Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 21, 2009


More Forces or ‘Mission Failure’

Top U.S. Commander For Afghan War Calls Next 12 Months Decisive

By Bob Woodward

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict “will likely result in failure,” according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: “Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”
His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.  Read More…

Also in the news:
Army gives bad discharges to Thousands of PTSD Vets

Picture yourself, as one of thousands of vets with bad discharges. Picture yourself unable to get a defense or post office job. Picture yourself with no GI bill, no home loan, no PTSD treatment, no disability compensation, no insurance for your family, no education benefits for your children.
Picture what you did to earn this punishment. You fought for your country.
Picture the people who did this to you. They were bureaucrats, fatasses, accountants, paper pushers in the Pentagon who blackmailed you into signing everything away or spending years on administrative hold awaiting court martial for being sick….

Student veteran group helps ex-military become adjusted to life on campus
Since 1999, the number of veterans receiving compensation for PTSD has risen nearly 121 percent, due to the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.
To curb this increase, the group is trying to serve as a network to help veterans make the transition from soldier to student.

500 Mile March for PTSD will happen in Spring
The march will raise funds for our hour-ling television documentary on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD.
The documentary will feature interviews with soldiers and Marines with their boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, who talk about PTSD and what they are doing to avoid having it as an aspect of their lives.

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 20, 2009



Once society – the medicos and bureuacrats and lawyers, anyway – has recognised the existence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder then it is hard to imagine a setting this side of Hell which is more conducive to its spreading like wildfire than armed conflict and it would seem logical that following a spell in the urban slaughterhouse of Iraq or the Badlands of South Armagh or Helmand anyone not suffering from PTSD must have something seriously wrong with them. Read More…
Also in the news:
Doctor wants better mental health care for veterans
It’s important to realize that when you have been in service that you are at higher risk for having a psychiatric problem. It’s often not recognized that people are at higher risk of having psychiatric problems, so many people will have a kind of do-it-yourself attitude.
PTSD Vet pleads guilty
A military veteran with post traumatic stress disorder pleaded guilty Friday to threatening supervisors at an ambulance company that fired him and choking a dispatcher who was also his live-in companion.
PTSD wrenches service member’s heart, home
The faces of dead troops began to haunt his every minute. Awake. Asleep. Some charred or shattered, some with faces he recognized from life, some in parts.
Air Force study uses virtual reality for PTSD
A new virtual reality program to treat combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experiencing post traumatic stress disorder is being used…
Innoculate yourself against PTSD: Play Tetris
A recent study hints that soldiers witnessing a horrific, traumatic event may be able to prevent flashbacks due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) simply by playing a little Tetris.
Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 18, 2009


British Afghanistan commander Major General Nick Carter: ‘Time is not on our side’

By Aislinn Laing

Maj Gen Carter said there exists an “opportunity” for the 45,000 Armed Forces personnel currently serving in Afghanistan to make a difference in the next year.
But he conceded that without the “luxury” of time, forces needed to show “positive trends” as quickly as they can. Read More…

Also in the news:
Meeting focuses on Mental Health Services
“We have clearly failed people with mental illnesses horribly… There is something wrong with a state will spend more money to incarcerate people than to treat them.”

The Forgotten US Patients
As the healthcare debate rages in the US, the fate of the hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people in American jails and prisons has been absent from the agenda.
In a special report Fault Lines’ Josh Rushing visited detention facilities in Texas and discovered the true reality of how inmates with mental illness are treated.

Burying the story won’t stop suicide
We should be shining a light on suicide deaths – most of them preventable – to highlight the underlying cause.

Book chronicles women at war and in its aftermath
Marine Sgt. Shannon Evans is closing the book on her military career Thursday, a little more than three years from the day she came close to being blown up in a roadside bombing in Iraq.
Her story of that incident and how she came to join the Marine Corps after her mother was slain is one of a dozen told in “The Girls Come Marching Home,” a 308-page work that chronicles how female troops cope with lingering stress, family issues and their careers when they return from war.

