Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Depression - as linked to Post Combat or PTSD

Many combat veterans have to deal with various forms of depression, when they return from a combat zone, especially those that get medevac'd out earlier from being wounded or injured, and leaving their comrades behind. Again I will start by using the Wikipedia definitions for various depression states, I did not find any relating to Post-Combat or PTSD, maybe in the future their will be when the Military Psychiatric Doctors & Medical Evaluation Boards start doing the right thing by our Combat Veterans. Also this Post-Combat or PTSD Depression is one of the major causes of so many suicides in our return War Veterans.

These are the various types of psychological depression, as defined in Wikipedia:

Major Depressive Disorder: (also known as clinical depression or major depression), a specific diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association.

1) Major Depressive Episode

2) Atypical Depression, a cyclical sub-type of major depression where sleep, feeding and perception of pleasure are normal but there is a feeling of lethargy.

3) Melancholic Depression, a sub-type of major depression characterized by an inability to feel pleasure combined with physical agitation, insomnia, or decreased appetite.

4) Psychotic Depression, a sub-type of major depression combined with psychotic or delusional perceptions.

Depression (mood).

Postpartum depression, a depressive episode occurring within a year of childbirth.

Dysthymia, a long-term low-grade depressive condition.

Adjustment disorder with depressed mood, previously known as "reactive depression"

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depressed mood related to the seasons.

Depression is the fourth stage of the Kubler-Ross Model (commonly known as the "stages of grief").

That was the Wikipedia definition & breakdown of varios forms of depression, like I said above, I believe eventually there will be another diagnosis, dealing with Post-Combat or PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/TBI Traumatic Brain Injury. I myself have dealt with and still is fighting depression, and it has been over 4 years since I have been back from Iraq. When I was first medevac'd out of Iraq to Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany, I fought and argued with the doctors to go back to rejoin my unit, I had a deep feeling of guilt and felt ashamed because I was safe in Germany and they were still in harms way. I have talked to many other wounded and injured veterans at Landstuhl and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where I was sent after Germany, they all had felt the same way guilty and ashamed to leave their comrades behind. It is some that the Army Medical Centers do not deal with properly, which is why their are so many suicides in wounded and injured soldiers. When I first got to Walter Reed, there were two to three suicides a week, we kept hearing the ambulance in middle of night pulling up to the Molonge House where many of the outpatients were housed. It got better, but there are still a lot of suicides nationwide at Army hospitals. A member of my unit that got medevac'd out of Afghanistan, gunshot wounded to arm, was recovering well, committed suicide at Fort Bragg, while recovering. The Army needs to take a serious look at the Psychiatric Doctors & Practices, many of Army Psychiatrists are fresh out of school and inexperienced. Coupled with the Army thinking that most returning Veterans, are "faking it" especially National Guard and Reservists.

The Army Medical Evaluation Board(MEB)/Physical Examination Board(PEB), does everything possible to avoid documenting & compensation soldiers suffering from depression, PTSD & TBI, the evaluating psychiatrists will blame it on pre-existing conditions, like pi-polar disorder, anxiety & mood disorders, or just claim the soldier is just faking it or exagerating his or her condition. It is really a humiliating process for a combat veteran to go through. It is hard enough in the first place(with all the stigmatism attach to these conditions), to come forward and admit you have a problem, but to then go through this process and be treated like a dirtbag or someone who is faking it, is too hard for some soldiers to bear. This is part of the reason for so many suicides in returning combat veterans.

I feel that the entire Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)/ Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) system must be revamped, get rid of all the people currently on there, and get qualified, caring and profeessional people on the boards. The Army has to stop trying to save money by the blood of it's combat veterans, and take responsibility for doing the right thing. Fairly compensate these soldiers for there wounds, injuries and mental problems. Get them the proffessional help they need. And follow up on these soldiers, even when they are out of the system and make sure the Veterans Administration is taking proper care of them.


  1. Great blog and good stuff you have posted. Looking forward to future posts.


  2. I liked this. I have Bi-polar [manic depression] I really liked this, so many different types. wow.

  3. I take to heart what you have shared about the care we give our Vets.
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  4. Good post. I am a British combat veteran with PTSD. Over 300 of my brothers have committed suicide since the War in 1982 and yet I still receive some hate mail from so called soldiers, which is very sad as PTSD is very misunderstood in the UK. In 2007 I went back to the Islands to face my demons and pay my respects to my Brother Mickey Quinn who took his own life due to his PTSD http://rogue-gunner.blogspot.com/2007/11/pilgrimage-2007fitzroy.html I left a cross for him and a letter explaining why he died there. Keep up the good work


  5. Good post, I'm a serving British Soldier currently being treated for PTSD and Depression. It seems our Armed Forces have a few things in common. Keep up the good work mate

  6. This breaks my heart.
    Military veterans should
    not have to endure disgraceful

    I hope you email this article
    to news papers all over. This
    matter should not be overlooked,
    and needs to be dealt with
    immediately. Our veterans should
    be getting the best possible

    Thank you for posting this.
    My prayers are with you.

  7. What a really great post here. Your experience is so valuable, and the fact that you took the time to write it all down so comprehensively ... to me this post should be included in the revamp process, if they ever get around to doing that. We all have to stay strong for each other - soldiers, veterans, and civilians alike, because it's YOU guys making it possible for me to live my cushy, warzone-free life! I have the honor of working with an Iraq veteran from the Army, and every time I see him I'm reminded of the tremendous sacrifice ya'll are making for little ol' me.

    And judging from what you've written in your blog, your sacrifice hasn't really stopped.

    I'm really honored to have met you. If there's anything I can do to help, no matter how big or small, let me know. My biggest strength is the power of my 'pen' - the keyboard nowadays, lol. Sometimes I take awhile to respond but I DO respond!

    You're doing great things here with your blog - keep it up!

    Meet my co-worker: http://www.whoistroythomas.com/home.asp

    Maybe his artwork will bring some calming peace to your life, he is tremendously talented. :)

  8. Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won't go away, it may be depression mood. More than just the temporary "blues," the lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Hobbies and friends don’t interest you like they used to; you’re exhausted all the time; and just getting through the day can be overwhelming. When you’re depressed, things may feel hopeless, but with help and support you can get better. But first, you need to understand depression. Learning about depression—including its signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment—is the first step to overcoming the problem.

  9. This is a fact because I have a cousin who was soldier and when he came back to his home he got a difficult depression and he was medicated with generic viagra it was perfect for him because not only he overcome the depression but also he got great vitality.