Thursday, October 27, 2011

Study: Marijuana Use Causes Chaos in the Brain

We see a lot of articles that suggest one of the reasons why marijuana should be legalized is because it would supposedly benefit people with PTSD. This new study is a perfect example of why we never link to them:

Study: Marijuana Use Causes Chaos in the Brain

Monday, October 17, 2011

Israeli to automatically recognize POWs as having PTSD

Members of the Israeli Defense Force who have been held as prisoners of war will now automatically be recognized as having PTSD, without an exam to officially certify it. This follows criticism from former POWs who have had trouble getting benefits related to treating their post-traumatic stress.


Israeli POWs to automatically be recognized as PTSD sufferers

Thursday, October 13, 2011

40% of cancer survivors have PTSD symptoms

I was talking with a cancer survivor just the other night and he told me that he is frequently kept awake by terrible anxiety and fear. That's typical of cancer survivors, according to a new study which found that nearly 4 in 10 suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The symptoms, according to an article from Reuters, include "being extra jumpy, having disturbing thoughts about the cancer and its treatment, or feeling emotionally numb toward friends and family."

The study examined 566 patients who had been treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for signs of PTSD. Only 12 patients were found to be suffering from what Reuters calls "full-blown PTSD" but at least 37% had symptoms of trauma even years after their initial cancer diagnosis.

Why does this happen? Cancer can be a life-altering occurrence, leaving a patient in never-ending worry and anxiety. It's worse, the study found, for lower-income patients, who may not have the same resources to improve their health.

A good note in this: the study found that many oncologists ask not just about cancer symptoms but a patient's mental health, helping to lessen the potential for PTSD before it can set in and cause more long-term suffering.

Read more:

Many cancer survivors struggle with PTSD symptoms | Reuters

Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Long-Term Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Survivors: Does Time Heal? | The Journal of Clinical Oncology

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Study: VA clinicians not conforming to PTSD best practices

A paper in the current issue of Journal of Traumatic Stress looks at, as the title puts it, "Variation in practices and attitudes of clinicians assessing PTSD-related disability among veterans" -- and the results aren't pleasing.

According to the paper's abstract: "One hundred thirty-eight Veterans Affairs mental health professionals completed a 128-item Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Practice Inventory that asked about their practices and attitudes related to disability assessment of PTSD. Results indicate strikingly wide variation in the attitudes and practices of clinicians conducting disability assessments for PTSD. In a high percentage of cases, these attitudes and practices conflict with best-practice guidelines. Specifically, 59% of clinicians reported rarely or never using testing, and only 17% indicated routinely using standardized clinical interviews. Less than 1% of respondents reported using functional assessment scales."

The paper is behind a pay firewall, but Time discusses it here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spouses and PTSD

As the partner of a woman with complex PTSD, I understand how important it is for couples to work together to heal the effects of trauma. Sometimes, that means a spouse needs to be the person to say "You need to get help," as we see in this article from the Florida Times-Union:

Spouses are often the first to notice effects of PTSD |