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Last week, in Part 1 of this series, we covered the 5 symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This week, we’ll talk about healing from PTSD and the stigma that can get in the way, with a special emphasis on new veterans. We’ll cover 7 misconceptions about PTSD and one big truth.
The idea for this series on PTSD comes from listener Phoebe Gavin of New York City. In addition to being an Iraq War veteran, Phoebe belongs to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the first and largest non-profit, non-partisan association for new veterans. Thank you, Phoebe, and all your fellow veterans, for your service.
While a 2011 Pew Research Center report revealed that a majority of Americans are apathetic or disapproving of the post-9/11 wars the military fought or is fighting, at the same time, Americans simultaneously feel “pride, gratitude, and confidence” towards the more than 2.6 million troops who have served in combat zones since 9/11. More than 90% are proud of the troops and about 75% have thanked a vet. And no matter your politics, I think we can all get behind less judgment and better health for veterans.
Almost 30% of Iraq and Afghanistan vets treated through the VA system are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But the stigma of having a disorder keeps many vets from seeking treatment, increases a sense of isolation, and perpetuates sensationalized media images. Worse, if left untreated, PTSD increases the risk for depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide.