Iraq War

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Photo: Tyler Hicks, via Scientific American What if you could predict which troops are most likely to get PTSD from combat exposure — and takes steps to either bolster them mentally or keep them out of combat situations? A new study suggests we could make a start on that right now — and cut combat…

POWs who weren’t, cont’d

A few weeks ago, when I posted that “Uh-oh: POW benefit claimants exceed recorded POWs, one reader wrote saying the post made her wonder whether I have “a problem with veterans.” As one reader noted, a concern with bogus POWs suggests I have a problem with — well, bogus POWs. Should it not bother us…

via Nicholson cartoons Veteran, author, and blogger Kelly Williams, who was there, ponders what torture does to the torturers: There have been lots of questions raised — about the history and effectiveness of these techniques, the impact on those tortured, the larger foreign policy implications — all of which are important considerations. There is, however,…

As the comments and correspondence about my PTSD story and posts accrue, I’ve been pondering ways to pull out some of the most interesting, powerful, and affecting. I finally decided to just start posting some, sometimes with commentary, sometimes without. This is a story of many different colors and textures.   I’ll start with this excerpt…

Who stands most at risk of PTSD? A new study of PTSD in US veterans of the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars suggests that you can identify the most vulnerable — soldiers who stand 2 to 3 times the risk of their peers — with fairly simple measures of mental and physical health.   The study,…

One hopes there’s a good explanation for this somewhere: According to this AP story, the number of people collecting VA benefits for being POWs exceeds — by hundreds — the number of actual POWs ever held (much less still alive). From the AP: Prisoners of war suffer in ways most veterans don’t, enduring humiliating forced…

A few weeks ago, Matt Stevens, the National Guard captain and medic who served in Iraq and whom I mentioned in my Scientific American article, “The Post-Traumatic Stress Trap, wrote me an email about the social unease he often encountered when he showed any behavior that might remind people he had served in Iraq —…

It didn’t take long for my Scientific American story on PTSD to draw the sort of fire I expected. A doctor blogging as “egalwan” at Follow Me Here writes [Dobbs] is critical of a culture which “seemed reflexively to view bad memories, nightmares and any other sign of distress as an indicator of PTSD.” To…

Below are materials supplementing my story “The Post-Traumatic Stress Trap,” Scientific American, April 2009. (You can find the story here and my blog post introducing it here.) I’m starting with annotated sources, source materials, and a bit of multimedia. I hope to add a couple sidebars that didn’t fit in the main piece — though…

My story in the April 2009 Scientific American story, “The Post-Traumatic Stress Trap“, just went online. Here’s the opening: In 2006, soon after returning from military service in Ramadi, Iraq, during the bloodiest period of the war, Captain Matt Stevens of the Vermont National Guard began to have a problem with PTSD, or post-traumatic stress…