Military Puts Traumatized Soldiers at Combat Sights

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The US military is treating distressed and traumatized soldiers "in theater" where they're stationed. The military feels that soldiers will heal best if kept with those who understand what they've been through.

The US military has made a decision to take traumatized solders at combat sights stating that soldiers will heal better if kept with those who understand what they've been through, rather than being treated at a treatment center in the US.

Treating traumatized soldiers in war zones

This new policy will clearly serve the military. Treating soldiers for trauma right on war zones makes it easier to send them back into battle which is important for a military fighting two separate wars.

Not surprising it brings up some concerns. First, ensuring that the soldiers who protected our country get the treatment they need such as monitoring those on antidepressants and sleeping pills, and deciding who can be kept in a war zone and who might snap.

This comes on the heel when Sgt. Thomas Riordan came home from Afghanistan after fighting a battle that killed eight of his fellow soldiers, then arriving at home only to have his wife leave him. He wated to die.

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Riordon’s psychologist asked him what he thought he should do, Riordan said, “Stay in Colorado.” The military brought him right back to the base in the eastern Afghan mountains, where mortar rounds sound regularly.

"There's not been a lot of studies on those types of interventions," said Terri Tanielian, a military health policy researcher with the RAND Corp. think tank. "There isn't necessarily a magic formula that says who's going to go back and be okay and who isn't."

In Afghanistan, Riordan cannot go outside the wire because he’s considered too unstable. He is on medication and has no friends in his unit. He goes to a larger base every month or so to meet with his psychologist.

The brigade psychiatrist, Dr. Randal Scholman, stated that he finds himself making informal or nontraditional diagnoses to many of these soldiers because deployed soldiers are in a exceptionally stressful environment.

The most common drugs he prescribes are sleeping pills, followed by antidepressants. Often, he gives a soldier Prozac or Paxil to treat what he and his colleagues call "combat operational stress reaction."

Meanwhile back in Afghanistan Riordan says, "All my real support is back in the States," he says. "Just to call someone up and say 'Hey, I'm bummed out,' you've got to put on the proper uniform and walk two football fields down to the phones and wait in a line, and then hope that someone answers on the other side."

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