Red Sox team up to help war veterans
In a major effort to help veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Red Sox on Thursday unveiled a multifaceted initiative in tandem with Massachusetts General Hospital at a news conference at Boston Marriott Copley Place and through a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park.

Damaged and Discharged, a soldier on edge
He said he thought he might be worth more to his family dead.

“Lying about Iraq War gave me PTSD”
A British Ministry of Defence press officer has claimed that being forced to tell lies about the war in Iraq has left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

War’s Silent Stress: Healing the Military Family
After eight years of war, the mental wellness of today’s service member and to a lesser degree, his or her military family is garnering increased attention. Whether as a national security issue or moral imperative, it is quickly becoming evident that in order to maintain a strong, mission-ready military, America must deal with the excessive stress and burden today’s military and their families have endured and continue to face.

Court System Sought for Vets
Judges, lawyers and veterans urged lawmakers on Wednesday to pass legislation that would encourage states to set up special courts and give judges more latitude in sentencing veterans who return from wars only to run afoul of the law.

Community Effort Needed to Heal War Wounds
The profound strain of eight years of war on the volunteer force permeated a day-long conference of military leaders, policymakers, health experts and family advocates as they shared ideas to address the “unseen injuries” of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Respect Our Troops for their Sacrifice
I cannot imagine the stress and worry these people go through trying to reenter civilized society. We should respect these people. They gave up a large part of themselves so we could continue living in freedom and what they do takes more courage than I will ever have.

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 17, 2009


Military: Mental wounds of war run deep


Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed frustration Wednesday with the pace of government work to heal the mental wounds of war.
Recalling a meeting last year with a group of homeless veterans from the recent wars, Mullen said he worries about the rise of a new generation of transients like some who returned from the Vietnam War.
“Shame on us if we don’t figure it out this time around to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Read More…

Even more:
US just beginning to deal with war wounds, Mullen says
The United States is just beginning to deal with the long-term implications of caring for servicemembers and their families whose lives have been changed by the wounds of war, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Mullen: Treating PTSD need sustained effort
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs said Wednesday that helping combat veterans with mental health issues will require a new kind of commitment from society.
Speaking at an Alexandria, Va., conference about unseen battlefield injuries, Adm. Michael Mullen said helping Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries requires more than traditional military and veterans health care.
Society also must commit to help, he said, because many of those suffering are 20-year-olds with long lives ahead of them.
Post-traumatic stress needs more attention and early treatment, he said.

Mullen criticizes DoD, VA failures in mental health treatment
The chairman said that while millions of dollars have been invested into research on PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and mental health issues, military leaders have not produced enough treatment options and outreach programs to stay ahead of the problems.
“We owe them a response,” he said. “This is a debt the country owes [these troops] for their service, as far as I’m concerned. It needs to be the first check we write.”

Also in the news:
8 million Americans consider suicide
About 32,000 suicides occur in the United States each year, but a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that many more give the idea serious thought.

Criminal Responsibility of War Veterans with PTSD
This Article explores the prevalence and impact of PTSD, particularly in war veterans, the relevance of this disorder to the criminal justice system, and the likely evolution of related mental status defenses as Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans return from combat.

PTSD & Energy Psychology Techniques
“Energy Psychology is a revolutionary, quick, and painless way of relieving trauma, depression, anxiety, and phobias,” said Jef Gazley, LMFT, D.CEP and developer of Tri-Brain Trauma Therapy. “These techniques work because they access and modify the deeper part of brain which is something that traditional talk therapy simply cannot do…”

Former Marine held for trial in road-rage shooting of NJ man
A former Marine will stand trial in a road-rage shooting of a motorist with his 8-year-old daughter in the back seat.

