Thursday, August 8, 2013

Combat roles in Middle East more likely to cause psychological trauma

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.

So tracking what is happening in other nations if vital to discovering what works and what has failed. So far no nation has treating PTSD right. This is about Australian veterans. They are suffering the same way our troops are.
ADF study finds combat roles in Middle East more likely to cause psychological trauma
ABC Australia
By defence correspondent Michael Brissenden
Posted 1 hour 13 minutes ago

A Defence Force study into the health of soldiers deployed to the Middle East over the past decade shows those who have served in combat roles are at greater risk of psychological trauma.

The report into more than 14,000 soldiers found significant increases in mental health problems were experienced with increasing exposure to traumatic events.

It also showed greater combat exposure leads to greater risk of subsequent mental health problems, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is now recognised as a significant issue for veterans, and it is estimated between 15 to 20 per cent of veterans will return home from deployments with some form of PTSD.

However, symptoms may take many years to present.

The report states "significant increases in mental health problems were found with increasing traumatic and combat exposure, with the adjusted risk for some problems increasing five to fifteen fold.

"These findings covered PTSD symptoms, major depressive syndrome, panic and other anxiety syndromes, and alcohol misuse," the report stated, and found "greater combat exposure does lead to greater risk of subsequent mental health problems, including PTSD."
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