Moral injury is an experience that affects ethical, moral and psychological well-being and is characterized by 'injury' due to 'harm'. The experience of moral injury is associated with distress but with greater benefit, in line with a self-esteem approach to moral functioning. Results from a recent clinical trial call for future work to define the experience of moral injury, its nature and effects, and to examine approaches to treatment and recovery.
The findings of this study emphasize the need to consider moral injury as a distinct psychopathological category. As such, it requires the development and refinement of specific interventions and psychoanalytic therapies for moral injury as a dissociated, separate clinical entity of its own.
Almost 1 in 10 U.S. adults experienced some form of moral injury in the prior year, with significant gender- and age-related differences, suggesting the need for national priorities in these areas.
Moral injury is characterized by the inability to empathize with others, feeling like one is on the periphery, a sense of betrayal, and an inability to control one's thoughts. For these reasons the clinician should suspect moral injury when patients complain of feelings of isolation or alienation, or when the patient fails to give themselves a high moral value. Moral injury can manifest as avoidance and alienation. These signs may be exacerbated by a loss of social support network. moral injury could be a diagnosis to watch in the future if properly evaluated.
Moral injury can and does impact on people's lives, but a single cause does not necessarily explain how it manifests. It is likely to be a combination of many factors and is not limited to a breakdown in family or social supports.
It is difficult to give a single, comprehensive treatment for moral injury, a result of the multifaceted nature of moral injury, its complexity as a psychiatric disorder which might not be adequately treated with an a single, definitive treatment. Some treatments seem to be more desirable for some aspects of moral injury than others. Psychotherapy is recommended in most cases to help patients to deal with trauma and other problems that may be responsible for their moral injury.
Moral injury is [not often recognized, but it may be a problem if it appears or becomes apparent. A 2017 survey found only 29% of practicing clinicians had ever heard of the condition or had ever treated it. Moral injury is a common moral problem that affects people from diverse backgrounds. The condition was not well described in the literature. A 2017 review found only 15 clinical studies on treatments for moral injury. The treatments for moral injury were mostly based on principles from other fields, and therefore had limited acceptance or relevance to patients and clinicians. This review noted that moral injury can occur in many situations and is not [just a condition that is typically encountered only in emergencies.
The improvement in QOL seen in acupuncture may be due partly to the effect on psychological, physical, and social well-being. Data from a recent study warrant further study and future trials designed primarily for this group.
The majority (97.2%) of our respondents have heard about medical ethics and clinical trial protocols but only 5.9% have ever read one. The participants had not heard about medical trials involving the possibility of receiving money. When asked if they would consider participating in any clinical trial that may help others, 89.3% responded that they would consider. In the event of a hypothetical medical condition like moral injury, there ought to be no moral objections that would prevent patients from volunteering for any research even if the conditions for research were not ethical such.
In general, most studies using acupuncture for treatment of patients with chronic pain in China and Europe demonstrate feasibility of acupuncture using a variety of techniques in different types of patients. In few of these trials the acupuncture and/or sham acupuncture were performed by the same or almost the same people in a setting with a high likelihood of contamination. The trials using acupuncture in the context of treatment of noninfectious diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome in China and Europe also show that acupuncture with a high likelihood of contamination is not necessarily the same as acupuncture without such contamination (or sham + credible non-sham + credible non-sham).
Patient and physician satisfaction can be enhanced by using clear expectations and appropriate patient information, and the use of clear procedures of acupuncture for pain relieving effect and preventive effect is safe in terms of serious adverse events and procedural adverse events.
The study results are consistent with the model of Moll and colleagues that identifies four distinct types of moral injuries, which are associated with specific psychosocial profiles and can be understood within the perspectives of the Big Five models with an emphasis on the role of family relationships.