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Military treatment program: focus on post-traumatic stress disorder

"Man-up and move on."

That is how a psychiatrist working with the Army recently termed the general attitude of military leaders at various bases in Texas toward hundreds of wounded veterans being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder following service in Middle East combat theaters.

With that hectoring and dismissive approach, it is hardly surprising that the Army's documented badgering of wounded vets being treated at select Warrior Transition Units is now being examined with intense scrutiny by national legislators. Various persons spoke about the treatment programs and Army principals' derogatory view of them at a congressional hearing convened earlier this week.

One of those speakers, an Army colonel, noted a demonstrated pattern of "disrespect, harassment and belittlement of soldiers" being treated at the Texas military facilities for PTSD from 2009 - 2013.

The above-quoted psychiatrist stated that the harassment routinely inflicted on veterans receiving treatment made it much more difficult for them to fully realize the benefits of therapy.

On the one hand, he noted, the military sanctioned the treatment program. On the other hand, leaders at treatment sites routinely disparaged those confirmed as having PTSD.

"There were challenges … without a shadow of a doubt," said the colonel participating in the hearing, who also stated his view that the treatment programs are now on firmer footing and "going in the right direction."

Mental health issues have been a hot-button topic in the military in recent years, with high numbers of wounded veterans returning to the United States while trying to deal with traumatic combat experiences.

Although some of those servicemembers remain in the military, many are discharged or administratively separated.

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David P. Sheldon | International Military Law Attorney

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