Nearly 1 In 5 Soldiers Have PTSD

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From AP:

A recently completed survey showed 18.5% — or 300,000 people — said they have symptoms of depression or PTSD, the researchers said. Nineteen% — or 320,000 — suffered head injuries ranging from mild concussions to penetrating head wounds. […]

The 500-page study is the first large-scale, private assessment of its kind — including a survey of 1,965 service members across the country, from all branches of the armed forces and including those still in the military as well veterans who have left the services.

Here’s one story of the pain PTSD causes, and the ignorance that can sometimes be the response to it…

(CBS) Twenty-two year old combat medic Jonathan Norrell volunteered for every mission during his year in Iraq.

He was bombed, ambushed, treating wounded under fire – and the memories still haunt him, CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier reports.

“The things that affected me the most weren’t the IEDs, which I went through six or seven of, and all the firefights, and all the combat,” Norrell said. “It was the psychological stuff, the people I failed to help.”

By the time he came off his tour of duty he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: anxiety, sleeplessness, flashbacks. Military doctors recommended immediate discharge and treatment but the command refused.

Instead they forced him into combat training exercises. He turned to drugs and alcohol.

“I just lost it,” Norrell said. “I didn’t wanna do it anymore.”

So the Army he served so well in Iraq threatened to expel him without medical benefits.

Folks, we’re not fighting a war in Iraq anymore…we’re being their police. Meanwhile, people like Norrell are coming home with invisible wounds that are easily dismissed by those who don’t understand his condition and think he should just “suck it up.”

Well, PTSD is obviously real and we can’t keep this up with an all volunteer force and expect the best from our brave men and women. That’s just the reality, and I’d suggest that anybody who tells you different is more in love with the idea of spreading freedom than the practical application.

  • http://www.maysmachete.blogspot.com May


  • http://www.milspousepress.com EmpancipatedMilSpouse

    The turning point for this soldier was the assistance of an organization that empowers military spouses–an untapped resource in the military community. Carissa Picard, president of Military Spouses for Change, got involved in his case (we are SO PROUD OF HER!). You want a military POV, ask a military spouse. Particuluarly through MIlitary Spouses for Change: THAT is truth to power!!

    You can read our President’s comment at http://news.google.com/news?btcid=3cbea56dbc359d1

    She TOTALLY rocks.

  • llbear

    I’m the Vet who contacted Carissa Piccard and Liz Dozier at CBS. Jonathan & I talked for over an hour today. He agrees that both Carissa & Liz totally rock. So do I – in spades. Jonathan is still waiting for a medical discharge, wants to get productive again and realizes he has some new limitations with which to deal.

    Time constraints for Liz’s piece left out a couple of details. Jonathan Norrell is one hell of a kid. A goof-off in High School, he got a GED to get into the service. He did so well that he got to be a medic. This day & age – that’s unheard of in the Army.

    In Iraq you heard about the IED’s he encountered, but not all the firefights. Traumatic Brain Injury is strongly suspected & hasn’t been checked out by the DOD yet.

    You didn’t hear that he endured demeaning treatment from his Commanding Officer for “faking it”. There’s more, but Jonathan’s prime concern is that he is only the most vocal one at Ft. Hood. His unit will return to Iraq. He tells me only a fraction are mentally up to the challenge.

  • http://sezme.net Jim Moore

    PTSD and traumatic brain injuries will I believe have far greater long time consequences for our nation than any other single problem. And as the number of veterans with serious adjustment problems as a result of these injuries becomes larger, the government will back off further and further from offering them proper care. Already I heard on tv (not verified) that the VA is treating many symptoms of PTSD as disciplinary problems. I did a blog where I argue that the support the troops efforts may be contributing to PTSD development. http://sezme.net/page66.html

  • http://ptsdasoldiersperspective.blogspot.com/ Roman General

    approximately 15-30% of Vietnam Veterans have PTSD, most of these veterans developed PTSD many years after combat. Our veterans of our current conflicts have an estimated 15% PTSD rates right now. In the next 10-20 years it is estimated that these figures could go as high as 50% due to the multiple deployments and nature of combat being waged.