Tag Archives | PTSD

PTSD And Homicidal Behavior

Benjamin Colton Barnes

Benjamin Colton Barnes

Many commenters on CNN’s website believe this article unfairly conflates PTSD and homicidal behavior.  What do you think?

A man opens fire in a national park, killing a ranger who was attempting to stop him after he blew through a vehicle checkpoint.A second man is suspected in the stabbing deaths of four homeless men in Southern California.

Both men, U.S. military veterans, served in Iraq — and both, according to authorities and those who knew them, returned home changed men after their combat service.

A coincidence — two recent high-profile cases? Or a sign of an increase in hostile behavior as U.S. troops complete their withdrawal from Iraq, similar to that seen when U.S. troops returned home from the Vietnam War?

“You’re going to see this more and more over the next 10 years,” said Shad Meshad, founder of the National Veterans Foundation, who has been working with veterans since 1970.

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Casualties of War: The Most Depressive Toy Soldiers Ever

Created by Dorothy via Sad And Useless: Toy SoldierSays Dorothy: The hell of war comes home. In July 2009 Colorado Springs Gazettea published a two-part series entitled “Casualties of War”. The articles focused on a single battalion based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, who since returning from duty in Iraq had been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drunk driving, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides. Returning soldiers were committing murder at a rate 20 times greater than other young American males. A separate investigation into the high suicide rate among veterans published in the New York Times in October 2010 revealed that three times as many California veterans and active service members were dying soon after returning home than those being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. We hear little about the personal hell soldiers live through after returning home.
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God, The Army, And PTSD

An Army Chaplain's MemoirFrom a 2009 article in the Boston Review by Tara McKelvey:

When Roger Benimoff arrived at the psychiatric building of the Coatesville, Pennsylvania veterans’ hospital, he was greeted by a message carved into a nearby tree stump: “Welcome Home.” It was a reminder that things had not turned out as he had expected.

In Faith Under Fire, a memoir about Benimoff’s life as an Army chaplain in Iraq, Benimoff and co-author Eve Conant describe his return from Iraq to his family in Colorado and subsequent assignment to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He retreated deep into himself, spending hours on the computer and racking up ten thousand dollars in debt on eBay. Above all, he was angry and jittery, scared even of his young sons, and barely able to make it through the day. He was eventually admitted to Coatesville’s “Psych Ward.” For a while the lock-down facility was his home.

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“They Are Our Government, Our Leaders—They Cannot Be Crazy”

Regions of the brain associated with stress and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Regions of the brain associated with stress and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Are the Israelis repeating Holocaust traumas upon the Palestinians?  From the July 1992 issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

Dr. Jan Bastiaans, a Dutch psychiatrist, is an authority on the Holocaust syndrome, and has treated many survivors. In 1973 he wrote, “In recent years the Ka-tzet (concentration camp) syndrome has suddenly received general recognition…This concept is concerned with…pathological processes that occurred after the war in former concentration camp prisoners…The Ka-tzet syndrome is the expression of a permanent, chronic obstruction of sound human relationships. The victims are not free from the concentration camp…Behind their adaptation facade continues to live the child or adult of [that time] in all fear, in all misery, in all powerlessness.”

Dr. Haim Dasberg, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Hebrew University and medical director of the Ezrat Nashim Jerusalem Mental Health Center, has written extensively on PTSD and the Israeli army.

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Scientists Can Erase Bad Memories

Brave New WorldIs this fun ‘Men In Black’ type stuff, truly useful in the ease of psychological pain from traumatic memories, or totally scary ‘Brave New World’ totalitarianism in the making? Scientists have found that proteins can be removed from the brain’s fear center to delete memories forever. Meredith Cohn reports for the Baltimore Sun, via the LA Times:

Reporting from Baltimore — Soldiers haunted by scenes of war and victims scarred by violence may wish they could wipe the memories from their minds. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say that may someday be possible.

A commercial drug remains far off — and its use would be subject to many ethical and practical questions. But scientists have laid a foundation with their discovery that proteins can be removed from the brain’s fear center to erase memories forever. “When a traumatic event occurs, it creates a fearful memory that can last a lifetime and have a debilitating effect on a person’s life,” said Richard L.

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The Biology of Soul Murder

Shannon Brownlee writes in a U.S. News and World Report article, dated Nov. 3, 1996:

Once viewed as genetically programmed, the brain is now known to be plastic, an organ molded by both genes and experience throughout life. A single traumatic experience can alter an adult’s brain: A horrifying battle, for instance, may induce the flashbacks, depression and hair-trigger response of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And researchers are finding that abuse and neglect early in life can have even more devastating consequences, tangling both the chemistry and the architecture of children’s brains and leaving them at risk for drug abuse, teen pregnancy and psychiatric problems later in life.

Yet the brain’s plasticity also holds out the chance that positive experiences — psychotherapy, mentoring, loving relationships — might ameliorate some of the damage. Much remains unknown. But if scientists can understand exactly how trauma harms the brain, they may also learn much about healing broken lives.

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Survey Finds Many Veterans Use Marijuana For PTSD

Steve Elliott writes in Toke of the Town:
Many veterans and others are using cannabis medically to treat the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to preliminary results of a new survey. Cannabis Science Inc., which describes itself as "an emerging pharmaceutical cannabis company," is reviewing the interim results of its survey of more than 1,400 people. "It is clear that many veterans are already using herbal cannabis to self-medicate to relieve the symptoms of PTSD," said Dr. Robert Melamede, president and CEO of Cannabis Science. "Consequently, there is a clear need for standardized, FDA approved, oral cannabis products which can, and should be, provided to veterans and others who can benefit from its use," Melamede said.
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