Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Post-Traumatic Stress is Not a Disorder

So I was listening to NPR the other day and heard a correspondent say, in passing, that they are dropping the “D” from PTSD and that it will just be called PTS (Post-Traumatic Stress) these days, not Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I wanted to put in my two cents and say I whole-heartedly support this decision. It is not a mental disorder to have a mix of anxiety, depression and anger after a major traumatic event. (In most cases, we’re talking about war-time experiences, a rape, and things equally horrifying). After the shit some people have gone through, it is totally normal and natural to have those reactions. I would be more concerned by people who saw and dealt with death and near-death situations *without* being messed up by it.

Thumbs up to the military/psych community for beginning to change this language. The only damage such a change might bring is if insurance companies somehow find ways to weasel out of paying for the treatment of PTS because it is no longer “technically” a “disorder.” But I have (some) faith that the people in charge are smart enough to see their way around the dropping of one word from a diagnosis, and realizing that treatment is still needed, all the same.

The Washington Post released an article with a good discussion on whether PTS is more like a bullet wound or a bipolar/depressive mental disorder.

PTS is an issue I’m exploring with my character, Vayne, who (in my novel) is a mental/physical torture survivor. It’s one thing to handle the topic in fiction, but the reality for many people in the real world is much, much worse. My heart goes out to all of those who struggle with PTS daily.

Time Magazine had a short online article on the topic, you can find it here:


  1. Good points! Post traumatic stress is a little less jargony than PTSD.

  2. My concern would be that removing 'disorder' from the name might make it easier for insurance companies and the government to deny claims and benefits.