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Would PTSD Name Change Mean Less Stigma For Vets?

Veteran with PTSD paint as therapy
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Above: Veteran with PTSD paint as therapy

Should post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, be renamed post-traumatic stress injury? Would a different moniker reduce the stigma attached to the word "disorder"? These are some of the questions a group of psychiatrists will grapple with today at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting.

According to the Washington Post, the phrase "PTSD" first became part of the nation's vernacular back in 1980, when it was published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, which is the APA's encyclopedia of mental illness. The APA is now updating the DSM for the first time in a dozen years, and retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli is calling for a change.

Gen. Chiarelli told the PBS Newshour in November:

"It is an injury," Chiarelli said. Calling the condition a "disorder" perpetuates a bias against the mental health illness and "has the connotation of being something that is a pre-existing problem that an individual has" before they came into the Army and "makes the person seem weak," he added.

"It seems clear to me that we should get rid of the 'D' if that is in any way inhibiting people from getting the help they need," Chiarelli said. Calling it an injury instead of a disorder "would have a huge impact," encouraging soldiers suffering from the condition to seek help, according to the four-star general.

A 2008 Rand study found roughly 1 in 5 veterans returning from Iraq and Afghansitan have PTSD.

So, what do you think? Do you think it would help veterans if PTSD had a name change?

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