Infographic: Is America Letting PTSD Kill Our Troops?

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is arguably one of the most serious issues of our current generation. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars may be winding down, but the aftermath of them is far from over.

Roughly 25 percent of 9/11 veterans are diagnosed with PTSD, and many of them are dying waiting for the benefits they deserve.

So why are our country’s heroes not receiving their benefits? Three main reasons: massive misdiagnosis, high error rates and an enormous backlog of claims in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

Oftentimes the VA misdiagnoses PTSD as a pre-existing personality disorder, or claims the symptoms are the result of an adjustment disorder, which is considered temporary and renders a veteran ineligible for disability benefits.

The VA also has a grievous error rate. The VA estimates its error rate is around 14 percent, but the Center for Investigative Reporting estimates it’s as high as 38 percent and the Board of Veterans Appeals estimates it is 73 percent.

It’s no secret that the VA has an enormous backlog of disability claims. In March of 2013, it was estimated that the VA had 608,000 disability claims that were pending for more than 125 days.

This is unacceptable. When veterans are left untreated and unsupported, tragedy strikes. Roughly 22 veterans kill themselves every day, and there is an abnormally high amount of homelessness and incarceration among the veteran population.

Mental health experts have stressed that immediate treatment for PTSD is key to helping veterans return to a normal life.

With Robert McDonald taking over as secretary of the VA, we can only hope that significant reform is on the way. However, If you’re looking to improve the quality of care our veterans receive, consider making a charitable donation to an organization supporting PTSD treatment, or take a few minutes to write your local congress members about the importance of providing adequate care for our veterans.

After all, they fought for our country, now it’s our turn to fight for them.

Courtesy of: Veterans Alliance

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