Combat veterans who have suffered a moral injury in the past may be predisposed to a recurrence of the painful memories associated with previous trauma after exposure to similar traumatic events with moral overtones.
The role of prevention of trauma and prevention of functional impairment after trauma is paramount, because this may disrupt the accumulated physiological and psychological effect of stressors in the individual.
James Dao reports in the New York Times that the military is considering 2 steps to reduce its startling rate of active duty suicides—which is approaching an unacceptable one suicide every day. Both measures are completely sensible, but neither goes nearly far enough.
With understandable urgency, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has made suicide one of his top priorities, instructing commanders at all levels to feel acutely accountable for it. The numbers are startling. On average 1 active duty soldier is killing himself each day--twice the number of combat deaths and twice the civilian rate.
Colonel David M. Benedek, MD—a psychiatrist—takes a brief look at the emotional fallout of war in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and points you to the "The Clinical Manual for Management of PTSD."