PTSD And TBI Are Not Domestic Violence by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D.


 

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| Chapter 4 - Psychological Studies Of Domestic Violence |

| Next — "Shameful" Secret? Post-traumatic Symptoms In The Corrections Ranks by Caterina Spinaris Tudor Ph.D. |

| Back — The Change Of Life, Hysterectomies, And Domestic Violence by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. |


 

Index

What manner of fiends are these?

Post traumatic stress disorder

Diagnostic criteria and symptoms

Why PTSD looks like domestic violence

Traumatic brain injuries


 

What manner of fiends are these?

In the name of ending domestic violence a draconian set of laws that ignores virtually all of English jurisprudence has arisen. Such frivolous impediments to convicting an accused man (and some women) as presumption of innocence until proven guilty, denial of perjury and subornation of perjury, exclusion of hearsay as evidence, use of arrest and search warrants, due process, setting reasonable bail, jurisdiction of the court, and the requirement for prosecutors to establish both mens rea 1 and actus reus 2 beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury of one's peers, have been destroyed.

Instead, torture and coerced plea bargains have been substituted and these barbaric practices are particularly effective against the disabled. The necessity for this is explained by continually castigating men for their support of the patriarchy, which it is claimed is maintained by men battering and abusing their wives and girlfriends. Members of the Armed Forces are, by definition, patriarchs and trained killers.

Clearly, radical feminist ideology and the resultant indiscriminate draconian laws with mandatory arrest, no drop prosecution, and primary aggressor policies lead to the wholesale destruction of military careers and their families and children based on the injuries and stress of combat. For doing their duty and honoring the call of their country, radical feminism rewards these men and women with arrest and destruction of their lives if they survive the multiple tours of combat they commonly endure today. Typically these men, and a few women, lose their veteran's benefits as well when caught up in the nightmare of DV courts, and commonly become homeless mental wrecks, or end up in prison, and, all too often, eventually commit suicide. In 2010 it is estimated that a veteran commits suicide every 18 minutes.

If you are not outraged by such indecent and disgusting treatment of our most honorable citizen soldiers then there is little vestige of humanity in you!

It should be remembered that in the wars of the 20 th Century that psychiatric casualties outnumbered physical casualties and the problems often didn't become apparent for years or decades after the combat. So even after the current wars end these problems will not go away and are virtually certain to grow worse with time.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are not limited to soldiers in combat. Any encounter with interpersonal violence can lead to PTSD symptoms and any number of accidents may result in the closed-head injuries that characterize TBI.

The reality is, however, that there are many more civilian cases of PTSD and TBI than among veterans. The problem is not trivial but societies response to these problems is asinine.


 

1. Mens rea "guilty mind" generally requires the prosecution to prove the defendant acted purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, willfully, and intentionally. That is of particular importance in cases where the defendant is mentally impaired, e.g., traumatic brain injuries, or reacts instinctively without conscious intent, e.g., flashbacks with post traumatic stress disorder or a startle response due to combat stress.

2. Actus reus requires the prosecution to prove the defendant voluntarily committed a criminal act. The model penal code specifically describes what are considered involuntary acts and thus not criminal: (1) a reflex or convulsion; (2) a bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep; (3) conduct during hypnosis or resulting from hypnotic suggestion; (4) a bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or the determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual.


 

Post traumatic stress disorder

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Look at an infantryman's eyes and you can tell how much war he has seen.

Bill Mauldin, Up Front, 1944.

The characteristic symptoms of post traumatic stress are:

• Sleeplessness (probably the most common and the first thing one notices);

• Dissociation from actual events and no memory of them is characteristic;

• Nightmares often accompanied by kicking and fighting in one's sleep;

• Impotence in males;

• Irrational anger or irritability accompanied by emotional or violent outbursts;

• Anxiety and a need for unconditional control of almost every situation in order to feel safe;

• Panic attacks and hyperventilating;

• Social withdrawal and fear of crowded places (often will not leave house or go shopping until early morning hours);

• Difficulty concentrating, focusing, or remembering (resembles short-term memory loss);

• Hypervigilance often expressed as a fear of crowds and a need to do a reconnaissance before entering an area or building, e.g. WalMart;

• Flashbacks to the event(s); and

• An exaggerated and often violent startle response.

