Wednesday, 11 November 2009


There are now many soldiers returning from Afganistan (and Iraq veterans) who are committing suicide at the alarming rate. There are many others who suffer brain damage too. The need for psychiatrists is impossible to meet and US government is recruiting thousands of volunteers to help instead. In UK, there has been little said about these men who suffer terribly and their families too. One of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is anger and with increased irritability there is increase in marital discord and violence. Without help children become traumatized witnessing what goes on at home when parent is unable to cope.
Losing temper as a result of post-traumatic disorder means poor working ability.
Distressed men are more likely to offend and a startling number are in prisons and on probation. Twice as many as serving on the front! These are UK data. Neglect of these men is quite astonishing.

Meanwhile, there are unemployed psychiatrists in UK who are not allowed to work because regulatory authorities have been too preoccupied defending religion or incompetent NHS management instead of good medical practice. In other words whistleblowers cannot work while soldiers returning from the front are killing themselves.


blackdog said...

Not as if this is anything new! Soldiers have been suffering, committing crimes and suicide due to thier experiences for decades. It has been a well known and recorded phenomena since the Vietnam war and before. Sadly both US and more so the UK Government has failed to address this issue and those of sufferers of mental ailments in general.
As a 'plaster' for this gaping wound they are recruiting hordes of briefly trained and significantly under resourced Therapists using CBT which is woefully inadequate for PTSD. I have suffered from it and it is a black hole from which you never believe you will escape. It nearly destroyed my relationship with many and one in particular. I was ignored, medicated (with the wrong drugs) and generally sidelined. I did get help eventually but only by paying for it.
Society reaps the reward for its indifference to the plight of these men and women scarred by an experience so awful that it cannot be described. The scars of life often do not manifest themselves as bullet holes but a reaction that is terrible to behold. Rage and the guilt of the survivor can destroy lives as easily as does C4 or napalm, or high velocity bullet. It just doesn't show on the outside.
This slaughter of the soul needs addressing just as does justice in all medicine. However much we hate what they may have had to do, it was done in our name, even if we did not espouse the cause.

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