BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
About twenty percent of service men and women returning from both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
Leaders with the National Center for PTSD say it can develop after a person goes through a horrible and life-threatening experience.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs in the range of 11 to 20 veterans out of 100 who served in Operations in Iraq and Enduring Freedom.
PTSD develops in as many as ten percent of Gulf War veterans and in about thirty percent of Vietnam veterans.
George W. Bush is putting veterans' issues on top of his post-presidential agenda by working to remove the "disorder" wording from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lance corporal Javier Ruiz has seen firsthand the stigma attached to post-traumatic stress disorder.
"They usually expect me not to be all there for the most part. I’ve been told from employers and stuff that when they think of marines, they think we're a little crazy," he said.
Ruiz doesn't have PTSD, but was trained to spot the symptoms.
"There’s nothing wrong with people having it. I mean if you get it, you have probably seen some stuff. PTSD, basically that's a real thing and some people try and say that's it not just. Basically they tell us how we get treated and stuff like that. If we have it, we can talk to somebody, our higher ups and they can help us out with it," he said.
Former President George W. Bush says post-traumatic stress is not a disorder and many psychologists agree saying dropping the disorder wording lifts the negative stigma and may even help people down the road.
"Most people become better people after they had a traumatic stress so taken that disorder out of there is important, you see people who have been through loss they become more sensitive and more empathic to others," said Dr. Dean Haddock, executive director of Community Counseling
Clinically, even psychologists have pushed for the "D" to be dropped. They say it would allow people who suffer from a natural response to an abnormal experience to not only accept it, but start talking about it.
"We want to make sure that they are employable, that doesn't carry a stigma with them when they go out in the market place," said Dick Taylor, director of Kern County Veteran’s Services.
But as the change gets support, those who welcome it want to make sure all veterans are getting the proper care.
“Our only cautionary observation will be to make sure that when that d does get dropped that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs doesn't in turn take that as a way to deny some of the claims that our honorable veterans have put in for service," he said.
The Kern County Veteran's Services office does have a long list of referrals and programs that are easily available for military men and women and their families.
Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc
More information on Kern County's Veterans Services Office