PTSD by “Manzar”

I was diagnosed with PTSD in 1988, as a direct result of my involvement in the Viet Nam war.  My symptoms were typical.  Night sweats, depression, flash backs, rage and suicidal ideations.

As I grew into my 30's, attempts at self-medication, mainly through the use of alcohol, were becoming disastrous.  Lost jobs, relationships and self-esteem had all taken their toll.  Somehow I was able to maintain a successful sales career during the day, while falling into a drunken state at night.  By the age of 40, the two life styles began to merge and I opted for alcohol rehabilitation.  With the absence of "MY medication", the symptoms became worse to the point of admission to a VA hospital for treatment.  Three months later I was diagnosed with chronic PTSD, depression and suicidal tendencies.  The next 11 years were a merry-go-round of psychotropic drugs, VA hospital stays (as long as a year at a time), cops, incarcerations, legal problems, involuntary commitments in mental wards, and suicide attempts.

In 1999, I visited another vet with whom I had developed a relationship in a year long stay at a VA hospital.  He seemed to be doing surprisingly well, and I asked him for the secret to his success.  He informed me that he had started smoking marijuana.  This did not appeal to me due to the illegality and the subculture involved, but his recovery was truly remarkable.

In consultation with my psychiatrist, I was slowly weaned from my daily dose of 45-50 pills a day (Lithium, Prozac, trazodone, Ativan, Valium etc.) over a six- month period.

I started smoking marijuana three years ago with immediate results.  Today, I take no medications and my symptoms are manageable.  I live a relatively normal life.  I am active both socially and in my church.  My marriage is restored and I am productive once again.  Butt alas I have to keep my "Secret" hidden.

I smoke one or two joints a night, in the confines of my home.  I never leave the house after I light up and never drive under the influence, but the threat of law enforcement is ever present.  I guess that is a price I will pay for my own well- being.

Obviously, my results are anecdotal, but I have seen similar results in other vets who experience the debilitating effects of PTSD.  I would encourage more research into this area just for the potential benefits it might propose.  I have made my choice and the benefits far out weigh the stereotypes and the bias of marijuana use.  As a person suffering from long-term, chronic PTSD any relief is welcome relief.  I keep my "Secret" to myself and I am sure that you will respect my confidentiality.