PTSD Bingo
Primary sources exposed and explained.
May 19 2008 11:31 AM

PTSD Bingo


A recent RAND Corporation study reported that one in five returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan experiences post traumatic stress disorder or major depression. Sufferers of PTSD characteristically have "lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless." PTSD patients are often suicidal, and a misdiagnosis can prevent appropriate care. 

On March 20, Norma Perez, team leader and psychologist at the Temple, Texas, Olin E. Teague Veterans' Center, sent an e-mail (below) to medical workers asking them to "refrain" from diagnosing veterans with PTSD. The facility PTSD program coordinator wrote that, due to the increase in "compensation-seeking veterans," social workers and psychologists should consider ruling out PTSD and instead render a diagnosis of the less-serious "adjustment disorder." Perez warned colleagues that "there have been some incidence [sic]" where veterans receiving non-PTSD-level compensation and pension appeal their cases  "based on our assessment."  (According to the Veterans Benefit Administration, PTSD "qualifies as a disability" entitling a veteran to an "improved pension.") 


Perez's "suggestion" was offered partly because "we really don't … have time to do the extensive testing that should be done" in order to diagnose PTSD. After her e-mail was forwarded to and released last week, Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake announced the e-mail was "inappropriate" and declared it "repudiated."  Perez, meantime, has been "counseled and is extremely apologetic."

Send ideas for Hot Document to Please indicate whether you wish to remain anonymous.

  Slate Plus
TV Club Podcast
Oct. 2 2015 4:29 PM The Empire Podcast: The Second Season Is Here Hear Slate’s complete commentary on the newest Empire episodes.