Heroes in Pain
We’ve received a lot of response about last week’s show, “Heroes in Pain,” which focused on the epidemic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition that torments so many lives, including soldiers who’ve put their lives on the line serving our country. Some viewers expressed concern, and even disappointment, with the show’s original title, “Heroes to Monsters?” Our intent was to acknowledge the question so often cited in the media, not to make a statement, and to emphasize the severity of the pain and suffering our guests say they experience. In doing so, we unintentionally offended some of our viewers, and have therefore changed the title to more accurately reflect the show’s content.
I’m glad the show stirred so many of you to respond. Our goal is, and always will be, to call attention to the challenges our returning soldiers face, including PTSD. I really wanted you to hear firsthand the effects that PTSD can have on war heroes and their families, and I’m grateful to our guests for being so candid and honest about their experiences. I hope other media outlets will join us in talking openly about these challenges and our need as a society to respond with compassionate action. Two of my three sisters married fighter pilots (Vietnam era), and my nephew flew many missions as a Navy fighter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the lives of our veterans hits very close to home.
The stories our guests shared last week told of the realities of PTSD, and I hope, stressed the need for both awareness and treatment — not only for the veterans reliving the nightmares of what they saw in battle, but for their parents, spouses and children as well. I will never forget what our guest Beth confided about the day her son Mathew returned from Iraq. “I looked at him and became paralyzed,” she said “I just knew from his very faraway, dark look on his face that our own private war had just begun.”
It’s estimated that post-traumatic stress problems affect at least one in five veterans who’ve served in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s especially significant among soldiers who’ve served multiple tours; many of whom are getting treatment, but others are still falling through the cracks. Here’s a figure that just stuns me: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hand.
I couldn’t be more proud of the team here at Dr. Phil for being so passionate about raising awareness and offering solutions. Over the last several years, we’ve taken on the VA and other agencies, and we’ll continue to do so. It’s critical that those who serve our country and keep us safe receive the best and most comprehensive treatment available.
For this show, we called on everyone to pay attention to this very real, typically brain injury-based disorder. And we brought in the best of the best to help shed light on treatments, including Dr. Frank Lawlis, one of the leading PTSD experts in the world. I encourage you to check out his book, The PTSD Breakthrough, and download — for free — his PTSD program, Retraining Your Thoughts, by clicking here. Both provide valuable information to help you understand how the brain works, its anatomy and how it can be fixed after a traumatic event that leads to PTSD.
I also encourage you to check out the deep and relevant resources available on DrPhil.com. It’s a disgrace that so many of our veterans are suffering, sometimes alone, the unintended consequences of their heroism. Let’s educate ourselves and work together so they suffer no more, and I personally pledge to continue to support our men and women who stand in harm’s way so that we may live in a peaceful democracy.