We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Friday, August 12, 2011
This is an extremely welcome
development.PTSD has gone from
completely ignored to barely recognized to fully understood and known as a
major problem.Problem of course has
been up to this development that the only method to use for coping was some
form of drug that affected the nervous system and mind.In the early days, most victims often self
medicated with heavy alcohol abuse.Now
we are prescribing antidepressants.
Even more important, PTSD is
actually prevalent in society.Soldiers
are trained to have a high threshold to trauma.Others and women notably live stress
avoidance lives in the first place, so that when confronted with trauma, often
respond poorly and succumb.The one
certainty however is that all individuals have a cracking point somewhere
This means that our society
generally needs a protocol to control this problem.
From the material here we seem to
have a good working solution to reduce the problem and to begin to manage it.
Military praises 'fantastic' new post-traumatic stress therapy
Simple technique 'going viral,' bringing 'rapid improvement' to
For the American soldier, it's become the sneakiest of all sneak
attacks to watch out for – the enemy's final chance to wreak havoc by secretly
following the soldier home and attacking him and his loved ones there.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD – frequently characterized as
"bringing the enemy home with you" – has become an epidemic in the U.S.
military. But because of a dramatic breakthrough from the grassroots, there is
The problem is dire. Exacerbated by back-to-back tours of duty in a war
environment where enemy combatants are often indistinguishable from civilians
and every passing vehicle a potential car bomb, up to 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war vets are currently
struggling with PTSD,according to
the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
And the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, calling
combat "a life-changing experience, imposing long-lasting emotional
challenges for combatants,"reports a
staggering "20 to 50 percent of active duty service members and Reservists
reported psychosocial problems, relationship problems, depression, and symptoms
of stress reactions, but most report that they have not yet sought help for
Symptoms of PTSD commonly include a high level of anxiety and
emotionality, anger and rage, mentally re-experiencing traumatic events through
flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of things associated with the trauma,
depression, difficulty sleeping and other debilitating symptoms – including, as
recent study shows, increased risk of heart disease.
Of course, it's not just warriors who battle PTSD: Any human being
experiencing the sudden death of a loved one, a devastating natural disaster or
a violent crime like rape or assault; being victimized by childhood
molestation, abuse or neglect; witnessing a serious accident or terrorist
attack – in short, suffering any intensely traumatic or shocking experience
that overwhelms one's ability to cope – can face post-traumatic stress
disorder, says the National Institute of Mental Health.
But help is on the horizon. To begin with, PTSD and other stress-caused
problems are getting lots of publicity. Medal of Honor recipients do public
service announcements urging soldiers to seek help and not be deterred by
the stigma that often accompanies the "warrior ethos" – namely, if
you have any kind of mental or emotional problem, just "suck it up"
and go back to work.
Indeed, the vast majority of soldiers suffering from PTSD do not seek
help, whether because of warrior ethos or fear of being disqualified from
further deployments or advancements on "psychiatric" grounds, or just
being prohibited from owning a firearm. And even for those relatively few who
do seek professional help, the system is scandalously overloaded.
The 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals recently excoriated
the Department of Veterans Affairs for its "unchecked
incompetence" in dealing with a flood of PTSD, depression and similar
conditions, taking an average of four years to provide veterans their mental
health benefits, and often taking weeks to get a suicidal vet his first
Even if an appointment is obtained, what help is available? Until
recently, the choices have been primarily the psychiatrist's couch and
medications. Traditional "talk therapy" can be helpful, but depends
on the skill of the practitioner and the willingness of the soldier to
participate, perhaps over an extended period – something most warriors avoid.
For the first time in history, a sizable and growing number of U.S. combat troops are taking daily doses of
antidepressants to calm nerves strained by repeated and lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. … About 12 percent of
combat troops in Iraq and 17
percent of those in Afghanistan
are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope.
