Endorsements

Please consider adding your endorsement in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

The following individuals and organizations support changing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. 

 

Bertram S. Brown, MD, MPH

I support the proposed name change from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder to Post-Traumatic Stress Injury.

This support and recommendation is based on more than a half century of psychiatric experience.

My first contact with this issue in 1954 was as a medical student working in an Army recruiting program at the Walter Reed Hospital neurology wards.  Dealing with complex neuro-psychiatric problems of Korean war veterans, the terms, “shell shock” and “combat stress” were still being used to describe injured soldiers.

A more recent experience dealing with these same clinical complexities, (1990 – 2005), was confirmed when I served as the medical director of the “Civilian External Peer Review” program – a Department of Defense contract to help implement the quality assurance efforts of medical care in military hospitals.

From these “book end” experiences, and the intervening decades, I have come to a clear conviction:

The change of PTSD to PTSI will NOT change the basics of the biology and clinical manifestations of this diagnosis.

It WILL provide a sense of dignity to the men and women and their families who were injured when they were in “harm’s way”.

The stigma of “disorder” as contrasted with the clarity of “injury” will serve not only the military but impact our whole society.

Bertram S Brown, MD, MPH

Life Fellow, APA

Former Director, NIMH

Rear Admiral (ret.) USPHS

 

Gloria Steinem

It’s easier to disqualify the evidence of cruelty than to end it, especially if that cruelty has been made to seem as inevitable as sexualized violence or war itself. A step toward revealing the cost of such cruelty — and our will to end it — is to stop stigmatizing the victim. The simple act of changing the diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury would help to make clear that the injured party is not at fault. Naming reality is the first step toward making it visible — and changing it.

Gloria Steinem

Writer and activist

Co-Founder, Ms. Magazine
 

Service Women’s Action Network

Service Women’s Action Network fully supports the movement to change the name “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. The natural human reaction to a life-threatening incident should not be labeled a disorder. The stigma mental health conditions carry in the military community prevents veterans from seeking the critical treatment they need to recover from combat and other service-connected traumas, such as military sexual violence and domestic violence. As a community, we must do everything we can to reduce the stigma of post-traumatic stress and welcome our troops home with compassion and open arms.

Anu Bhagwati

Executive Director, Service Women’s Action Network

Former Marine Corps Captain

 

Susan Avila-Smith

Men and women who have been raped while serving on active duty have not only one stressor to deal with, but two. First the rape itself, and then (in most cases) the retaliation by the command after reporting. Military sexual Trauma (MST), according to DoD occurs 52 times a day.

When MST survivors seek help, they are then traumatize a third time. They are told they have a “Mental Disorder.”

In the interest of making things simple and acceptable for our active duty and veterans to seek help as well as our families and society to accept them, I endorse this change.

The daily struggles of our veterans are far more difficult than most imagine them to be. Suicides continue at the rate of 18 per day, veterans are invisible and benefits such as medical care are not being accessed because of this very issue. Changing this from disorder to injury in the medical field will open the doors to those who need it most.

Susan Avila-Smith

Founder and Director of VetWow

MST Advocacy since 1996

http://www.vetwow.com

 

National Center for Victims of Crime

We support changing the name Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  to Posttraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI)  as requested by General (Ret) Peter Chiarelli.

The National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Since its inception in 1985, the National Center has worked with grassroots organizations and criminal justice agencies throughout the United States serving millions of crime victims. The mission of the National Center for Victims of Crime is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. We are dedicated to serving individuals, families, and communities harmed by crime.

Victims of crime have long met with prejudice and medical difficulties due to the wording of their damages implying a mental disorder as opposed to a medical injury. To change PTSD to PTSI would mean physicians believe that brain physiology has been injured by exposure to some external force.  As noted in the letter from Drs. Ochberg and Shay to the president of the American Psychiatric Association, “The injury of PTSD is not necessarily permanent, but in chronic and complex cases, the injury remains for a long time and may be tolerated or may be seriously disabling.  To those who live with the impact, PTSD is an injury–and a painful one at that.”  This change in language to a justifiable injury model will help our constituents.

We agree that “The science supports an injury model, and the time has come to do what we can do to lessen the stigma and shame that inhibits our patients from receiving our help.”

Sincerely,

Mai Fernandez                                                Mark Mandell

Executive Director                                      Chair, Board of Directors

 

Susan Herman

I strongly endorse the campaign to change the name PTSD to PTSI because words and labels can have profound consequences. As others have already stated quite eloquently, we know two things about this issue.We know that the term injury accurately reflects the nature of the condition. We also know that changing the name of this condition would undoubtedly benefit millions of people who suffer from it.If either one of these statements were not true, I would understand the resistance to change–but they are both true. We have so very much to gain from this new term and absolutely nothing to lose.

Susan Herman

Associate Professor, Pace University

Author, Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime

 

Victor Herbert

The Academy for Critical Incident Analysis at John Jay College strongly endorses the change in language from disorder to injury. While some may miss the significance of the change, ACIA believes it will enable victims to find their place in society and seek the help they need to recover fully.

Victor Herbert

The Academy for Critical Incident Analysis

 

Mary Bosakowski

I commend your thoughtful, important, compassionate work and support your efforts to drop the “D.”

In the past year I’ve spoken with many traumatized veterans from past and current conflicts for a documentary I’m making, which explores the complex question of healing “after” a war. In these intimate conversations, we don’t use the word “disorder.” It’s not a rule, it’s more an unspoken understanding: the word diminishes the deep, invisible wounds of war and stigmatizes the soldier who carries them home.

Words matter. Words have repercussions. A “disorder” implies a weakness, a deficit. It is an unrealistic description of women and men who, in our names, have seen, experienced and sacrificed more than most of us can fathom. “Injury” is not only more realistic, it suggests the possibility of healing, which is the first of many, many things we owe these veterans.

Mary Bosakowski

 

Frank Ochberg, MD

I encourage everyone who believes that the stigma of PTSD will be reduced by changing the name to PTSI to express your belief here.

For close to a year, I have asked my patients, their loved ones, and those who advocate for their welfare about this name change, and they tell me, in overwhelming numbers, “Yes. Change the name to injury. That will help.”

I ask journalists and journalism students, because I have been working closely with journalists who cover trauma.  They say, “Yes. Injury is less stigmatizing.” (Not all reporters, but most who speak with me).

I ask leaders of veterans’ organizations from the Vietnam generation and from the current wars. “Yes,” they tell me.  Sometimes they add, “That would help our effort to get a Purple Heart for PTSD.”  The veterans’ organization, Honor For All, agrees.  The mentors who work with my local Veterans’ Court agree — unanimously!

When I point this out to friends on the DSM committee of the APA, they do not agree.  Some ask that the issue be studied – “Where is the evidence?”  Some say, “It wouldn’t make a difference.”  Some disagree that PTSD is an injury.  They believe it is a mental illness, with a genetic predisposition.  As Jonathan Shay and I argue in our letter to APA President John Oldham, there is a strong case to be made for the injury model of PTSD — certainly equally strong if not stronger than the mental illness model of PTSD.  And if injury is a defensible medical term for a condition, and if that term adds hope and honor and dignity to those who qualify for the diagnosis, why retain a label that has come, through time, to add salt to a wound?

This is not a trivial matter.  One in four women are raped in a lifetime. Most women who are forcibly raped have PTSD. Half the Vietnam combat vets from “high war zone action” had the symptoms that we now know as PTSD. One quarter of the journalists who cover war have PTSD. And many victims of violence and war never come forward due to the stigma of being labeled. Untreated PTSD raises the risk of suicide.  Untreated PTSD leaves veterans and survivors of cruelty and catastrophe outside the embrace of the healing human group.

Of course, some stigma will remain no matter what we do.  Trauma causes a certain amount of self-negation.  But changing the name from PTSD to PTSI is one step in the right direction and it will encourage other steps forward. More veterans and survivors of violence will come forward.  We will take this condition into the main stream.

And instead of equating PTSD with rampage killers or with malingerers seeking benefits, we will honor the millions of Americans with this injury.  We will welcome them.  They will respect themselves.

Frank M Ochberg, MD

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University

Former Associate Director, NIMH

 

Honor for ALL

As Executive Director of Honor For ALL, a veterans’ organization dedicated to ending the stigma of invisible wounds,  I am involved daily with the social inadequacies resulting from the stigma of PTSD.  On behalf of Honor for ALL, I strongly endorse the campaign to change the name Post-traumatic Stress Disorder to Post-traumatic Stress Injury.

The word “disorder” in the very name of the condition is a primary and singular source of stigma.  By simply changing that word we can redirect all succeeding efforts to alter the way we perceive invisible wounds and mental health in general.

Identifying the condition as an injury can and will help the effort to revise the criteria for the Purple Heart, an honor now unjustly denied the recipients of this battle-borne wound.

Not until we end the stigma can we expect to attenuate the current rate of veteran suicide and restore dignity to the families of those already fallen.

I applaud the efforts of Drs. Frank Ochberg and Jonathan Shay and sincerely hope the American Psychiatric Association will seriously consider their recommendation to change the identifying character of the condition from a disorder to an injury.

Thomas Mahany

President, Honor for ALL

eldonstone@wowway.com

 

Carl C. Bell, M.D.

Language matters, particularly language that comes to characterize the heart and soul of a human being. When we in the APA first defined PTSD, we labeled a condition. But now it is abundantly clear that the condition is defining the person. In the singular case of PTSD, unlike other diagnoses,
we can improve self-esteem and public respect by relabeling this condition an Injury rather than a Disorder. The term, injury, is accurate and honorable. I support the effort underway to change the name PTSD to PTSI.

Carl C. Bell, M.D.
President/C.E.O. Community Mental Health Council
http://www.thecouncil-online.org
Acting Director, Institute for Juvenile Research and Professor,
Department of Psychiatry and School of Public Health
http://www.psych.uic.edu/

 

Charles Figley

It is time to recognize that Posttraumatic Stress Disorder does not adequately capture the full spectrum of trauma reactions and service requirements our clients deserve. The traumatized require a far more nuanced and sophisticated category of recovery. 

The recent discoveries in the neurobiology of memory are close to guiding us in a far more effective way of helping the traumatized manage their memory not unlike the way physical brain damage requires speech therapy. The focus on injury is rehabilitation toward functionality. The same should be true for traumatic stress injuries. 

With hindsight we can all see that it was a mistake approving a syndrome named a disorder rather than an injury

We who study, care for, and know traumatized people believe that they deserve to be treated in a way that is consistent with their injuries with methods that work and do not cause other problems. This is especially true for war veterans and their families who turn to us for help.

I strongly support the change from PTSD to PTSI.

Charles Figley, PhD

University Professor, Tulane University

Founding President, ISTSS

http://figleyinstitute.comandcharlesfigley.com

 

Christal Presley

For years I shunned my own father because I thought something was inherently wrong with him.  I knew he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Vietnam, and I was more afraid of his condition (and of him) because the word “disorder ” frightened me so. “Disorder” dehumanized my father’s experience and made him sound more like a man who wasn’t tough enough or mentally stable enough to fight a war and seamlessly integrate himself back into society. He viewed himself as weak–largely, I believe, because of the stigma behind his diagnosis–and is still unable to see himself as a man who was injured by external forces, rather than a man who was deeply affected by the things he experienced because he wasn’t strong enough within.  I fully support the change of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury–for my father, and for all young men and women everywhere who have served and are living with the stigma of a diagnosis with a connotation steeped in injustice. 

 Christal Presley, Ph.D, author of Thirty Days with My Father:  Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD and founder of United Children of Veterans

www.christalpresley.com

www.unitedchildrenofveterans.com 

 

Marla Handy, PhD

I strongly encourage changing the name of this condition from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury.  Not only do I believe it more accurately describes the condition as one that is acquired as the result of forces external to the person (much like closed-head injuries), but it provides for new definitions of, and therefore opportunities for, healing.  If the condition is defined as a disorder, then healing is defined as getting oneself back in order, returning to one’s pre-traumatic event state.  That may be possible for those with acute symptoms following a single traumatic event, much like a bruised forehead will heal after a fall.  But for those of us who have had symptoms lasting long enough to be considered chronic, that is not possible.  Yes, we may have had the bruise, but we also have a lasting internal injury (from stress responses) that requires a different approach to healing, one of symptom management and accommodation.

