December 16th, 2007
PTSD and Psychosis Among Army Psychiatrists
Dr. Phillip Leveque Salem-News.com
Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician, Toxicologist and Pharmacologist.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) – I was a combat infantryman for about 18 months in WWII where things were really crazy with various levels of officers demanding of their underlings (anyone of lower rank) that such and such a military objective be taken even if it killed every attacking soldier.
If that isn’t psychosis, what is?
I was also stationed in General Eisenhower’s headquarters for about six months. Of about 15,000 personnel, half officers, half enlisted, they acted like there wasn’t a war.
If such a psychic denial isn’t psychosis, what is?
The current seeming denial of PTSD and drug use on the highest army medical levels MUST BE a further example of psychosis.
I was absolutely flabbergasted that on ABC News 20/20 Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the psychiatry consultant to the U.S. Army Surgeon General, implied that there is no battle-induced PTSD causing drug use by soldiers, but like all other people using drugs, there were other “reasons”.
I was reminded that in WWI the Army swept it under the rug too, naming PTSD as “homesickness” or saying that the soldiers “missed their mothers”. What comes to my mind is SNAFU, FUBAR and even JANFU.
The VA’s own information says up to half of all PTSD patients treated also have a substance abuse problem.
Colonel Ritchie would only say that PTSD is a “risk factor” for the abuse of drugs and alcohol, but that the Army has not been able to quantify how strongly the two are linked. She said she was unaware of cases of soldiers turning to drugs to cope with the trauma of their experiences in Iraq.
She said, “That has not been my experience. My psychiatrists and social workers who see soldiers report to me of their experiences with soldiers all the time, and none of them are seeing that particular explanation.”
The Army actually goes so far to say there has been NO increase in the rate of illegal drug use among soldiers since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Who do they think they’re fooling?
I presume Dr. Ritchie got her MD from a real medical school, but I have heard that the Armed Forces has its own medical school. I was embarrassed as a physician at her comments.
Was she lying to maintain her quest for one star, or was she really ignorant about PTSD? It’s hard to believe she got to where she is today without intelligence, so that leaves: CHOICE. She is choosing her future star over the welfare of our troops.
Even other army spokespersons and the VA people say to expect about 20% of battle veterans to have PTSD. Paul Sullivan, Gulf War veteran, a former project manager at VA who monitored the disability claim activity of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and now is the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), said PTSD was a big problem. His reaction to the Army psychiatrist? “Shame on her!”
Some of the most pitiful comments were given by a woman described as the director of substance abuse programs, apparently with the U.S. Army. She spoke about their success. The 20/20 program didn’t indicate her rank, or even if she was a physician, but she obviously didn’t understand that a battle-scarred PTSD veteran will use anything he can get his hands on to remove the PTSD devils from his soul and mind, even if it is heroin, booze, or at the very least, cannabis.
Ten times the number of soldiers are using drugs now compared to when the Iraq war began. That’s the military’s number, a complete contradiction to what Col Richie said.
Hundreds of veterans have told me that cannabis works better than any prescription drug. It’s about time for a serious trial of cannabis for PTSD.
Some soldiers are breaking the rules and turning to drugs to give them relief from the consequences of trauma in war. We can help them seek the best treatment by not living in the psychosis of denial.
I have also heard that many VA psychologists are trying “fake battle sounds” as treatment. God preserve us.
We PTSD guys are trying to stay as far from that as possible.