“Disorder” Is A Dirty Word?

In the spirit of my “words matter” theme, I found it interesting that the military has stopped using the term “posttraumatic stress disorder” and changed it to “posttraumatic stress” arguing that “disorder” ‘unnecessarily stigmatizes soldier’s natural response to the emotional and violent experience of battle’. 

“I drop the d.  That word is a dirty word.”  General Peter Chiarelli, US Army (Time Magazine, 6/20/11)

One Response to ““Disorder” Is A Dirty Word?”

  1. Words matter, and over time contribute to changing perceptions – but actions speak louder and faster.

    The high-ranking officer who seeks help for PTSD, acknowledges it publicly, and suffers no inappropriate career consequences will do more to change perception than a vocabulary change.

    I’d also love to know the new word that treatment professionals and the chain of command will now use to distinguish between soldiers who need extra help, and those who don’t.

    Because all kinds of practical, unobjectionable reasons that have nothing to do with stigma will still demand a quick way to describe which situation (needs extra help, or doesn’t) we’re talking about.

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