My Experiences in treating Veterans with Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Issues



                                           THE EAGLE

Sharp eyes and talons will flush out her prey,
she will stop at nothing to keep enemies at bay.
Warning cry’s echo, time is at hand,
when her prey is devoured, the eagle will land.
Americans be proud, watch the eagle soar,
protecting her nest from shore to shore.
A symbol of courage for all to see,
with honor and power, the eagle is free.

                                        — S. J. Aronhalt



flag3Some personal thoughts on Veterans Day. What a blessing and privilege I have had to be able to provide psychiatric care to Veterans during my career. I had the pleasure of working at several VA hospitals during the 1990s. One of those hospitals had one of the few outpatient Substance Use/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (SUPT) Clinics in the country. The majority of those outpatient individuals served our country during the Vietnam War. My heart was with them. I guess it was may way of saying I wanted to serve our country too. I tried to enlist in the Air Force after college but was denied due to “flat feet” and was told not ry to enlist in any branch of the Armed Forces in the future. I was let down. All because of flat feet.


I vicariously experienced their joy, sorrow, hurt, pain and unforgettable ordeals. I learned more than I ever wanted to know. But I needed to learn from them. What they have gone through will never be adequately written in history books. It was not, nor will be, portrayed by the media in its entirety. The movies give one only a taste of that it was like for these guys to have served their country. All at the same time attempting to remain clinically objective in order to provide the best possible treatment to them. That was the easy part. I will forever be indebted to those patients for what they gave to me. I think only the tone of this blog rather than the words can echo my sentiments for Veterans. militaryserviceshats1The combat forces, the logistics movers, planners, administrators and the too often forgotten support forces. The volunteers and the draftees. The doctors and nurses. The corpsmen, the cooks, the bakers, the truck drivers and fuelers. The boiler tenders and boatswain mates, laundrymen. Pilots, paratroopers, mechanics and reservists. The guards, clerks, MPs, those individuals who made sure the drunks got safely to bed. They are all equally important to me. How can I ever repay them?


Although most of my patients were male and from the Vietnam Era, my mind would eventually end up thinking about, curiously wondering and empathising for all the other men and women who served in prior wars. And for those who didn’t fight in war — continually on ‘duty’ for the United States of America. How did they serve? Were they hurt. Did they suffer emotionally? Did they have to be institutionalized? How many of them are still living? How has their military experience affected their aging process? What is their internal mental status like if they are demented? Are they still suffering in silence?


I would personally like to thank not only veterans who have served our country in the past, but to thank all of the men and women who are currently protecting our country. Protecting our freedom. Our rights. Our liberties. My freedom and liberties. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do pray for you all. Thank you for your courage. idealism and your perseverance in spite of what negativity you experience. Thank you for your decency and resolve. You have my greatest respect and admiration. I could never do what you do!


You deserve the best that America can offer you. I hope that you will receive the best spiritual, physical and psychiatric care during and after your service, your losses and sacrifices. I am also sorry that there wasn’t more media praise to you. I’m sorry that so many of the TV commercials today were for businesses and store ‘Veterday Day Sales.”



Thank you. God bless you. Happy Veterans Day!]


Fact of the Day: “God Bless America”

Today “God Bless America” is well known as a semi-official national anthem, but it was 22 years old before it was first heard in public. Irving Berlin wrote it during World War I, but it was not publicly sung until November 11, 1938, when Kate Smith introduced it on a radio broadcast.



Finally, thank you to the readers who have contributed information and commented on the blog. And for personal emails from you as well. I continue to pray that the Lord would make me a blessing in someone’s life today through giving of my time, my talents, and my prayers. 






5 Responses

  1. […] Steve Pasierb wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOne of those hospitals had one of the few outpatient Substance Use/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(SUPT) Clinics in the country. The majority of those outpatient individuals served our country during the Vietnam War. … […]

  2. Your prayers are answered clearly as you make a difference in my life with every post you make! Your gifts are great and your insights invaluable.

    Thank you.


  3. David, my son served as a Marine during the not talked about war in Lebanon in ’83..remember that one when the barracks were bombed and almost 300 Marines were blown to smithereens? He, my son, was sent in to clean up the horror..and has never been the same since. He is now free from drug addiction but suffers from lack of decent sleep..possibily sleep apnea. So many living breathing casualities remain with us. blessings, mmc

  4. An other interesting study, how about studying how the families of veterans are affected with what the veteran is going through?

    As for USA veterans getting the best of care, I am afraid that is not true as far as my father is concerned. Civilians have started interfering with that and they will not let Veterans Administration help him.

  5. PS. Love your Brain Training section

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: