Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How About, "He's an Evil SOB."

Sadly predictable ... the PTSD defense meme is already out there and growing roots;
Experts caution against jumping to conclusions, but two facts are known. This was the sergeant's fourth deployment. And the risk of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety-related disorders is generally higher during subsequent deployments than during a soldier's first.

"The more exposure there is to trauma the worse it's going to be," said Dr. David Reiss, a psychiatrist in private practice who has treated patients with PTSD. "Especially if someone is deployed repetitively, then the whole issue of expecting to go home, not going home, just amplifies it."
Sigh. No, no, and no. PTSD does not make people psychotic killers, but if people can make you think it does ... then that has all sorts of uses from defending the evil to marginalizing veterans.

What makes me mad about this article is that it sets up a premise in the beginning, but then starts to backtrack - backtrack well after a lot of people stop reading.
As with most aspects of mental illness, however, the link between deployments and mental illness is not straightforward. For instance, the incidence of PTSD during a third deployment is 2.7 percent among male members of the armed forces, according to a study released last September by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

But the incidence of PTSD for GIs serving a fourth deployment is lower: 1.9 percent, found the study, which analyzed medical records of 1.3 million U.S. military members who had served in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Even among GIs aged 30 or older - the sergeant is reportedly 38 - that pattern persists. The rate of PTSD among these older soldiers is 2.4 percent during a third deployment but 1.8 percent during a fourth. By comparison, the rate is 1.2 percent during the first deployment.

The rate of other mental illnesses also peaks during the third deployment. About 1.9 percent of male GIs over 30 are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder during their first deployment, compared to 2.5 percent during their third and 2 percent during their fourth.
One reason for the decrease in the rate of mental illness after the third tour of duty is that service members who develop a mental illness during a deployment "are less likely than their counterparts to deploy again," found the 2011 study, "as a result, repeat deployers may be more psychologically ‘resilient' than their never or less frequently deployed counterparts."
Right. This guy actually has a lower chance of having PTSD than most. (as a side note, note the use of "male." Rates of PTSD and mental illness is much greater in females than in males. If there were a PTSD connection, then we should have roving bands of female vets laying waste to the countryside.)

Here is the kicker; at the end of a very long article, they give you this;
But these are only generalities, which are extremely difficult to apply to any given soldier. "We have never done very well predicting aggression or violence at the individual level," said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
In other words, "This is just blind speculation ... but we'll keep the PTSD mythology alive and make it worse .... no problem."

As my regular readers know, this is just another part of an ongoing effort to smear veterans now just like was done to the Vietnam era vets. I've been blogg'n about it since my first year online.

Hat tip LCDR B.


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