Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – FOUR CORNERS BROADCAST

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – FOUR CORNERS BROADCAST

Summary:
– psychological injury of veterans is real
– homelessness a real issue for some returning vets
– vet with story about flashbacks & insomnia/nightmares (recurring)
– medical discharge
– broke
– homelessness
-estranged from family
– suicidal ideation
– St John of God Hospital – group therapy (filmed)
– soldiers, fire-fighters, police
– described their experiences
– violence/sexual abuse background (soldier/vet referred to earlier)
– group rules
-nature of PTSD – clinical psychologist talks to the group
– fight/Flight/Freeze system – leading to terror or horror response for veterans, with ongoing thoughts, (system gets locked on & doesn’t go away once danger is no longer there – a survival system is no longer working effectively)
– PTSD makes highly-effective people unable to function
Trauma memories are totally different to normal memories
– trauma memories get frozen, the memories when triggered turn the system on
– engage the memories/visualise the memories in greater & greater detail so as to take the power away from the memory
– as much detail as you can – what thinking & feeling (exposure therapy)
– anxiousness will be experienced
– 2nd vet’s experience:
– swinging moods
– meltdowns/explode
-isolates himself
– does not like crowds/noise
– story of a meltdown in a theme park
– felt he was attacked by his son whom he nearly punched (impacted on the child)
– marriage breakdown
– went to a Mental Health Unit upon return to Australia
– stigma attached to mental illness
– lost his career / no assistance in transitioning to civilian life
– anger/anxiety
– psychiatrist session
– separate thought from emotion (the training of the warrior)

3rd vet’s story of repeated deployments to Afghanistan:
– aggressive, wound up, confused, emotionally detached resorted to alcohol abuse
– discipline impacts upon the child & the partners
– PTSD requires constant monitoring, medication – no cure in his opinion
– concept in war: “blooding” – lock away the emotions & continue on with the mission
– Tried to not feel & process his emotions while he was there
– culture – not disclosing feelings – stigma/career-destroying

Soldier On was interviewed in relation to a soldier & his interactions with bureaucracy

PTSD associated with depression & the abuse of alcohol

Source: FOUR CORNERS – ABC-TV broadcast date: 9 March 2015

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