Iraq War Veterans “Last Words”

“I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This”: A Soldier’s Last Words

Daniel   Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force   Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a   Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more   than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee,   interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community   leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents   and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special   Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul   where he ran the Northern    Iraq Intelligence    Center. His official   role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon,   Syria, Jordan, Israel,   and part of Turkey).   Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain   injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel   wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was   30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

By Daniel Somers

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it

This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers

The Death of Daniel Somers

By Ron Paul

I am reading the heartbreaking suicide note of Daniel Somers, aUS combat veteran who spent several years fighting inIraq. Mr. Somers was only 30 years old when he took his own life, after being tormented by the horrific memories of what he experienced inIraq.  He wrote: 

“The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from.”

Many who shout the loudest that we must “support the troops” urge sending them off to unwinnable and undeclared wars in which there is no legitimate US interest. The US military has been abused by those who see military force as a first resort rather than the last resort and only in self-defense. This abuse has resulted in a generation of American veterans facing a life sentence in the prison of tortured and deeply damaged minds as well as broken bodies.

The numbers sadly tell the story: more military suicides than combat deaths in 2012, some 22 military veterans take their lives every day, nearly 30 percent of veterans treated by the VA have PTSD.

We should be saddened but not shocked when we see the broken men and women return from battles overseas. We should be angry with those who send them to suffer and die in unnecessary wars. We should be angry with those who send them to kill so many people overseas for no purpose whatsoever. We should be afraid of the consequences of such a foolish and dangerous foreign policy. We should demand an end to the abuse of military members and a return to a foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity instead of war and poverty. Source

Over 8 thousand US war veterans, take their own lives a year.

To make matters even worse Victims of Sexual Assault also tend to take their own lives. Victims are scarred for life.

They too, are left with a nightmare to deal with.

Out of fear many Sexual Assaults, are never reported.

One must also remember, that those perpetrators, will and have, gone on to Sexually Assault victims from the countries they are stationed in.

That is not new and has been happening for years, as far back as I can remember. Apparently in Vietnam it was borderline considered Stand procedure. That was part of the un-written, code of conduct.

That information is from Vietnam war veterans, I have spoken to and the Winter Soldier testimony of that era.

Published on May 8, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. “The numbers are outrageous and I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” Bhagwati says. “The American public is furious.”

Suicide Data Report, 2012

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Published in: on June 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm  Comments Off on Iraq War Veterans “Last Words”  
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Mental illness rising among US troops

July 25 2010
America’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on US soldiers, as the latest statistics show one out of every nine American soldiers leaves the army on a medical discharge due to a mental disorder.

“We have 100,000 troops and a third of them suffer some sort of mental health disease and half of those suffer multiple health disease,” Paul Martin from Peace Action told Press TV’s correspondent.

The army alone saw a 64 percent increase in those forced out due to mental illness between 2005 and 2009, the numbers equal to one in nine of all medical discharges.

According to army statistics, last year alone 1,224 soldiers suffering from mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, received a medical discharge.

According to Mental health experts there is a growing emotional toll on the US military which has been fighting for seven years in Iraq and nine years in Afghanistan, and there is a clear relationship between multiple deployments and increased symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Some experts say age is also a factor.

“We are talking young people — 18 to 24-year-olds, who are seeing the horrors of war,” Martin said.

Analysts are concerned that with budget cuts looming, military medical programs will be the first on the chopping block.

The soldiers who are discharged for having both a mental and physical disability increased by 174% during the last 5 years from a little under 1,400 in 2005, to more than 3,800 in 2009, according to army statistics.

The suicide rate among US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan has escalated to a record high, with an average of one suicide per day in June.

According to US Army statistics, a total of 32 soldiers took their own lives last month, making it the worst month on record for Army suicides. Twenty-one were on active duty, with the rest being among National Guards or Army Reserves in an inactive status, CNN reported earlier in July. Source

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Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Mental illness rising among US troops  
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War Veteran Jesse Huff Commits suicide outside VA Hospital

Jesse C. Huff, was 27 years old had been in VA emergency room earlier in the morning.

Infantryman Jesse Huff during a period of training in Alaska. Photo courtesy of Thereasa Osborne of Elm City, N.C.

Infantryman Jesse Huff hands out candy to a child during a patrol in Iraq in 2006. Photo courtesy of Thereasa Osborne of Elm City, N.C.

By Lucas Sullivan and Margo Rutledge Kissell
April 16, 2010

DAYTON — Jesse Charles Huff walked up to the Veterans Affairs Department’s Medical Center on Friday morning wearing U.S. Army fatigues and battling pain from his Iraq war wounds and a recent bout with depression.

The 27-year-old Dayton man had entered the center’s emergency room about 1 a.m. Friday and requested some sort of treatment. But Huff did not get that treatment, police said, and about 5:45 a.m. he reappeared at the center’s entrance, put a military-style rifle to his head and twice pulled the trigger.

Huff fell near the foot of a Civil War statue, his blood covering portions of the front steps.

An assault rifle lies in front of the Dayton VA Medical Center, located at 4100 W. Third St. Police on the scene said the death is the result of a suicide. Photo: Ron Alvey

Police would not specify what treatment Huff sought and why he did not receive it. Medical Center spokeswoman Donna Simmons declined to answer questions about Huff’s treatment, citing privacy laws. But police believe Huff killed himself to make a statement.

