This special forces veteran is rowing across the Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness of PTS(D) and needs your help to do it

I've been transparent about it elsewhere online, but I'll say it again here: my last career left me with a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (you can drop the 'D' from that if it troubles you, I get it) diagnosis. I spent years, crippled by depression, flashbacks and alcoholism before finding the strength to reach out for help. Thanks to counseling, a few gnarly prescriptions and the support of a strong partner, I've been able to crawl back from the edge. It wasn't easy.

After entering counseling, I worked to be more open about my issues. Doing so caused me to lose a gig that I'd had for years, even though they were cool with my performance up until then. It left me feeling more alienated and alone than I had in years. But, a few years later, I'm now in a better head space than I have been in close to two decades. So, saying that, causes that promote awareness and understanding of Post Traumatic Stress and battlefield injuries are close to my heart.

This is one of those.

As a veteran of the Royal Marines, Tim Crockett's seen his share of combat and knows more than a few soldiers who have been kissed by Post Traumatic Stress during the course of their duties. This year, he'll be rowing a 20-foot long boat across the Atlantic Ocean to help raise awareness, understanding and helping those of us with PTS(D) to get the help we need. It's a 3,000 nautical mile trek that'll start in the Canary Islands and end in Antigua. Read the rest

Historic FDA approval granted for Ecstasy trial as PTSD treatment

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies announced that the FDA has granted MDMA (aka Ecstasy/Molly) a "Breakthrough Therapy" designation as part of a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From the journal Science:

One of the main targets in the war on drugs could well become a drug to treat the scars of war. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), better known as the illegal drug ecstasy, a "breakthrough therapy" for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a status that may lead to faster approval.

The agency has also approved the design for two phase III studies of MDMA for PTSD that would be funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit in Santa Cruz, California. MAPS announced the "breakthrough therapy" designation, made by FDA on 16 August, on its website today; if the group can find the money for the trials, which together could cost an estimated $25 million, they may start next spring and finish by 2021.

That an illegal dancefloor drug could become a promising pharmaceutical is another indication that the efforts of a dedicated group of researchers interested in the medicinal properties of mind-altering drugs is paying dividends. Stringent drug laws have stymied research on these compounds for decades. "This is not a big scientific step," says David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London. "It’s been obvious for 40 years that these drugs are medicines. But it’s a huge step in acceptance."

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Joe Biden's heartfelt answer to Trump's PTSD comments

Trump hit on something Joe Biden takes very, very seriously.

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Study confirms a physical correlate to PTSD: "brown dust" in the brain

Since WWI, doctors have speculated that PTSD's underlying cause was some sort of physical damage caused by blast-waves from bombs, which literally shook loose something important in the brains of sufferers. Read the rest

Real stories of psychiatric support dogs, and the people who rely on them

Hopes&Fears has a beautiful feature up today on the lives of service dogs for people with psychiatric disabilities and mental illnesses.

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Elephants get PTSD, too: orphans lack social knowledge they need to survive in the wild

Photograph via National Geographic, by Graeme Shannon

A recent study investigated the impact of culling and relocation on elephant decision-making and cognition decades later. African elephants are highly intelligent and social creatures, and rely on their sophisticated communication skills to survive in the wild. How does the trauma of being separated from "loved ones" and their native terrain change how orphaned elephants think, and cope?

From a recent National Geographic article by Christy Ullrich Barcus: Read the rest

Army seeks to counteract PTSD nightmares with "real-life Inception"

Danger Room reports that an Army-backed R&D project called “Power Dreaming” at Naval Hospital Bremerton in Washington State promises to help troops battle their nightmares with digital "counter-dreams": virtual dream stimuli. The Army awarded about half a million dollars to a consulting company for help developing the experiment, which is scheduled to launch next year. Read the rest