Tag Archives | PTSD

Embattled Childhoods May Be the Real Trauma for Soldiers With PTSD

Spc. Mitchell Eidsvold (left), Spc. Michael Hons (center), and Sgt. Scott Jenson (right) of the 191st Military Police Company race toward the finish line of the Fallen Soldiers Memorial 12K run, while wearing full combat equipment and carrying the American Flag. The run took place in Devils Lake, N.D. on June 23, 2012. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brett Miller, 116th Public Affairs Detachment. By The U.S. Army via Flicker (CC by 2.0)

Spc. Mitchell Eidsvold (left), Spc. Michael Hons (center), and Sgt. Scott Jenson (right) of the 191st Military Police Company race toward the finish line of the Fallen Soldiers Memorial 12K run, while wearing full combat equipment and carrying the American Flag. The run took place in Devils Lake, N.D. on June 23, 2012. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brett Miller, 116th Public Affairs Detachment. By The U.S. Army via Flicker (CC by 2.0)

Via the Association for Psychological Science:

New research on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers challenges popular assumptions about the origins and trajectory of PTSD, providing evidence that traumatic experiences in childhood – not combat – may predict which soldiers develop the disorder.

Psychological scientist Dorthe Berntsen of Aarhus University in Denmark and a team of Danish and American researchers wanted to understand why some soldiers develop PTSD but others don’t. They also wanted to develop a clearer understanding of how the symptoms of the disorder progress.

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Why Psychedelics Are So Important To Veterans

Psychedelic dingbats.png

By Hendrike (CC)

Tom Shroder, author of Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal, tells the story of Nick, a veteran haunted by PTSD in an interview with The Daily Beast in which he relates why psychedelics are so important to veterans, and the roadblocks researchers face getting it to them:

LSD, an illicit drug with a serious stigma, was once the darling of the psychotherapy world.

Synthesized by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in 1938, the two decades following its birth were populated with study after study showing positive effects. With its ability to reduce defensiveness, help users relive early experiences, and make unconscious material accessible, it proved tremendously successful in therapy.

In a plethora of studies from the 1950s, researchers found the drug, and other psychedelics in its family, to be successful in treating victims of psychosomatic illnesses ranging from depression to addiction. With fear and hesitation stripped away, psychologists could help their patients dive headfirst into a painful memory, feeling, or thought, and work through it.

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Hebrew University Medical Center Study: THC Good Treatment For PTSD

Cannabis female flowers. Photo: Acdx (CC)

Cannabis female flowers. Photo: Acdx (CC)

The administration of oral THC mitigates symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), according to clinical trial data published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Drug Investigation.

Investigators at the Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem assessed the safety and efficacy of oral THC as an adjunct treatment in ten subjects with chronic PTSD.

Researchers reported, “The intervention caused a statistically significant improvement in global symptom severity, sleep quality, frequency of nightmares, and PTSD hyperarousal symptoms.”

They concluded, “Orally absorbable delta-9-THC was safe and well tolerated by patients with chronic PTSD.”

Separate clinical trial data has previously reported that the administration of nabilone, a synthetic endocannabinoid agonist, can reduce the severity and frequency of nightmares in patients with PTSD.

via Study: Oral THC Safely and Effectively Addresses Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform.

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The Military Is Building Brain Chips to Treat PTSD

PIC: Camazine (CC)

PIC: Camazine (CC)

…and to make you a happy worker.  Patrick Tucker writes at the Atlantic:

How well can you predict your next mood swing? How well can anyone? It’s an existential dilemma for many of us but for the military, the ability to treat anxiety, depression, memory loss and the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder has become one of the most important battles of the post-war period.

Now the Pentagon is developing a new, innovative brain chip to treat PTSD in soldiers and veterans that could bring sweeping new changes to the way depression and anxiety is treated for millions of Americans.

With $12 million (and the potential for $26 million more if benchmarks are met), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, wants to reach deep into your brain’s soft tissue to record, predict and possibly treat anxiety, depression and other maladies of mood and mind. Teams from the University of California at San Francisco, Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Medtronic will use the money to create a cybernetic implant with electrodes extending into the brain.