Scott Labensky, whose son lived with Huff, agreed. He said the veteran was injured by a ground blast while serving in Iraq and received ongoing treatment for a back injury and depression.

“He never got adequate care from the VA he was trying to get,” Labensky said. “I believe he (killed himself) to bring attention to that fact. I saw him two days ago. He was really hurting.”

Simmons said Huff received care at the center since August 2008 and his care was being handled by a case manager.

The suicide rate among 18- to 29-year-old men who have left the military has gone up significantly, the government said in January.

The rate for those veterans rose 26 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to data released by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The military community also has struggled with an increase in suicides, with the Army seeing a record number last year. Last May, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base focused on suicide recognition and prevention after four apparent suicides involving base personnel within six months.

Huff arrived early Friday in a cream-colored van police found parked about 200 yards from a south entrance of the medical center. The van contained some U.S. Army clothing, a carton of Newport cigarettes and a prescription bottle of Oxycodone with Huff’s name on the side.

Oxycodone is often used to treat severe pain.

As a precaution, bomb squad technicians blew apart a backpack Huff carried before committing suicide. Source

Generic Name: oxycodone (ox i KOE done)
Brand Names: ETH-Oxydose, OxyContin, Oxyfast, Oxyir, Percolone, Roxicodone, Roxicodone Intensol

This drug is Addictive.

Oxycodone Side Effects

Oxycodone side effects may be common, adverse, or precursors to possible fatality.

Pain management specialists will recommend a dosage according to the patient’s individual pain relief response and his or her ability to tolerate the common or adverse side effects produced.

The more common Oxycodone side effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Dimness in vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Itching reflex
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sweating from shock
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Less common Oxycodone side effects, occurring in only 5% of the population, may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Euphoria
  • Hiccups
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nervousness
  • Short or painful breathing (dyspnea)

And, reported on even more rare occasions:

  • Impotence
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Decreased testosterone secretion

Oxycodone Side Effects, Overuse

Most patients contact us due to the onset of more adverse Oxycodone side effects from habitual use and overuse.

Adverse side effects:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Fainting
  • Fast or slow heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Seizures
  • Severe dizziness
  • Slowed or difficult breathing
  • Tremor
  • Vision changes
  • Low resting heart rate
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Suspended breathing
  • Abnormally low blood pressure
  • Pupil constriction
  • Circulatory collapse
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

Severe allergic reactions:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
  • Tightness in the chest

Convulsions may also increase in patients using Oxycodone with a history of:

  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Central nervous system infections
  • Drug withdrawal
  • Epilepsy
  • Head trauma
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Seizures

Oxycodone Side Effect Cautions

Monitor persistent Oxycodone side effects to verify a medical overdose . Different patients react differently to a medication and experience different or varying degrees of these Oxycodone side effects.

Oxycodone may cause severe hypotension (extreme blood pressure drops).

Oxycodone may be contraindicated (administer with caution) in patients having:

  • Acute alcoholism
  • Adrenal or thyroid problems
  • Bowel disorders or obstructions
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Circulatory shock
  • Decreased respiratory reserve
  • Drug-related psychosis
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Excessive CO2 blood count
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pre-existing respiratory depression
  • Reduced blood oxygen
  • Respiratory disorder affecting the right ventricle of the heart
  • Semi-conscious state or coma
  • Severe kidney or liver disease
  • Significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Spinal deformities impacting the lungs
  • Urinating difficulties

Other serious health concerns:

  • Oxycodone, like all morphine-type narcotics, should be administered with extreme care to patients in circulatory shock. Narrowing of the blood vessels may reduce heart rate (pulse) and blood pressure.
  • Intravenous injection, often illicit, risks lethal respiratory arrest.
  • Under doctor’s care, survey patients with head injuries, brain tumors, and other conditions of increased brain pressure for reactions.

Additional signs of Oxycodone overuse involve:

  • Decreased interest in affection
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Ignorance of others’ distress caused by patient
  • Indifference toward family events
  • Lack of interest in simple things
  • Loss of activities and hobbies
  • Loss of vocational drive
  • Signs of clinical depression

Source

Odds are Jesse was on this drug for some time.

He in all likelyhood suffered from a number of side affects, which would greatly enhance his depression…

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War veterans who could benefit from medical marijuana, regardless of the legality in their own states, have to go outside the VA system and find new doctors just to learn about and try a potentially helpful medicine.

Sign this petition and tell the Obama administration that our veterans deserve better. They deserve to have doctors who practice medicine, not politics.

Give them Medical marijuana, it is much safer then pharmaceutical drugs.

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Soldiers, Mental illness, Drugs and Suicide

Dallas Contact Crisis Line forum to raise awareness of military suicides
March 25, 2010
By DAVID TARRANT

After eight years of war marked by repeated deployments, military families have endured great sacrifices – but few as much as Maj. Gen. Mark Graham.

In June 2003, his 21-year-old son, Kevin, a promising ROTC cadet at the University of Kentucky, killed himself. He had been diagnosed with depression. Eight months later, the general’s oldest son, Jeff, died in Iraq when a bomb exploded while he led a foot patrol.

