Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Veteran PTSD Makes Washington Post's Page One

Just saw this come up online. The article Veterans Report Mental Distress will run tomorrow on Page One, written by the WaPo's excellent Shankar Vedantam (you may remember he wrote a couple months ago on the VA's desire to review 75,000 PTSD cases because costs were going through the roof; the public backlash put an end to the idea right quick). Though the news is not good, the prominent coverage is heartily welcomed.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Veterans Report Mental Distress
About a Third Returning From Iraq Seek Help

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 1, 2006; Page A01

More than one in three soldiers and Marines who have served in Iraq later sought help for mental health problems, according to a comprehensive snapshot by Army experts of the psyches of men and women returning from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places.

The accounts of more than 300,000 soldiers and Marines returning from several theaters paint an unusually detailed picture of the psychological impact of the various conflicts. Those returning from Iraq consistently reported more psychic distress than those returning from Afghanistan and other conflicts, such as those in Bosnia or Kosovo. ...

in questionnaires filled out after their deployment, more than half of all soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq reported that they had "felt in great danger of being killed" there, and 2,411 reported having thoughts of killing themselves, the report said. It did not have comparable data from earlier conflicts.

Earlier research has suggested that 12 to 20 percent of combat veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which produces flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts that disrupt work and home life. The new study found that Iraq veterans are being diagnosed with mental disorders at the rate of 12 percent per year.

Read the whole piece here.

Zogby Conducts First Poll of Iraq Troops

Zogby International, tracking public opinion since 1984 in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, has just completed a first-ever opinion poll of our combat troops serving in Iraq. The results are absolutely stunning. The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College, is touched upon today in Nicholas Kristof's New York Times Op-Ed column, The Soldiers Speak. Will President Bush Listen? (subscription) . For those who don't subscribe to the NYT, I have all the details explored there (and more) for you here.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From today's Zogby press release:

A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq -- and soon. The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"

Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately."

  • Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll shows just one in five troops want to heed Bush call to stay “as long as they are needed.”
  • While 58% say mission is clear, 42% say U.S. role is hazy.
  • Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown.
  • Almost 90% think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11, most don’t blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks.
  • Majority of troops oppose use of harsh prisoner interrogation.
  • Plurality of troops pleased with their armor and equipment.
  • While 89% of reserves and 82% of those in the National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, 58% of Marines think so.
  • 7 in 10 of those in the regular Army thought the U.S. should leave Iraq in the next year.
  • About 3/4 of those in National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within six months, just 15% of Marines felt that way.
  • About 50% of those in the regular Army favored withdrawal from Iraq in the next six months.
  • 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds.
  • 42% said the mission is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure.
  • 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks.”
  • 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”
  • 93% said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there.
  • 68% believe the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.
  • 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war.
  • 11% see the mission there as securing oil supplies.
  • 6% believe we are there to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region.
  • 80% said they did not hold a negative view of Iraqis because of insurgent attacks.
  • 2 in 5 see the insurgency as being comprised of discontented Sunnis with very few non-Iraqi helpers.
  • Less than 1/3 think that if non-Iraqi terrorists could be prevented from crossing the border into Iraq, the insurgency would end.
  • 53% said the U.S. should double both the number of troops and bombing missions in order to control the insurgency.
  • 4 in 5 said they oppose the use of such internationally banned weapons as napalm and white phosphorous.
  • 55% said it is not appropriate or standard military conduct to use harsh and threatening methods against insurgent prisoners in order to gain information of military value.
  • 3/4 of the troops had served multiple tours and had a longer exposure to the conflict:
  • 26% were on their first tour of duty.
  • 45% were on their second tour.
  • 29% were in Iraq for a third time or more.
  • 30% of troops said they think the Department of Defense has failed to provide adequate troop protections, such as body armor, munitions, and armor plating for vehicles like HumVees.
  • 35% said basic civil infrastructure in Iraq, including roads, electricity, water service, and health care, has not improved over the past year.
  • 3 of 4 were male respondents.
  • 63% of those surveyed were under the age of 30.
The troops have drawn different conclusions about fellow citizens back home. Asked why they think some Americans favor rapid U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, 37% of troops serving there said those Americans are unpatriotic, while 20% believe people back home don’t believe a continued occupation will work. Another 16% said they believe those favoring a quick withdrawal do so because they oppose the use of the military in a pre-emptive war, while 15% said they do not believe those Americans understand the need for the U.S. troops in Iraq.

