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Trump Claims Weak Soldiers Suffer PTSD

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Trump Claims Weak Soldiers Suffer PTSD

By Barry Goldstein



Unwittingly Demonstrates Problem of Ignoring Scientific Research
 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump today told a group of veterans that when their comrades return home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it is because the victims are weak and “can’t handle it.” This false diagnosis was made in the context of a discussion about the 22 veteran suicides that are committed every day. In reality, it is exposure to horrific traumatic events that causes PTSD. The most common cause is rape.
Any informed and intelligent discussion about the tragedy of 22 daily suicides needs to include consideration of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign, and I recently returned from a trip to Hawaii where we discussed the research concerning these suicides with many state legislators and other interested professionals. The ACE Research demonstrates that soldiers with higher ACE scores are more susceptible to PTSD and suicide.
The ten ACEs considered in the Study includes two forms of neglect, three forms of child abuse and five types of household dysfunction.  Domestic violence is central to adverse childhood experiences because it makes all the others more likely. The essence of domestic violence is tactics designed to create fear which leads to the worst type of stress.  This stress causes a lifetime of health and social problems including increased risk of PTSD and suicide.
The Safe Child Act is a comprehensive plan designed to help custody courts better protect children, particularly in abuse cases. The proposal is based on current scientific research and is trauma-informed and multi-disciplinary.  The Safe Child Act would require courts to integrate current scientific research like ACE into standard practices.  The research establishes that physical abuse is not required to create catastrophic long-term consequences and that the fear and stress need to be taken seriously.  Other provisions will make it easier for judges to recognize and respond effectively to family violence.
Even in this polarized and contentious campaign season, I am sure everyone can agree we want to prevent our veterans from suffering from PTSD or committing suicide. In order to accomplish this, however, society must make decisions based on good scientific research.  The recent spate of athletes committing what we now call domestic violence and child abuse illustrates how the long history of tolerating this abuse contributes to the present problem.  As a society, we quite properly think of our soldiers and sailors because of the sacrifices they make to make us safe. At the same time implementing best practices to prevent domestic violence and child abuse and take it more seriously would make future veterans safer and healthier.  Knowing the connection between PTSD, suicide and ACEs can be used to improve diagnoses, treatment and prevention. PTSD is not a sign of weakness and blaming victims is never a sign of strength.

Prevent Abuse.

One Child is Too Many
Barry Goldstein

Barry Goldstein

Research Director

Barry Goldstein is a nationally recognized domestic violence author, speaker and advocate.
Barry has written some of the leading books about domestic violence and custody.
Barry has an ACE score of 0.

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