Tag Archives: Vietnam War

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Because of my young age, I was wholly unaware of the political struggle that surrounded the Vietnam War (as it relates to the inclusion of PTSD).  I am confounded by the statement “PTSD was a normal response to an abnormal stressor that would evoke marked distress in nearly everyone, regardless of his or her preexisting vulnerabilities.”  (Blaney & Millon, 2009, p. 189)  The above statement is basically the reason it was included in the first place, and not 30 years later it has been refuted entirely.

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I was floored by the fact that “one epidemiological study of Michigan residents indicated that 89.6% of American adults now qualify as trauma survivors.”  (Blaney & Millon, 2009, p. 177)  I can’t believe that watching the evening news is considered trauma.  I could possibly comprehend assigning that status to someone who was directly involved in the 9-11 events, but if you had no connections (lost no immediate family members, etc) how can that be considered trauma?  Despite the fact that it is undoubtedly good for our profession (makes our market bigger), I can’t say I agree with this “bracket creep” that has been occurring.  To be quite honest, it’s approaching the “ridiculous.”

I am always drawn to the sex ratio comparisons for some reason, and I was especially drawn to the statement “men are exposed to traumatic events more often than women are, yet the rate of PTSD is twice as great in women as in men.”  (Blaney & Millon, 2009, p. 178)

The ongoing debate about the “definition of impairment” was really interesting since it had such a marked effect on the prevalence rates.  I really took this home as evidence that you really can “create the scenario you want to prove” if you manipulate the variables enough.

I can confirm the “reluctance to seek mental health care because of possible stigma” in the military community.

“The modal veteran in this cohort continued to deteriorate psychiatrically despite remaining in treatment, but then terminated treatment once 100% service-connected disability status had been achieved.”  All due respect to our veterans because they deserve that money in my opinion, but it’s the slightest bit amazing how much better $750/month can make me feel.  I am surprised that the VA Inspector General came to that conclusion; usually they sweep stuff like that “under the rug.”

Evidently it’s difficult to find someone who has pure PTSD, which I was wholly unaware of.  It’s not that it’s comorbid with that many different disorders (Major Depression, GAD, Alcohol/Substance Abuse), but it would appear that comorbidity is an issue in up to 84% of cases.  (Blaney & Millon, 2009, p. 181)  It really makes me question the validity of the diagnosis, given the current definition of “impairment,” and “trauma.”  While I am confident that this is a legitimate issue, I am inclined to align myself with the proponents of differential diagnosis on this one.

The Stroop Paradigm is ingenious.  I need to learn how to administer this test.  Is this commonly administered in private practice?

The suggestion that “being above average cognitively can protect you from the effects of PTSD” reminded me of my mother saying “your smarter than that” every time I got in trouble.  I called my mom tonight and told her she was right… she laughed.

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Blaney, P. H., & Millon, T. (2009). Oxford textbook of psychopathology (2nd ed.). New York, New York: Oxford University Press.