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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
'They turn a blind eye'
Evelyn Bitcon, whose son Stephen suffers from post traumatic stress disorder
Evelyn Bitcon said her son's personality changed
The High Court has ruled that former UK troops suffering from post traumatic stress disorder are not entitled to compensation.

Evelyn Bitcon, whose son Stephen served in Northern Ireland told the BBC how PTSD had affected her family.

"After physical injuries, Stephen then developed psychological injuries which came out in a change of personality and behaviour and self-medication with drugs and alcohol

"He developed a very short temper, he couldn't communicate very easily, he had a loss of memory, nightmares, flashbacks and a really serious deterioration in his personality and behaviour.

"That's how PTSD comes out. It's like a hidden illness."

This case has been, to me, a whitewash
She said her son had enjoyed his time in the army.

"Stephen was high on the adrenalin, like a lot of these young men."

She said Stephen's illness had cut short a promising career in the army.

"It's not that these men don't sign up for Queen and country, and know exactly what they're giving themselves to in conflict.

"The problem is that the army and the Ministry of Defence are not looking for stress in men. When they are in distress, they're turning a blind eye.

"This is where the self-medication with drugs and alcohol comes in."

She added: "I've been dealing with Stephen's PTSD for 10 years, and that led me to look at the wider picture.

"Now I'm involved with people who are in prison or who are homeless, people who have been wrongly been diagnosed as being schizophrenic or as having a personality disorder."

Mrs Bitcon added: "I came down to the High Court expecting justice. But I am not surprised that this case has been, to me, a whitewash.

"I would like to see a champion out there who would actually come forward and help these tens of thousands of men."


SEE ALSO:
Counsellor warns over war trauma
10 Apr 03  |  Cornwall
Veterans sue MoD over trauma
04 Mar 02  |  UK News
Post-traumatic stress disorder
20 Dec 00  |  Medical notes


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