Yesterday, writing in the Austin American-Statesman, Jeremy Schwartz raised the issue of the very high rates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is not wrong. Indeed, statistics suggest that maybe as high as 20-30 percent of all post-9/11 veterans are coming home with PTSD.
Women are even more likely to suffer than men, but the instances of PTSD-related symptoms are extremely high among both men and women. According to Veterans for Common Sense, a non-profit advocacy group, it is possible that nearly a quarter of a million veterans may have developed PTSD.
In his post, Schwartz asks the question, “what do cell phones and Twitter mean for PTSD rates?” He refers to Karl Marlantes’ latest book, ‘What It Is Like to Go to War’ which argues that new technologies have had a huge impact on blurring the line between war and home. “No longer is the battlefield a wholly separate realm as it was in past conflicts such as World War II and Vietnam”, Schwartz writes.
He raises an important point. As Marlantes says, “While on the one hand everyone is glad to be able to strike their enemy with impunity, and ten minutes later call home and have a Coke, there is a psychological and spiritual price to pay… When it comes time to leave the world of combat behind for the world of ‘ordinary life,’ it is going to be more difficult to do the more we blur the two worlds together. How can you return home if you’ve never left?”
If you or a loved one might be suffering from PTSD, you can call the Veteran Combat Call Center, 1-877-WAR-VETS or go to http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp.
You can read Schwartz’s original post on statesman.com here.