Warriors In Heart Blog
Warriors In Heart 
WARRIOR ETHOS
I WILL ALWAYS PLACE THE MISSION 
FIRST
I WILL NEVER ACCEPT DEFEAT
I WILL NEVER QUIT
I WILL NEVER LEAVE A FALLEN 
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"PTSD Is Not Trending"

by Michael on 08/20/15

Warriors in Heart, a 501 (c) (3) not for profit combat veteran focused public charity, is in DIRE need of your help and support. Our mission...one of healing and family reunification...needs a platform larger than what social media can and has supported thus far. Lives literally hang in the balance. We need a BREAK from someone...somehow...to get our message out there! I reached out to a local news affiliate not long ago. I told the news anchor about our mission...what we were scratching and clawing our way towards doing re: Warriors in Heart's mission. Her response sat me flat on my ass! I was told veterans/soldiers suffering from untreated PTSD and committing suicide was NOT TRENDING, therefore, they were not interested in chatting with me about our life saving mission. I literally became physically ill after that incredibly shallow and surreal conversation.

We have COMBAT HEROES coming home to a BROKEN healthcare system designed to care for them...and a presidential administration that would rather budget $500,000,000 for VA hospital (outlying clinics as well) office furniture instead of patient care. Combat related PTSD is NOT sexy. Combat related PTSD does not have celebrities committing suicide or professional athletes getting arrested for domestic violence. These issues, often fatal when left untreated, are not being talked touted by movies stars or famous athletes. I AM SPEAKING OF THEM! Just an ordinary guy and United States Army veteran who cares beyond ways of articulation.  I am the voice of those who committed suicide and now lay in the ground!  I am the voice of those silently screaming out for HELP! Please...give me a pedestal from which to shine very powerful lights on what is happening with our combat vets. They are killing themselves due to issues that are 100% TREATABLE!

I am representing over 500,000 combat veterans walking among us with untreated PTSD. If the news only broadcasts that which is "trending"...well then...LET"S MAKE THIS ISSUE A TRENDING ISSUE! You have the power to do that. I am but a cog in the machine trying to save combat veteran lives and reunite family members. I NEED YOU TO HELP ME...TODAY. I am pleading! www.warriorsinheart.org

Sincerely,

Mick Maloney

US Army Veteran and Founder of Warriors in Heart, Inc.

PTSD and Co-Occurring Addictive Illnesses.

by Michael on 07/06/15

I have my fellow brother and sister veterans on my mind tonight...what else is knew...they are on my mind 24/7. I am thinking specifically about the number of our vets with untreated PTSD, how many of those with PTSD are also plagued by an untreated addictive illness, and finally, the staggering prescription and use of opiate medicines doled out by the neighborhood VA clinic or hospital. Check this out...

At present, we have over 500,000 combat veterans walking among us with untreated PTSD. Out of the 500,000 vets with untreated PTSD, 65% are also suffering from addictive illnesses. Since 2001, there has been a 578% increase in the use of opiate medications prescribed through the VA healthcare system. It is not difficult to understand, especially with opiate drugs, the high prevalence of addiction as well as overdose. 

Specific to the astronomical use of pain medicine since the wars in the Middle East began...listen I get it. The injuries have ranged from minor types of scrapes, bumps, and bruises, to catastrophic and unimaginable losses of limbs, often times, multiple losses at a time. Thank GOD for medicine that can help the healing process along. That is why doctors have such amazing medicinal interventions at their disposal. It is not new information to share that such uses of opiate medicines carry short and long term use problems...from abuse to addiction. Opiates are the only type of drug that can latch on in an addictive manner quickly and without conscience. That is NOT the fault of our WARRIORS...nor is it the fault of their prescribing battle field surgeons/doctors. 

