Military Psychiatrists Debating New Name for PTSD to Reduce Stigma

What’s in a name? In the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many military psychiatrists believe the title given to this disabling condition plays a role in how those who suffer from PTSD and society as a whole view the affliction.

The diagnosis of PTSD has been a staple of veterans’ disability claims for many years and has gone by several names including shell shock, soldier’s heart, and battle fatigue. Now psychiatrists are seeking to change the “D” of PTSD for “disorder” to “I” for “injury.”

The reasoning behind the change is mainly a social one – “disorder” has more of a stigma attached to it when compared to “injury”. Psychiatrists believe that the name change to PTSI will help disabled soldiers and veterans become more comfortable with their diagnosis, as “injury” implies that treatment and recovery are possible, while “disorder” implies that there’s something permanently wrong.

For veterans seeking disability benefits, this name change could have some impact on how claim decisions are made in the future. Some legislators are worried that the use of the term “injury” could change the opinion on how this mental illness impacts veterans long-term. If disability claim decisions imply that an injury will eventually heal after treatment, they may be reluctant to grant long-term or permanent veterans’ disability benefits.

As of now, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hasn’t issued any statements regarding the pending name change or how it may effect claim decisions.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from Veterans Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-855-855-8992.