As a Nurse Practitioner, mom, wife, friend, sister and neighbor, people are always asking me for health advice. I love translating complicated medical information to help people navigate their way toward better health and wellness. I’ll help you find the information you need to make the best decisions for your health and the health of your family.
Here’s to better health,
Nurse Barb Dehn RN MS NP
Were the recent Navy Seal Deaths Suicide from PTSD?
In the news recently, we learned that 2 former Navy Seals were found on the Maersk Alabama dead from apparent overdoses. The 2 men were working as security guards on the same ship that gained world-wide attention when Somali pirates hijacked it. Were their deaths from suicide and PTSD? It’s a questions that comes up because it’s the same ship that was featured in the movie Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks. It’s a devastating tragedy for their families no matter what happened or what led them to that particular place.
Could it have been PTSD?
Because of the high rates of suicide in our veterans, many of us are more and more alarmed at the price many of our servicemen and women are paying for the rest of us. Estimates are that Veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as people who haven’t been in the military. For younger vets, the number of deployments was a factor as well as where they were sent. I have friends and family in the military and have heard from other clinicians who care for vets. It all adds up to a very big issue.
One of my friends is a former Navy Seal, who said that he felt that it was even harder for special forces to admit that they were struggling, because they were supposed to be the “elite.” All the recognition and special forces being the answer to so many problems that they didn’t want to admit to their own emotional scars with the tasks they were assigned. [...]
A patient called the other day and asked me to prescribe medical marijuana to help her sleep. She had heard that it would help her sleep better. She’s in her 50′s, has 2 kids, works full time and says that she only used marijuana in college a few times. After this jaw dropping request, I stopped and asked a few more questions, because more information was needed to help solve this her issue.
I’m not a sleep or pain specialist and so I needed to know what was going on before making a recommendation. I’m learning more about cannabinoid receptors and the effect of medical marijuana on neuropathic pain, and especially to treat the pain that results from Multiple Sclerosis. I had read that while medical marijuana can help people get to sleep, it might not be the best option for improving REM sleep and helping people stay asleep or feel well rested the next day. I needed more information from this patient.
Night time waking
Turns out, she has no problem falling asleep, but does wake up at about 4-5 am and can’t get back to sleep for about 1 hour. When she’s frustrated with tossing and turning, she gets up and watches TV, mostly the shopping networks, then she orders something that she doesn’t need. When I asked her if her mind races when she wakes up, she said yes because she worries about money all the time. There were other things that came up, she had no pain, no chronic illnesses. [...]