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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Army PTSD Diagnoses To Be Reviewed

Brain structures involved in dealing with stre...                   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) is once again in the news. If there could be good news about PTSD, then this might be it. The ARMY has decided to review the records from all of its medical facilities, dating back to October 2001. They are looking to review all diagnoses of PTSD.  They want to evaluate how many of these diagnoses were "improperly overturned."

According to an article in Bloomberg Business Week,
"The latest reviews were triggered by revelations that the forensic psychiatry unit at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state may have reversed diagnoses based on the expense of providing care and benefits to members of the military."
In 2010 HBO produced a documentary called WARTORN 1861-2010. It was a powerful movie that discussed what we now refer to as PTSD, but in the movie's synopsis it made a point that this syndrome has been referred to in many ways over the last two centuries - "Civil War doctors called it hysteria, melancholia and insanity.  During the First World War it was known as shell-shock.  By World War II, it became combat fatigue. Today, it is clinically known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a crippling anxiety that results from exposure to life-threatening situations such as combat."

Most experts will agree that PTSD can have many side-effects, not the least of which is crippling mental health symptoms including substance abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse and suicidal tendencies. And often, without proper treatment these veterans will die as a result of the lack of treatment and proper follow-up.

In a little over a week, our country will celebrate Memorial Day. This Memorial Day let's make a commitment to honor not only those who passed as a result of war, but those who are still with us. Let's work to promote complete diagnoses and treatment for all who suffer from PTSD.
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