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Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Washington Post article on PTSD and TBI

I just read through this article and cried.
The thing I want to post about however is the absolutely ludicrous argument between the doctors about whether it was TBI or PTSD...
A TBI is a traumatic stressor by its very nature. TBI's on the football field are treated with rest and not letting them back in the game for weeks and that is just being run into by another person, not a bomb blast.
Maybe shell shock in WWI was a combination of both. Maybe a lot of PTSD guys have TBI and maybe all TBI guys have PTSD.
Maybe the Civil War doctors who though rest and feeding up was a cure for Soldier's Heart had a handle on the TBI part of many soldiers' problems. Or maybe everyone with PTSD also needs rest and feeding up.
How is the question of the name of the diagnosis more important than taking care of the wound?
Perhaps people with TBI and people with PTSD can benefit from the rest that TBI needs and the psychological treatment that PTSD needs.
No one benefits from the current practice of drugging people and sending them back into the field, which is the result of the conflict of interest inherent in military psychiatry. Do you send people with PTSD back to war, pleasing your bosses and damaging them? The only study of people who go back into war after having PTSD, done by the Israelis, showed that people with PTSD got it faster and worse in the next war. Or do you keep them home because we don't know how damaging it would be for them to go back? That might end your career. Sending people with combat fatigue back into the war was not done in WWII or in Vietnam
I know of no scientific studies of the effects of sending people back to war on drugs. Is it safe, or just convenient?
I do know that military members who have PTSD are put into Warrior Transition Units where they are at best treated like "second class citizens" as one of them recently told me. Since PTSD is a normal response to war, it should have been expected. Instead, people with PTSD are often accused of malingering and making things up.


  1. I used the word indolence recently to describe something without really understanding what it meant. Going around now trying to figure out the meaning I realised my stupidity. I'm not able to do much because of ill health. Which has nothing to do with indolence and to do with lowering stress because of PTSD and TBI.

    Having TBI and PTSD rest is the only thing that works to treat my symptoms. I find if I try to do things recently, my health goes backwards and my mind goes all over the joint.
    Drugs have been useless to say the least.

    Wish we had a cure sigh.

  2. There is a great new Free Ebook by Ken Smith a Vietnam Vet trying to pass along information to Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan or

  3. Thanks for this post on PTSD. I write about PTSD too and my struggles with it on my blog for veterans.

    Veterans Guide to PTSD