Especially now that Lifering has gone public with its “dual diagnosis” email support list, this story from Scientific American is apropos to read. It’s primarily about PTSD in US military veterans, but due to PTSD occurrence being fairly high among alcoholics and addicts, it’s quite relevant to Lifering. It’s a good read for anybody who knows someone with PTSD, or someone suffering with its effects themselves.
It has a fair dose of “realism,” which I’ll note below the fold.
Here’s a key point:
Those of us who want to treat PTSD in the U.S. need to ask ourselves how best to treat PTSD in community under siege, where we’re attempting to help patients who were probably traumatized before, and are quite likely to be traumatized again.
The answer is that we may not be able to do so effectively. For many patients, we may only be able practice a form of battlefield medicine as we advocate for structural change and funding for preventive measures. Most short-term therapies require patients to be in a safe environment, as a prerequisite to effective treatment. The safety requirement immediately excludes a large segment of the population with PTSD. …
Even if a patient gains access to short-term treatment, only a minority will find significant, long-term relief. For the majority, short-term treatment should be considered a bridge into long-term care for a chronic disorder. Claims to treatment effectiveness should not depend primarily on abating clinical symptoms, but on reintegrating the patient, and on improving and maintaining the patient’s ability to function in daily life. The clinical symptoms of survivors may fluctuate, but function is a life-long problem for the majority of them, even when their PTSD symptoms may be subclinical.
Whatever the cause of your PTSD, or that of a friend or loved one, and whatever symptoms you or they suffer, and to what degree, these are good points.