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Aug-09-2007 05:38printcomments

PTSD: Overlooked Research

Phil Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician and Toxicologist.

PTSD art
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(MOLALLA, Ore.) - The literature research of medical marijuana leads literally in all directions. The information from Viet Nam War veterans brought me the information that medical marijuana was very good for PTSD.

This was not really a surprise because medical marijuana is effective for so many medical conditions, especially those involving the brain. For instance, it is effective for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, some forms of schizophrenia, nausea and vomiting, brain trauma, panic attacks, etc.

Under the circumstances, I felt it best to listen to my patients. They told me marijuana gave more relief than any psychotropic pharmaceutical they had been prescribed. Such being the case, I started checking PTSD literature. I knew that combat soldiers got it and I had heard that emergency room personnel, police and EMTs get it also.

I was surprised to find the article, “Identifying and Treating VA Medical Care Patients with Undetected Sequelae of Psychological Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” in NCP Clinical Quarterly, 6(4), Fall 1996, published by National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Department of Veterans Affairs.

Their testing, which was psychologic and sometimes psychiatric, brought out very large and varied patients groups who by their testing exhibited signs and symptoms of PTSD. Their diagnosis and therapy was one-on-one with a psychologist or psychiatrist and/or group therapy where affected patients could talk about their experiences leading to PTSD to relieve the symptoms.

It was not surprising to me that military war zone service produced the highest number and percentage of victims, up to 33 percent of females and 40 percent of males. These vets were two to four times more likely to suffer PTSD. Other groups were: gastroenterology patients exposed to childhood abuse, chronic pain patients exposed to childhood abuse, pelvic pain patients exposed to childhood sexual abuse and women HMO patients exposed to criminal victimization.

The non-combat victims should quiet the absurd claim that for war veterans it was “home sickness.” They include anxiety victims and Israeli medical outpatients (There have been wars going on there for years.), major depression victims and various phobias.

As compared with general population studies, the PTSD rate for Desert Storm veterans was 50 percent higher and for Viet Nam veterans it was 500 percent higher. This would not be a surprise to any of the nine million veterans who served in Viet Nam.

This study was done around 1995 and their results indicated 1,839,000 veterans suffering from PTSD but 1,795,000 veterans are not in VA treatment.

They say that many veterans with PTSD symptoms are unrecognized and untreated. This possibly explains the high alcoholism rate, the high illegal drug use and also the high suicide number which is considered to be about 60,000 as of 2007.

It appears obvious that this represents a complete failure of the VA hospitals to address and successfully treat this problem.

The studies reported in this article indicate a veteran with polydrug dependency especially marijuana, which he found more helpful than any other medication.

Their second patient also had a polydrug dependency problem which was not relieved by their counseling and group therapy.

Their third patient suffered from chronic coronary heart disease, hypertension and ulcerative colitis (all of which could be results of combat or other stress). After a couple of years without success, he was placed in a PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program (PRRP) with fellow veteran PTSD victims.

It is clear that the “treatments” given to these three patients were extremely expensive and with what appears to be only modest success if at all. In the meantime, many PTSD veterans have found that marijuana/cannabis works well, certainly better than alcohol, mind-numbing psychotropics, etc.

Must the PTSD veterans, as indicated in this article, have to treat themselves?

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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