Over a year ago, I asked several women combat soldiers who appeared in the documentary “Lioness” whether they were able to sleep without medication since their tours of duty in Iraq. They all replied “no.” Some mentioned Benadryl as a sure thing sleep aid at least until veteran doctors prescribed another drug.
A goodnight sleep may not seem like a big thing, but more and more studies show sleep disorder can lead to more serious problems. It is also a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Overall the lioness women appeared cheerful, in control but nevertheless were dealing with the demons of their experiences in a combat zone and for some in actual firefights. This week the President addresses Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury in veterans, pledging assistance to veterans from the VA with screenings and treatment.
For many veterans returning home, its a long and arduous process to claim treatment and benefits.
But for years, many veterans with PTSD who have tried to seek benefits – veterans of today’s wars and earlier wars – have often found themselves stymied. They’ve been required to produce evidence proving that a specific event caused their PTSD. And that practice has kept the vast majority of those with PTSD who served in non-combat roles, but who still waged war, from getting the care they need.
Well, I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application. And I’ve met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.
DADT TROOP SURVEY
I met Alex Nicholson, founder of Servicemembers United, last year at the Community Cinema’s presentation of the documentary “Ask Not.” This week Servicemembers United issued the following release about the contents of the troop survey on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Alex’s release went viral this week appearing on most political blogs and news outlets.