injustice

I am a Man Veteran who know this O’ to Well!!!

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The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Confucius

I am going to let this video speak for me. I came home in this condition and “But God” I don’t know where I would be. We as Americans take the sacrifice that soldiers make.

Decorated, educated and experienced in warfare and life, but convicted as a felon and once addicted to cocaine and fabulous living I came home from nine campaigns with an expectation of entitlements because I served under adverse and stressful conditions. Faced with the reality that no one owed me nothing I tried to self diagnose and went self will run riot. I never taped a flag to a shopping cart and got a trusted dog for my companion, but I was sick and the VA said we can not help you. If It were not for praying people and a will to win and be something in life there go I.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50133122n

As the media pays more attention to the invisible scars soldiers can bring home from service, a common picture has emerged: that of the strong, battle-hardened young man who is susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

But there is another face of mental illness in the U.S. Armed Forces, and it’s a female one.

Certainly, far fewer women than men join the armed forces. And until very recently, women were formally banned from combat. But plenty of women veterans are dealing with the unexpected aftereffects of military service.

Here are two women veterans’ stories. Each is coping with a different (but related) mental disorder while serving in the military.

After Mary, 40, was sexually assaulted by a fellow service member, the resultant post-traumatic stress symptoms combined to make her life hellish. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the trauma resulted in a psychiatric diagnosis—in her case, post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the National Center for PTSD at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or disaster. Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma. If the reactions don’t go away over time or disrupt your life, you may have PTSD.

A person with PTSD may go into a fight-or-flight reaction in response to seemingly harmless stimuli like the sound of a car starting or the sight of a door opening. Mary is still in the military. She is stationed CONUS (within the continental United States), and she works in the field of health. She’s reticent about details: “I haven’t been terribly quiet about what happened to me, but I do not disclose that I have PTSD. If I did, I fear I would lose my current position within the service and ultimately, be removed from the service.”

She says, “PTSD is insidious; it creeps up on you. First, you may experience a moment of panic when you are in a crowded area. For most of ‘us,’ Wal-Mart is a PTSD nightmare. You may startle easy, way too easily. You’ll never be able to sit with your back to a door or respond in a ‘normal’ manner to someone who catches you off guard. If you don’t relive the experience during the day, your psyche ensures that you work through your issue at night in the form of sheet-tangling, sweat-soaked nightmares that no one should have to endure. These are the nightmares that wake you from the deepest sleep and cast a dark gloom over the whole of the next day.”

She says that for military service members like her (as well as for veterans), the best PTSD support groups are the ones that are closed to civilians. She adds, “Sometimes, there’s things only another service member can understand.”

When asked if she’d still join the military if she had the opportunity to do it all over again, Mary says, “Yes. I’m willing to bet the majority of us would all answer yes.”

What Trina remembers the most about her bout with severe depression was that nobody else in the Navy seemed to notice.

Trina joined up when she was 20 and spent nine years in the Navy. Among other things, she worked on diesel engines as part of her long-term goal to become a professional mechanic. But she tells Take Part that by the end of her service she was “sick of all the ruthless competition just to get promoted. You couldn’t trust anyone.”

She adds, “Also, it was destroying what little mental health I had left.”

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According to the Veterans Administration:

Many symptoms of depression overlap with the symptoms of PTSD. For example, with both depression and PTSD, you may have trouble sleeping or keeping your mind focused. You may not feel pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy. You may not want to be with other people as much. Both PTSD and depression may involve greater irritability. It is quite possible to have both depression and PTSD at the same time.

As Trina tells it, the darkness crept up gradually, eventually affecting her military service. She says, “I went from doing my work, and always looking for more, to doing absolutely nothing and finding ways to not be around, including being gone for two afternoons because I couldn’t face anyone. I was a teacher at our tech school at the time and was known for always being there for the students and helping them out. Suddenly, I avoided all of them. When I did end up in the hospital, everyone was shocked. My Chief even told my parents that he had no idea.”

After a hospital stay to treat severe depression, Trina returned to work. She says she tried to educate her fellow troops about the reality of mental illness, but felt they didn’t listen. And at least one higher-up was particularly insensitive.

Trina tells Take Part, “About six months later, I heard someone very high in our chain of command talking loudly about how a student was faking wanting to kill himself so he could get out of the school.”

Christlikeness is not weakness

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The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

Ernest Hemingway

Jesus…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. Hebrews 12:2

Christ’s devotion to His Father and to God’s love for me kept Him on the cross. It was His unwavering commitment to His heavenly Father that prompted Him to begin ministry by submitting Himself to baptism by John. It was Christ’s devotion to His Father that motivated Him to spend forty days in the desert, alone and needy, so that He could be tempted with everything I might face–and yet remain victorious. It was because of His dedication to His Father that Christ enduerd the rejection, hatred, and betrayal of the very people He would die for. Christ’s devoted commitment was ultimately displayed in the turning point of human history–His death on the cross.

Hebrews tells us that Christ endured the cross because He looked forward to the joy of the days before Him. That means He so looked forward to a relationship with me that He was willing to die. The joy of the relationship with me is a part of what motivated Christ to put up with all the ridicule and disappointment.

