Saturday, March 12, 2016

Deadly Decade of PTSD Healing Prevention

Deadly Decade Followed Army PTSD Prevention
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 12, 2016

It has been one deadly decade of service members and our veterans but this enemy was allowed to follow them home. For all the talk we keep hearing on raising awareness, far too many veterans are still not aware of the simple fact they survived combat multiple times but were not trained to survive being back home. 

They were left not understanding what PTSD is or why they have it anymore than they were made aware of the simple fact, the Army knew it all along.


Sergeant Cory Griffin summed up what has been going on in the Army.
"Cory was a leader with the U.S. Army. He served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar. He says many soldiers come back with PTSD because, 'Every other year we are deploying. There's not really ever a reset time. We train, shoot and deploy.'"
He is facing time in prison, much like far too many veterans left with the stigma of PTSD after a decade of Army prevention programs.  So stigmatized he knew he needed help but did not ask for it.

In 2006 the Army discovered that redeployments increased the risk of PTSD by 50%.
Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds
Washington Post
By Ann Scott Tyson
Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.

More than 650,000 soldiers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 -- including more than 170,000 now in the Army who have served multiple tours -- so the survey's finding of increased risk from repeated exposure to combat has potentially widespread implications for the all-volunteer force. Earlier Army studies have shown that up to 30 percent of troops deployed to Iraq suffer from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with the latter accounting for about 10 percent.

The findings reflect the fact that some soldiers -- many of whom are now spending only about a year at home between deployments -- are returning to battle while still suffering from the psychological scars of earlier combat tours, the report said.

Within that same report was this
The report also found a doubling of suicides among soldiers serving in the Iraq war from 2004 to 2005, the latest period for which data are available. Twenty-two soldiers took their own lives in Iraq and Kuwait in 2005, compared with 11 in 2004 and 25 in 2003, Army officials said.
So the Army decided to start Battlemind to prevent PTSD.  Yep, they thought instead of actually stopping these redeployments, their best bet would be to just stop PTSD.  We saw how well that worked out when suicides went up.

By 2008 when the Army was facing an increase in suicides, they were also looked at the number of attempted suicides.
There were also 935 active-duty suicide attempts, which Col. Elspeth C. Richie, psychiatry consultant to the Army's surgeon general, said includes any self-inflicted injury that leads to hospitalization or evacuation. This number is less than half of the approximately 2,100 attempts reported in 2006.

This was followed by Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, which by 2009 was already sounding warning bells in the veterans community. Telling soldiers they could train their brains to be mentally tough was telling them they were weak and PTSD was their fault.

Years later, after all this training was pushed, soldiers like Griffin were still left not understanding what PTSD was, why they had it or how they could heal. How could he think anything differently when the Army told him they trained him to prevent it?

If you want to know why there is such an increase in PTSD and suicides, start with that then have a real conversation with these veterans that may actually do some good.
PTSD defense- a local soldier's story
KOAA News
By Brie Groves, Investigative Reporter
March 11, 2016
A local soldier is going to jail as part of a plea deal he made, after an evening with friends that turned violent.

Sergeant Cory Griffin says Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is to blame for the night he shot another man. He wants to tell his story to shed light on a problem that may be affecting more people in our community.

In November of 2014 Cory and his wife, Jenarae had some friends over to their home. They had been drinking for hours. Jenarae tells us Cory left and didn't return for quite some time. When she found him, he was having a full-blown PTSD episode at the top of the stairs. Jenarae says their friend walked up to the stairs, startling Cory. That's when Cory shifted the gun and shot the victim in the hand.

However, a different story was told to police that night. According to the police report the couple and their friends were indulging in a heavy night of drinking, when Cory confronted his wife of infidelity. That's when he grabbed the handgun and pointed at her. His friend walked up on the situation and Cory shifted his focus. According to police records, that's when Cory shot the victim in the hand.

