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Dec-07-2007 05:17printcomments

PTSD and Psychosis Among Army Psychiatrists

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


(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I was a combat infantryman for about 18 months in WWII where things were really crazy with various levels of officers demanding of their underlings (anyone of lower rank) that such and such a military objective be taken even if it killed every attacking soldier.

If that isn't psychosis, what is?

I was also stationed in General Eisenhower's headquarters for about six months. Of about 15,000 personnel, half officers, half enlisted, they acted like there wasn't a war.

If such a psychic denial isn't psychosis, what is?

The current seeming denial of PTSD and drug use on the highest army medical levels MUST BE a further example of psychosis.

I was absolutely flabbergasted that on ABC News 20/20 Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the psychiatry consultant to the U.S. Army Surgeon General, implied that there is no battle-induced PTSD causing drug use by soldiers, but like all other people using drugs, there were other "reasons".

I was reminded that in WWI the Army swept it under the rug too, naming PTSD as "homesickness" or saying that the soldiers "missed their mothers". What comes to my mind is SNAFU, FUBAR and even JANFU.

The VA's own information says up to half of all PTSD patients treated also have a substance abuse problem.

Colonel Ritchie would only say that PTSD is a "risk factor" for the abuse of drugs and alcohol, but that the Army has not been able to quantify how strongly the two are linked. She said she was unaware of cases of soldiers turning to drugs to cope with the trauma of their experiences in Iraq.

She said, "That has not been my experience. My psychiatrists and social workers who see soldiers report to me of their experiences with soldiers all the time, and none of them are seeing that particular explanation."

The Army actually goes so far to say there has been NO increase in the rate of illegal drug use among soldiers since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Who do they think they're fooling?

I presume Dr. Ritchie got her MD from a real medical school, but I have heard that the Armed Forces has its own medical school. I was embarrassed as a physician at her comments.

Was she lying to maintain her quest for one star, or was she really ignorant about PTSD? It's hard to believe she got to where she is today without intelligence, so that leaves: CHOICE. She is choosing her future star over the welfare of our troops.

Almost 40 percent of soldiers
home from the war report
psychological symptoms.

The June 2007 Department of Defense
Task Force on Mental Health report

Even other army spokespersons and the VA people say to expect about 20% of battle veterans to have PTSD. Paul Sullivan, Gulf War veteran, a former project manager at VA who monitored the disability claim activity of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and now is the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), said PTSD was a big problem. His reaction to the Army psychiatrist? "Shame on her!"

Some of the most pitiful comments were given by a woman described as the director of substance abuse programs, apparently with the U.S. Army. She spoke about their success. The 20/20 program didn't indicate her rank, or even if she was a physician, but she obviously didn't understand that a battle-scarred PTSD veteran will use anything he can get his hands on to remove the PTSD devils from his soul and mind, even if it is heroin, booze, or at the very least, cannabis.

Ten times the number of soldiers are using drugs now compared to when the Iraq war began. That's the military's number, a complete contradiction to what Col Richie said.

Hundreds of veterans have told me that cannabis works better than any prescription drug. It's about time for a serious trial of cannabis for PTSD.

Some soldiers are breaking the rules and turning to drugs to give them relief from the consequences of trauma in war. We can help them seek the best treatment by not living in the psychosis of denial.

I have also heard that many VA psychologists are trying "fake battle sounds" as treatment.
God preserve us.
We PTSD guys are trying to stay as far from that as possible.

You can email your questions and comments to the doctor:

More information on the history of Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of Phil Leveque about his experiences in WWII. Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier.
If you are a World War Two history fan, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for Dr. Phil Leveque's on-camera streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King.

Other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

John Healey February 16, 2008 12:18 pm (Pacific time)

I am a U.S. Army Veteran, having served in Somalia (93/94) and Bosnia (00/01). I later worked as a bomb disposal contractor in Iraq. I have been struggling with life and living, having been homeless, depressed, estranged, violent and even what is coined as "psychotic" at times. I am online at this moment searching for answers, help, anything to keep me alive and from taking my life. The Army said I was depressed, the VA says bi-polar, but noone addresses the trauma. In this moment I would smoke anything if it would help me live a more calm, sane and productive life. No shame in leaving my name!

