On March 8th the News Tribune published an AP report on the Army's Mishandling of PTSD which confirms what most of us already know. It is not good!
As I have said before, there is an inherent conflict of interest in being a military psychiatrist, especially one who decides who does and doesn't have PTSD. The military does not want them to have PTSD. That's why they have stigma and resilience training: two attitudes which are very human but not particularly aware of human nature!
Since the begining of history, people have had PTSD symptoms. With most wars it is recognized, perhaps with another name, nostalgia, soldier's heart, shell shock, combat fatigue, combat neurosis, post-Vietnam syndrome (along with post-rape syndrome, and other post-syndromes). Between wars the elite intellectuals who become doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists for the most part try to prove that PTSD doesn't exist. The women's movement helped put a stop to that after Vietnam, because rape survivors and battered wives were no longer going to shut up and be good. They combined with the Vietnam vets who also were not willing to shut up and be good to get the diagnosis of PTSD added to DSMIII (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association) in 1980. The first edition, published during the Korean War, had Gross Stress Reaction (gross meaning big, like a concentration camp or combat). The second, which came out in 1968, during the TET Offensive, pretended that if you had a problem with the war for more than 6 months after you got back, you'd been screwed up before you went. They liked giving PTSD vets personality disorders and other wrong diagnoses.
For a while, veterans could actually get help in the Vet Centers and some VA Hospitals, eventually many VA Hospitals.
Still after Somalia, and incredibly stupid paper was published by specialists in the PTSD field in which, when the soldiers who had PTSD reported worse experiences four years after their first interview, their conclusion was that they were making it up, instead of that they didn't tell the worst to a bunch of guys in white coats right after they got back. (Young cocky soldiers, right!)
Then we saw Sally Satel and her ilk trying to pretend PTSD was overdiagnosed and wouldn't be a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Bangs head on desk.)
Now we have manualized 12 week treatments for PTSD and a thirty page questionnaire to fill out.
I swear to God, these people are entirely without compassion or the slightest conception of how this appears to the people they might be trying to help. Tell some mother who lost a kid in Iraq that you are going to cure her grief in 12 weeks... These people have lost their friends and seen horrors, and some of them have done things they can't look back on easily. They need to be listened to, not fixed like they were cars or something.
Today on NPR I heard a soldier (male) who was raped by his NCO and told not to report it, but he did, so he was sent to a psychiatrist who conveniently diagnosed him with a personality disorder.
I used to think nothing like Vietnam and the mistreatment of vets would ever happen again. I was wrong.
There are people out there who listen to vets, who care about vets, who help vets. I hope our vets can find them.