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PTSD extends beyond military vets, mental health conference told

Colin Parkinson

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Some employers require you to attend counseling if X, Y or B happens regardless of your mental state, it's more to cover off their liability than care. I prefer a layer of "peer counseling" before professional. If properly done, can be an ounce of cure instead of a pound of it and often better at sniffing out BS. Also as it's not their bread and butter they don't need to justify their existence as much. Plus the people that volunteer to do that stuff generally really do care about you.
 

Armymedic

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recceguy said:
Sorry, you don't get off that easily by trying to deflect from your own opinion. Once more you don't see the forest for the trees. It wasn't a rant. Just a simple observation about another one of your blanket statements on PTSD.

To wit, people should not complain.

I'm also amazed at how every discussion about PTSD you enter, your able to make judgment calls about people's mental capacities and problems without ever coming in contact with them or knowing who they are.

How about you not resort to personal and professional insults to attempt to win the argument.

Here are facts:
1. PTSD is not limited to people who have military service.
2. Resources for people outside the military with PTSD are limited as there is not many people who have the expertise to treat the condition.
3. The persons within the military have better availability to experienced practitioners than those civilians.

No where did I say people did not have the right to complain.

 

Teager

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Rider Pride said:
Your statement about people being released from the military due to a diagnosis of PTSD because the Canadian Forces was "to lazy to deal with [PTSD] properly" requires substantiation.

Your rant does not negate the initial point: there are civilians who have never served in the military who suffer from PTSD. They all struggle to find help because the resources are just not there.

Prior to Afghanistan many members were released due to PTSD without the CF doing anything about it. Also back in the 90's you couldn't even claim PTSD through VAC. I feel for civilians and everyone should because all soldiers some day will return to the civilian world. All a shortage says to me is that there is a bunch of good paying career opportunities available.

What some need to realize is that being released from the CAF with PTSD can compound problems financially. Those with under 10 years of service are hit hardest as there is no pension. Sure VAC has there benefits but for most this barely keeps there heads above the water.

Those soldiers and ex soldiers that are in the media complaining usually aren't ones to complain and have usually exhausted all other methods. They are at their wits end with a bureaucratic system and are fed up and are simply bringing awareness to it. 
 

Nemo888

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Goose15 said:
I am interested on what you are basing this statement off of. While, I agree some people nowadays claim ADHD when they do not pay attention, is it not reaching a little to say it is the same with PTSD? Not arguing, I am asking.

Also, are you implying (or stating) that psychologists are handing out such diagnoses as if it's the common cold?
Bruce Monkhouse said:
The biggest 'YES' I can muster............

It's a diagnosis from a chat.  It's not diabetes where a drop of blood can tell you how much sugar is in your blood.(fasting glucose >126mg/dL = diabetes) Insurance won't pay for help unless you are diagnosed. Psychology is in many respects a protoscience and PTSD is just a heap of check boxes. If you get one from column A and two from column B, etc.
Criterion E: duration

Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in B, C, and D) is more than one month.

Criterion F: functional significance

The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Specify if:
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than three months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is three months or more
It seems a bit pseudoscientific compared to the hard sciences. Sadly it is the best we have to offer. The other disturbing thing I found when reading some textbooks on PTSD was how much they wanted to reduce the harm to society from individuals with PTSD. Balancing that with helping the person. That would feel like a conflict of interest to me as a patient. The classic medicated zombie versus loose canon dilemma. Peer counseling is probably the best route. CBT works really well for some people too. It is more Buddhism than psychology and that is probably a good thing.
 

Goose15

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ObedientiaZelum said:
If you have some patience you can search this forum and find examples of applicants who appear to be joining the CF with the expectation that they will develop PTSD.

Wow really? I will peruse to see some of this. I likely will not be able to get through too many as that is just ridiculous.
 

Goose15

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Nemo888 said:
It's a diagnosis from a chat.  It's not diabetes where a drop of blood can tell you how much sugar is in your blood.(fasting glucose >126mg/dL = diabetes) Insurance won't pay for help unless you are diagnosed. Psychology is in many respects a protoscience and PTSD is just a heap of check boxes. If you get one from column A and two from column B, etc. It seems a bit pseudoscientific compared to the hard sciences. Sadly it is the best we have to offer. The other disturbing thing I found when reading some textbooks on PTSD was how much they wanted to reduce the harm to society from individuals with PTSD. Balancing that with helping the person. That would feel like a conflict of interest to me as a patient. The classic medicated zombie versus loose canon dilemma. Peer counseling is probably the best route.

I understand that obviously there is only so much you can go on due to the possible variance in the science itself. I was more or less interested in the idea that was initially portrayed.

Yes the idea of the zombie or loose cannon is a disturbing and interesting one, I agree.


Nemo888 said:
CBT works really well for some people too. It is more Buddhism than psychology and that is probably a good thing.

I will definitely look into this, it sounds very interesting!
 

ArmyGuy99

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Well, after spending the day reading this threading and not having the 5 min needed to form a proper response here I am at 10 pm, and here it comes from the horses mouth.  Both from the perspective of someone who battles with PTSD and who worked within the Military Health system as a medic, and who's sister has a MA in Psych and who has helped to treat many Vets.  We have had many discussions. 

PTSD is not isolated to the Military, I know civilian Paramedics and Cops and Firemen who have it.  As to wether or not the access to and quality of care is better.  In my experience it is better on the civilian side.  EAP, crisis management, CISD have all been around in the civilian world a lot longer then in the military one.  Now it's not a matter of the quality of the practitioners but the ratio.  How many troops in Pet?  How many have seen combat in Afg?, in Bosnia? how many saw attrocities being committed while on UN tours?

