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No Purple Heart for traumatic stress

Jan. 8, 2009 at 12:37 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. war veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder do not merit the Purple Heart because it is not a physical wound, the Pentagon has ruled.

The decision, for now at least, puts an end to hopes by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with the disorder who believed that the Purple Heart could honor their sacrifice though their disabling condition did not come from a bomb or bullet, The New York Times said.

PTSD, difficult to diagnose, can go unrecognized for years. The psychological disorder can cause recurring nightmares and uncontrolled rage and sometimes depression and suicide.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said awarding Purple Hearts to such service members needed to be "looked at" but a Pentagon advisory group decided against the medal because the condition had not been intentionally caused caused by enemy action and remained difficult to diagnose.

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