Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sharpening Vocabulary...

Good evening all.

I just read Jennifer's post.  Perhaps she needed to have milk in her coffee.  The problem is that she was at a very traditional synagogue this morning.  They take the Torah very seriously.  As such, one does not have milk in coffee, especially decaffeinated coffee.  The Torah is clear on this matter.  Three times it says that one should not seethe decaf in its mothers milk.

Okay...that is not why I am writing this evening.

During World War I (the most deadly war in the history of war), soldiers in the field were often diagnosed with shell shock.  Medically, there may or may not have been something immediately recognizable as a problem.  Due to any real understanding of what it was, it was often mistreated, or not treated at all.

With World War II, we started using the term 'combat fatigue.'  This was better, although not on the right path.  The idea was to treat quickly and within the combat zone.

Since Viet Nam, we have learned better terminology.  We now call it 'post-traumatic stress disorder.'  This is the right term.  A diagnosis requires the presence of symptoms for 30 days.  We have learned about triggers, wherein something can cause a reaction years after the stressor is gone.  Best of all, we have learned that this is a long-term diagnosis.  It cannot be solved in the combat zone.  It may reappear.  Symptoms can vary.  It is not only the result of long-term exposure to combat.  These are crucial lessons.

Moreover, they are crucial lessons off the battlefield.  People who endure traumatic events of any nature, or even 'just' one traumatic event, can have symptoms of PTSD.  Those symptoms might show up immediately.  They might also wait years.  There is no way to predict exactly.

Sharpening our vocabulary in this matter has at least allowed the medical folks to learn better about how to treat it.  The human body is a wonderful thing.  It is also rather mysterious (they discovered a new ligament in the knee last week).  We understand very little about the brain.  There is a long way to go in this regard, but at least we are on a better path.

I am going to sleep.


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