Post Traumatic Stress Disorder knows no international boundaries

first_imgThe diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has comea long way since the 1970s, with research now showing it is both morecommon and more treatable than once thought.While early doubters dismissed the condition as a Western phenomenonthat arose because researchers pathologized a nonmedical condition,subsequent research identified physiological changes to the brainbecause of extreme trauma and led to the development of a consistentability to diagnose the condition, both in Western and other nations.In fact, while surveys show that 7.8 percent of Americans haveexperienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the numbers are farhigher in some other nations, particularly those that have experiencedintense violence. In Algeria and Cambodia, for example, which sufferedthrough long civil wars, 37 percent and 28 percent of their populations,respectively, have experienced PTSD, studies say.TerryKeane, a longtime PTSD researcher, Boston University psychiatry professor,and associate chief of staff for research and development at theVeterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, described progress in recentdecades in understanding PTSD during a talk at the HarvardSchool of Public Health (HSPH) Tuesday (March 23). Keane deliveredhis remarks as part of the BarryR. Bloom Public Health Practice Leadership Speaker Series,sponsored by the HSPH Divisionof Public Health Practice.Though rates of PTSD are not as high in the United States as in somewar-torn nations, Keane said surveys show that PTSD is nonetheless asignificant problem. Further, he said, studies show that the numbers andthe levels of disability of those suffering from PTSD are higher thanthose of conditions such as major depression and obsessive-compulsivedisorder.In the United States, women tend to develop PTSD at higher rates thanmen, something Keane said is not fully understood but that may berelated to the personal nature of violence against women. About 60.7percent of men experience trauma severe enough to potentially triggerPTSD during their lifetimes, with 8.1 percent of them developing PTSD.For women, 51.2 percent experience trauma, with 20.4 percent developingPTSD.PTSD is caused by an extreme trauma, which Keane described as a“massively disturbing event” that sparks intense alarm, anger, ordistress. The condition is marked by apprehension and avoidancebehaviors.PTSD also imposes an economic burden on society, Keane said, with itssufferers missing 3.6 days a month from work, costing an estimated $3billion in lost productivity annually.“Can you imagine trying to hold down a job when you miss one day aweek?” Keane asked.The biggest cause of PTSD is the sudden and unexpected death of aloved one, Keane said. In that case, PTSD is different from the normalgrieving that such a loss would cause and is triggered by particularlyhorrific or difficult conditions surrounding the death. Other majorcauses of the ailment are wartime combat, sexual violence, and communityviolence.Those suffering PTSD can feel its effects for decades, Keane said.Progress in treating the condition has resulted in several therapeuticapproaches and medicines that can help. Keane said he is very hopefulabout the prospects of identifying and treating patients. One of thebiggest challenges, though, is education to raise awareness.“I am so hopeful,” Keane said. “[We can] turn around a devastatingcondition, a costly condition … if we can just get this [information]out.”last_img read more

How liberal is Simon Bridges really?

first_imgNewsHub 19 November 2018Family First Comment: If being ‘conservative’ means being against drugs and for life, then be 100% ‘conservative’, www.RejectAssistedSuicide.nzOn Monday morning AM Show host Duncan Garner quizzed the 42-year-old on a few thorny topics currently before Parliament.When Simon Bridges took over the reins of the National Party, he promised generational change and an “evolved” National Party.While many read this as Mr Bridges taking the party in a more liberal direction than his predecessor Bill English, just how liberal is Mr Bridges really?On Monday morning AM Show host Duncan Garner quizzed the 42-year-old on a few thorny topics currently before Parliament, and found while he might be a generation younger than Mr English, he might also just be a chip off the old block.EuthanasiaThe End of Life Choice Bill from ACT leader David Seymour is currently in select committee after passing its first reading in November last year. Mr Seymour says it will allow eligible people to “end their lives in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones”.Mr Bridges voted against the Bill even being read, but didn’t vote on whether it should go to select committee. When it comes up for its second reading, Mr Bridges says he’s “likely to vote against it”.“It’s simply because I do believe life’s important,” he told Garner.“What’s also true is I’ve looked around and I’ve seen research on what’s happened in other parts of the world, and it is a bit of a thin edge of the wedge in my view. That is you start narrow, but you see people who perhaps aren’t at that very serious end of pain and suffering and illness receiving it, and I worry about that.”Different forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal in various European countries and US states, Canada, Japan and Colombia.CannabisThe Government is expected to hold a referendum on the recreational use of cannabis by, or at, the 2020 election. The exact question is yet to be decided, let alone what form a Bill would take.Mr Bridges says he’s unlikely to vote in favour of legalising recreational use of marijuana.“I’ve done the trials, I’ve seen the eastern Bay of Plenty, I’ve seen Northland, I do see the harm that is there. I do think also there is a very clear link to mental health issues, which we rightly worry so much about today.” He said it doesn’t matter if that puts him on the wrong side of public opinion.“What is important on these issues is you do what’s your conscience.” AbortionPerhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest wedge issues between liberals and conservatives is the one Mr Bridges seems most likely to back change.Justice Minister Andrew Little wants abortion taken out of the Crimes Act.“It attaches a pretty heavy stigma to a woman who is considering an abortion and taking advice about it, for her to think that she’s committing a crime, but she just has to go through these hoops and she’s okay,” he told Newshub Nation in October. “That’s not a good starting point.”The Law Commission has come up with three possible replacements for the current law, which dates back to 1961. Mr Bridges says he wants to see which the Government decides on before he makes up his mind which way to vote.“I think what we need to see is what Andrew Little is going to propose. He hasn’t put the legislation forward. I think he needs to do that. He’s said he’s going to take his time, and so I want to too. I do want to see what specific proposals he has are, treat them pretty seriously. So I don’t know.”Bridges stakes his claimMr Bridges said potentially voting against three moves to liberalise New Zealand law doesn’t mean he’s not a liberal. In his view, his party’s work “with the Government” on child poverty and climate change shows he’s taking the National Party in a new direction.“I think actually I’m showing the way to the future.” read more