It may be frustrating to live with an injury, but there is no need to apologize for it.  There is no stigma attached to losing an eye.  There is no social or personal expectation that, with enough effort or will, one could get oneself “back in order” and grow a new eye.

Accepting that I have an injury has been key to my ability to make peace with living with PTSD.  Based on responses to my book No Comfort Zone: Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this concept has also brought peace, reduced shame and assisted in treatment for others.

Marla Handy, PhD

Author,  No Comfort Zone: Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

 

Laurie Barkin RN, MS

As a psychiatric nurse and writer who has worked with many survivors of traumatic injuries, I enthusiastically support changing PTSD to PTSI. Being “injured” implies hope of healing and a process of recovery. Being “disordered” implies a static state of derangement, and we all know about the stigma associated with that. The very least we can do for those who have sacrificed so much is to acknowledge the power of words and to demonstrate sensitivity in choosing them.

Laurie Barkin RN, MS

Author, The Comfort Garden: Tales from the Trauma Unit

 

Bridget C. Cantrell, PH.D.

Yes I agree the word “disorder” must be dropped. A warrior is intrinsically reliant and if the words we use as clinicians and loved ones portray someone who is broken disordered we have reinforced a very negative self concept. This further perpetuates the stigmas that prevent and hinder our warriors from coming forward to first off admit they could use some help. I might even goes as far to say …”wound” a wounding occurs in their mind, body and Spirit by a traumatic situation. This is not a disorder, it is part of the fabric of a warrior who has seen so much. We must reframe this on behalf of humanity Post Traumatic Stress must be embraced so one can learn about every aspect in order to manage the symptoms , learn about how to recognize their new skill set and this done by normalizing and the disorder gets in the way.

Bridget C. Cantrell, PH.D. 

www.bridgetcantrell.com

 

Military Family Network™

The Military Family Network™ mission is the success and well being of the military community. Since our inception, we have communicated with hundreds of thousands of service members, Veterans and their families who have shared their experiences, thoughts and feelings with us about  the aspects of military life including deployment, separation, stress, depression, combat, trauma and loss.

The effects of trauma and the subsequent post traumatic stress it may induce is not borne by the individual alone; more and more research is discovering that families -especially spouses and children –  and even friends, neighbors, employers, colleagues and others may be affected. It can be a cascading effect that ripples through the fabric of our communities.

This is why Military Family Network™ supports initiatives that seek to improve the lives of our service members, Veterans and their families and communities. We especially support those efforts that improve opportunity and access to quality care, treatment and early intervention without judgment or fear of consequence.

 Therefore, we laud the efforts of General (Ret) Peter Chiarelli , Dr. Frank Ochberg, Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, the organization Gift From Within and others for their efforts to change the term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” to “Post Traumatic Stress Injury” in advance of the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in May, 2013.

This initiative is very important work. With so many combat-experienced service members returning to our communities, any undertaking to assist their transition and ease their reunification with their families and communities will be instrumental to their success and ours.

Megan Turak

Founder and Executive Vice President

Military Family Network™

www.militaryfamilynetwork.com

 

Tiko Tsomaia

I am a medical doctor who has become a journalism professor in Tbilisi, Georgia. On behalf of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, I write to support the initiative on shifting the name PTSD from disorder to injury.

Since 2005, CSJMM has worked with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and the trauma therapists at the Georgia Institute for Psychotraumatology. These are much-valued relationships. Trauma reporting has been taught at CSJMM since 2007. We find that the word, disorder, is discouraging, but the word, injury, is not.

I believe this initiative will support hundreds of Georgian men who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and those who have participated in the wars with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, many of whom are finding difficult to adjust to life back home and whose voices are rarely heard in the Georgian mainstream media. This is due to lack of understanding of the problem by local journalists and also because of the existing taboo and stigma: Veterans are not able to identify the symptoms, journalists are not able to cover the problem and society is not informed. It is a vicious cycle that prevents progress by all involved parties.

I believe that proper wording matters and it will have an impact on journalists and their reports, on veterans, their family members and friends, and society overall.

Tiko Tsomaia

Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator

Georgian Institute of Public Affairs

 

Georgian Society of Psychotrauma

We, Georgian professionals working in trauma care strongly agree with the proposed shift of paradigm in the field of psychotraumatology. Shifting from “disorder” to “injury” will support traumatized people to overcome marginalization and win their struggle with trauma. That will assist professionals, helpers, states – to be more efficient in providing assistance.

The words do have power – they frame reality, create discourse, shape policies; they also make difference. And that’s what we need in the field of trauma care – a Change, making the system of responses client-centered and resilience-based.

The South Caucasus, due to the wave of armed conflicts which it went through since nineties of the last Century, is one of the regions heavily suffering of PTS(D). That is especially true for Georgia, where people forced to leave their homeland (IDPs –Internally Displaced Persons) make up approx.  8% of the country population. The recent war with Russia (August, 2008) significantly enlarged the population of traumatized individuals. Following it there was a case of IDP lady who has burned herself publicly and thus articulated her SOS. And the main thought in response, provoked by this incident in the mind of general public, authorities, journalists – was about her mental disorder, while for us, professionals working with the traumatized people, that was not about disorder; that was trauma and  social exclusion, which led her (and us) to the tragedy.

In April of 2011, while in Tbilisi, Dr. Frank Ochberg, at his master class delivered for Georgian professionals working in the field of trauma care shared idea of shifting the paradigm which was a huge insight to us: the new, client-friendly “injury” frame enhances potential for professional help and social inclusion. That is especially important taking into consideration that in most of the cases trauma is about social isolation. Therefore, Georgian Society of Psychotrauma strongly votes for the proposed change.      

Nino Makhashvili, MD                                                           Jana Javakhishvili                                                                       

President, Georgian Society of Psychotrauma,                Founding Board Member,                                                       

Director, Global Initiative on Psychiatry – Tbilisi           Georgian Society of Psychotrauma,                                       

                                                                                                        CP of Dart Centre in South Caucasus  

 

Dr. (COL) Kathy Platoni

I applaud and celebrate the courageous stand taken by this group to at long last, remove the” sting” of the disorder label from the upcoming DSM V.  The stigma and the shame associated with this terminology, indeed sends so many suffering souls running  far and fast from the treatment room, slamming that door shut to assure that all hopes of betterment and being able to come all the way home  are laid to waste.  We can ill afford to perpetuate the illness model for the thousands who continue to function at home and on the battlefield with Post-Traumatic Stress Injury for the very reason that they have had the courage to face these demons, to adapt, and to overcome.  “Disorder” connotes otherwise.  We can ill afford to forget that trauma is haunting and unforgettable, yet reactions to the catastrophic are unquestionably not disordered, but normal responses to that which lies far beyond the realm of the normal range of human experience.  Drop the term and throw open the bomb bay doors to promote the desperately needed treatment of wounds that do not bleed.

Kathy Platoni, Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist

COL/US Army Reserve

Army Reserve Psychology Consultant

Co-Editor, with Raymond M. Scurfield, DSW of War Trauma In Its Wake ~Expanding the Circle of Healing  (in press, 2012) and Healing War Trauma~A Handbook of Creative Approaches (in press, 2013)

 

Elspeth C. Ritchie, MD, MPH 

I want to add to the debate on the hot issue at the American Psychiatric Association this week. Retired Army general and vice chief of staff Peter Chiarelli made a strong case for re-naming post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Chiarelli advocates calling it post-traumatic stress injury. The Canadians use the term “operational stress injury” or OSI. The U.S. Marines have advocated the injury concept for a while.

Before, I was not in favor of the name change. Psychological reactions to war have been called by many names: shell shock; not yet diagnosed, nervous; battle fatigue; combat stress reaction; and of course PTSD. Does the name really make a difference?

I have said, and still believe, that the most important issue is how Soldiers and other service members are treated by the military and by society. That is the most important component to stigma.

But I am changing my opinion on nomenclature. If indeed, Soldiers are more likely to seek medical care if the term used is “injury”, rather than “disorder”, it is worth a try.

Basically Soldiers hate to go see therapist who ask them about all their problems, and imply that the problem is with them. “I would rather kill myself than go to a shrink” is a not-uncommon statement.  Although there are evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, if the Soldiers will not go, how effective are they?

And if indeed, 20 to 30% of Soldiers are developing post-traumatic stress symptoms, is it really a disorder, or simply a common reaction to the horrendous stresses of combat?

There were a number of other relevant sessions at the APA, which discussed more acceptable routes to care, including so called complete and alternative treatment (CAM) or integrated care. They include virtual reality, acupuncture, yoga, and therapy dogs.

Now there is another critically important aspect, which is the implication for the disability system. Currently Soldiers with PTSD receive 50% disability. There are concerns about whether changing the label would affect the disability rating. We would have to work through that, to ensure that there are not significant unintended consequences.

Nevertheless if we could combine a more acceptable label with treatments that Soldiers would go to, it would be huge benefit to all.

COL(Ret) Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD, MPH

Chief Clinical Officer,  Department of Mental Health, Washington, DC

Professor of Psychiatry,  Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Former Psychiatry Consultant, US Army Surgeon General

 

Mike L Harreld, M.Div

In my work as a hospital chaplain, I have worked with many persons, veterans and civilians who are experiencing what we know to be PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Individuals, especially military personnel do not wish to be labeled with a disorder.

For the military specifically this label can go with them and hinder their opportunities for service and a promotion.

A disorder is often seen as untreatable, where an injury is something that is treatable. I believe it is in the best interest of all if the name were to be changed from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury.

 

Philip B. Hallen

I support the proposed name change from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury.This support and recommendation is based on 40 years as President of the Falk Foundation, directing funding to programs in the public mental health field, academic psychiatry, psychiatric policy and infrastructure, and community based psychiatric programs.The current PTSD definition carries a level of stigma not unlike that about mental illness broadly held by society until relatively recently. For affected combat veterans, the terminology becomes a double jeopardy when added to a less than enthusiastic reception facing many in the employment field and social reintegration. Replacing the vague term “disorder” with the specific and treatable “injury” will provide a legitimacy and definition more easily understood by the society that these men and women have so massively sacrificed for.As one senior psychiatric official has stated, “The stigma of “disorder,” as contrasted to the clarity of “injury,” will serve not only the military, but impact our whole society.

Philip B. Hallen

President Emeritus

Falk Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Dr. Richard Lippin

As former Chair of the Mental Health Committee of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) (1996-2001) and as the only physician named as a member of the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH)research team charged to study the impact of stress on worker health and safety (1997-2001) I fully endorse the proposed name change from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. I view the soldier as a special category of “worker” whose injuries and illnesses sustained in defense of our nation as especially important as it relates to attribution of the injury/illness to their unique work verses attribution to home stresses or personality traits. The word “injury” more accurately reflects work related, externally imposed, causality of injuries and illnesses verses the word “disorder” which can be more widely interpreted to reflect internal non work related causality or character flaws at best- victim blaming at worst.

Richard A. Lippin MD, FACOEM

Occupational Physician

 
Kim Ruocco MSW

My husband Major John Ruocco USMC died by suicide on February 7, 2005. During his fifteen years of service in the Marine Corp John was exposed to multiple traumatic events in a combat setting as well as in training. He suffered psychological injuries on each of these occasions, however refused to seek help for fear of how it would effect his career and how it would change the way people viewed him. The night my husband died I begged him to get help, he agreed to do it but said “I’m going to lose everything”. He never did go for help. John killed himself later that evening.

It’s been seven years since the death of my husband. I am now the Director of POSTVENTION Programs for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). In the role I develop peer based support for thousands of survivors who are grieving the death of a service member to suicide. Each new family provides a small window into the struggles of our Service members prior to their death. What saddens me the most is that their is still such enormous stigma around seeking help for psychological injury due to their service.. I have come to believe that a piece of this stigma lies in how these injuries are being labeled….disorder implies something wrong with you, while injury implies something that happened to you.

I don’t know if changing the diagnosis from disorder to injury would of saved my husbands life , but I do think that there is a much greater chance that he would of gone for help if he thought others considered his struggle to be an injury. We MUST do EVERYTHING we can to fight this stigma and to label PTS for what it is….an injury.

Director of POSTVENTION Programs

http://Taps.org

 

CAPT William P. Nash, Medical Corps, USN (Retired)

The time has come for all of us — in and out of healthcare, in and out of the military — to challenge our own long-held conceptions about whether the observable manifestations of posttraumatic stress reflect a real rather than merely metaphorical injury to the person. The clues are there for anyone to find if they’re looking.

