Saturday, July 13, 2013

Military Suicide and PTSD

From BBC News: UK soldier and veteran suicides 'outstrip Afghan deaths':

Clinical psychologist Dr Claudia Herbert said PTSD is the body's "natural response" to distressing events. 
It can take years to emerge but is treatable if caught early. Symptoms include flashbacks, severe anxiety and depression. 
The number of soldiers with PTSD has more than doubled in the past three years among those who served in Afghanistan, according to MoD figures obtained via Panorama's FOI request.The MoD said 2.9% of serving soldiers develop PTSD, which is lower than the general population. 
But Dr Herbert said: "Post-traumatic stress disorder in itself should not lead to suicide." 
"PTSD is a condition that indicates something has deeply disturbed the system and is a warning that the system needs help and needs to regulate again." 
Nobody can be sure how many of the 21 soldiers and 29 veterans who took their own lives in 2012 were suffering from PTSD as the reasons for suicide are complex.
This is a rather indicative account of how PTSD is discussed in terms of military suicide in particular and the suffering of combatants in general.  As is clear, in terms of PTSD the combatant has been reduced to a "body," a "body" which is further reduced to something that operates not unlike a machine.  When the machine-body has its "system" "disturbed" then, like a factory wheel that has ceased to spin, the proper grease (PTSD medication) is applied.  When this doesn't work—and as the article's statistics make clear, this isn't working well—the onus of blame is put on the combatant's "system" rather than on this paradigmatic reductive approach to understanding suffering.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the suffering of combatants might best be understood instead through an approach that went beyond what happens on the battlefront to include what happens on the homefront as well.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment