Modern wars influence psychiatric thought

Gregg Zoroya
USA Today

Psychiatrists studying the feelings of guilt or shame associated with close combat say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are influencing changes in the “bible” of psychiatry in the USA.

The section of the American Psychiatric Association‘s manual for diagnosing mental illnesses that outlines the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder — an illness afflicting 15% to 20% of returning combat veterans — is being expanded to include symptoms of persistent and reoccurring guilt or shame.

“We’ve seen … thousands of young men and women coming home terribly impaired emotionally by the war, and it certainly has gotten us thinking about what the consequences are (of combat),” says David Spiegel, a member of the association’s working group that is rewriting the PTSD section.

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