About the Book:

Step into the hidden world of elite warriors—Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Air Force PJs, Marine Raiders, etc.—who are haunted by a unique constellation of injuries, born out of years, even decades, of fighting the Global War on Terror. Operator Syndrome identifies and describes the profound impact that years of extreme sacrifice have had on our military special operators and their loved ones.

Drawing upon his thirty years of experience with clinical trials, historical epidemiology, and neuroscience research—as well as a decade of applied efforts with special operators across all branches of the U.S. military—acclaimed clinical psychologist Chris Frueh, Ph.D., uncovers a pattern of interrelated afflictions: traumatic brain injury, hormonal dysregulation, sleep apnea, chronic pain, depression, anger, insomnia, addiction, existential angst, and more.

Dr. Frueh guides us through the harrowing terrain of Operator Syndrome. He provides a roadmap to understand its multifaceted origins and complex effects on every biological system in the body—as well as the social systems of family, work, and the indifferent society these warriors return to. He explains how modern healthcare systems, especially Veterans Affairs, have too often relied on the PTSD “easy button” and failed a generation of men and women who have carried the brunt of the fight since 9/11.

Frueh shines a bright and empathic light on the silent struggles of a community with a “never quit” mindset. Most importantly, he provides real solutions, lifestyle adaptations, and step-by-step treatment strategies that have worked for hundreds of operators, saving lives and giving hope to families.

About the Author:

Chris Frueh, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. He has over thirty years of professional experience working with military veterans, service members, special operators, and private defense contractors. He has conducted clinical trials, epidemiology, historical epidemiology, and neuroscience research. He has coauthored over three hundred scientific publications, including a graduate textbook on adult psychopathology. Previously, he was a tenured professor at the Medical University of South Carolina and Baylor College of Medicine.

He has testified before U.S. Congress and served as a paid consultant for the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the U.S. State Department, and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He has also published commentaries in National Review, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Time, Men’s Journal, and Special Operations Association of America. He has been quoted or cited in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Washington Post, Scientific American, Stars and Stripes, USA Today, Men’s Health, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Associated Press, and NBC News, among others.

He devotes time to SEAL Future Foundation, HunterSeven Foundation, Special Operations Association of America, Boulder Crest Foundation, Military Special Operations Family Collaborative, The Mission Within, VETS, Inc., and Big Country Veterans. He has also published nine historical crime novels, including They Die Alone (2013) and, most recently, A Season Past (2019).


“Dr. Frueh’s contribution to the health and mental health of military special operators is outstanding, timely, and much needed. This work is what every operator, family member, and provider needs to read. This creates a common language and resource that moves the field forward.”

-Gabrielle Lyon, D.O., U.S. Navy SEAL spouse, functional medicine practitioner, author of Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well

“Dr. Frueh provides a framework that gave us hope and a path forward. I am forever grateful for the work he has done for special operators and their families with Operator Syndrome.”

-Andrea Gallagher, U.S. Navy SEAL spouse, co-author of The Man in the Arena, president of The Pipe Hitter Foundation

“Operator Syndrome lays it all out to be understood. I spent twenty-five years in the Army with twenty-one being in Special Operations. Frueh’s work is spot on and describes the issues most of our Special Operations warrior families are facing.”

-Tom Satterly, U.S. Army (Ret.), Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Special Forces, CEO/co-founder of All Secure Foundation, author of All Secure: A Special Operations Soldier’s Fight to Survive on the Battlefield and the Homefront

“For a comprehensive insight into veteran trauma and associated physiological injuries, Dr. Frueh’s work is an invaluable resource. This book is a must-read for anyone adjacent to or in the veteran space.”

-Jesse Gould, former U.S. Army Ranger, founder of Heroic Hearts Project

“If knowledge is power, then* **Operator Syndrome** *by Dr. Frueh is an atomic bomb. Much of my frustration, anger, and confusion as a spouse came from a lack of understanding the complexities of the issues my husband faced after serving in an elite Special Operations unit for twenty years. We both felt lost in the fog of PTSD until we were armed with the knowledge that this injury can be healed.”

-Jen Satterly, U.S. Army Special Forces spouse, CEO/co-founder of All Secure Foundation

“Dr. Frueh’s efforts have transformed our understanding of the complex, interrelated medical-psychological injuries faced by military special operators. Every combatant of the Global War on Terrorism, and their family members, should read Operator Syndrome.”

-Mike Sarraille, U.S. Navy SEAL (ret.), former U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper, and CEO of Talent War Group

Join Our Family