The president of the American Psychiatric Association says he is “very open” to a request from the Army to come up with an alternative name for post-traumatic stress disorder so that troops returning from combat will feel less stigmatized and more encouraged to seek treatment.
Dr. John Oldham, who serves as senior vice president and chief of staff at the Houston-based Menninger Clinic, said he is looking into the possibility of updating the association’s diagnostic manual with a new subcategory for PTSD. The subcategory could be “combat post-traumatic stress injury,” or a similar term, he said.
“It would link it clearly to the impact and the injury of the combat situation and the deployment experience, rather than what people somewhat inaccurately but often assume, which is that you got it because you weren’t strong enough,” Oldham said.
The potential change was prompted by a request from Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff, who wrote to Oldham last year, suggesting APA drop the world “disorder” from PTSD.
I am not going to say this came from me, however there are some interesting things that have happened in the past of which I am connected to. I have been saying for about four years that we should NOT use the “D” in PTSD for every soldier that has been diagnosed. I have made this statement in many public forums with the argument that people can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress without having a disorder. I commonly call it PTS or more recently I have seen it called PTSS for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
On June 18th, 2009 we had GEN Chiarelli as a guest on You Served Radio where we talked to him about this stress, the Army’s Suicide problems, and many other topics. The discussion went extremely well and in all honesty was one of the most notable episodes of the You Served Radio show.
I didn’t get a chance to mention my feelings on dropping the “D” to him so there is no direct correlation however it has been something that I have pushed for a while and I am highly encouraged others like GEN Chiarelli are feeling the same way.
Oldham cautioned the discussion is very preliminary but speculated that a new subcategory like “combat post-traumatic stress injury” might work.
Although Chiarelli still would prefer to lose “disorder” entirely, he said a new subcategory would be a start. “I’m frustrated with how long this is taking to be honest,” he said….
….Chiarelli says his main concern is getting soldiers into treatment, so if calling post-traumatic stress a disorder keeps them from seeking help, then the wording needs to change, the sooner the better.
Read the whole story over at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Idea-to-take-the-D-out-of-PTSD-studied-2556372.php