12% of United States troops in Iraq and 17% of troops in Afghanistan are on anti-depressants

On June 5, 2008, Time Magazine ran a story entitled, "America's Medicated Army". Here is a snippet from the article:

The medicines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resource: soldiers on the front lines. Data contained in the Army's fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that, according to an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, about 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope. Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials say.

It seems that fighting pre-emptive and immoral wars is not good for one's mental health. I wonder when we as a nation will realize the error of our ways and demand that our government do something about it?

I don't know of any other occupation that has this high a rate of mental illness. Would you want your loved one to enter such a career?

Prozac: The Military's Secret Weapon, MSNBC with Joe Scarborough. Video lasts 3:25

This is article #4 on militarism.

Longer term psychotherapy works according to a study published in JAMA

Reuters Healthday reported on 09/30/08 on a study which appeared in the October 1, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that long term psychodynamic psychotherapy works. Here is a snippet from the article:

People with complex mental disorders or personality disorders would benefit from long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy that lasts at least a year or longer, according to new research.

Published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the German study found that compared to the more commonly used short-term therapy, long-term psychotherapy left people better off. In fact, the number of therapy sessions the patients had was directly correlated to improvements in symptoms.

"Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy was significantly superior to shorter forms of psychotherapy applied in the control groups. This was true with regard to overall effectiveness, target problems, and personality functioning," said the study's lead author, Falk Leichsenring, a professor of psychotherapy research in the department of psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy at the University of Giessen in Germany.

"With regard to overall effectiveness, on average, patients with complex mental disorders were better off after treatment with long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy than 96 percent of the patients in the comparison groups. Thus, this meta-analysis provides evidence that long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy is an effective treatment for complex mental disorders," said Leichsenring.

"This study provides a great value for doctors and for patients, and one would hope could have an influence on policy decisions," added Dr. Charles Goodstein, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and Langone Medical Center in New York City.


Children in U.S. 3xs more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications than in Europe

Child taking pill Science Daily reported on September 25, 2008 on a study which will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, which found that children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications than children in Western Europe. The authors speculate on the reasons for the difference in practice. If you would like to read more click here.


Marriage counseling with dummies

My friend Don sent me this joke. I wondered if people who read this list would find it funny?

A husband and wife came for counseling after 20 years of marriage. When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the 20 years they had been married.  She went on and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness,loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured over the course of their marriage.

Finally, after allowing this to go on for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and, after asking the wife to stand, embraced and kissed her passionately as her husband
watched with a raised eyebrow. The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze.

The therapist turned to the husband and said, "This is what your wife needs at  least three times a week. Can you do this?"

The husband thought for a moment and replied, "Well , I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I play golf'."


Statins Associated with Less Cognitive Decline

Dementia I take my simvastatin every night before I go to bed and my mind is like a steel trap and I'm 62. Is it the simvastatin or am I just a sharp guy? I have a little CRS (can't remember shit) though. My colleague and friend, Garry, says its "nominal aphasia". While I can't remember the person's name I always remember what my problem is called.

The study appeared in the July 28,2008 issue of the journal, Neurology, and the summary appears on Physician First Watch on July 28, 2008. Here is what the Physician Watch article says:

Elderly people on statins showed a lower rate of cognitive decline than those not taking them, according to a prospective observational study in Neurology.

Researchers followed a population-based cohort over 5 years, examining the participants' medicine cabinets for prescription drug use and measuring their cognitive status annually. The cohort comprised nearly 1700 Mexican American subjects, all over age 60, roughly a quarter of whom took statins at some time during the study.

By the end of the study, those who'd taken statins were about half as likely to have developed either dementia or cognitive impairment without dementia as others in the cohort.

The authors point out that there have been no primary prevention trials of statins for dementia. Writing in Journal Watch Cardiology, Joel M. Gore says that such studies are needed "before statins are routinely deployed

I wonder if John McCain takes Statins? Watching him speak has left me with the impression that he has come cognitive difficulties.

Statins Associated with Less Cognitive Decline - Physician's First Watch.


The collective unconscious and net neutrality- the connection

Netneu Andrew Boyd in his book, Daily Afflictions, defines "The Collective Unconscious"  this way: "An unspoken, consensual hallucination of social order that permits the individual to mask any responsibility he or she might feel for government wrongdoing or social ills in a web of numbed-out apathy and mass denial." p.91

Having read Rick Shenkman's book, Just How Stupid Are We?, I have thought a great deal about what is wrong with "We, The People". I am coming to the conclusion that we are not stupid in the intellectual sense although there is plenty of evidence that we are, but rather than we are unaware as a people and that, in this age, is causing great problems.

