E04: Critical Reading – themildewmuncher7

1.   “Is PTSD contagious?”

  • There must be some backing to this question, else it would not have been asked
  • PTSD presented as a sickness, if it could be contagious
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder is a real thing, as the title suggests

2. “It’s rampant among returning vets—and now their spouses and kids are starting to show the same symptoms.”

  • PTSD is rampant amongst vets… do all of them have it?
  • Vets are only ones that can acquire PTSD
  • Used in this sense it seems to be more like a spreadable disease
  • Spouses and kids starting to show the same symptoms – as a result of the vets

3. “Brannan Vines has never been to war. But she’s got a warrior’s skills: hyperawareness, hypervigilance, adrenaline-sharp quick-scanning for danger, for triggers. Super stimuli-sensitive.”

  • Brannan has never been to war.
  • Warrior’s skills include hyperawareness, hypervigilance, etc.
  • Brannan is a warrior despite never being to war.
  • Triggers are a big factor in her symptoms, as she scans for them.

4.  “And as slippery as all that is, even less understood is the collateral damage, to families, to schools, to society—emotional and fiscal costs borne long after the war is over.”

  • Collateral damage from PTSD is implied, and even less understood than the already-misunderstood disorder itself.
  • There are costs after war itself ends due to this.

5. “Caleb has been home since 2006, way more than enough time for Brannan to catch his symptoms. The house, in a subdivision a little removed from one of many shopping centers in a small town in the southwest corner of Alabama, is often quiet as a morgue.”

  • Caleb has not been exposed to PTSD-inducing war since 2006. This article was released in early 2013.
  • Brannan “caught” the symptoms that he was displaying.
  • Implies that it is in fact contagious.
  • Their house is quiet, meaning it is very unlikely to have a noise issue relating to the PTSD.

An hour has expired.

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2 Responses to E04: Critical Reading – themildewmuncher7

  1. themildewmuncher7 says:

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  2. davidbdale says:

    1. I like your method of critiquing claims, MM.
    —Good of you to notice that asking if A is B presupposes that A exists and that B is something letters of the alphabet can have or be. It’s easy to forget or overlook those inherent premises.

    2. Saying PTSD is rampant among vets DOES NOT require that ONLY vets can get it. Nothing in this claim suggests contagion . . . does it? Perhaps in context, but again, nothing in this sentence suggests that the family members show symptoms BECAUSE OF the vets . . . does it?

    3. Good of you to point out this flaw in the argument, if that’s what it is. She may well be scanning for dangers; that follows from her hypervigilance. But if she’s “scanning for triggers,” that suggests that she’s looking for trouble, literally, as if she seeks something to react to, prefers it to not being in danger.

    4. Notice that these claims do not require PTSD to be contagious. The afflicted vet can cause plenty of collateral damage without passing along his affliction.

    5. Well done, MM. Unmentioned in your analysis is the interesting submerged claim that the author knows how long it takes for a spouse to pick up a returning vet’s symptoms.

    Even more important is the perhaps unconscious claim that it’s the SYMPTOMS that are caught, not the DISORDER. If true, it answers the question, “Is PTSD Contagious?” with a resounding “No.”

    Nice work.


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