We need a taste of that devotion if our marriages, friendships, relationships are to survive the tests life is sure to bring. Couples often ask for maritial help after one of life’s tragedies, such as a baby lost in labor, a bankruptcy, or a rebellious teenager. None of us is exempt from life’s pain, but couples seem to take two distinct paths as they recover from life’s hurts. For some couples, tragedy draws them closer together. For others, tragedy seems to break the already fragile relationship. My wife and I have suffered several tragedies in the past year, homelessness, joblessness, loneliness, financial bankrupcy,hope depleted due to the strain of what others were thinking of our all of a sudden sufferings to destitution, but we stayed devoted to the number one strand that holds our life together and that is Jesus. We went to jail for working a job that we found on Career Builders. We found out it was a scam 4 weeks into trying to save our home and comfortable exsistance. Faced with new felonies and no one wanting to trust us as being valid individuals, we were perplexed at first about what to do. We began to stand and pray staying in a position of humility. God gave temporary housing and revelation knowledge about why people react and work and live as They do. We moved on with trust in God’s provisions and found a family that was willing to endure with us what it took to get us on our feet again. devotion is the key that starts the hand of God to make all things work together for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I found out after watching so many of my cohorts suffer devorce due to the same trials I was facing, maybe not jail and the felon who is not able to get work due to the injustice associated with being apart of an un forgiven society, but finances didn’t allow their spouses to stand nor did the men stand for Christ. The couples who survive life’s tragedies are the ones who show devotion in the everyday things. They express commitment and devotion to one another regularly through acts of devotion, big and small. They love Jesus and listen to Him on the day of corporate worship, they hear Him when they have times of devotion with them closed in with the holy spirit and The word of God, they pray together about what is troubling them. They pray for the world and those who mistreat them. The put their enemies before God, they put their neighbors on the alter, they speak life about the promises they remind God that He said in His word. Lord do as you have said for your servant is the cry of them doing times of prayer.

We are not where we want to be, but we are where God dwells. We will get to be stewards again of our own. We beleive God is doing things that only He knows about. Lord, help us to remember to perform acts of devotion for each other in marriage and mankind. If you are upon a time in your life that requires devotion to God and the one you are with, stay connected to the hand that is scared for you.

America the addicted society

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I’ve seen firsthand the terrible consequences of drug abuse. My heart is with all who suffer from addiction and the terrible consequences for their families.

Columba Bush

I realize this subject may not mean anything to some because just like death until it hits home we minimize its reality. I was once apart of this mess. I went so far as to allow myself to have a radiometric-addiction to women, blink and money. I used all of them for selfish gain. I see now the destructive nature of all of them without having been educated I was doom to continue in my downward spiral.

When God delivered me from myself I pledged to be an instrument of good and not evil. I want to educate all on these toxic cultures that plague our communities and homes. The silent killer today that leads to all this dysfunction is deception and delusion of ones self.

I hope this article help’s someone or someone’s family member. I hope this visual aid by NAS is not offensive, but educational about all the forms of addictions, foods, medical prescription, out of touch realities such as religions and toxic programming.

English: Source: The National Institute on Dru...
English: Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Image taken from http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/Teaching4.html http://www.drugabuse.gov/pubs/teaching/Teaching2/largegifs/slide18.gif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) released a report on addictions today that is remarkably comprehensive and even more remarkably honest in portraying the virtually utter failure to identify and effectively treat addiction in the U.S.

The report, titled “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice,” starts with the premise that addiction is a disease. Addiction is not recreational drug use or risky behaviors (like adolescent binge drinking or buying drugs on the street). They focus on abuse and dependence on alcohol, legal and illicit drugs, and tobacco. While the authors recognize a group of addictive/compulsive behaviors, they are not covered in this report.

CASA Columbia is a renowned research center on addiction. For the past five years it brought together a team of addiction, public health and judicial experts, universities, medical centers, and other mainstream officials under the direction of Drew E. Altman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, to study and survey the field of addiction in order to give us a landscape report of such precision and breadth. Scientific literature was reviewed, extensive surveys were conducted (throughout the U.S. and an in-depth survey in New York State), leading researchers and experts were interviewed, focus groups were held, and state and federal licensing, certification and accreditation rules and regulations were examined. Care was taken to hold to high standards of analysis and evidence. In short, this is one tome we ignore at our own peril.

Their definition of addiction is alcohol and drug (including tobacco) abuse (compulsive use despite clear harm to relationships, work and physical health) and dependence (where the body experiences withdrawal when blood levels of a substance drop).

Their definition of treatment is that of psychological and social therapies (like motivational interviewing/motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy — CBT — provided individually and in groups, the often highly-effective but controversial contingency management approaches that reward abstinence, and family therapies) and medications used to treat additions (like naltrexone, nicotine replacement and buprenorphine — see here and here). They do not include detoxification (typically repetitive, expensive, and often medically-unnecessary interventions that are generally ineffective in promoting recovery), peer- and religious-based counseling, emergency room and prison/jail services. Don’t bother to pick up this 573-page report (more than half of which is appendices and references) if you believe addiction is a failure of will, a form of moral turpitude, or habits where people should “just get over it” (though some future campaign should try to change your mind).

