Monday, January 19, 2009

Psychic Wounds Are Real

Psychic Wounds Are Real

Purple Heart Is Ruled Out for Traumatic Stress (January 8, 2009) Re “Purple Heart Is Ruled Out for Traumatic Stress” (front page, Jan. 8):

The decision by the Pentagon to deny Purple Hearts to veterans with psychic wounds flies in the face of the many public statements from the Defense Department about the need to reduce the stigma associated with these injuries.

It is disturbing that the Pentagon needs to see blood to establish the validity of a war injury.

Those of us who treat our war veterans have no doubt that “hidden” psychic injuries are at least as serious and potentially more devastating than more visible physical ones.

Ask any veteran or family member of someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or post-deployment depression about the reality of these wounds. They will have no trouble describing the profound consequences of these injuries and their far-reaching effects on families and communities.

The sacrifice and suffering of these veterans need to be recognized and honored.

Judith Broder
Cambridge, Mass., Jan. 9, 2009

The writer, a medical doctor, is the founder and director of the Soldiers Project in Los Angeles, which offers free psychological treatment to military service members who have served or expect to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan.

To the Editor:

Re “PTSD and the Purple Heart” (editorial, Jan. 12):

Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet our government remains painfully slow to recognize PTSD as an injury of war.

The ways in which mental wounds affect a soldier’s daily life may be less visible than physical wounds, but the impact can be just as severe. PTSD is frequently misdiagnosed, and benefits for the condition are often denied by the Veterans Administration.

Whatever one’s position on PTSD as a qualifying injury for the Purple Heart, the debate illustrates a deeper injustice throughout the Pentagon and V.A. — the lack of parity between physical and mental injuries from military service.

Last year Congress passed a law giving Americans the right to receive equal coverage from private insurance companies for mental and physical health care. Shouldn’t we provide the same for injured veterans?

It is our responsibility to provide equal benefits for mental health injuries and physical injuries, to heal all wounds of war, both seen and unseen.

(Rep.) John J. Hall
Washington, Jan. 13, 2009

The writer is chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.


It will take smarter people than I to figure this fight out, all I know is that severe PTSD is a wound that takes a large chunk out of the veterans life and their families, many veterans with PTSD do end up with physical injuries suffered due to the PTSD, as the demons of PTSD lead them to hang tehmselves, slit their wrists, overdose, etc. Are the physical wounds then related to the war injury or is it a secondary injury, bottom line if it all comes back to the original injury PTSD and the demons it carries. I wish I knew how to get the demons under control, I haven't figured it out in the past 34 years, the three suicide attempts, the drugs and alcohol to self medicate. The VA drugs to medicate, and counseling do they help? Yes, but is the PTSD curable? As Secretary James Nicholson once proclaimed actually he stated it numerous times and places IT IS NOT CURABLE.....I would rather have lost a limb it would be easier to deal with.

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