Sunday, 17 May 2009

So many problems and they're all one

Governments, ours included, are in a bind: admit liability for the psychological distress of their armed forces and face an endless bill ($4Billion a year in the US to support Vietnam vets alone), or deny it is really a problem and still have to pay for the social, medical and personal carnage it causes. Which costs more? nobody knows.  It's certainly time we found out.  But we at Resolution know one thing, that much of this difficulty could be avoided by accepting one idea:  treat people at the point when they start to feel ill, and treat them in a way that leaves them focussed on their life rather than their difficulties.  
Once the trauma is under control you can move on and rebuild your life, and there are ten or so things that every human needs to have in place in order to do this satisfactorily.  These are not profound, they are things like security, control, attention from others, membership of social groups, a feeling of competence and a sense that life has a meaning.  These are fundamental needs for everyone, but it is hard for traumatised people to get these needs met.  The wonderful thing is, though, that when post-traumatic symptoms have been reduced to the point where people can get these needs met properly, they start to feel part of things again.  The feelings of isolation, unreality, differentness or whatever start to melt away.
You can't change the past, and the memories will always be there.  But when treatment works well, as it usually does, they don't carry the same emotional charge they did.  We're encouraging some of our former patients to write their own recovery stories now, and we'll post them here as they come in. 

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