PTSD Overdiagnosed in Soldiers?

No way.

An article in NY times tried to argue that PTSD in returning soldiers is really just lack of home support, because more are being diagnosed than actually saw enemy fire. Obviously misguided.

If you sit in a hostile foreign land where your companions are being killed, you do not have to be shot at to be traumatized. One client I had, for example, had PTSD from the Panama Canal zone even though he was never shot at. It was nevertheless disturbing on a daily basis, since his job was to go up and down the canal in the body barge collecting bodies. That picture in his head was still traumatic.

While it is true that in cultures where there is more affluence there is greater alienation and social supports are low for any problems one has, that does not account for these numbers. Some people get trauma from a car accident, or even seeing one. Should not up close and personal experience of war count as much as how many bullets one dodges? My definition of trauma is rather broad : any event(s) that exceed(s) your resources.


There are a few misdiagnoses, such as TBS being mistaken for PTSD. Not nearly so many as there were when the VA tried to mislabel for economic reasons..

Published in: on May 7, 2015 at 8:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Review of Against Her Will by Peter Martin

Against Her Will is a debut novel by the author, and as such introduced me to an author of whom I will keep track. His book is a hybrid and includes a plot that at the beginning and end reads like a suspenseful thriller, with a breathtaking pace and twists, turns and a surprise ending. However the middle part Is not at all like this and focusses instead on a very adroit but much slower psychological profile of a woman dealing with the aftermath of rape.

The plot follows the protagonist Donna, from a rape she experiences on the way home from work, devolving further and further into a world of pain and isolation. Initially she attempts to stay with her boyfriend, but when that does not work, she moves in with her parents, and eventually to a care home, where recovery seems impossible. However she meets a male from the staff of the institution and moves in with his family. The ending of the film has a surprise twist, and this reviewer won’t give it away.

I am a clinical psychologist and have treated countless men and women who have dealt with the aftermath of trauma, and I can say that for a work of fiction this rings true enough, and the book seems to care deeply about the protagonist, and it gets the morass that Donna finds herself swimming through. While this section is well written, the suspenseful parts elsewhere in the book are better, and they show the promise of this new writer. Despite the problems with pacing, I highly recommend this book and will be eagerly to see what the author next has to offer.

Amazon Best Sellers

Published in: on December 28, 2014 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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McCain’s Wife Disrespects Troops

Cindy McCain in a recent interview, made some statements that will send a chill down the spine of at least 1/3 of the military family members of Soldiers stationed in Iraq. When discussing the types of symptoms which these soldiers have, she said “The guys who had the trouble were the 18-year-olds who were drafted…” and went on to say John did not have these type of problems because “he was trained.”

Implied in that statement is that the 1/3 of the Iraq veterans who suffer from PTSD do so because of poor training or preparation. As a psychologist who has often treated PTSD this is an alarming statement for me to hear. PTSD does not come because of weakness of the victim or inadequate training. IED’s and rocket propelled granades do not discriminate as to whether or not you are a graduate of Annapolis or a raw recruit. If your buddy loses a leg or his life while sitting next to you, it’s not likely you have had adequate training to deal with that.

McCain has gotten “D”s and “F”s from most veteran’s groups for his failure to support adequate health care or to get behind funding for PTSD, or other psychological treatments. But Cindy does not have to worry because, in her world view, her son is safe, since he is not a raw recruit. Let’s hope for her sake she never has to learn the truth about PTSD.

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 2:10 am  Comments (2)  
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