Tag Archives | PTSD

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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Child Abuse Changes Gene Activity Patterns

TonitzaOrfanderazboiIt looks like child abuse does more than leave physical and emotional scarring: It changes its victims on a genetic level.

Via Medical News Today:

A study of adult civilians with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) has shown that individuals with a history of childhood abuse have distinct, profound changes in gene activity patterns, compared to adults with PTSD but without a history of child abuse.

A team of researchers from Atlanta and Munich probed blood samples from 169 participants in the Grady Trauma Project, a study of more than 5000 Atlanta residents with high levels of exposure to violence, physical and sexual abuse and with high risk for civilian PTSD.

The results were published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition.

“These are some of the most robust findings to date showing that different biological pathways may describe different subtypes of a psychiatric disorder, which appear similar at the level of symptoms but may be very different at the level of underlying biology,” says Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

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‘Did We Just Kill a Kid?’: The Moment a Drone Operator Realized He Could Not Go On

You tell me if brainwashing is real.

Via DailyMail.Co.Uk

A former U.S. drone operator has opened up about the toll of killing scores of innocent people by pressing a button from a control room in New Mexico.

Brandon Bryant, 27, from Missoula, Montana, spent six years in the Air Force operating Predator drones from inside a dark container.

But, after following orders to shoot and kill a child in Afghanistan, he knew he couldn't keep doing what he was doing and quit the military.

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or “Moral Injury”?

Picture: USAF (PD)

Shepherd Bliss writes at Counterpunch:

“My God, what have we done?” combat soldiers sometimes gasp as they see those they or comrades just killed, especially when they include innocent children, women, and other civilians.

“We knew that we killed them/…the terrified mother/ clutching terrified child,” writes former Lieutenant Michael Parmeley in his poem “Meditation on Being a Baby Killer.” In l968, Lt. Parmeley led a combat platoon in the American War on Vietnam. He receives benefits for what is clinically described as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“My gunner…started to cry,” Parmeley writes. “There’s a myth of recovery,/ that you put it behind you/…but memories aren’t like that/…I know that we killed them.”

Parmeley and I have participated in the Veterans’ Writing Group for twenty years. We attend regular meetings, break silences, tell our stories in a healing context, and listen without judgment. His poem appears in our book “Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace,” (www.vowvop.org) edited by our writing teacher, award-winning author, and former University of California Berkeley professor Maxine Hong Kingston.

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Embattled Childhoods May Be the Real Trauma for Soldiers With PTSD

Picture: Sean J. Gourley (CC)

Can an abusive childhood be worse than war?  Via ScienceDaily:

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.

“Most studies on PTSD in soldiers following service in war zones do not include measures of PTSD symptoms prior to deployment and thus suffer from a baseline problem. Only a few studies have examined pre- to post-deployment changes in PTSD symptoms, and most only use a single before-and-after measure,” says Berntsen.

The team aimed to address these methodological issues by studying a group of 746 Danish soldiers and evaluating their symptoms of PTSD at five different timepoints.

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Ecstasy Is New Drug Of Choice For PTSD

Rick Doblin has been one of the few medical doctors in the United States, or actually make that more or less anywhere in the developed world, willing to stick his neck out and conduct clinical trials of psychedelic drugs.

His work has been variously profiled by the alternative press (including, of course, Under The Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs), but it seems that his time may finally have come for some mainstream acceptance. Benedict Carey profiles the work of Doblin’s Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) organization for the New York Times:

Hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress have recently contacted a husband-and-wife team who work in suburban South Carolina to seek help. Many are desperate, pleading for treatment and willing to travel to get it.

The soldiers have no interest in traditional talking cures or prescription drugs that have given them little relief. They are lining up to try an alternative: MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, a party drug that surfaced in the 1980s and ’90s that can induce pulses of euphoria and a radiating affection.

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