An article featured in Vanity Fair looks at the U.S. military and why it now has the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in its history, even though just 10 percent of American forces see combat. Because PTSD is a natural response to danger, it is near unavoidable in the short term and has proven to be mostly self-correcting in the long term. One of the most traumatic events for soldiers is not actually being wounded themselves, but seeing other soldiers, or even the enemy, come in harm’s way. Returning home, soldiers must then acclimate to modern society, which involves a major shift in many ways. The article discusses this shift, especially in places like America where the public isn’t close to the actual combat. Interestingly, it has been found that comments such as “Thank you for your service,” although meant well, sometimes further expose soldiers to the feeling of separation between military and civilian society.
This is an important article that looks closely at the history of the disorder as well as how we may begin looking at it differently. It concludes with a thought provoking comment, “We keep wondering how to save the vets, but the real question is how to save ourselves. If we do that, the vets will be fine. If we don’t it won’t matter anyway.”