Shell Shock, a.k.a. PTSD, May Get Yet Another New Name
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Severe trauma, the kind most commonly but not exclusively linked to combat, may get a new name if the military has its way.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could soon morph into PTSI—for post-traumatic stress injury.
Former General Peter Chiarelli, who recently was in charge of the U.S. Army’s program for dealing with PTSD, called for changing the term in order to help de-stigmatize it. “No 19-year-old kid wants to be told he’s got a disorder,” Chiarelli told The Washington Post.
Before he retired, Chiarelli began by naming the condition post-traumatic stress. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta went along with the change. Others, including doctors, didn’t like PTS. Some psychiatrists then recommended adding “injury,” and PTSI now is gaining momentum among public and private health professionals.
Although the proposed name change is being pushed as a psychological aid for veterans, there are also legal and financial elements to the subject. The word “injury” implies that the problem resulted from outside, traumatic forces, which would make it easier for veterans claiming post-traumatic stress to obtain benefits.
Before PTSD became the common expression, militaries called the trauma shell shock, battle fatigue and soldier’s heart. It has since also been associated with civilian experiences, including rape.
To Learn More:
New Name for PTSD Could Mean Less Stigma (by Greg Jaffe, Washington Post)
Psychiatric Community Still Divided Over Idea of Changing PTSD's Name (by Daniel Sagalyn, PBS Newshour)
Vets Accuse Pentagon of Saving Money by Classifying PTSD as “Personality Disorder” (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Veterans Groups Clash with VA over PTSD Diagnosis (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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