A stunning poll.

Washington State Takes Reins to Support Returning Troops

Just as local media outlets have been cleaning national media clocks in post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] reporting, it looks like the States are giving the Feds a run for their money, too.

More money is turning up in state budgets for PTSD treatment programs for our returning veterans. Although the reason is clear -- federal funding is drying up as the escalating costs of the war drain the national budget -- it couldn't be happening soon enough.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the Everett, Washington Daily Herald:

The effects of the war in Iraq are beginning to reverberate in the state Legislature. A state-funded treatment program for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder could receive an extra $170,000 this year, enough to serve another 130 soldiers should they need help when they return from Iraq. The funds are in a $500,000 package for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the budgets proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, the House of Representatives and state Senate.

Only Washington and New Jersey have state-funded PTSD treatment programs. Washington is the only state with an increasing number of veterans, said Tom Schumacher, who runs the Everett-based program. Other states rely solely on federal funding to maintain their PTSD programs and for helping soldiers readjust to civilian life, though many emotionally wounded veterans shy away from them, Schumacher said.

Of the 10,000 National Guardsmen and reservists already returned from combat duty to Washington state, Schumacher estimated that 4,000 of them will have readjustment issues or full-blown PTSD. "Can we ever do enough? Probably not," Schumacher said. Nevertheless, "It's up to us to be the example of what should be done."

The Daily Herald introduces the reader to the story of a female civil affairs officer (and grandmother) who served in Afghanistan. She's had to cope with nightmares and guilt ever since returning stateside.

The article continues:

In war, the challenge is staying alive. Back home, it's figuring out how to live. Returning soldiers tend to be hyperalert, suspicious and tense. It's a normal reaction in combat situations, said Arlington resident Ernie Butler, a Vietnam veteran. "They're living each day of their life in fear of the next step," Butler said.

In Vietnam, it was walking through the jungle. In Iraq, it's fighting door to door, he said. Most veterans will not want to face up to PTSD symptoms, Schumacher said. When he helped set up Washington's PTSD program in 1984, he found veterans suffering from the disorder living in remote areas "just to get away from society," he said.

"They're going to be the last ones yelling about PTSD," Butler said. "You're a young Marine, you're not going to admit to PTSD. It's a sign of weakness."

That's OK. You don't want to yell about your PTSD? I'll do it for you, then. But let me -- and others -- reach out to help, OK?

If you're struggling with sleeplessness, uncontrollable and sudden rage, anxiety, or feelings of guilt or fear, please know you have a lot of places to turn to. And if you're afraid you might harm yourself, please get help immediately.

Monday, February 27, 2006

APA: Get Your 'Just the Facts' PTSD Brochure

The American Psychiatric Association has a 4-page PTSD brochure available now for download at their Healthy Minds website.

The Let’s Talk Facts series "was developed for educational purposes for the general public to provide answers to commonly asked questions on mental health issues and disorders."

Get your copy.

Combat PTSD: Incident Database for Reporters, Researchers

[UPDATE Nov 13, 2009]: Unfortunately, the PTSD Timeline link is no longer working, making the data presently inaccessible online; I will be moving the information to a new home beginning in January 2010. I will post on these developments as the work begins; if you'd like to keep abreast, consider signing up for once-daily FeedBurner emails for this blog. Thank you for your patience. -- Ilona Meagher]

What is the PTSD Timeline?

