Tags: purple | heart | stress

Pentagon: No Purple Heart for Traumatic Stress

Thursday, 08 Jan 2009 10:03 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has decided it will not give the Purple Heart, the prestigious medal awarded to service members wounded or killed in action, to sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The Defense Department has determined that based on current Purple Heart criteria, PTSD is not a qualifying Purple Heart wound," department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said.

"PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event," Lainez said. It is not "a wound intentionally caused by the enemy from an outside force or agent."

The Defense Department statement announcing the decision, released Tuesday, said the Purple Heart has never been awarded for mental disorders of psychological conditions.

Veterans diagnosed with PTSD "still warrant appropriate medical care and disability compensation, Lainez said, and the department "is working hard to encourage service members and their families to seek care for PTSD by reducing the stigma and urging them to seek professional care."

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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