At some time in our lives, we all need to be told we’re good or shown the way. A simple story about giving kids from Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods a chance to rise above the violence in their communities strangely touched me and compelled me to write. As I do this, I am not that far from Oakland. I have heard enough to tell you that the culture of violence described is not exaggerated. Patients who see me for marijuana permission are happy and delighted they do not have to drive there.
So there are children who grow up in a culture of violence. I see adults. Not too long ago, I was seeing adults for social security evaluations in Los Angeles. Many of them had been caught in crossfire, perhaps shot on their way to the supermarket or even in front of their own homes. They told me they did not know why or by whom, and sometimes they still had bullets in them somewhere. Other times it was just a memory that so overwhelmed them that the quality of their post-traumatic stress disorder was like the sort of thing that you see in Vietnam veterans. Read more on It Takes So Little…
Army veteran Galmiche, who served his country for 20 years, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2002. He says he worked with a counselor and took medication for years, but did not find relief from his symptoms until he was matched with a PTSD service dog.
The first time I met a patient with a service dog was when I was doing social security examinations, as a psychiatrist. The woman was about 60 years old, motherly and white-haired, and she told me that she was nervous about the interview and was being treated for an anxiety disorder. She did not think she could “make it” unless I saw her with her “service dog.” Many years before, when my allergy to dog-hair was in flower, I would have declined. I had since treated it effectively with alternative methods, so I told her we could try it. It was a tiny dog, the kind my husband would call a “barfy” dog. The dog had the cutest little blue coat with very official looking embroidery — including the wheelchair picture that is usually used to mark places that are reserved for such vehicles. The little dog wouldn’t stop staring at me. I did a customary and very basic psychiatric interview. I started with questions that involved little or no stress, like name and diagnosis. Eventually, I ramped up to questions about the topics that generated anxiety, such as past traumas. The pooch stood on its hind legs while she rubbed it vigorously, staring at me. I stared back. Read more on Service Dogs for PTSD Veterans…
I accidentally watched Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Life Changers” and it put me in a state of utter stupefaction.
That was fortunate, as I found myself unable to destroy the television. Doubly fortunate, in that this was a hotel-room TV and the bill would have been padded for replacing the set.
Okay, so I was in a hotel flipping channels during the day. I do this once in a while to see what is being communicated to the TV-watching public, especially about health.
Dr. Oz has a show. His guest was Rachel Ray showing how to fix things you might screw up in the kitchen. Common sense fixes with repartee. I did not see this as a health problem and I did not make it to the end of the show. Read more on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Life Changers”…
The old guys were right.
I mean the really old guys, the ones who wrote over one hundred years ago. The guys like Freud and Janet who said that mostly everything that shapes people’s lives seems to be trauma — whether or not modern authors agree.
I have seen an anorectic whose trauma was a passer-by in a crowd who told her that she was too fat for anyone to have sex with, and then keep walking. I have seen a sufferer of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) who was told she was filthy when she was a kid. She later became so excited about cleanliness she missed nights of sleep to tidy the living room.
But although very real causes of pathology, these seem too trivial to be real traumas for most people.
Others are too horrible to be denied. Read more on PTSD From Sexual Trauma — Learning That Life Is Not Always Fair…
When we talk about sending troops out to fight with numbers that have lots of zeros on them, chance are that nobody is thinking about how the lives of the survivors will never be the same.
Recently, ABC News made an attempt, a praiseworthy attempt, to help people see at least a little of what the human devastation means. “PTSD” stands for “post-traumatic stress disorder,” which leaves lives devastated. People come out with devastated personal relationships, often unable to maintain marriages, unable to maintain jobs, with sometimes a high potential for violence. The devastation all too frequently progresses to suicide.
Adding to this the fact that the bureaucratic institutions do not generally encourage or even permit the most efficient means of treatment, we have a domestic mess and a domestic mortality of veterans, the very people who put their lives on the line, that is nothing short of horror.