It's a collection of online news reports listing incidents related to returning combat veterans coping with PTSD. It also includes self-reported incidents of combat PTSD.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

The purpose of the PTSD Timeline is to:

  • Aid in our understanding of the magnitude of this all-encompassing problem
  • Record the incidents for future study and evaluation
  • Allow reporters and researchers to find OEF and OIF PTSD incident data quickly and easily
Editor's note, 10/23/06: When I began recording these incidents in September 2005, there wasn't much national attention on the matter. And so I began gathering and recording some of them myself, with ePluribus Media now collaborating to collect, fact-check, and present them online as the PTSD Timeline.

Fortunately, since March 2006 (the 3rd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq), coverage of combat PTSD has vastly improved over the previous years' reporting. Let's keep the spotlight going on this issue...unfortunately, it's going to continue to need it.

Over the past summer and fall I've been writing a book to be published by Ig Publishing in May 2007, Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops. The Timeline work has suffered for the lost focus, but in November 2006 through the winter I'll be updating the PTSD Timeline, which continues to be used by organizations and individuals far and wide (Sen. John Kerry's office the latest among them).

Thanks for your support and patience as the database itself also undergoes a face lift in the coming months. And if you know of an incident, please email me. Thank you, again, to those who have been supporters of this work.

houseva_cspan7Editor's Note, 12/23/07: The work of collecting suicide data has indeed picked up steam, with CBS News finally doing some heavy data collection lifting last month. The attention led the House Veterans Affairs Committee to convene a hearing on December 12, 2007, Stopping Suicide: Mental Health Challenges Within the Department of Veterans Affairs, and invited me to testify. [Notes on my experience; view hearing.]

houseva_cspan16Being lauded by Congress (that's my Congressman, Rep. Don Manzullo [R-IL] holding a copy of my book) for my work was the greatest of nods and the culmination of two years of steady work on this issue. It was also a welcome affirmation that the issue is indeed of great consequence and that our attention to it is needed and our action in light of the data continues to be vital and long overdue.

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Today, Thank Those Working for Our Veterans

Let's start the week off on a good note. Let's write or call those who are working tirelessly to ensure our vets have the benefits they were promised. Take a moment today to cheer Rep. Lane Evans, Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Bob Filner, Rep. Steve Buyer, and Rep. Marty Meehan on -- and ask them what we can do to help them in their work.

Small Town Learns How to Support Returning Troops

Little Cloquet, MN -- population 11,201 -- is making a name for itself. Last week, community members and leaders gathered at the National Guard Armory in Duluth. The reason? They wanted to learn how to help 120 Iraq vets from the local Guard unit transition successfully back into the community. Little Cloquet is on the cutting edge. Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

The local paper, the Pine Journal, does a great job of touching authentically on many of the most serious issues facing the returning veteran. In the interest of education, I'll quote from it extensively:

Event facilitator Chaplain John Morris, himself a two-time combat veteran, referred to the session as a “nation-leading effort” because it was one of the first in the entire country to extensively deal with the re-integration of National Guard soldiers back into the community. In fact, the event was considered so ground-breaking that a television crew from ABC News was on hand to record it.

“The adjutant general of the state of Minnesota has committed the state’s resources to helping our combat veterans reintegrate,” said Morris. “I am here to ask for your help, because there is no way they can make a healthy integration without your help and support. We’re in this as a community, and everyone has a role to play. You have a chance to be a part of something no other state has done.” The program is part of a series of reintegration sessions designed to help the 120 soldiers from the local Guard unit make the necessary psychological and emotional adjustments after returning to the United States last month.

Morris went on to introduce Minnesota National Guard Sgt. First Class Keith Huff, a veteran of 18 years in the military who spent a year during 2003-2004 performing route clearance missions along 144 miles of roadway in central Iraq. “Basically, we went out every day looking for roadside bombs,” explained Huff, who displayed a piece of razor-sharp shrapnel similar to those used in the lethal homemade devices. “I went over there with 35 men under me, and I am proud to say I came home with 35 – though one had his arm blown off and another had his ear shaved off.”

