Many wonder, and mainstream media refuses to ask, if John McCain suffers from PTSD from his the five years of captivity, including three years in solitary and torture so extreme that, as he put it, "broke" him to the point he attempted suicide several times. Google the news section for 'mccain ptsd' and you will see zero articles from mainstream media pondering this question.
One of the most important considerations with regard to medical predictions of future PTSD, is how the initial trauma was dealt with.
In 1999, Dr. Michael M. Ambrose, director of the Robert E. Mitchell Center for Prisoner of War Studies, was contacted by John McCain to conduct a mental health review. The quality of the review is a matter of dispute as some say Dr. Ambrose did a full medical exam of the patient and others say the doctor only reviewed McCain's old medical records.
After the evaluation was completed, John McCain's 1999 campaign released a statement by Dr. Ambrose, which stated:
"McCain has never been diagnosed with or treated at the center for a psychological or psychiatric disorder (The term PTSD first appeared in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980, years after John McCain's initial military medical evaluations.). He has been subject to an extensive battery of psychological tests and following his last examination in 1993, we judged him to be in good physical and mental health.''
The McCain campaign press release included a statement by Dr. Ambrose, which reveals John McCain created a fantasy world in order to escape the reality of captivity and torture. They further stated McCain always heard the guards coming with his food, but "was often so much in his private world, that he strongly resented their coming around and bringing him back to reality by intruding. He was enjoying his fantasies so much."
"Findings suggest that it is less what happens at the time of a trauma (e.g., disrupted encoding) that predicts PTSD than what occurs thereafter (i.e., persistent avoidance)." [John Briere, Ph.D., Catherine Scott, M.D., and Frank Weathers, Ph.D.]
The keyword here is 'persistent avoidance' which was evidenced by the findings of Dr. Ambrose.
"The presence of dissociative symptoms soon after exposure to trauma has been found to predict the subsequent development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)" [Gary Tucker, MD, Published in Journal Watch Psychiatry October 9, 2002]
"The amount of dissociation that follows directly after a trauma predicts PTSD" [American Psychiatric Association]
"Individuals that are more likely to dissociate during a traumatic event are considerably more likely to develop chronic PTSD" [Brown, Scheflin and Hammond (1998). Memory, Trauma Treatment, And the Law.]
"In several studies, dissociation at the time of a trauma (peritraumatic dissociation) has been found to predict symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder at follow-up assessments' [Michael W. Otto, PhD, Published in Journal Watch Psychiatry July 21, 2005]
"Early numbing contributed to the prediction of later PTSD" [Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, Psychiatry Department, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine]
"Peritraumatic dissociation is frequently considered to be a risk factor for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)" [Doris C. Breh PhD, Department of Psychotraumatology, Psychosomatic University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany]
Ambrose later told the Associated Press, "He had a very healthy way of dealing with his experiences." One of the examiners even noted that McCain had improved his ability to control his infamous temper due to his years of torture and captivity.
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