In many cases these symptoms may be mild and disappear within days or weeks. In others, the symptoms increase with time and develop into the mental disorder now-known as PTSD, particularly if the trauma is recurring.

While post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly associated with soldiers after ground combat it can occur as the result of any traumatic event and more civilians than veterans suffer from this condition.

For example, you pass a car accident with bodies strewn on the roadway. For a few weeks you have difficulty sleeping and some nightmares. After that the scene is scarcely remembered and doesn't bother you much anymore. But if the bodies strewn across the highway were your children and spouse, PTSD is likely to continue for a lifetime. Often the severity of the condition increases with time, especially if untreated.

If the carnage and violence are repeated and continue over time, or the deaths and injuries involve loved ones or close friends, as noted above, then the stressors often lead to chronic or acute PTSD. The effects of continuing combat stress are well illustrated by the 82 day 1945 Okinawa campaign. Of the 36,000 casualties counted as "wounded," 17,000 (48%) were the result of "battle stress," or what we now call PTSD.

In study after study two factors show up again and again as critical to the magnitude of the post-traumatic response.

First, and most obvious is the intensity of the initial trauma. Everyone has a "breaking point" beyond which they cannot endure the trauma without lasting effects.

Second, and less obvious but absolutely vital factor, is the nature of the social support structure available to the traumatized individual, e.g., family, military unit, or sometimes just friends they can talk openly with. The latter is particularly critical with combat veterans who typically only relate with other veterans.

Other factors that may contribute to psychological trauma include dissociation or "spacing out" during the event, e.g., during a rape; proximity to the event in time and space; prolonged or repeated exposure; intense distress when exposed to or during the event; physical injury, particularly head injuries, during the event; prior exposure to traumatic incidents or life losses, e.g., loss of a spouse years after combat my trigger PTSD; pre-existing anxiety or depression; and chronic medical conditions. Substance abuse or dependence may also increase an individual's risk to trauma-induced stress and will certainly lead to the individual attempting to self medicate afterward.

Diagnostic criteria and symptoms

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Diagnostic criteria for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) requires exposure to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

1. The individual experienced, witnessed, or was confronted by events involving actual or threatened death or serious injury of self or others.

2. The response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

To officially fall within the diagnostic guidelines the symptoms must last for at least a month. A duration of less than three months is considered "acute," three months or more is considered "chronic," and "delayed" refers to an onset of symptoms at least six months after the traumatic experience. Delayed PTSD may occur decades after the trauma.

Symptoms that are typically manifested following such traumatic events can be divided into three clusters, and Dr. Tudor gives examples of each among prison correction officers in the following article. But her examples are valid for anyone suffering from PTSD:

1. Physiological arousal: Here the sufferer exhibits symptoms of hyper-arousal characterized by difficulty sleeping, violent outbursts without justification, and an exaggerated startle response. For example, they come up fighting when suddenly awoken. A loud noise like a car backfiring sends them diving for cover. They often self medicate, typically with alcohol, in order to sleep at all. Again, the violence, or striking out when startled, or suddenly awakened is often prosecuted as domestic violence.

2. Intrusive cluster: The sufferer has recurrent, uncontrollable recollections of the traumatic event that express themselves as nightmares or "flashbacks." Flashbacks are often so "real" that the individual behaves as though they were actually in the remembered moment. The experience can be both terrifying and dangerous, not just for the one who experiences the intrusion, but for anyone else present during the flashback. For example, the sufferer will often fight and kick in their sleep during the nightmares. As a result their intimate partners may be bruised or worse and the sufferer prosecuted for domestic violence.

3. Avoidance cluster: Here the individual attempts to avoid circumstances, locations, or activities that might trigger recollections of the events or flashbacks. PTSD sufferers in this cluster withdraw from social contact and activities, and develop a protective emotional numbing often aided by substance abuse, typically alcohol although other drugs are frequently used. Their avoidance of any and all social activities, e.g., driving, shopping, crowds, etc., sucks the joy and vitality from their lives and those around them. That is often interpreted as emotional abuse by intimate partners and closely fits the definition of "power and control" widely touted by domestic violence advocates.

