There is stigma in our society around combat veterans with PTSD (combat posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). Stigma consists of negative stereotypes of people simply because of a diagnosis and these unfair perceptions affect not only a veteran’s relationship with others but also the veteran’s relationship to his or herself.
Combat PTSD Stigma
Whenever a tragedy occurs, it is natural to look for someone or something to blame, even when the blame isn’t rational; and no one is guiltier of this than the media. This was clearly evident in the way the media treated the tragic Fort Hood shooting last week in which Spc. Ivan Lopez shot and killed three people and wounded 16 others before taking his own life. Instead of just reporting these facts, many in the media tried to tie these actions to combat-related posttraumatic-stress disorder (PTSD). And while Spc. Lopez was being evaluated for PTSD, there is no way of knowing whether his actions were in any way related to the disorder and insinuating such does a great disservice to veterans and those serving in the military. In fact, all the media has done is further stigmatize PTSD.