The Hiding of Paranoia

June 4, 2007 at 7:45 am | Posted in debillitating, dysfunctional, fear, ktismatics, normal, paranoia, paranoid, psychotherapy, PTSD, veterans, Vietnam veterans, warzone | 2 Comments

PTSD, what do you really know about it? Posttraumatic Stress Disorder has been recognised as a common aftereffect of exposure to warzones since the early 1980s. The phenomenon was first identified in Vietnam Vets. Now, those were the days of my youth in college and I got to know quite a few veterans of the Vietnam War on-campus.

I distinctly remember that many of the veterans had a heightened sense of imminent danger that we would otherwise call paranoia. Now, the odd thing is that during a recent series of exchanges at Ktismatics (follow the title link) on fear, depression, and how we perceive/understand reality, I looked up PTSD on a number of sites and found that paranoia, a heightened sense of fear/danger, is prominenlty missing.

I wonder why? Are we afraid to recognise just how devastating a condition PTSD is? This is certainly possible for the fact is that more than 30% of all soldiers in any real war will suffer from PTSD and for many of these people it will be a debillitating, isolating, lifelong reality, of being dysfunctional in society.

I’m just curious, do any of you know warzone vets who are not paranoid? if I had been subjected to these kinds of stress continuously even for a short space of time, I would be!

But, the more fascinating question that arises is, “is there any reason for people in ‘normal’ (not war-torn) society to not be paranoid?” Are these Vets perhaps simply responding to real dangers that actually exist but that we have sublimated for some reason or the other? Maybe society and the global marketplace are geared to bury the fears, so that production and efficiency are not affected… Even if it is not a silent conspiracy, could it be that fear itself is societally considered the enemy?

The reality is that it is not only soldiers who need to worry about PTSD, or live with fear. Any psychological trauma can bring it on including motor vehicle accidents, having been a victim of child abuse, rape, a natural disaster, and other common occurrences within ‘normal’ society.

Any thoughts?

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2 Comments »

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  1. This article brings about many thoughts. I’ve still to order the book of Zajden about recovering from the holocaust.
    Freud describes how soldiers in natural people have cleansing rituals when they killed someone in combat. This I realize now is nothing to laugh about. It is about the psychological sanity of our peace keepers.

  2. Yes, the statistics on PTSD are really frightening and this does not count ‘milder’ problems of depression, panic attacks…

    I am horrified at the thought that the army knows about it and does nothing concrete to help these people who have in fact laid down their lives and their mental health for the sake of their country!


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