Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:33 AM
marmar (67,261 posts)
Is PTSD Contagious?
from Mother Jones:
Brannan Vines has never been to war. But she's got a warrior's skills: hyperawareness, hypervigilance, adrenaline-sharp quick-scanning for danger, for triggers. Super stimuli-sensitive. Skills on the battlefield, crazy-person behavior in a drug store, where she was recently standing behind a sweet old lady counting out change when she suddenly became so furious her ears literally started ringing. Being too cognizant of every sound—every coin dropping an echo—she explodes inwardly, fury flash-incinerating any normal tolerance for a fellow patron with a couple of dollars in quarters and dimes. Her nose starts running she's so pissed, and there she is standing in a CVS, snotty and deaf with rage, like some kind of maniac, because a tiny elderly woman needs an extra minute to pay for her dish soap or whatever.
Brannan Vines has never been to war, but her husband, Caleb, was sent to Iraq twice, where he served in the infantry as a designated marksman. He's one of 103,200, or 228,875, or 336,000 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and came back with PTSD, depending on whom you ask, and one of 115,000 to 456,000 with traumatic brain injury. It's hard to say, with the lack of definitive tests for the former, undertesting for the latter, underreporting, under or over-misdiagnosing of both. And as slippery as all that is, even less understood is the collateral damage, to families, to schools, to society—emotional and fiscal costs borne long after the war is over.
Like Brannan's symptoms. Hypervigilance sounds innocuous, but it is in fact exhaustingly distressing, a conditioned response to life-threatening situations. Imagine there's a murderer in your house. And it is dark outside, and the electricity is out. Imagine your nervous system spiking, readying you as you feel your way along the walls, the sensitivity of your hearing, the tautness in your muscles, the alertness shooting around inside your skull. And then imagine feeling like that all the time. .............(more)
The complete piece is at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/ptsd-epidemic-military-vets-families
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Replies to this discussion thread
Is PTSD Contagious? (Original post)
Response to marmar (Original post)
Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:40 PM
Hatchling (2,118 posts)
Someone who has extreme symptoms of PTSD such as this veteran can casue trauma to the people he is living with. Fear stress, possibly physical abuse by the veteran can cause his housemates to develop PTSD.
Not contagious, but as in Child Abuse, PTSD can be the gift that keeps on giving. Untreated victims can sometimes go on to become abusers through no fault of their own. They just don't know how else to deal with their problems.
Response to Hatchling (Reply #2)
Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:51 PM
tama (9,137 posts)
if you don't define it just individually but allow also collective sociopsychological level - as you do.
We've had lot of discussion about the wounds of WWII and how they still affect us, as men come home broken by the war and pass their pain to those close to them, which continues from generation to generation.