PTSD: An Elusive Definition

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Kirkbride JF 12(2). 42 - 47 (Journal Article)

The Global War on Terrorism became the longest standing conflict in United States military history on June 7, 2010. It is estimated that 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (ρ xix).1 Both conflicts have produced high numbers of casualties as the result of ground combat. The amount of casualties though has been relatively low compared to other conflicts. Some of this can be attributed to the advances in body armor and emergency medicine that allow many servicemembers to survive conditions that previously led to death. Conversely, surviving these situations leaves those same members with memories that are psychologically difficult to live with and cause chronic difficulties. Unlike an amputee, or the victim of severe burns where the signs and symptoms of their injuries are obvious, patients with psychological disorders can have a range of signs and symptoms common in many other mental disorders, making it difficult to diagnose and treat Soldiers suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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