The Terror Within Their Heads – Mental Health Policies
Posted by bosskitty on May 13, 2007
The NY Times article, Fighting the Terror of Battles That Rage in Soldiers’ Heads by By DAN FROSCH
The nightmares that tormented Sgt. Walter Padilla after returning home from Iraq in 2004 prompted extensive treatment by Army doctors, an honorable discharge from the military and a cocktail of medication to dull his suffering.
So, because 28 Year Old Sgt. Padilla could not ward off memories of the people he had killed with a machine gun perched on his Bradley fighting vehicle … he pressed the muzzle of his Glock pistol to his temple and squeezed the trigger.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is not a predictable condition, we all have degrees of this condition and most learn to compartmentalize the trauma. But, the returning soldiers have a high pitched emotional reaction to death, destruction and activities that contradict the moral foundation they rely on. They see the contradiction between words and action mixed with their gory experiences. Their minds are rent, they are compelled to deny their inner conflict to satisfy their social standing within their family and fighting comrades. The results of this head in the sand approach is, that the problem is not buried far enough below the surface of behavior and insignificant events can resurrect the trauma. Our most sensitive warriors cannot live with the contradiction. They learn to put on a normal face for a while, but the terror will take over causing more pain than they can bear. Suicide becomes their only option because the help they receive is too superficial.
America’s warriors are among the collateral damage and this grows exponentially when they return home. The damaging impact on their family and communities becomes viral.