Cory says, "I felt detached from myself. The anxiety poured in." Cory was a leader with the U.S. Army. He served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar. He says many soldiers come back with PTSD because, "Every other year we are deploying. There's not really ever a reset time. We train, shoot and deploy."
read more here
You can't dismiss the deadly outcome. After a decade of excuses as to why soldiers and veterans of these wars are committing suicide in higher numbers, the results cannot be dismissed nor needless suffering be diminished because in the veterans community, we see the numbers the DOD does not have to account for. All of them had the same prevention training. 

Here are the numbers from the Department of Defense.


2008 268 Service Member suicides 

2009 309 Service Members died by suicide
2010 295 Service Members died by suicide
2011 301 Service Members died by suicide
2012 319 suicides among Active componentService members and 203 among Reserve component Services members
2013 259 suicides among Active Component SMs and 220 among Reserve and National Guard
2014 269 Active Component deaths and 169 Reserve Component 

For 2015 they are reporting quartily numbers.
In the first quarter of 2015, there were 57 suicides among service members in the active component, 15 suicides among service members in the reserve component and 27 suicides among service members in the National Guard.
In the second quarter of 2015, there were 71 suicides among service members in the active component, 20 suicides among service members in the reserve component and 27 suicides among service members in the National Guard.
In the third quarter of 2015, the military Services reported that there were 72 Active Component suicides and 70 Reserve Component suicides with 38 suicides in the Reserves and 32 in the National Guard. Please refer to Figure One for a detailed breakdown of the number of suicides within each Service and component through the third quarter of 2015.
4th Quarter has not been released yet.

5 comments:

  1. Thank so much for this beatiful piece. This my son and I can not express the honor and respect this shows my son and others suffering from PTSD

    SSG Cory Griffin's mom
    Debbie Griffin

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    Replies
    1. Debbie, thank you for the comment and please take some comfort in knowing that none of this is new and most of us are aware of what all these men and women have been subjected to. We won't stand for all of this to go un-noticed. You and your son are in my prayers and all the other families out there.

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  2. Cory is a great man. I met him shortly after we came back from Afghanistan. I looked up to him and respected him. PTSD hurts not just the victim but those surrounding it. I'm currently in recovery and mentioned to my social worker that soon after the deployment a town hall or some kind of class that will explain possible symptoms of post deployment and to be aware of personal thoughts and actions that relate to ptsd. Including addiction, suicide, depression, anxiety, and what is real and what is not. This article hurts, I feel for every one. The soldier mentality is to push on. I regected the idea that anything was wrong with me. I thought I was like every one else. I suffered with the mentality that it will fix itself. During this time I affected those who loved me the most and became a person I hated. Life no longer made sence and I was detached. I have committed myself to sobriety and being part of life again. Every day I work tward being myself again. I see myself as a new person and I get to choose who I want to be. I still struggle in a crowd. I still go into fight mode when startled. I still swing in my sleep. I still scan the rooms. This is a part of me. I accept I have a disease. I am aware of it. I will no longer let it have complete control. But it's there, just waiting to be released. I pray for Cory and his wonderful wife. And for every one who suffers. May God guide and direct his soldiers to find serenity and peace in this life.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for that comment especially this part. "his is a part of me. I accept I have a disease. I am aware of it. I will no longer let it have complete control. But it's there, just waiting to be released. I pray for Cory and his wonderful wife. And for every one who suffers. May God guide and direct his soldiers to find serenity and peace in this life. "
      There is no cure for PTSD but there is healing of it. Trauma is Greek for wound and all wound heal but some leave behind "scars" and damage under the skin no one can see with just their eyes.
      Much like an infection, it spreads until it is treated, hitting more and more of "you" until you take the power away from it. Just what you've done so far is taking back control over PTSD.
      I met my husband almost 34 years ago and saw the worst times with him but then I also saw how the core of who he was inside was fighting back. We were not seeking a cure but we found healing for him as well as our family. I am glad you are on your way toward living a better quality of life and willing to share with others so they may do the same.

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    2. Thank you Anonymous. Cory is using this as a learning experience and that things happen for a reason. I thank you for you words. You bring more comfort and courage than you may know.
      Cory's mom

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