Helping heal our heroes' hidden wounds - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Helping heal our heroes' hidden wounds

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This week the American Psychiatric Association is reviewing updated criteria for diagnosing Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Doctors are hoping it will help more veterans get the care they need.

The most recent numbers available from the V. A. are not encouraging.

 In 2010, 22 veterans a day committed suicide.

As the government struggles to provide and care for an increasing number of veterans in need there has been progress in the fight against PTSD.

"Anybody under prolonged stress would most likely be susceptible," said Military Family Life Consultant, Jennifer Wolff.

Wolff is looking forward to changes on the way from the American Psychiatric Association.

Their latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is being changed.

And the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis have loosened.

"You don't have to have been exposed to a dramatic event, as previously was in the diagnoses," Wolff added.

It was described as an event that left a person feeling intense fear, helplessness or horror.

The kind of response a soldier may have to a severe injury or witnessing a comrade killed.

 But often times, veterans do not experience such an event, but do experience prolonged stress that can follow them home.

That could now earn them a PTSD diagnosis. 

"Soldiers had to use that in combat to survive and they don't know how to turn that off when they come back into society," said Wolff.

Wolff hopes that widening the net will help remove the stigma of asking for help while getting assistance to veterans who need it the most.

"I'm excited by the fact we are looking at it collectively as a society, and recognizing it as a problem that can be readily solved," said Wolff. "And it's our job to meet the needs and do that."

 

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