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An Inquiry into Discursive News Coverage, Popularization and Presuppositions Concerning Military PTSD Treatment Options

Roxanne Barbara Doerr


Since 1980, when the term was officially associated with soldiers’ traumas during combat, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) has reemerged due to a significant increase in patients and its revision in DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The media have contributed in disseminating information, promoting awareness and opening debates on the patients, the cure (Brent and Penk 2011) and the implementation of experimental PTSD treatments (Donovan 2010). The most contested consists in “memory dampening” or “memory enhancing” medication that helps patients cope but has raised questions on the ethical, legal (Kolber 2006; Snead 2011) and moral (Gross 2006) importance of memories, as well as its effect on soldiers’ formation and perception (Moreno 2008). The present study observes how articles in favor of memory-modifying medication and of alternative treatments are framed and sustained in USA news published over the past 20 years. Corpus-Assisted Critical Discourse Analysis (Baker 2004; Garzone and Santulli 2004; Degano 2006; Freake 2012) is applied to identify relevant linguistic and discursive strategies in terms of text organization, lexical choices, expert advice, popularization, and common cultural references.


bioethics; knowledge dissemination; military community in the news; military medicine; PTSD

Full Text:



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Appendix: Quoted sources from the corpora

Alternative corpus (ALT)

AbilTo Introduces Military Transitions Program for Veterans Finding Return to Civilian Life Challenging;

Tele-Behavioral Health Program to Address PTSD, Transitional Issues, Positive Coping Strategies for Veterans, PR Newswire, December 8, 2015.

Veterans with PTSD praise audio-therapy results, Associated Press, August 29, 2015.

Scanning invisible damage of PTSD, brain blasts, Associated Press, November 10, 2009.

VA Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Programs, Federal Document Clearing House Congressional Testimony, March 11, 2004.

USF explores new PTSD therapy, University Wire, November 4, 2013.

Sniper killing aftermath: 5 things to know about PTSD, CNN wire, February 5, 2013.

Army science conference to focus on 'disruptive technology', Defense Department Documents and Publications, November 25, 2008.

Oakland Effect: Got PTSD? There's an app for that, Contra Costa Times, July 24, 2011.

Medication corpus (MED)

Tonix Pharmaceuticals Presented Additional Phase 2 Clinical Results in Military-Related PTSD and Design of Ongoing Phase 3 Trial at the 2017 Military Health System Research Symposium, GlobeNewswire, August 29, 2017.

Soldotna shooting victim responds to treatment, The Associated Press State & Local Wire, September 1, 2013.

Study Linking Beneficial Bacteria to Mental Health makes Top 10 List for Brain Research, States News Service, January 5, 2017.

Benefits and Dangers Pervade Use of Human Enhancement Tools, Bioethicists Say, States News Service, June 6, 2008.

AAAS Capitol Hill Briefing: Neuroscience Raises Dramatic Hopes and Key Social Issues, States News Service, August 22, 2011.

Is Every Memory Worth Keeping?; Controversy Over Pills to Reduce Mental Trauma, The Washington Post, October 19, 2004.

The Quest to Forget, The New York Times, April 4, 2004.

The Forgetting Pill, Wired, March 2012.

A Drug to Cure Fear, The New York Times, January 24, 2016.

Memory loss, University Wire, December 18, 2006.

Hypertension drug could muddle traumatic memories, University Wire, March 30, 2007.

A pill to halt painful memories would leave void, Dayton Daily News, December 18, 2006.

New medicines may make memory-erasing a possibility, University Wire, April 15, 2004.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2019-001-doer

Copyright (©) 2019 Roxanne Barbara Doerr – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Call for papers Vol 11 (2024) No 1 - Discourses, Methods and Practices of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging: Towards a Global Shared Framework
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Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process. 
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Deadline for papers submission: June 10th, 2024
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Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
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Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature, Culture e Mediazioni  
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International Scientific Committee: James Archibald (McGill University, Montreal) - Natalija G. Bragina (Institut Russkogo Jazyka im. A.S. Puškina; RSUH, Mosca) - Kristen Brustad (University of Texas at Austin) - Luciano Curreri (University of Liège) - Hugo de Burgh (University of Westminster) - Giuditta Caliendo (Université de Lille) - Giorgio Fabio Colombo (Nagoya University Graduate School of Law) - Daniel Dejica (Universitatea Politehnica Timisoara) - Anna De Fina (Georgetown University, USA) - Claudio Di Meola, (Sapienza Università di Roma) - Denis Ferraris (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris) - Lawrence Grossberg (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) - Stephen Gundle (University of Warwick) - Décio de Alencar Guzmán (Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém,  Brasile) - Matthias Heinz (Universität Salzburg) - Rosina Márquez-Reiter (The Open University) - Samir Marzouki (Université de Manouba à Tunis) - (John McLeod, University of Leeds) - Estrella Montolío Durán (Universitat de Barcelona) - M'bare N'gom (Morgan State University, Baltimore) - Christiane Nord (Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences) - Daragh O'Connell (Cork University) - Roberto Perin (York University, Toronto) - Giovanni Rovere (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg) - Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (University of Edinburgh) - Françoise Sabban (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) - Kirk St.Amant (Louisiana Tech University, University of Limerick/University of Strasbourg) - Paul Sambre (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) - Srikant Sarangi (Aalborg University) - Junji Tsuchiya (Waseda University, Tokyo) - Xu Shi (Zhejiang University)
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