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Houston Chronicle, 15 Jan 12The president of the American Psychiatric Association says he is "very open" to a request from the Army to come up with an alternative name for post-traumatic stress disorder so that troops returning from combat will feel less stigmatized and more encouraged to seek treatment.
Dr. John Oldham, who serves as senior vice president and chief of staff at the Houston-based Menninger Clinic, said he is looking into the possibility of updating the association's diagnostic manual with a new subcategory for PTSD. The subcategory could be "combat post-traumatic stress injury," or a similar term, he said.
"It would link it clearly to the impact and the injury of the combat situation and the deployment experience, rather than what people somewhat inaccurately but often assume, which is that you got it because you weren't strong enough," Oldham said.
The potential change was prompted by a request from Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, who wrote to Oldham last year, suggesting APA drop the world "disorder" from PTSD.
"Calling it a disorder contributes to the stigma and makes it so some folks - not all, but some folks - don't get the help they need," Chiarelli said.
The general doesn't like to use the word disorder. "It's not a dirty word, but I think it's misused here," he said. "I don't think that the post-traumatic stress that soldiers experience is a disorder. It's not something that happens just to weak people or people that are somehow inclined to be affected by horrible things that they see or are required to do. I think it causes an actual injury to the brain and how the brain works." ....
Hat tip to the Bouhammer Military Blog for highlighting this article.