Graham and his wife, Carol, mourned privately for several years. But as the military struggled with an increase in suicides, the Army couple began telling their story to raise awareness about depression.

“All I knew was that Kevin’s death did not need to be in vain,” Graham said in a telephone interview joined by his wife. “Carol and I both would never want this ever to happen to anyone else.”

Graham is scheduled to speak about military suicides at a luncheon today in Dallas. Contact Crisis Line, the nonprofit 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, is sponsoring the forum at the Hilton Anatole. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff, is also scheduled to speak.

Defense Department figures show that 160 active-duty Army personnel committed suicide in 2009 – up from 140 in 2008 and more than double the 77 suicides reported in 2003. The Army suicide rate is now higher than that of civilians. There is no single explanation, Pentagon officials say, but the wear and tear of repeated deployments appears to be a major factor.

“Soldiers are hurting, families are hurting, and it’s a tough time in the Army,” said Graham, deputy chief of staff of Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Ga. “Being in a war eight-plus years – it’s tough.”

Young veterans leaving military service remain at risk. The Veterans Affairs Department said recently that suicides among 18- to 29-year-old veterans have increased considerably – up 26 percent from 2005 to 2007.

In 2005, the suicide rate per 100,000 veterans among men ages 18 to 29 was 44.99, compared with 56.77 in 2007, the VA said.

“Of the more than 30,000 suicides in this country each year, fully 20 percent of them are acts by veterans,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said at a suicide prevention conference in January. “That means on average, 18 veterans commit suicide each day. Five of those veterans are under our care at VA.”

Graham said: “People need to know that you can die from depression. You can die from untreated depression.”

The VA has expanded mental health services to veterans and added 6,000 new mental health professionals since 2005. A 24-hour suicide prevention hotline that started in July 2007 has received 225,000 calls from veterans, active-duty personnel and family members.

But too many soldiers are reluctant to seek help for depression and anxiety because of the stigma attached to mental illness, Graham said. “One of the things we’ve tried to do is to make it clear that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to come forward and ask for help.”

In 2003, Kevin Graham was attending school while sharing an apartment with his siblings, Jeff and Melanie. His parents were living in South Korea, where the general was assigned.

Kevin was a “tender-hearted” child who wanted to be a doctor, said Carol Graham. At his older brother’s graduation from the University of Kentucky in May, Kevin looked in great physical condition, she said. He was exercising and getting ready for an advanced ROTC camp.

But at some point around then, he stopped taking his medication, apparently too embarrassed to admit to the military that he needed it. “He had told no one in ROTC” that he was taking Prozac, his mother said.

The Grahams feel guilt-ridden over Kevin’s death to this day. “I knew Kevin had been having problems,” Mark Graham said. “But it never even entered my mind that he could die from [depression].”

Painful as it is, the Grahams plan to continue to tell their story.

“It’s hard. It’d be easier to just curl up in a corner and do nothing,” Graham said. “But if it helps just one person not die by suicide, then it’s worth it.”

Source

Medicating the military

Use of psychiatric drugs has spiked; concerns surface about suicide, other dangers
By Andrew Tilghman and Brendan McGarry
March 17, 2010

At least one in six service members is on some form of psychiatric drug.

And many troops are taking more than one kind, mixing several pills in daily “cocktails” — for example, an antidepressant with an antipsychotic to prevent nightmares, plus an anti-epileptic to reduce headaches — despite minimal clinical research testing such combinations.

The drugs come with serious side effects: They can impair motor skills, reduce reaction times and generally make a war fighter less effective. Some double the risk for suicide, prompting doctors — and Congress — to question whether these drugs are connected to the rising rate of military suicides.

“It’s really a large-scale experiment. We are experimenting with changing people’s cognition and behavior,” said Dr. Grace Jackson, a former Navy psychiatrist.

A Military Times investigation of electronic records obtained from the Defense Logistics Agency shows DLA spent $1.1 billion on common psychiatric and pain medications from 2001 to 2009. It also shows that use of psychiatric medications has increased dramatically — about 76 percent overall, with some drug types more than doubling — since the start of the current wars.

THE FULL INVESTIGATION:

Could meds be responsible for suicides?

Downrange: ‘Any soldier can deploy on anything’

How drugs enter the war zone

Troops and military health care providers also told Military Times that these medications are being prescribed, consumed, shared and traded in combat zones — despite some restrictions on the deployment of troops using those drugs.

The investigation also shows that drugs originally developed to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are now commonly used to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as headaches, nightmares, nervousness and fits of anger.

Such “off-label” use — prescribing medications to treat conditions for which the drugs were not formally approved by the FDA — is legal and even common. But experts say the lack of proof that these treatments work for other purposes, without fully understanding side effects, raises serious concerns about whether the treatments are safe and effective.

The DLA records detail the range of drugs being prescribed to the military community and the spending on them:

• Antipsychotic medications, including Seroquel and Risperdal, spiked most dramatically — orders jumped by more than 200 percent, and annual spending more than quadrupled, from $4 million to $16 million.

• Use of anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives such as Valium and Ambien also rose substantially; orders increased 170 percent, while spending nearly tripled, from $6 million to about $17 million.

• Antiepileptic drugs, also known as anticonvulsants, were among the most commonly used psychiatric medications. Annual orders for these drugs increased about 70 percent, while spending more than doubled, from $16 million to $35 million.

