Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Ty Carter addressed some of the stigmatization of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Friday on "Morning Joe."
Carter explained Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is really a formal diagnosis for natural stress that one experiences after a traumatic event, be it an experience in a war zone or a car accident. The formal title of PTSD, Carter said, sometimes gives a false impression to the general public that the disorder is something associated with a disease or a chemical imbalance, when in reality it is simply a biological response.
The Medal of Honor recipient detailed three steps necessary to successfully treat the condition: acknowledging one has symptoms, communicating with others about it, and seeking treatment without fear of judgment:
MIKE BARNICLE: There aren't enough facilities. There aren't enough — I mean, the extended travel that some veterans, depending on where they live in this country, have to go to get to a VA clinic is extraordinary in and of itself.
TY CARTER: I've only gotten minor experience with VA clinics outside the military in between the Marine Corps and the Army. So I can't really comment on that. But what I can comment on is my own experience with the leadership I had at Combat Outpost Keating. And also at Fort Carson. They were able to see a change in me. And because when you're going through it at first you don't notice it, all you notice is what you're feeling or what you want to do or that kind of thing. It's the other people that say, "wow, he's gotten really quiet or he just spends a lot of time by himself" or if it's a woman it's her, "she's spending a lot of time by herself." It's your family and friends that see it first. Hopefully they have the courage to tell you, hey, there's something wrong. Eventually you start thinking OK maybe there is something wrong. And noticing and telling yourself, yes, there is something wrong, is the first step. The next step is then communicating with others about it. And that's the next biggest thing from removing the "D" from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is getting rid of the stigma to where service members and family members who are experiencing [it] to actually feel confident that they're not going to be mistreated if they go and get help. It's a step process that I'm trying to plan out and trying to get the resources for. And once we get people going to the places that will give them help, then we can know where to put more resources. Because this town may have more people than this town, so you just have to find out where it is at.
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