It seems we don’t hear much about the Persian Gulf War veterans anymore. But today I came across an article by Matthew Tull, PhD, on About.com. which shares some facts about them. Some of the highlights are:
- Although the Persian Gulf War was brief, it’s impact was no less traumatic than other wars, and many veterans of this war developed substance use problems as a result of struggling with PTSD symptoms.
- Studies examining the mental health of Persian Gulf War veterans have found that rates of PTSD stemming from this war range anywhere from about 9% to approximately 24%.
- These rates are fairly consistent with the rates of PTSD found among Vietnam veterans and Iraq War veterans. Continue reading 'Persian Gulf War Veterans PTSD Rates Are Similar To Vietnam and Iraq Combat Vets'»
From an article on Julien Modica’s blog, (he is a candidate for Congress) he writes,” Dr. Allan Spiegel and I made the argument that “Off-Label” use of prescriptions is dangerous,to the DC Circuit Court last year. Modica and Dr. Speigel pointed out in the complaint to the Court that most of these drugs have warnings that they “May Cause Suicide” written right on the label.
In another article in The Army Times, (by Andrew Tilgham and Brendan McGarry) these concerns are explored. Here are some facts:
At least one in six service members is on some form of psychiatric drug.
Many troops are taking more than one kind, mixing several pills in daily “cocktails”- for example, an anti-depressant with an anti-psychotic to prevent nightmares, plus an anti-epileptic to reduce headaches-despite minimal clinical research testing such combinations.
The drugs come with serious side-effcts. They can imapir motor skills, reduce reaction times and generally make a war fighter less effective. Continue reading 'Use of Off-Label Prescriptions for Combat Vets with PTSD is Alarming'»
Toby Rice Drews is one of the best experts on the subject of alcoholism, that I’ve found. Her free newsletter called “Getting Them Sober” is available on www.GettingThemSober.com.
She is an experienced licensed social worker/counselor, who has written numerous articles and best-selling books on alcoholism, and its devasting effects on the alcoholic and their family.
In “Getting Them Sober- Volume 1″ she writes, “Alcoholism isn’t just drinking. It’s a ‘family disease.’ It causes the wife and kids to become as addicted to the alcoholic as the alcoholic is to the booze.
While the alcoholic lies passed out, anesthetized, his family goes through the years of his drinking-stark, raving sober. Their world is like no sane family’s world. They believe lies, expect miracles, have him locked up, bail him out, wish he were dead, and pray that he gets home safely.” Continue reading 'Loved One Drinking Too Much? Educate Yourself with a Top-Notch Expert, and She’s Free!'»
In another (alarming) article by Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) he notes that alcohol abuse is weighing heavy on the Army. In fact, there are “soaring numbers” of soldiers seeking alcohol treatment.
The Army reports they need at least 300 more counselors to meet the demand, cut wait times and offer evening and weekend services.
As of last year, 9, 199 soldiers enrolled in treatment after being diagnosed with alcohol problems. That is a 56 percent increase since 2003, when the Iraq war started!
Les McFarling, director of the Army Substance Abuse Program, states” Alcohol remains a much larger problem than drug abuse,” making up 85 percent of the Army substance-abuse caseload. He also says that many soldiers are referred to the program, after being cited by police for drunken driving. (My note: Alcohol IS a drug, albeit a legal one). Continue reading 'Army Says Alcohol is Self-Medicating Drug of Choice for Today’s Combat Vets'»
Probably some of you have already read recent stories of the findings (during Operation Iraqi Freedom) of the benefits of using morphine for military personnel wounded on the battlefield. While the early administration of morphine relieved pain, it’s also been found to help prevent PTSD!
It was observed that troops who received morphine within a few hours of injury, were 50% less likely to develop PTSD, than those who didn’t get it.
This is amazing and hopeful news. In reading an article in the LA Times by Karen Kaplan, I learned that this conclusion was based on findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They think that using morphine at the time of injury, can keep a horrifying event from escalating into PTSD, which as too many of us know, can be such a chronic, and incapacitating illness.
Small trials have been done on the use of opiates and other medications, which can disrupt the way the brain encodes traumatic memories, and prevent the incidents from being recorded with too much intensity. Continue reading 'Hope for Preventing PTSD – Using Morphine on the Battlefield'»