A study of non-treatment-seeking infantry soldiers who had been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq Tobin, et al (2014) found that 44.0% reported chronic pain (pain for more than 90 days). Of those chronic pain suffers, 48.3% reported symptoms for over one year. Additionally, 15.1% of this non-treatment-seeking sample was using opioids. The comparable rates of civilian chronic pain and opioid use at the time of this study were 26.0% and 4.0%. Alarmingly, 44.1% of soldiers reporting opioid use also reported mild to no pain in the past month and 5.6% reported no pain (Tobin, et al, 2014).
Blog posts with the tag "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder"
The June 2019 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress (JTS) was devoted to Moral Injury (MI). As a clinical psychologist working at a military training hospital where nearly all patients are Warfighters, I was curious about current recommendations regarding the accepted definition of MI, what measure to use, and how to treat it.
A quick search of the PTSD literature will show you widespread rates of PTSD in the U.S. military. In some studies, the rate is as low as 1.4% (Bliese, Wright, Adler, Thomas, & Hoge, 2007), and in others it is as high as 41.3% (Maguen, Lau, Madden, & Seal, 2012). There are a number of reasons for these highly discrepant rates, many of which are methodological differences.
When addressing moral injury, there is a need to help patients learn to compartmentalize their experiences. But it doesn’t stop there. Patients then need to be able to step back and see all the pieces of themselves in order to move forward.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Service members and Veterans receives a lot of well-deserved attention. That said, it was not until 1992, that the term Moral Injury was coined by Dr. Jonathan Shay to describe the devastating impacts of an event or experience that violates one’s personal ideals, ethics, moral expectations, conscience, or attachments. Since moral expectations are at the core of who we are as humans, moral injury describes a fracture to one’s deepest sense of being. The result of this moral violation can lead to guilt, existential crisis, and loss of trust (Jinkerson, 2016).