Doctor Weighs In On How PTSD Affects People

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the aftermath of a U.S. Army Sergeant’s alleged killing of 16 Afghan villagers, many are speculating about the events that led up to the massacre.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is being held in Fort Leavenworth, but no charges have yet been filed against him.

Dr. Harry Kroft is a former Army doctor who has evaluated more than 7,000 Veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. He is the medical director at the San Antonio Psychiatric Research Hospital.

Kroft said his concern in this situation is that those who hear this will think that anyone who has gone served in the military will likely go out and do the same.

“This is a very, very rare phenomenon,” Kroft said.

He said PTSD has three symptoms.  The first is called re-experiencing, “things like unwanted thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks.”

The second is called avoidance — avoiding talking about it, avoiding associating with people, places and things that remind you of trauma.

The third symptom is called arousal, or “being easily startled, being suspicious and, yes, being angry,” Kroft said.

He said nowhere in those symptoms of PTSD will you find acts of violence.

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