Then there is the reality of denial. It is not just a river in Egypt. Denial is pervasive in veterans where it is protective, in families and in the professional community, where it causes secondary traumatization to people who have PTSD.
The funny thing is that the shrinks who denied
PTSD from 1968-1980, (and some still do), were calling numb guys
psychopaths because they could talk about horrible things with no
emotion. Isn't that what psychiatrists do and call it professionalism?
Well, these guys are professional too, and numbness is required to do their job.
1980, when PTSD was forced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
despite the American Psychiatric Association's "it will cost too much
money," many professionals thought it was a made up diagnosis for
Vietnam vets and would not see it, despite the evidence in front of
them. People see what they want to see.
There were studies on
Vietnam Vets, some of which did not ask if the vet had even been in
Vietnam or in combat, which conveniently found that 12 to 17% of vets
were adversely affected. Hahaha! And guess what, the current crop of
studies, run by the military and the VA, find similar percentages. One
military shrink reporting on the unit he was in at an ISTSS meeting said
he had to change the diagnostic criteria to get his percentage down to
17 from 28, and he did. NICE.
There has only been one completely
observant study, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study,
funded under Jimmy Carter and published under Ronald Reagan, who only
allowed the Government Printing Office to print about 100 copies. In
this study, which included talking to the veterans as well as standard
diagnostic questionnaires, of the people who had been through the most
war zone stress, combat, seeing a lot of wounded and dead, being shot
at, etc, 66% of them had had diagnosable PTSD at one time, 33% still
Guys, that means it is normal. And no one can say a vet didn't get
PTSD till after he's dead. There is always delayed onset...
found studies of WWII combat vets and POW's who were receiving treatment
at VA's for medical reasons. Over 50 % had had PTSD at one time and
about 30 % still did, undiagnosed, lying there in a bed in the VA!
vets were not too modest to talk about it. They didn't talk about it
because they couldn't. They had a good GI Bill and a good economy, too,
so many of them dealt with their PTSD through workaholism and were
considered "resilient," my least favorite word since it is code for
workaholism, something doctors aren't likely to notice...
of PTSD comes and goes in waves. WWI yes. In between, no. At the start
of WWII they thought there wouldn't be any. When there was, they
ascribed it to not getting along with your mom (I kid you not) and many
other similar blame the survivor phrases until almost the end of the
war. Then some people got help. Some of the help was pretty bad. They
In 1965 Drs. Archibald and Tuddenham published an
article on WWII combat vets who were still having nightmares, startle
responses, etc. It was totally ignored.
I mentioned "Gross Stress
Reaction" the term for PTSD in the first Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, which was apparently
based on observation and not theory. DSM II came out in 1968, actually
in the bookstores during the Tet Offensive (so ironic), and on the basis
of NOTHING, dropped GSR and substituted "Transitional Situational
Disturbance." This is what I call the APA's denial and delusion period.
Eventually, sanity prevailed and PTSD became the name of the diagnosis.
There was actually quite a lot of good help there for a while. The Vet
Centers were founded where you could get help without hassles.
the VA's it was more like help with hassles, but it wasn't the PTSD
staff that hassled, it was usually the VA Compensation Crooks.
did I say that? The people who delay and want more info and then give
you 10% if you are 50% disabled and 50% if you are completely and
totally unable to work but forgot and shaved before you came into be
evaluated. I think I mentioned the young woman psychiatrist who told a
veteran of Hamburger Hill that it "can't have been as bad as the movie."
One of the guys in Recovering from the War was told in a letter from
the St Pete Regional Office that since combat was not "Outside the range
of human experience for an infantryman" that he did not have a
traumatic stressor. This crap is still going on as I write.
Well, now I am too mad to write more, so more tomorrow.