The Ghost of PTSD
'This could be a physical brain degeneration, not psychological'
A recent Op-ED article in the NY Times describes a new finding in the brains of combat veteran suicide victims. In doing an autopsy, he explains researchers are finding chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition. Physical, permanent brain damage. Gone untreated as such, and similar to what is found in athletes in high contact sports, could be why suicides are up so high and rising. Not only that, families like ours may be only dealing with a small portion of what is yet to come....
"The discovery of C.T.E. in veterans could be stunningly important. Sadly, it could also suggest that the worst is yet to come, for C.T.E. typically develops in midlife, decades after exposure. If we are seeing C.T.E. now in war veterans, we may see much more in the coming years.
In people with C.T.E., an abnormal form of a protein accumulates and eventually destroys cells throughout the brain, including the frontal and temporal lobes. Those are areas that regulate impulse control, judgment, multitasking, memory and emotions.
Frankly, I was hesitant to write this column. Some veterans and their families are at wit’s end. If the problem in some cases is a degenerative physical ailment, currently incurable and fated to get worse, do they want to know?" - NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, NY TIMES OP-ED. photo credit Matt Howard, PTSD Shadow