Opiate medicines are to be used as a short term medical pain intervention. Those who use such meds need to be CAREFULLY monitored and CAREFULLY tapered off once the prescribed time is right. THAT is between the patient and his/her doctor...however...here me clearly state...as an addictions therapist...opiates are SHORT TERM pain management interventions. They are not to be used as a long term solution. The dangers are far too life threatening when used in that capacity. Chronic pain management is a different issue all together...one that will be addressed at a later time. There are exceptionally safe and narcotic free holistic therapies available for pain management. I could write PAGES on this very topic, however, I need to make sure I do not speak off topic. 

The VA healthcare system has created a broken mental healthcare and addictions treatment sub-system within its over all milieu. EXAMPLE...when President Obama took office in 2008, he approved a VA budget of $500,000,000. IT WAS NOT APPROVED FOR PATIENT CARE. It was approved for the refurbishing of hospital conference rooms AND the acquisition of new office furniture...nationwide. Since 2008, we lost close to 90, 000 veterans to suicide. How does a bureaucracy reconcile that fact? Well...they do not. It is ignored. The VA is a broken and corrupt healthcare system and it has been that way for decades. It does not show any signs of changing any time soon. Having said that, too many of our WARRIORS are falling through the cracks of their tax payer hospital system. 

I hold the VA in contempt of our brothers and sisters They are responsible for the medicines that are thrown at them by the bags full for many...I have seen that play out in my VA hospital time and time again!  They are focusing on managing symptoms versus dealing with and healing CORE issues. Shame on them.

I created Warriors in Heart, Inc. (501 c 3) to act as a safety net for our combat veterans...to provide solutions...to provide answer questions...to alleviate fears and concerns of family members. Our mission statement is CLEARLY stated within the pages of our website...www.warriorsinheart.org. I have said this more times than I can remember...."we can't do what we must do...to help our WARRIORS...without your donation support. I am PLEADING...visit or website. Begin to understand what our mission is all about. After you review our website and you have questions...I will be more than happy to answer them all. Just...please...do not turn your back on our vets and their family members in need. I need your help. Will you help me?

Michael Maloney
Veteran and Founder of Warriors in Heart


PTSD and Sexual Relationships

by Michael on 07/06/15

An estimated 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men suffer from some degree of sexual dysfunction, broadly defined as any problem that occurs during the sexual response cycle — excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution — that causes dissatisfaction for the individual or couple.

Three categories of sexual dysfunction make up the majority of problems: disorders of desire, arousal and orgasm.

Deficits in desire usually manifest as a lack of interest in sex. The most common arousal complaint is an inability to become physically excited during sexual activity. Concerns related to orgasm include an inability to have an orgasm or a delay in reaching orgasm that causes distress.

The causes of sexual problems vary. Some are biological or medical in nature, while others have psychological origins. Although service members and veterans generally are not at greater risk of developing sexual problems than their civilian counterparts, there is a common factor that contributes to the sexual dysfunction of many: post-traumatic stress disorder.

The connection between PTSD and sexual dysfunction has been studied for decades and with increasing interest over the past several years. The increased interest as of late is a direct result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been diagnosed with the trauma-based disorder.

Individuals suffering from PTSD often are highly anxious. Anxious people produce excessive amounts of hormones and neurochemicals. Some of these substances negatively affect sexual functioning by constricting blood vessels and blood flow, both which are important to sexual health.

Feeling emotionally disconnected from loved ones is a core symptom of PTSD. For many, loving feelings for a spouse or partner are few or absent. And without that emotional connection, it's difficult to develop and maintain intimacy, which is the bedrock of a healthy sexual relationship.

A common treatment for PTSD is medications that regulate the level of the chemical serotonin in the brain. Serotonin plays an important role in sexual functioning. When taking these medications, men and women sometimes report delayed or absent orgasms and reduced interest in sex. For men, it's not uncommon to hear complaints of difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.

The relationship between PTSD and sexual dysfunction is complex. A number of factors can contribute to sexual problems, which can cause significant distress for the person or couple. However, the fix is often relatively simple. It may include individual or couples therapy or a switch to a different medication. The first step is to talk with your health care provider.

