Monday, March 12, 2007

Does Iraq make you crazy?

NBC News--"A study out Monday shows of vets who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeking treatment at VA facilities between September 2001 and September 2005, 31 percent were diagnosed with at least one mental or psycho-social disorder."

Did we not suspect this was happening? Or, like everything else involving Iraq, have we just turned our heads and refused to admit the problem because WE couldn't handle it? Who wouldn't be traumatised living in an environment in which each waking moment involves thoughts of whether you will live or die? Or worse, to some, you will lose your limbs.

One soldier told me recently in Diyala province that because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he planned to write his memoirs using Crayolas. Still, having served FOUR tours, he was sure it would be a best seller and he would retire from the military forever, surviving on royalty checks.

Another soldier, injured in a roadside bombing, trapped me on a Baghdad balcony one day (away from his carry-the-torch superiors) to complain he was going insane but thankfully had support from his mother. But she also wants to beat up George Bush. So that was a little stressful for him.

Top tips from a top New York analyst:
Sleeping all of the time (upon your return) is normal
Beating yourself up is normal
Not being able to communicate with people back in the U.S. is normal
Exercising to extreme is normal (Soldier says it's a sort of exorcism, he would be right. Dr. Analyst says the body is coping with a loss of such extreme pressure and feels the need for pain)
Eating too much...normal
Drinking too much...normal
In fact, according to this doc, post traumatic stress is "normal".
It's the rest of America that has gone nuts.

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