Huff said when he returned home from the harrowing experience in Iraq, “I had no clue what I was getting into.” “I got off the plane, got in the car with my wife, and they told me, ‘See you in 90 days.’ I had no warning of how different the world seemed. That night I left the airport, I made it to my house in Litchfield in only an hour. I was king of the road in Iraq. There were no tickets to be issued and no one in our way. We were the law. My wife was really scared that night.” ...

“The younger guys are even worse,” he added. “Five of them have been involved in serious car accidents since they got back, and they have had countless charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving because they are constantly pushing the envelope for speed.”

Pushing the envelope and blowing up in anger are two markers of combat PTSD. The rage is often directed at loved ones.

Huff explained that combat veterans also experience a great deal of anger – much of it admittedly groundless – and their tempers are a lot shorter than most.
“My tolerance for things that upset me is a lot less,” he said. “If my wife leaves something in the wrong place, I jump all over her.” ...

“After an initial honeymoon period of three or four days,” he related, “there was instant friction between us. I was used to an immense amount of power, and I had to learn to communicate with her all over again. I was downstairs one day watching television, and I had it turned up really loud because after being in combat, my hearing is shot. My wife came up and stood beside me, and since I didn’t hear her coming, I actually squealed. Now, she has learned to announce herself when she moves through the house so she doesn’t startle me. We still struggle with things like that today. It’s a long road and process.”

He's not the only one having a hard time of it. Huff says 4 of his 35 'boy's under him are having a hard time holding down jobs or navigating a return to school. He reflects on their struggles, and then returns to his:

Huff said he found he, personally, was still not doing well last Christmas so he reached out for help. The social worker made him go through 45 minutes of explaining what he was going through and them “came at me with words I didn’t like,” he said. “I was hurt, felt talked down to, and didn’t connect.” He tried again in January, and the counselor suggested he try “closing his eyes and do deep breathing.” When he finally met with a doctor, he was frustrated and scared, but the man achieved an immediate connection with Huff when he told him he was experiencing “a normal response to an abnormal situation.”

“He made me feel accepted and understand that I wasn’t going crazy,” Huff summed up.
Huff told the audience at Tuesday’s event that what they were doing there that day was “a huge step for the community and yourselves.”

“If I had had the benefit of something like this when I came back,” he continued, “it would have made a huge difference.”

Next week, the paper presents Part Two of their new series. The Long Road Home will discuss the 5 leading challenges each troop faces when they arrive stateside, again. I want to applaud the little town of Clouquet, MN and its Pine Journal for their great work on behalf of PTSD education -- and the soldiers who've returned home to them.

More and more, local media is pummeling the national outlets when it comes to PTSD reporting. If you'd like, email the Pine Journal a quick thank you for their coverage; being a small paper, they'll probably really appreciate hearing that their efforts are being recognized. Perhaps consider contacting your local officials to ask if your community has any plans to organize something like this, too (especially if you live near a base).

Read Part II in the Pine Journal PTSD series. Then read a few more examples of the stellar PTSD reporting happening on the local level in communities all around the country.

 Related Posts

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Combat Stress: A Look Back at the New England Medical Journal Study

In the summer of 2004, the New England Medical Journal published the results of a ground-breaking study on the after-effects of a war still in progress. It remains the definitive report on the combat stress levels found in our troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Only days before the report was published, CNN Health reported on the study's conclusions:

The first-ever wartime study of the mental health of combat troops appears in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Previous studies of war veterans have been conducted years after combat ended.

Four combat units -- three Army infantry units and one Marine unit -- that fought either in Iraq or Afghanistan participated in the new study. The 6,201 troops filled out anonymous questionnaires before, during and after deployment.

