treatment still evolving

    Monday, February 20, 2006

    During the Civil War it was called “soldier’s heart” or “nostalgia.” During the wars of the 20th century from World War I through Vietnam it was called “shell shock.”

    It wasn’t until 1980 that “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD) became a diagnostic term.

    According to the American Psychiatric Assn., PTSD can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed life-threatening events. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through flashbacks or nightmares. They have difficulty sleeping and coping with everyday life. It can happen to civilians as well as military personnel.

    Nearly 40 years after Artie Ramirez fought as a Marine in South Vietnam, the 57-year-old Lawrence resident still has occasional nightmares. He received treatment for PTSD after leaving the Marines in the mid-1970s. There are times even now when he wakes up in a sweat with his heart pounding.

    “You know it was just a flashback and that your brain had gone back to 1968,” Ramirez said. “You never know how your brain is going to work. Sometimes those old doors up there open up.”

    At Colmery-O’Neil Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Topeka, there are 24 beds in the stress disorder treatment program headed by Dr. Jonathan Farrell-Higgins. It is where the most serious cases of PTSD are treated, and usually the unit is nearly full.

    “Every week we’ll graduate a few veterans and then bring in maybe three more,” Farrell-Higgins said.

    A 2005 study by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that out of nearly 170,000 Iraq veterans about 34,000 were diagnosed with psychological disorders. Those suffering from PTSD were 1,641.

    “The good news today is that we are able to diagnose a lot more effectively than ever before,” Farrell-Higgins said.

    But it is unclear what the long-term effect will be as far as how many soldiers might become PTSD victims.

    “The picture five years and 10 years from now will be very interesting to discover, and right now we’re kind of looking ahead wondering what that picture will look like,” Farrell-Higgins said.

    There are a lot of war events that can lead to PTSD, Farrell-Higgins said. The most publicized is the roadside bomb, or improvised explosive device. But he thinks one cause also is the cumulative effects of war.

    “I think it’s the daily grind of war; the combat mission that these guys are involved in even if there is not an IED,” he said. “Certainly it is the battles and firefights and the constant threats in war.”

    The length of time it takes to recover from PTSD varies from person to person. Much of it depends on good social support from family and friends as well as inpatient and outpatient treatment, Farrell-Higgins said. Most who receive support go on to lead productive lives, he said.

    www2.ljworld.com/news/200...city_local
  2. Facing The Wall

    Facing The Wall New Member

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    Five to ten years to discover what happens? It will very interesting now today to see what happens. The promise has been made that the VA will be adding more employees to help the returning Veterans and their families. When I checked at the VA in September 2005 their was no help available to the families of any veterans.
    The bottom line is, many of these Veterans don't even realize they are suffering from PTSD. It is up to the VA to give the families information in reference to this aftereffect of war so that they may know what is going on and be able to address the problem as soon as possible.
    If the problem is not addressed head-on, we will have another generation of Veterans and their families hurting for all the days of their lives - PTSD will become a permanent part of them. I know my veteran husband did not receive help until it was too late.
    PTSD is a permanent part of him now.
    Till war & trauma end, understanding must begin.
  3. LITTLEREDSH

    LITTLEREDSH New Member

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    It is unfortunate that the diagnosis (PTSD) was ridiculed for so long by so many. Unhappily for many of us, it took many years for PTSD to manifest itself. In my own case, fifty-two years...due, in all likelihood to self-medication, (whiskey), which kept me reasonably sane, and masked the symptoms.
  4. lacyben

    lacyben New Member

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    I had nightmares for thirtyone years along with anger and relationship problems. I didn't know it had a name. I"am a Viet Nam Vet. I was hurt on the job and am physically disabled. Out of the counceling from that injury I was diagnosed with PTSD and learned from a stranger I could get VA benifets and help. I actually argued with them for 6 months before I applied and got them. My PTSD didn't manifest itself full blown until I was 52 years old then it went wild. Mine because of denial. Ignorance and anger. Some shame as well.
  5. rainvet

    rainvet New Member

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    lacyben, go to the Ptsd post and it has some information on the site there. RainVet !

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