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Casualties of war 

News coverage of the Iraq war focuses on the number of U.S. deaths. Little is reported about the number of non-fatal physical casualties, and less still about mental infirmities like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can leave victims unable to function normally in civilian life. Read more about PTSD in this week's cover story, starting on page 16.
click to enlarge Russel Bilzing -  - Homeless -  - Unemployed veteran -  - Have you ever known anyone with PTSD? - Several. -  - How does it affect them? Don't yell, - "Incoming!" Don't slam a door. Don't wake them up by - touching them. You have to watch your step around - them. -  - Is there a stigma attached to PTSD? You - behave inappropriately at times for normal society, and - people don't like unusual behavior. It frightens them. -  - Physically injured troops are eligible for Purple - Hearts, but not vets who get psychologically injured. -   The Army hasn't addressed this issue as it should, - and I doubt it ever will. They would have to admit that - PTSD exists, and they don't like admitting that. -  - Does the government have a responsibility to treat - PTSD?  Of course, if they are part of what caused it.
  • Russel Bilzing

    Homeless

    Unemployed veteran

    Have you ever known anyone with PTSD? Several.

    How does it affect them? Don't yell, "Incoming!" Don't slam a door. Don't wake them up by touching them. You have to watch your step around them.

    Is there a stigma attached to PTSD? You behave inappropriately at times for normal society, and people don't like unusual behavior. It frightens them.

    Physically injured troops are eligible for Purple Hearts, but not vets who get psychologically injured. The Army hasn't addressed this issue as it should, and I doubt it ever will. They would have to admit that PTSD exists, and they don't like admitting that.

    Does the government have a responsibility to treat PTSD? Of course, if they are part of what caused it.

click to enlarge Jerry Flesher -  - Northeast -  - Manufacturing company owner and veteran -  - What is PTSD?  A condition that manifests itself - in a number of ways, like flashbacks and trouble dealing - with society. -  - Should someone with PTSD be eligible for a Purple - Heart?  No. The Purple Heart serves a different - purpose. Maybe there's other ways to recognize PTSD. -  - Does the government have a responsibility to offer - vets treatment for PTSD?  To some extent, but I - don't look to the government to provide for everything. - People have responsibilities, too.
  • Jerry Flesher

    Northeast

    Manufacturing company owner and veteran

    What is PTSD? A condition that manifests itself in a number of ways, like flashbacks and trouble dealing with society.

    Should someone with PTSD be eligible for a Purple Heart? No. The Purple Heart serves a different purpose. Maybe there's other ways to recognize PTSD.

    Does the government have a responsibility to offer vets treatment for PTSD? To some extent, but I don't look to the government to provide for everything. People have responsibilities, too.

click to enlarge Betty Alsberg -  - Pleasant Valley -  - Sales -  - What do you know about PTSD?  I was treated - for it after my husband was shot and killed in New York - City 12 years ago. I had feelings of dissociation, like I - had two distinct personalities, one that was taking care - of business, and another that stood apart, watching that - person do those things. I've heard of women in - Cambodia who witnessed things so traumatic that they - lost their eyesight. I've talked to Vietnam vets who've had - trouble with drugs and alcohol as a result of their war - experiences. -  - Is there a stigma attached to PTSD?  A - contingent of people doesn't believe it exists. Also, some - people aren't incapacitated by it, whereas others have to - be institutionalized. -  - Is it the government's duty to provide treatment for - PTSD to vets?  Yes. The military fights our battles - for us. We have a responsibility to care for those who are - incapacitated while doing that.
  • Betty Alsberg

    Pleasant Valley

    Sales

    What do you know about PTSD? I was treated for it after my husband was shot and killed in New York City 12 years ago. I had feelings of dissociation, like I had two distinct personalities, one that was taking care of business, and another that stood apart, watching that person do those things. I've heard of women in Cambodia who witnessed things so traumatic that they lost their eyesight. I've talked to Vietnam vets who've had trouble with drugs and alcohol as a result of their war experiences.

    Is there a stigma attached to PTSD? A contingent of people doesn't believe it exists. Also, some people aren't incapacitated by it, whereas others have to be institutionalized.

    Is it the government's duty to provide treatment for PTSD to vets? Yes. The military fights our battles for us. We have a responsibility to care for those who are incapacitated while doing that.

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