Last week’s Fort Hood shooting has spurred many questions and debates around post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD is experienced by many soldiers after traumatic and life-threatening experiences at war.
The American Psychological Association defines it as, “an anxiety problem that develops in some people after extremely traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident or natural disaster. People with PTSD may relive the event via intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares, avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma, and have anxious feelings they didn’t have before that are so intense their lives are disrupted.”
The Fort Hood shooter had been seeking psychological help and was “undergoing diagnostic procedures for post-traumatic stress disorder,” according to Lt. Gen Mark Milley, Fort Hood’s commanding general as reported by CNN.
Jay Carney, White House press secretary said, “We need to be very mindful in this country that even as those wars end, what we owe our veterans does not end.” So why do budget cuts keep happening to the military? It seems like the smart idea is to pump more money into military programs to treat illness like PTSD.
Coming from a military family, post-traumatic stress disorder is not an uncommon topic among friends with parents in the military. PTSD is a very real thing. The soldier may leave the warzone, but the warzone does not leave his or her mind.
The cost of war is something far greater than the cost of weapons, supplies, salaries, etc. The cost of war includes the cost of lives and the cost of the mental health for some of those who serve. There seems to be the idea that these soldiers need to be “fixed,” when in reality, they need to be treated and counseled on how to cope with the traumatic scenes and experiences of war.