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Re: ARTICLE: Fallout likely caused 15,000 deaths
Title: Re: ARTICLE: Fallout likely caused 15,000
Ruth Weiner, Ph.
1. I'm not an HP.
Okay, I will rephrase from "I worry when HPs practice
psychiatry" to "I worry when other than those trained in
psychiatry try to practice psychiatry or offer opinions on what is,
what is not, what causes, what does not cause, what could cause, and
what should not cause or result a psychiatric condition or what could
appear to be a psychiatric condition as defined in the
2. I don't "practice
Perhaps, but your posting "I just do not think one can compare having lived in
Harrisburg, PA, or even in the Chernobyl fallout, AND HAVING SUFFERED
NO PHYSICAL HEALTH EFFECT AT ALL, with shell-shock, or battle stress,
or being a crime victim." seems to offer an opinion on
a recognized psychiatric condition that is not (seemingly) in
accordance with what is recognized (in the DSM and by the APA) as
If, as you say, post-traumatic stress syndrome can occur in anyone who
believes himself or herself to be in a frightening situation,
recognizing that what scares A may not frighten B and may frighten C
enough to cause recurrent stress after the event, what is to be done
It is the APA that makes such statements. I only quoted and
paraphrased it. I also based it on how I have seen it applied to
intentional infliction of emotional distress or negligent infliction
of emotional distress with PTSD as the evidence indicative of an
Moreover, is there any objective way to
Objective - "Based on observable
phenomena." I can not fake the symptoms of a heart attack
(as observed by ECG and enzyme analysis); however, I could fake
symptoms of PTSD. Hum, can anything that relates to the mind of
another (such as is the red I see the same red as everyone else) be
truly objective? Where is Spock and the Vulcan mind meld when we need
him. Seriously, the APA lists the symptoms as:
PTSD usually appears within 3 months of the
trauma, but sometimes the disorder appears later. PTSD's symptoms
fall into three categories:
In people with PTSD, memories of the trauma reoccur unexpectedly, and
episodes called "flashbacks" intrude into their current
lives. This happens in sudden, vivid memories that are accompanied by
painful emotions that take over the victim's attention. This
reexperience, or "flashback," of the trauma is a
recollection. It may be so strong that individuals almost feel like
they are actually experiencing the trauma again or seeing it unfold
before their eyes and in nightmares.
Avoidance symptoms affect relationships with others: The person often
avoids close emotional ties with family, colleagues, and friends. At
first, the person feels numb, has diminished emotions, and can
complete only routine, mechanical activities. Later, when
reexperiencing the event, the individual may alternate between the
flood of emotions caused by reexperiencing and the inability to feel
or express emotions at all. The person with PTSD avoids situations or
activities that are reminders of the original traumatic event because
such exposure may cause symptoms to worsen.
The inability of people with PTSD to work out grief and anger over
injury or loss during the traumatic event means the trauma can
continue to affect their behavior without their being aware of it.
Depression is a common product of this inability to resolve painful
feelings. Some people also feel guilty because they survived a
disaster while others-particularly friends or family-did not.
PTSD can cause those who have it to act as if they are constantly
threatened by the trauma that caused their illness. They can become
suddenly irritable or explosive, even when they are not provoked. They
may have trouble concentrating or remembering current information,
and, because of their terrifying nightmares, they may develop
insomnia. This constant feeling that danger is near causes exaggerated
Finally, many people with PTSD also attempt to rid themselves of their
painful re-experiences, loneliness, and panic attacks by abusing
alcohol or other drugs as a "selfmedication" that helps them
to blunt their pain and forget the trauma temporarily. A person with
PTSD may show poor control over his or her impulses and may be at risk
I leave further research on this subject to the reader; however,
one can start at: http://www.psych.org
I get back to my
original question: how does one distinguish between fear and the fear
that can cause post-traumatic stress?
I was responding to your post that:
I am not questioning that post-traumatic
stress syndrome exists. However, actually being mugged and being
in a battle in a war is far, far more frightening and stressful than
hearing about TMI on the radio or reading it in the newspaper and
never noticing any physical health consequence at all. Even if
the person fears cancer, the FEAR is likely to fade with the passage
of time. And what would trigger post-traumatic stress in someone
who lived in Harrisburg when TMI happened? A radio program?
I just do not think one can compare having
lived in Harrisburg, PA, or even in the Chernobyl fallout, AND HAVING
SUFFERED NO PHYSICAL HEALTH EFFECT AT ALL, with shell-shock, or battle
stress, or being a crime victim.
I can find only one questions that you posited in the post to
which I was responding and it was not related to distinguishing
between fear and the fear that can cause PTSD. Your question was
"And what would trigger post-traumatic
stress in someone who lived in Harrisburg when TMI happened? A radio program? A
newspaper? " I believe that my first response
and this one both address that question.
However, what could cause PTSD for someone living in Harrisburg
PA (from TMI)? Well Harrisburg is further from TMI than is nearby
Hershey, but how about these as causing stress:
Days/weeks of indecision by the utility, state and federal
government, medical "authorities," and radiation safety
Days/weeks of receiving incorrect information and "facts"
from the utility, state and federal government, medical
"authorities," and radiation safety
The indecision by the NRC as to what the governor of PA should
The governor of PA calling for a partial evacuation.
The occurrence of an accident that had never before been
Day after day of news coverage by local and national news
organizations (at least some of which was intended to cause a
Being faced with a hazard (radiation exposure) that you can not
see, hear, smell and that some are telling you WILL cause cancer and
Not being able to tell your exposure.
Not being knowledgeable of the real risks from radiation.
A kook (a technical term?) riding around on a bike, wrapped in
tin foil, and taking radiation measurements with an old CDV meter.
Last calibrated in 19??.
--- I saw or experienced many of the above first hand. I
could go on, but why?
"I just do not think one can compare
having lived in Harrisburg, PA, or even in the Chernobyl fallout, AND
HAVING SUFFERED NO PHYSICAL HEALTH EFFECT AT ALL, with shell-shock, or
battle stress, or being a crime victim." Do you have any
evidence that NONE of the folks near TMI suffered NO PHYSICAL HEALTH
EFFECT AT ALL? If you mean no effect from radiation, I agree. However,
is loss of sleep, an increase in blood pressure, and other physical
effects of PTSD to be ignored if they occurred?
In response to your current question "how does one
distinguish between fear and the fear that can cause post-traumatic
stress?" Who is the "one" doing the distinguishing? An
individual who experienced the fear, an individual who did NOT
experience the fear, a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, an HP, a
news-person, a mechanical engineer, an artist, my mom . . .? I would
not expect them to have similar opinions.
Paul Lavely (just an old HP living in an administrative law