Wednesday, April 25, 2012
A new thought on what may be increasing PTSD: a new problem with a medication?
Another re-thinking. For me, it was about a story shared as part of the fallout from Viet Nam. Will it never cease? Not the re-considering, I can assure you. Nor the re-evaluating, either.
This one began with Richard Friedman’s article on April 21st in the New York Times, “Why are we drugging our soldiers?”
Now with three, four, five tours of duty it is all too common in current combat zones for medications to be given so the soldier can stay at peak during long, draining periods. It conditions the fear to be bearable. The article indicates a sudden rise in PTSD among veterans from 2008 on.
What apparently happens in the brain is that the medications involved – Ritalin and Adderall were specified – increase a person’s alertness. Each also facilitates memory. They were developed for students having problems concentrating in class and later broadly prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder. Now they are also used for those in lengthy combat assignments.
It would be a curious turn of events, that while we are still struggling to find ways to cure PTSD, we have unfortunately now determined how we may have been augmenting it. This may turn out to be one of those stories of various medications misused; sometimes it happens when trying to find new applications. There have been several instances. What we all have to do, of course, is to find better ways to cope with anxiety.
If we regard the Apostle Paul as having to work his way out of the post-traumatic condition – as Annelie and I have described in our book – then we have at least a historical account of a route to the healing of a person. There are some identifiable steps that led the younger Saul of Tarsus to becoming the Apostle Paul of maturity.
It began with forgiveness; I think it safe to believe it broadened in time from himself to others. It gave him a new sense of self identity from the beginning, but to continue to grow he had to work at it. Nothing unusual about that.
It centered on the acceptance of the precipitating event, giving up any denial. There is a lot of re-thinking that goes before re-feeling, but it happens and Paul led the way in how it works.
It involved learning from that event, for there are always lessons to be learned about ourselves and of actuality, itself.
It eventuated in a new sense of the meaningful of life, and of meaning and purpose under God.
It climaxed in a lot of intimate communications, near and far, even in his imprisoned situation.
This gives us a new lift to the saying, “the just shall live by faith.” We can now add on a phrase for ourselves, “not alone.”