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Would a New Name for PTSD Encourage More Military Personnel to Seek Treatment?

Military personnel (and others) who experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) may start to notice symptoms a few months after a traumatic turn of events or they may not notice they are suffering from PTSD until years have passed.  The unsettling symptoms combined with the flashbacks of the event may cause some to turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate. At Transitions, we work to carefully treat those dealing with PTSD, integrating therapy for the trauma with addiction recovery.

Earlier this year there was talk of changing the name of PTSD to something else that experts felt would lessen the stigma that surrounds it so more members of the armed forces would seek treatment.  As The Washington Post noted, “It has been called shell shock, battle fatigue, soldier’s heart …

Peter Chiarelli, a retired general who worked to reduce the rate of suicide in the Army was quoted as saying that a nineteen year old does not want to hear that he has a disorder. Chiarelli spearheaded efforts to drop the word “disorder” and started calling it PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) and although high-ranking officials followed suit, use of the term PTS did not become widespread. This was due in part to the fact that there was uncertainty as to whether or not insurance companies and other government entities would recognize a concision that was not classified as a disease or disorder.