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Rethinking ‘Don’t Blame The Victim’

PIC: Achim Herring (CC)

PIC: Achim Herring (CC)

Ofer Zur, Ph.D., writes:

The psychology of victims and the dynamics of victimhood have been largely ignored by scholars and clinicians. While in past years the tendency has been to blame victims, more recently the tide has turned. It is now politically incorrect to explore the role of victims in violent systems, as exploring the psychology of victims has become synonymous with blaming the victim. While shying away from blame, this article will explore the familial and cultural origins of victimhood, victims’ characteristics, their relationships with the perpetrators, and offer a victim typology. As we move from blame to a more complex understanding of violent systems, the perpetuation of these systems in our culture, and the role victims play in these systems, we provide ourselves with better tools to predict and prevent further victimization.

This paper inquires into the rarely explored, politically sensitive topic of the nature of victimhood.

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Federal Government Finally Funds Research that Explores Positive Uses of Marijuana

marijuanaThe unstoppable marijuana train rolls on, thanks to Rick Doblin and MAPS. From AllGov:

For those conducting studies of the harmful effects of marijuana, the federal government has usually been willing to share from its stash, which comes from the only federally sanctioned pot farm in the country. But those looking to find positive uses for the drug have always found Uncle Sam to be bogarting his joint.

Until now. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finally approved the sale of federally grown marijuana for a study that would research whether pot could help veterans cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Food and Drug Administration approved the study back in 2011, but University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley, who will conduct the study, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is funding it, were unable to get marijuana.

“MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we’ve been granted permission to purchase marijuana from [the National Institute on Drug Abuse],” the group said in a statement.

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The U.S. Goverment Lobotomized Thousands Of World War II Soldiers With PTSD

margraten-cemeteryThe Wall Street Journal on a forced frontal lobotomy as a grim cure for the horrors of war:

The orderlies at the veterans hospital pinned Roman Tritz, a World War II bomber pilot, to the floor, he recalls. He fought so hard that eventually they gave up. But the orderlies came for him again on Wednesday, July 1, 1953, a few weeks before his 30th birthday. This time, the doctors got their way.

The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal. Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals.

The VA’s practice sometimes brought veterans relief from their inner demons.

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Elephants That Witness Culling Remain Psychologically Scarred for Decades

Elephant_walking_ArMAs you’re probably aware, elephants are extremely intelligent creatures that develop deep social bonds within their herds. Researchers looking into the effects of herd culls have identified signs of PTSD among the calves who survive.

Via Discover Magazine:

Wildlife officials in South Africa have used culling to manage elephant populations since the 1960s. The environmental benefit is clear: too many of these huge, hungry animals could quickly eat, trample and uproot the vegetation in a fenced nature reserve. To prevent such habitat destruction, managers have historically rounded up the big beasts with a helicopter and had professional hunters on the ground kill some adults. The young elephants are then shipped to other parks.

Previous studies have shown that young elephants that live through such events grew up with a version of PTSD, delaying their development and making them unusually scared or aggressive. The elephants in this study had experienced even more extreme distress, however, as one of the researchers, Joyce Poole, told National Geographic,

“These calves watched as their mothers and other family members were killed and butchered.

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Pyrrhic Victories: Medal of Honor Recipient Unemployed and Struggling With PTSD

The plight of Capt. William Swenson: Yet another shameful example of how the United States government treats its "heroes". Via Christian Science Monitor:
Since he retired from the Army, Swenson has made no secret of the fact that he has struggled with combat stress. He is currently unemployed, though he has applied to go back to the military on active duty status, and says he often likes to escape to the mountains where he can find solitude. He told one reporter he specializes in Pyrrhic victories – wins that comes at such a devastating cost that they are indistinguishable from defeat.
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A Brave Fan Asks Patrick Stewart A Question He Doesn’t Usually Get And Is Given A Beautiful Answer

Via Upworthy.com

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan’s question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I’ve ever seen. WARNING: At 2:40, he’s going to break your heart a little.

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