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 16, 2009


Iraq war veteran sentenced to life in prison in slaying of Long Beach man

— Robert J. Lopez

A former Marine who served two tours in Iraq was sentenced to life in prison today for the killing of a Long Beach man while trying to collect money owed for a drug debt, authorities said. Read More…

Also in the news:
US military chief want more troops for Afghan war
President Barack Obama’s top  military adviser endorsed an increase in U.S. forces for the worsening war in Afghanistan on Tuesday…

Mental illness gets downplayed
The prevalence of anxiety, depression and substance dependency may be twice as high as the mental health community has been led to believe. It depends on how one goes about measuring.

Brain injuries become more prevalent for combat veterans
Roadside bombs and other explosives have injured the brain of almost a fifth of veterans returnbing from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dayton psychologist speaking with Obama at forum on battlefield injuries
The most important thing the country could do in the battle against PTSD is “remove the stigma that prevents people from accessing mental health services,” she said.

Combat exposure can increase hypertension risk
Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who experience the stress of combat are at greater risk for developing hypertension than those who deploy but do not experience combat, but at lower hypertension risk than those soldiers who do not deploy at all, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 15, 2009


Think Vietnam Vets Were Screwed? Wait Until You See How Many Veterans of Bush’s Wars End up in Jail

By Penny Coleman

Far too many soldiers end up behind bars while the rest of us are free to ignore the human evidence of what our military ventures really cost.
As all the other justifications for the U.S. invasion of Iraq have fallen by the wayside, it is ironic that the one that remains is “freedom,” because in the name of someone else’s freedom, we train our own soldiers to behave in ways that may very well cost them their own. Read More…

Also in the news:
Iraq troops PTSD rate as high as 35%
Double expected rate: The Veterans’ Administration should expect a high volume of Iraq veterans seeking treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, with researchers anticipating that the rate among armed forces will be as high as 35%, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Fort Lewis Mental Health Program Adopted by the Military
For some soldiers the transition to and from the battlefield can be traumatic. It’s personal. And no one can truly understand what’s going on in that soldiers mind. A program developed at Fort Lewis as a tool for early intervention tries to address those issues and give soldiers the help they need. Now it’s being adopted as a best practice model by the Army.

Finding a fix for the criminal justice system
We can no longer afford to support so-called leaders if they are not fighting to change this sick system. If they are not willing to put themselves in harm’s way for our kids, then they can’t protect them.

Mental Health and Incarceration
Our country needs to seriously get a grip concerning this issue or we should ask the question, who’s really suffer from mental illness?

Virtual Reality in Medicine
Virtual reality has also been used extensively to treat phobias (such as a fear of heights, flying and spiders) and post-traumatic stress disorder. This type of therapy has been shown to be effective in the academic setting, and several commercial entities now offer it to patients.

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 14, 2009


Failing the stress tests?

By Megan McCloskey, Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — With an estimated 20 percent of U.S. servicemembers returning from war zones suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, a burgeoning suicide rate in the ranks and occasional murder or other extreme outbursts of violence, the Pentagon is scrambling to grapple with the mounting psychological fallout from America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Combat stress clinics have been set up near the front lines. Troops in training are learning how to gird themselves against mental troubles. Officers are required to watch for signs of suicide risks among their subordinates.
But in a vast military organization obsessed with metrics and measuring every aspect of its performance, experts say there is one glaring gap: The Pentagon has no system in place to evaluate whether its downrange crisis interventions are actually working. Read More…

Also in the news:
Veterans Seek Better Mental Health Treatment Through Court
Though mental health has at its core the best interests of those working through their difficulties, it is often set back by issues in regulation, administration, funding, and other aspects which have little to do with the process of healing itself. Such complications can lead to delays in treatment, which can in turn become major issues when those in need of professional help are left unassisted. This problem is the focus of a lawsuit being brought against the Department of Veterans Affairs by veterans themselves, who claim that treatment is largely inaccessible and inadequate, and that previous efforts in negotiations have fallen short of effecting any meaningful change.