Reporting that "about 20,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq were
on such medications" – roughly half on antidepressants and the other half
on sleeping pills like Ambien – Time noted, ominously:
Last year the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged the makers of antidepressants to
expand a 2004 "black box" warning that the drugs may increase the
risk of suicide in children and adolescents. The agency asked for – and got –
an expanded warning that included young adults ages 18 to 24, the age group at
the heart of the Army. The question now is whether there is a link between the
increased use of the drugs in the Iraqi and Afghan theaters and the rising
suicide rate in those places.
now an alarming18
per day, and 950 attempts per month, it's disturbing to note that almost 40
percent of the Army's suicide victims in recent years have been on psychiatric
drugs, especially SSRI antidepressants like Paxil, Effexor, Zoloft and Prozac.
"The high percentage of U.S.
soldiers attempting suicide after taking SSRIs should raise serious
Joseph Glenmullen told Time.
New coping strategies
Fortunately, a new technique for coping with PTSD and other
stress-related syndromes – involving neither drugs nor, in many cases, even the
psychiatrist's couch – is now spreading rapidly throughout the various service
branches. Although it has proliferated almost entirely by word of mouth – given
to soldiers and family members by psychologists, nurses, military chaplains,
fellow soldiers and senior officers – its simplicity, privacy and remarkable
track record are being noticed at the highest levels.
"In my own experience as a commander who mobilized and returned
thousands of wartime veterans, I have seen soldiers make rapid improvement
through use of these CDs," said Maj. Gen. George R. Harris.
"CDs"? Help for a serious condition like post-traumatic
stress disorder, just from listening to a compact disc? Really?
Harris – a recently retired West Point general assigned to the Office
of the Secretary of the Army – is indeed talking about a single compact disc,
playable on any CD player or computer, titled " Coping
Strategies,"distributed to the military by a 501 (c)3 nonprofit called
Patriot Outreach. The CD, which
helps users overcome the negative effects of stress, is sent free upon request
to military service personnel, veterans and their families, and also made
available to the general public at a nominal cost, which in turn helps pay for
the manufacturing and free distribution to military families.
"I can tell you exactly where I'm coming from on this CD,"
Harris told WND. "We send thousands of soldiers overseas, and then we
bring them back. We try to assimilate them back into life and their families,
and there are lots of bumps in the road."
"As a commander," he explained, "where I would see those
bumps firsthand would be, most often, when a wife would approach one of my
chaplains and say, 'My husband, who you sent to Iraq, didn’t return home the
same person. But no matter how much I beg him to seek help, he refuses to see a
"So in that environment, it was fantastic to have this CD to give
to chaplains, who can then work through that wife, and get the soldier to try
this. In every case I heard of that he went through the process, it was helpful
to the soldiers and their wives."
In fact, said Harris, it is often "the wives, the spouses, the
kids – they're the ones who will take advantage of this CD and use it
themselves, and then encourage their soldiers to do it."
"Getting soldiers to seek professional help is still the goal,"
added Harris. "This is a fallback plan, something the wives and chaplains
can fall back on."
So intrigued was this Army commander by the improvement he witnessed in
his super-stressed soldiers using "Coping Strategies" that he tried
it out on himself.
"Now, I don't think I have PTSD," he cautioned WND,
"but, just for the heck of it, I locked myself in my bedroom and tried the
CD – it's about a 30-minute exercise." Afterward, he said, "I felt
completely invigorated, ready to tackle anything."(Note: Maj. Gen. Harris
even recommended this writer try out the exercise, saying it's beneficial for
everyone, not just warriors with PTSD.)
Strategies" CD includes two parts: 1) an audio program called"Be Still and Know"– a
state-of-the-art mindfulness exercise, which, asthe Department of
Veterans Affairs states, is recognized as a "benefit to trauma
survivors"since it can "increase your ability to cope with
difficult emotions, such as anxiety and depression," thus significantly
enhancing the ability to handle stress. And 2) additional audio programs on
overcoming stress, fear and pain, as well as field manuals, guidelines, DoD
reports, articles and resources that are available on the computer data section
of the CD.
"I reached the conclusion," said Harris, "that I didn't
give a damn if I could prove it worked medically, because I know it works.
Besides, it's so much better than what most of the soldiers are now getting –
which is nothing."
And that point leads directly to Patriot Outreach and its founder and
president, Col. Antonio Monaco, U.S.
