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Nov-09-2009 12:23printcomments

PTSD: Misinformation & Misunderstandings

PTSD is real.

Afghanistan patrol
Afghanistan patrol photo by Tim King

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Battle/Combat is certainly one of the most psychologically stressful activities of mankind but it is certainly not the only one.

Terror fatigue is part of PTSD. Being fearful in an artillery or mortar barrage is routine. Repeated exposure results in “is my turn (for death or injury) next”. Any battle veteran will tell you “it just gets to you”. Even killing of ones enemies is stressful. The pilot of the plane bombing Hiroshima never got over it.

A close friend was a Portland Police Detective. Brutal murders and torn apart bodies from auto accidents got to him and he started using heroin and coke. As far as I know nobody ever shot at him. Policemen and Firemen get PTSD.

ER personnel taking care of these severe auto accident victims or gunshot victims get PTSD burnout. Trauma surgeons also get PTSD.

Victims of rape, attempted rape and incest get PTSD. Even psychological harassment can cause PTSD. “Going Postal” was a coined term for Postal workers going berserk. That’s PTSD.

Mental Health workers and especially psychiatrists listening to PTSD victims relating their gory, horrible stories, has got to be psychologically stressful. I have heard that these repeated horror stories are psychologically stressful and eventually cause “burnout” which may be another name for PTSD.

What I’m trying to point out is that one doesn’t have to be shot at or in an artillery barrage to get PTSD.

My wife was a holocaust survivor. She was chased out of Germany to Russia then back to Germany and then to England where at 14 she was considered an enemy alien. She said her psychological treatment in England was almost as bad as the physical harassment by the Gestapo or Russian Secret Police.

Driving on our super highways at traffic peaks is stressful. We’ve all heard of “road rage” which must be a sign/symptom of PTSD. Many people will not drive at peak traffic times. There are too many kamikaze idiots on the road then.

How many victims of Coal Mine Collapses get PTSD? I’ll bet survivors are rather nervous.

The 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and dead passengers of the destroyed air planes produced thousands of PTSD Victims and their families.

Yes, there are many causes of PTSD. Combat Veterans may not even be the most numerous or the most visible. PTSD is NOT a certain thing. It is graded from one to ten, just like any disease or injury. Ten is probably the worst and the source of murders, assaults and suicides.

Dr. Phillip Leveque has degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and minors in physiology and biochemistry. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 20 years, during which time he trained the first doctors in Tanzania. After training doctors, he became an Osteopathic Physician, as well as a Forensic Toxicologist.

Before any of that, Phil Leveque was a Combat Infantryman in the U.S. Army in WWII. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 60 years after the war, and specialized in treating Veterans with PTSD during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon.

Do you have a a question, comment, or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
Email him:
Ask Dr. Leveque

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

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Greg November 11, 2009 10:31 am (Pacific time)

Editor I am not questioning your patriotism nor the author of this article, just pointing out the growing body of evidence that is showing that this was indeed an act of terrorism. I am also a veteran and receive disability comp. from the VA for a variety of different reasons, one of which is for PTSD. I have been involved with PTSD treatment programs both as an inpatient (American Lakes) and even as a counselor for several years until I could not continue. I network with a large number of vets like myself and we are in consensus about what happened at FT. Hood based on evidence not opinion. Several of my contacts have inside info that the MSM also has but is failing to report it. Here is an article that quotes some military personnel that no doubt will be testifying at the upcoming court martial: "Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who allegedly killed 11 people before being shot and wounded by police at Fort Hood, had said Muslims should "rise up" and attack Americans in retaliation for the US war in Iraq, a former army colleague said. Col Terry Lee, a retired officer who worked with him at the military base in Texas, alleged Maj Hasan had angry confrontations with other officers over his views. Maj Hasan was reportedly fighting orders to be deployed to Iraq at the end of the month, claiming that he was the victim of harassment and insults because of his Arab background and his faith. The major is a psychiatrist who had been treating soldiers returning from Iraq for post-traumatic stress and alcohol and drug abuse problems. "He was making outlandish comments condemning our foreign policy and claimed Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans," Col Lee stated. "He said Muslims should stand up and fight the aggressor and that we should not be in the war in the first place." He said that Maj Hasan said he was "happy" when a US soldier was killed in an attack on a military recruitment centre in Arkansas in June. An American convert to Islam was accused of the shootings. Col Lee alleged that other officers had told him that Maj Hasan had said "maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Time Square" in New York. (Excerpt) Read more at ...saddens me that the UK is ahead of our own media.