• Antidepressants had a comparatively modest 40 percent gain in orders, but it was the only drug group to show an overall decrease in spending, from $49 million in 2001 to $41 million in 2009, a drop of 16 percent. The debut in recent years of cheaper generic versions of these drugs is likely responsible for driving down costs.

Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are the most common mental health medications prescribed to service members. Seventeen percent of the active-duty force, and as much as 6 percent of deployed troops, are on antidepressants, Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, the Army’s highest-ranking psychiatrist, told Congress on Feb. 24.

In contrast, about 10 percent of all Americans take antidepressants, according to a 2009 Columbia University study.

Suicide risks

Many of the newest psychiatric drugs come with strong warnings about an increased risk for suicide, suicidal behavior and suicidal thoughts.

Doctors — and, more recently, lawmakers — are questioning whether the drugs could be responsible for the spike in military suicides during the past several years, an upward trend that roughly parallels the rise in psychiatric drug use.

From 2001 to 2009, the Army’s suicide rate increased more than 150 percent, from 9 per 100,000 soldiers to 23 per 100,000. The Marine Corps suicide rate is up about 50 percent, from 16.7 per 100,000 Marines in 2001 to 24 per 100,000 last year. Orders for psychiatric drugs in the analysis rose 76 percent over the same period.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the newer antidepressants commonly prescribed by the military can cause or worsen suicidal tendancys, aggression and other dangerous mental states,” said Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist who testified at the same Feb. 24 congressional hearing at which Sutton appeared.

Other side effects — increased irritability, aggressiveness and hostility — also could pose a risk.

“Imagine causing that in men and women who are heavily armed and under a great deal of stress,” Breggin said.

He cited dozens of clinical studies conducted by drug companies and submitted to federal regulators, including one among veterans that showed “completed suicide rates were approximately twice the base rate following antidepressant starts in VA clinical settings.”

But many military doctors say the risks are overstated and argue that the greater risk would be to fail to fully treat depressed troops.

For suicide, “depression is a big risk factor,” too, said Army Reserve Col. (Dr.) Thomas Hicklin, who teaches clinical psychiatry at the University of Southern California. “To withhold the medications can be a huge problem.”

Nevertheless, Hicklin said the risks demand strict oversight. “The access to weapons is a very big concern with someone who is feeling suicidal,” he said. “It has to be monitored very carefully because side effects can occur.”

Defense officials repeatedly have denied requests by Military Times for copies of autopsy reports that would show the prevalence of such drugs in suicide toxicology reports.

‘Then it’s over’

Spc. Mike Kern enlisted in 2006 and spent a year deployed in 2008 with the 4th Infantry Division as an armor crewman, running patrols out of southwest Baghdad.

Kern went to the mental health clinic suffering from nervousness, sleep problems and depression. He was given Paxil, an antidepressant that carries a warning label about increased risk for suicide.

A few days later, while patrolling the streets in the gunner’s turret of a Humvee, he said he began having serious thoughts of suicide for the first time in his life.

“I had three weapons: a pistol, my rifle and a machine gun,” Kern said. “I started to think, ‘I could just do this and then it’s over.’ That’s where my brain was: ‘I can just put this gun right here and pull the trigger and I’m done. All my problems will be gone.’”

Kern said the incident scared him, and he did not take any more drugs during that deployment. But since his return, he has been diagnosed with PTSD and currently takes a variety of psychotropic medications.

Other side effects cited by troops who used such drugs in the war zones include slowed reaction times, impaired motor skills, and attention and memory problems.

One 35-year-old Army sergeant first class said he was prescribed the anticonvulsant Topamax to prevent the onset of debilitating migraines. But the drug left him feeling mentally sluggish, and he stopped taking it.

“Some people call it ‘Stupamax’ because it makes you stupid,” said the sergeant, who asked not to be identified because he said using such medication carries a social stigma in the military.

Being slow — or even “stupid” — might not be a critical problem for some civilians. But it can be deadly for troops working with weapons or patrolling dangerous areas in a war zone, said Dr. John Newcomer, a psychiatry professor at Washington University in St. Louis and a former fellow at the American Psychiatric Association.

“A drug that is really effective and it makes you feel happy and calm and sleepy … might be a great medication for the general population,” Newcomer said, “but that might not make sense for an infantryman in a combat arena.

“If it turns out that people on a certain combo are getting shot twice as often, you would start to worry if they were as ‘heads up’ as they should have been,” Newcomer said. “There is so much on the line, you’d really like to have more specific military data to inform the prescribing.”

Military doctors say they take a service member’s mission into consideration before prescribing.

“Obviously, one would be concerned about what the person does,” said Col. C.J. Diebold, chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. “If they have a desk job, that may factor in what medication you may be recommending for the patient [compared with] if they are out there and they have to be moving around and reacting fairly quickly.”

Off-label use

Little hard research has been done on such unique aspects of psychiatric drug usage in the military, particularly off-label usage.

A 2009 VA study found that 60 percent of veterans receiving antipsychotics were taking them for problems for which the drugs are not officially approved. For example, only two are approved for treating PTSD — Paxil and Zoloft, according to the Food and Drug Administration. But in actuality, doctors prescribe a range of drugs to treat PTSD symptoms.

