The paradox of PTSD for military personnel: “The outside world assumes vets are broken. Yet while they are in the military, they feel they are under pressure to hide their problems,” according to a National Public Radio story on the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The public needs to become better educated on PTSD to prevent furthering its stigma. One place to start is with Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and a column in the Huffington Post where he debunks misinformation surrounding Staff Sgt. Robert Bales’ case.
“There’s no good data linking PTSD to acts of extreme violence like the kinds that have been in the news,” Lisa Jaycox, behavioral scientist at Rand Corporation, told NPR.
The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.
But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.
You can read the full NPR story and listen to it HERE.