VETERANER ÄR OFTA UTSATTA FÖR TRAUMA
För vissa veteraner har utlandstjänstgöringen betingat sitt pris i form av posttraumatiskt stressyndrom, PTSD, eller andra trauma symptom. Symtomen kan bland annat visa sig i en överdriven vaksamhet, att vara onormalt lättskrämd och lättirriterad, att få omotiverade vredesutbrott, koncentrationssvårigheter och problem med sömnen.
Here is a discussion from the The NewsHour’s USA, health correspondent, Betty Ann Bowser, reports on a new US Army program to help families and soldiers cope and the questions surrounding the psychological wounds of war that will last for some time.
”MARTIN SELIGMAN, University of Pennsylvania: What psychology and medicine and psychiatry have been about has been taking people after they have suffered bad events and trying to undo illness.
This is an attempt to turn medicine on its head, to turn psychology on its head, and say, let’s arm people who are going to be put in harm’s way beforehand, and see if that doesn’t have a noticeable effect on saving lives, on lowering depression, on lowering anxiety.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Seventeen research studies have shown children and adolescents improve when the principles of positive psychology are applied. And Seligman sees no reason why that won’t also work in the Army.
MARTIN SELIGMAN: It’s a training program based on the best evidence that science has about the prevention of anxiety and depression. So it seems to me quite a reasonable thing for the Army to be doing. If I had to look around the entire literature on anxiety and depression, and the prevention of it, this is the best documented hypothesis.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: But critics complain that hypothesis was never tested in a military setting before the program was rolled out. Is there any science-based research the Army can point to that shows that this will work on troops?
BRYANT WELCH: No, there’s not.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Bryant Welch is a San Francisco psychotherapist who’s treated hundreds of trauma survivors. He says the studies of Seligman’s work aren’t enough to justify the Army’s program.
BRYANT WELCH: They had schoolchildren, each night, write down three positive things about themselves. And then they noticed in a follow-up study that those children felt better about themselves.
But to go from that to saying that we can have a soldier in a foxhole who says positive things about himself and follows the precepts of this program, is going to watch his buddy blown to smithereens and spend four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and come out feeling better about himself, there is a shallowness to the assessment that, from my vantage point, I find abhorrent.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk agrees. He’s one of the country’s leading experts on trauma and teaches at the Boston University School of Medicine.
DR. BESSEL VAN DER KOLK, Boston University School of Medicine: It doesn’t make sense from a neuroscience point of view, because — and what all of our research shows is that trauma affects cognition. And the very piece that you need to think clearly and to be optimistic gets severely impacted by being traumatized. So, traumatized people cannot think straight because their brains are sort of locked in horror and terror.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: And van der Kolk says there are times when happy thoughts don’t help people recover from trauma.
DR. BESSEL VAN DER KOLK: There’s times to not feel cheerful. There’s a time to feel a deep sense of guilt, of regret, of sorrow, of terror, because we have all of these emotions because we need all of them. And we should not prefer one over the other. And the treatment of traumatic stress consists of people tolerating every single emotion, including the bad ones.