Obviously combat infantry are likely to meet these criteria and combat medics or corpsmen will be particularly susceptible. For details on PTSD in these situations Penny Coleman's book Flashback: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War, and Dave Grossman and Loren Christensen's book On Combat are highly recommended. Tears Of A Warrior tells the story of a family living with PTSD.

I have found no better description of the horrors and impact of combat than E. B. Sledge's book With The Old Breed, a vivid, appalling description of his experience with Kilo Company/Third Battalion/Fifth Marines (K/3/5) during the Peleliu and Okinawa campaigns in World War II. For scale, K/3/5 landed on Okinawa on April 1, 1945, with 235 officers and men. The company joined at least 250 replacements (some replacements were killed or wounded so quickly they were never entered on the company roster) for a total of 485 Marines serving with K/3/5 during the campaign. Of the fifty Marines left at the end of the campaign only 25 had made the initial landing.

And the lifetime endurance of PTSD is well-illustrated by E. B. Sledge's description of his experiences during the Okinawa campaign in 1945:

"The increasing dread of going back into action obsessed me. It became the subject of the most torturous and persistent of the ghastly war nightmares that have haunted me for many, many years. The dream is always the same, going back up to the lines during the bloody, muddy month of May on Okinawa. It remains blurred and vague, but occasionally still comes, even after the nightmares about the shock and violence of Peleliu have faded and been lifted from me like a curse."

As a result of the current wars, at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs alone we now have, at any given time, approximately 10,000 soldiers who have completed two or more combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan and some PTSD is inevitable in all of these troops. Of the 10,000, approximately 3,000 now or will suffer from severe PTSD that is chronic or acute. Of the 10,000 it is estimated that roughly 2,000 have some level of traumatic brain injuries ranging from repeated concussions to gunshot or shrapnel wounds to the skull.

Why PTSD looks like domestic violence

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Individuals with PTSD will suffer:

• Significant emotional distress, including suicidal ideation in some cases, that is made worse by chronic sleeplessness;

• Impairment of intimate or social relationships often expressed as irrational and inexplicable anger;

• Nightmares in which they kick and fight while asleep;

• Violent awakenings or they may possibly attack someone who startles them, particularly from behind. Anyone who has had to awaken a veteran has likely had the experience of them coming up swinging and they learn to stand back or shake the foot of the bed;

• Dissociation from events or reality, often resembling short-term memory loss;

• Impotence that may result in strains in an intimate relationship that makes the situation worse;

Spouses also tell of veterans putting their hands around their necks while undergoing flashbacks or dissociating. This has been so commonly reported to me as to be regarded as a hallmark symptom of PTSD. When they call for help the veteran is arrested for felony strangulation even though the veteran probably has no memory of the incident.

Other wives speak of being kicked while their husband slept and having terrible bruises on their thighs. Many veterans come up swinging if awoken suddenly or if startled.

Commonly sufferers of PTSD will attempt to self medicate with alcohol, finding the only way they can sleep is after imbibing heavily. DUI charges are one common manifestation of this and family fights often result from the drinking, particularly if the spouse is also drinking.

The correlation of these PTSD symptoms with "domestic violence" are obvious.

In other cases the spouse physically attempts to stop the veteran from committing suicide. In the ensuing struggle the spouse may be injured and, if help arrives in time to stop the suicide, the veteran is then arrested for felony assault. Why should trying to stop the suicide of someone you love be considered a crime?

Wives or girlfriends unfamiliar with PTSD may naturally be frightened by this behavior and call the police expecting, and hoping to receive help. Instead, their horror is increased by police who are mandated by law, or insist on arresting the man despite their pleas that he just needs help. Often, because the veteran is violent, drunk, or disoriented peace officers are left with no option but to make an arrest. Because of his condition, or if he has been drinking, the man (or woman) may make the situation worse by becoming aggressive and belligerent with police, particularly if they are experiencing a flashback. They are then charged with resisting arrest as well as domestic violence.

In reviewing veteran arrests it became apparent that many were being arrested for shoplifting. In discussions with veterans suffering from TBI and PTSD it became apparent that the short-term memory loss they commonly endure sometimes results in their picking up items in a store and forgetting they have them before they exit. Video surveillance clearly shows them picking up the item and they are then arrested even though they have no memory of taking the item.

