Life After the Diagnosis: The Quality of Life of Canadian Male Veterans Medicated for PTSD

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 3:30 PM

Debra Lynn Bastien, RN, BScN, MIDST (abd)
GAU: School of Graduate Studies- Interdisciplinary Studies, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to consider the impact medication side effects (fatigue and sexual dysfunction)have on the quality of life of veterans.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able acknowledge the depth of such side effects on the veterans' spousal, parental, and self relationships.

Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study is to contribute to the interdisciplinary knowledge base regarding the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) medication side effects for Canadian male veterans.

Methods: Using a narrative inquiry methodology, I have completed open-ended interviews with male veterans, recruited through snowballing/ word of mouth. The veterans are diagnosed and subsequently medicated for PTSD and have been followed by, or continue to be followed by, either a psychiatrist and/or psychologist assigned through Veterans Affairs. Together, we have explored their stories about the impact of PTSD medication side effects on their everyday lives.Veterans described how PTSD medication side effects have affected their quality of life and candidly spoke of their experiences. With much emotion and at times very matter-of-factness, these veterans described many personal details which permitted me to gain a sense of the potential for narrative research with such a population, in need of having their voices heard and the need to have their individuality acknowledged.

Results: The key theme addressed by the participants was fatigue. Fatigue has been identified as having a tremendous impact on their everyday lives, relationships, and ultimately their sense of self. Sexuality was another theme that arose and demonstrated a strong correlation to fatigue.

Conclusion: Themes addressed in this research study could provide insight into the current practices in a variety of professions as to how to guide practice. Through the interviews identity became apparent and the challenges that each veteran has felt in rediscovering himself either while on medication and/or no longer as an active member of the Forces. Exploring the impact that PTSD has on a soldier’s identity requires more investigation and has become the focus of my docotral studies. An introduction to identity and other subthemes from the study will be presented.