Cam November 10, 2009 11:52 pm (Pacific time)

"The only organization this killer was affiliated with, is the U.S. Army." Well, he couldn't be affiliated with al qaeda because they didn't take him seriously when he tried to contact them. ."and even if the guy said what translates to, "God is Great", so what?" Muslim terrorists have a habit of screaming "Allah Akbar" during battle. Maybe that's why.

Editor: You are a burn to every American who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Greg November 10, 2009 10:45 am (Pacific time)

In regards to the terrorist' slaughter at FT. Hood, the obsession with PTSD serves two purposes. First, it fits the media’s favorite narrative of soldiers as victims. Here was poor Hasan, brought low like so many others by the unbearable burden of Iraq and Afghanistan. Never mind that PTSD usually results in sleeplessness, flashbacks, and — in the extreme — suicide. Hasan is the first victim of PTSD known to jump on a table and allegedly yell “Allahu Akbar” while slaughtering his fellow troops. Two, it elides uncomfortable questions about Hasan’s dual loyalty. He appears to have been most “stressed” by the tension he felt between his obligations as a devout Muslim — as he understood them — and his service in the American military. Put aside his ongoing contact with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, formerly a leader of Hasan’s mosque. A classmate of Hasan’s in a master’s program said Hasan told other students he was “a Muslim first and an American second.” Hasan titled a PowerPoint presentation he gave in an environmental-health seminar a year ago “Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam.” According to one witness, he said he thought Muslims should “stand up and fight against the aggressor,” i.e., us.

Editor: Dr. Leveque is a WWII combat vet who married a Holocaust survivor.  He is speaking from experience and real background working as a doctor who treated combat vets with PTSD.  You on the other hand are trying to make something out of this that probably isn't true.  The only organization this killer was affiliated with, is the U.S. Army.  Do you have any idea what these wars have done to people in this country?  Some people are quick to fly rumors up the flag pole and even if the guy said what translates to, "God is Great", so what?  God is great.  That isn't a negative thing in and of itself.  This is another horrible consequence of the wars overseas, the Bush Administration, and all of the people who jumped up and down supporting it, and of course all of the ones who profited from it. 

Daniel Johnson November 9, 2009 7:45 pm (Pacific time)

I'm not dissing you, here, Phil, but it seems the two A-bomb pilots had no problem with killing a couple hundred thousand people. Perhaps some of the crew members did.

Charles W. Sweeney dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. Throughout his life Sweeney remained convinced of the appropriateness and necessity of the bombing, and wrote War's End: An Eyewitness Account of America's Last Atomic Mission to defend the action in light of subsequent historical questions.

Paul Tibbets dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. In a 1975 interview he said: "I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it, and have it work as perfectly as it did... I sleep clearly every night." In March 2005, he stated, "If you give me the same circumstances, I'd do it again."

Both from Wikipedia articles. I trust the documentation.

All your points about PTSD not being related to combat alone make perfect sense to me. How long can doctors and nurses patch up gunshot victims or automobile accident victims, before it starts to "get to them"--which is burnout and PTSD. It has multiple causes but the same result--one to ten.

Daniel Johnson November 9, 2009 7:23 pm (Pacific time)

I read an article recently about one of the Japanese A bomb pilots. He said recently that it never bothered him and he had always slept soundly knowing that what he did was the right thing to do. I don't remember which one it was, so maybe it was the Nagasaki bomber. I'm going to try to find the article. But, considering the size of the internet, could take me awhile. With luck, maybe five minutes.

stephen November 9, 2009 1:09 pm (Pacific time)

No Doctor Phil, you are making this all up, it doesnt exist, you must be with al quaida. (kidding) Thanks for your articles. (not kidding) In a grim Nov. 3 Wall Street Journal piece (buried inside the paper), Yochi Dreazen reported record suicide rates for a stressed-out U.S. Army. Sixteen soldiers killed themselves in October alone, 134 so far this year, essentially ensuring that last year’s “record” of 140 suicides will be broken. This represents a startling 37 percent jump in suicides since 2006 and, for the first time, puts the suicide rate in the Army above that of the general U.S. population.

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