The study found 17 percent of those who served in Iraq met the criteria for major depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder -- or PTSD. Eleven percent who served in Afghanistan met the criteria. But even worse, the study found, was that less than 40 percent of those afflicted by PTSD sought help.

A few examples of combat PTSD were reported. One case, that of Staff Sgt. Georg-Andreas Pogany, looks now to be Lariam-related. The other example offers a positive example of what post-deployment PTSD care should be:

In [Sgt. Danny] Facto's case, a positive attitude toward treatment displayed by his commanding officers, family and fellow troops helped him overcome any stigma and get into the group therapy he needed. [He] benefited from treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq. "When I go to group and I talk with guys who are just like me it helps a lot, because I can discuss with guys that have been in combat, guys that have been shot at, guys who have lost friends in combat, guys that have killed other people," he said.

Facto said therapy has made him a better father, soldier and husband.

"When I came back, I was me, but I was different because of my experiences," Facto said. "Mental health and therapy really helps to understand everything I've been through." Despite the military's efforts, legitimate concerns about stigmatization and loss of career advancement remain -- a great price to pay, especially for career military officers.

"Soldiers are concerned that coming to see us might harm their careers," said Maj. Paul Morrissey, chief of mental health services at Fort Drum in New York. "I can say to them sincerely, honestly that not coming to get some assistance will harm their careers."

If you're having difficulty with your downshift into civilian life, please reach out and ask for the help you and your family need...and deserve.

There are many resources ready for the taking.

 Related Posts

Saturday, February 25, 2006

PTSD and the Military Family: Recommended Reading

Have a troop serving overseas? You're probably wondering what you can do to ease their transition back to civilian life once they're home. You probably also want to do all you can to prepare yourself for that long-anticipated reunion.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Well, there are a number of great books that have been written to help those looking to do just that. Some of the following are also available as books-on-tape/cd, if you prefer that format:

Please add any of your own recommendations in comments. I'll be happy to add them to the list.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

House Reps, Dems Demand More for VA than Bush Budgets

Not nearly enough, but it's good to see the Congress demanding more funds be provided for the Veterans Administration (VA) than the President's 2007 budget would wish to give.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the the Navy Times:

The Republican chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee is asking for an extra $1.9 billion in the 2007 budget. He also is rejecting the Bush administration’s call to increase prescription drug co-payments and establish enrollment fees for veterans receiving care from the VA.

Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., is asking for the money on top of $80.2 billion the Bush administration already requested for the 2007 budget. It would cover unmet expenses in medical programs and cemetery administration. Included in the extra money is $600 million to pay for improvements in GI Bill educational benefits, according to a statement provided by his staff.

Buyer’s lack of support for the proposed increase in prescription drug co-payments and creation of a new $250 enrollment fee for Priority 7 and 8 veterans, which are those with moderate incomes and without service-connected disabilities, makes it unlikely Congress would approve the Bush administration plans. Not doing the increase requires an almost $800 million increase in the budget request. ...

Democrats on the veterans’ committee agree the VA is underfunded, but they are asking for far more. In a separate request, they are asking the budget committee for a $6.8 billion increase in the Bush budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This includes $3.6 billion for health care and $2.3 billion for new benefits.

Most of that latter increase would be for a large educational benefits package, aides said.

We are a nation at war. And proper and realistic funding for the VA is a moral imperative. The President's 2007 budget proposal falls far short of meeting the commitment we have to our troops. Let's contact our elected officials and ask them to support our veterans returning from combat.

 Related Posts

Combat Stress/PTSD Data Resources for Students, Researchers and Reporters

Below, a collection -- hardly comprehensive -- of links that may help you in researching combat stress or post-traumatic stress. I will add to this list occasionally. Please drop a comment and share other sources of data that you feel would be a good addition.

