Motivation After Post-Deployment Syndrome Diagnosis

With the help of your doctor and your family, laying out a strategy with priorities for recovery makes all the difference in recovery.

While--knowing the diagnosis and hearing a summary of what we see in Post-Deployment Syndrome helps patients. Just saying that. Painting for them the picture: "Here is what we think is going on. Here are the multiple diagnoses that it encompasses. Here are the symptoms, which you fit perfectly." People like that. People actually do like--people are very comforted to say, "I knew I wasn't going crazy. There are 200 other people that this doctor and this team have seen in the last year." And it's very reassuring because it gives a sense of confidence in what the team is doing and understanding. But that wears thin. you know. If you say it extremely well and lively, it lasts a little longer, but typically--you know--in a couple days, the reality is still-- or in a couple hours, the reality of the multiple difficulties that the person is having. Well, when you've got five to seven symptoms, no good caregiver is going to try to tackle all of them at once. You're not going to succeed. Too many medicines, too many treatments, too much time spent doing these. So you typically identify with the person, "What is the one symptom, or maybe two, that if you could fix today and tomorrow, you would start to feel better?" You need to lay out a strategy. You need to have a game plan or a mission plan. And ideally that's done in a written form, sometimes a tape-recorded form if the person brings a tape recorder with them or you have one to give them. Family members should be part of this discussion.
Posted on BrainLine November 12, 2010.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Brian King, BrainLine.

About the author: David Cifu, MD

David Cifu, MD is chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia, and national director of the PM&R program office for the Veterans Health Administration.

David X. Cifu, MD