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Beyond PTSD to “Moral Injury” BY JEFF SEVERNS GUNTZEL
“I really don’t like the term ‘PTSD,’” Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Shay told PBS’ “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” in 2010. “He says the diagnostic definition of “post-traumatic stress disorder” is a fine description of certain instinctual survival skills that persist into everyday life after a person has been in mortal danger — but the definition doesn’t address the entirety of a person’s injury after the trauma of war. “I view the persistence into civilian life after battle,” he says, “… as the simple or primary injury.”
Dr. Shay has his own name for the thing the clinical definition of PTSD leaves out. He calls it “moral injury” — and the term is catching on with both the VA and the Department of Defense.