War Stress: Not Only for Those in Combat

USA Today reports on the strange uptick in workplace injuries at Robins AFB in Georgia. The base is responsible for repairing military aircraft. As the war raged onward, and the Defense Department demanded a leaner, meaner and more efficient military, the strain of meeting these demands resulted in a witches' brew of problems.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

The situation at Robins, where thousands of workers repair military aircraft, is a case study on how the war overseas has affected those serving on the home front. Here, a different kind of strain and battle fatigue has surfaced, often in startling ways.

The wounded came not from engaging the enemy, but from scores of workplace injuries that increased as the war intensified. The low morale was measured in rises in drunken driving and domestic abuse, discrimination complaints and lost productivity. Most dramatic were the suicides — double the national rate in 2004 — and murders on the base, the first in Robins' 65-year history. "We do have the rigors of a wartime mission," explains Lt. Col. Dan Mokris, the base safety officer. "We just have to do it right here." ...

After U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, the demands of war exacerbated the challenges of trying to modernize and streamline the military, Collings says. As a consequence, he says, the needs of those at Robins were neglected, and the troubles at the base began to swell.

"Whether you're talking about the soldier in the field who's getting ready to take the next bunker, the fighter pilot, the maintainer who is turning wrenches on the flight line, the engineer doing software development here or Ronnie who works in the paint shop," Collings says, "if you don't have their heart and their belief that you are leading them in the right direction, it's a non-starter."

The events at the Robins AFB form a cautionary tale. More...

Free PTSD DVD for Service Members and Providers

From Triwest, a freebie for those is the Western region:

TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the TRICARE Contractor in the West Region has developed a post-deployment DVD to help ensure that America’s Global War on Terrorism veterans suffering from combat stress get the help they need and deserve.

“Getting Home: All the Way Home” features advice and resource information from behavioral health experts and tips for TRICARE beneficiaries in the West Region. Family members, spouses, and friends will also benefit from understanding the effects of combat stress on their loved one. Anger, detachment, sleeplessness and night sweats, are some of the symptoms discussed in this DVD with an emphasis on seeking help quickly.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Combat, Women, and PTSD: Details and News on Upcoming VA Retreat

DOD Launches Post-Deployment Health Reassessment Program

A new program for our returning troops is being rolled out: the Post-Deployment Health Reassessment. Service members will participate in the health screening three-to six months after arriving home. Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the DOD's Force Health and Readiness website:

The Post Deployment Health Reassessment program will be implemented on all military installations and will include active duty members as well as the armed services reserve components.

Research indicates that many deployment-related health problems may not arise until three- to six-months after a servicemember returns from deployment. Defense Department officials stated that the program will allow servicemembers and healthcare providers the opportunity to identify potential health issues before they become chronic conditions and treat known health problems before they affect a servicemembers deployment status or career.

The PDHRA also empowers servicemen and women to proactively take charge of their health so that they receive the DoD and Department of Veteran’s Affairs sponsored health services they have earned through their service.

Each member of the Armed forces who has been deployed since September 11, 2001, will have the opportunity to complete the PDHRA and identify and address any post-deployment health concerns they may have.

The following fact sheets [pdf files] are available:

PTSD Clinical Study: A Call for Therapists, Veterans, and Police

I've been contacted by Psychiatrist Robert M. Roerich, M.D. regarding the need for therapists, veterans, and police officers to participate in a controlled clinical trials study on the effects of senticon (mental imagery) therapy on PTSD.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the Senticon.us website:

Haunting memories, thoughts, or images are found in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a major mental health problem affecting millions worldwide. A new clinical trials study by mental imagery researcher Robert Roerich, M.D. seeks to explore the mind’s ability to heal memory of stressful life experiences.

Roerich has coined the term senticon for mental imagery. From the Latin “sentire”, meaning to feel and the Greek “icon”, a symbolic representation, this word encompasses all sensory perception, not just visual. PTSD is a whole body reaction that may include sound, smell, touch, and taste besides visual memory of the original trauma. “What appears to record the original trauma is the presence of strong emotion associated with a life threatening event,” Roerich states.