The problem that The People face is not an intellectual one but rather a psychological and spiritual one.

In a sense, Americans have been brainwashed and we are in denial because of the soporific effect of our materialism and greed. Because of materialism and greed we are willing to allow Wal Mart to come into our communities and destroy our local economies, we are willing to destroy the planet driving gas gussling vehicles, we are willing to discard tons of plastics and garbage that pollute our lands and seas, we are willing to let our children become obese and narcissistic in ways that would leave their grandparents and great grandparents horrified, we are willing to elect leaders who promise us the moon and then wreak havoc on the world for spurious reasons while forcing us and future generations to pay for their exploitive policies.

The collective unconscious allows us to continue to live in a delusional world that becomes increasingly dysfunctional because of the collusion of political and corporate power used to keep Americans anesthetized on cheap material goods, fast food, and entertainment.

There are pockets of awareness but no social institutions which nurture it except perhaps blogs on the Internet. Net neutrality is a huge issue upon which the future of the soul of America is based. Without the Internet, the information, encouragement, and inspiration for we The People to become conscious is severely constrained.

One of the most important campaign issues for 2008 is net neutrality. Let's bring this issue to the fore for once and for all. The soul of America depends on the net staying free. It is the hope of awakening the slumbering masses who have been sedated by shopping.

Video well worth watching lasts 10:24


The boot camp of life

Boot camp In the book, Daily Afflictions, Andrew Boyd uses many concepts and phrases which are eye catching. One such phrase is "The boot camp of life." In the glossary at the back of the book, Boyd, defines this phrase as - "A traditional child-rearing practice in which the child is trained to handle the dysfunction of adult institutions by being relentlessly drilled in dysfunction by his own family." p. 91

As a therapist as well as in my personal life, I am continually struck by the observation that parents don't deny the dysfunction that their children are subjected to but excuse it as being good for them. There are many phrases such as "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger." "Compared to what I have to endure this is nothing." "He better get used to it now so he is prepared for real life." etc.

I have referred to this as the callous theory meaning that parents excuse the abuse that their children suffer as "toughening them up" so that he/she can better deal with abuse later on in life.

I don't think there is any research evidence to back up this callous theory - that abuse and dysfunction earlier in life makes one more resilient later on in life. In fact, the research evidence appears to be the opposite, that abuse and dysfunction earlier in life is a risk factor for problems later on in life.

This callous theory is part of what John Bradshaw named "poisonous pedagogy".

One of reasons that my wife and I decided to homeschool was to protect our children from the institutional dysfunction that occurs in Middle school. Schools are bureaucratic institutions which are very self serving and subject children to dysfunction which mirrors the dysfunction in families, - bullying, cliques, playing favorites, mind numbing worksheets and busy work, obedience and compliance with requirements that are artificially imposed, loss of control over one's own life, disrespect, and fear being used as a motivating factor.

In the criminal justice system, boot camps began being popular 25 years ago where rigorous physical exertion and browbeating inmates for compliance was thought to  bring about compliance, obedience, and self discipline. Research has found that boot camps don't work. The belief that dysfunction and abuse is somehow good for people is similarly erroneous. Whilte the boot camp of life is an eye grabbing metaphor, one would do well to question, deconstruct, and dismiss this idea as beneficial for facilitating the development of a high quality, healthy, happy life.


Suicidal soliders is not so much a mental health problem as a spiritual crisis

Suicidal soldiers Reading about the increased incidence of sucides in the military and the huge numbers of soldiers with PTSD has gotten me interested in something which very few people in American society talk about and that is what Dr. Rachel MacNair calls "Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress", PITS.

PITS is the anguish and guilt which one human being feels when he/she kills another human being. This has been increasinly labeled as a mental health problem which it surely is, but even more, it is a spiritual problem in my view. All the mental health treatment in the world, and all the medications cannot absolve the guilt induced by the willful, deliberate killing of another human being.

There is a good article that attempts to describe this problem which was published in the Seattle Times 4 years ago on July 21, 2004. Here is a snippet:

Tucked behind a gleaming machine gun, Sgt. Joseph Hall grins at his two companions in the Humvee.

"I want to know if I killed that guy yesterday," Hall says. "I saw blood spurt from his leg, but I want to be sure I killed him."