To win FDA approval, drug makers must prove efficacy through rigorous and costly clinical trials. But approval determines only how a drug can be marketed; once a drug is approved for sale, doctors legally can prescribe it for any reason they feel appropriate.

Such off-label use comes with some risk, experts say.

“Patients may be exposed to drugs that have problematic side effects without deriving any benefit,” said Dr. Robert Rosenheck, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University who studied off-label drug use among veterans. “We just don’t know. There haven’t been very many studies.”

Some military psychiatrists are reluctant to prescribe off-label.

“It’s a slippery slope,” said Hicklin, the Army psychiatrist. “Medication can be overused. We need to use medication when indicated and we hope that we are all on the same page … with that.”

Combination’s of drugs pose another risk. Doctors note that most drugs are tested as a single treatment, not as one ingredient in a mixture of medications.

“In the case of poly-drug use – the ‘cocktail’ — where you are combining an antidepressant, an anticonvulsant, an antipsychotic, and maybe a stimulant to keep this guy awake — that has never been tested,” Breggin said.

Newcomer agreed. “When we go to the literature and try to find support for these complex cocktails, we’re not going to find it,” he said. “As the number of medications goes up, the probability of adverse events like hospitalization or death goes up exponentially.”

Looking for answers

Pinpointing the reasons for broad shifts in the military’s drug use today is difficult. Each doctor prescribes medications for the patient’s individual needs.

Nevertheless, many doctors in and outside the military point to several variables — some unique to the military, some not.

A close look at the data shows that use of the antipsychotic and anticonvulsant drugs, also known as “mood stabilizers,” are growing much faster than antidepressants. That may correlate to the challenges that deployed troops face when they arrive back home and begin to readjust to civilian social norms and family life.

“The ultimate effect of both of these drugs is to take the heightened arousal — the hypervigilance and all the emotions that served you once you were deployed — and help to turn that back down,” said Dr. Frank Ochberg, former associate director for the National Institute of Mental Health and a psychiatry professor at Michigan State University who reviewed the Military Times analysis.

Dr. Harry Holloway, a retired Army colonel and a psychiatry professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., said the increased use of these medications is simply another sign of deployment stress on the force.

“For a long time, the ops tempo has been completely unrelieved and unrestrained,” Holloway said. “When you have an increased ops tempo, and you have certain scheduling that will make it hard for everyone, you will produce a more symptomatic force. Most commanders understand that and they understand the tradeoffs.” Source

This is a long list. It is an accumulations of things that happen to ordinary people on drugs. Soldiers would have many of the same problems.

There are over 2,000 entries. They include

Suicides, Murders, Robberies, Hostage situations And other health related side affects.

4.8 Million Person Increase in Bipolar Disorder in Last 11 Years: Majority Due to SSRI Use

200,000 a Year Enter Hospital Due to Antidepressant- Induced Mania/ Psychosis: FDA Testimony

A few thousand reasons not to take Drugs

After you read it you may think twice about taking  meds.

Don’t Let the DEA Ban Recommending Medical Marijuana for Veterans

The DEA is preventing doctors at veteran’s hospitals from recommending medical marijuana to patients — even in the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal.

The Veterans Administration is taking advice from the DEA based on the federal government’s assertion that marijuana has no medicinal value. This especially tragic because of the widespread evidence that marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for post traumatic stress disorder which is all too common among our veterans.

In fact, in New Mexico for example, PTSD is the most common affliction for patients enrolled in the state’s strictly regulated medical marijuana program.

But veterans who could benefit from medical marijuana, regardless of the legality in their own states, have to go outside the VA system and find new doctors just to learn about and try a potentially helpful medicine.

Sign this petition and tell the Obama administration that our veterans deserve better. They deserve to have doctors who practice medicine, not politics. Source

Give them Medical marijuana, it is much safer then pharmaceutical drugs.

Govt Knew Since 1974 Pot Could Cure Cancer


Pot Shows Promise Cure For Cancer


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Children of Gaza are Suffering, Scarred, Trapped

1,000 days into the Israeli blockade and Palestinian youngsters are denied medical help, education and any hope of a decent future

By Rachel Shields

March 14 2010

Omsyatte, 12, in pink, and her family at the grave of her brother, Ibrahim, who was one of the 1,400 Palestinian victims of the 2008 Israeli military offensive against Gaza

Omsyatte adjusts her green school uniform and climbs gingerly on to a desk at the front of the classroom. The shy 12-year-old holds up a brightly coloured picture and begins to explain to her classmates what she has drawn. It is a scene played out in schools all over the world, but for one striking difference: Omsyatte’s picture does not illustrate a recent family holiday, or jolly school outing, but the day an Israeli military offensive killed her nine-year-old brother and destroyed her home.

“Here is where they shot my brother Ibrahim, God bless his soul. And here is the F16 plane that threw rockets into the house and trees, and here is the tank that started to shoot,” she says, to a round of applause from the other children. The exercise is designed to help the pupils at the school come to terms with the warfare that has dominated their short lives; particularly the horrors of the 2008 Israeli military offensive Operation Cast Lead, which killed 1,400 Palestinians, and destroyed one in eight homes.