“The mind captures emotion as a primary reaction to severe stress. That is something no one has to think about beforehand, we feel it. A senticon is produced as a result, which serves a useful purpose in remembering what is threatening us, but can
by itself be painful over time if it persists in people who develop PTSD.”

“PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Many people will not seek professional help because of the fear of being perceived as weak or psychotic. Only 5% of people see a psychiatrist out of fear of doing so, seeking instead to confide in friends, loved ones, or their family doctor.”

Roerich’s clinical trials study seeks police officers and veterans who are in therapy for PTSD. A new mental imagery treatment, Senticon Therapy, is being compared to whatever therapy the patient is receiving, with pre and post treatment testing to gauge severity of PTSD.

Protocal and eligibility information. Interested parties may contact:

Robert M. Roerich, M.D.
820 North Fourth Street, Suite 2
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Phone: 740-283-4520
Fax: 740-283-3010

E-mail: roerich@senticon.us

15 Year Anniversary of Start of first Gulf War, Desert Storm

15 years ago today Desert Storm was launched. It ended 100 hours later -- on February 27, 1991. Currrent Gulf War (Operation Iraqi Freedom): 25, 700+ hours and counting...

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Related Note: Zogby International, in conjunction with Le Moyne College, has just completed a first-ever opinion poll of our combat troops serving in Iraq. The results are absolutely stunning.

This past Thursday, February 23rd, was the 15th anniversary of the start of the first Gulf War's ground war: Desert Storm. It lasted, incredibly, from start to finish 100 hours. We celebrate the end of that war tomorrow.

March 19th will be the 3rd anniversary of the start of the second Gulf War: Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although it was said that we destroyed 80% of the Iraqi army in 1991, OIF has now run 25,800+ hours and counting. We don't know when we'll be able to celebrate the end of this war. As we pay our respects to those who served, those who died, those who suffered - and suffer still - a review of the two wars is in order. Though facts and figures and numbers and stats are sterile and dry for some, they no less have a tale to tell...

DS = Desert Storm (February 23, 1991 - February 27, 1991)
OIF = Operation Iraqi Freedom (March 19, 2003 - ?)

  • DS: # of coalition member countries: 34
  • OIF: # of coalition member countries: 48 (at least 16 no longer participating)

  • DS: # of US Troops at start of war: 500,000+
  • OIF: # of US Troops at start of war: 240,000 (125,000 of that on the ground)

  • OIF: # of US Troops currently deployed: 157,000

  • DS: # of non-US coalition forces at start of war: 160,000+
  • OIF:# of non-US coalition forces at start of war: 49,4000+ (of this 26,000 were British ground forces)

  • DS: Total # of US Troops who served: 696,661
  • OIF: Total # of US Troops who served: 360,000 (ground), 1,000,000 total [see note]

From Merriam Webster dictionary:

"Casualty: a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment, or capture or through being missing in action."

From Sourcewatch.org: Both the Pentagon and many media reports exclude wounded from their "casualty statistics". They may refer to some wounded soldiers, but then don't have a tally for them. In addition, soldiers injured in "non-hostile" circumstances aren't tallied either. Non-DOD US Government employees, e.g., State Department, aren't tallied either.

  • DS: # of US killed in action casualties: 148 combat, 145 nonbattle
  • OIF: # of US killed in action casualties: 2290+ [98% male. 89% non-officers; 76% active duty, 15% National Guard; 74% white, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 22% killed by non-hostile causes. 52% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 69% were from the US Army.]

  • DS: # of US wounded in action: 467 WIA
  • OIF: # of US wounded in action: 16,742+ [20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries (total excludes psychological injuries); 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home]

In the Persian Gulf War, about three troops were wounded in action for every fatality. In Iraq, about seven are being wounded for every one killed. - Alan Bavley in New technology and medical practices save lives in Iraq. Knight Ridder Newspapers, 17 Dec 2003.

