Panorama ~ The Trauma Industry 2009 07 27 BBC
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Panorama - S57E30.avi
In this week's Panorama, veteran BBC war reporter Allan Little investigates how the battlefield trauma of Vietnam - post-traumatic stress disorder - has become entangled in compensation cases in Britain.
In The Trauma Industry, Allan hears from veterans, doctors, psychologists, lawyers and some of the victims of PTSD who have made compensation claims.
Allan brings first hand experience to the programme, revisiting his own emotions following the death of a colleague while on assignment in a war zone. He meets Falklands war veteran Robert Lawrence, who was shot in the head by an Argentinean sniper and suffers from PTSD.
Robert describes to Allan the difficulty of going back to normal family life after such a close brush with death and life at war. "On returning to the UK everybody wants you to be good, calm down," he says of the emotions he still battles.
Robert says he still hears from former comrades about their own long-term suffering years after their time in battle is over.
But the days of PTSD being limited to veterans of war zones have passed and the condition, first identified in World War I as shell shock, has made its way into everyday British life.
According to a July 2005 report by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the NHS is treating an estimated 250,000 people a year for PTSD.
That is twice the number of soldiers in the entire British Army.
Professor David Alexander, a PTSD specialist, gives his assessment of the rise in diagnoses.
"It's a money spinner, let's be blunt about it," Professor Alexander tells Allan. "If you've got at the end of the road the prospect of £100,000 by continuing to have headaches, flashbacks, insomnia - you can see why people may not find it easy to relinquish those symptoms.
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Jul 30, 2009, 01:18:45
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