Posted by: worried | 2008/11/10

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrm due to war

Just a Q: My dad has PTSS since i can remember, a bit of history on him...During Border War he was the Chief of Criminal interrogation, before that in the force and many years after that up to him being ' boarded'  due to his condition.
During the war we stayed in safety camps until one day the terrorists came in and bomded the town we stayed in and my mom was killed. She lived for some days but due to loss of limbs and burns he chose to put the life support off.
He married 5 times after that- that marriages did not last more than 1 yr or so as he is extremely violent and drinks heavily. He married his 6th wife in the beginning of this yr (yes i have warned her....).
Please explain what is going on in his head... and also can you explain why i have no memory of my childhood- only the fire, explosion when i was 6 and then i remember in my high school years.....

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

PTSD. We presumably don't know what all happened to him during the conflict, but we do know that many men, on all sides, were exposed to very nasty events and activities., and that PTSD is likely to be common among them. And your story of your family experiences was more than enough trauma to cause PTSD. Heavy drinking and other drug use as a form of self-medication is common in people in such situations ( we know this too, from work with american Vietnam Veterans ), and temper and aggression control problems are common, including violent behaviours. They tend to have severe difficulty thereafter with intimacy, so multiple marriages are not surprising. Treatment can help, though it could be less effective if he has not had any treatment for all these years. Psychotherapy and the use of some medications also used to treat Depression, and some mood stabilizers, might help --- but he'd need to see the right sort of experienced specialist to assess him and discuss such treatment options. There are still some around who had relevant experience earlier, both professionally and in some cases personally.
We know that exposure to awful traumas like that actually produces chemical and even some physical changes in our brains ; people tend to get flashbacks re-experiencing some of the horrors they were exposed to.
As for your memories, firstly its very normal to have no memories of the earliest years of childhood --- its usually only after at least the age of 4, sometimes even 5 or 6, that our brains start recordning memories normally, and we start to have access to them. And horrible experiences like the fire and explosions can produce unusually vivid and clear memories.

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Posted by: Me | 2008/11/11

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Posted by: worried | 2008/11/11

Thanks Doc,
He has seen and been in hospital many times before- he drank straight throught anti- booze and the ' pill' . Is there any thing i (we) can do for dad to make it better??? He is sometimes so sad- and it is very sad for us to see this big beautifull old man in shreds. He does not wanted help from outside (you know how old folk can be)..

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