One source of clues are the subjective experiences of the traumatized. They know something has happened to them, something outside their control that cannot be undone. Even if their symptoms fully resolve, they are changed forever by their traumatic experiences. Another source of clues is the great similarity of post-event symptoms experienced by survivors of life-threatening events like accidents or assaults, losses of cherished people and things, and events that shatter deeply held beliefs, especially those of a moral nature. Posttraumatic stress simply cannot be only about fear conditioning. And finally, at long last, neuroscience is beginning to provide clues to how intense or prolonged stress can inflict literal injuries to circuits in the brain that are absolutely fundamental to personhood.

Every time I have explained these reasons for considering posttraumatic stress a literal injury to military Service member or veteran patients I have heard them breathe sighs of relief. Their distress and changes in functioning are NOT their personal fault.

I see two issues being raised by this important campaign. Should we relabel PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Injury because to do so would reduce shame, blame, and fear of acknowledging and asking for help for stress-related problems? And is bio-psycho-social-spiritual trauma REALLY an injury to the whole person rather than something that can be shrugged off, unlearned, or successfully ignored?

I for one, am DELIGHTED we are having this conversation.

Bill Nash, MD

Former Navy psychiatrist deployed with 1st Marine Division to Operation Iraqi Freedom-II

Former director of US Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control programs

Researcher in combat-related posttraumatic stress

 

Steven M. Gorelick, PhD

Over two decades ago, I developed and began to teach an undergraduate course at Hunter College examining the impact of language on our collective understanding of illness, natural disasters, violence, and many other painful challenges to social and personal well-being.

As I think back on all the changes in our collective attitudes, language, and behavior during this time, one trend seems to be constant: Again and again, we have chosen to eventually jettison labels and names that we realized were vestiges of eras in which – unable to fully understand the complexity of a problem — we resorted to blaming victims rather than struggling to understand.

Susan Sontag’s seminal 1978 essay – Illness as Metaphor – provided an especially eloquent explanation of how and why we have been so shamefully prone to loathing those in pain. Terrified at our impotence in the face of the scourges of tuberculosis, cancer, and HIV/AIDS, we adopted cruel and stigmatizing language and narratives tracing illness to human weakness and destructive human behavior. It was them, not us. What a relief.

It is almost impossible to believe some of the bizarre and cruel folk-theories we came up with, chastising cancer patients for emotional repression or suggesting that HIV/AIDS was some sort of divine retribution for sinful behavior. Eventually, and often only after fierce resistance by those unfairly stigmatized, we moved from the hurtful to the humane.

And now it’s time to do the same with PTSD.

The pioneers who developed this diagnosis intended a clear departure from the language of battle fatigue, shell shock, and “war neurosis,” rejecting the idea that it was the neurosis rather than the trauma that destroyed lives. Over time, though, the term “disorder” has led far too many people to see such trauma as outside the boundaries of normal human behavior; as a pathological rather than understandable reaction to prolonged trauma.

And that’s why it has to go.

If we learned anything from the most lethal century in human history, it’s that trauma exacts a painful and lasting price from many of those who face it in war, catastrophe, and other less extreme settings. To continue to use the term “disorder,” widely and popularly understood to suggest some peculiar pathology, is to willfully ignore our collective responsibility for the pain and suffering that is anything but peculiar when we repeatedly ask people to use violence and force to clean up our political messes.   

The injured are not peculiar. They are injured. And only a change to “Post-Traumatic Stress Injury” will make it absolutely clear that we are rejecting victim-blaming and unflinchingly facing the collective social failures that made pervasive injury inevitable.

Steven M. Gorelick, PhD

Professor of Media Studies, Hunter College

+ Show More Comments

Please consider adding your endorsement in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

  1. Rosemary KM Sword

    My husband, Dr. Richard Sword and I were part of a psychological team lead by Dr. Philip Zimbardo that presented a new therapeutic approach (Time Perspective Therapy) for PTSD at the 2012 Western Psychological Association Annual Conference in San Francisco. As part of our presentation, we suggested the name change from PTSD to PTSI, as we have for the past few years. The mental health professionals as well as the psych students in attendance were enthusiastic about this powerful one word change.

    In order to bring awareness greater awareness to our greater community, I began a petition via wwww.change.org calling for this change; http://www.change.org/petitions/ama-american-psychiatric-and-psychological-associations-change-the-dsm-iv-tr-309-81-ptsd-to-post-traumatic-stress-injury-ptsi?share_id=ufKoAwszFQpe=pce. Although my husband and I are private practice, the majority of our patients are veterans suffering from PTSD(I). We are well aware of the enduring consequences of PTSD(I), especially the stigma of mental disorder under which they live.

    Post-traumatic Stress is a normal response to trauma and therefore we consider it to be a “normal” military experience. Ideally, the first step in treating PTSD(I) would be dealt with through greater communication between sergeants and peers in the field. While the word “Disorder” is considered a “more neutral term” than “mental illness”, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder has attained an unintended negative connotation by society, especially in regards to our active military personnel and veterans. Post-traumatic Stress is not a mental illness, which may be caused by genetics, disease of the mind, deterioration, etc. Rather it is a mental/psychological Injury and should be considered and treated as such. Post-traumatic Stress may be likened to experiencing a physical wound – it happens to normal people who have suffered a life-threatening or potentially injurious trauma to self or others, leaving one with a psychological wound – one that cannot be seen but is certainly felt.

    By the simple act of changing the word “Disorder” to “Injury”, the stigma surrounding this diagnosis will be lifted and society may better understand that some sufferers do not to seek the help they need due to the negative societal perception.

    Rosemary KM Sword, co-author (with Philip G Zimbardo and Richard M. Sword)
    The Time Cure: Overcoming PTSD with the New Psychology of Time Perspective Therapy. Jossey Bass/Wiley Publishers. October 2012.

  2. Carla Bolte

    I have struggled for decades with the intellectual and emotional aftermath of rape complicated by other traumatic events. I was raped before PTSD was identified in the DSM. Although I sought and found psychological help, my therapist and I were both completely unaware that I had PTSD.

    It took me years to understand that something was wrong, and years more to identify it. I think that’s typical of many people suffering from PTSD. We often have a very difficult time recognizing we’ve suffered an injury and seeking treatment.

    We are not cowards, we can’t just tough it out. Violence does not dissipate; the effects of trauma do not simply vanish with time or effort, no matter how strong we are. That’s not easy to absorb and face.

    I’m fairly certain that my injury is permanent. I can treat it, I can adjust to it, I can live with it, but it’s not going to go away. PTSD is known to be difficult to treat, and it’s notoriously dangerous. Far too many suffers either live or end their lives in isolation and despair.

    I have long suspected that PTSD is a brain injury, whether complicated by physical trauma or not. I think future research into the connection between the symptoms of PTSD and changes in the structure and function of the brain will confirm that PTSD is indeed PTSI.

    Changing the classification from Disorder to Injury hews closer to the truth. We are normal people who have gone through very abnormal events, events that have left us injured, not disordered.

  3. Laci Red Shuz

    I support changing the word to injury. Thank you for making the effort on behalf of survivors. Words do matter and this might help lessen the stigma survivors sometimes feel. I think injury is more accepting and less stigmatizing than the word, disorder.

  4. Erica Kudek

    “There’s something wrong with you.”
    There’s not. I’ve been injured. The way that my brain functions has been altered by horrible things that I have lived through and things that I have witnessed. We (survivors of traumatic events) have been injured and we have to work really hard every single day to try to recover from that injury.
    I support the change from the word disorder to injury. I think it will make a world of difference in a time that we are in need of a lot more support and understanding from everyone.
    http://sheflies.blogspot.com

  5. Katrina Masterson

    The time has come to change the name of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). By doing so, we will align the true etiology of trauma–which begins with an outside influence, an overwhelming traumatic event involving horror, terror, and potential loss of life–with the right name. Changing the name to PTSI tells it like it is: that there are experiences so traumatizing they have the potential to hard wire the brains and memories of the sufferers.

    Calling the wound an “injury” reflects the true reality of the trauma–PTSI is an injury for which one is not responsible for having caused. The injuries most often result from man-made violence: torture, wartime combat and exposure, domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, child abuse, and prolonged exposure to the violence and suffering that law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and journalists are exposed to. Changing the name would thus reduce the negative stigma associated with it and give those who suffer with it better odds of coping and managing its complex array of symptoms involving random intrusive images of the traumatic events; the eventual numbing and constriction of the body and spirit; and the anxiety and hyper-vigilance that comes with losing one’s sense of safety and trust in the world.

    I’m so encouraged by this campaign and want to thank you for leading this important cause. Having worked with law enforcement officers and managed law enforcement critical incident stress programs, I can speak first hand to the fact there is a tremendous negative stigma associated with the “disorder” aspect of PTSD, and it prevents people from seeking the help they so rightfully deserve and need. I’m confident in Dr. Ochberg’s leadership–he helped write the original definition; and who better to understand the potential of this name change to bring our understanding of trauma into this next generation.

  6. Elise McGhee

    “I for one, support dropping the word “disorder” from the acronym PTSD….”disorder” sounds more to me, like an an “abnormality.” Injury means that one has been harmed and is in need of care….”

    Elise McGhee
    Thirty Years of Silence

  7. Wally Morrow

    I am a Combat Veteran of VietNam having served with the 101st Airborne Division. I was diagnosed with PTSD by the VA in 1992.It took me many years to come to grips with the fact that my combat experience was affecting my Family and my Work life.I have been involved with a PTSD counseling group for the last 12 yrs. at my local VA Clinic. Knowing that I have a support system of other PTSD veterans helps to get through the day. I don’t think changing the name to PTSI is going to help us at this point. But if it helps people to cope with their diagnosis and if it helps to lessen the stigma associated with having PTSD then I am all for a name change.

  8. Viki C. Sharp, M.Ed

    I would like to point out that law enforcement personnel, and other first responders, feel equally stigmatized by the term “Disorder.” I fully support a change to “Injury.” The words we use DO make a difference. As we identify words and phrases that work better in trauma situations, it is the responsibility of trauma professionals to change the vernacular.

  9. Dr. Nuria Querol Viñas, MD, BSc, MSc.

    I am writing on behalf of GEVHA (Group for the Study of Violence Towards Humans and Animals), the Iberoamerican Link Coalition, the Health Commission Against Family and Gender Violence of the University Hospital Mútua Terrassa. We support the change of the word “disorder” to “injury.” Victims can be re-harmed and re-victimised in so many ways, and wording is one of them.

    Thank you very much for this beautiful initiative,

    Dr. Nuria Querol Viñas, MD, BSc, MSc
    Researcher and Professor
    Clinician
    Group for the Study of Violence Towards Humans and Animals

  10. Patricia Pott

    I suffer from PTSI from childhood trauma and a long abusive marriage. I discovered my injury through searching my symptoms online and finding a resource for women with PTSI (Gift From Within). Although it was incredibly affirming to discover I had a legitimate injury and that it had a name I have always felt embarrassed to tell someone I suffered from a “disorder.” It was difficult enough to try to explain my symptoms. Having to state it was a “disorder” further stigmatized me. I always felt it was unfair because a disorder seems more of something a person is born with. I was not born with PTSI and it is not my fault I suffer from it. It resulted from how significant caretakers interacted with me when I was too young to take up for myself, and when I was mistreated by someone who was supposed to cherish me. I did not ask for this to happen to me. I hate how I struggle with my symptoms every day of my life. Changing the name from PTSD to PTSI would go a long way towards affirming those of us who suffer from this injury.

  11. Liza Casey

    I support this change. I have learned recently just how much “languaging” can affect views of the health care system and society. While PTSD is not known to go away, it is caused by circumstances, not by a biochemical imbalance. The difference should be made clear in this diagnosis, so that anyone seeking help or understanding can receive the validation they need.

  12. Deborah DeMers

    When I first learned that I had a diagnosis, I was stunned. How could I have a disorder? I just thought what everyone else thought in my life – I’m just crazy. After going through therapy, I discovered that I wasn’t crazy at all – the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder just made me feel that way. Post Traumatic Stress Injury says it all. I was molested as a child from about the age of three until about twelve years old. My parents were highly dysfunctional people and recently admitted that they simply just tossed me to the side of their lives and loved my brother more – do I have a disorder or do I have an injury?

