Post-disease-related-stress disorder - Macleans.ca

Post-disease-related-stress disorder

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Dubious story of the day: Court links soldier’s MS to post-traumatic stress

A recent court ruling has raised unusual new concerns about the post-traumatic stress that afflicts a growing number of Canadian soldiers, concluding that such anxiety may have helped cause multiple sclerosis in an air force veteran.

Got it. New concerns… post-traumatic stress… may cause multiple sclerosis. It’s only in paragraph 10 that we learn:

A leading expert on the disease, however, said there is no evidence that anxiety can cause multiple sclerosis, or even alter the long-term course of the disease.

Actually not just a leading expert: the chief medical officer for the MS Society of Canada, who tells us

“Stress is not itself the cause of anybody’s MS. That has never been shown in any study.”

Moreover, as we learn still lower down (paragraph 14), the “post-traumatic stress” the soldier suffered in this case was not the result of being in combat or even near it, but from the Forces’ failure to acknowledge an earlier, mystery illness:

No one could pinpoint the cause of the sickness or would allow him to go on sick leave. Instead, he had to work every day for months, causing stress that left him unable to sleep for days at a time…

So he contracts one disease because he’s so stressed that he wasn’t allowed sick leave for an earlier disease. This, on the evidence of a single doctor, his own, who came to this highly novel conclusion, he says, because

all his MS patients had some psychologically or physically traumatizing event — from a death in the family to a car accident — before developing the disease…

It took the MS Society doctor to point out that everyone suffers a death in the family at some point in his life. Yet only a small fraction of the population contracts MS. Did that not occur to the judge in this case?

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