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April 25, 2012 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
SEATTLE — In a move to improve treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, the Army is discouraging the use of traditional definitions such as feelings of fear, helplessness and horror — symptoms that may not be in a trained warrior's vocabulary. It also is recommending against the use of anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications for such combat stress in favor of more proven drugs. The changes are reflected in a new policy document released this month, one that reflects a growing understanding of the "occupational" nature of the condition for many troops.
July 13, 2010 | By Julia Love, Tribune Washington Bureau
A new Department of Veterans Affairs policy that takes effect Tuesday aims to make it easier for veterans to receive benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder, a medically recognized condition in which symptoms include a lack of emotion, flashbacks and a bad temper. The VA simplified the claims process. How is the policy changing? Previously, noncombat veterans had to convince claims adjudicators that they were traumatized by a specific event with incident reports, statements from their peers or other evidence.
December 14, 2008 | David Zucchino, Zucchino is a Times staff writer.
When Army Sgt. Ryan Kahlor returned from two combat tours in Iraq last year, he was a walking billboard for virtually every affliction suffered by today's veterans. He had a detached retina, a ruptured disc, vertigo, headaches, memory lapses and numbness in his arms. Fluid seeped from his ears. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. He was violent and suicidal. He carried a loaded handgun everywhere. He drank until he passed out. He cut himself.
April 9, 2011 | By Faye Fiore, Los Angeles Times
The Bullfrog Brewery is crowded for lunch and tables are scarce, but former Army Sgt. Angel Harris finds one where she can sit with her back to a wall and still see out a window. She isn't sure what she's watching for. A sniper maybe, or an ambush. This is downtown Williamsport — the Appalachian hamlet where Little League was born — not the sort of place where people wait around for something awful to happen. But that's the way Harris has viewed the world since she returned from Afghanistan eight years ago carrying her unborn son and a case of PTSD.
January 14, 2010 | By Karen Kaplan
Early administration of morphine to military personnel wounded on the front lines during Operation Iraqi Freedom appears to have done more than relieve excruciating pain. Scientists believe it also prevented hundreds of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, the debilitating condition that plagues 15% of those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. That conclusion is based on findings published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. They suggest that a simple treatment can stop a single horrifying event from escalating into a chronic, incapacitating illness.
April 25, 2012 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Matt Pizzo has a law degree, can-do attitude, proven leadership skills, and expertise in communications and satellite technology from his four years in the Air Force. Yet the 29-year-old has been told that he's overqualified, too old, too "non-traditional," and that he's fallen behind his civilian contemporaries. "It was disheartening, to say the least," he said of his latest job rejection. "But it's typical, I'm afraid. " For unemployed veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, rejection is a special ordeal.
October 3, 2013 | By Jake Tapper
The first person in the Bible to take a life, Cain, was cursed by the Lord. Was he turned into a pillar of salt, like Lot's wife, or sent plagues like the Pharaoh? No. "You will be a restless wanderer on the earth," God decreed. Contemporary fighters are often similarly cursed with a restlessness of body, mind, soul and spirit. Today we call it post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, but as far back as 490 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus was marveling at an Athenian warrior who watched the soldier next to him get killed "when suddenly he was stricken with blindness, without blow of sword or dart; and this blindness continued thenceforth during the whole of his afterlife.
January 16, 2012 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
The hospital was built in the years after World War II. Its ceilings are low, corridors long and corners sharp — all possible stress triggers for those who have been in combat. Not to mention that a hospital waiting room can make anyone edgy. But the Veterans Affairs hospital in Fresno has found a way to make the experience easier: live music. A musician playing amid the hustle and bustle is familiar to anyone who has ever sat at a cafe with entertainment or taken the subway.
May 11, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
A federal appeals court Tuesday lambasted the Department of Veterans Affairs for failing to care for those suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and ordered a major overhaul of the behemoth agency. Treatment delays for PTSD and other combat-related mental illnesses are so "egregious" that they violate veterans' constitutional rights and contribute to the despair behind many of the 6,500 suicides among veterans each year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in its 2-1 ruling.
November 28, 2009 | By Kim Murphy
When Jessie Bratcher's fiancee told him the baby might not be his, that she had been raped two months earlier, he went quiet. The former Oregon National Guardsman hung his head for the longest time. Then he went into the next room, put the barrel of an AK-47 in his mouth and took it out again. He told Celena Davis not to expect to get any sleep that night. He walked up to her with a pair of scissors and slowly cut off her hair. Two mornings later, they drove to the hardware store.
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