PTSD definition change could affect veterans

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Pending changes in the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder could have wide-ranging implications for veterans.

The proposed definition can be found in a draft of the American Psychiatric Association’s fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The manual serves as a guide for mental health workers around the world.

The changes include removing subjective criteria such as fear and expanding definitions of traumatic events.

The introduction of the manual’s draft this month coincides with a movement to change post-traumatic stress from a disorder to an injury.

Dr. Bill Albrecht, a staff psychologist at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, said Monday that the outcome will be interesting.

“We’ll be getting rid of some problems, but we may be gaining some more,” he said.

Though dropping “disorder” from the title might reduce the stigma, skeptics warn that changing the term to “injury” could make it harder to qualify for permanent benefits. A disorder can last a lifetime; “injury” implies something that heals.

“That’s the concern,” said Dave Autry, the deputy national director of communications for Disabled American Veterans. “We’re certainly keeping an eye on it.”

The last significant update in PTSD diagnosis was in 1994 – long before it became a nationally recognized issue among service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Psychiatrists’ understanding of PTSD and its treatment has evolved significantly since the ’90s, said Albrecht, who formerly worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The movement to convert “disorder” to “injury” is spearheaded in large part by retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli.

Chiarelli was at a veterans care conference last week in New York that showcased Augusta’s public-private partnership with the Augusta Warrior Project, when the topic of PTSD came up, said Jim Lorraine, the executive director of the Augusta Warrior Project.

“A long-term injury is really what it is,” Lorraine said.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/15/12 - 07:55 am

Everyone wants them, and wants someone else to pay for them.

It's unsustainable.

Combat Veteran
Combat Veteran 05/15/12 - 01:37 pm

I think mapping the human mind is like trying to ID every comet/ asteroid flying through space. They can call the condition fruit loops for all I care; I know what I have is real and potentially dangerous if left unchecked. That is why I take medicine. The Good General is just another bureaucrat who wants to hide the monsters in the closet. The military is loaded with PTSD dudes that are un-medicated and un-checked. These are the guys that do the horrible killings we see in the news; it is never the ones whom seek help. Usually the ones who are not on the Radar and are highly regarded tend to be the ones who flip and kill innocent people. This should tell you something about the system the military has and its true values… So, take away the benefits, let the dogs have their day, it will be glorious for the soldier with PTSD who can just let his or her demons run amuck in society. But it will be a pretty sad day for the rest of the population; there will be a lot of crying,,,,, Believe me when I tell you, the Generals and commanders want to keep their monsters. So be thoughtful and suspicious when you consider the actions of these bureaucrats….. Superiority on the battlefield is achieved with killers, not doctors. So when the monsters come out and shake your little world up because they are bored with garrison life, remember to tell yourself that there is no such thing as PTSD or asteroids LOL

wayneoneil 05/17/12 - 12:57 am
PTSD another way of getting out of taking care of the veterans.

How many times have you died in the last two years. I have 5 times and survived. How many times do you dream about being on the morgue slab and then put away in the meat locker into total darkness? I do every night. If that is not PTSD then i am just another statistic on veneflaxine and trazadone fighting for a PTSD diagnosis. When will you non warfighters wakeup and smell the coffee.

VietnamVet 05/17/12 - 06:20 pm

I am a Licensed Psychologist in NC and followed this proposed change for sometime. It is doubtful the APA will change PTSD to PTSI. PTSD is a very recognizable and a household term anymore.

I have my suspicions why the military wants to change the name. If it becomes an injury, then it becomes a medical problem. The military and the VA can wash their hands of PTSD and not deal with it as a mental disorder. This would curtail future PTSD claims.

I am also concerned by the need for such a sudden change. Could it be both the VA and the military decided they under estimated? One might think they would have learned something about PTSD from Vietnam and the staggering number of claims the Vietnam War produced.

The military states the term "disorder" carries a stigma, whereas, an injury is acceptable. I cannot understand the need for the change when the vast majority of mental problems are labeled as disorders in DSM-IV and in V. The military and the VA still compensate for other Axis I disorders (to name a few) such as depression, Bipolar, anxiety, and others with no complaint. So why not change all of them to injuries.

Combat Veteran
Combat Veteran 05/18/12 - 11:26 am

I agree with Vietnam VET, Be suspicious. The bean counters are clearly making a move to sideline the PTSD issue. This a quick and tidy way of doing it. The fact is, as with Vietnam, the issue will not go away. The government can cover, hide or deny these claims all they want; it will be the general public that suffers. I grew up in the 70's, I remember so many people with this disorder and I remember so many families suffering including mine because the government simply would not acknowledge the damage done........ Oh and by the way, those guys never were healed, just scarred and broken to some degree....As I stated in my previous post, and maybe I should have phrased it better. In the minds of the generals and commanders, umedicated and unmanaged soldiers with PTSD make the best killing machines on the battlefield, and they want those guys right up front. Now I disagree with this philosophy, and I think it to be a lazy way to do the business at hand. But never the less it is what these guys think and demonstrate every day. The civilian governing part that regulates the military (which is constitutionally outside of civilian law by the way), is not or has not been doing its job for a few decades now, so we can't blame this administration or that administration. So don't be surprised if society at large does the wrong thing regarding this matter as people tend to underestimate mental disorders and typically write off people as a way of easing their own conscience for turning away from the very people that served them...... The only thing about this issue that varies from the TV shows you see is that these people they are planning to turn away are typically militaristic and are running on instinct that makes for a dangerous combination when their switch is flipped. So consider these statements I have made as self examination. I medicate and I manage because I love my Family and I love my country. I do not love these bureaucrats......

DanielHaszard 06/05/12 - 03:20 pm
PTSD treatment for Veterans found ineffective.

Eli Lilly made $65 billion on the Zyprexa franchise.Lilly was fined $1.4 billion for Zyprexa fraud!
The atypical antipsychotics (Zyprexa,Risperdal,Seroquel) are like a 'synthetic' Thorazine,only they cost ten times more than the old fashioned typical antipsychotics.
These newer generation drugs still pack their list of side effects like diabetes for the user.All these drugs work as so called 'major tranquilizers'.This can be a contradiction with PTSD suffers as we are hyper vigilant and feel uncomfortable with a drug that puts you to sleep and makes you sluggish.
That's why drugs like Zyprexa don't work for PTSD survivors like myself.
-Daniel Haszard FMI

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