Monday, March 25, 2013

Can you prevent PTSD?

This is a decent article on efforts to manage PTSD in the U.S. Army. It includes some rather cool Rorschach-type images:

Mental Combat
"In every 20th-century conflict the U.S. has fought, more American soldiers
have been psychiatric casualties than have been killed in combat."

The article mentions some of the doubts about the efficacy of "resilience" training as a means to prevent PTSD in combat troops. Martin Seligman is the fellow behind that particular boondoggle -- it's the sort of thing that everyone hopes will work, but so far there just isn't much evidence to support it.
The article borrows liberally (without attribution) from Dave Grossman's classic book, On Killing. I recommend the book to anyone interested in the subject (even though I part ways with Grossman when he opines about media-influenced violence, and I have my doubts about the Slam Marshall WWII "research" that is used to back up some of Grossman's claims).
But On Killing is one of the books that got me WAY interested in psychology when I was an undergraduate. It also includes one of the best explications of operant versus classical conditioning that I can think of. I was recently looking at a copy of a new book by a former SEAL training officer, and there was an appendix ("The Warrior's Bookshelf") that included On Killing as required reading.

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