Congressman says Veterans deserve better treatment
Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., discussed his “pro-veteran, anti-war” views on veterans’ affairs with around 90 College Democrats on Thursday night.

Mental Health Program to help Guard, Reserves
Mental Health America of Hawaii is launching a program called “Healing the Trauma of the War” to address combat stress, depression and other needs of returning National Guard soldiers and Reservists. “We’re going to do a review of what happens when they return home and who is falling through the cracks.”

Command Shares Suicide Prevention Experience
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq – Three senior leaders shared their experiences with suicide prevention and answered questions from service members during an open-forum suicide prevention meeting at the east Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center Sept. 10 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Mentally Ill often adrift in the Criminal Justice System
“The mental health system in this community has become the criminal justice system.”

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 13, 2009


Courts urged to consider Vet’s Trauma

By William H. McMichael – Staff writer

A loose coalition of activist veterans, private foundations, government health care workers and justice system officials is forming to create or lobby for initiatives aimed at taking war-related trauma into account during the sentencing of veterans who commit nonviolent crimes.
There are no national statistics on the prevalence of crimes committed by troubled war veterans. And no one is arguing for going easy on those who commit violent crimes.
But the punishment for crimes committed by war vets in which no others are physically harmed — such as drug possession and driving while intoxicated — should be leavened with the knowledge of what the vets have gone through and the treatment they still could lack, argues Army veteran and former social worker Guy Gambill, a Minnesota-based consultant on veterans issues. Read More…

Also in the news:
VA Center helps Vets make transition to civilian life

“We were determined this was not going to be like the Vietnam era,” Kirby said.
Before 9/11, the largest group the VA worked with included veterans from World War II and the Vietnam War. But VA centers in the Southeast network, which include Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, now see some of the highest numbers in the nation of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
There are now an estimated 1.6 million veterans in the U.S. who have served in combat since Sept. 11, 2001.

Cancer support group targets military veterans
Many U.S. veterans face a new enemy, years and even decades, after their military service – cancer. Studies show veterans are 25 to 75 percent more likely than the general public to develop certain types of cancers, particularly involving the lung.

Brain Damage Repair Work has implications for PTSD
Amy Arnstens research illuminates whats happening in our brains during times of stress. Her findings have helped develop drug treatments for PTSD and are currently being tested to aid in smoking cessation as part of her work with Yale Stress Center.

The PTSD Identity:  wanting to feel alive (again!) by living reckless extremes
The PTSD Identity takes over when our PTSD symptoms take control of us.  One tends to whipsaw between all sorts of extremes.  I may at one moment want to be in the crowd and act hyperactive with them, or I may want to be in isolation and removed from all of my relationships.  I may want to feel alive or I may not want to feel at all. Getting ping-ponged between these extremes can lead to risky behaviors, such as
drinking too much, fighting, drug abuse, thrill seeking, medication abuse, and reckless sex.

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 11, 2009


A constant battle

by Brittany Shammas

The air fills with the screaming of soldiers. The ting-ting-ting of small-arms gunfire resounds against the metal of the helicopter. An ehh ehh ehh sound echoes as Rick Flynn’s helicopter falls 200 feet to the ground. Soldiers, who are one minute from their landing zone and not wearing safety harnesses, are thrown about. There’s also the smell of flesh. A smell so foul Flynn tries to forget, but it forever lingers in his memory.
He’s trapped in the nightmare again, back in Afghanistan. It’s probably his third or fourth time this month having the same nightmare.
“It’s not the type of nightmare where you wake up and you say, ‘OK, I’m awake now.’ It’s the type where you look to see where you’re at. It’s so real, you feel like you’re actually there. It’s difficult to experience; it’s even more difficult to have to relive it,” said Flynn, 27. Read More…

Also in the news:
Treatment for Mental Health Problems Improve Worker Productivity
Effective treatment for employee mental health problems leads to significant improvements in productivity, according to a study in the September Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Tour Raises Awareness of Mental Illness
“‘No Kidding, Me Too!’ is an advocacy organization of celebrities to educate and to advocate the purpose of removing the stigma attached to mental illness and breaking down societal barriers,” said Joe Pantoliano, actor and founder of the organization during his recent visit to Victory Base Complex. “We seek to empower those with mental illness, to admit their illness and to embrace their openness to seek treatment.”