Like hundreds of displaced Gazans, Omsyatte’s family have spent more than a year living in a tent on a site near their home. Little rebuilding work has been done during this time – with supplies unable to pass into Gaza because of the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel in 2007 – and groups of children now pick their way through piles of rubble, kicking footballs around the bombsites which used to be local landmarks.

Homelessness is just one of the issues facing the 780,000 Gazan children in the aftermath of the conflict, problems that are explored in a revealing new documentary Dispatches: Children of Gaza, to be screened tomorrow at 8pm on Channel 4. Perhaps the most disturbing of these is the emotional scars borne by children who have survived the conflict; the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme reports that the majority of children show signs of anxiety, depression and behavioural problems.

Small boys build toy rockets out of drinks bottles, and talk about the fake guns they are going to buy with their pocket money. While boys the world over are preoccupied with fighting and weapons, this takes on a more sinister significance when the game isn’t Cowboys vs Indians, but Jews vs Arabs, and the children’s make-believe warfare is chillingly realistic.

These games may reflect the children’s desire for revenge against their neighbours, of which many speak openly. “I think we are seeing a growing desire for violence, and it saddens me,” said Jezza Neumann, the Bafta-winning director of the programme. “If they could get revenge legally, or saw someone saying sorry, then perhaps they could come to terms with it, but there has been no recourse. What you’re seeing now may only be the tip of the iceberg.”

Mahmoud, 12, describes the day Israeli soldiers knocked on the door and shot his father dead, lying down in the dirt where his father fell in a heartbreaking reconstruction, and describes the enormous changes it wrought upon him. “Before the war, I was thinking about education, but after I started thinking about becoming a fighter,” he says, his thickly lashed brown eyes staring straight into the camera. “God willing, if I can kill one Israeli it will be better than nothing.”

Desperate to avenge his father’s death, Mahmoud is encouraged by his uncle Ahmed, a member of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad. Sitting Mahmoud down in front of a martyrdom film, Ahmed says, “Look how he doesn’t feel a thing when he is detonated” as a suicide bomber dies. Just a few hundred yards from the family’s home is a training camp for Gaza’s fighters – both Hamas and Islamic Jihad – where young men carrying rocket launchers are clearly visible.

While Mahmoud is desperate for revenge, his mother weeps when she considers the possibility that he may become a martyr. “It is an honour to die in the name of Allah, but I don’t want to lose my son,” she said.

Some believe that with Israel’s tight restrictions on movement blocking conventional career options for the 1.1 million people who live there, children may feel they have no choice but to join resistance movements. Last week Palestinians in the Gaza Strip lit 1,000 candles and held a peaceful protest to mark 1,000 days of the Israeli blockade. During this time, unemployment has risen to 45 per cent, with 76 per cent of households now living in poverty.

“The children are struggling with the idea of the future,” Mr Neumann said. “Many graduates in Gaza are unemployed, and they can’t see a way forward because they can’t get out.”

Families have been fractured by the conflict, with many parents racked by guilt because they couldn’t protect their children from the violence, and now cannot provide for them in the aftermath. Sitting in the tent which is now their home, Omsyatte’s father weeps as he talks of his regret over the death of his son Ibrahim.

“The Israelis killed my son while he was in my arms, and I could do nothing to protect him,” he says, tears streaming down his face. “I couldn’t even look at him when he was taking his last breaths of life, because the soldiers were right above my head. I was too much of a coward to even hug my son. I was afraid that they would kill me. These things torment me.”

Dr Ahmed Abu Tawanheena, the director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, says this issue is also affecting children in Gaza. “They have lost their parents twice: first, during the conflict, when they saw their parents terrified and unable to protect them from the violence. Now, under the blockade, they see their parents are still unable to provide for their basic needs, such

as shelter or food,” he said. “It’s a crisis which is threatening families and communities across the Gaza Strip.”

For some, this crisis has had a devastating impact on family relationships, with mental health professionals and NGOs linking a rise in domestic violence with these feelings of guilt and impotence. A study by the Palestinian Women’s Information and Media Centre (PWIC) in March 2009 found that 77 per cent of women in the Gaza Strip are exposed to domestic violence, while a survey by the UN Development Fund for Women (Unifem) also indicated that violence against women increased during periods of heavy conflict.

Many children are suffering the physical effects of the conflict. One of these is Mahmoud’s nine-year-old sister Amal. Trapped under the rubble of her home – which was destroyed by Israeli shells – for four days before she was rescued, Amal was left with shrapnel lodged in her brain. Plagued by headaches and nosebleeds, and unable to get the medical care she needs in Gaza, Amal is lucky enough to be granted papers which allow her to travel to nearby Tel Aviv to be examined by a specialist. However, her experiences have left her so scared of Israelis that she doesn’t want to go.

Crouching over a colouring book, her curly brown hair held back with pretty hair bands, she explained: “I’m scared to go to Israel. From the Jews. I’m frightened they might kill me.”

Many of the children in Gaza’s Shefa hospital do not have the option of leaving the strip, and the prognosis for children in the oncology ward is bleak. Chemotherapy is not available in Gaza, and many of the children on the ward have not been granted the papers they need to seek the treatment readily available to Palestinians just across the Israeli and Egyptian borders. One of these children is 10-year-old Ribhye, crippled by advanced leukaemia and unable to leave Gaza. His distraught father, sitting in a hospital room devoid of the equipment and medicine his son so desperately needs, is devastated not to have been granted leave to take Ribhye out of Gaza. “How do I get out? This border is closed, that border is closed. What do I do?” he asked.