  13. Michelle M. Billingsley MS

    Changing the language of PTSD to PTSI, begins with a single step from each of us. Still many who suffer with this injury…suffer in silence, so as NOT to be labeled “damaged” by a disorder. Defining PTSD as an injury and not a disorder clearly demonstrates how it should be focused. I whole heartedly support the change to PTSI, placing a more positive effort on healing rather than finality.

  14. Jessica D. McMorris, LCSW

    As a clinician, a healer, and former student of Dr. Figley, I fully support the change from PTSD to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. For years, I have stood by the position, in my personal practice, that many people who experience crisis events, although they did not fit the “criteria” for PTSD, were still suffering from maladaptive behaviors related to the event, sometimes years later. I think we are still reaching for a point of understanding of the myriad of ways the crisis experience affects people, including the affect on the energetic system, which is utilized in the system of acupuncture and other healing modalities. To me, as a trained traumatologist and pranic healer, it just makes sense to continue to explore this field with an open mind.

    Jessica D. McMorris, LCSW/ Pranic Healing Practitioner

  15. (Rabbi) Arthur Waskow

    This is an important aspect of how to heal our language in order to heal people. Another: How we describe people whose jobs or homes have been taken away. We usually call them the “unemployed” or “homeless.” Try “disemployed” and “dehoused” and refuse to say they have “lost” their homes or jobs, as if they had lost a phone — stupid and shameful to “lose” something that way. Exactly how the official culture wants us to think — stupid and ashamed of being “Losers,” instead of angry at being disemployed or dehoused.

    theshalomcenter.org

  16. Gwen Weiner

    It’s hard to imagine a country like ours allowing our young fighters to
    come home after facing death and injury day and night and not making
    certain that they get all the help they need to try to put their lives and
    bodies back together. I have been working for several years to help make
    brain and traumatic stress injury understood for what it is…A wound,
    not a weakness.

    Gwen Weiner

  17. Khachatur Gasparyan

    To reduce trauma and PTSD related stigma via changing the name is one way. But I have also belief that in time we will need to change new term. “Injury has less stigma”, what about PTS Reaction?

    Yerevan State Medical University

  18. Mikele Rauch

    I wholeheartedly support removing the stigma of “disorder” from Post Traumatic Stress. If only the national political and medical community would honor the “Injury” with comprehensive treatment of the whole person. That way combat veterans, survivors of sexual, religious, physical and ritual abuse and those suffering from secondary post traumatic stress, who have been witnesses, not just victims, to incest, violence, and war. Please name the diagnosis to Post traumatic Stress Injury, and remove the stigma of pathology and give people a more empowering reframe.

    Mikele Rauch
    Author, Healing the Soul after Religious Abuse: the Dark Heaven of Recovery
    MaleSurvivor.org

  19. Peg Christopher, Ph.D., MPH, LSW, ACSW

    As a faculty member in the MSW Program at California University of PA, I help my students recognized how important it is to avoid labels whenever possible, particularly those labels that promote stigma, prejudice and discrimination (e.g., a label like “post traumatic stress disorder”). As a licensed social work provider, I use a strengths-based, resiliency model that focuses on what individuals can do as opposed to focusing on what they are not yet ready to do. The term “post traumatic stress injury” fits well with this approach, an approach that works miracles… Most people want to be healthy and high functioning. The word “injury” allows a person to internalize a health and wellness approach to recovery. Use of the word “disorder” leads to a more negative self-perception on the part of the individual affected by the trauma and on the part of those who use the “disorder” label.

    Peg Christopher, Ph.D., MPH, LSW, ACSW
    DEERWOOD SOCIAL WORK AND COUNSELING SERVICES

  20. Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC

    I fully endorse and support this proposed change. Language matters, and inaccurate labels stick. I agree that the term PTSD carries the stigma of mental illness, whereas PTSI implies a treatable injury that carries the hope of healing.

    Marty Tousely, CNS-BC,FT,DCC
    Grief Healing

  21. Nathan Smith

    In my experience as a Marine infantry officer with two combat tours in Iraq from 2005-2007 and now as the Executive Director for a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans and transitioning service members gain employment, I have had occasion to interact with hundreds of combat veterans. What is currently labeled PTSD is so widespread amongst the ranks of combat veterans that I question the validity of labeling it a “disorder.”

    The cause and effect between prolonged exposure to a combat environment and resulting psychological, physiological, and behavioral changes is so pronounced that experientially it is the “norm”. I am no medical expert, nor do I pretend to be. But when prolonged exposure to enemy contact almost always results in similar patterns of behavior and psychological/physical responses in combat veterans, it would seem that we are dealing with an injury, or a normal response to abnormal circumstances – neither of which is a “disorder.”

    Reclassifying PTSD as PTSI would acknowledge that an injury does not have to be visible to be real, and would help destigmitize a wound suffered by many tens of thousands of combat veterans. The true cost of war has always been underestimated; properly labeling and identifying PTSI goes a long way towards recognizing, treating and honoring the silent sufferers of invisible wounds.

    Nathan Smith
    The Soldier’s Load

  22. Connie Kirkpatrick

    I would like to argue that words are just words and it should not make a difference. But there is a stigma attached to terms like “disorder” or “illness.” Using a generic and user friendly word like “injury” would be less stigmatizing and feel more like a healing process will take place rather than feeling permanently disfigured.

    This one change could make a difference in not only society’s views but our own as well. I am not defective and having a “disorder” makes me “feel” defective. As if I will never heal and recover.

    Connie Kirkpatrick
    A Spiritual Paradigm

  23. Martha Hauze, LCSW

    I support these efforts because changing the name of PTSD to PTSI is a great first step for removing stigma, shame and self-blame for victims of an invisible but very real injury. As a clinician I have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of torture, war, domestic abuse and other traumatic events on the victim. PTSI would more accurately reflect what happens to the victim of those events and may even promote more research for better treatment of the injury.

  24. Joe Cantafio

    TBI and PTSD(I) will be a part of the American culture for many years to come. Step one, was realizing this was much more than “Shell Shock” or “Combat Fatigue.” Now that we’ve identified the real injury, I commend your efforts to actually help our incredible service members, who selflessly volunteered to protect us. The mission statement of the National Veterans Museum is “Honor, Education and Preserve.” You can almost use the same mission statement for your project.

    God bless you all for your work in this very important area. The wars may be winding down, but the real work is just starting to begin.

    Joe Cantafio
    CEO & President
    National Veterans Museum

  25. Amy Menna

    I agree that this would reduce the stigma associated with having PTSD. By reducing the stigma, we can get more people the treatment they need.

    Amy Menna,Ph.D.
    http://amymenna.com

  26. Perri Ardman

    Thanks to all who initiated and supported the change from “disorder” to “injury.” I believe it will reduce and eventually remove the stigma associated with PTSD.

    Perri Ardman,
    Interfaith Minister, Writer, Certified Instructor in Morita and Naikan Japanese action and self-reflection traditions.

  27. Kathleen M.McCall

    The name change would help my brother. He definitely suffered an “injury,” it is not his disorder. This would not be a problem had he not been in the situation he was forced in.

    Kathleen McCall, M.S., L.M.F.T
    Author, When the Piano Stops: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse

  28. Jeanne Hoffman

    I support the name change from PTSD to PTSI. As an ER nurse I see veterans and car accident victims and other people who have been through terrible ordeals. Some of them will have emotional and physical scars from these events. If they develop post traumatic symptoms it is because they have been injured from war, accidents, and/or emotional and physical abuse. Injury is a better and more respectful title.

  29. Cindy Lou Reed

    I highly endorse the name change. The stigma of PTSD makes it hard for those seeking help as well as those who have it to continue to live with it and seek recovery. The name change would be a positive step toward recovery for all who have suffered this type of injury.

    Cindy Lou Reed, LLMSW

  30. GoodTherapy.org supports the use of non-pathological language in therapy. Using the term “disorder” indicates that something is fundamentally wrong with the individual. Here at GoodTherapy.org, we believe that all people are capable of change and growth and we support the therapists, counselors, psychologists, social workers, students and psychiatrists that agree with us. These people help those injured by Post Traumatic Stress, whether in childhood, as an adult or during war by sitting with them, listening to them and offering a helping hand.

    http://goodtherapy.org

  31. Lizbeth Glickman

    The name change has my personal and full endorsement. I appreciate the folks doing this work. There is an important difference between disorder and injury. The word disorder is not helpful, congenial or supportive. I like the term post traumatic stress injury.

  32. Patty Joyce, LCSW

    I appreciate the recommendation that Posttraumatic Stress be labeled an injury vs. a disorder. Referring to it as an injury acknowledges the physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive “wounds” that often result from trauma.

  33. Dorie L. Griggs

    In the past 30 years the the negative stigma surrounding mental issues has decreased but only very little.

    In my volunteer work with members of the military and their family members, the overwhelming consensus is the use of the word disorder implies a condition exists from which you cannot improve. Changing the fourth word in Post Traumatic Stress from Disorder to Injury is one way to let both the patient and the general public know that this is in fact an injury, one from which you can heal.

    As the mother of a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, I read daily of the struggles of fellow Army families trying to support their soldiers. Many of the soldiers do not want to go to a mental health professional because of potential negative repercussion on their career. Changing the name from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Injury is a step in the direction that could have significant impact on the well being of our military veterans and their families.

    A veteran at a conference I attended once said when asked his opinion of changing the name from PTSD or PTSI. “I can heal from an injury, a disorder is something I cannot heal from.”

    Dorie L. Griggs, M. Div.
    http://doriegriggs.wordpress.com/

  34. Nancy Fair, M.A.

    As a clinician who has worked extensively with victims/survivors of many kinds of trauma, I can say without reservation that language matters. Labeling a human being’s natural reaction to an unnatural experience a “disorder” implies that the problem lies within the receiver rather than with the perpetrator of that violence. It makes no more sense to consider an emotional reaction to trauma a “disorder” than it does to apply such a label to a violence-induced bruise or bullet wound. Who would think of considering the swelling, discoloration, and pain associated with physical manifestations of violence evidence of a disorder of the body? Simply because the injuries to the brain and spirit caused by trauma are not as readily amenable to measurement in our “seeing is believing” culture, we have relegated PTSI survivors to the fringes of humanity – those of questionable strength and character for not “getting over it” or “toughing it out.”

    Personally, I would like to see the term “injury” or “reaction” applied to many of the human experiences that are currently considered disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, for example. There is substantial research implicating prolonged verbal and emotional abuse as causative factors. Words can cause lasting wounds – by being the primary source of wounding in emotional abuse, or secondarily by requiring the receiver of the abuse to carry the responsibility and stigma for having been injured.

    It’s time that society takes responsibility for the damage caused to our shared humanity by our endless wars and our denial of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, particularly of children. Using that quintessentially human trait – our words – to begin to acknowledge this responsibility by replacing “disorder” with “injury” is a step toward that end.

  35. Affect Plus

    As a provider of continuing education for psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, I understand the importance of keeping practitioners informed in regard to the best practices when helping clients.

    The impetus to change the diagnosis of PTSD to PTSI reflects the sensitivity of leading professionals to those who have been injured by trauma. It is a wise and compassionate change. It encompasses a hope for healing. It is my hope that those who make the decision will be able to hear their voices.

    Karen Zabriskie,
    Director, Affect Plus
    http://www.affectplus.com

  36. Stacie Dubay, LMSW

    I support this imperative terminology shift from disorder to injury. In my work with survivors of violence, it is important to avoid negative labels to ensure strengths based healing.

    Stacie Dubay, LMSW
    Social Worker

  37. Anthony Hutcheson

    I support changing PTSD to PTSI because as a survivor of sexual assault I find injury to be less stigmatizing. I believe people unfamiliar with the consequences of trauma will be more understanding with the word injury vs disorder. The less labeling the better. I appreciate the work of the people responsible for this movement.

  38. J. Eric Gentry, PhD

    I have long been teaching this perspective and framing of post traumatic stress to other clinicians. I am heartened and excited to see that this worthy cause has been championed. It is my bias that trauma survivors can survive anything… Except the allopathic interpretation of their condition. I offer my enthusiastic support to this initiative.

    J. Eric Gentry,PhD
    http://www.compassionunlimited.com

  39. Barbara Buzzi, Ph.D., LMFT

    I am fully in favor for changing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. The sentiments on the website are well expressed. As a couples and family counselor, I believe that removing stigma is critical to providing care to our wounded warriors! I will endorse the change and spread the word to my colleagues.