How many mental health practioners are there?  What's the ratio of Worker to patient?  We know from media reports and those risking their careers to speak out that there aren't enough.  That soldiers need to wait months.

On the civilian side instead of tens of thousands, there are a few thousand at the most (police, ems, fire) in the cities to hundreds of practitioners.  Mention EAP and bam you are gone for a few weeks sick leave while you sort your head out with a shrink and then back to work.  Very little wait, no questions asked no risk to your job.

Can the CF as an organization say the same thing?  I doubt it.

Are we practicing Hot debriefs, cold debriefs then full debriefs after serious incidents? Doing at least a quick Hot debrief then a quick cold one after things have settled down has shown to help people cope with serious incidents.  Now I know it would not always be feasible in the Military to hold a full debriefing due to operational requirements.



I have PTSD and General Anxiety, it took 6 months to get the GA diagnosed and that was after pretending I was alright for a year and almost losing everything, because the system has a hiccup in it.  Everyone "assumed" I was fine because I said so (because we always tell the truth on these matters even tough rule #1 is your patient will always lie to you.) because I walked off the plane from Landstuhl even though 5 days before that I was in Panjawaii at an OP and had just spend over 130days outside the wire.  You see Medivac'd members do not get to decompress.  So we all pretended I was fine.  Needless to say that didn't work.  So after I asked for help and going to a local psychologist for a few months I get sent to borden to see the Psychiatrist.  I get the General Anxiety.  Another year goes by and I go back, and do all the tests (took over an hour) then another in depth interview (boy was that fun) and I get PTSD added on.

I'm now on my second psychologist, who is also a researcher and professor and is up to speed on current methodology, and my sister recommended him.  And I'm finally on the mend.  Now, I woldn't have gotten released because of my mental health, I got tossed out medically for Epilepsy (thank you Afghanistan that was a nice going away present) but others are.  There is also the stigma problem that still exists

injured >1 T-Cat = useless dead weight regardless of why(but especially against MH), initiate career termination.    Especially in this budget climate.  When all someone needs is some time to heal. 

The CF needs to have a culture change.  We are losing good men and women and losing their knowledge for no good reason.

 

medicineman

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Hate to say this, but you can't lump Civvy Emergency services with the rest of the civvy population...since non-emergency services workers develop PTSD as well, and a lot more than people realize.  That is the main issue out there - Joe Schmoe down on the farm doesn't have EAP or maybe even Blue Cross or Manualife to deal with the fact that two kids died after crashing into his semi-trailer on the highway (real story), or young lady is sole survivor of 4 people in two cars that collide head on...and having to watch their mom die beside them (again, real story).  I could go on - people are victims of circumstance, deliberate violence, etc...and sometimes as a result suffer for time evermore simply because there aren't enough trained folks to deal with even routine day to day mental health problems, much less the complexities of PTSD.  There is a reason there is a psychiatrist on call 24/7/365 in most major trauma units (certainly was in Vancouver when I was there anyway).  I'd have to say on a population basis, as a for instance, the Mental Health Clinic at 17 Wing Winnipeg, supporting I'd say about 1500 odd Reg Force and likely about 1000 P Res off the top of my head, has a better worker to potential client ratio than the Mental Health Clinic at Portage General Hospital, which has a full time staff of about the same for about 5-8 times the catchment area.  There is one major(ish) psych health facility in our RHA - people have to compete for in patient beds in Winkler (my RHA), Brandon, Dauphin, Winnipeg and Selkirk (separate RHA's) if they're in crisis.  There isn't a full time psychiatrist in Portage, and when I direct refer to a shrink, I get a road block put up by the "gatekeepers" that are optically giving care, but are sometimes delaying proper diagnosis/treatment.  Unless I send someone direct to Crisis Response Centre in Winnipeg (which I often suggest to people), the odds of seeing a psychiatrist in a 6 month time frame are actually low.  If I have a PTSD issue, unless the person shows me RCMP or CAF/VAC credentials, I have to fight tooth and nail to get anyone to see them, since a lot of the folks that deal with this all the time are working in/around Shilo or Winnipeg for the two bases...if they're the victim of a crime, sometimes Victims' Services can assist, but otherwise they're at the whim of the system, such as it is. 

 

Colin Parkinson

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Which was the role played by churches and priests, people focus on the religious aspects of  churches, but rarely on the social roles they play or played.
 

ArmyGuy99

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medicineman,

Well said, and you are completely correct of course.  You cannot lump the Sheep Dogs with the sheep (so to speak) and I should have mentioned that.  And I have to agree with Colin P as well, the role of our Religious institutions needs to be recognized as well and perhaps used more often to alleviate the burden on an over stretched system (where appropriate of course).  They are not just for praying in.  Some of us who have served know the value of the Padre's ear. 

All of us in EMS/Fire/Police have been at MVC's, Fire's or whatever tragedies that have affected civilians, we block out the fact that they have been traumatized in order for us to move on and continue our work, but the harsh truth is MM is right.  We have EAP and our brothers and sisters, we have that thin safety net to catch us.  They, in a lot of cases, have nothing but their Provincial Health Care or nothing at all. 

 

mariomike

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MedTech32 said:
All of us in EMS/Fire/Police have been at MVC's, Fire's or whatever tragedies that have affected civilians, we block out the fact that they have been traumatized in order for us to move on and continue our work, but the harsh truth is MM is right.  We have EAP and our brothers and sisters, we have that thin safety net to catch us. 

Also presumptive legislation in Alberta, and possibly coming to other provinces.

 
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