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April 22, 2012

Why Dr. Phil Deserves to be Punched in the Nuts

Hey folks, Dr. Phil is out with this piece about how vets with PTSD are “monsters” and “damaged goods.”  I’m pretty sure he’s just doing it for ratings and that in a few days he will disavow the entire incident and blame it all on an unpaid intern who went rogue on his producers (that’s how big media rolls) but in the mean time, You Served covers the issue with more poise than I would have.  Give it a read and you can find all the contact information at the bottom of their article to let CBS and Dr. Phil’s sponsors know how you feel. -Jack

PTSD: Civilians just love to paint veterans as riddled with this disease, causing them to become violent, unhinged lunatics who will explode at the slightest provocation. Look at just about any news story where a violent crime is committed by a veteran, and PTSD is almost immediately floated as the reason.

In the media narrative, violence and PTSD go hand-in-hand. At the same time, troops are criticized for not coming forward and admitting they have a problem, and seeking help for it. (Gee, could it possibly be because we paint veterans with PTSD as homicidal lunatics?)

Dr. Phil, arguably one of the most popular talk show hosts on the planet, decided to feature this issue on his show this week. And while he could have taken a reasonable approach, he went straight for the gut instead. Titling the show “From Heroes To Monsters”, he painted a picture of vets with PTSD as ticking time bombs of violence, describing them as damaged goods who “destroy families” and “dismantle marriages.”

One of Dr. Phil’s guests, Matt, is a former Marine who struggles with PTSD. He speaks about how, while deployed to Afghanistan, he repeatedly stabbed an enemy combatant in the face, even after he was dead, to get his anger out. He also claims he saw “lots” of innocent people killed, including women and children. (His last name isn’t given, so it’s impossible to verify his claims of killing women and children while deployed to Afghanistan.)

After Matt, Dr. Phil featured Mark and Heather. Mark is another veteran with PTSD who admits he has violent rages, says his life has been destroyed, and is afraid of what he will do to his family. Heather’s husband, Duane, had PTSD. He beat her and set her on fire.

The common thread between all of these stories: violence. Did Dr. Phil ever stop to point out that most veterans with PTSD don’t end up setting their wives on fire or stabbing people repeatedly in the face? Of course not. Indeed, recent research has found that the link between PTSD and violent behavior is actually weak.

Another dirty little secret Dr. Phil didn’t feel was necessary to point out: civilians get PTSD, too. In fact, anyone can get it — anyone who has been through a trauma. According to the VA, about 7-8% of the general population will get PTSD at some point in their lives. For veterans, the risk is slightly higher, although not by much at 11-20%.

And, believe it or not, the symptoms of PTSD do not include sudden violence such as setting your wife on fire or stabbing people in the face. Common symptoms include reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind you of it, feeling numb, feeling jittery, suddenly being angry or irritable, having trouble sleeping, etc. Setting your wife on fire? Not so much a normal occurrence.

While relationship problems and violence may occur, acting as if it is a foregone conclusion (as Dr. Phil did) and saying that vets with PTSD are “monsters” is ridiculous and offensive.

Read more at YouServed
Jack Murphy Comments on Dr. Phil's Facebook

About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he graduated from Columbia with a BA in political science. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, Direct Action, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

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  • Allwet

    "Civilians just love to paint veterans as riddled with this disease, causing them to become violent, unhinged lunatics who will explode at the slightest provocation."  This makes it easier for some of them to deal with their lack of sack for lack of service.... Oh, and  Dr Phil doesn't qualify as the slightest provocation.He qualifies as a legitimate reason for a seemingly anatomically impossible, but psychologically satisfying "throat punch to the nuts". In closing, I will quote Modog: Fuck Dr Phil.

  • webmindset1

    Fuck Dr. Phil. Semper Fi MoDog out

  • murazar

    katgirl231 kevinnash69 On the same issue I would like to see at least one or two partial clips of dr phil saying the offensive things that he said. At the least it would give the article more impact and force every single reader to do research. Of which most will not, they will simply either agree or disagree based on prior opinions/facts and what was presented here.

  • 123Smitty321

    Dr.Phill, I am 100% PTSD/ 90% agent Orange. Does this mean I am going beat my wife and set her on fire with bug spray? Were you one of the people who threw eggs at us when we got back state side? That would make you a Jane Fonda or Bill Aires. Sad man;SAD.

  • kevinnash87

     @katgirl231  well said....this clip doesnt emphasize the full picture. i had no idea that the dr he present was a phd not a md