  40. Cameron Macauley, PA, MPH

    In my work as Trauma Rehabilitation Specialist at James Madison University, I strongly support the name change to PTSI. Many people around the world have suffered needlessly through the misinterpretation of “disorder” as something untreatable and permanent. The name change shows that we are learning new things about psychological trauma that will improve our care of survivors of traumatic experiences.

    Cameron Macauley, PA, MPH
    http://maic.jmu.edu/

  41. Rivka Edery, LMSW

    I am very pleased that there is an ongoing process and effort to refer to PTSD as Post Traumatic Stress Injury. Indeed this “condition” is based upon an injury, and to heal or repair, we must call things by its’ true name. When people understand that they suffer from certain symptoms because they are *injured*, rather than flawed or “born that way”, they keep the door open to exploring healing possibilities. Thank you so much for this effort, and therefore a huge service to all people who have been injured as such.

    -Rivka Edery, LMSW

  42. Terri D.

    As an individual who struggles with PTSD daily, I wholeheartedly support the change to PTSI. To me, disorder means “illness” while injury means “harmed.” This is a more precise picture of what I deal with!!!

  43. Lisa Lopez Levers, Ph.D.

    People who have experienced a traumatic event have been harmed in some way. The harm or injury is not an intrinsic condition, but rather, it results from something that occurred in the environment. Casting trauma as a disorder feeds into the unfortunately still-existing stigma associated with mental illness, and this representation has created unnecessary treatment-seeking barriers and further marginalization for those who have been traumatized. Understanding trauma from a more bio-ecological perspective, as the lived experience resulting from an injury that has occurred in a particular environment and within a particular context, is a more useful model for initiating needed interventions. Recent neuroscience has further illuminated our understanding of the implications of posttraumatic stress as traumatic injury. The proposed change is not simply semantic; it represents a paradigm shift, and it aligns with the ways in which we assist traumatized clients in understanding their own transformations, from feeling victimized and violated to resonating with the resilience of having survived. I strongly endorse changing the term Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to Posttraumatic Stress Injury.

    Lisa Lopez Levers, Ph.D., PCC-S, LPC, NCC, CRC
    Professor of Counselor Education & Supervision, Duquesne University
    Editor: Trauma Counseling: Theories and Interventions

  44. Nino Shushania

    In my opinion this is a wise and humane decision.
    Psychosocial Service Provider

  45. Dr. Raymond Scurfield

    In addition to the many excellent points made in the various endorsements, I want to emphasize that, from my 40+ years (from serving Vietnam in 1968-69 onward, to include a 25 year career with the VA leading several PTSD programs), there is a remarkable angst created by having a veterans’ benefits system that in effect, financially rewards veterans for having psychiatric disorders and that punishes them financially if they improve significantly. The current system requires that veterans be awarded a psychiatric diagnosis to be eligible to receive financial and priority medical services. This extremely powerful dynamic inflates the numbers of veterans who are given and who maintain PTSD diagnoses (Scurfield, 2006).

    Furthermore, there are serious problems with the validity and usages of a PTSD diagnosis in being able to differentiate between a “normal” or “expectable” response to trauma versus a “disordered” response; too often, a PTSD diagnosis is used to incorrectly label many veterans as “psychiatricaly disordered” — when they are actually experiencing what could be considered normal and expectable reactions to combat. In turn, veterans contribute to this dynamic; they want and feel that they deserve a disability rating — but such can only be awarded if they are labeled with a psychiatric disorder. Ironically, the military recognizes this dynamic much more than the VA does. Military mental health refers to “combat stress reactions” and not the psychiatric disorder of “PTSD” for the vast majority of psychiatric casualties in a war. To remove “disorder” from PTSD would be a major step to help rectify this tragic conundrum.

    Dr. Raymond Scurfield, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, University of Southern Mississippi

    Author of A Vietnam Trilogy and co-editor with COL Kathy Platoni of War Trauma & Its Wake.

    Expanding The Circe of Healing (in press, 2012) and Healing War Trauma. A Handbook of Creative Approaches (in press, 2013.)

  46. Ellen Kirschman

    I work with first responders who are reluctant to seek help from mental health professionals for fear of stigma and looking weak, to themselves and others. Changing PTSD to PTSI is something my colleagues and I have been doing for several years. A disorder seems so permanent whereas an injury, like a physical injury, is a familiar concept that suggests that the sufferer can recover or at minimum adapt. This is more than semantics. Changing the name will reduce shame and encourage first responders to seek treatment.

    Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D.
    Author of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know and I Love a Fire Fighter: What the Family Needs to Know.
    http://www.ellenkirschman.com

  47. Jayne Crisp

    I happily agree with the new change in terms from disorder to injury. I am working with a Dept. of Justice, Violence Against Women funded disability project and am learning more and more about the appropriate (and more definitive) language and terms that more accurately define the impact of trauma and victimization on people with disabilities. I think the change from “disorder” to injury will make a lot of sense in helping to reduce the stigma of the trauma experience. It also immediately educates and informs from a positive perspective. A “disorder” implies something that is broken or not “normal” and in defining an individual is pejorative. You have my vote in changing the term from disorder to injury. It will make a big difference to all those impacted by trauma and mental health challenges!

  48. Gerald W Vest

    We are happy to join our Signatures for Changing this Disorder to Injury…it is what it is without shame, doubt, stigma and life sentence.

    Thank you all…We are of One Body-Mind-Spirt Here and Now! God will Bless our Injured Warriors and their Families with Community Support, Advocacy, and Extensive & Intensive Integrative Health Services. Thank you All for your Service.
    http://jerryvestinjuredwarrior.com

  49. Michelle Y. Smith,

    Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder may have its definition changed, evaluated, and/or re-vamped by the DSM5 committee. And similar to changing from an “D” to an “I”, both PTSI and ASD disabilities affect people of these conditions for life. Vital services, programs, and supports are necessary to enhance and improve the quality of every individual and the network of support of each individual may it be family, relatives, friends, and others. To narrow the definition of ASD is taking a step backwards; to widen the definition of PTSI and change the acronym from PTSD is taking a step forward. Remove the stigma of PTSD, leave the meaning of ASD alone and help us with who love and care for all of them unconditionally. Avid Advocate for All.

    Michelle Y. Smith,
    Parent Advocate
    Loving Your Disabled Child

  50. Angie Panos, Ph.D

    The descriptiveness of the term “injury” after posttraumatic stress is more accurate than “disorder.” People healing from these injuries can feel more hopeful with this term rather than feeling they are labeled as having a disorder.

    I support the efforts to change the name from PTSD to PTSI.

  51. Patrick Panos, Ph.D, MPH

    I support the change from PTSD to PTSI. Labels do affect the self-esteem, identity and hopefulness of those struggling after exposure to traumatic events.

  52. Bertram S. Allen, Jr.

    I appreciate your steadfast focus on us who are wounded combat veterans and your willingness to speak frequently and eloquently on our behalf.

    I hope to see responses from other clinicians in support of the efforts of folks like you and General Chiarelli to get PTSD out of the pathology category and into a realm of something approaching normalcy as it is defined clearly in the DSM.

    And I have the highest regard for you and those who speak to these issues of PTS.

    In the words of Johnny Cash in his dark song about Vietnam, “Drive on.”

    Bertram S. Allen, Jr.
    Professor of Psychology
    Milligan College

  53. Sara Winningham, RN

    I ardently support changing the name of PTSD to PTSI for a multitude of reasons, many of which are stated above. To rename PTS as an injury would be, by definition alone, more correct. In basic terms, disorder means to “disrupt the normal function of,” whereas injury “causes hurt or harm.” If you have ever known someone with PTS the correct name should be obvious. I am hopeful this will be changed. To all those who have served and are currently serving. Thank you.

  54. Michael Skinner

    This is a most welcome change….for many years I have simply stated that I deal with Post Traumatic Stress…I’ve always felt the “disorder” piece made it sound like it was my fault.
    http://www.survivingspirit.com

  55. Don Evan Appleby

    I endorse the name change to PTSI.
    http://deappleby.com

  56. Dr. Clair M. Hinckley

    As a psychologist and educator, I am delighted to join this movement. I tutor veterans who are planning on entering or returning to college, and thus have some notion of the cost of the PTSD label.
    http://www.a-zsat.com

  57. J. Wong

    I support a change to PTSI as more accurate terminology. It is correct to describe it as an injury.

  58. Janice Krupnick, Ph.D.

    If a name change helps to reduce stigma and increases the likelihood of individuals who need help receiving it, then I am in favor of the proposed change.

  59. Gabriella Grant

    Since the original description of PTSD stated that it is a normal reaction to abnormal events, removing the pathology of disorder and acknowledging the neurobiological impact of trauma on the person as well as the physical injuries that often happen as well, changing PTSD to PTSI might very well increase the number of people seeing this condition/dynamic as something that can be healed. Indeed, the message of trauma-informed approaches is that healing can happen, once we acknowledge the pervasive impact of trauma on the mind, body, spirit and community.
    http://www.trauma-informed-california.org

  60. Cheryl S. Sharp, MSW, ALWF

    Changing PTSD to PTSI is one step closer to freedom from the cages that so many of us have found ourselves.It is also a huge step forward out of shame and humiliation of the person being seen as the problem and a way for society to see its real problems. Labelling the person as disordered is a clinical comfort measure that survivors have never been able to afford. Thank you for shining the light on the real issues.
    http://www.thenationalcouncil.org

  61. Kristen Jamison, Ph.D., M.Ed.

    As a professor of psychology and the wife a Marine who came home after 2 tours in Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress, I support the name change.

    My husband struggled upon his return with the stigma of the “label” and was reluctant to admit that he needed help for years. PTSI leads to structural and chemical changes in the brain, that can lead to permanent damage if left untreated. Implications are far reaching, from social and emotional difficulties to cognitive decline. These are significant symptoms of injury sustained while in combat.

    I am thankful everyday that my husband got treatment and is on the road to recovery. I hope that this name change will inspire more veterans to do the same.

  62. Michael Endres

    It’s about time the “Disorder” part of the name was replaced. As a former platoon sergeant, I’ve seen how difficult it can be to talk with servicemen about the personal stresses of war and encourage them to seek help. Many are proud to seek help for an injury, but few ever want to known for seeking help for a “disorder.”

  63. Denise Wetzler

    Our society, despite its claims, stubbornly clings to stigmatizing those with mental illnesses. I am a former first responder who lives with Post Traumatic Stress every day. My PTSD is non-combat and ironically not from my tenure as a first responder. I am also a certified American Sign Language interpreter (for 30 years) that specializes in legal, medical and mental health interpreting. Not only do I live with it, I deal with people in my professional life that already have two strikes against them for being Deaf, and then add mental illness on top of that. Our entire health care system in the United States discriminates against mental illness. Despite the Wellstone-Domenici Parity Act of 2008, private long term disability companies are still permitted to limit benefits to two years for mental illness, compared to permanent benefits if your disability is ‘physical.’ This significantly adds to the financial stress and burden for a person with a disability. Medicare is also exempt from this Act as well.

    Our veterans and those currently serving in our military must deal with the stigma of mental illness as well. The VA is quick to question a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder; less so for a physical disability. Individuals diagnosed with PTSD have to fight that stigma in order to get help. Many would rather commit suicide than admit they have a mental illness. Despite all the programs and ad campaigns out there encouraging our military service men and women to get help, the barriers for effective care remain.

    I have a significant number of friends who have served in our military and have PTSD; some have a traumatic brain injury as well. I understand all too well the stigma that accompanies a psychiatric diagnosis. People fear what they do not understand. Regardless of its cause, PTSD affects people’s lives; it affects their family, friends, work, and their ability to be self-supporting. More critical is the fact that our veterans with PTS experience stigma and discrimination within and without the VA system. They have sacrificed for our country, and in turn we sacrifice them on the altar of bureaucracy – and semantics.

    If the word “injury” will remove stigma that will enable veterans (and non-veterans) to receive the help they need (in terms of healthcare services and disability benefits) why have we waited so long? Mainstream America sees no shame in being injured, because it was something done TO you; there is perceived shame in having a psychiatric disorder, because for whatever reason it is seen as the person’s fault they have a mental illness. Someone with a mental illness is frequently treated as “defective merchandise.”

