PTSD | Texas Public Radio

PTSD

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th MPAD

With more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. saw an incredible spike in the number of suicides in its active-duty servicemen and women as well as veterans. At one point, as the wars wound down, the number of suicides was outpacing deaths from enemy combatants in the U.S. military.

Undoubtedly, the rise in awareness of military suicide, along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has made an impact in the lives of veterans and active-duty soldiers. There is still a lot to learn about strategies and interventions to prevent suicide and ease the burden of PTSD.

FORT WORTH — Fort Hood did not have a system in place that could have anticipated a deadly rampage last April that left four soldiers dead and 16 wounded, according to a U.S. Army report released Friday.

There were no clear warnings that Spc. Ivan Lopez would go on a two-block shooting spree before killing himself on April 2, the report concluded. It also said Lopez’s supervisors would have had difficulty recognizing any personal problems leading up to the attack.

RAND Corporation

5.5 million people are caring for the injured and returned military veterans across the U.S. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen a dramatic rise in the need for caregivers.

Since 2001, 2.5 million troops were deployed. Many died and tens of thousands returned and are now living with a disability--relying on friends and family for day-to-day assistance. 

Fort Hood Press Office

As everyone searches for answers to the Fort Hood shooting, the psychiatric community explores the reasons for the shooting that left four dead and 16 wounded at Fort Hood. Psychiatrists worry that blaming post-traumatic stress disorder will have long-lasting effects on the returning veterans who will be looking for jobs.

Dr. Harry Croft, a San Antonio psychiatrist who works to integrate mental health tools into the workplace for returning troops, said violent behavior toward others is not usually a symptom of PTSD alone.

San Antonio researcher Dr. Stacy Young-McCaughan is one of ten women honored at the White House today for her research into post traumatic stress disorder in soldiers.

Young-McCaughan is a retired Army colonel and now a professor at the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine in San Antonio. She serves as research director for the STRONG STAR Consortium, which seeks to understand, prevent and treat combat-related PTSD.

City of San Antonio

In the first segment:

Last year in the U.S. military there were more deaths from suicide than there were combat deaths. The sobering statistic came out despite the influx of money and coverage of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder amongst veterans for the past few years.  

Over the weekend the White House and the Department of Defense announced a significant investment in research for PTSD and the University of Texas Health Science Center will be leading a large part of the effort.  

UT Health Science Center

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has been chosen by the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration to lead post traumatic stress disorder studies of military members and veterans.

The STRONG STAR Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP) grant was announced by the White House along with DOD and VA officials over the weekend. It is a unified, worldwide effort to defeat combat-related PTSD.

DoD Military Working Dog Breeding Program Facebook Page

America’s wars have long taken their toll on the people who fight them, and the recent attention to post-traumatic stress disorder has helped improve treatment for those who suffer; however, nightly newscasts and newspaper headlines never mention the military working dogs who are also changed by the combat zone.

"Ultimately we want these dogs to become military working dogs and go down range and save lives,” said Tech. Sgt. Joe Null, who fosters canine companions for the first few months of their lives to socialize them.

Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could face a more critical type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of multiple deployments, and one noted psychiatrist and specialist on PTSD fears an increase of sufferers among today’s veterans.

Dr. Harry Croft literally wrote the book on PTSD among veterans. In his book titled, “I Always Sit with My Back to the Wall,” Croft outlines a seven-step program to recover from PTSD.

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