  • DS: # of US missing in action: 37 MIA
  • OIF: # of US missing in action: 8 (all rescued)

  • DS: # of French casualties: 2
  • OIF: # of French casualties: 0
  • OIF: # of Non-US/Non-British casualties: 103

  • DS: # of Allied Arab casualties: 39
  • OIF: # of Allied Arab casualties: 0

  • DS: # of Iraqi POWs held by coalition: 80,000
  • OIF: # of Iraqi POWs held by coalition: 13,000+ (as of 9/2005)

"Iraq went from the fourth-largest army in the world to the second-largest army in Iraq in 100 hours." - Lieutenant General Tom Kelly on Desert Storm

  • DS: # of Allied combat air sorties flown: 116,000+
  • OIF: # of combat air sorties flown (using 1,801 aircraft): 20,753 (initial invasion using 18,467 smart bombs and missiles; 9,251 dumb bombs; 153 air launched cruise missiles; 98 gps/laser-guided bombs; 408 anti-radar missiles; 908 guided cluster bombs; and other missiles)

  • DS: # coalition aircraft losses: 75 (63 US/12 Allied)
  • OIF: # coalition aircraft losses: 105

The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but...we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon. -- Former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, testimony to the US House Appropriations Committee, March 27, 2003

  • DS: Portion of war cost financed by non-US sources: $53 billion (DOD)
  • OIF: Portion of war cost financed by non-US sources: (looking for figure)

  • DS: Total cost of war financed by Gulf States: $36 billion
  • OIF: Total cost of war financed by Gulf States: (looking for figure...is this 0?)

  • DS: Total cost of war financed by Germany and Japan: $16 billion
  • OIF: Total cost of war financed by Germany and Japan: (looking for figure)

According to the Department of Defense, by 1999, the military revealed of the Gulf War:

  • As many as 100,000 U.S. troops were exposed to repeated low-levels of chemical warfare agents, including sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard gases;

  • More than 250,000 received the investigational new drug pyridostigmine bromide (PB pills) the Pentagon "cannot rule out" as linked to Gulf War illnesses;

  • 8,000 received the investigational new botulinum toxoid (Bot Tox) vaccine;

  • 150,000 received the hotly debated anthrax vaccine;

  • 436,000 entered into or lived for months within areas contaminated by more than 315 tons of depleted uranium radioactive toxic waste possibly laced with trace amounts of highly radioactive Plutonium and Neptunium, almost all without any awareness, training, protective equipment, or medical evaluations; and

  • Hundreds of thousands lived outdoors for months near more than 700 burning oil well fires belching fumes and particulate matter without any protective equipment.

  • Each of these exposures took place while troops were either engaged in combat, serving in a war zone, or stationed in the volatile region for a number of months.

  • DS: # Separated from service, eligible for VA benefits:504,047 (as of 3/01)
  • OIF: # Separated from service, eligible for VA benefits: 166,334 (OEF figures included, as of 4/2005)

  • DS: # Sought medical care at the VA:263,000 (as of 3/01)
  • OIF: # Sought medical care at the VA: 120,000

  • DS: % Filed claims against the VA for service-related medical disabilities:36% (as of 3/01)
  • OIF: % Filed claims against the VA for service-related medical disabilities: 16% (as of 4/2005)

  • DS: # Filed claims who are considered disabled:149,094 (as of 3/01, with 13,902 still pending at the time)
  • OIF: # Listed as WIA/not RTD (Wounded in Action/Not Returned to Duty): 7,529
  • OIF: # of Seriously wounded who require amputations: 6%

  • DS: # Who've died following combat:9,600 (as of 3/01)
  • OIF: # Who've died following combat: (undetermined)

  • DS: # of Potential `reproductive toxicants' soldiers were exposed to:21 (GAO)
  • OIF: # Returned from combat showing symptoms of mental health disorder: 40,000

  • DS: # of Veteran children born with serious congenital defects or serious illness:67% (Dept. of Veterans Affairs)
  • OIF: # of Vets already homeless: 500

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