George W. Bush wants to see the word “disorder” dropped from the PTSD initialism, which, as most know, stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a psychological ailment that plagues many veteran soldiers, and Bush believes that by claiming that they have a disorder, they are not getting the respect they deserve. In other news, apparently former President George W. Bush has the qualifications necessary to reclassify a psychological disorder.
This initiative that Bush has created is reportedly to help veterans to feel that they are able to be treated. The word “disorder” rings darkly in the minds of the men and women who served the country and allegedly makes them feel like they will never be able to overcome their illness. However, what Bush seemingly does not understand is that by pushing to reclassify PTSD, he is contributing to the very source of the veterans’ discomfort with the term.
Mental health has always been extremely taboo to discuss. Labelling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as anything but a disorder will be treating a symptom rather than addressing the cause. Instead of working to change the name of the illness, perhaps the former POTUS should be investing in awareness campaigns that help to normalize mental health issues and encourage people to seek help.
Unfortunately for George W. Bush, the “disorder” part of PTSD is necessary, and it would be detrimental to both the people diagnosed with the disorder as well as the perception of mental health issues as a whole if it were to be dropped. It is a waste of time, energy, and money to be campaigning for this cause, and those resources would be much better spent on research for treatments or mental health awareness campaigns instead.
The respectful thing to do here would be to allow the medical professionals to give aid to the people that need it based on their illnesses, physical, mental, or otherwise, and to support the veterans in their search for that aid. Changing the name will do nothing to ease the minds of the men and women who experience the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, and in fact may lead people to think that they can handle it on their own. Everyone is expected to be able to handle other kinds of stress – financial, emotional, familial, workplace, school – on their own, so why would the post-traumatic variant be any different?
The former president’s efforts to aid the veteran community are greatly appreciated. However, this is not helpful to anyone. If veterans suffering from PTSD aren’t being hired because of their disorder, as Bush fears, then being untruthful about their mental state in order to reintegrate them into society will only cause more stress. Mental disorders and the people who suffer from them require special treatment and PTSD is no different. Whether or not a veteran is hired will not be based upon whether they have a disorder attached to their name, it will be based upon the skills that they bring to the table and their ability to perform in spite of their condition.
While George W. Bush may feel that dropping “disorder” from PTSD is the best thing and his intentions may be pure, he is misguided. This will only bring further misunderstanding of mental health issues and aid in pushing them back into the realm of the taboo. PTSD sufferers will be criticized for needing special aid without having a legitimate disorder, because a disorder will no longer be what they’re suffering from. This campaign hurts the veterans more than it helps them.
Opinion By Robin Syrenne