Book: Veterans on Trial: The Coming Court Battles over PTSD

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Veterans on Trial: The Coming Court Battles over PTSD

Barry R. Schaller, clinical visiting lecturer in law

(Potomac Books)

Experts anticipate that more than 350,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will return to civilian life with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Barry R. Schaller, a judge and a bioethicist, chronicles the events leading to what he predicts will be the most challenging PTSD epidemic in U.S. military history. Although combat veterans have experienced similar disorders in previous wars, Schaller explains why these two contemporaneous wars in particular are a breeding ground for the condition.

“Veterans on Trial” deals with the problem of PTSD from the ground up, starting with the issues that returning veterans and their families face. When they leave the battlefield to become civilians again, many soldiers are not prepared, or are unable, to cope successfully with the challenges. Their compounded anxieties often result in serious trouble: divorce, job loss, homelessness, substance abuse, suicide, and even murder. Schaller also explains how PTSD now operates as a means of defense in the criminal court system and how it will affect the courts in the next decade.

Schaller offers far-reaching solutions for returning veterans and their families. He specifies what political and judicial officials, military leaders, legislators, and the mental health communities can do to meet their responsibilities to the men and women who serve our nation.

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