Hear about the complexities of Military Medicine and mental health with our distinguished guest, retired Army Colonel Dr. Robert D. Forsten, DO, a renowned Military Psychiatrist with 26 years of military experience. Uncover the power of mentorship and relationships as Dr. Forsten shares his unique journey into the military and medicine.
Struggle and survival are not just physical battles in the military. We discuss the stigma surrounding mental health in the Special Operations community, the psychological effects of extended deployment, and the challenges of transitioning to civilian life. Discover the intricacies of training military psychiatrists and the future of the field, along with the emerging concepts of 'Operator Syndrome' and 'Post-enablement Distress Syndrome.'
Throughout the episode, Dr. Forsten shares his experiences and research, providing valuable lessons for future military medical healthcare professionals and a lasting impact on those who serve. From the importance of psychological testing at the recruitment stage to overcoming stress in overwhelming situations, this conversation offers an in-depth look into the world of Military Medicine and the lasting impact it has on those who serve. Don't miss this fascinating and insightful episode with COL(R) Robert D. Forsten, DO.
(0:00:00) – Pathway to Military Medicine
(0:12:10) - Psychiatry in Special Operations
(0:16:17) - Psychiatric Challenges in Military Deployment
(0:28:26) - Military Service and Civilian Transition
(0:33:27) - Overcoming Stress in Overwhelming Situations
(0:42:59) - Military Medicine and Legacy
(0:00:00) - Pathway to Military Medicine (12 Minutes)
We are joined by Dr Robert Forsten, a retired Army Psychiatrist, whose 26 years of experience brings first-hand insights into the tactical, operational and strategic medical leadership experience within both Conventional and Special Forces. We learn about his journey to the military and his passion for medicine, as well as the importance of mentorship and relationships in both the military and in life. Bob shares his own experiences and research in PTSD, TBI, substance use disorders, and adult ADHD, providing valuable lessons for future military medical health care professionals.
(0:12:10) - Psychiatry in Special Operations (4 Minutes)
Dr. Forsten discusses the stigma surrounding mental health in the Special Operations community and the importance of understanding how to build trust with service members. We explored the unique issues facing the soldiers deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom One and the clinical examples of how my psychiatric expertise was needed in 2003.
(0:16:17) - Psychiatric Challenges in Military Deployment (12 Minutes)
Dr. Forsten explores the psychological effects of extended deployment on military personnel. We discussed the spike in suicides after the realization that soldiers were being deployed for a year, and how the cohesiveness of the unit was an important factor in helping to mitigate the psychological effects of deployment. We also discussed the purpose of setting up a downrange mental health unit and the goal of returning as many soldiers to their units as possible. We also discussed the difficulty of predicting which soldiers may respond to stress and the importance of psychological testing at the recruitment stage.
(0:28:26) - Military Service and Civilian Transition (5 Minutes)
Dr. Forsten describes the difficulty of transitioning from the military after spending many years in service. We explore the psychological effects of extended deployment and the struggles of coming to terms with the love and hatred of the military. We also discuss the unique challenges of training a Military Psychiatrist and the potential changes in the field in the future. We highlight the stress and PTSD that many of our service members struggle with and the impact that witnessing the worst of humankind can have on them. Fi