ABOUT PTSD

       Between 1914 and 1918 some 80,000 men were identified with shell shock.
Today the term Shell Shock is replaced by the term PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And even today we try other terms to describe it. The new Term is called OSI (Operational Stress Injury).                                                Back in WW1, Shell shock was an embarrassment, and it was either denied or disguised because it meant a sign of weakness. It was also defined as a “lack of moral fibre”. Before the end of the WW2, the term “Shell Shock” was changed to “battle fatigue”. After the change some 25% claimed battle fatigue. At the end of WW 2, commanders ordered that battle fatigue no longer be used but replaced again by the word cowardice and the numbers dropped to 4%.          Did it help? Or did it just install fear
No soldier dismisses PTSD or thinks badly of the soldiers affected. You took the job thinking that you could make a difference. But it’s not just soldiers who suffer from PTSD. Families suffer, Fire Fighters, Police and violent crime victims. Also the families with a member in a high risk profession. Even families who suffer from a sudden death of a member such as a suicide or a brutal loss can experience PTSD What is the cause of PTSD? Here we go.                                               War         Natural disasters       Car or plane crashes       Terrorist attacks                                            Sudden death of a loved one      Rape       Kidnapping                                                              Assault          Sexual or physical abuse             Childhood neglect

What is the difference between PTSD and “Normal” Trama? When your sense of safety and trust are shattered by a traumatic event, it’s normal for the mind and body to be in shock. It’s common to have bad dreams, feel fear, and find it almost impossible to stop thinking about what happened. For most people, over time symptoms become less overwelming . But this normal response to trauma becomes PTSD when the symptoms don’t ease up and your nervous system gets “stuck” and fails to recover its balance

Research into PTSD did not start in seriousness until after Vietnam. During a study in 1988 on the National Vietnam Veterans, 15.2% had it at the time and another 30% had experienced it one point after the war. People with PTSD; usually relive the incident that caused it. Other symptoms include, but not limited to, nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, anger and feeling detached from the friends and surroundings, difficulty speaking or keeping attention focused and hypervigliance, which is sometimes confused with paranoia. PTSD can reoccur with depression. I have to state this, and I can’t be to firm on this, PTSD is not a mental illness it is a physiological injury, and it is chronic.

There is no defined treatment and still no cure, but some therapies have been used. These include cognitive-behavioral, group therapy and exposure therapy. Group therapy works only so far as it helps the victim comes to terms with what happened. I personally don’t believe in the exposure therapy, because it means having the patient relive the experience over and over again. Some drug therapies seem to help biological changes in the patients. Prozac, Zoloft etc.

One therapy I do believe in is the Certified Service Dogs. It was created in 2011 and it helps in so many ways, but it is expensive. It helps give the patient a sense of routine and it helps integrate him back. A dog does not judge, it only sees you for what you are, not what you have done. It also helps the person know they have someone they are responsible for. The cost of the dogs runs about $30,000 for its 8 to 10 year working life, but given free of charge for approved patients. These therapy dogs can sense a change in the patient’s attitude and stress levels and help refocus their attention. If they sense stress, they will come for petting or a scratch or simply a nudge, or even if having a nightmare they will wake you. This means no change to a body’s chemistry and nothing invasive like shots or medication. I personally believe this to be a much needed therapy with government funding

Article from Veterans Affairs Canada National standards being set for service dogs. Ground-breaking work to better serve Veterans living with mental health conditions                     June 1, 2015 – Cambridge, ON – Veterans Affairs Canada                                                     The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced national standards will be set for service dogs which assist Veterans with mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The announcement was made during a visit to the National Service Dogs House and Training Centre in Cambridge, Ontario, where Minister O’Toole met with Veterans’ groups and members of psychiatric service dog training organizations. National standards will help to ensure consistency across the country for psychiatric service dogs. The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) will lead the development of the standards in consultation with Veterans’ groups and psychiatric service dog training providers. During the visit, Minister O’Toole provided an update on the work being done to better serve Veterans and their families who are living with mental health conditions, including ground-breaking research into the effect of psychiatric service dogs on Veterans with PTSD.

Quotes “We expect this work will confirm what Veterans have been telling us about the benefits of psychiatric service dogs—how these dogs have improved their quality of life. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting research to achieve better outcomes for Veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions.” The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs

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