The consequences of untreated addiction, and its predecessor risky alcohol and drug use, are chilling. The report concludes that:

“Risky substance use and addiction constitute the largest preventable public health problems and the leading causes of preventable death (emphasis mine) in the U.S. Of the nearly 2.5 million deaths in 2009, an estimated minimum of 578,819 were attributable to tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.”

The report also estimates the costs of addiction and risky substance use behaviors to government coffers alone to exceed $468 billion annually. Yet, and here is the most important finding of all, only one in 10 people with addiction to alcohol and/or drugs report receiving any treatment — at all. Can you imagine that measure of neglect were the conditions heart or lung disease, cancer(s), asthma, diabetes, tuberculosis, or stroke and other diseases of the brain?

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disability in this country. But the catastrophic effects of addiction do not stop there: The report considers car crashes, where 40 percent of fatalities involve someone under the influence; the five-fold increase in prescriptiondrug overdose deaths since 1990, where OD fatalities exceed traffic accidents; increased risk of heart and lung diseases, cancer and sexually-transmitted diseases; and parental substance abuse, which increases the risk of their children performing poorly in school and developing conduct and trauma disorders, asthma, ADHD, depression and, of course, addiction itself. Family dysfunction warrants particular notation, since addiction produces financial and legal problems (property and violent crimes) and increases domestic violence, child abuse, unplanned pregnancies, and motor vehicle accidents.

The report is exhaustive in the ways it considers legal and illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Each section is clear, compelling and exceptionally well-supported with tables and references. A thorough analysis of why we are at this deeply troubling state of neglect examines how addiction has been systematically omitted from medical care, how treatment providers are terribly undertrained to deliver a range of proven treatments, how treatment programs are not sufficiently held accountable for delivering evidence-based practices, and how private insurance payers have eluded the provision of adequate benefits and defaulted payment to the public sector. But what we need to know far beyond the inescapable evidence of how big and bad the problems are is what can be done?

The opening recommendation is a page out of every good textbook of public health. Start by detecting a problem that is — by inattention or aversion — kept out of sight. We do not deal with what we do not confront. More than 80 million people (!) in this country ages 12 and older abusively engage in substance use without meeting criteria for addiction (defined above) and represent an exceptional opportunity to intervene early and effectively, yet this is not happening. Simple screening tests for alcohol, drugs and tobacco exist and can be made standard practice throughout medical care (and in educational and counseling settings). SBIRT — Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment — is a recognized, proven and even reimbursed medical procedure that awaits general use despite the consequences of not using it.

The report offers a set of treatment recommendations and asserts importantly that comprehensive treatment (combining psychosocial and pharmacological interventions) is generally better than reliance on one approach alone. There is an abundance of information on treatment, beginning with stabilization of the disease and continuing on to acute care with therapy and medications. The authors provide critically-important and urgently-needed information about how chronic disease management techniques extant throughout medicine today need to be applied to addiction. Nutrition and exercise are woven into the treatment approaches. AA, NA, SMART and other longstanding and effective recovery programs find their way into the report as “support services,” revealing its particularly medical and judicial framework.

One finding that may pertain to readers of this post, or people they know, is that public attitudes about the causes of addiction “… are out of sync with the science.” Their survey work reveals that one-third of Americans still regard addiction as a “… lack of willpower or self-control.” We can be our own worst enemy, and local and national efforts to change minds and hearts are needed.

Further recommendations are framed as major sections on how to close the science-to-practice gap (to make happen in everyday practice what we know from science that works): commencing a national public education campaign, mandating program adherence to proven practices, establishing quality improvement tools and procedures to steadily and progressively improve program performance, insurance reform, and organizing federal oversight into one agency on addiction.

There is so much more in the report that this summary cannot cover. Among the findings readers may also want to take guidance from are on special populations (from youth to the elderly, and including veterans, pregnant women and those with co-occurring medical and mental health disorders), on parity legislation and the do-or-die role of funding prevention and services, and on education and practice standards. The report serves both as a call to action and an encyclopedic warehouse of information.

The CASA Columbia report’s strengths are its veracity, clarity and credibility, the last based on the excellent science they summarize and the caliber of the report’s authors. A shortcoming is that it was developed by experts in medicine, addictions, public health and jurisprudence; as a result, it does not report on the emerging and abundantly-used field of complementary and alternative approaches to addiction “treatment” (such as yoga and acupuncture) nor dedicate much report real estate to 12-step and related recovery models. Nor does the report consider how making legal substances more expensive and more difficult to get could be used as means of controlling youth drinking and other compulsive habits, though CASA Columbia did consider these interventions last year in a report on adolescent substance abuse (see here and here).

Practitioners, policy makers, educators and responsible citizens should more than consider “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice.” It needs to become an agenda for action. Not doing so will mean that this country would have decided to continue to neglect its most prevalent, destructive and costly of diseases