PTSD in the News: Weekly Roundup

Posted by Michele Rosenthal

Saturday, November 7th, 2009 • Uncategorized •

Day 273 | 365 - The NewspaperSo…. Veterans Day is coming up next week; Wednesday, Nov. 11, to be exact. How are you marking the day?? Join Heal My PTSD, LLC, founder and BlogTalk Radio show host, Michele Rosenthal, as she interviews Jason Ream, founder of OperationPTSD to discuss how anyone with PTSD can go from victim to victor. Details of the show can be found here. Showtime: 6pm EST sharp!

In the meantime, research this week suggests that genes play a role in whether or not someone ends up with PTSD. (What’s your theory for why some people get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and others don’t? Share your ideas and join the discussion on this week’s edition of “Meandering Michele’s Mind”.) Also, research confimed rape is experienced as more traumatizing than terrorism. In today’s round up we also have some info on kids/adolecents with PTSD. Plus, a slew of military topics ranging from the experience of female vets, the military changing its PTSD tactics, Vietnam vets traveling back to the source, and the U.S. Airforce beginning to us behavior imaging.

I hope the coffee’s warm and you’re in a comfortable chair….!

Topics For Everyone

Gene Increases Susceptibility to PTSD - “This study helps us understand how genetic factors can contribute to vulnerability in different people,” said Joel Gelernter, senior author of the study and professor of psychiatry, genetics and neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine. (More stats available here.)

Heart Disease Effects More Acute in Patients with PTSD – In a study of 1,022 men and women with heart disease, those with post-traumatic stress disorder perceived the effects of their disease as more burdensome and disabling than did those without PTSD, even when their actual heart health was no worse by objective measures.

According to Research: Rape “more traumatic than terrorism” -  Victims of rape suffer from higher levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than victims of war or terror, a new study reveals.

Mindfulness Psychotherapy for PTSD - Mindfulness describes a particular quality of conscious relationship with an experience, which is open and accepting. Mindfulness is being completely present with whatever is being experienced as an interested observer eager, to investigate and learn. Mindfulness is the absence of reactivity, either in the form of identification with the story line of our experience, or aversion to what we are experiencing.

Psychiatric Service Dogs - Labradoodles have surprising skills.

PTSD Symptoms in Children & Adolescents – Video with outline of what to look for. 

Topics for Combat Stress

Mending the Scars of War – “If you go to war, see people killed, villages burning, you are going to have some form of PTSD,” he said. “But I see it as a badge of honor, not a sickness. You deserve to be a little weird.”

Military Updating Tactics on Trauma – Addressing the conference by speakerphone, Mullen told the 400 attendees that he now uses the term “combat stress” instead of PTSD. He changed his vocabulary, he said, after a service member told him the word “disorder” creates a stigma for sufferers – even as the military is encouraging troubled troops to ask for help.

A Combat Role, and Anguish, Too - As with other women in her position, hiding seems to make sense. Post-traumatic stress disorder distorts personalities: some veterans who have it fight in their sleep; others feel paranoid around children. And as women return to a society unfamiliar with their wartime roles, they often choose isolation over embarrassment.

Women in their own Words -  While women serving in combat zones develop post-traumatic stress disorder at rates similar to those of their male counterparts, they cope differently.

Fishing, Hunting Help Injured Vets Heal – Like many veterans hurt in Iraq or Afghanistan, Wolf is turning to rugged activities such as hunting and fishing to help heal physical and mental wounds. Groups such as the Armed Forces Foundation organize outings to get a growing number of veterans out of hospitals and sterile rehabilitation centers and into the therapeutic embrace of nature.

For Female Vets PTSD is Very Real – I’ve been pretty fascinated by the New York Times’ series “Women at Arms,” about lady folk in the military. Yesterday’s front page story might have been the most interesting so far. It looks at the lives of women who’ve returned from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now dealing with the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.  

No Down Time for Sergeants – At the peak of the fighting, in 2006-7, about 400 soldiers a year were sent home from Iraq because of severe PTSD, and thousands have less serious bouts of PTSD, which are treated in Iraq, with the soldier soon returning to duty.

Vermont VA Expanding -  The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Vermont is growing to accommodate a center devoted to posttraumatic stress disorder.

For These Women Veterans, A Home To Call Their Own -  Women last year accounted for an estimated 5 percent of all homeless veterans, or 6,500 former servicewomen, a figure that is 67 percent higher than the number reported in 2004, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. By contrast, the total number of homeless veterans decreased by 33 percent in the same period, to 131,000 from 195,000.

Decades After the War Vets Return to Vietnam To Heal - The trip is the result of Phillips’ attending a Soldier’s Heart presentation by psychotherapist Ed Tick in Medford in February. Phillips later attended a retreat for veterans on Orca Island in Puget Sound conducted by Tick, known for helping veterans with PTSD. He leads groups of veterans back to Vietnam each year.

U.S. Airforce Turns to Behavior Imaging -  The virtual reality technology being used to treat service members with PTSD, called Virtual Iraq, allows soldiers to re-experience traumatic events in the safety of a controlled environment and under the supervision of a mental health expert.

Conference Teaches Resiliency To Troops – “Post-traumatic stress disorder is not like pregnancy ” is one saying he likes to use. It’s not like frostbite, either: You can have PTSD, overcome it and suffer no permanent damage. It’s more like the flu, he said: “It can kick your tail,” but once you’ve had it, you probably won’t catch it again.

Shineski Cites Plight, Plan for Helping Homeless Vets – The Department of Veterans Affairs laid out Tuesday an ambitious five-year goal of curbing the number of homeless veterans, pledging $3.2 billion to an issue that is more rapidly affecting those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars than by any from past conflicts.

 (Photo aknowledgement: Maciek Lesniak on Flickr.)

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7 Responses to “PTSD in the News: Weekly Roundup”

  1. Marie says:

    Hi, Michele -

    One sentence in particular caught my attention: “Also, research confirmed rape is experienced as more traumatizing than terrorism.”

    According to “The Courage to Heal” book, people can handle trauma better if they have been given a language for processing it beforehand or soon after it occurs . . . I think war and terrorism are widely discussed and are less “taboo”, so we have the language for describing what happens in those instances.

    Childhood sexual abuse and rape are often talked about in hushed tones or not acknowledged at all — meaning the language is stunted or missing totally. The survivors don’t have the language to name or describe what happened.

    I see another angle to this . . and that is the way in which admitting and discussing the PTSD that comes with being involved with trauma is still rather taboo (regardless if the related trauma is terrorism, war, childhood abuse or rape). I think the language around PTSD is still limited and there is a general stigma around talking about it — which almost causes a secondary trauma due to the compromised ability of the survivors to describe what is happening inside of them as they relive the experiences.

    Thank you, Michele, for working to open up the discussion and to lift off the stigma around PTSD.

    - Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

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  3. Michele says:

    @Marie — Great point on both levels — that of taboo of the trauma, and the taboo of mental illness. You’re so right that we need to continue to eliminate the stigma of both, and develop the PTSD language and conversation so that survivors are more comfortable opening up and seeking and accepting help. In the darkness we remain prisoners of our thoughts and our past; in the light we become free of them.

    How would you suggest evolving language and social attitude?

  4. [...] and included is a link to an interview with Terry Pratchett about Alzheimer’s Disease. The ‘Heal My PTSD‘ blog contains a round-up of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) news including the use of a [...]

  5. [...] and included is a link to an interview with Terry Pratchett about Alzheimer’s Disease. The ‘Heal My PTSD‘ blog contains a round-up of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) news including the use of a [...]

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  7. [...] and included is a link to an interview with Terry Pratchett about Alzheimer’s Disease. The ‘Heal My PTSD‘ blog contains a round-up of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) news including the use of a [...]

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