And post traumatic means just that. Often these symptoms won't express themselves for months or years after the events, or only one or two of the symptoms may be present initially with the problems getting worse with time if untreated.

Fortunately, the military is becoming more adept at recognizing and treating PTSD.

Redfems, who hate warriors with a particular passion, have leapt at this opportunity to persecute and taunt veterans at every turn with the epithet of "trained killers." As a result, veterans and active-duty military are left to the tender mercies of radical-feminist courts and jail, compounding their nightmares.

And if military personnel plead guilty or are convicted of "domestic violence" in these trumped-up cases, or are given a permanent restraining order, they will lose their security clearance, be tossed out of the military with a less than honorable discharge, lose their veteran's benefits including health care, lose any professional licenses they may have, and can never handle or be in proximity to a weapon or ammunition again for the rest of their lives.

Society will ultimately pay a high price for these outrages!

 

Traumatic brain injuries

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We are often asked what is traumatic brain injury, or TBI? Many people have been hit in the head, knocked unconscious, or suffered mild concussions without any apparent permanent damage. So why is TBI such a serious problem and how is it differentiated from the normal hard knocks of a lifetime? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides the following summary:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. TBI symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain, but with closed-head injuries the extent of brain damage is probably not immediately apparent.

With mild TBI the patient may remain conscious or experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes, fading in and out of awareness. Other symptoms include headache, confusion, light-headedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.

With moderate or severe TBI these same symptoms may be present but the individual may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation. Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes is one of the first things medical personnel check for with TBI.

Little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma. Stabilization is critical and prevention of further injury is essential. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure if there are open wounds and bleeding.

Approximately half of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels or contusions (bruised brain tissue). As soon as facilities are available skull and neck X-rays to check for bone fractures or spinal instability are usually done. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are increasingly valuable in evaluating the extent of brain injuries and diagnosing functionality during recovery and rehabilitation.

Long-term prognosis is often not possible during the immediate recovery period. Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location and type of the injury or wound, and the age and general health of the individual.

Moderate to severe TBI often impacts speech and language skills, and wounds may involve the jaw, tongue, vocal cords, or speech centers of the brain itself. Motor skills may also be affected by their wounds and they may stagger when they walk, for example. Convulsions and seizures may also make them appear crazy or drunk in public or private, which may result in their arrest.

Some common disabilities associated with TBI include problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning), sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication (expression and understanding), and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness). There is also a suggestion that moderate to severe TBI can result in the development of bipolar disorder in some patients. Combat veterans suffering from TBI often have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well.

Obviously severe TBI can result in a more-or-less permanent vegetative state but those sad cases are beyond the scope of this discussion.

Clearly, within an intimate relationship TBI is going to have many of the characteristics of abusive and violent behavior as defined by radical feminists. And, again, when a wife or girlfriend becomes frightened by the erratic behavior, the seizures, or other symptoms, and dials 911 for help the DV police are going to arrest the soldier or veteran. His often slurred speech, socially inappropriate behavior, and aggression will all be used against him in jail and in court where, typically, he will be denied essential medications.

After a cold and sleepless night, or several, in jail this brain-injured individual will be brought into court, often without ever being given a chance to see a defense attorney. Then a zealot, often female and posing as a prosecutor, will demand they enter a plea bargain without any explanation of the consequences of a guilty plea. Should the befuddled defendant sign what often amounts to a death sentence, they will be given a restraining order forbidding them to go home and cast into the street. If they have enough of their senses left to plead not guilty, soldiers are commonly told they will be held in jail until trial six months away.

What manner of fiends treat our wounded and disabled in this fashion?

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| EJF Home | Find Help | Help the EJF | Comments? | Get EJF newsletter | Newsletters |

| Domestic Violence Book | DV Site Map | Data tables | DV bibliography | DV index |

 

| Chapter 4 - Psychological Studies Of Domestic Violence |

| Next — "Shameful" Secret? Post-traumatic Symptoms In The Corrections Ranks by Caterina Spinaris Tudor Ph.D. |

| Back — The Change Of Life, Hysterectomies, And Domestic Violence by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. |


 

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Added 12/10/08

Last modified 5/18/15