Thursday, November 19, 2015

Soldier Given Stimulants in Combat Linked to PTSD Risk

Pentagon study links prescription stimulants to military PTSD risk
LA Times
Alan Zarembo
November 19, 2015
Those who had been prescribed multiple stimulants and the biggest supplies of the drugs were the most likely to have PTSD.
Stimulant medications used to treat attention deficit problems and keep service members alert during long stretches of combat might increase vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study suggests.

Defense Department researchers analyzing data from nearly 26,000 service members found that those with prescriptions for the stimulants were five times more likely to have PTSD.

Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin raise concentrations of the brain chemical norepinephrine, which has been shown to result in more vivid and persistent memories of emotionally charged situations.

Traumatic memories are a hallmark of PTSD.

"When you take a stimulant, you enhance learning," said Dr. Richard Friedman, a psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, who was not part of the study. "PTSD is form of learning. Traumatic experiences hijack circuits in the brain."
read more here

If you want to know what the Army knew read this and get an eye opener.

In is from March of 2009

COMBAT AND OPERATIONAL STRESS CONTROL MANUAL FOR LEADERS AND SOLDIERS
REACTIONS TO COMBAT AND OPERATIONAL STRESS STRESS BEHAVIORS IN FULL SPECTRUM OPERATIONS

1-6. Combat and operational stress behavior is the term that is used to describe the full spectrum of combat and operational stress that Soldiers are exposed to throughout their military experience.

1-7. Soldiers—especially leaders—must learn to recognize the symptoms and take steps to prevent or reduce the disruptive effects of combat and operational stress.

1-8. Combat and operational stress is a reality of all military missions. It is important to understand that combat and operational experiences affect all Soldiers and reflect all activities that Soldiers are exposed to throughout the length of their military service whether it is a complete career or a single enlistment. Combat and operational stress can occur during missions in both garrison and deployed assignments.

1-9. Combat stressors include singular incidents that have the potential to significantly impact the unit or Soldiers experiencing them. They may come from a range of possible sources while performing military missions. Operational stressors may include multiple combat stressors or prolonged exposures due to continued operations in hostile environments. Combat and operational stressors have a combined effect that results in COSRs. See Table 1-1 for examples of both combat stressors and operational stressors.

1-10. Most Soldiers are resilient and work through their COSB experiences. The resiliency displayed by these Soldiers is what we refer to as mental toughness or Battlemind.

1-11. Battlemind skills, developed in military training, provide Soldiers and leaders the inner strength to face fear, adversity, and hardship during combat with confidence and resolution and the will to persevere and win.

1-12. No amount of training can totally prepare a Soldier for the realities of combat. Sometimes even the strongest Soldiers are affected so severely that they will need additional help. Combat and operational stress behavior experiences will impact every Soldier in some way. Just because a Soldier may not be affected by a specific event, it does not mean that every Soldier in the unit is handling the stress in the same way.

1-13. Soldiers surveyed in Iraq indicated that those who experienced the most combat were the most likely to screen positive for a BH problem, including PTSD. Nearly one-third of Soldiers operating outside the wire may be experiencing severe negative symptoms related to combat and operational stress exposure. This can potentially affect the unit’s mission capability.

1-14. In fact, current research shows Soldiers continue to struggle with negative PCOS symptoms long after redeployment. Soldiers do not reset quickly after coming home and up to 17 percent of returned veterans may continue to struggle with negative PCOS effects even 12 months after coming home.