“The mortality rate for cancer in Gaza is much higher than elsewhere,” said Steve Sosebee, president of the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. “You have to get a permit if you want to cross into Gaza and most of them are not granted. A lot of kids are dying as a result of the decisions being made by the people in charge, whether Hamas, the Egyptian government, the Israeli government.”

Even the parents who have papers allowing their children to leave don’t fare much better. Eight-year-old leukaemia sufferer Wissam was granted permission to cross into Egypt for treatment, but has been waiting for weeks for the border crossing to be opened. After being told that he would finally be allowed through after sitting at the border for hours, the coach full of hospital patients was turned away, and had to make the long drive back to the Nasser hospital. Wissam’s father desperately tried to find out from hospital officials why the coach was turned back. “Every day the child stays here is a danger to his life,” he said, his words echoing the thoughts of so many Palestinian parents.

‘Dispatches: Children of Gaza’ airs tomorrow at 8pm on Channel 4; childrenofgazafund.org/

Source

Firas Mazloom was born desperately ill in Gaza just as Israel started its siege on the impoverished Palestinian territory two years ago.

May 14 2010

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Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 1:46 am  Comments Off on Children of Gaza are Suffering, Scarred, Trapped  
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Traumatic brain injuries the signature wound of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

Troops with brain injuries face other possible problems

December  5 2008

Traumatic brain injuries have become the signature wound of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and troops who sustain them face a daunting array of potential medical consequences later on, says a report on the issue commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The report from the Institute of Medicine – a body that advises the U.S. government on science, medicine and health – said military personnel who sustain severe or even moderate brain injuries may go on to develop Alzheimer’s-like dementia or symptoms similar to Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease.

They face a higher risk of developing seizure disorders and psychoses, problems with social interactions and difficulty holding down a job. Troops who sustain even mild brain injuries are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And all are at a higher risk of experiencing aggressive behaviour, depression and memory problems.

The report urged the U.S. government to ramp up research in the area, saying there isn’t enough evidence in the medical literature – especially as relates to mild brain injuries – to determine what today’s troops face and how best to help them recover from or cope with the health problems they may develop.

“The more severe the injury, the more likely there are to be bad long-term outcomes,” Dr. George Rutherford, chair of the panel that produced the report, acknowledged in an interview from Washington.

But Rutherford said that brain injuries don’t have to be severe or involve penetration of the skull to set up a soldier for significant health consequences.

“If you have a traumatic brain injury – especially if it’s moderate or severe – you have some chance of developing a disease down the line that you would not have developed otherwise,” said Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

“For mild brain injuries, which is a much bigger group of injuries and it has a much broader scope, what we can say is for those kinds of injuries that there’s a probable association between having one of those – especially with loss of consciousness – and having depression, having aggressive behaviour … or having persistent post-concussive symptoms.”

“Like memory loss, like headaches, like dizziness.”

The panel read 1,900 studies on brain injuries looking for evidence of what troops who suffer brain injuries might face. But most of the studies relate to injuries suffered in car crashes and sports. The report says the injury picture could look different for troops who may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder from experiences in combat and that more research is needed.

The report noted that as of January 2008, more than 5,500 U.S. military personnel had suffered traumatic brain injury in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of the widespread use against them of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

A similar Canadian figure for troops deployed to Afghanistan is not available, Maj. Andre Berdais, a senior public affairs officer with the Canadian Forces Health Services Group, said via email.

Berdais said that kind of data is not tracked by the Department of National Defence, as it isn’t “essential in supporting our primary responsibility of patient care.”

But New Democrat MP Dawn Black, who has pressed the issue as a member of the House of Commons’ defence committee, said these injuries are a growing problem among Canadian troops.

“The rates are going up,” Black said from Ottawa. “Intuitively we know. But we also know from anecdotal evidence from people in the field.”

Black said the problem was put on her radar by soldiers and their families. “I’ve met with some of them and seen it. I’ve met with some of the families and seen it.”

The force of an explosion can induce what is essentially a concussion in the brain, sending it ricocheting around within the confines of the skull.

The damage caused by even a mild brain injury can take six months to heal, said Dr. Donald Stuss, a brain expert and vice-president of research at the Rotman Research Institute of Toronto’s Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.

Injury can be done to different parts of the brain, triggering a variety of problems. But Stuss stressed that after-effects – or whether there are any long-term problems – will vary from person to person.

“So you may end up having somebody with a head injury who recovers perfectly and then afterwards has tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness from inner ear problems…. You may have some who end up with long-term memory problems,” he said.

Stuss said the key is to identify people with the problem and start treating them quickly.

The Forces’ Berdais said troops who have been exposed to explosions and may have suffered blast-induced injuries are screened for traumatic brain injury. Those found to be suffering from it are removed from active duty while they are symptomatic to prevent the risk of a repeat injury that could compound the insult on the brain.

And he said the Canadian Forces’ new physical rehabilitation program is in the process of developing policies and procedures for troops who continue to show symptoms of traumatic brain injury despite having received care.

