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Government continues to neglect veterans as PTSD epidemic explodes


Post-traumatic stress disorder

(NaturalNews) It's a problem that veterans have had to face after every war throughout U.S. history, even if it wasn't always called the same thing.

Whether it has been referred to as "shell shock," or "battle fatigue," or by its most modern incarnation, "post-traumatic stress disorder," all soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who experience war don't respond to it in the same way. Many need therapy and treatment for years -- sometimes, even, the rest of their lives.

It is no different today; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may have come to a close, but the experiences of many of those who fought them continue to haunt them to this day. But what is Uncle Sam doing for them?

According to the Veterans Administration, which is responsible for the PTSD care of the nation's vets, anywhere between 11 and 20 out of 100 Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) experience PTSD in a given year. That is a significant figure, given that, according to PBS, more than 2.6 million men and women are vets of OIF, OEF or both (many of those with multiple deployments).

During a recent appearance on The Liberty Brothers Radio Show, Dr. James White, Jr., who served 11 years in the U.S. Army before pursuing his medical degree, said he has an affinity for veterans and especially those with PTSD, whom he treats regularly. He also said the VA and other military-related healthcare systems are grossly under-serving vets with PTSD.

Treatment is "a team effort"

White, a Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Specialist, and LMSW Social Worker with licensure/registration in all three specialties, said he has treated veterans from many wars, including Korea and Vietnam. He added that the problem certainly is not endemic to the nation's most current conflicts, and he also said that too much of the treatment is centered around dangerous medications, rather than "one-on-one counseling."

But more importantly, he said, "I can tell you flat out... these vets are not receiving the treatment they need, period."

He went on to describe proper treatment as "a team effort" that might include medications but also psychotherapy and group therapy, "where they get in there and begin to understand they're not the only person going through this."

In a March 2014 interview with PBS' Gwen Ifill, The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran also said the VA was doing a substandard job in treating vets with PTSD and suicidal tendencies.

"This is a group of people who have been battered. They're having a tough time with transition. They're having their frustration with the services they're getting from the government," Chandrasekaran said. "About 60 percent say that the Veterans Administration is not doing enough, is doing either a poor job or only a fair job in meeting the needs of this generation of veterans."

"Why did they give him more drugs?"

Furthermore, he added, 50 percent said the Pentagon was not doing enough to ease the transition from military to civilian life.

In an interview with Military Times, Janine Lutz said she believes the VA is handing out too many medications to veterans with PTSD -- and then doing a poor job of following up.

"The drugs they are pushing on all veterans, not just my son, is not helping. I think we know that these drugs are killing them," she said, more than a year after her 24-year-old Marine son killed himself by overdosing on meds he had secured from the VA.

As reported by the Military Times, since her son's death she has had a host of questions:

Why, she wondered, did VA give him more drugs? Why did VA not heed its own clinical guidelines for treating PTSD, which recommend against using benzodiazepines like Klonopin and temazepam? And why -- especially -- would they prescribe a drug she thinks made her son feel suicidal?

She doesn't have any answers, and neither do scores of other friends and family members who have lost vets to PTSD-related suicide.

Sources:

http://www.ptsd.va.gov

http://www.pbs.org

http://thelibertybrothers.com

http://www.militarytimes.com

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