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Old 12-05-2014, 01:00 PM
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Default The Mental Health Problem Plaguing Male Soldiers

Well another study find that combat is not healthy for males, who get involved in it. And let's use a new name so this study can gain footing.

It is called and has been for a while now P.T.S.D. And it gets to the point just find.

The Mental Health Problem Plaguing Male Soldiers

Laura Tedesco December 4, 2014...

After soldiers shed their uniforms, they may struggle to reintegrate as civilians — a difficulty that spills over into all aspects of life. (Stocksy)

When soldiers come home from war, there’s a week, maybe two, of total euphoria as they reconnect with family and friends, making up for lost time. But, “then real life sets in,” says Sarah Brunskill, who researches social transitions among soldiers.

“There’s a sense of disconnection,” Brunskill explains. “The wife or family thinks they’re getting the same guy back.” But when loved ones realize the returning soldier is somehow changed, more distant, “there’s a sense of blaming or guilt, of ‘Why can’t we fix that?’” she says.

This difficulty transitioning back to civilian life is considered a normal part of the process, yet for some soldiers, the reintegration period never progresses beyond this phase. It’s what Brunskill and a team of researchers, including Philip Zimbardo, head of the notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, call “social intensity syndrome,” a growing problem they describe in the January 2015 edition of the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

At the root of social intensity syndrome, or SIS, is military culture itself, which socializes young men in ways that prepare them for combat but make readjusting to civilian life a challenge. “In boot camp, they break you down and build you back up,” Brunskill says. “They create their own culture of norms.”

Related: How a Double-Amputee War Vet Landed on the Cover of Men’s Health

It’s what some have called a “warrior culture” or a “cult of masculinity” — an environment that deemphasizes emotion and the individual, instead focusing on bonding as a group, forming a brotherhood steeped in self-sacrifice, according to a study in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

This mentality is effective, even essential, for life in a war zone. The problem? It’s an identity not easily shed upon a soldier’s return. As the researchers write in the Personality and Individual Differences study, “the socialization and situational pressures that transform ordinary men into servicemen follows them beyond their service and into their civilian lives, which may cause problems for those who cannot completely readjust to civilian culture.” Civilian jobs may seem boring; everyday interactions, unbearable.

And why I left society and went into the mountains or the deserts of AZ., to be with just Vets. Heck I am still by myself as I don't trust others.

SIS is giving a name to this struggle. Hallmarks of the syndrome include a strong need to be around other men (often to the exclusion of women), isolating oneself from civilians, poor bonding with family, and participating in high-risk activities. “They’re drawn toward male-dominated things,” says Brunskill. “And they have a sense of nostalgia, of wanting to go back — remembering all the good times in the military and forgetting the bad times.”


For returning troops, the joy of reunion may be quickly replaced by a sense of disconnection. (Marc Piscotty/Stringer/Getty Images)

This may not sound particularly problematic — most guys, even those who aren’t in the military, can relate to the desire for intense male bonding. (Think fantasy football leagues and actual sports teams.) Where SIS becomes worrisome: the soldier’s family life. In the new study, aspects of social intensity syndrome — in particular, the preference for male camaraderie — were associated with violent marital conflict.

“There’s a lot of aggression that comes out of war,” Brunskill says. As a result, when soldiers come home, they often feel misunderstood by their spouse, leading them to emotionally detach. Sometimes that sense of disconnection ends in violent outbursts.

Returning solders may also resort to high-risk behaviors, like drinking excessively, engaging in bar fights, or doing drugs, possibly as a way to cope, but also to re-create the high of the battlefield. “When you have a prolonged, intense experience, such as being in a combat zone, your adrenaline and cortisol levels are heightened,” explains Brunskill. “When you come down from that, you’re back to normal levels, and it’s as if you’re [experiencing] withdrawal. So you want to re-create that.

And what I and so many others B-4 the Nam and after it have done.
Which was called P.T.S.D. and now let's put a nice name to it.

SIS may be especially prevalent among young soldiers, whose only adult experience is in the military. “A lot of the young guys got out of high school and went straight to the military in those formative, emerging adulthood years,” says Brunskill. “They’re coming back with a lot of experiences that most civilians cannot relate to. And then they’re told, ‘All right, you’re a civilian now. Figure it out.’”

"The socialization that occurs in the military to deprogram recruits creates men that will fight and kill for their country," the researchers write. "Then, little or no training is provided to help them transition back into their civilian roles."

Although her work has simply put a name to a long-existing problem, Brunskill hopes this will prompt clinicians to create reintegration programs that better suit the needs of returning troops. “[Social intensity syndrome] is still going to happen, because these are biological things,” she says. “But this is helping to explain what’s going on.”

Your Next Read: Preventing Soldier Suicides: A New Development Emerges

.......................................... Read More ........................................
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:08 AM
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Senator John Boozman speaks about expanding Veterans' Mental Health Care...

Expanding Veterans' Mental Health Care
16 Mar 2017 | The brave men and women who stand in defense of our nation have experienced the unfortunate realities of combat that most of us only see portrayed in war movies. Many of these heroes who have displayed immense strength and courage often are living with unseen injuries.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as many as 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These invisible battle scars make it difficult to identify veterans and active duty service members living with mental illness. Too often we learn who needs help too late. According to the VA's 2016 veteran suicide report, an average of 20 veterans commit suicide each day. In my home state of Arkansas, veterans represent about eight percent of the population, but about 20 percent of suicides. Veteran suicide is an epidemic. Two years ago, Congress passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act to deliver help to veterans who live with mental illness. This provided a good foundation for improvement, but VA continues to struggle to meet the needs of our veterans.

Offering access to doctors outside of VA is essential to rural states like Arkansas, but the tremendous shortage of mental health providers in our nation negatively affects veterans and individuals all across the country. Cancelations by a very short supply of doctors continue to make scheduling difficult. These scheduling appointments are much too critical to delay. We must ensure that veterans who ask for help receive it and we must do more to identify at-risk individuals who would benefit from this support. An investigation by National Public Radio found that since 2009, the Army has separated more than 20,000 veterans diagnosed with mental illness or traumatic brain injury (TBI) for alleged misconduct. This left these men and women without access to critical mental health services because of their other-than-honorable (OTH) discharges.

Senator John Boozman speaks with members of the VFW.

VA recently announced an expansion of mental health services to the 500,000 who fall into this category. Granting veterans with OTH discharges access to the network of programs and resources that have proven successful is critical to addressing this crisis. I support this initiative and look forward to working with VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin and my colleagues on the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees to implement a plan that breaks down the barriers preventing access to mental health services for these vulnerable veterans. Many Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) identified suicide prevention and awareness as one of their top priorities in recent presentations to Congress. I believe it is vital to collaborate with VSOs to recognize and reach veterans in need. Programs like peer-to-peer support have been successful for VSOs so there is no reason why VA shouldn't be able to achieve the same success with similar initiatives. Our veterans should never face an uphill battle when seeking access to mental health care. We have a responsibility to provide care that supports the needs of those who have served in the defense of our nation.

John Boozman is Arkansas's senior U.S. Senator and the dean of the state's Congressional delegation. Boozman is a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. As the son of an Air Force Master Sergeant, he learned at an early age about the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, as well as the unique challenges military families face. He brings these values with him to Washington where he is committed to enhancing the quality of life for both our veterans and their families. He has authored provisions to extend successful federal homeless veteran programs, expand treatments for our wounded warriors and modernize educational benefits under the GI Bill.

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Old 03-20-2017, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: The Mental Health Problem Plaguing Male Soldiers

Something that many may be unaware of. Even between combat veterans it's impossible to actually describe what combat is like. In fact I'm a combat veteran and I can't even imagine what the combat was like that I experienced. It's too overwhelming causing a complete overload of the senses to the point that it can literally change the physical structure of the person's mind. Actual changes can be seen when scanning a person's brain that has PTSD.

In the article it refers to heightened adrenaline levels during combat but it's more than that. Even before entering the combat zone the instinct of self-preservation starts to heighten the person's senses. Every sense we're aware of starts to become sharper. It's like the body builder that begins to work out where day after day they build more muscle mass to the point that they have muscles were we didn't even know they existed. For the soldier in a combat zone where they can be attacked at any moment the instinct for self-preservation is working on increasing the sensory perceptions that can make the difference between life and death.

In a field of grass you can instantly see one blade of grass move differently from all others because that could indicate a danger.
A sound that's lost in the background to a person not in a combat zone is instantly recognized because it could indicate danger.

Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and perhaps senses we're not aware of that might have become dormant such as being able to sense the magnetic fields of the earth are all being elevated because of our instinct to survive.

This heightened perception level all require the mind to process every bit of additional information the senses send to it. It is a process that doesn't stop and it continues night and day, awake or asleep, during the entire time the person's in the combat zone. This is the "Stress" that's referred to in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don't know if it's actually a result of an increase in the adrenaline level but the effects would be the same. People can enjoy an increase in the adrenaline level for a short period of time. Race car drivers have an increased adrenaline level but that only lasts for a few hours. What the combat soldier experiences is never-ending, not even in sleep, and it goes on and on and on. We try to find relief from it, and have limited success for very brief periods, and we have to because if we don't we eventually crack from the stress.

