March 17th, 2012
08:13 AM ET

Opinion: Soldier accused of shooting rampage: Not PTSD alone

Editor's Note: Dr. Harry Croft is a former Army doctor who has evaluated more than 7,000 veterans with PTSD.  He is medical director of the San Antonio Psychiatric Research Center, has been in private practice for 35 years and just released his new book, I Always Sit With My Back to The Wall (written with coauthor, Reverend Dr. Chrys Parker).

By Harry Croft - Special to CNN

The shocking news of an American soldier allegedly going on a shooting rampage and taking the lives of 16 Afghanistan civilians has captivated the world this week. The question everyone is trying to answer: What caused him to snap and commit such a heinous act?

Details are slowly emerging, but as a former Army doctor and someone who has evaluated more than 7,000 veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I believe a combination of factors pushed the unnamed soldier over the edge.

This soldier was more than likely suffering from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), but these conditions alone would not have caused him to go on a killing spree. Even in the most severe cases I’ve seen in my 30 years of research and treating patients, I have never seen or heard of anyone with PTSD alone doing such a thing. Yes, PTSD typically brings on symptoms of anger, irritability, and even at times, rage.  It causes a person to feel distant and detached, easily startled or hyper-vigilant. The person might be unsociable and have trouble expressing his or her emotions. But killing 16 people is not a result of combat-related PTSD alone.    FULL POST

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Topics: Afghanistan • Law • Military