Lawmakers seek to help Vets with PTSD
When former Army Spec. Joe Collins first returned from Iraq in 2003, he secured a good government job and purchased his own home by age 21.
But as months passed, the stress of combat began taking its toll on Collins, who began a downward spiral of shunning friends and family, depression and substance abuse, his mother Cynde Collins-Clark told members of the state House Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Thursday. The lawmakers are examining a rise in the number of military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder — or PTSD.

Fighting PTSD, the inside war
We now know that failure to adequately address combat stress and its consequences probably played a crucial role in the development of disabling, and often lethal, psychiatric illness in a large number of Vietnam veterans.
Our contemporary engagements, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, have also been taking their toll on the psychological health of our servicemen and -women.

Senator McCain says Wounded Warriors need Nation’s fidelity to commitments
“America’s veterans deserve not only the country’s gratitude, but also our fidelity to the commitments made to them and their families for years of faithful service,” said Senator John McCain. “I believe we can and must do more to ensure our veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other combat related health issues receive the best care possible.”

Posted by: dohgonuniversity | September 10, 2009


Trauma From Iraq Could Alter Veterans’ Brains

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9 — U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appear to show growing attention deficits in the year following their return, Boston University researchers report.

In addition, intense combat experiences were associated with faster, survival-linked reaction times. Earlier research has found that as soldiers encounter stressful and life-threatening situations, there are changes in their brains that direct their thinking, learning and memory toward survival, the researchers noted.
Read More…

Also in the news:
Former Marine Alerts Police to veterans’ stress, problems
John Bennett, a former U.S. Marine … said he reviewed the signs and symptoms of trauma, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) signs and symptoms, common PTSD reactions and how to recognize and respond to the symptoms, how PTSD is related to criminal behavior, related problems such as suicides, court issues and resources available.

Study sheds light on post-combat mental problems
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are typical after deployment to a war zone, and may even represent a healthy reaction to stress, but can lead to problems with mental functioning if they persist, new research in Iraq vets suggests.

More attempted suicides among military
Officials for El Paso’s local authority for mental health said they’re seeing an increase of suicides among military personnel… “The dreams are always gonna be there. Just live with it. You can still see the pictures of all the dead. They’re going to be there all your life.”

Former Marine gets 16 years for standoff
An ex-Marine who held police at bay from his Bolingbrook home during a potentially deadly standoff two years ago was sentenced today to 16 years in prison… Will County Court Judge Daniel Rozak Rozak didn’t accept the defense’s argument that Linley, suffering post traumatic stress disorder, was legally insane. But he did rule Linley is mentally ill.

Back from war– new resource opens for veterans
Army veteran Demitrus Edmond, who visited the clinic on Holcombe on Tuesday, says he’s been stressed and until now didn’t know where to go for help. The clinic’s goal is to help veterans transition back to civilian life.

Effects of PTSD on Cognitive Functioning
“We think a lot about the emotional impact of war, but what this study demonstrates is that as stress responses go on longer, their impact widens.”

The Aftermath
Vietnam Veteran Robert Carson Krause writes about his struggle with PTSD and his belief that war is a senseless exercise in futility. He indicates the need to select leaders who believe war is the last solution.

Shadow of the Sword– A Marine’s Journey
After confronting his own demons, Jeremiah Workman now is a public speaker about PTSD and a consultant to the Marines Corps’ suicide prevention program.

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