John, please send us an email,

Dr. Phil Leveque (REPLY) December 28, 2007 11:07 pm (Pacific time)

To Jean in Australia: Psychological and psychiatric problems deserve a trial with Cannabis - maybe even THC. They are less harmful than the drugs used.

Jefferson December 11, 2007 2:27 pm (Pacific time)


Henry Ruark December 11, 2007 9:46 am (Pacific time)

Perhaps I enjoy too much the fact I am now thoroughly certified in the psychiatry levels involved here -longtime protocol for many professional writers/consultants, for client reassurance in complex matters demanding mental powers. Profoundly personal health and mental status recently so certified --lesson learned long ago via direct contact with child psychiatrist and whole tribe of similar, in Chicago, and undertaken every second year ever since. Where's yours, nonentity ? To whom as certifying professional can you refer ? Proof of mine part of direct contact now offered to you for 15th time. But we now begin to see what it is and why you will never unmask self via normal ID on request.

Jefferson December 10, 2007 6:28 pm (Pacific time)

Henry, sounds a bit paranoid. You have much of a background in "code" Henry? My grandchildren learned from parents who learned from me...we are never where we are located...depending on the meaning of location, so to speak.

Henry Ruark December 10, 2007 5:58 pm (Pacific time)

Jean et al: Intrusive effort now under way in U.S. is part of ongoing Bush administration pry-open all possible sources of opposition. Happens some writers now well involved with Internet and open channels also at work on 1st Amendment legislation to safeguard channels under attack, sometimes by paid shills, to sabotage and deny full use by citizens intimidated by name-calling attacks and other obvious such work. moresoon on that.

Jean December 10, 2007 5:21 pm (Pacific time)

Henry, we have been writing to the Government, Police etc. for over 4 years and always put our full name, address, email and sometimes phone number. No-one's ever bothered us and we continue to speak out for Medical cannabis (might be different here in Australia). Doing a campaign at the moment and have had nothing but good comments from ages between 17 and 80.

Henry Ruark December 10, 2007 2:52 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Strange echo from channel's surrounding scenery seems to sound with less sense every time heard. But that's no stranger than statement "Economy is simple" and "they" out to misinform and mislead persons...except naturally neocons noted for nonsense and nefarious negativities...spread widely where possible by nonentities keeping self carefully un-ID'd for only possible way to survive. This to point out psychotic symptoms in full operation, right here in channel, judge for yourselves as you find them spread across stories like....

Jefferson December 10, 2007 11:47 am (Pacific time)

Gee, thanks for the heads up Henry.

Henry Ruark December 10, 2007 7:35 am (Pacific time)

To all: The kind of psychosis here exemplified is all too commonly found in ongoing Comment in many general channels now open via Internet. Cognitive scientists are working fullbore to isolate, identify, characterize and thus provide special tools for both control and remediation. Meanwhile do not hide behind anonymity in Comments: If you fear signing your name and revealing your real identity, do NOT SEND !! Warning: Heavy/duty governmental agencies now in full pursuit of simple ID-way for any/all such "anonymous" situations, with 1st Amendment sensitive legislation due to follow. Sources multiple, and open to sharing via ID to editor.

Jean December 7, 2007 11:32 am (Pacific time)

My son and I have been following Dr. Leveque's articles with great interest from here in Australia. We are medical cannabis campaigners and know just how difficult it is to get people to listen and accept proof even from medical cannabis users, themselves. PTSD and Cataplexy, which my son has, share the same kinds of symptoms and they are horrendous. Our heart goes out to all those suffering and trying to get their voices heard. Don't give up the fight. And thank you Dr. Leveque for your caring for others enough to write these wonderful articles.

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