Bret A. Moore, Psy.D., is a board-certified clinical psychologist who served two tours in Iraq. Email him at kevlarforthemind@militarytimes.com. This column is for informational purposes only and is not intended to convey specific psychological or medical guidance.

 

PTSD and Nightmares

by Michael on 07/06/15

Nightmares and PTSD

Excerpt taken from an article on Nightmares and PTSD via The National PTSD Center.

 

Sleeping man lying down with his arm over his headNightmares are dreams that are threatening and scary. Nearly everyone has had a nightmare from time to time.

For trauma survivors, though, nightmares are a common problem. Along with flashbacks and unwanted memories, nightmares are one of the ways in which a trauma survivor may relive the trauma for months or years after the event.

How common are nightmares after trauma?

Among the general public, about 5% of people complain of nightmares. Those who have gone through a trauma, though, are more likely to have distressing nightmares after the event. This is true no matter what type of trauma it is.

Those trauma survivors who get PTSD are even more likely to complain of nightmares. Nightmares are one of the 17 symptoms of PTSD. For example, a study comparing Vietnam Veterans to civilians showed that 52% of combat Veterans with PTSD had nightmares fairly often. Only 3% of the civilians in the study reported that same level of nightmares.

Other research has found even higher rates of nightmares. Of those with PTSD, 71% to 96% may have nightmares. People who have other mental health problems, such as panic disorder, as well as PTSD are more likely to have nightmares than those with PTSD alone.

Not only are trauma survivors more likely to have nightmares, those who do may have them quite often. Some survivors may have nightmares several times a week.

What do nightmares that follow trauma look like?

Nightmares that follow trauma often involve the same scary elements that were in the trauma. For example, someone who went through Hurricane Katrina may have dreams about high winds or floods. They may dream about trying to escape the waters or being in a shelter that does not feel safe. A survivor of a hold-up might have nightmares about the robber or about being held at gunpoint.

Not all nightmares that occur after trauma are a direct replay of the event. About half of those who have nightmares after trauma have dreams that replay the trauma. People with PTSD are more likely to have dreams that are exact replays of the event than are survivors without PTSD.

Lab research has shown that nightmares after trauma are different in some ways from nightmares in general. Nightmares after trauma may occur earlier in the night and during different stages of sleep. They are more likely to have body movements along with them.

Nightmares and cultural differences

Nightmares may be viewed differently in different cultures. For example, in some cultures, nightmares are thought to mean that the dreamer is open to physical or spiritual harm. In other cultures, it is believed that the dreams may contain messages from spirits or may forecast the future. These beliefs may lead those with nightmares to use certain practices in an effort to protect themselves.

Nightmare symptoms often get better with standard PTSD treatment. If nightmares persist, there are treatments that can reduce how often they occur.

One treatment is Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT). In IRT, the person who is having nightmares, while awake, changes how the nightmare ends so that it no longer upsets them. Then the person replays over and over in their minds the new dream with the non-scary ending. Research shows that this type of treatment can reduce how often nightmares occur.

Also, treatment for breathing problems that occur during sleep may reduce the nightmares that follow trauma. High levels of sleep-disordered breathing have been seen in trauma survivors. In one study, patients given a treatment to improve their breathing during sleep no longer had violent, scary dreams.

Little research exists on the use of medicines to treat nightmares from trauma. The medicine with the most promise is prazosin. Two studies have found that prazosin reduces nightmare symptoms. More research on prazosin is under way.

Sources

This fact sheet is based on a more detailed version, located in the "Professional" section of our website: Nightmares and PTSD: Research Review.

 

Defining PTSD (Excerpt from an article posted on military.com)

by Michael on 06/28/15

PTSD

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder can occur following a life-threatening event like military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people have stress reactions that don't go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD.

People who suffer from PTSD often suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feeling emotionally numb. These symptoms can significantly impair a person's daily life.

PTSD is marked by clear physical and psychological symptoms. It often has symptoms like depression, substance abuse, problems of memory and cognition, and other physical and mental health problems. The disorder is also associated with difficulties in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems, family discord, and difficulties in parenting.