Veteran Disability Lawyer
Former President George W. Bush offered an interesting take on erasing the stigma that comes along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for military veterans: drop the “D” in PTSD.
At a summit convened on veterans’ issues, the former President said that the condition has been mislabeled a “disorder” and that simply calling it “post-traumatic stress” would go a long way toward removing the stigma for veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The summit was organized by the George W. Bush Institute — the former President’s policy think tank — to highlight how Americans can more effectively help the 2.5 million post-9/11 veterans move to civilian life.
It’s estimated that 11-20% of Veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, in addition to about 10% of Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) vets, and about 30% of Vietnam vets. The condition has serious consequences beyond that of veterans’ health, especially their ability to find a job when returning home.
“Employers would not hesitate to hire an employee being treated for a medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure,” said Bush. “And they should not hesitate to hire veterans with post-traumatic stress.”
While others, including high-ranking military officials have previously called for such a change, Bush is the most prominent individual to suggest that PTSD be viewed from a different angle.
Due to the stigma of the condition being a “disorder” – which makes it seem permanent – some veterans are reluctant to get help, while others are unaware of treatment options. Doctors who have been pushing for a name change — perhaps to “post-traumatic stress injury” — praised Bush’s stand as major progress.
PTSD can develop after a trauma in which an individual is harmed or feels the threat of physical harm – which can be triggered by events such as combat or by sexual harassment. Key aspects of the condition are recurring symptoms, such as reliving the event or avoiding situations reminiscent of the event.
Bush was also joined by Jill Biden, wife of vice president Joe Biden, as well as high-ranking military officials, non-profits and representatives from businesses such as Bank of America and 7-Eleven. Hopefully this push to erase the “D” from PTSD will continue and yield results – our veterans deserve it, and we owe it to them.
Read more on former President Bush’s speech here:
For an overview of PTSD basics, check out the VA’s PTSD informational page: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/how-common-is-ptsd.asp