VA: PTSD not Mental Illness

From a chief advocate for health care in the Veterans Administration:

“The number of patients who have adjustment reactions to the experience that they have in Afghanistan or Iraq is very important, but we don’t believe that’s mental illness,” Kussman said. “It would be unfair and inappropriate to stigmatize people with a mental health diagnosis when they are having what most people believe are normal reactions to abnormal situations.”

The full treatment at World of Psychology. The headline is: “Undersecretary of Health Reinforces Stigma of Mental Illness.” Here’s another quote from the piece:

Having a depressive, traumatic or anxious reaction to combat is actually not a normal reaction (even if some of us believe it should be). And sadly, war and combat fighting is not an “abnormal situation” for a soldier — it is exactly what is expected of them (and what they signed up for).

Sadly, I don’t think this is entirely fair. Many entering the military (especially via the National Guard) never really thought they’d see combat. For some, it is a way to get a college education. Certainly few dreamed that they would be seeing up to five tours of duty.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

2 thoughts on “VA: PTSD not Mental Illness”

  1. I’m sorry but anything that affects a person so much as to be somewhat limiting their daily activities and affecting their home life should be classified as mental illness. Normal or abnormal, seeing and receiving traumatic injuries results in dibilitating anxiety.

    I think it’s very callous to just say, it’s what they signed up for. HELP THEM.


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