Bradley William Stone & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

An Iraq War veteran has reportedly killed five family members, seriously injured a seventeen-year-old and taken his own life. It was stated that he killed his ex-wife, her mother and grandmother, sister, brother-in-law and a fourteen- years-old niece. How could an ex-Marine deemed permanently disabled do such a thing? Perhaps the mystery is solved with the utterance of four words, not unfamiliar to veterans: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It was reported that Bradley William Stone was in court for child custody dispute with his ex-wife who filed for divorce in 2009. Could the divorce have exacerbated his diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by the Veteran’s Administration? And what other factors might have contributed to something as dramatic as mass murder suicide?

As it came out in court proceedings, Mr. Stone resented his divorce and his ex-wife’s recent engagement to another man. Making matters worse for his mental state, was the court’s custody decisions regarding his children. It was also reported he stalked and intimidated his ex-wife to the point where she was afraid to go home not knowing if he would be there.

Having been haunted with the demons of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder since being a soldier in the Iraqi war, these added emotions and negative thoughts may have created an imperfect storm of sorts that may have tipped the scales, overloading his amygdala, putting him over the edge.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a subjugated condition which can cause angry reactions towards one’s self and others. Characteristic with the condition are thoughts and memories that can cause a person to experience: defenselessness, helplessness, fear, rejection, isolation, depression, and a foreboding future. The individuals arbitrarily and capriciously relive their traumatic events through dreams, hallucinations and traumatic flashbacks. They attempt to avoid people, places and situations that trigger undesirable feelings. The victims may also experience reclusiveness, flat affect, insomnia or sustained sleep, irritability and nervousness.

Bradley William Stone likely felt threatened, overpowered and exploited, which appears to have caused the amygdala-fear center of his brain and emotions to override the Neo-cortex/rational part of his brain. In that altered state, he may have concluded that the solution was to eliminate the people he viewed were responsible for his pain, including himself. Many experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder struggle with suicidal or homicidal ideations. Soldiers returning home from war are often more susceptible to the impulses of killing than a civilian who has never experienced life and death battlefield engagements.

Some experts believe pharmacotherapy may assist in mitigating symptoms. Other clinicians prefer modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure therapy, Psychodynamic, family and group therapy to lessen the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But while medication and therapy can be helpful in reducing the effects PTSD, the best mingle mitigating tool to relieve Post Traumatic Stress symptoms is intimacy with God.

King Hezekiah understood this as recorded in 2 Chronicles 32:8, where he said, “With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” God could have helped Mr. Stone’s battles before he took his life and the life of others? God can not only help people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, He can help us with everything in our lives.

The preceding was an editorial written by Psychotherapist/Consultant/Minister Dr. Steven Haymon, with the majority of the material excerpted from his new book, “The War Within: Combating Posttraumatic Stress with God!”

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