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'I'm a monster': Veterans 'alone' in their guilt

3:43 AM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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PAULINE JELINEK
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - With American troops at war for more than a decade, an unprecedented number of studies are looking into war zone psychology.

And clinicians suspect that some troops are suffering from an emotional problem they call "moral injuries" - wounds from having done something, or failed to stop something, that violates their moral code.

A moral injury tortures the conscience. Its symptoms include deep shame, guilt and rage.

A former psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general, retired Col. Elspeth Ritchie, says it's not clear how to treat moral injury.

The Defense Department has approved funding for a study among Marines at California's Camp Pendleton to test a therapy that doctors hope will ease guilt.

But officials say a solution could be a long time off.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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