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Medal of Honor recipient speaks out about seriousness of PTSD

Many people here in Texas are familiar with the bravery and courage associated with serving in the United States’ military branches. But they also know that with that bravery comes the stereotype that a soldier can never be weak. It’s because of this that many soldiers do not seek help for mental health conditions, especially when it comes to post traumatic-stress disorder.

For many soldiers, there is shame in admitting that they have a condition that is affecting their lives and duties. As a result, many do not receive the treatment they need. This can lead to an escalation in symptoms, sometimes getting so bad that a person becomes totally disabled as a result. While it’s important to point out that soldiers with PTSD can seek disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, it’s potentially just as important to point out the need for society to recognize the condition and offer treatment for those in need.

That was the message delivered by the most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor last month. In a speech delivered before family and friends, the staff sergeant explained that he is not the only one living with PTSD after his experiences overseas. He pointed to other soldiers in his troop, describing their personal struggles as well as his own, and stressed the importance of calling attention to an often times disabling condition.

It’s important to point out that PTSD may not affect everyone the same way and is not just exclusive to soldiers either. PTSD can occur as a result of any traumatic incident and can have lasting effects on patients well after any physical wounds have healed. For some people, this condition can be disabling and it may be necessary to apply for disability benefits. These benefits can be applied for through the Social Security Administration but may require an appeal if the original application is denied.

Source: The Las Angeles Times, "Medal of Honor recipient urges support for PTSD," Alexei Koseff, Aug. 26, 2013