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Support for better PTSD treatment

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Monday was spent across Grundy County and the country observing Veterans Day.

The day was spent saluting those who fought for our country. It also was an opportunity for Americans to recommit themselves to providing care and support for young military veterans from wars of the 21st century.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disability that agencies from the Veterans Administration on down have been trying to do more to treat. We applaud those efforts because of the large numbers of veterans that could greatly benefit from them.

According to VA statistics, as of 2012, 2.5 million Americans had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 1.6 million of them had transitioned to veterans status.

More than 270,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan had been seen by the VA health system for potentially having post-traumatic stress disorder. The agency has awarded disability benefits to more than 150,000 of them.

A huge number of ex-military continue to suffer the mental toll of serving their country. It’s particularly sad when veterans with untreated post-traumatic stress disorder become so despondent that they take their own lives.

Thankfully, much more is known now about this serious mental ailment, which in past wars was known as “shell shock.” Its sufferers were not viewed with much sympathy, as painfully evidenced by Gen. George Patton’s disrespectful treatment of a shell-shocked soldier during World War II.

Veterans risked their lives to protect their fellow citizens. We can never do enough to thank them, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. Supporting better treatment for PTSD is one way for the public to repay its debt to veterans.

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