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Ptsd Is Not A Disorder Essay

2572 words - 10 pages

Valdez ! 1
Dustin Valdez
Prof. Linda Lawliss
English 1C
08 May 2014
Post-Traumatic Stress and the American Veteran
Michael "Mikey" Schoenbauer is a massive man - standing 6'4" and weighing in at 370
pounds. He lives alone, in a small home, located in the wooded outskirts of Theresa, New York, a
small village populated by about 2,100 residents as of the 2010 census. His unkempt beard,
Realtree camouflage jacket, and gruff personality make him seem like a local - a North Country
native. He is not a native; he is a veteran from Minnesota, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder, better known as PTSD. Mikey was one of the United States Army's finest young
leaders until a series of unfortunate events eventually forced him out of the Army in April 2013,
the only job he had ever known; a job he loved. He deployed four times, over a seven-year span,
to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, totaling 43 months in that godforsaken country.
His first deployment was during the invasion, it was unremarkable. The second, his squad leader,
Staff Sergeant Brian Wells was shot in the head by a sniper. Staff Sergeant Wells survived, but he
is now a shell of what he once was. On Mikey's third deployment, his best friend, Sergeant
Steven Packer was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on a foot patrol
searching for three soldiers that had been kidnapped by the enemy. Mikey had a few close calls
himself on this deployment, but came home physically unscathed. On his fourth and final
deployment to Iraq, one of his subordinate leaders was shot in the back (and lived) while Mikey
stood less than two feet away. All of these events led to Mikey being diagnosed with PTSD and

Valdez ! 2
forced out of the Army at 29 years of age. He was forced out because the Army does not want
leaders, especially within the infantry that suffer from PTSD, so the easy fix is to clinically
diagnose them, prescribe medication, and start the process of medically retirement, so the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can deal with the damaged soldiers. By offering treatment,
job reclassification from heavy combat occupations, and treating soldiers suffering from PTSD
with a little more dignity, the government can rehabilitate these soldiers, rather than throwing
them out on the streets without a plan.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder officially became a recognized mental disorder in 1980
when the American Psychiatric Association added PTSD to the third edition of its Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition (Friedman). The Merriam-Webster Medical
Dictionary defines Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as:
A psychological reaction that occurs after experiencing a highly stressing event
(as wartime combat, physical violence, or a natural disaster) outside the range of
normal human experience and that is usually characterized by depression, anxiety,
flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and avoidance of reminders of the event.
As of June 2013, an...

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