Note: This story is an update to a story first reported in 2012 in collaboration with the Seattle Times.

Between 2008 and 2011, more than 20,000 soldiers and Marines were given “other than honorable” discharges from the military. Now, one soldier from Salem, Oregon, has learned his discharge will be upgraded.

How Trauma Ripples Through A Community

Oct 2, 2015
Community members gather for a candlelight vigil for those killed in a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Jeannie Yandel sits down with Dr. Doug Zatzick, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington who also works with PTSD patients at Harborview Medical Center, to discuss how the Roseburg community can recover from the tragic mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

Jane McGonigal
Wikipedia/Public Domain

Ross Reynolds interviews Jane McGonigal, director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, about her new book "Superbetter."

While recovering from a debilitating concussion, McGonigal applied what she knew about game science and cognitive psychology to speed her recovery. She points to research that finds games can help control pain more effectively than opiates and help reduce post-traumatic stress disorder.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

We might think we have a basic understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD: Soldiers in battle see things they'd like to forget, but years later combat memories come back to haunt them. That's the received wisdom.

But perhaps we have it all wrong. Maybe it's not the reminders of the fighting that cause post-traumatic stress so much as the void ex-combatants face when they leave the community of soldiers behind.

Our guest on this episode of Speakers Forum is David J. Morris, a war correspondent, former Marine and PTSD sufferer.

Morris served as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps in the 1990s, but did not see combat then. He went on to work as an embedded journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2004 he was nearly killed when a Humvee he was riding in hit an IED.

Military Children Serve Too

Jan 15, 2015

Note: Parts of this story may be disturbing for some listeners.

There are some 2 million children of U.S. service men and women. Over the past decade, thousands of these young people have had a parent die in combat overseas, and others have lost a loved one to suicide.

Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, approximately 3,000 service members have killed themselves. That doesn’t include veterans or National Guard and reserve troops not on active duty.

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live.

New Ways Of Treating Trauma: Try Some Yoga

Jan 13, 2015

When a person experiences traumatic events, the aftermath can be extremely debilitating. Trauma not only affects the mind, but can have lifelong effects on the body.

Officer Andy Gould of Auburn, Washington. Gould, a veteran, says his military experience sometimes helps him establish rapport with other veterans
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

The computer screen in Officer Andy Gould’s patrol car rhythmically ticks off details of emergencies from dispatch.

Gould, a 25-year veteran of the Auburn Police Department, wraps up a burglary and gets called to a suspicious subject nearby. A 13-year-old has threatened to kill two people in the house with a baseball bat.

As Gould drives, text from the dispatchers scrolls up the screen. It tells him where to go for his next call, what the problem is — and whether the people involved have ever been in the military.

Medical marijuana is now legal in nearly half of all U.S. states, but doing research on the drug is harder than one might think. Because of federal laws and regulations, it can take years to get the approval necessary to start a study.

University of Arizona doctor Sue Sisley says she was fired for her research on marijuana. Sisley was leading a federally-approved study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and medical marijuana, when the university cut ties with her.

When patients receive treatment for PTSD they normally don’t get asked what kind of therapy they’d like to receive. Often the provider will use the therapy that is most familiar to them.

That can include antidepressants or psychotherapy, maybe both.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is launching a $70 million program to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders using electronic devices implanted in the brain.

The goal of the five-year program is to develop new ways of treating problems including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which are common among service members who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For Some Vets, Growing Old Triggers PTSD

Apr 25, 2014

As veterans from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam age and enter hospice, we’re learning that some of them, who seemed totally fine all their lives, are experiencing late in life post-traumatic stress disorder.

One study shows that as many as one in three vets have experienced Late Onset Stress Symptology (LOSS).

A little education goes a long way toward ensuring you'll recover from a serious traumatic brain injury. In fact, people with lots of education are seven times more likely than high school dropouts to have no measurable disability a year later.

Ten years ago Tuesday, former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Steven Elliott was one of the Army Rangers who fired on Tillman, and he told his story recently on ESPN's Outside the Lines.