Why this film matters
Consider this-- the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is now familiar to most Americans. Yet few if any of us can imagine the hellish world that PTSD sufferers are forced to live in—one that is marked by nightmares and insomnia, failed jobs and marriages, self-medication through alcohol and drugs, self-loathing and suicide.
In 2007 CNN reported:
The risk of suicide among male U.S. veterans is double that of the general population, according to a study…“We need to be more alert to the problem of suicide as a major public health issue and we need to do better screening among individuals who have served in the military, probe for their mental health risk as well as gun availability," said Dr. Mark S. Kaplan, professor of community health at Portland State University in Oregon, lead author of the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.”
One year later, Bloomberg.com reported, “The number of suicides among veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed the combat death toll because of inadequate mental health care, the U.S. government's top psychiatric researcher said.”
Think this sounds exaggerated? Think again—no less a source than the Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated that up to 20 percent of Iraq combat veterans suffer from PTSD, with a recent Army study finding 16.6 percent of returning soldiers testing positive. Other estimates suggest that of the 600,000 to 800,000 American troops serving in Iraq, over 30%--150,000 or more—will suffer the effects of PTSD. And the potential cost, in terms of the impact on families and loved ones, not to mention on medical services and the taxpayer, could be staggering.
Still, there is a ray of hope—IADC. As a radical but proven therapy, IADC can directly address and reduce, if not eliminate the symptoms of PTSD, even for those who suffered from its effects for decades. However, given the controversial aspects of the therapy, it is unlikely that IADC would be widely adopted as a treatment option in the immediate future—unless a popular case for its effectiveness can be made.
We all know the power of the cinema to reach large audiences and to create actual change in our culture. Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” raised the debate about global warming in our country, and has even resulted in new policy directions within our government.
It is our hope that After the War will make a similar compelling argument for the implementation of IADC in helping our newest veterans—and PTSD sufferers everywhere.