Having served the Army in a variety of senior leadership positions
including brigade-level commands and deployments in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom as well as in Bosnia (IFOR), Monaco
explained his organization's mission with the following motto: "Coping
Strategies provides simple, effective, non-intrusive support, and was designed
to bridge the gap between those who seek help and the silent majority who avoid
And just how big is that stigma-avoiding "silent majority"?
Believe it or not, said Monaco,
of all the tens of thousands of active-duty warriors and veterans dealing with
PTSD and other serious combat-related stress conditions, "only about 2 to
3 percent, according the office of the surgeon general, seek out professional
"Coping Strategies," Monaco said simply, "is for
the other 97 percent."
After all, he said, "We are private and non-governmental. When you
come to us, no one knows – so there is no stigma."
Monaco, recently designated by the Pentagon as Army Reserve ambassador
for Kansas, a two-star appointment, notes that over 65,000 CDs and 34,000
downloads have already been provided, rattling off some of the more notable
requests he's received for "Coping Strategies":
"The 82nd Airborne Division ordered 5,000 CDs; Fort Hood, after
the terror shooting event, ordered 3,500; the 91st Division ordered 3,000 CDs
for their troops; the Joint Task Force Headquarters, 1,500; USO, 1,000; VFW,
When it comes to dealing with overwhelming stress, one person who
really understands the value of "Coping
Strategies" is Army Lt. Col. Phillip L. Pringle, a Southern Baptist
chaplain who has lived and counseled soldiers in one of the most stressful
environments on earth.
Pringle served in Iraq
with the 110th Engineer Battalion – the "IED Hunters" – tasked with
the crucial but numbingly dangerous job of making Iraqi roads safe for military
convoys and civilians by clearing them of IEDs, one of the most hazardous
aspects of that war.
Pringle describes a typical scenario: "What I notice in passing
out the 'Coping Strategies' is, soldiers don't often like to talk about their
depression or their anxiety. But if I talk about, 'Hey, how much stress are you
going through?' they say, 'Oh, Chaplain, I've got a lot of stress.' And so I
will give them this 'Coping
Strategies' and say, 'Hey, try this out. It will help you with your
management of stress' – and that seems to work."
Like Harris, Chaplain Pringle also adds a note about his own personal
experience with the CD, saying: "The 'Be Still and Know' exercise works
for me. It calms my soul, enhances my thinking, and improves my emotional
regulation. I am thankful to be a more resilient chaplain."
Regarding "Be Still and Know," Masters says the exercise is
so effective simply because "it enables you to become objective, a little
bit separate and disentangled from all your troublesome thoughts, emotions,
heartaches, fears and traumatic memories – and that, all by itself, is
extremely helpful, and actually healing."
Among the professional counselors who have long made use of the exercise
is George M. Hayter, M.D., a Navy psychiatrist and lieutenant commander during
the Vietnam War, and currently chief of psychiatry at St.
Joseph's Hospital in Orange,
Calif. He concludes: "I must
say, on the basis of 20 years experience, that the application of this
technique has made a significant contribution to the treatment of the great
majority of those people who have learned it." Hayter, a diplomate of the
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, later became an original member of
the board of directors for Patriot Outreach.
So how exactly did Patriot Outreach come into being?
In 2006, while visiting an Army clinic to pick up a pair of glasses, Monaco
recalls, "I ran into one of my soldiers. He was undergoing endless tests
to diagnose stomach problems, but no one could figure out the cause."
However, says Monaco,
the soldier "leaned over and quietly and privately confessed to me of
having this recurring image, over and over in his mind, of a dead soldier with
a bullet hole in his head, whom he had zipped into a body bag."
Later that week, continued Monaco, "I read a U.S. News
& World Report article dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, which
featured a friend of mine, Col. Kathy Platoni, a combat-stress team
psychologist." Zeroing in on one particular phrase in that PTSD article –
"reimagining the trauma again and again" – and knowing that stomach,
back and similar symptoms can be caused by undiagnosed stress, Monaco had an
epiphany. "It dawned on me," he said, that the "Be Still and Know"
exercise that had "helped me immensely in overcoming extreme
adversities" years before could be a useful tool for soldiers with PTSD.Platoni agrees.
