By Larry Broughton,
I am aware of the challenges associated with transitioning back to civilian life after serving in the military. The daily reality of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for some veterans can have a profound effect on their lives and relationships, as well astheir capacity to find and keep a job.
The unseen scars that trauma (such as sexual assault or combat) leaves behind can be challenging to explain to others, and many employers may not be aware of the signs or know how to make accommodations for PTSD sufferers. “Approximately 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 500,000 veterans are thought to experience PTSD.
Regrettably, many organizational leaders are unaware of the difficulties that PTSD-affected veterans encounter. Veterans may have trouble finding and keeping jobs as a result of this ignorance, which may exacerbate their symptoms and make it much harder for them to acclimate to civilian life.
In light of this, it’s critical for employers to become knowledgeable about PTSD and to take active steps to support veterans at work. Yet, we also need to be watchful of the language we employ while discussing the subject. Although, while PTSD is a genuine and serious condition, the word “disorder” maintains a negative connotation and can stigmatize those who experience it.
In particular, the diagnostic needs to be revised to remove the word “disorder.”
This is why:
- The Label “Disorder” Is Stigmatizing
The term “disorder” indicates that the person with PTSD has some sort of underlying defect. People may feel ashamed as a result and be reluctant to get the assistance they require. Additionally, it supports the false notion that mental health issues are character flaws or shortcomings rather than treatable medical conditions. This may result in stigmatization and discrimination, both of which may hurt a veteran’s prospects for obtaining and retaining employment.
By excluding the word “disorder,” we may contribute to eradicating this stigma and facilitating open communication between veterans, co-workers and employers about their needs and experiences. This in turn can assist firms in providing better veteran employee support and fostering a more diverse workplace.
- It’s a Natural Reaction to Trauma – It Is Not a Disease or Disorder
The term “disorder” should not be used to describe PTSD because it is inaccurate. In the conventional sense of the phrase, PTSD is not a disorder. Rather, it is a typical reaction to an unusual and stressful occurrence.
A person’s brain and body go through a number of physiological changes after experiencing trauma. These modifications are intended to assist the individual in surviving the trauma and defending themselves against further harm. In other circumstances, though, these modifications might continue for a long time after the trauma has passed, resulting in symptoms like hyperarousal, flashbacks and avoidance.
This reaction to trauma is normal and adaptive; it is not a pathology. By eliminating the word “disorder,” we can influence the dialogue around PTSD and frame it as a normal reaction to trauma that calls for assistance and understanding rather than stigma.
- It Could Promote Help-Seeking Behavior
And last, removing the word “disorder” from PTSD may help veterans seek out assistance. When a condition is identified, a person may believe that there is an underlying issue with them that cannot be resolved. They may have feelings of helplessness and hopelessness as a result, which may deter them from reaching out for assistance.
We can lessen these feelings of hopelessness and inspire veterans to go for the assistance and resources they require to manage their symptoms and prosper in their personal and professional life by portraying PTSD as a typical reaction to trauma.
Employers have a significant voice in this discussion. They can make it easier for veterans and other workers who have Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) to disclose their illness and get the assistance they require by fostering an environment of understanding and support.
This can involve offering PTS information and tools, such as instructing managers on how to identify symptoms and provide accommodation, as well as providing employees and team members with private places to turn for assistance. It might also entail fostering an environment at work where mental health is valued, perhaps by providing flexible work schedules or mental health days.
Employers must also appreciate the distinctive skills that warriors with PTS can bring to the workplace. Many veterans may contribute significantly to their organizations because they have acquired abilities like adaptability, resilience and leadership from their military experience. Employers can aid veterans with PTS in feeling strong and valued at work by identifying and respecting their strengths.
Ultimately, the focus of the discussion around veteran PTS awareness should be on dispelling myths and fostering compassion. We can improve the way we communicate about mental health disorders and encourage people to get the care they require by eliminating the word “disorder” from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and concentrating on the normalcy of the symptoms.
Larry Broughton is a former U.S. Army Green Beret, best-selling author, award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker and leadership mentor. TheLarryBroughton.com