When I returned it literally took several years for some of my senses to become somewhat normal. Once again the analogy of the body builder is very close. They can stop working out today and it would take years before their muscle development returns to that of the average person... and even then it's not quite the same.

Now, imagine the heightened sensory perception and introduce the actual trauma of war that is the combat. Combat produces a sensory overload on normal sensory perception and now it's attacking highly tuned senses. It's like having a finely tuned gram scale and then dropping a ton of lead on it from 50 feet. It literally crushes the senses because it's so overwhelming. I can't imagine combat anymore because I can't remember or even imagine how intense my sensory perceptions were and I was never able to fully comprehend the full effects of combat on my senses because it literally crushed them with the sensory input of the actual experience. It "broke the scale" is all I can recall.

The effects of combat are not just on the conscious and/or unconscious mind. It goes much deeper. It effects the basic instincts of a person and instincts are the unlearned "hardwired" part of the mind. Instinctual behavior is genetically implanted in the person to ensure survival. It's the "fight or flight" response to danger. War and combat literally changes the instinctual behavior of the person and that can have dire social consequences for the veteran when they return home.

Let me provide an example.

There's an exception to the instinct of self-preservation. Instinct will result in self-sacrifice to protect a loved one. We see it in animals where the "mother will protect the nest" placing herself at risk of death by directly confronting a predator. A person that truly loves another person will, with premeditation, willingly sacrifice their own life to remove the threat of death from someone they love.

Because of the instinct the combat soldier rarely if ever forms close personal friendships. You become very tight comrades but that's different because there's no real love between comrades. Virtually all of the other attributes of close friendship exist but not the love.

Additionally our basic instinct is to not subject someone we love to danger. In the war zone a relief to the stress is the love shared with someone that's far away from the danger.

When you come home your instincts have changed. When close to someone you love your instinct tells you that they're in danger because your instincts have been condition to believe you're always in danger. That danger becomes you and your instincts try to force you away from those you love to prevent them from being in danger. Our instincts are so strong that they can affect the person with PTSD emotionally, intellectually, and even physically. Your entire being is trying to establish separation from the person you love to keep them out of danger.

It becomes almost impossible to form new close relationships. The more you care about someone the more your instincts push you away from them.

And you can't change those instincts. It is very, very difficult to "re-wire your mind" because the instincts are beyond thought, reason, time, or place. It required the trauma and stress of war to change your basic instincts and that can't be replicated by any other experience.

With the knowledge of what's happened to the mind, to the basic instincts, a person can to a degree override the instincts but that is a constant struggle. It's a push-pull struggle and where you win and lose at different times.

As a Vietnam War veteran we were at a disadvantage because we didn't know about PTSD. We didn't know the change had occurred and we only experienced the effects without knowing the cause. It was very confusing and by not knowing we were unable to overcome the instincts that were affecting us. You have to "know the enemy to fight it" and we didn't know the enemy.

I've talked with more recent combat veterans and they seem to be doing better. There are many other symptoms of PTSD that adversely affect us and there are ways to fight against them, some good and some not so good. Sometimes the fight against the symptom can be a highly positive actions that the person wouldn't have otherwise done and sometimes the fight is a highly negative action that, once again, a "normal" person wouldn't have done. Perhaps it ultimately balances out with very high "highs" and very low "lows" in the combat veteran's life at least for those that don't succumb to the lows. Too many do succumb which is why the suicide rate is so high among those with PTSD.
"Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president," John D. Gartner PhD
Professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.

Gartner states Trump's public behavior meets the diagnostic criteria for "malignant narcissism" which include anti-social behavior, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia and grandiosity. "Alternative Facts" refers to the delusional world of Donald Trump.

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Old 03-20-2017, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: The Mental Health Problem Plaguing Male Soldiers

An interesting side note. The second post states:

"According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as many as 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

That's because they only measure (count) those that the VA is required to provide financial compensation to so it's only the "more extreme" cases of PTSD. I've never talked to a combat veteran that had served an extended period of time in the field that didn't have some degree of PTSD. The VA drew a line in the sand and will only provide compensation to "severe" cases of PTSD and that's what the 20% represents. It doesn't represent all of the combat veterans that have PTSD because that would be almost all but instead it's based upon guidelines for determining severe PTSD.
"Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president," John D. Gartner PhD
Professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.

Gartner states Trump's public behavior meets the diagnostic criteria for "malignant narcissism" which include anti-social behavior, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia and grandiosity. "Alternative Facts" refers to the delusional world of Donald Trump.
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