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07 November 2009 @ 10:06 pm
More conference.  
I have been to a number of wonderful presentations yesterday and today., but the kicker was a  bunch of government hacks who presented their warped way of "proving" that only 12 % of OEF/OIF veterans have PTSD and then that those that have it are not, by self-report (of treatment-avoiding active duty servicemembers), really impaired by it either... The insanity of that may not be self evident, but they didn't use the diagnostic criteria, but another method because the diagnostic criteria gave 'em a 26% rate of PTSD, and the idea that active duty guys who don't want to be shoved out of the service will admit to being impaired... I mean it could be a simple lack of knowledge of human nature (which seems to be common among psychiatrists...) but to me it is ass kissing the government/military which does not want high rates of PTSD.
Naturally, at the end, I got up and said how ridiculous it was to do self report on impairment... Ask their wives! Ariah Shalev, MD also got up and suggested that instead of concentrating on PTSD they look for the total burden of combat including depression anxiety and physical disease. The guy just blew him off. Dr Shalev is a brilliant thinker and speaker about PTSD and taught us that it is a disorder of healing. Most people heal from it, but some don't, usually when they get no support and have to avoid talking about what happened.
It is hard to believe that the same stuff that happened during and after Vietnam is happening again. Even down to the exact phony statistic: 12 %. During Vietnam the first study of guys with PTSD found the exact same amount of PTSD in the military. They didn't even ask if the people in the study had been in Vietnam...
I ran into a lot of old timers whom love, Charles Figley, who founded the ISTSS, Jim Monroe, who used to work with my mother at the Boston VA Outpatient Clinic, Art Blank who headed the Vet Centers, Sandra Bloom, who showed me the names of brain based reactions we all have that can become PTSD, Terry Keane who was a grad student when we first met and now heads the PTSD treatment center in Boston...
I am really glad to be going home to morrow morning. I miss Bob a lot.
I almost forgot the BEST thing. The people from the Palo Alto VA came with a companion dog, whom I met and fell in love with. They have the guys in the Inpatient PTSD program train companion helper dogs for wounded vets. We saw a couple of video clips and Huff, the dog, showed us his stuff. It is a wonderful program.
Bed time!