    Denise Wetzler, M.Ed.
    CI/CT, SC:L, National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

  64. Shruthi

    I feel that we stigmatize PTSD far too much. We are not helping our veterans, the people we send into harms way by doing so. We need people who can help reduce the intensity of the this injury. But, before that, I feel like everyone in this country should be aware about the problems our veterans and the active duty members face. .

  65. Marc Salce

    I agree drop the D or change it. I prefer it changed.

  66. Ronald M. Fevola

    I support the change from “D to I.” I thank Dr. Ochberg for educating myself, my staff and my colleagues this past January.

  67. Nancy W. Shaw

    Please drop the “D” and change the designation to Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). As a survivor of rape, I feel this much more accurately describes the damage done to military personnel, sexual assault victims, and others who have suffered from the anxiety, depression, and fear brought on by trauma.

  68. Zeldajtk

    I strongly support the name change to PTSI. As a non-military sufferer in recovery, I’d like to say that the new name makes it clearer that PTSD is not just a military injury. The word “injury” is perfect in my opinion. Although PTSD can make you feel disordered, it has never felt like a disorder to me; injury or wound is accurate. Also, the word “injury” has the ring of hope to it, because injuries can heal, while disorders usually continue. I love the idea of changing PTSD to PTSI.

  69. Robert Olcott

    I was pleased to see other endorsers/supporters I have known, especially colleagues of/and Philip Zimbardo, Mike Skinner, and the outpouring of others I’ve yet to make the acquaintance of, who support this endeavor. Thank You All.

  70. David Blackledge

    I am an Iraq veteran who was wounded during two successive tours and suffer from post traumatic stress. I have worked within the military, using my personal experience, to decrease the stigma associated with seeking psychological treatment. When addressing Soldiers and leaders on the topic, I often use the analogy that you wouldn’t think twice about seeking medical care for a broken leg and that a psychological injury should be viewed similarly. It’s an injury and there is treatment available to help you heal. I know from much experience dealing with Soldiers and Families suffering from the effects of post traumatic stress that changing the name from disorder to injury would go a long way in reducing the stigma and encouraging help-seeking behavior. I strongly support this initiative.

  71. Rebecca Williams

    As a survivor of bullying at home and school as a child and of domestic abuse in high school I support the name change. I had PTSD but it came with a host of physical problems that still effect me 30 years later.

  72. Alicia Klick

    The change in name from PTSD to PTSI is one of the most important changes I believe this committe can make. The fact is post traumatic stress is due to an injury of some form: physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of causes. Post traumatic stress is real and if not treated can have numerous negative consequences. As it is many individuals will not seek help for a mental disorder or even a physical or neurological disorder. The word disorder is stigmatizing to many. And in many cases ones condition is not caused by a disorder as in a bad or missing gene, it is caused by an injury.

    While one may feel disordered in many ways after any injury, we are not disordered individuals. We are suffering as a result of a change, experience, etc. One should never feel that they cannot receive or seek help due to stigma or a label. I have been diagnosed with two forms of sleeping disorders. With the name disorder it is believed by many I can just fix something and they will go away. Others believe it is all mental, especially as they are listed in the DSM-IV. Neither case is true. They are medically neurological in cause and medically treated. My life was in disorder until I received and sought proper treatment and care. While I will always have sleep disorders, to me they are neurological issues. There is nothing disordered about my life and medically I am healthy. As there is no determined cause, it is thought that they are originally genes affected by a virus which in some individuals get altered/injured.

    For years counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and all mental health workers have been seeking better ways to reach out to others as well as have others seek out care; to take away the stigma of “diagnosis” or labels of what is wrong with someone; desiring to provide a feeling of treatment and hope, not labels and red tape and other negative consequences of having a disorder/label. We are all human. We all have times where each and every one of us falls into one or more categories or disorders in the DSM. Yet we are not seeking care, although some realistically should be. A main reason those in the profession don’t seek care is the diagnostic label of disorder. We don’t want to be stigmatized or think we are less than. Although if we were injured we would seek out help without worry.

    It is time for the APA to move away from labels and resulting stigma and the feeling one is less than. When there is something wrong mentally, emotionally, or psychologically a part of us is injured and need treatment. Not stigmas, demotions, labels, insurance rate increases, etc.

    So, let’s start with a move from PTSD to PTSI. It has been a long time in coming for most DSM diagnoses, but in this last decade of war, poverty, and other major stressors with many different causes it is time to treat the injured. And at the same time allow them to feel they truly can move forward and that others are not thinking they are less and the individual is not afraid to seek care.

    Alicia Klick
    Mental Health Care Worker
    Masters student in counseling and psychology
    CISD trained
    EMT

  73. Patricia Atkinson

    I support changing the “D” to “I.” Those with PTS should be not be stigmatized, but helped to heal from their injuries.

  74. Dr. Rod Deaton

    Many thanks to Dr. Ochberg for his years of research and advocacy.

    As a psychiatrist currently working in the VA system, I strongly support any measure that will open all our minds–and hearts–to seeing that we should not expect combat trauma to be a disorder that just happens to happen to some men and women, but rather an expectable injury from combat itself that needs to be addressed as rapidly and as thoroughly as possible.

    Furthermore, when we hear the phrase “combat injuries,” we are expecting that some veterans will experience longstanding consequences from such injuries: some injuries tear though muscle and damage internal organs, for example, requiring lifelong monitoring and intermittent intensive support. These stress injuries are absolutely similar, except that they tear through neurons, thereby complicating emotional regulation and also complicating the brain’s ability to pull all its resources together to help form a coherent experience of self, with a coherent past and a envisionable future.

    We–the VA, treaters, the nation–are without question in it for the long haul for the more “traditional” injuries of combat, without any notion whatsoever that the veteran “should be over all this.” Treatment of stress injuries should be no different, both in terms of the long-term availability of services (which many of us in the VA are currently urging policy makers to take quite seriously and right now) and of our expectation, as a society, that of course veterans with stress injuries will be able to make their lives as fulfilling and meaningful as possible, without any implication whatsoever that the veteran should just “buck up and get over it.”

    Dr. Rod Deaton
    http://www.ptsdandcombat.com

  75. Florence Ochoga-Orim MD

    The direct result of trauma is injury. Injury evokes sympathy, because something ‘happened to me’. Disorder, on the other hand, suggests that something is inherently ‘wrong with me’, connotes some intrinsic defectiveness and suggests a moral (or psychological?) failure on the part of the sufferer as being unable to cope. This is not the case.

    In view of trending advances in medical science and psychiatry in particular, this is a necessary change. The term Post Traumatic Stress Injury will benefit us all. Mental health professionals, employers, colleagues and relatives will definitely be more empathic towards people who have been so injured by one, or as is often the case, a series of very traumatic events. This reduces stigmatization and many will be free to get the help they so direly need.

    Florence Orim MD
    Researcher, Atomic Bomb Disease Institute in Nagasaki,
    Department of Radiation Medical Sciences

  76. Keith Smith

    I highly recommend the name change to reflect the condition. Post traumatic stress is an injury, not a disorder.

  77. Elizabeth Hudson

    It is understandable that many in the medical community find the proposed change to PTSI daunting. Indeed, it will begin to shift the conversation in monumental ways: we will be challenged to talk about accountability (people are being injured by other people); risk and resilience (research and funding would need to be allocated to prevention); and perhaps most importantly, psychopharmacology might have to take the back seat in this paradigm shifting conversation. I support any effort that promotes resilience and healing – to my mind, the shift from Disorder to Injury is a large step in the right direction.

    Elizabeth Hudson, LCSW
    Consultant to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services
    Employed by the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public Health

  78. Jackie Gailfoil

    I am hopeful that the efforts of all the good people here are successful.

  79. S. Donovan

    I wholeheartedly support the change from PTSD to PTSI – the soldiers who have given everything deserve the best possible care when they return home.

  80. Addison Tibe

    I hope I can make a difference to the treatment of veterans affected by Post Traumatic Stress Injury.

  81. Marissa Baker

    As the mother of a child with PTSD I strongly endorse a change in language in describing the injury due to post traumatic stress. The stigma associated with the “disorder” label is severe. Please, give people the opportunity to understand that they are not the problem…that they are injured due to circumstances beyond their control. PTSI not only discourages a negative stigma, it also encourages hope for healing.

  82. Annabelle Lipsett, MD

    I strongly agree with the name change. Having witnessed this injury in patients, friends, and family members, it is due time for a change.

  83. Jeff Gliedman

    I completely support and agree with the change from PTSD to PTSI. This change, I believe, will directly and positively impact the attention and support provided to our Uniformed Service Members who have given of themselves.

    SGM(RET) Jeff Gliedman
    39 months served in Iraq leading U.S. Army Engineer Soldiers

  84. Kate Biddle, LISW-S

    This makes a lot of sense. This is a good move away from the stigma, as it more accurately describes what is true for people who are working towards healing from what they have experienced,… not a disorder from within themselves.

  85. Leslie Pasternack

    The Artists’ Collaborative Theatre Of New England (ACT ONE) strongly endorses the name-change of “PTSD” to “PTSI”. Our recent work on Kate Wenner’s play, “Make Sure It’s Me,” addresses the experiences of service members and veterans affected by post-traumatic stress (and the often-entwined TBI incurred from IED blast exposure). Through developing our production, we have met many people in the military and civilian communities who are working to help veterans, but we hear again and again that the stigma of “PTSD” inhibits veterans from seeking the help they need. We have learned from care providers, family members, and those living with post-traumatic stress and TBI that using language which foregrounds dignity and autonomy is crucial to healing and well-being. We are inspired by the work of Gen. Chiarelli and Drs. Ochberg and Shay and join them in urging the adoption of “PTSI.”

    Leslie Pasternack, Associate Director & Stephanie Nugent, Executive Director, Artists’ Collaborative Theatre Of New England (ACT ONE)
    http://lesliepasternack.com

  86. Catherine FitzSimmons

    I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist. I have no training in psychological therapy. But I have struggled with a mental illness (depression) for many years. When I hear people talking about any mental illness as “psychological” only and not organic like, for instance heart disease, I want to scream. The brain is organic. Traumatic stress injures the very structure of the brain, just as a physical blow might crack a skull. It’s time to come out of the 19th century and into the 21st. I support this name change.

  87. Omega institute for Holistic Studies, Inc.

    Omega Institute first began offering programs for veterans and family members dealing with PTSD as far back as 1990, when an initial retreat was led by Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Our ongoing programs have been designed for veterans, family members, veteran women (a healing retreat), and currently a conference for professionals who work with veterans and their families.

    Our language, and the language of our programs, speak to injury, not disorder, and describe PTSD as an invisible wound that must be addressed with the same seriousness of purpose that we address physical wounds.

    We endorse a change from disorder to injury, and pray that a small shift in consciousness will reap a large change in perception, both by veterans and the public. As our programs continue to expand in this arena, we will also incorporate that language in our internal and external materials.

    Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Inc.
    http://eomga.org

  88. Jerri G. Rennaker

    I am a survivor of sexual abuse and understand that changing “disorder” to “injury” makes a lot more sense. I have worked in the mental health field for a lot of years. Having worked with survivors of rape, war, child sexual abuse, etc., I can honestly say that the word “disorder” is stigmatizing and labeling. It feels like there is no hope for recovery when just the opposite is true.

  89. Susan B Landry

    Post Traumatic Stress describes the effects of trauma on the structures of the brain after injury, so yes, I support the change to Injury as an accurate description of the diagnosis, and a step in the right direction in describing the etiology and treatment of the condition.

    We are blessed with research from Joseph LeDoux and Bruce McEwen on the effects of stress on the Limbic System in the brain. LeDoux’s The Synaptic Self and the Emotional Brain and McEwan’s the End of Stress as We Know It, clearly define the effects of the injuries to the brain due to trauma, and possible treatments. A new era of understanding has now begun.

  90. Anne Brannock

    I endorse the use of the word “injury” as the correct terminology for Post Traumatic Stress. As a psychiatric RN living and practicing in Washington, DC, I have the privilege and honor to have close associations and relationships with members of our active and voluntary duty military services. They and their civilian support personnel are my family, friends, neighbors, and patients.

    We live with the history of the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon. We support those who work and are cared for at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval hospitals. The awareness of the suffering of those who have been traumatized in acts of valor are memorialized throughout our city and surrounding communities.

    Our daily news is the national news. Without question, through personal experience and 25 yrs of professional practice, I endorse the word injury. Of course, none of that is science-based, but a critical review of the research and documented findings only support what we’ve all known for years, PTSI is the correct and accurate term. Business and insurance issues should not be held a priority over or used to drive the appropriate care and treatment of our patients.

