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View Diary: 4th Self-Pity Rant by Soon-to-be Blue Star Mom (161 comments)

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  •  There's actually a biological basis for this (2+ / 0-)
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    gooderservice, alkalinesky

    Continuous exposure to combat (or other forms of violence/trauma) tends to cause neurological changes, mostly in the mid-brain, I believe. Basically, the fight-flight-freeze circuits develop a hair-trigger. The brain becomes conditioned, more or less, to release more and larger quantities of what might be best described as "combat chemicals." Also, it's slower to flush them from the system.

    You become an adrenaline junkie, hooked on your own juice.

    It's an adaptive mechanism--when people are shooting at you frequently and without warning, well, it's sort of handy to be able to have split-second combat reflexes. Problem is, you go back home & those combat reflexes can get you in trouble for the reasons obvious enough that I don't figure I need to spell them out. It's hard to unwire since the process, for most people I think, is more affective then intellectual.

    There's also a sort of general institutionalization  process that goes on. Once people get used to an environment, however screwed up it is, it can hard to return to an environment which other folks might file under "normalcy." It can actually be more psychologically comfortable for some people to stay in an environment where they know that they might be killed at any moment because, well, it's what they've become conditioned to. And when killing is your profession and you don't know much else, well, what are you going to do in "the real world."


    •  Thank you for explaining that. (0+ / 0-)

      It was very enlightening.  It makes a lot of sense.

      A Leader Without Followers Is Just A Guy Taking A Walk

      by gooderservice on Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 08:59:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm pretty passionate on this matter (1+ / 0-)
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        I've never served in uniform but I've got a lot of experience with PTSD. I've studies it extensively and experienced it full-blown--I'm probably going to have to do some serious explaining to the landlord for a flashback-related incident from this Wednsday.

        Physical or secual abuse, particularly as a child, is a frequent cause. Sudden loss by violence of a loved one, persistent abuse (any kind, if it's severe enough and there is no way to fight back) can do it. So can Extreme neglect/poverty/persistent & ignored pain as an adult. All of these are potential causes. It is brutal, vicious, knows no boundaries and I am on the side of ANYONE who has been through this wringer.

        Working on a diary on the subject.

        Nobody should be left behind. Nobody.

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