Yes, and…

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there is a great deal of overlap between moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

They make this statement, but then a VA representative goes on to completely ignore moral injury and lapses into the traditional PTSD construct:

“PTSD is an invisible behavioral health issue that affects many people, not just veterans,” said Pat Hammon, an RN and Eagle County’s Veteran Service Officer. “It can result from any major trauma such as a severe car accident or a house fire. But, it is most commonly known for its frequent occurrence in combat veterans. ’Almost Sunrise’ is very informative about the effects of PTSD on veterans and their families. The information shared will be helpful for all citizens to be sensitive to, especially since we all need to be more aware of suicide prevention in our community.”

It shows again how much the VA and other mental health care workers want to medicalize all symptomology and assign an ICD code, a treatment plan, and move on without addressing the moral aspects of war in general. As Dr. Roger Brooke of Duquesne said:

“the medicalization of psychological life is the most pressing aspect of something that is more general and insidious in the field of (clinical) psychology. It is, as Heidegger described in his essay, The question concerning technology, our compulsion to set upon everything in our world with appropriating agendas.”  Further, “it is widely taken for granted that we are here to help patients fix their problems, get rid of their symptoms, become more functional and happier, think more rationally, be more congruent and in touch with their feelings, make better object choices, enjoy sex more, be more individuated, get over their trauma, and work through their grief.”

In short, rather than simply be a witness to someone’s suffering there is a propensity to try and “fix” someone. This lies at the heart of moral injury: it is a soul problem. No amount of cognitive behavior therapy or prolonged exposure therapy will “fix” a soul problem.

As an aside, I highly recommend watching the film mentioned in the articleAlmost Sunrise: Hope is on the Horizon.” It’s free if you have Amazon Prime (click on the title for a link).

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