  91. Ricky Greenwald, PsyD

    PTSD — along with Acute Stress Disorder and Adjustment Disorder — are the only diagnoses that are, by definition, caused by an event. Either PTS R (reaction) or I (injury) would be more precisely descriptive than PTSD. If some destigmatizing can be effected via more accurate naming, then why not?
    http://trauma.info

  92. Maggie Lantry

    As I work with children who have been “Injured” in many ways by the traumas they have
    experienced, I fully endorse this name change.

  93. Susan Lefkowitz

    I support the change from PTSD to PTSI. These women and men who have seen more danger than most of us can imagine should be honored and cared for – not stigmatized and inadequately helped.

  94. Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation

    The Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation is pleased to add its endorsement of this important step in addressing stigma, improving services and benefits for active duty personnel and veterans and advancing social justice.

    Ford Kuramoto, DSW, President, Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation

  95. Migael Scherer

    What a great idea! As a former lecturer and program consultant to the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and past director of the Dart Award for Excellence in Reporting on Victims and Violence, I taught and facilitated many groups of students and journalists. Ironically, the term “disorder” and “syndrome”–which require precise interpretation–were frequently obstacles to understanding and discussing the impact of violence. The far more intuitive word “injury” speaks to the head and heart.
    http://migaelscherer.com

  96. Debbie Atkinson

    Absolutely the word “Disorder” should be dropped. Yes, the word has a stigma attached and keeps people from seeking the help they desperately need. The word “Injury” is perfect because it is, in fact, an injury to the person. There are so many people who do not seek the mental help they need due to the way our society has allowed the stigma to remain.
    http://www.unlimitedconnections.biz

  97. Derek Buckner

    I am a psychiatric RN who works with chronically ill mental health clients at NHS Human Services, Bethlehem Pa. I have seen the stigma and harm that persistent mental illness causes. I wholeheartedly endorse this movement in the interest of serving our brave men and women.

  98. Vivian B. Brown

    I fully endorse this change.

    If we are truly serious about “destigmatizing” mental illness, then this is an important and much needed step. Changing the diagnosis from “disorder” to “injury” (PTSD to PTSI) will not only show respect and sensitivity to survivors, but hopefully will help more survivors seek help.

    Thank you for all your efforts to get this change accomplished.

    Consultant and Founder, PROTOTYPES, Centers for Innovation in Health, Mental Health, & Social Services

  99. John L. Rigg, MD

    In my role as the Program Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at a U.S. Army hospital, I have met hundreds of Service Members over the last 4 years who have been diagnosed with PTSD. Quite early in my encounters with these patients, I began to realize that their reactions to the horrors and trauma of war were normal reactions to abnormal situations. Although I leave the treatment of post-traumatic stress to the clinicians trained in it, the significant contribution of post combat/deployment/traumatic stress to the development, enhancement, and maintenance of the physical post concussive symptoms – headaches, sleep disorders, cognitive problems and mood issues – is obvious. I sincerely believe that considering it an injury rather than a disorder will be a step in the right direction of destigmatizing the issue allowing individuals to more readily come forward and ask for professional help to guide them in their recovery.

  100. Nicholas E. Stratas, MD, DLFAPA

    We live in an era when we invite the public and individuals to be informed and to exercise the responsibility each of us has for ourself as we professionals collaborate with those we call “patients” in their efforts to be self-reliant. In light of the cry from many individuals and sectors, I agree with the change to “Injury” rather than “disorder”, clarifying that a “real world” event is related to the condition described as “post traumatic”. We must be vigilant that no great change will occur in professional practitioners’ ability to communicate with each other, nor with the understanding of this condition.

    As a practitioner of hypnosis and behavioral therapy from the early 1960s I had the opportunity to consult on a large number of these cases then, during my private practice and continuing in my present practice. When the “injury” is unearthed and attended to, personal empowerment is much more approachable. I have currently in my caseload a patient who has been up and down the east coast, treated by some eminent psychiatrists primarily with benzos and SSRIs for over the past 2 decades with a variety of diagnoses. He has been in cbt/insight psychotherapy with me for the past year, has confronted his discovery of his closest brother’s suicided body 25 years ago and is now off all medications. Another current patient is making progress in psychotherapy subsequent to referral during hospitalization for severe migraines and major depressive disorder 2 years after several co-occurring traumata.

    While this word change will be helpful it is important that we not lose sight of the fact that treatment is about reclaiming (or achieving) self-mastery and what we make of our experience with the world around us and its events is what is central. We do not control events around us. For the large part (not always) we are central in what we make of them.

    Finally, our obsession with diagnoses has created a system unduly influenced by third party payers and others than professional practitioners. I am not sure that our diagnostic system has to any great extent improved the ability of practitioners to communicate with each other, which as I recall was the original intent of “labels” People are not labels.

    Nicholas E. Stratas, MD
    Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
    Associate Consulting Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center

  101. Sandra Warnken, CCHT, SEP

    My Dad is a World War II fighter pilot veteran. When he needed nursing home care, we visited a Veterans Service Representative. To determine eligibility for benefits, the first question asked was did he have a war related disability. His reply was no. The only thing he recalled was going to the hospital for a minor skin problem. However, when we got home he was thinking about disability. He recalled something he had forgotten.

    He had a case of the “wobblies” for a while. He was shaking so bad he couldn’t fly combat missions. He took a time out and was able to get his shaking under control. He went back to finish his 50 combat missions. On the heels of remembering the shaking he also remembered fellow pilots and emotional distress with letters from home and guilty advice. All of a sudden the floodgates opened and he was experiencing the horror and terror and dessicated grief.

    In retrospect he recognized that something was wrong from the shaking he had forgotten about. The fact the shaking subsided seemed to indicate he had recovered. As far as he was concerned he came home unscathed and not with a disability. He did have PTSD as mother described his behavior for months after coming home. He also had flashbacks. Post Traumatic Stress Injury would make sense of the invisible wounds. Disorder is a punitive term to the veteran.

    I would also add that I have worked with people who have trauma backgrounds and are being diagnosed with diseases and treated with medicines as if they were organic problems. There are doctors who say to their patients that the problem is all in the head, as if a person would only think differently all would be well.

    I vote for Post Traumatic Injury.

  102. Eric Watkevich

    I support the change.

  103. Vicki Hart

    This will help send people to the correct treatment.

  104. Judy Marling

    I support this because it will shift the stigma from “the victim is defective” to “a functioning human has survived a traumatic event.”

  105. I endorse this change.

  106. Let’s make it clear that this is an injury, not a natural mental condition!

  107. Rachelle Bassen

    Veterans who are understandably effected by the traumatic events they once faced do not have a mental illness, a disorder. They are injured. This name change can really instill hope in the hearts of our nation in providing them with a better, more secure future.

  108. Kathleen Engles Quigley RN, MSN, MS

    Pre and post 9/11 I worked on a grant that had a hot line that was staffed with cop clinicians. It was marketed to working law enforcement officers to call , if having symptoms of PTSD or stress related symptoms. Although they had EAPs in their departments where they worked, if they used their departmental EAP, they were de-gunned and the reason noted in their employee file and any hopes of career advancement were adversely affected, hence the need for an anonymous hot line. The grant was written by former cops who became clinicians with private practices after they separated from their law enforcement positions. The implications of post traumatic stress as an injury for those who live with it may be less inhibiting in seeking treatment. I fully endorse this change.

    Kathleen Engles Quigley RN, MSN, MS
    Executive Director
    Hall Mercer Community Behavioral Health Center
    University of Pennsylvania Health System

  109. Chaplain (Lieutenant-Colonel) Garry Dale

    As an Army Chaplain, I am aware of the warrior’s mentality to avoid being labeled ‘weak’ or having a ‘disorder’, even to the point of choosing suicide.

    I fully support the name change to PTSInjury!

  110. John Henry Parker

    dis·or·der
    1. a disturbance in physical or mental health or functions; malady or dysfunction: a mild stomach disorder.

    in·ju·ry
    1. Damage, harm, or loss, as from trauma.
    2. A particular form of hurt, damage, or loss.

    The simple definitions distinguish the difference between a malady/disturbance/confusion and damage/harm/loss. While disorder can be considered a correct term, having a “disturbance” does not quite capture the violent, injurious and life altering nature of the trauma our military are experiencing. If the word “disorder” presents a significant barrier to care to “at risk” military and Veterans, then it needs to be changed, period.

    I am a father of a Purple Heart Recipient and Combat Veteran of two tours in Afghanistan who did not survive homecoming. Although my son sought help for his PTSI, TBI and physical pain, he could never relate to having a “disorder”. His motto with the 10th Mountain Division was always to be at the front of the fight. It was honorable to be injured or killed in the line of duty but seeking help for PTSD had a stigma of admitting weakness and this was of course, not acceptable. While his command was outwardly supportive, he would regularly comment on the concern he had for himself and others who were openly asking for help, that somehow this was going to come back and bite them.

    Fear of being stigmatized, fear of having this acronym and diagnosis in their medical records and the sheer pride of being a warrior who is trained to complete the mission or die trying are some of the other obvious barriers to care. By removing “Disorder” and replacing it with “Injury,” we minimize resistance and preserve their honor while sending a message to treat all of their injuries.

    This necessary change is one of many very simple and straight forward solutions to parallel the good efforts of the military and the health care community to remove the stigma of seeking help.

    While there are real implications of how Veterans healthcare and entitlements may be impacted with this change, the real question we need to be asking is what are the consequences of not changing this one key word?

    Changing the word “disorder” to “injury” will not completely fix a complex problem but it is certainly a missing piece to a complex puzzle.

    John Henry Parker
    Co-Founder
    Purple Star Veterans and Families
    http://www.purplestarfamilies.org

  111. Ellen M Rugg, MA, MSW, LICSW

    As a feminist clinician with many years experience of group work with folks who’ve experienced trauma, I whole-heartedly endorse this effort to change PTSD to PTSI. Because the symptoms of post-traumatic stress (eg, hypervigilance, over-arousal, re-experiencing of the original trauma, etc) are caused by an external, rather than an internal source, PTSI will serve to more accurately describe the syndrome. The experience of trauma usually carries its own sense of shame & stigma; the terminology of having an injury, rather than a disorder, would certainly not add stigma, and could facilitate the healing process.

    Ellen M Rugg, MA, MSW, LICSW
    Seattle, WA
    http://www.womenstherapygroupsseattle.com/

  112. Lisa Suzanne Hess, MA, LMHC, CMHS, MHP

    I strongly support the name change from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. Since writing my master’s thesis on PTSD in 2001 and 2002, I am even more convinced that the stigmatizing label of disorder prevents many who suffer from seeking treatment for themselves and their families. Applying the medical model would help victims reframe what has happened to them from being within to without and therefore have hope of healing. I have been in the mental health field since the mid-1980′s in a variety of settings and worked with many survivors of trauma. Anything to ameliorate the stigma, self-blame and externalize what has happened to them is all to the good! Victims already blame themselves and if a negative label is removed which is a barrier to them seeking treatment, I am all in support of that.

  113. The first edition of the book “The Ghost in the Orange Closet” was published in 2007 with the second edition published in 2011. The entire book describes how Vietnam Veterans have responded to PTSD being renamed to PTSI and why they are successfully overcoming something they have been fighting for 30 plus years. Numerous current Generals have endorsed the book for their commanding officers and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Juan Garcia III, has passed the second edition around the pentagon. We are making progress. You can join us on Linkedin.com/the ghost where we discuss these issues and the progress being made for our returning veterans.

  114. Esther Giller

    In addition to being a good idea for all the reasons Dr. Ochberg points out, I like this change because it more clearly describes the condition. The word “injury” reflects diagnostic criterion A1(which, I believe, is unique to PTSD): the person must have experienced a traumatic event or events. I believe the change to the word “injury” will help educate the public as it restores dignity to the survivors.
    http://Www.sidran.org

  115. Ann Gonzalez, MA, MFA

    Those who have suffered or witnessed life threatening experiences which challenge their sense of safety in the world, making it so that each day is a battle, are among the bravest people I know. Their post traumatic stress response is actually quite reasonable and sensitive considering the horror they have experienced.

    Relearning that the world is a safe-enough place, and that every smell or sound that recounts the trauma isn’t indicative of the old threat again being present, is very much like rehabbing after a surgery. One has to practice and work on strengthening one’s ability to distinguish past from present. Trauma inflicts a brain injury, an emotional and memory concussion.