Wanting to help soldiers like the one with the stomach symptoms and
tens of thousands of others like him, Monaco arranged with Masters to
incorporate the exercise as a tool in a multimedia CD for warriors called
Regarding the future of "Coping Strategies," Lt. Col.
Pringle, the Southern Baptist Army chaplain, has absolutely no doubts:"It
is going viral."
"It will grow in the military," he explained, "because
it fits in very well with the hot issue of learning to be resilient– to embrace
and overcome adversity." And like Gen. Harris, Pringle recommends the
exercise for everyone, military and civilian, as prevention as well as
treatment. "Being still helps a person be their own best therapist, to
reflect on their life, to calm them, to think critically about their problems
to overcome them," he said.
How high up the chain of command has the "Coping Strategies"
CD gone? The U.S.
Army's Chief of Chaplains, Maj. Gen. Douglas L. Carter, calls "Coping
Strategies" a "great resource for our Soldiers." And Col. John
Bradley, M.D., the chief of psychiatry at WalterReedArmyMedicalCenter,
the U.S. Army's flagship
medical center in Washington,
D.C., is also sold. In fact, so
convinced is Bradley that the "Coping
Strategies" CD is a valuable tool for the hundreds of thousands of
soldiers and family members struggling with the psychological scars of war, he
has taken it to the top, affirming simply: "I have rendered a positive
opinion to The Surgeon General."
His action followed unanimous resolutions in the Iowa
House and Senate commending Patriot Outreach, "founded here in our beloved
city of Davenport, Iowa,
on September 7, 2006," for providing "simple, effective,
non-intrusive support" for America's
warriors and their families. They acknowledged the tens of thousands of CDs and
downloads delivered free "to all armed forces, veterans, first responders,
government civilians, battlefield contractors and their families" and paid
tribute to the program's proven "effectiveness in combating anger, stress,
pain, combat stress, and even PTSD."
"Wow!" quipped Monaco. "Who said Democrats
and Republicans can't unanimously agree on a great cause?"
Since Patriot Outreach receives no government funding, it relies
donationsto keep it alive and growing and providing free services for the
troops. After all, asks Monaco,
"What was the invisible hand that got all these soldiers the CDs that have
helped them so much?"
"When I returned from Afghanistan last year to a divorce,
your CD is what helped me through it. There are soldiers in my unit that need
to learn better coping skills." (Staff sergeant, infantry)
"I heard about this CD from my psychologist who has been treating
me for PTSD." (Airman second class)
"I am a combat trauma therapist. I have given your disc to many
veterans who find great benefit. … I will take as many discs as you can send –
they will be used!!! Thank You!"
"I am a Navy nurse who is in regular contact with military active
duty suffering from PTSD. This is the cardinal injury of this war. I am a
moderate sedation provider, and to see the disinhibition of these soldiers as
they undergo sedation and 'relive' the trauma, it is incredibly sad and moving.
I would like to request 50 copies of the CD for disbursement to those I feel
could be helped by your program."
(From the USO): "I am requesting 1,000 copies to be given out
during missions going to Iraq,
Afghanistan and Africa."
And just last week: "I am requesting 500 copies to be distributed
to Soldiers throughout my division. I am the division chaplain and I have found
this audio and data CD to be a tremendous help to my Soldiers." (Army
"Every day," intones the narrator over heart-pounding war
video, "American soldiers are fighting to defend our freedoms around the
world. … But the fight, for the soldiers, continues even after they have left
the battlegrounds. PTSD has taken hold of our beloved soldiers and is now
destroying them from the inside. Thousands of soldiers return from active
service, to find they have nowhere to turn when their own thoughts begin to
However, assures the speaker, reinforcements are on the way:
"There is hope.Patriot
Outreach is an organization that provides the useful tools for our troubled
soldiers and arms them with a renewed inner strength – a strength never to be
shaken or stirred by angry thoughts or uncontrolled emotion. …”