PAT LAMOUREUX - One episode in a person's life, does not define the person.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It is time to make a difference

It is well known that the Veterans Administration is failing our Veterans with extended wait periods for treatment. Combat related PTSD and the other traumas of war will have a major impact on this country in a short time. It is time to become better educated and more prepared in order to face this "pandemic" which will besiege the USA. We must support our Veterans, especially in their darkest hours.

PTSD brings with it devastating and life changing events. It will impact families, employers, and neighbors. At some point, combat PTSD will touch your life. If you are informed and educated about PTSD, you will be prepared. What do you really know about PTSD?

As a nation, we are a visual society. We recognize corporate logos, and ad campaigns on television, ‘jingles’ we hear in relation to certain products. They become universal symbols which are immediately recognized and linked to what is being promoted.

During the Viet Nam war there were Prisoner of War (P.O.W.) and Missing in Action (M.I.A.) bracelets bearing the name of a captured or lost soldier. Those of us who wore the bracelets did not know the person whose name was engraved on the bracelet. This was a way to keep that person in our hearts and minds; it was a reminder of the sacrifice made by those who served our country. Within a short time of these bracelets appearance, everyone during that time knew what they meant.

We can do this again in support and recognition of the difficulties our returning soldiers are facing. “Red, White and Blue – to Black and Blue – PTSD” is a clear statement; they fight for the red white and blue, and come home black and blue, mentally and psychologically bruised and broken.

As Americans we must begin to make a public awareness statement that we know they are home, we know they need help; we support them. We must establish a universal symbol for PTSD.

To begin this awareness campaign, take a moment and go to  Order a PTSD awareness bracelet; also order extras for your friends and family that you know support our Veterans impacted by PTSD. As these bracelets spread across this country awareness will be brought to PTSD.

The black and blue “swirled” color bracelets are $3.00. They are embossed with “Red, White and Blue to Black and Blue – PTSD”. Each bracelet ordered will be delivered with a black and blue satin lapel ribbon with a clutch back grip (not a safety pin.)

At the conclusion of all court proceedings in the trial of J. Patrick Lamoureux, proceeds from this awareness campaign will be donated to an entity that supports Veterans with PTSD and those severely injured by war. The organization selected is:

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes (CSAH). This organization was created to provide a way for individuals, corporations and others to help our severely wounded and disabled Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans and their families rebuild their lives.

I had a specific reason in selecting this organization. As I sat at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX waiting for my husband who had been airlifted out of the war, I met a very young wife of an injured soldier who was there for her husband. His name was B.J. Jackson, his wife was Abby. B.J. had lost both of his legs and was severely burned when his HumVee hit a land mind and was also hit by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). His chance for survival was guarded. B.J. is now the National Spokesman for The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes (CSAH).

There is power in numbers and with numbers comes voices that will be heard. We must join together to make a difference in the lives of those who bravely serve this country.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Driving Soldiers Crazy with Psychiatric Meds

By: Dr. Peter Breggin
Posted: May 15, 2010 03:14 PM

The cost of psychiatric care in the military has escalated, including a skyrocketing number of psychiatric admissions, according to a recent USA Today front-page story. These statistics unfortunately reflect a great deal of human suffering on the part of our military.

Does this mean that life in the military has become tougher? Everyone seems to agree that it has with the increased frequency and length of deployments. But that's not the whole story. I recently testified before the Veterans Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives about the increased rates of suicide in the military and pointed out that it probably is caused in part by the increased rate of prescribing psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants which are scientifically documented to increase suicidal behavior, especially in young men and women of military age. Can we attribute the increased rate of psychiatric hospitalization in part to the same cause--the increased prescription of psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants?

In Medication Madness (2008) I tell more than 50 clinical stories about patients driven to suicide, violence and crime by psychiatric drugs. In Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Second Edition (2008) I examine numerous scientific reports documenting high rates of adverse drug effects. Studies have shown that manic episodes escalate in individuals who are treated with antidepressants, even in individuals with no prior tendency to become manic. Rates for developing manic symptoms fall in the range of 5%-17% of patients given antidepressants. That is a huge adverse reaction rate! If the patients have a previous history of manic-like symptoms, then up to one-quarter or one-third may be driven once again into a manic state shortly after starting antidepressants. One report found that more than 8% of psychiatric admissions could be attributed to antidepressant-induced mania. Suicidal behavior also rises in frequency after the prescription of antidepressants in all age groups. The energy and loss of self control induced by drug induced mania can easily fuel suicidal and violent behavior.

And this data is limited to antidepressants alone! Up to one-third or more of psychiatric hospital admissions are probably caused by adverse drug reactions to the whole range of psychiatric meds.

On Saturday May 1, 2010 I gave a two-hour presentation at the 18th Annual International Military & Civilian Stress Conference in Los Angeles directed by Bart Billings, Ph.D. My talk focused on the hazards of prescribing psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants, to active duty military personnel. Many soldiers during and after their deployment suffer from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was gratifying to learn that many military healthcare providers realize that PTSD is actually the normal human reaction of soldiers who have been exposed to combat.

Many symptoms of PTSD involved a state of hyper-arousal with anxiety, insomnia, irritability, anger, and emotional instability. The antidepressant drugs frequently cause a very similar spectrum of adverse effects, compounding and worsening the soldiers' natural reactions to trauma. I urged the military to continue the development of more human service oriented approaches to soldiers in distress--a theme that was repeated by others throughout the conference.

I was enormously impressed with the humanity and skill of many military caregivers who often appreciate the dangers and limitations of medication, and the need for empathic, supportive help. These professionals included psychologists, social workers, nurses, chaplins and even one military psychiatrist who realized that psychosocial approaches are more effective than drugs. Several active duty and retired military officers declared their interest in attending and presenting at our Empathic Therapy Conference in Syracuse, New York, on April 8-9, 2011.

Military nurses described to me their dismay on finding that every soldier in their rehab groups who returned from deployment for psychiatric treatment was being treated with three or more psychiatric drugs at the same time. The nurses knew that this was doing more harm than good but they were hamstrung by the prescribing psychiatrists who think that more is always better when it comes to psychiatric drugs.

Biological psychiatry, unlike medicine in general, tends to make people worse. In my clinical practice, I often remove patients from psychiatric drugs. The process can be hazardous, especially if the individual has been exposed for many months or years, and should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. But despite the difficulty involved in withdrawing some patients, in my clinical experience almost everyone does better off psychiatric drugs than on them, especially when they are offered empathic therapy by a caring and experienced professional.

Peter R. Breggin, MD is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York. He is the author of Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008).

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"
"Kain-man" the jokester....

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003
"Pat is an extraordinary, thoughtful, kind and generous man...not to mention a wonderful friend, in which one could always count upon to be there when in need." (words of a long time friend)

Pat's Family

Pat's Family
Mica & Heather, grandson Kain