Less Silent Suffering: Veterans' Post-Traumatic Stress Taken Seriously

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

Less Silent Suffering: Veterans' Post-Traumatic Stress Taken Seriously


Byline: Maggie Ybarra, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Baseball stadiums are some of the few places where Navy Cmdr. Steven Dundas feels safe, where his mind is not anxiously inching toward the past and latching onto memories of children with missing body parts and the stench of burning swamp fires.

The crack of the bat and the whiz of the ball during a minor league Norfolk Tides game at Harbor Park pulls him into the present and reminds him that he is no longer working at a trauma hospital in a war zone. Cmdr. Dundas, a 54-year-old chaplain for the Joint Forces Staff College, is one of a growing number of military officers struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I came home feeling completely isolated. I didn't fit in society," said Cmdr. Dundas, who served in the military for more than 25 years before he was afflicted with PTSD in 2008 while deployed in Iraq. "Other chaplains and clergy did very little for me. I felt even cut off from God and for about two years, until about December 2009, I was pretty much an agnostic, just hoping that God was still around."

The Defense Department has reported an uptick in the number of military officers who, like Cmdr. Dundas, are seeking help to cope with the disorder, borne out of war zone trauma and characterized by bouts of anxiety and paranoia. It is often accompanied by night terrors and irrational behavior and has spawned violent behavior and suicides.

The U.S. military has been criticized for being slow to acknowledge and respond to the disorder -- and to the complaints of military personnel and their families who said returning troops were suffering long-term psychological damage from their battlefield experiences.

The term "post-traumatic stress disorder" didn't exist 40 years ago, and statistics tracking diagnoses of the disorder were not kept until recently.

Figures compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service say diagnoses of the disorder among active-duty personnel across all branches of the U.S. military have increased from about 5,700 10 years ago to more than 15,000 last year.

The number of people seeking treatment has increased by more than 20 percent since fiscal 2010, said Army Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, a Pentagon spokeswoman. It remains to be seen whether that growth is related to an increase in stress among military members or merely a rough gauge of those who are willing to step forward and seek help for the disorder.

One reason PTSD sufferers might be reluctant to come forward is the negative connotation associated with the disorder, which often attracts national attention after violent incidents involving veterans or active-duty officers.

This month, military veteran Jason Faber, 34, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, was arrested after the fatal shooting of a neighbor and injuries of two other people in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Also this month, Ivan Lopez, an active-duty Army National Guard member who was part of a logistics and support unit at Fort Hood, Texas, gunned down three people before killing himself. Mr. Lopez, an Iraq veteran, had been suffering from depression and anxiety. He reportedly was taking medication while undergoing a process to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cmdr. Dundas said most military officers, specifically senior officers such as himself, also tend to hide their condition in part because they fear it might make them seem weak -- a perception that could cost them promotions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Less Silent Suffering: Veterans' Post-Traumatic Stress Taken Seriously
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.