Monday, October 12, 2009

Avoiding Stress

There's an article on the front page of my newspaper today about some hard working psychologists at The University of Texas who are studying Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in soldiers. Let me disclose right off the bat that I have nothing but the highest regard for scholarly research in the field of psychology. My oldest son does it at Indiana University. He learned to ask questions like: What were they thinking? and, Why do they do that? growing up in a house where those questions were regularly pondered. Still, today's story on the work of Dr. Michael Telch and his staff with the Texas Combat PTSD Risk Project created no small amount of stress in me. The UT scientists are running Ft. Hood soldiers through a battery of tests before, during, and after battlefield deployment in an attempt to "provide important new insights into the causes of combat PTSD and ways to prevent it." If researchers can pinpoint risk factors for the disorder, says the article, perhaps it is possible to "inoculate" service members before they deploy to a war zone. Really? At Dr. Telch's UT website, he says this:

Fear can be a good thing.

Being afraid makes us heed severe weather warnings and keeps us from running across busy freeways. It is a survival mechanism.
I like the idea of fear when it comes to war. Should human beings really be "inoculated" to manage this fear? Is there a reason scenes like these should NOT terrify us? Perhaps the best answer to PTSD is to subject every politician pondering war to some real-life war scenes, in hopes that a fear response - which is embedded in each of our souls - will take the lead. End war. End combat PTSD. Peace.


Anonymous said...

I suppose the common argument for war is that we wage war there to protect those we love here. We consider those who go do it very brave. It strikes me that it requires greater courage to go without a gun to wage peace. I cite as evidence how much we fear giving it a try...and how little we do try.

I don't think avoiding fearful situations is the answer. Confronting our greater fear of participating in and our fear of depending upon peacemaking is the answer. Maybe it will occur to some psychologists to study what stops us from doing that.

- DC

Mama de la Paz said...

Great idea!