Psychologist Gerrit Groeneweg, executive director of Calgary’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, said people suffering lingering problems from traumatic brain injuries can benefit from being taught coping techniques – strategies for improving memory and training to help overcome problems with attention.

But finding out how to best treat traumatic brain injuries among troops remains a challenge, said Dr. Greg Passey, a psychiatrist with Vancouver Coastal Health Services who spent 22 years in the Canadian Forces and who now specializes in treating PTSD.

“We don’t have a really clear understanding of what the potential long-term effects are,” Passey said.

“Because some of our soldiers have been exposed – they’re getting blown up more than one time. And although they don’t have significant outward physical injuries, you can certainly develop things like post-traumatic stress disorder or other types of psychological or psychiatric disorders.”

Source

Those who go to war can suffer so many different problems.

There is  Depleted Uranium, which caused many problems. Then  you have  LandminesCluster Bombs and other types of bombs and there are many. Many types of weapons could be deafening or deadly.

Troops can be exposed to so many things.  If or when they come home they need the best treatment and deserve it.

They should not be ignored as the ones from the First Gulf war. It took  17 years for the US to say well yes they are sick. There is such a thing as Gulf War Syndrome. Well 17 years is too long for any soldier to wait.

The US however will not stop using  Depleted UraniumLandminesCluster Bombs.   They say they have a purpose. The only purpose of these weapons are to kill and they kill long after the wars are over.

Other countries are in the process of eliminating these weapons however. Those who refuse to stop using them are the ones, who need to be pressured into stopping their use.

Of course troops  going to war in any country with the US will be exposed to these types of weapons. What a shame.

If I am not mistaken the first two British soldiers to die in Kosovo were killed by a cluster bomb. If they had not been used those two soldiers may still be alive today.

In the Old Days they had something called Shell Shock
“By 1914 British doctors working in military hospitals noticed patients suffering from “shell shock”. Early symptoms included tiredness, irritability, giddiness, lack of concentration and headaches. Eventually the men suffered mental breakdowns making it impossible for them to remain in the front-line. Some came to the conclusion that the soldiers condition was caused by the enemy’s heavy artillery. These doctors argued that a bursting shell creates a vacuum, and when the air rushes into this vacuum it disturbs the cerebro-spinal fluid and this can upset the working of the brain.

Some doctors argued that the only cure for shell-shock was a complete rest away from the fighting. If you were an officer you were likely to be sent back home to recuperate. However, the army was less sympathetic to ordinary soldiers with shell-shock. Some senior officers took the view that these men were cowards who were trying to get out of fighting.”

Well many today are still called Cowards because, they become mentally ill. When will that ever change?

Many are still being sent back to war, that should not be sent back.  War caused problems mental and physical. It always has and it always will. This problem is not new, but very old indeed.

They are still exposed to many dangers. They are not cowards they are sick. War makes people sick.

They need all the understanding and help they can possibly get.

They should never be ignored.  Their needs are very real.

Governments cannot hide the truth forever.  Someone is always watching.

Canadian Forces not tracking incidence of brain injuries, hearing loss

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan

Gov’t Study Concludes “Gulf War Syndrome” is Legitimate Condition, Affects 1 in 4 Vets

Abuse often begins when men batter their pregnant wives

Male batterers use physical violence to win in disagreements and to exercise power and control in their relationships, according to a violence prevention educator.

“They throw a line out and when he knows that she loves him, it’s about reeling her in,” said Stephen McArthur, also a hotline crisis worker with the Battered Women’s Services and Shelter in Washington County, Vt.

He addressed about 20 local professionals and law enforcement officials Friday at the Frederick County Public Safety Building during a domestic violence training program.

The program, hosted by the Council Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, addressed a variety of topics, including gender-based violence, cultural diversity, and the resources of the Winchester-Frederick County Child Advocacy Center.

McArthur, also a certified facilitator for the Intensive Domestic Abuse Program, a batterer intervention program, served as the keynote speaker.

Mark Haufrect, attorney for the Tahirih Justice Center, and Kelly Bober, executive director of the Winchester-Frederick County Child Advocacy Center, were also speaking to the group.

McArthur’s discussion focused on ways to engage men in ending violence against women, as well as the effects that domestic violence can have on children.

He said women often report that the abuse starts during pregnancy. “There are all kinds of reasons why abuse can begin when a woman gets pregnant.”

The feeling of jealousy a man experiences — knowing he is no longer the center of a woman’s attention — is a major factor in domestic violence, he said.

But McArthur stressed that not all batterers are men.

Although some studies show a 10-1 ratio in the severity of men’s physical violence compared to women’s, he said women can also exercise physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse over their partners.

Children exposed to a batterer, whether male or female, can be affected just as much by domestic violence.

“Kids who are under this kind of violence are under stress,” McArthur said.

Even when children are not the direct victims, they can be affected physically, emotionally, and socially, he added.

McArthur and the program participants discussed the numerous side effects domestic violence can have on children.

Potential consequences include depression, bed-wetting, lying, becoming withdrawn, and physical and intellectual developmental delays.

“We know that these kinds of behavior happen because of the stress they’re under,” McArthur said.

Providing a sense of safety can help in the healing process for children who have been exposed to domestic violence, he said.

Source

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 4:47 pm  Comments Off on Abuse often begins when men batter their pregnant wives  
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