Depression: Soldiers’ Post-traumatic Stress Disorder – SPIEGEL ONLINE

German online news site SPIEGEL ONLINE has a brief article highlighting the underlying problems that seem to have led to the recent tragical shooting at Ford Hood in Texas. Unfortunately, I haven’t found this article in English, so maybe trying Google Translate will yield something that makes half sense, if you’re interested:

Depression: Posttraumatische Belastungsstörungen bei Soldaten – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

I try my best to summarize some key points being made: Post traumatic stress disorder is on the rise, in particular with soldiers having served recently on one of the most prominent battlefields or peace keeping missions like e.g. Iraq or Afghanistan, where 10% to 25% of returning vets are suffering from “some form of” PTSD according to the article. There also seems to be a correlation between self-medicating through alcohol and violent actions, where the first appears to produce a higher risk in sufferers from PTSD to resort to violent actions as in the recent shooting at Fort Hood. So far, so sad.

The author then takes a look at German Bundeswehr and how doctors boast a healing rate as high as 80% in patients suffering from PTSD. Data from his research seems to confirm that PTSD is on the rise here as well and that Bundeswehr seek to address the problem by having opened a trauma treatment center in 2010 with a 24-/7 emergency hotline and options to contact them anonymously.

The part that really gets me though, is that apparently latest research in the field funded and authorized by the Pentagon and carried out in collaboration with leading US universities seems to zero in on developing a prevention program aiming at teaching soldiers “relaxation techniques”, anxiety modulation and denial of negative thoughts. I beg your pardon? How do they expect a soldier to relax on a battlefield where they deal with constant threats to their lives and find themselves innundated with an infinite number of stimuli all signalling imminent lethal dangerl???!!! Not to mention bullets and mortar fire whizzing by left and right and missiles hitting whereever troops can be found.

And the author continues to report that German Bundeswehr are currently developing similar programs that seek to assess soldiers’ “psychological fitness” prior to recruitment and how to best maintain said psychological fitness throughout their service.

The human being seems to be an infinite resource of (self-) exploitation and maximization of output, regardless of just what that output is… I have no words…

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