This paper discusses the exclusion of veterans with combat PTSD (CPTSD) from eligibility for the Purple Heart (PH). The main argument is that this exclusion is unjustified and that it strengthens the stigma attached to the traumatized veterans, with detrimental implications to their wellbeing. In the context of the politics of recognition, the history of the term PTSD, and with support evidence from brain studies, the paper contends that in the case of combat veterans, posttraumatic stress should be termed PTSI (posttraumatic stress injury) rather than PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). The proposed alteration in terminology may enable eligibility of posttraumatic combat veterans’ for the Purple Heart, and consequently mitigate the stigma of their wounds, help to deconstruct their misrecognition as inferior to physiologically wounded, increase their willingness to seek aid, and improve their chances to heal.
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