Veteran Writes About PTSD, Kills Himself

This straight from Mindhacks, word for word:

An US Iraq veteran who wrote about his PTSD, sadly, kills himself.

This is a story that’s not going to go away any time soon. Here’s a link to a Washington Post article about a shift within the VA to diagnose adjustment disorder (no benefits) over PTSD ($2700 monthly benefits). Here are some of the veteran’s conclusions about his own experience:

• Medicine alone will not calm PTSD symptoms. Therapy is a must, and it has to be done with others who have experienced the same war or conflict. In other words, veterans of
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM should not be undergoing therapy with Vietnam or Operation DESERT STORM veterans. The symptoms are the same, but the time periods are different.
• Alcohol and pills don’t mix. The Marine/sailor should never be told that moderate alcohol consumption is acceptable.
• It is okay to mourn those you’ve lost, but remember, they don’t want you to be sad. They want you to celebrate their lives.
• PTSD is not a weakness. It is a normal reaction to a very violent situation.
I firmly believe that a lot of my problems were caused by overmedication. The medication affected my judgment and my ability to cope with the true issues that haunted me. I also have since suffered from a seizure, which is believed to have occurred from the same cause. So, ensure that the Marines/sailors know that it is okay to question the amount of medications they are taking and why.
• Place more emphasis on the post-deployment health questionnaire all Marines/sailors have to fill out before leaving theater. I remember Marines being told that if they marked “yes” to anything, it would cause problems with their taking leave. They don’t know that PTSD is not even noticeable until they come home. Marines/ sailors should fill out these questionnaires honestly when they get back in garrison, and they need to know that it is okay if they are experiencing difficulties readjusting.
• Leaders should sit down with their Marines/sailors prior to releasing them for leave and cite different examples of PTSD so that they know what to expect and how to recognize
the symptoms.

And from a story on his suicide:

In his Marine Corps Gazette article, written after his fourth tour, he wrote: “All of my symptoms were back, and now I was in the process of destroying my family,” he wrote. “My only regrets are how I let my command down after they had put so much trust in me and how I let my family down by pushing them away.”

Tom Ricks at The Washington Post writes online today that in January he had “carried an excerpt from an article in the Marine Corps Gazette by Marine Staff Sgt. Travis N. Twiggs, detailing his struggle with the post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from one tour of duty in Afghanistan and three in Iraq. Twiggs pulled no punches about his ‘psychosis,’ writing that he acted out combat episodes in the halls of the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

2 thoughts on “Veteran Writes About PTSD, Kills Himself”

  1. How very tragic. We’ve had WW2, Vietnam, and Korea to teach us about the severity of PTSD due to combat. It’s not like this is a new phenomena.

    I sure do hope the military in both Canada and the US begin to do better by their returning soldiers. It’s just so terrible that this man didn’t get the help he needed and deserved. His poor family.


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