Do you believe in PTSD?
I remember one of my juniors asking me if I believed PTSD existed.
What could I have said? It was new at the time and we just had a few major disasters and the Gulf War. O.K. We did not have
and The First and Second World Wars seemed a long, long time ago. Vietnam
I always show my juniors the photo of Kim Phuc:
“By rights possibly one of the most damaged psychologically and physically. She underwent no fewer than seventeen operations. The photo of her running down the street of Saigon naked probably changed the course of the Vietnam War and the world’s perception of good and bad. Then came her dramatic escape in 1992 to Newfoundland and her eventual settling down in Canada. Human resilience is not to be underestimated and the imposition of psychological intervention could represent a great under-estimation of our genetical endowment. At one of her public lectures, one of the war veterans who was a helicopter gunner broke down.”
It so happened that a lawyer who was acting on behalf of one of my patients specifically asked about PTSD, and for good measure, she sent me all the available literature. All I knew then was psychiatric diagnosis and compensation often created a division, especially in the courts of law, and it all depended on whose side you took.
And why should psychiatry depend on belief?I was drawn to a book review in the Wall Street Journal : Five Best - Paul McHugh on books about the factions and follies of psychiatry.
To me, that the WSJ should review five psychiatric books together is most unusual. One of the books reviewed was: Stolen Valor by B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley.
Stolen Valor looks into the diagnoses of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Vietnam Veterans, the real heroes and the faked victims. I was rather stunned.
The WSJ book review said:
“Psychiatrists who tend to work on social agendas that are remote from patient care constitute the discipline's ‘political faction.’ Almost unfailingly, its politics support left-leaning government policy and can have a pernicious, blame-America-first effect at times of international crisis. In ‘Stolen Valor,’ B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley produced a classic indictment of this faction's overreaching.”
“The authors describe how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) emerged as a new diagnosis from the Vietnam War, the result of an alliance of antiwar psychiatrists, VA hospital administrators, and patients who never saw combat or even Vietnam service but found that reciting the PTSD symptoms would result in the awarding of disability payments.”
No mincing of words here.
“These allies combined to cultivate the idea that hundreds of thousands of
An incurable wound? There are numerous examples of those who have "overcome"! What about the likes of Charlize Theron, whose alcoholic father was shot by her mother in front of her eyes at the tender age of 15? She rose to become an extremely successful actress and was awarded an Oscar for Best Actress in 2004.
Over a period of ten years, Mr. Burkett, using the Freedom of Information Act, found that some 1,700 individuals, including some of the most prominent examples of the
In my years of practice, I have seen many parents who want a diagnosis for their children that allows them to claim compensation. ADHD is one of the most notable one. The problem is that if we are not careful, children may be put on medication just so that their parents can claim Disability Benefit.
We psychiatrists have to be able to tell the fakes in our work so that the real patients get the care they deserve.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,”
John Adams, second President of the
. He died on July 4, 1826, aged 90 on the 50th
anniversary of independence. He outlived Thomas Jefferson, the third President,
who also died on Independence Day, by just a few hours. United States of
President John Adams
The White House Website