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Post-Traumatic Stress in the Armed Forces — A Call to Help Our Troops

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According to the October 27 edition of USA Today, increasing numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the chief of the traumatic stress program at the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s a biologically based condition where the body’s stress-response system goes into overdrive.

The Pentagon has funneled an unprecedented $300 million this year into research on PTSD and brain injury. They say this investment is expected to benefit civilians as well as troops.
According to articles in Time magazine and USA Today, 12% of Iraq-based combat troops and 17% of Afghanistan-based combat troops take authorized psychiatric prescription drugs. The Pentagon’s figures indicate that 20% of combat soldiers suffer from “‘temporary stress injuries.” As of November 2006 the Pentagon has allowed the use of SSRI medications in combat troops. Theoretically, the use of these drugs allows soldiers to cope better with longer and more frequent deployments, saving the military from training and paying a larger fighting force. The use of these medications has caused some health professionals to question whether the increased use of SSRIs has contributed to rising suicide rates among our combat soldiers.
Both articles demonstrate a lack of recognition for the science behind the use of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Through pioneers like Paul Harch, M.D., and others, AAHF has furthered the science and treatment of PTSD and traumatic brain injury. AAHF and other groups are working to make hyperbaric oxygen therapy available to every member of our armed services.
Let’s help our troops, further the science, and support AAHF in its efforts to get our troops the care they need and deserve.

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