Monday, November 13, 2017

Mental Illness No Longer a Bar to Military Service

11/13/17 USA Today reports that the military is no longer rejecting recruits with mental illness problems.  Not like military service and its demands could be a problem.

A reader jogged my memory.  PTSD and bipolar disorder are comorbid.
The purpose of this study was to identify subjects with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) consequent to hallucinations and delusions and the experiences related to psychosis in schizophrenic and bipolar subjects. Schizophrenic and bipolar subjects were given questionnaires in order to evaluate PTSD incidence and symptoms. Subjects with classical types of trauma were excluded. Depression and stress scales were also answered. About one-third of schizophrenic subjects and one-half of bipolar subjects met PTSD criteria on the Penn PTSD Inventory.


Gladorn said...

Growing up, every kid in school was prescribed some form of Ritalin. Yep, a bar to military service. Yet the schools would kick the kids out for misbehavior if the kid's didn't get a prescription.

How did the recruiters deal with this? "Don't ask, don't tell."

takirks said...

If they ever actually did any real longitudinal studies on these things, the cost/benefit ratio for doing these "mental health waivers" will absolutely not turn out to be of benefit to the military or the nation as a whole.

Every single case of PTSD that I'm acquainted with personally involved someone I felt never should have been allowed to enlist in the first damn place--There's a huge correlation between a bunch of different contributory factors that nobody wants to talk about. Things like a childhood history of being prescribed medications for hyperactivity, ADHD, divorce, you name it. Pretty much, if the soldier had a bunch of indicators from pre-military service, you could just about predict that they'd demonstrate poor coping skills and a likelihood of developing PTSD-related issues.

My personal opinion is that we need to be a lot more pro-active and careful about who we enlist, and what jobs they are put into. You don't take someone with a bunch of indicators for personality disorders, and then put them into situations where they're going to accumulate a bunch of other trauma. A good analogy would be radiation exposure, to my mind--If you come from a background of instability, have experienced serious trauma already, such as an abusive childhood, you should not be enlisted or commissioned into jobs where you are likely to receive exponentially more exposure to traumatic experiences. Sure, some of the people who've come out of those backgrounds develop better coping skills than the average, but that ain't the way to bet.

I guarantee you that this decision will lead to future problems, just like the decision to "normalize" sexually confused behavior like Bradley Manning led directly to his misconduct. When I began my military career, Manning would have never been allowed to enlist at all, especially with the mental health issues he'd already demonstrated. By the end of my career, the idiots were not only allowing his sort to enlist, but then compounding the problem by giving them high security clearances.

And, then they acted all surprised when he turned out to be a walking security violation...

Clayton Cramer said...

takirks: There is some evidence that PTSD is more common in bipolars.

Clayton Cramer said...

Gladorn: Where did you grow up? The only kid I knew given that was my brother-in-law, now a completely helpless druggie.

Gladorn said...

Me? Virginia. In relation to the kids that I went to Middle and High School with, I've seen very little correlation between Ritalin and drug use.

Yes a number of kids got into drugs but we kind of all knew who was going to do drugs in High School and not all of them were on Ritalin.

Will said...

I suspect that kids prescribed ADD meds don't learn how to deal with their different brain wiring to begin with. This guarantees they will be a problem when they don't have access to those meds. Instead of an assistant, the meds become a necessary crutch they require to be functional. Take it away, and they revert to childish incompetence. No way does this make them an asset to the military.

(ADD runs in both my parents families, apparently)

Clayton Cramer said...

Gladorn: Not suggesting that it did cause it. Just observing that such drugs were rarely used for out of control kids when I was young. Paddles were used by the Vice Principal instead.