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Women Veterans, PTSD and Invisible Scars: Brutish Betrayal AgainDr. Phillip Leveque Professor of Pharmacology Salem-News.com
The elephant in the room, military sexual trauma.
(PORTLAND, OR) - As a VA Hospital customer for PTSD, along with other aches, pains and fractured limbs, I have a dim view of their purported excellence of treatment. Some of it is barely OK, but some of it wouldn't be allowed by the SPCA.
I was a patient in a VA hospital for about six months with a broken neck. I think this must have been a bad one, because they told my mother three times, "We don't think your son will make it". It so happened that they were using on me, a new experimental drug and I was the guinea pig, I survived.
I am a marijuana doctor. I had a total of about 5,300 marijuana patients and about 1,000 were combat veterans including several women. The mythology that women, "don't serve in combat" is out the window. Many do and many have been wounded or killed in our current battles. The rear echelon areas are sometimes more dangerous.
I'm using several references for this article. One is called, "Dept. of Defense, Please Reopen All 'Personality Disorder' Cases". They write that between 2001 and 2013, 31,000 men and women have been discharged with the misdiagnosis of 'personality disorder' when they actually had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) or some combination.
I am writing about both males and females because combat stress affects both nearly the same, with few differences. From the LA Times comes the following information: in Afghanistan and Iraq, about 3 million served including 230,000 women. About 750 women were wounded in action and 137 killed. About 20% of both males and females came home with PTSD.
For a while, anti-PTSD medications were not available, but alcohol was. Surreptitiously but nevertheless, it was.
From KQED's NewsFix San Francisco comes the following information, "In a recent study, 7,251 veterans of both sexes, were interviewed about their combat exposure, witnessing killing, military sexual trauma, and injury with PTSD rates in both male and female were about 18%.
An additional stress on women for PTSD is/was military sexual trauma, which was reported by about 20%, which is extremely under-reported by female veterans and the severity of PTSD was much greater in these women, though it is estimated these figures are very low because the women fear retribution from male and female members of their own units.
Their suicide rate is triple that of male veterans.
It is understandable, at least to me, that women might have a higher degree of PTSD resulting in alcohol abuse, drug abuse, homelessness and suicide, which is factual. In addition, there seems to be VA hospitals with psychiatric wards to take care of the seriously psychologically damaged female PTSD victims. We already know that thousands of male PTSD victims are already in prison, jail or homeless.
With some 31,000 cases of military sexual abuse in a recent year, I and President Obama say that this must stop. I think five years in a federal prison at Fort Leavenworth might slow it down. Wrist slapping has got to go.
Got a question or comment for 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".
If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.
Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on Salem-News.com:
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