‘Policy Review’ essay covers PTSD; veteran benefits

Can the diagnosis worsen the disease?
Policy Review, February/March edition

How could a Veterans Administration rule making it easier for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to file disability claims be a bad thing? In a “Policy Review” essay called “PTSD’s Diagnostic Trap,” psychiatrist and Yale University School of Medicine lecturer Sally Satel argues that full disability status can undermine the possibility of recovery. “Injured soldiers can apply for and receive VA disability benefits . . . before they have even been given the psychiatric treatment that could help them considerably. Imagine telling someone with a spinal injury that he’ll never walk again — before he has had surgery.” Why would the soldier bother with treatment? Why get a job if it means losing his or her financial safety net? Satel admits that her assertions are “politically delicate.”

Rachel Saslow


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