Saturday, November 5, 2011

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to be renamed in the military?

This week some army top brass has suggested that PTSD should be renamed to PTSI. Instead of referring to post traumatic stress as a disorder, he has proposed that it be classified as an injury instead. He insists that calling the disability "post traumatic stress injury" will lead to an increase in troops and veterans seeking help for the ailment. As of now about 30% of all veterans that served in a recent combat zone are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. This amounts to about 15% of troops seeking actual medical intervention for PTSD.

Post traumatic stress disorder is a chronic illness and the quicker the patient receives help for the condition, lowers the chances of it becoming a lifelong affliction. There are many barriers preventing an active duty soldier or Marine from seeking help. The most troubling obstacle is that of the social stigma that mental illness holds for the afflicted. A Marine or soldier may hide his or her symptoms to the best of their abilities, despite showing a drop in performance. All this is typically done to protect their careers because many feel that having PTSD will be a career ending experience. Or they fear that they will be seen as crazy and be isolated from their peers.

Will reclassifying PTSD as PTSI lead to an increase in troops seeking help? I think not. I believe that this will not have much an effect on PTSD diagnosis rates. The label and packaging of this will change but the contents of the box remain the same. The only lasting help that can be provided is through educating society on mental health in hope that the stigma changes. People feel socially uncomfortable being labeled depressed, anxious, bipolar and so on. If we can educate society we will create supportive environment for all that suffer from mental illness.

So perhaps what is needed in the military is an increase in education on PTSD and TBI. I think the troops need to be reassured that their careers will not end as a result of revealing post traumatic stress disorder to their medical staff. Only then will we see an increase of people coming forward and discussing their symptom with doctors.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts