Ptsd and its misconceptions

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  • 2. REASON FOR THIS TOPIC • With the closing of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, my thoughts were drawn to the effect the war had on Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors. • The media tends to sensationalize PTSD and present it only in a negative light • In fact, the recent Ft. Hood shooting was partially attributed to PTSD despite evidence that the shooter never suffered from it • The media portrays military veterans as all having PTSD and that they could fly off the handle at any time
  • 3. FORT HOOD SHOOTER • Specialist Ivan Lopez, a soldier stationed at Ft. Hood, was the shooter that killed three and injured 16. • When they first caught wind of the shooting, the media found he had deployed and talk immediately began about how he “probably had PTSD.” • Despite the fact that he had deployed twice, Lopez never showed any signs of PTSD • In fact, his two deployments were to Egypt and a deployment to Iraq that was cut short. • He ever made any claims of PTSD to the VA and never even saw any combat.
  • 4. WHAT IS PTSD? • PTSD is a anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event, which, in todays society, is typically associated with veterans and the GWOT. • In truth, PTSD can happen after any traumatic event in life, even on the civilian side
  • 5. HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE BRAIN? • Based in the hippocampus, amygdala and pre-frontal cortex, PTSD affects decision making, memory and also includes strong emotions, such as fear, anger and sadness • When a certain memory is accessed, the brain also goes through the associated areas in the brain and includes the emotions found in them. • This can cause certain individuals, not all, to “reenact” what they experienced. • One of the most common occurrences you hear is when a veteran “attacks”his wife without realizing it. In his mind he was only defending himself.
  • 6. WHY IS THIS DISORDER SO FEARED? • Many people in this country have some form of PTSD, whether from the GWOT or a similarly traumatic event in their lives. • The media is only interested in stories that will interest viewers and stories about veterans combatting PTSD successfully don’t make the evening news. • But the individual who shot up an Army base after a deployment (that was only four months long) is scary enough to cover • In truth, many people have PTSD and lead successful lives.
  • 7. HOW CAN WE PREVENT PTSD? • The Army now has “Resiliency Training” which helps soldiers deals with difficult times in their life. It teaches different methods of thinking and ways to avoid thought “pitfalls” • With some modification, this same training can be applied to prevent PTSD. If you train your mind to be more resilient and are able to “bounce back” from tough, life changing experiences, you can help yourself lessen your risk or help manage your thinking patterns
  • 8. WHAT HAPPENS IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH? • With the GWOT coming to a close, the VA has had over 10 years to try and perfect treatment for PTSD. • However, its not perfect. • The more popular treatments involve psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and anti psychotics like Zoloft and Prozac.
  • 9. WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS • PTSD isn’t a disease; it’s a disorder. • Not everyone who suffers from PTSD, especially combat veterans, are prone to psychotic rages • People who have PTSD are not “broken” and automatically assuming that they are is wrong. • Just because a person deploys doesn’t mean they have PTSD.
  • 10. REFERENCES • ptsd/index.shtml • unremarkable-military-career/