Posted by Ron Capps
There have been a raft of articles here recently about PTSD and veterans including one on the difficulty of diagnosing PTSD, the staggering number of new veterans seeking mental health care at the VA, and the both surprising and somewhat sobering news that younger veterans are more willing to ask for mental health care—this is sobering in that the number of Vietnam era veterans seeking mental health care might increase if they see a reduction in the stigma of asking for help.
Then, I saw this op-ed piece that accused the VA and the U.S. government of slow-rolling acceptance of medical marijuana into treatment regimens for veterans with PTSD. I’ll leave comments on the medical stuff to my colleague Cam Ritchie, a psychiatrist who served a career on active duty in the Army. But as a patient and someone still trying to work the VA system to get benefits and treatment for my PTSD (see my series on that here on Battleland under the sub-head Limboland.), I think there are some points I would like to comment on.
One of the most important issues for PTSD sufferers is control. When things are bad for me, it’s generally because I can’t control the images in my head, or the levels of my anxiety and fear, or my ability to sleep without nightmares. Some doctors I’ve spoken with tell me they don’t think medical marijuana is a valuable treatment because they believe it causes users to lose control. I suspect this is the same issue many doctors have with alcohol.
As a PTSD sufferer, alcohol proved quite useful as a sleep aid and as a way of helping me get control of the memories that flashed through my brain like images on a drive in movie screen. Sometimes I drank too much, and I often wished I had something else to use other than alcohol when the prescribed medications weren’t working well enough to clear my head of the horrific images and relax. Marijuana might have helped.
Read more: http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2011/10/17/why-not-pot/#ixzz1bBMR7KxI
Posted by Ron Capps