The vehicle goes silent as the driver, Spc. Joshua Dubois, swerves around asphalt previously uprooted by a blast.

"I'm confused about how I should feel about killing," says Dubois, who has a toddler back home. "The first time I shot someone, it was the most exhilarating thing I'd ever felt."

Dubois turns back to the road. "We talk about killing all the time," he says. "I never used to talk this way. I'm not proud of it, but it's like I can't stop. I'm worried what I will be like when I get home."

The men aren't Special Forces soldiers. They're troops with the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment serving their 14th month in Iraq, much of it in daily battles. In 20 minutes, they will come under attack again.

Many soldiers and Army psychiatrists say these constant conversations about death help troops come to grips with the trauma of combat. But mental-health professionals within and outside the military point to the chatter as evidence of preventable anguish.

It is very difficult for us as a nation to face up to the immoral and illegal war which we have perpetrated and are paying for which was based on lies and deceit by our government, let alone for our soldiers who have actually killed other human beings, civilians, women, children, for reasons that are not clear at behest of psychopathic and irresponsible leaders. What does this killing do to a person's soul other than lead to anguish, revulsion, self-recrimination, and too often self destruction in one form or another.

Families of these suffering souls have wanted to be proud of their relative's service and to believe it was for a good cause, but the truth does not match the delusion. The inability of people back home to "understand", let alone accept, the truth, leaves the suffering soldier even more isolated and tormented.

What is the answer to the spiritual suffering? The truth and repentence. Will McCain or Obama lead us there? I doubt it very much unless we as a country are willing to face our demons and admit that what has been done in our name is wrong. Witnessing the suicides and PTSD of our returning soldiers fortunately or unfortunately won't let us ignore or forget the heinous acts they have been asked and compelled to do in our name. The guilt belongs to us all not just to the perpetrators, but they are the more active participants while we just watch, cheer them on, and lie to them telling them they are doing grand, honroable, and glorious things when deep in their souls they know better.

I intend to write more on this topic so I am adding a new category to my blog today called Perpetration induced stress.

Nation & World | Soldiers trained to kill, not to cope | Seattle Times Newspaper.

 

Suicide of troops only one symptom of National spiritual dysfunction in the U.S.A.

I passed a car this morning that had a yellow ribbon on it which said "Support The Troops", and a decal on it which said, "Thank them for their service protecting our country." And I wondered to myself how do you thank people who are engaged in immoral and illegal activity of waging a pre-emptive war for a corrupt government than has waged war based on lies?

The Nurmeburg trials after World War II developed the principle that "just following orders" does not absolve a person from legal and moral guilt. The fact is that many of our troops are engaged in illegal and immoral activities, activities which they cannot justify to themselves or to others and so when they return home "from duty", from engaging in these activities they are killing themselves in greater and greater numbers.

Our chauvanistic and patriotic jingoism does not help these soldiers at all because they know what they did, and they are not proud, and they cannot say anything when they are being falsely adulated, and continued to be lied to that they have done brave and noble things.

What our soldiers and our country needs more than anything is the truth, because it is the truth that sets people free not lies in spite of what the current administration tells us.

When American soldiers choose suicide over life back in the U.S.A. that should tell us something. They know something we don't know and that is that our spirit is seriously broken and corrupted as a nation.

Truth, honesty, repentence, forgiveness, exoneration, reconciliation are badly needed in our national soul and the prophetic leadership is sadly lacking. Until it emerges our returning troops will continue to suffer and kill themselves.

It is a mistake to view the suicide and psychiatric crises in our returning veterans as mental health problems alone. At the core they are spiritual problems, and Americans as a whole share a spiritual responsibility for the state of our nation's soul. The suicide of our soldiers is only one symptom of serious spiritual dysfunction of our country.

James Jenkins was a Marine who served two rotations in Iraq. He became increasingly agitated and dispairing over the 212 people he states he killed and he told his mother he didn't understand why he was there. It seems that a very promising, bright, hard working, intelligent young man joined the service "for college money" and "to serve his country" only to find out that the "service" involved unspeakable activities that he would rather kill himself for than have to live with. It is a very sad commentary on how the current administration and our country has exploited its youth and their potential for very dishonorable , deceiftul, and destructive policies.

The blood of James Jenkins, the 212 people he killed, and the thousands and millions who have suffered because of this tragic policy falls on George Bush and his ilk and all the idiots in this country who voted for them.

Video lasts 7: 16