Hinsdale – A prominent Adventist
physician has published an article in a journal spotlighting the effect of the Iraq war on the mental health of U.S.
soldiers and Iraqis. Entitled “Charting a New Course Home for U.S. Soldiers
Returning from Iraq: PTSD and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Implications and
Solutions,” the article was written by Dr. Akram Y. Razzouk, chairman of the
hospital’s psychiatry department and medical director of mental health services
at the hospital. It appears in the summer 2008 issue of the DePaul University
College of Law Journal of Health Care Law.
Exposure to bullets, shrapnel and exploding bombs
in the trenches of Iraq
can result in mild traumatic brain injury, a neurological disorder that is
often coupled with psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress
disorder, Razzouk wrote in the article. Doctors who treat Iraq war
veterans must address all of their symptoms collectively in order to properly
care for these patients, explained Razzouk, adding that his article is intended
to raise awareness in the medical community about the need for appropriate
diagnoses and adequate treatment of veterans.
“We want to make sure injured veterans receive
appropriate treatment for these types of complex brain injuries,” said Razzouk,
who lives in Hinsdale.
Co-authored by Razzouk’s daughter, Kelly Razzouk, a
DePaul University law student, the 6,380-word
article also addresses the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress
disorder and the legal implications and the effect of mental illness-related
diagnoses on a soldier’s benefits and compensation.
An estimated 10 to 20 percent of soldiers who have
served in Iraq
have suffered from mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, according to
Razzouk’s review of published research. He expects the number of veterans
seeking psychological treatment to increase as more members of the military are
discharged and return to their communities. The article calls on psychiatrists
and mental health professionals to volunteer one hour each week through
programs like Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization that provides
free mental health services to military personnel and their families affected
by the conflicts in Iraq and
citizens and as health care providers, we have an obligation to care for the
men and women who are fighting to protect our freedom,” Razzouk said.
The article is available on Lexis Nexus and by
request from the Adventist Midwest Health public relations department.