    I wholeheartedly agree with changing the name from PTSD to PTSI. And am equally emphatic that medical and mental health support should not be reduced because of the change.

    http://www.northwestpsychotherapy.com

  116. My husband is a retired New York State Trooper that is suffering from PTSD. There are many law enforcement officers and first responders suffering in silence because of the stigma involved. The problem is much greater than I could have ever imagined. When my husband was diagnosed I began to research law enforcement and PTSD and found how little was being done. His 22 year career has left him with a “job related INJURY not a DISORDER.

    I support this wholeheartedly. I know that he would have accepted this diagnosis with more dignity had it been PTSI. I am doing all that I can to help raise awareness for our first responders through a documentary that we are trying to bring to completion called Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance. Our trailer shows the horrors involved for our officers. https://vimeo.com/26689571

  117. Ryan Smith

    I support the change

  118. Jeanette M. Pollard, APRN

    I agree that disorder seems to indicate permanence, while injury reflects a cause/effect as well as possibilities for recovery/healing.

  119. I fully endorse the change to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. Please put yourself in the shoes of others and know that you,yourself could unwittingly suffer from a trauma.No one is exempt and there are generations to come,some of them will be your own offspring,do you want them to suffer the indignity of being told they suffer a disorder after they have suffered a traumatic event?
    Please, Mr.Oldham, help restore the human race to humane treatment and to be accurately told that they suffer from an Injury instead of being inaccurately told that they are disordered.Let’s restore people to Hope and to healing and to dignity.Thank you so much for your most thoughtful consideration.

  120. It is time for layman to join the growing chorus of academics, clinicians, journalists and public health professionals by adding our voices in supporting the paradigm shift of dropping the notion of a disorder and substituting a more accurate terms of post traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). By doing so, the stigma of a disorder will be greatly reduced and by substituting the term injury, a more medically defensible definition can be used without carrying the stigma notion.

    In my opinion, psychotherapy has too long focused solely on the detrimental effects of trauma and has, thus, confined understanding of trauma recovery to a deficit-oriented model. In lay terms that means study of “what is lost.” The concept of changing to PTSI leads to the possibilities of post-traumatic growth (PTG.) PTG adds a new perspective, “what is gained.

    In visiting scores of wounded warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center, Ft. Belvoir and several other military hospitals, I have witnessed first hand warriors who have not let traumatic injuries become a life sentence. Of the many lessons learned from working with those who have successfully navigated traumatic injuries, I have also learned we should stay open to the possibility that from great suffering can come great growth and wisdom.

    Mindful of the public policy implications of such a name change, our working group have reached out to the Bush Institute and offered my support to the former President’s efforts of taking the “D” out of PTSD.

    For these reasons, The Character Building project supports changing terms from PTSD to PTSI.

    Thank you to post traumatic stress injuries for providing the justification and platform containing so many endorsements expressing support for changing PTSD to PTSI.

    Michael J. Kerrigan
    Founder, The Character Building Project
    http://www.thecharacterbuildingproject.com

  121. Dave Huer, Founder, WarriorHealth CombatCare, Vancouver, BC, Canada

    In 2012, I saw a statement in a business magazine, amidst a sad story about a manager killed by her partner: “Boys raised in abusive homes become abusers themselves.” The writer did not understand the brutality of the generalization. Consider the boys that Mr. Sandusky tried to destroy at Penn State, and here was a statement automatically–and wrongly–condemning those boys, for life. Couldn’t we say something deeper?

    The reason for starting with this story is to use it as an analogy about the power of Terms; as an invitation to consider that the Terms used by leaders about trauma reference their immense responsibility to have care for the impact of those words.

    When a doctor tells a veteran “the Manual says” you have a Disorder, and that doctor by definition has authority over you–whether by statute or convention…this has come to mean that you are required to accept that you have been condemned.

    I’m an entrepreneur, founder of a startup called WarriorHealth CombatCare. We aimed (and failed) to get experiments in play to partner with or disrupt Big Pharma with a new class of drugs that I call “audiological drugs”–to treat PTS in partnership with the computing/internet/wireless industry, while aiming to spark creation of a Combat Stress-focused injury triage system at the VA. With our 6-year venture perspective in mind, let me say that I got the deep sense from US and Canadian veterans that having the term “Disorder” attached to one’s name spawns a deep sense of ignominy and a life of spiraling despair. A person must possess high resilience to overcome a tag like this. The Term literally and deliberately isolates and kills, and because of this I completely support changing the terminology from Disorder to Injury.

    The term “injury” offers true freedom–the opportunity to recognize that emotional injury is no less harmful than physical injury; to recognize oneself as being emotionally-injured and therefore heal-able; and worthy of respect for taking the risk to disclose the deep painfulness that is the injury, in the first place.

    It engages active service members and veterans in concert with caregivers. It offers depth, and purpose, and deep truthfulness. It brings a framework of civics and dignity and respect. It has character and it is about character. It creates a learning moment, and ripples spreading out from that. It might spark and fan a tiny secret flame of hope and self-respect. It is an invitation to create a virtuous circle of conversation; a sitting down in a courtyard; the interplay of gesture, and the opening of hearts; and the deeper conversation we all need to have about trauma and resilience and recovery.

  122. MAJ Jonathan Silk

    I support Post Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTS)I being listed by the American Psychiatric Association, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Based on my observations in serving with fellow wounded warriors, and in the role as the National Veterans Outreach Director for Team Red, White, and Blue I believe Post Traumatic Stress is an injury, something that an individual can recover and grow from. Post traumatic growth happens in communities, where relationships can be built and then can continue to grow. If Veterans with PTI and community members take part in a shared experience the value of this interaction will benefit both the veteran and the community member.

  123. Finally, an initiative that understands trauma and response is here! Stress is best understood as a normal, even healthy, post-trauma response. The old label “disorder” is inappropriate at best, arguably discriminatory and a possible a deterrent to full recovery. And given the frequency in which humanity experiences trauma- be it caused by natural disasters, crime, tragedy, injustice or war- it is a long awaited sign of progress that post traumatic stress be more appropriately recognized as a curable injury. As the daughter of a WWII Timberwolf (liberators of Nordhausen), the wife of a career Navy officer, and a Military Mom, I whole-heartedly endorse this effort. Support it!

  124. Regarding the use of the word “injury” rather than disorder, i think this is a laudable goal. The problem is the American Psychiatric Association which defines these terms in the DSM, the new version of which has been out less than a year. We are not likely to see any change for some years. Others have advocated in the past to see PTSD as a “moral injury” and this makes sense to me. Convincing the psychiatrists is another matter. But it might be possible to begin to informally bypass them and gradually change the zeitgeist.

  125. Daniel P. Crandall

    As a veteran – US Navy ’88-’93, and, God willing, future psychologist I endorse changing the designation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. The goal of any treatment should be to facilitate health and help an individual grow. This is true when one suffers a traumatic physical injury such as the loss of one or more limbs or blindness. When a person suffers a traumatic physical injury he or she is not labeled with a “disorder”. Instead, doctors and physical therapists acknowledge the injury, focus on treating it, and helping the person adapt and overcome the injury.

    Physicians and nurses have, over the years, stopped making reference to Sexually Transmitted Disease and instead make reference to a Sexually Transmitted Infection. The reason for this change is similar to that behind the call to change PTSD to PTSI. No one wants to be labeled with an “STD” out of fear of being stigmatized. When facing the possibility of an STD an individual may not seek out help in being diagnosed and treated. Shifting the focus from disease to infection removes the stigma and shame a person may feel, and thereby facilitate early diagnosis and treatment.

    A person who has experienced a psychologically traumatic event is not disordered. He or she is wounded. An injury has been suffered by the psyche. Changing PTSD to PTSI recognizes that an individual has suffered that injury, but doesn’t stigmatize that person as disordered. Instead of focusing primarily on the psychologically traumatic event, the clinician helps the person acknowledge the trauma, treat the trauma’s effects, then grow and flourish going forward just as one would do when facing a physical injury. This shift can help the wounded person find an inner strength, abilities, and courage not previously thought possible.

    In the end, the goal should always be to help the person who suffered the trauma to treat, adapt, and overcome the injury. Shifting the designation to Post Traumatic Stress Injury is an important step in this process.

  126. Ambassador Cofer Black

    I strongly support use of the term ‘injury’ as in PTSI. Invisible wounds of war are not a ‘disorder.’ Our men and women who service this country so well, uphold our finest traditions, and defend us deserve all our support as well as an accurate description of Post Traumatic Stress as an injury … PTSI.

  127. I endorse the name change from PTSD to PTSI. Because PTS is, in fact, an injury; to the soul and brain. It is not a disorder, you aren’t born with it. It is inflicted upon its victims, as an injury would be.

  128. In the Vietnam War subsequent to an enemy mortar attack on my Special Forces camp on June 17, 1967 in which both my legs were amputated below the knees, I was at Brooke Army Medical Center for fifteen months. During the eighth month of my fifteen month hospitalization, the pain of my physical loss, the fears of becoming an amputee, the concerns about changing my career and entering civilian life became too much of a struggle for me and consequently I had an emotional breakdown and was in a closed psychiatric ward for fourteen weeks. After the release from the hospital I saw a psychiatrist and took antidepressants for six years. In 1968 upon my retirement from active military service my condition was termed “paranoid state in remission.” I am not sure to this day what that meant. In 1968 the term PTSD was not yet in the lexicon. My compensation percentage from the Department of Veterans Affairs was 100% based on the leg injuries alone and no percentage was attributed to the emotional and what I later understood from my spiritual maturation as an “injury” to my soul. My records indicated I had had no prior mental “disorder” of any type. I have not paid much attention to the terminology since I do not have what in today’s parlance and official designation of PTSD is now thrown around candidly almost as badge of honor among veterans who receive the compensation. Amongst each other we do not mind admitting to each other that we have “PTSD”. Fortunately I have come to believe recently (as a result of this effort by General Chiarelli)the term is used negatively, does impact our own psyche with the term, and definitely tags us with the civilian employers and general population as to being people that are “dangerous.” I have been a senior political appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs and have been acquainted with hundreds of veterans, having personally walked throught the agonies of their wartime experiences and relating to them my own healing process through my personal faith walk as a Christian. If I had a mental disorder due to the “external precipitating stress” that was part of the definition of my injury, then I am over it and I believe our veterans can achieve significant healing also. I am heartily in favor of terming our condition Post Traumatic Stress Injury. This terminology would have no impact as to whether or not we would still qualify for compensation from the VA for the diminution of our ability to function with the injury to our soul and spirit which I believe can be healed because it was for me.

    The Honorable Allen B. Clark
    Assistant Secretary for Veterans Liaison and Program Coordination (1989-1991)
    Director, National Cemetery System (1991-1993)
    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Captain, U.S. Army (Ret) Silver Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge
    Fifth Special Forces Vietnam 1966-1967
    Founder: Combat Faith lay Ministry (www.combat faith.com)

  129. It seems to me that right from the beginning if I want to be successful in the military I need to be mentally and physically tough. In fact that’s why there is such rigorous training, to prepare me to handle tough condition’s. For anyone who has completed this training there is a certain pride that I am ready for whatever is thrown at me no matter how severe. If I were injured, it would go against my pride and esteem to admit, that I am now or have a “disorder.”
    If injure i would certainly wanted to be treated in all aspects for the injury but would not want to be classified as disordered.

    Steven Markel CEO Families of Character

    I was recently talking with parents who’s child is an officer in the military. The child was admitting to the parents that they are under sever pressure but would not mention it because of the embarrassment and it would be on record.

    Words make difference. Let’s treat our military personnel with the dignity with which they have given us in their service

    Steve Markel CEO Families of Character

  130. karen hoeck

    I am a survivor of rape and many other traumas and have “finally been diagnosed

    I am a survivor of rape and many other traumas. I also have ptsd and have been discounted and compared to others for “not getting over it”, by my own family. It’s not about getting over it but being able to manage the symptoms. Their ignorant comments have only added to the isolation I have always felt and seem to be common among ptsd sufferers. I strongly agree that changing the term (as well as many other psychiatric terms) will only benefit all of us. I also believe it is one of the
    reasons society has been so slow on providing services and treatments so desperately needed. I am looking forward to the day we no longer draw a distinction between “mental” and physical health in the medical field and society.

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