In a recent study by the Center for Health Military Research, as of October 2007, it was discovered that out of the 1.64 million service members deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, approximately 300,000 individuals currently suffer from PTSD and other closely related disorders.
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or life-threatening event occurring in combat, a serious car accident, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or through experiencing sexual assault, sudden loss of a loved one or childhood sexual abuse.
It is the aftermath of an event as described above, where the one who has experienced these types of trauma returns to their everyday life but gets interrupted by thoughts of the event or a reliving of the event, sometimes triggered by sounds, smells or other stimuli that remind them of the trauma, causing anxiety, fear and anger which often develop into depression and other neurosis and can lead to drug and alcohol abuse because the PTSD sufferer seeks to numb their feelings and escape the painful memories of their trauma.
Though somewhat different for each individual, PTSD is characterized by 4 key symptoms:
- Reliving the traumatic event
- Avoiding things that remind you of the traumatic event
- Having more negative thoughts and feelings than before
- Feeling on edge
Seeking help for PTSD is critical. Left unchecked, the symptoms worsen as can drug and alcohol dependence which can lead to death or suicide. Recent studies have revealed that the suicide rate among combat veterans is at 22 suicides per day, an alarming statistic.
So, knowing the signs and symptoms of PTSD and where to go for help and support is critical to stopping it in its tracks.
Below is a screening questionnaire that may help determine if you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD:
If after answering the questionnaire, you decide you or a loved one need to seek help and support, here are a few resources to get started on the road to recovery:
The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 and is confidential.
Confidential Veterans Chat Online
This is a great resource for those who do not have an environment of privacy to be able to speak out loud when they are having difficulties and still receive support.
Great online resource with videos of other combat veterans who have sought help for PTSD.
PTSD Program Locater
Visit this link to find a PTSD Program near you. Just type in the type of program you are looking for and your zip code.
Combat Veteran Hotline
This is a hotline that is answered by Combat War Veterans.
If you or someone you know is suffering with Post Traumatic Stress, please reach out for help for yourself or for that person. Remember that it is common for those suffering from trauma to retreat from life, to seclude themselves because they are in pain.
Let’s continue to raise awareness about PTSD and let’s keep talking about it. As a community, we have a responsibility to help those who are suffering, especially those that have risked their lives to protect our freedoms.
- US Department of Veteran Affairs – http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/understanding_ptsd/booklet.pdf
- US Department of Veteran Affairs – http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/media/Call-Center-PSA.asp
- General’s War on PTSD & Suicide (Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIL2r5zX0zo
- Veterans Healing Farm, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=pDPnXavVr0c