Multiple TBIs, Chronic Pain Linked to Increased Risk of Military Suicides (June 2013)

Servicemembers who suffer more than one mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) face a significantly higher risk of suicide, according to research by the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah…

“That head injury and resulting psychological effects increase the risk of suicide is not new,” Bryan suggested. “But knowing that repetitive TBIs may make patients even more vulnerable provides new insight for attending to military personnel over the long-term, particularly when they are experiencing added emotional distress in their lives.” …

I believe that TBIs also raise the rate of addiction in patients, along with the risk of Alzheimer’s. And I assume that a TBI also means a chronic pain condition.  This is what the military is holding workshops on:

The cognitive-behavioral treatment protocol is adapted from The Pain Survival Guide by Dennis Turk and Frits Winter. All participants receive a copy of this book…

There’s not very much internet activity for this book, which was published in 2005 by the American Psychological Association (APA).  I found one review from a pain patient in 2008:

I guess the military is now relying on self-help books to treat chronic pain, handing these out to mental health professionals, their target audience.  I suppose the professionals in turn hand them out to their patients, without really thinking about how patients who suffer from TBIs actually learn.

I feel sorry for the military — there just aren’t many options out there to effectively treat chronic pain.  It’s obvious the VA is struggling to treat not only recent veterans, but those from all of our past wars too.  And with the war against opioids and other drugs commonly used to treat pain, there are even less options for the VA.  Although I have to say that VA doctors appear to have nothing to fear from the DEA.

I think it’s just plain cruel to withhold medical cannabis from our veterans, many of whom can’t afford it even when they live in a legal state.  It’s cruel and shameful, as are most aspects of the drug war.

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